StarCraft 2's 1.5 update promises improved chat, Arcade features

Starcraft 2's upcoming 1.5 patch will have large number of new features and will lay the ground work for the next game in the series, Heart of the Swarm. Game director Dustin Browder recently discussed how the social aspect of the game will be tweaked, as well as how custom games are selected. "One of the most significant additions will be the all new Arcade feature which includes improved custom game visibility, ratings, reviews, game instructions, screenshot support, and more," he said.

On the topic of arcade and custom game selection, he offered the team's reasons for some of the changes and upgrades. "Overall, the biggest complaint we've heard is about the popularity system and how games are listed," Browder said. "The challenge we face with the interface is how much to orient the space towards the player, versus how much we focus the interface on the needs of the mod maker."

He goes into more detail on the Battle.net blog, noting that Blizzard is contacting mod makers and game developers for feedback to overcome some of the obstacles faced.

On the topic of social interaction: "We've heard concerns about the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty social experience and many of these comments boil down to, 'the service feels empty' and 'I don't know where to go to find people.' We have some simple fixes we're going to put into the chat system to try to give players some additional connectivity. These aren't huge fixes, but they may help players who want a more social experience." For example, chat windows will be resizable, and will offer ways to connect with players close to where they live or through the same IP.

At the end of his post, Browder invited additional player feedback. As vocal as many of Blizzard's fans are, that could be a can of worms Browder wished he had not opened.