StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm releases March 12

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will infest the real-time strategy heavyweight worldwide on March 12, 2013. Blizzard announced the date for the expansion pack and opened digital pre-purchases for the game this morning for everyone except mainland China, which will have to wait for more news.

Several new units will join the fray for the Zerg as well as Terran and Protoss, including Swarm Hosts, Hellbats, and Tempests, respectively, and several staples will be modified. Kerrigan will be able to customize her abilities and legion to augment her war against Arcturus Mengsk (you know, the guy who left her to die on a planet full of Zerg before she was made of tentacles) with selectable upgrades for herself and Zerg subspecies.

The PC and Mac compatible expansion pack for StarCraft II packs in several planned upgrades for the experience, such as groups and clans, unranked matchmaking, more stat tracking, user interface improvements, profile leveling for extra customization, and global play.

Heart of the Swarm will sell for $40 at retail or online, though Blizzard will offer a $20 Digital Deluxe upgrade which includes a Torrasque skin for Ultralisks, new infested portraits and decals, an in-game Baneling pet for World of Warcraft, and in-game Queen of Blade wings and exclusive banner sigil for Diablo III characters. Pre-purchasers will be able to download encrypted files for the game ahead of its release to begin play as soon as possible.

For the truly infested, Blizzard will also offer an $80 Collector’s Edition at select retailers, which includes everything listed above as well as a behind the scenes DVD and Blu-Ray, a soundtrack with more than a dozen tracks, an 144-page hardcover art book, and a Zerg Rush mouse pad showing the swarm doing what it does best to the Terran Dominion.

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