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

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

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.

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