Who here's excited about starcraft 2 ? :)

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Sarek
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Who here's excited about starcraft 2 ? :)

Post by Sarek »

We've been waiting for this for years, but I am afraid that it's going to be a bit of a disappointment, apart from the vector graphics and half a dozen new units.

It is due to be released in January 2008.

THE FEATURES
------------
So what features will be a HIT or a MISS?

For the Protoss, I think the new 'Phase Prisms' will be a hit, enabling teleportation and portable power for the Protoss forces, which I always felt was one of the greatest weaknesses of that race to need pylons wherever technology was installed even if I wanted just one phase cannon to defend a fringe of my base where my pylon cover didn't quite stretch to. They also offer the ability to salvage stuff if one of my outposts is being definitely obliterated. It should prove interesting.

The two varieties of Archon are planned on being merged for SC2 into a single 'Twilight Archon'. This is a HIT in my book. It's clever you know to call them Twilight Archons, Twilight being inbetween light and dark :) But guys - Archon is good enough!

A War Shrine structure is planned on providing an upgrade ability for Zealots to charge into combat. This is a little remniscent of what they did in Warcraft 3 with Footmen gaining the Defend ability. In these RTS games, weak melee units are often ignored once stronger alternatives are developed (eg, Dark Templar), so giving them a special upgrade like Defend or Charge allows them to prove valuable again and not be forgotten. It's a lovely addition, but I don't want a special structure for it. Maybe the structure will also provide some of the other new units...

... like the Colossus which sounds fantastic! I'm very much looking forward to commanding a few of those :) Four legged robot that can navigate cliffs, and attack with sweep action dual lasers. MMMmmm. Big HIT!

Last thing worth mentioning is the new Protoss Mothership, which has awesome power - high intensity lasers that cut through anything in their path as well as the ability to create blackholes :)

So the changes for the Protoss look pretty good.


For the Terrans, things are less exciting, and there are only two interesting additions : The Viking which is an air unit that can land and become a ground unit; and The Reaper, a ground unit which can navigate cliffs, which makes it work a bit like an air unit. Hmmm...

The Viking is a replacement for the Goliaths. I have spent much time debating whether or not this will be useful, as I believe its inclusion is as a toy for the kids to play with and give the game greater commercial appeal to youngsters. "Transformers, robots in disguise", methinks :) The Viking will come to be classed as one of those awkward 'multifunction support units' that no serious player would use. It'll be fairly priced to make it attractive, but as a ship it'll be low on firepower and hitpoints that serves no practical use, and as a ground unit it'll be a stronger melee unit than the firebat, but nothing special, and will be overpriced as ground units go. It may serve a use when trying to rush development of both melee and air, as you can use these for both. So do I think it will be a miss? So-so.

But the Reaper should be good as land units have always had trouble intercepting forces on lower levels unless they take a long walk via the nearest ramps. Though I think that to include both of these units would be a MISS, because both are potentially land units that can navigate cliffs - one by climbing, one by transforming. I'd go for the Reaper anyday.

While I'm here talking about the Terrans, I'll say that after 8 years I'm still not happy about the Terran Ghost. I know their development was the main feature in the original story, but I've just never felt comfortable with them, and I'd rather see the back of them in favour of a more expensive Special Ops unit or Covert Ops unit to call down missile strikes and do other stuff under cover of cloaking fields, like spying or planting bugs on blissfully ignorant enemy soldiers. Also, calling their calldowns 'nukes' is stupid because we all know that nuclear arms would cause much more damage than what they do in the game.

For the Zerg, there is relatively little new material, and sadly the formidable Ultralisk is planned on being phased out. What the Zerg do get are the kamikaze Banelings, which I'm afraid might be a miss. I have the distinct impression that this is purely to show off Blizzard's use of Havok Physics Engine. Again, more eye candy for commercial appeal than good gameplay. But on the other hand, it's something to do with our old worn out zerglings - send a dozen of these bouncing into the enemy camp kamikaze style for cluster-bomb type action. Might actually be fun :)

But the Succubus is a welcome addition to the Zerg camp as I've always felt that there should be more emphasis on infested units being seized by the infecting army. Definitely a HIT there.


So for better or worse, that's the big changes more or less wrapped up. :( :)


THE STORYLINE
-------------
The background : The Terran's lost their planet Chau Sara when the Protoss mercilessly cleansed it of all life after the Zerg infected it. The Terran Confederacy are the good guys, trying to fight for peace and safety, while the now dominant evil Dominion which don't always agree with the confederate policies want to wage war to destroy all alien races. So these two factions are often in conflict. The infested Kerrigan is the new Zerg ruler on the old Protoss planet of Char. The Zerg are generally strong, but don't have an Overmind because the Terrans destroyed it. The Protoss were forced by the Zerg infestation to retreat from their homeworld of Aiur to the Dark Templar homeworld of Shakarus, and cleansed that planet of Zerg by fusing the two crystals in the Temple. Meanwhile, Zeratul discovered hybrids on a moon where Samir Duran explained that his body was being used in the experiments, and noted that there are other mutants like him.


