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New StarCraft II UI Design -Impressions and Feels-

With the intensely hyped patch 3.0 for StarCraft II came a redesign of the UI which intended to revamp the past interface and emphasize on a much more intuitive interaction with the game as well as taking a socially oriented approach on the interface.

The result was a slick, much less cluttered layout that gave me chills (in a good way). But why exactly, Grizzly?, you might ask. It does have to do with design trends but also with the minutiae.

First of all, lets talk about the menus. 

Previous versions of the UI (User Interface) gave each section its own independent menu. This added up different navigation points which resulted in an inconsistent UX (User Experience), having to always adapt to every new section's individual set of menus and overall layout.

Now, we have a more compact set of menus located at the top and bottom of the screen and are present throughout the entirety of the interface. No matter where we are in terms of navigation, we always know where to go and this is very important to achieve consistency. It gives the game a more cohesive feel and ease to it from log in to exit. 
Want to play some Arcade? Sure! Top menu. Want to go head to head with other people? No problem! Top menu. Want to get all social and chatty with your teammates? EZ PZ! Bottom menu.

Simple, clean and right where it should be. But why is this so important? Isn't it all about the game?

Well yes!... And no. Interface is crucial, whether we're aware of it or not. It's part of the visual aspect of story-telling. From the moment you step into BattleNet and lauch the game, you're entering the world within the game. The world of StarCraft has surpassed a decade of existence and as such it has the challenge of constantly renewing itself, because you never know when a new player will rise up to join the community. 

This involves taking risks, which is key when it comes to redesign. It's a challenging process, specially when the previous version of the product (interface, logo, character, etc.) was our own doing. Because it makes creative teams reevaluate what they once believed. It forces them to move their thinking, forward.

Digital environments grow old very fast. But also offer the flexibility of being able to constantly update and improve their design and functionality. The Blizzard design team did a good job using the elements that were already familiar to us, refining and upgrading them for a new chapter in the game's history and also, honoring those of us who have been in the StarCraft universe for quite some time. (The campaign menu got to me...)

For me, patch 3.0 is testament of how Blizzard has managed to stay true to themselves and their titles but still delivers the perfect marriage of nostalgia and novelty. 

If you missed the launch of the new patch or just can't get enough of it, you can watch the video here: