Aiur Chef? Left 2 Die? StarJeweled? Blizzard DOTA? What's going on with the four new official game modes coming to StarCraft 2? These four visual guides will give you the skinny. Revealed earlier today during the BlizzCon 2010 opening ceremonies, the StarCraft II team has created four new game modes based on popular titles and, in once case, a popular television show. Aiur Chef is Iron Chef. Left 2 Die is Left 4 Dead. StarJeweled is obvious Bejeweled, and Blizzard DOTA is Blizzards take on the genre that originated as a Warcraft III mod.

Check out these visual guides to get an idea of how each new game type plays.

Aiur Chef

Left 2 Die

StarJeweled

DOTA

 
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StarCraft II players will get four officially sanctioned mods for the real-time strategy title created by Blizzard, new map types that turn the sci-fi war game into a Bejeweled-like puzzler, a co-op survival game and a DotA-style multiplayer scenario. Blizzard's Mike Morhaime announced at Blizzcon 2010 today that four new mods are coming to Battle.net: Auir Chef (yes, that's "chef"), Left 2 Die, StarJeweled and Blizzard DotA. Auir Chef combines cooking and killing in a battle for the title of "Executor Chef." StarJeweled adds gem-matching gameplay to the energy gathering, troop building mechanics of StarCraft II.

Left 2 Die adds a "new co-op take on the StarCraft II campaign mission 'Outbreak'" and Blizzard DotA — which may actually be known as Blizzard All-Stars — appears to be an outer space spin on the popular WarCraft III mode, Defense of the Ancients.

All four mods are playable at this weekend's BlizzCon and will be released to the StarCraft II community, for free, via Battle.net in the coming months.

[Source: Kotaku]
 
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Remember those 5000 people Blizzard busted for cheating in Starcraft II? Well the developer is going after those responsible with a vengeance, taking three men to court for creating the hacks those users employed. "Just days after the release of Starcraft II, Defendants already had developed, marketed, and distributed to the public a variety of hacks and cheats designed to modify (and in fact destroy) the Starcraft II online game experience", the suit reads. "In fact, on the very day that Starcraft II was released, representatives of the hacks Web site advised members of the public that 'our staff is already planning new releases for this game.'"

The three men - "Permaphrost," "Cranix," and "Linuxawesome" - are being accused of "multiple counts of copyright infringement", with Blizzard seeking not just damages but also a cut of the money the three received selling the hacks. The first two are from Canada, the third, Peru.

They also stand accused of encouraging others to infringe upon Blizzard's copyright, because "When users of the Hacks download, install, and use the Hacks, they copy StarCraft II copyrighted content into their computer's RAM in excess of the scope of their limited license, as set forth in the EULA and ToU, and create derivative works of StarCraft II."

Despite the overseas location of the three men, the case will be heard in a Los Angeles US District Court, as stated in the game's Starcraft II's end-user license.

 
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Blizzard fans are a patient lot, so the gap between StarCraft II's future episodes focusing on the Zerg and Protoss races should be easy going. It's only going to be about 18 more months before we see the next one. So said Battle.net project director Greg Canessa at GDC Online in Austin, Texas today, according to a report from GameSpot. That puts StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm tentatively on schedule for March or April 2012, about when we were expecting the game anyway, going by previous estimates from high level Blizzard employees.

While Blizzard rarely confirms dates this far in advance, its a more definitive date than "the next few years," the previously mentioned release window for Heart of the Swarm, Diablo III and the developer's still unannounced next-gen MMO.

Canessa told GDC Online attendees that those working on the Battle.net side would be working on new features, including "trading replays, broadcasting replays, and upgrading profiles," according to GameSpot's extended account.

 
As warned, Blizzard today swept through the Starcraft II playerbase with knives at the ready, banning or suspending the accounts of thousands of players caught using hack programs or other forms of cheating. The final count was "over 5000" players, Blizzard reminding everyone that it's not just the spirit of fair play that's in trouble when people cheat; messing with the underlying workings of the game "can lead to stability and performance issues with the service".

While a death toll of a few thousand (it wasn't disclosed how many were suspensions and how many were permanent bans) accounts is impressive for most games, it pales in comparison to Blizzard's previous record of 350,000, set during a World of Warcraft purge.