StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be available from March 12 2013, Blizzard has announced.

The expansion – StarCraft II’s first – features a new 20-level campaign which follows Queen of Blades Sarah Kerrigan as she gathers the remnants of the Zerg swarm and plots her revenge against the treacherous dictator of the Koprulu sector, Arcturus Mengsk.

It also introduces several new multiplayer units such as Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new capabilities.

The expansion will also include group and clan systems; unranked matchmaking; Global Play, enabling players to battle others in different regions around the world; additional stat tracking; user interface improvements; an enhanced physics system; multiplayer replays; a levelling system that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customisation options for their online profiles; and more.

Heart of the Swarm will be available on Windows PC and Mac at AU$49.95 for a physical copy, or AU$44.95 for a digital download.

Select retail stores will offer a collector’s edition for around AU$89.95, and a Digital Deluxe version will also be available for AU$64.95.

Upgrading from the standard edition to the Digital Deluxe version will cost AU$20.

“With Heart of the Swarm, our goal has been to expand on the multiplayer action and cinematic storytelling of Wings of Liberty,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment.

“Combined with features like unranked matchmaking and our new leveling system, this expansion elevates the StarCraft II experience for players of all skill levels.”

The Digital Deluxe version of Heart of the Swarm includes the following in-game bonus items:

- StarCraft II Torrasque: Crush the enemies of the Swarm with the indomitable Torrasque, a fearsome new look for your zerg Ultralisks.

- StarCraft II Portraits and Decals: New Swarm-infested portraits and decals help you customize the look of your online profile and in-game army.

- World of Warcraft In-Game Pet: A Baneling companion pet.

- Diablo III Blade Wings and Banner Sigil: Grow zerg-like wings in honor of the Queen of Blades, and unfurl an exclusive banner sigil to mark your allegiance to the Swarm in Sanctuary.

The Collector’s Edition of Heart of the Swarm contains the following exclusive bonus items, in addition to the content from the Digital Deluxe version:

- Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray: Immerse yourself in the StarCraft universe with developer commentary, interviews with voice actors, and an in-depth historical retrospective on StarCraft’s eSports legacy narrated by key members of the community.

- Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD: Enhance your Heart of the Swarm musical experience with this collection of more than a dozen tracks from the game.

- Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book: This 144-page tome features never-before-seen art from the expansion, including early concept sketches and meticulous 3D renderings.

- Zerg Rush Mousepad: This Collector’s Edition mousepad depicts the Terran Dominion holding out desperately under the onslaught of the Swarm.