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Mission Accomplished: Recapping The Nova ARG

Mission Accomplished: Recapping The Nova ARG

We recently released the first of our Nova Covert Ops mission packs! We had some fun with a special StarCraft ARG (or alternate reality game) leading up to the release of the exciting new missions. For those who didn’t experience it first hand, we’ve put together a recap so you can see how the whole thing played out.


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Kate Lockwell, lead news anchor for UNN, began the ARG with her video report announcing that the Dominion’s top agents had gone missing.

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Soon after, Radio liberty shared a post explaining that they had a big scoop from their helpful informant, who wished to remain anonymous. Players were tasked with decoding the informant’s message.

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Players who emailed Radio Liberty with the results were thanked for their efforts.

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After players solved the first message, another post from Radio Liberty revealed more information.

Apparently, the station had been working with an investigator to uncover details about missing ghosts in the Terran Dominion. They believed that, with players’ help, they had uncovered a secret order from the Dominion Intelligence Section. At the same time, they questioned whether it could be related to the missing ghosts, and asked for players’ help in decoding another message.

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Once this puzzle was solved, players who emailed Radio Liberty received the following message.

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At this point, Kate Lockwell posted another video report, announcing that underground media outlet Radio Liberty was involved in an investigation into the missing Dominion agents. At the same time, the report questioned whether Radio Liberty was actually on to something or not . . .

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Sometime later, Radio Liberty followed up with another post and it was revealed that perhaps they had misjudged the truthfulness of their source after all. They had reached a dead end, and would be going offline to sort things out; regardless, they thanked players for their help until that point.

Even this “going offline” message was a ruse, containing another hidden message. Solving the puzzle revealed a message encouraging players to e-mail RadioLiberty@blizzard.com with the subject line “Help,” which resulted in players receiving a message and map in response.

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While players looked for clues as to the meaning of “The writings on the wall”, Kate Lockwell shared a new update. In this post she shared an image which contained a hidden phone number written on the wall.

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Once players discovered and called the number, they received a recorded message from Michael Liberty: “This is Michael Liberty. Ask the right question and you’ll get the right answer. I’m not talkin’ unless you already know what this conversation is about.”

 

Players could reveal the answer by saying “Where is Nova?” After doing so, players heard a special follow-up message: “You’re gonna have to listen really carefully. I’ve seen Nova at B3-C4-F3-F5. I don’t have a lot of time, but I’ll spare some for you.”

The main message was followed by 15 seconds of inaudible dialogue, which was actually a message that had been modulated lower, obscured by static and reversed. Once these issues were corrected, a new message was revealed: "Let's meet at The Americas in channel Liberty. I'll be there March 24th, 10am PST."

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Players joined the Liberty chat room in-game at the specified time and received messages from Michael Liberty.

  • Michael Liberty: It's me.
  • Michael Liberty: Are you with Radio Liberty? I guess they must have sent you.
  • Michael Liberty: I wanted to tell you that I've been following a Dominion ghost -- Nova. I've seen her at the coordinates I gave you during the call.
  • Michael Liberty: According to the Dominion, she's been missing for a while. But she's definitely working on something.
  • Michael Liberty: I was close to finding out what it was when the Defenders of Man noticed what I was doing. They've been trying to kill me.
  • Michael Liberty: It's been getting harder to hide from them, so I'm gonna need your help to finish this. Hack into their console. You'll find it at battlenet://starcraft/map/1/271850
  • Michael Liberty: Good luck out there. I'll check in with you later.

They were then linked to a special Arcade map in StarCraft II.* The map contained a series of puzzles with coded answers. Solving each puzzle granted higher “Clearance Levels,” each of which revealed the name of a notable missing ghost operative.

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Solving all of them gave players the last known positions of the missing operatives.

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After the images revealed through the map were sent to RadioLiberty@blizzard.com, players were instructed to email MattHorner@blizzard.com directly. Once e-mailed, he thanked players for their hard work, told them the Dominion owes them one, and said Emperor Mengsk would make good on his offer.

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In her final video news update of the campaign, Lockwell shared the news that new evidence indicated one of the Dominion’s elite ghosts had gone rogue and assassinated several undercover agents. The Dominion, meanwhile, urged people to remain calm as they tried to apprehend the suspect.

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In the end, the official StarCraft Twitter account announced that players had solved the mystery behind Nova’s actions, and had earned a unique portrait in honor of their collective achievement!

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Thanks again to everyone who pitched in to solve the mystery behind Radio Liberty and the missing ghost operatives! We had a lot of fun watching as you worked together to solve our puzzles, and we hope you have even more fun playing the first of the Nova Covert Ops missions.

Good luck, commanders – we’ll see you in the game!

*Special thanks to mod makers Daniel "Pirate" Altman and Eric "ArcanePariah" Nelson for helping design the "Defenders of Man" Arcade map that was used during the campaign!

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