If you’re intimidated by competitive StarCraft II and bored by the story, allow me to suggest another option: Co-Op, which is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. And when Blizzard puts out the next patch for their real-time strategy game, it’ll likely be even better.

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Co-Op (formerly called Allied Commanders) lets you pick a hero (Kerrigan, Raynor, etc.) and team up with another player’s hero to fight against a variety of AI-controlled enemies. On one map you might have to defend a temple from hordes of Zerg; on another, you’ve gotta intercept and destroy trains as they cross from one station to another. It’s a smart, satisfying gameplay mode that keeps you hooked by letting you gain EXP and level up each hero, unlocking new units and abilities along the way.

The biggest flaw: there aren’t enough maps. The ones that do exist tend to be pretty easy, and they can get repetitive after you’ve leveled up your hero a bunch. So Blizzard’s taking a stab at adding variety with a feature they’re calling Mutators—game modifiers that they’re hoping will spice things up and add new challenges to co-op.

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Says Blizzard: “Mutators are special conditions that will bring additional challenge and diversity to existing Co-op Missions. Mutators can vary wildly, from having to fight a completely cloaked army, to dodging lava erupting from the ground. You’ll face these and more in our Weekly Mutations.”

They continue:

We call our first Weekly Mutation “Train of the Dead.” This challenge takes place on the “Oblivion Express” Co-op Mission, which still requires you to stop the supply trains. However, we’ve turned up the difficulty by deploying three deadly Mutators against you.

  • Walking Infested – Every enemy you destroy will spawn infested terrors. The bigger the unit, the more infested will rise from it’s corpse.
  • Outbreak Continuous waves of the infested horde march against your base, forcing you to keep your defenses tight at all times.
  • Darkness – The fog of war is replaced with pure darkness and the mission’s objectives are hidden from the mini-map. You won’t know where the trains are and you won’t know where attacks are coming from.

There’s no release date for patch 3.3 yet. Hopefully it hits soon.