Legacy of the Void, the last piece of the StarCraft II trilogy puzzle, is due later this year – something which has now officially been confirmed at Gamescom. The final chapter in the series will bring with it not only the expected campaign, relentless click-click-click multiplayer, and the new Archon Mode, but also a brand new feature called Allied Commanders. At the expo, along with some other international journalists, I had the opportunity to sit down with David Kim, the Senior Game Designer, and Tim Morten, the Lead Game Producer, to find out more about the mode in a Q&A session.
First of all, what is Allied Commanders? Here’s a quick video Blizzard showcased at their conference yesterday which gives a quick overview:
Essentially, Allied Commanders brings objective-based co-op to StarCraft II. Players can team up with a friend to take on AI in a variety of missions independent to the main Legacy of the Void campaign.
Three Commanders… for now
What makes the feature stand out is that commanders, familiar faces from the StarCraft II campaign, will be part of a player’s army. These commanders come equipped with special abilities that pack quite a punch. As the mode is played, experience is earned, and additional abilities are unlocked.
At the moment, only one commander has been announced for each faction; Jim Raynor for Terran, Sarah Kerrigan for Zerg, and Artanis for Protoss. I wondered about others, and asked about the possibility of seeing more familiar faces in future.
Will more commanders be added to Legacy of the Void after its release? David provided the following answer:
“The plan is to explore other commanders and missions. There are two playable missions at the moment, but we’re exploring both of these fronts. We have to keep bringing in something that’s cool, new, and different so that it keeps the mode fresh. The goal for this mode is that, unlike the campaign, we want people to live in this area and play for months, and maybe years.”
Regular updates are a necessity if a mode such as this is to remain relevant ands popular. It feels like Blizzard are keen to scope out how Allied Commanders is received before announcing any additional content though. Unless of course they’re saving that sort of announcement for Blizzcon, which may well be the case.
Allied Commanders is meant to be social and flexible
Allied Commanders is a social experience in a sense – something Tim confirmed when he said the following:
“To beat these Allied Commanders’ missions, people are really encouraged to collaborate with each other. A lot of the powers have benefits to the other player. If I’m playing Artanis for example, and I use my shield power, the other player’s units and structures are also shielded. The mode is inherently social.”
That doesn’t mean the mode is casual, at least, not if players want it to be. The difficulty settings are all there, meaning the level of suffering can be adjusted accordingly (brutal is pure nightmare material, and it’s there if players wish).
A nice touch is that the difficulty is not locked to something specific. It is possible to have a casual player team up with a hardcore one – the difficulty will balance out between the two in a sense.
I am terrible at StarCraft II’s competitive multiplayer, and seldom play it. Allied Commanders sounds like a great alternate – something I can enjoy with friends.
With Legacy of the Void now having a release period of 2015, we only have to wait a few months to see if Allied Commanders is any good. Personally, I really hope it is! If it’s a success, I don’t see why Blizzard can’t keep updating it with new missions and commanders – which would easily keep people playing well into the future.
Last Updated: August 6, 2015