New Replay and Resume Features Coming in Heart of the Swarm
Whether you play from home or on a stage in front of thousands of people, StarCraft II replays are a powerful tool for improving your game. They’re so useful that we continue to expand and improve them as much as possible. In Heart of the Swarm, we’re introducing three new replay features.
In StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, replays served the purpose of reviewing a game by your lonesome. In Heart of the Swarm, you’ll be able to watch replays with others.
To do so, you’ll select a replay and then click the new “Watch with Others” button. This will produce a Battle.net lobby that you can invite other players to join. If you’re already in a party when you press the button, your party will join the replay lobby with you, as it would join a Custom Game lobby.
Starting the replay puts all of the players in the lobby in-sync, as though you’re watching a live game. You can chat with the other viewers, and you can individually control the Observer UI. Each viewer can adjust his or her own UI, such as the leader panel, the tug-of-war panels, or the player vision controls.
Whoever hosted the replay lobby also gets the ability to control the timeline. The host can click back to any point in the replay, and all viewers will jump back to that spot and continue watching together. The host can also control the replay playback speed.
We’re also making it easier to get right into the replay of the game you just completed. A new “Watch Replay” button on the score screen will take you right into the replay for the game you just completed, and if you’re in a party, it will create a replay lobby so that you and your party can review the replay together.
Now that you can watch a replay with friends, we’re taking it a step further and making replays even more powerful. We’ve added the ability to jump right into any spot in a replay and take over the gameplay from that point. You and your friends can pick a timestamp, choose which of the original players you’re each going to take over for, and play the game as you like.
There are many possibilities for the Take Command function. You might be playing against a friend and challenge one another to go back to a turning point in the game and play it again. You might be playing with a teacher who can now take you back to play through the same section of a game repeatedly, improving on your results with practice.
This feature offers you the ability to play out scenarios that you previously could only wish for. Remember that game between Flash and Jaedong? If you and I have the replay, we could find out what might have happened if Flash’s Siege Tanks were able to avoid being abducted by Jaedong’s Vipers!*
*This scenario intended for example purposes only. Neither you nor I play anything like Jaedong does, and let’s face it—Flash’s APM is, like, 10x mine. Possibly 15x. Still, we should totally give it a shot.
We love eSports tournaments, and we know just how quickly difficulties can arise at any time when you’re trying to do something as complicated as broadcast a live match to viewers on-site and watching streams around the world. To quote our good friend Nick ‘Tasteless’ Plott, “Technology is the vehicle of eSports.” Sometimes things go wrong—hardware fails, or network connections drop, or facilities have issues—and that’s not fun for players or viewers.
With Heart of the Swarm, we’ve added the ability to recover from such events and resume a game from any point using the replay.
To recover the game from a spot before the issue, you’ll need the original players and a replay from the original game. In the Replay screen, right-click on the replay and select “Recover Game” in the context menu to take you to a Battle.net lobby. From this lobby you can invite the original players of the game.
Once all original players are in the lobby, click the “Recover” button to be presented with a dialog window that allows the host to select the time in the replay from which to continue the game. To assist in finding an appropriate timestamp to resume from, the game now monitors for events that might represent an issue, such as one player ceasing to provide input, or one or both players being dropped from the game. From there, it’s simple: choose the point to restart from, and click the “Start” button.
The game will show a loading screen, seek to the selected time, and then display the game in a paused state. This will give the players a moment to reacquaint themselves with what was going on in the game at the time it was recovered. At that point a referee or the players themselves can unpause the game and continue playing where they left off.
We’re incredibly pleased to bring these powerful new replay features to StarCraft II in Heart of the Swarm, and Beta testers will be able to start using them in the next major Beta patch, which is coming very soon. In the meantime, we’ll be looking for your feedback and answering your questions in this discussion thread.