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StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm beta adds clan support, Blizzard offers first look

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StarCraft fans taking part in the ongoing beta test for the Heart of the Swarm expansion for StarCraft 2 will have the opportunity to try out one of the game's new social features, clan support, later this week.

Blizzard plans to roll out long-promised support for clans and groups in the StarCraft 2 beta test, offering a first look at the functionality in a new post on Battle.net. StarCraft 2's clan support, Blizzard says, will offer private chat channels, clan-specific news feeds and member rosters. Details, restrictions and technical limitations on clan names and clan tags are detailed in the posting.

"Our goal with Clans in StarCraft 2 is simple," Blizzard writes. "We want to bring people together in ways that make sense for allowing players to organize into groups, communicate with each other, and recognize others in-game. Like other new features being tested in the beta, Clans is a work in progress, and we're looking forward to testing it with you."

In addition to support for clans, which is targeted at competitive players, StarCraft 2 will support "groups" for more casual associations.

"We expect that Groups might be focused on a specific genre of Arcade game, geographic location, BarCraft, community website, popular personality, or eSports organization," Blizzard explains. While clans are limited to 50 members, groups can hold a larger number of players.

Blizzard reiterates that clan and group features will be available to all StarCraft 2 players, not just those who purchase the Heart of the Swarm expansion.

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm will feature a single-player campaign centered around the Zerg and bring sweeping changes to the real-time strategy game's multiplayer component. Blizzard recently detailed a new progression system for Heart of the Swarm that will unlock decals and player portraits as players level up.