Well Blizzard are being tight-lipped on the whole thing. But the cancellation/holdback of "Starcraft: Ghost" may provide some insights into the storyline in SC2, particularly for the Terrans. But if I was designing this game...


Episode (I) This will be Jim Raynor's Terran campaign beginning on the Space Platform Braxis Alpha. Jim is tired of holding the fort against Zerg and Protoss attack fleets, and has the idea of going to Char in an attempt to retrieve Kerrigan to remove the Zerg command, knowing that this will significantly reduce the Zerg threat. He goes down to the planet Braxis to round up his chums and off they go. Mengsk will show up with his Dominion early on, hinder his good intentions, and persuade him to take out a major Zerg Hive while he's there. The Protoss will make an unusual appearance on Char that is not initially understood. After almost being wiped out in the battles on Char, Jim ends up being saved by the Dominion, and decides to work for them because the confederate forces are all but wiped out. They invite the Protoss to help in getting Kerrigan, and together, they succeed and kill a good few Zerg on the way. In return, the group of Protoss ask the Dominion for help as their spiritual retreat of Bel'Shir is being infested. The Dominion bluntly turns them down and slaughters the Protoss group and destroys their outpost. Jim later learns that the Dominion are responsible for the Zerg attacking Bel'Shir as they used their old trick of planting a Psi emitter there to lure the Zerg in.


Episode (II) The Protoss try their best to deal with their problems at Bel'Shir, but since the Terrans won't help, they call upon their creators the Xel'Naga to aid their survival because it's all getting a bit too hot under the collar for them. This requires building a psionic beacon in one of their temples on Bel'Shir. While out there battling the Zerg, they discover the Psi emitter, and knowing that the Terrans have used that trick before, suspect that they are responsible for using the device to lure in the Zerg, else it is some kind of twisted Protoss subversion. The Protoss orders a mission to Braxis Alpha to hack into their computer network and find evidence to support their theories, before action against the Terrans is taken prematurely. Meanwhile, with the Zerg threat reduced by the Terrans capture of Kerrigan, and with ongoing Terran efforts, the proud Protoss see an opportunity to retake their homeworld of Aiur from the Zerg. They succeed. The computer data has now been analysed and there is evidence in communication logs that the Psi emitter was planted by the Dominion. But rather than make a knee-jerk reaction, they hatch a careful plan. The Protoss greatest fear with the Terrans is what will they do with Kerrigan, as she is a dangerous tool. Rather than kidnapping her and then risking her being rescued, the Protoss now feel it is time for Kerrigan to be assasinated. Remember the hybrids that were found by Zeratul, developed in secret by the Protoss? The Protoss Judicator wants to see how their new hybrids perform in combat, and orders them to be used in the assasination of Kerrigan. A fleet is sent hidden under the cloaking field of a single Star Relic, and the hybrids and a group of Templar are transported into the Terran installation using their new Phase Prisms. The assasination goes ahead as planned, but only provokes the Dominion into a counter-attack. So the Protoss turn to bolster their defences against the Terran assault, and decide to launch their awesome Mothership to help defend their world, and hold off the Terran advance. It is so successful that the Protoss decide to take an offensive stance at the end of the battle, and push the Terran forces all the way back to Braxis and manage to completely destroy the Space Platform of Braxis Alpha using the Mothership's Planet Cracker weapon, as well as take a prisoner in the form of Mengsk. At the end of the campaign, the Xel'Naga arrive from their long voyage, and deal with the problem at Bel'Shir. But to the astonishment of the Protoss, the planet is mercilessly cleansed of all life - both the Zerg and the remaining Templar. They are reminded of their own actions against Chau Sara several years ago. The Xel'Naga are strangely ambivalent about the Protoss' problems, even though it was they who summoned them for help. :)

Episode (III) The Zerg in need of a new Overmind see an opportunity in the hybrids, and look towards assimilating them. It works, and with their combined collective conscious, psionic and bio-mutatable abilities they create a more powerful overmind than ever before. With that, they expand their hive clusters, develop new units, and launch major attacks against both races. With their new psionic powers they sense the psionic beacon that the Protoss built, and still remains alone in operation on Bel'Shir. Through the energies of this beacon they manage to find/sense the Xel'Naga's homeworld for themselves. The Xel'Naga tell the Terrans how they plan to purge their despicable creation from the galaxy, and ally themselves with the Terrans. The Zerg face an epic war against their creators in the game's finale.


