Latest installment of Starcraft II debuts in PH

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Local gaming firm X-Play Online launched on Monday, March 11, ?StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm?, the next chapter in the saga of the popular role-playing game.

Pinoy gamers can now purchase ?Heart of the Swarm? in retailers nationwide on DVD-ROM for both Windows and Mac at the suggested retail price of P1,795.

Heidi Garayblas, chief operating officer of X-Play Onilne Games, during the launch on Monday at Netopia Exreme Gaming Grounds at the Greenhills Shopping Center

The expansion can also be purchased directly from Blizzard at www.StarCraft2.com for $39.99. In addition, Blizzard is offering a retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition loaded with digital and physical bonus items, available at retail stores for P4,995.

Players also have the option to purchase a Digital Deluxe version of the expansion, which includes all of the digital items from the Collector’s Edition, directly from Blizzard via www.StarCraft2.com for $59.99.

Anyone who purchases the standard edition digitally or at retail can upgrade to the Digital Deluxe version at any time (for as long as the standalone Digital Deluxe version remains available) for an additional $20.

The Digital Deluxe version of Heart of the Swarm includes a full digital copy of the expansion along with the following in-game bonus items:

? StarCraft II Torrasque: Crush the enemies of the Swarm with the indomitable Torrasque, a fearsome new look for your zerg Ultralisks.

? StarCraft II Portraits and Decals: New Swarm-infested portraits and decals help you customize the look of your online profile and in-game army.

? World of Warcraft In-Game Pet: The Baneling companion pet is bursting with enthusiasm and ready to explode onto the Pet Battles scene.

? Diablo III Blade Wings and Banner Sigil: Grow zerg-like wings in honor of the Queen of Blades, and unfurl an exclusive banner sigil to mark your allegiance to the Swarm in Sanctuary.

The retail-exclusive Collector?s Edition of Heart of the Swarm includes the full version of the game on DVD-ROM and contains the following exclusive bonus items, in addition to the content from the Digital Deluxe version:

? Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray: Immerse yourself in the StarCraft universe with developer commentary, interviews with voice actors, and an in-depth historical retrospective on StarCraft?s eSports legacy narrated by key members of the community.

? Collector?s Edition Soundtrack CD: Enhance your Heart of the Swarm musical experience with this collection of 11 tracks from the game.

? Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book: This 144-page tome features never-before-seen art from the expansion, including early concept sketches and meticulous 3D renderings.

? Zerg Rush Mousepad: This Collector?s Edition mousepad depicts the Terran Dominion holding out desperately under the onslaught of the Swarm.

Heart of the Swarm picks up the story where ?StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty? left off, focusing on Kerrigan’s quest to reunite the Swarm and exact revenge on ArcturusMengsk.

Over the course of 20 campaign missions, players will follow Kerrigan as she sweeps across the galaxy, incorporating a variety of distinctive zerg species into her brood.

Kerrigan will grow in strength from mission to mission, and players will be able to customize her with powerful new abilities, as well as evolve various zerg strains into fearsome new subspecies to suit their play style.

New weapons of war also debut in Heart of the Swarm’s multiplayer, including new units such as TerranHellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new capabilities.

To prop up the launch, X-Play Online also announced the staging of the ?StarCraft II Vengeance Cup: Philippine Nationals Tournament?, which will commence from April until June 2013, with a P250,000 prize pool awaiting the winners.

More than the prize money, the top two winners of the competition will represent the country in the ?The StarCraft II Vengeance Cup? SEA Finals in Bangkok, Thailand.

To join the tournament, one must:

? Must get a copy of the SC2 HOTS box with the sticker ?For Philippine Distribution Only? and an 8-digit alphanumeric code.

? Register the 8-digit alphanumeric code at www.xplay.com.ph/hots

? Complete the necessary information needed and click submit.

? Only those who registered are the ones eligible to join the tournament.

From April to May, there will be 100 elimination legs in cafes nationwide. Announcement of elimination legs will be posted at www.xplay.ph. Semi-finals and finals will happen in June 2013.

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