StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm announced

Blizzard has announced that Heart of the Swarm will be the first expansion to StarCraft II. Geekend blogger Wally Bahny details what is known about Heart of the Swarm's storyline, features, and missions.

Less than a year since StarCraft II's initial game launch, Blizzard Entertainment has announced its first expansion: Heart of the Swarm. The expansion focuses on the Zerg race (a group of insects controlled by a hive mind), introduces some new game features, and supplies approximately 20 new missions.

Along with this announcement, Blizzard has released a basic storyline, as well as a couple of mission profiles. The player begins on Char, the planet where we left off in Wings of Liberty (the initial game's subtitle). Sarah Kerrigan (formerly the Queen of Blades until the hero, Jim Raynor, restored her to her human form) is desperately trying to restore her control over the Zerg horde by competing with and destroying Zerg Queens that have taken control of Zerg Broods. Later in the game (perhaps the next mission, perhaps not), Sarah Kerrigan proceeds to Kaldir, a frozen wasteland of a planet, to determine what happened to the Zerg Broods sent there.

Just like we were able to choose various technological enhancements to the Terran units and buildings in Wings of Liberty, players can choose various methods of mutating Zerg units and buildings during the campaign, which grants a multitude of variations on the campaign's play.

There will also enhancements to the Zerg Creep effect, as well as new art and methods for the new planets Kerrigan will be taking us to. Also, while there are plans to reveal more content at BlizzCon 2011 (October 21-22), the multiplayer aspect of the game will gain many new units and maps. There are also supposed to be improvements to in the way to find player-created maps and other features that haven't been revealed yet.

Release date and price have not been set, but I expect StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm to come out this holiday season since new features will be announced in late October and cost about $30.00.

There is a 45 second StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm teaser video available.

What do you think of the Heart of the Swarm based on what Blizzard has announced so far? Will you purchase it when it comes out?