The expansion pack will be "Starcraft 2: The Xel'Naga" (September 2008)

Episode (IV) Terran Campaign. After taking a beating, the Xel'Naga tell the Terrans how the Zerg know about their homeworld because some have begun infesting that now. The Xel'Naga are very afraid that the Zerg will destroy them. This will be the story of the Terran comeback, predominantly against the Zerg. In return for their help here the Terrans are requested to visit the Xel'Naga homeworld and help with the war effort there. After some success, the Xel'Naga tell the Dominion how they intend to purge the galaxy of the Protoss too. They say how they have in fact had wars with them in the distant past, and the Protoss are the reason why the Xel'Naga are not the powerful god-like race they once were. While the Terrans are there, their Ghosts discover that the Protoss have an outpost cloaked on Naga Prime, one of the planets three moons, and decide to attack that base also. Whilst there, they find Zeratul and a group of the Protoss Shelak are doing some kind of Khala research on the Xel'Naga. The Xel'Naga lends the Terrans design plans for one of their new attack units with psionic weapons, which the Terrans gladly incorporate into their force, and use in the destruction of the base. Many of the Shelak flee, but Zeratul is taken prisoner by the Terrans. The Dominion demands that the Protoss free Mengsk in return for Zeratul. The Protoss agree to the swap once the Terrans have returned home.

Episode (V) Protoss Campaign. As the Zerg are seen getting wasted by the recent Terran efforts, the Protoss have had some time to themselves. The researchers on Naga Prime have achieved new levels of Khala, and have gained some strange new abilities. The Protoss begin to worry that with the Xel'Naga's alliance with the evil Dominion, and with the Zerg's powerful new overmind, the Protoss come to see themselves as needing improvement of their own, so they take the strategic decision to form their own dark alliance with the Zerg to assist in conquering both the Terrans' evil Dominion, and the Xel'Naga who they now appear to work for. The Protoss themselves follow up the research with their genetic hybrids and with Zerg assistance, succeed in developing and refining the hybrid soldiers that will be trained to reach the new levels of Khala thanks to the work of the Shelak. Their hybrids prove to offer a significant threat against Terran forces when they eventually come to blows. The Protoss now launch a formidable attack against the Dominion and put a sizable dent in the Terran war machine. As the Xel'Naga join in the retaliation in the name of their alliance, the Protoss are forced into a defensive position. But they have two surprises up their sleeves: Firstly, during the battle, Mengsk begins to act psychotically and the Terrans are forced to gun his Battlecruiser down. It turns out that the guy that was sent back was not really Mengsk, but a hybrid that was mutated with Mengsk's own DNA to look like Mengsk. The secret mission of this hybrid was to infect the computers on the Xel'Naga ships with a virus which removes their shields during the battle. Secondly, the Protoss have an attack fleet waiting at the Xel'Naga homeworld under cover of Star Relics. The Terrans were too caught up in the excitement of discovering the base on Naga Prime to properly scan the area for the cloaked fleet. The Protoss having restored their rightfully arrogant strategic superiority, demand unconditional surrender from the Xel'Naga, force them to break off their alliance with the Terrans, and to return home where their planet will be impounded. The Xel'Naga reluctantly agree, and the Terrans return home. :D

Episode (VI) From the Zerg perspective, now that the Protoss and Terrans are not in all out war with one another, they anticipate that that they will now become the new target for both races. The hybrids developed by the Zerg are more characteristic of Zerg than Protoss, and allign themselves with the Zerg. They want to find a safe-haven on a remote planet, where they can settle to bolster their numbers and have their own home in this galaxy. Knowing that the Terrans will be trying to locate this world, the Zerg must develop the psionic cloaking technology that the Protoss originally used to cloak Aiur. Knowing that the Protoss will be tied up administrating Xel'Naga, they see an opportunity for a dangerous mission to the Protoss world to steal this cloaking technology. After Zerg are found operating on the Protoss planet, their fragile alliance crumbles, but they manage to get their hands on the cloak before they are chased away. The new Overmind, together with it's hybrid stepchildren go into hiding on their new world. The Terrans have heavily focused their attention on fighting the Zerg in this episode, while the Zerg see another opportunity to try infecting Xel'Naga now that the planet has been made impotent in the hands of the Protoss Judiciary. As the Zerg get an easy grip on Xel'Naga, the inhabitants abandon their home and flee in all directions, some seeking asylum on Protoss planets, some on Terran planets. The ensuing economic strains to both races detract from their military advantage, leaving the Zerg the real winners. Now everybody but the Xel'Naga have their own home, and there is no immediate threat from anyone. And as all races are damaged they can all now spend time tending to their wounds.
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christos
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Post by christos »

I hated Starcraft 1. I will hate 2 as well. C&C ftw!
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Post by Mug UK »

Can't stand *any* form of RTS .. bore me to tears.
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Post by Heavy Stylus »

Starcraft, pah! Now, Star Control - that's a quality game! :)
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Sarek
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Post by Sarek »

cant wait then, eh mug? :wink:

rts is actually is one of the few game genres I like. I can't stand fp shooters. :)
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Post by unseenmenace »

Waiting for UT3, Crysis and Speedball 2 myself
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