A few days ago, the long-awaited mods for StarCraft II have become official were announced on their blog. They have been in beta and are Official Mods. So much so, that they have Achievements embedded into the game now as part of being approved by Blizzard. All modes are “Custom Games” and are not ranked, but can be played co-operatively or solo.
Play as a Protoss Aiur…CHEF. There are 3 rounds, and you (and other players) compete to find ingredients to complete the recipe. Each completed recipe gets you points or a bonus item. It’s time-based rounds and movement is like controlling a hero unit. And there’s mild combat to get your ingredients, but the focus is on speed and getting the highest amount of points before the round ends. This is a very relaxing mode as it’s pretty friendly competition, and you’re simply just creating foods.
Now you can simply write this one off as a Bejeweled clone, but it’s a little bit more than that. Not only do you have to play Bejweled for a high score, you have to build defenses in a strategy/tower defense puzzle game. You spend your points earned from matching 3-of-a-kind on defenses and maybe casting healing on your base. Once you defeat all of the opposing team, you win. But the games last a LONG time and are a lot of fun, and very tense as you make progress.
My personal favorite. Based on the Campaign map: Zero Hour. You and your buddies must defend your base during the Zerg attack at night. When daybreak hits, the opposing Zerg are eliminated. Then you must go out and destroy their hives before they can spawn out more enemies when the sun sets. All while you need to be building up your defenses for the next night’s attack. There are multiple difficulties to tackle this with (solo or co-op). This was my favorite map of the campaign, and is one of the best “tower defense” slash “siege” modes you’ll find.
These Official Mods and Maps are off to a great start, I hope we get to see more of these – becoming more and more unique and interesting all while making them co-operative or competitive. If you are an owner of StarCraft II, there is absolutely no reason not to download these mods/maps to your system. To access these maps from the main menu: Multi Player > Join Game > Custom Game > Featured and look for Aiur Chef, StarJeweled, and/or Left 2 Die. You’ll join someone’s game and have the maps newly downloaded for yourself and friends to enjoy.
It would be unrealistic to say to buy StarCraft II just for these newly added maps and mods – but if you were on the fence about StarCraft II: The campaign is fantastic, the online multiplayer is fierce and competitive as can be, and the strong user base for maps and mods are showing their creativity and strength and you would be hard-pressed to find another game of this caliber and range on PC (or Mac).