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Thread: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

  1. #1

    Default Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    At the moment, we don't know much about Heart of the Swarm beyond that it's the Zerg campaign and will feature Kerrigan as the main character. That said, given what we know about the overarching arc that's to be resolved in Legacy of the Void, the various subplots introduced in Wings of Liberty and the way the latter ended, we probably can make some educated guesses in terms of what themes and storylines will be explored in SC2 Episode 2 (or is it Starcraft Episode 8?).

    Firstly, I think the game will probably start some time after WoL (meaning, not immediately after) with Valerian and Raynor trying to figure out what exactly the Artifact did to Kerrigan and helping her recover from her time with the Zerg at a hidden Moebius research facility. Meanwhile, Arcturus if further vilifying Raynor by branding him a traitor to the race by having allied himself with Kerrigan and kidnapping Valerian (he would of course know what's going on). At the end of the first act, something happens that forces them to separate (e.g. Dominion forces attacking the facility); with Raynor and Valerian together and Kerrigan on her own (with perhaps a few returning characters from Raynor's Raiders); thereby effectively letting Kerrigan loose into the K-Sector and opening up her mission choices (assuming HotS features a similar mission structure to WoL).

    One thing I've seen people speculate is that HotS will have Kerrigan coming to terms with her past actions as the Queen of Blades and/or trying to atone for it. However, while that might be hard to translate into gameplay, I think a far easier subplot and one more directly relevant to the story would be Kerrigan coming to terms with her role in prophecy/cycle. Think about it; all her life, Kerrigan has always been a pawn in someone else's schemes - first the Confederates, then Mengsk, then the Overmind, then (while as the Queen of Blades) the Zerg programming, and now, Zeratul. She has never been in control of her own destiny.

    To up the stakes, I think it'd be cool if she was also being courted/manipulated by the Dark Voice as well (either directly or through an agent) to its own ends (e.g. set it free since we haven't actually seen the Dark Voice in the present, etc). This could either be a separate series of missions to Zeratul's with the two trying to manipulate her to their respective side, or combined as one series of missions with a branching choice at the end. This will end all ultimately end with Kerrigan making the 'wrong' decision of either siding with the Dark Voice or with her trying to choose her own path/make her own destiny, and with her only joining Zeratul at the middle to late part of LotV.

    On a somewhat related note, I suspect something will happen in HotS that will result in Zeratul being discredited. At the moment, whether personally liked or not, he is a respected figure in the Protoss community and whatever he says will likely be believed, taken into consideration and acted upon (though what exactly will probably be endlessly debated amongst the Hierarch). He would need to lose this status in order for the diplomacy system Blizzard currently plans to add into LotV to make sense. As for what it might be, it could be a cunnning plan orchestrated by the Dark Voice or something as simple as his involvement with Kerrigan being exposed prematurely to the Protoss leadership.


    Anyone else have anything to discuss/put forward/speculate?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    I'm calling it right now; HoT will see the beginning of Zeratul's downward decent into evil, slowly but inextricably driven over the edge by the combined guilt of Razagald's death, Kerrigan being untouchable and thus avoiding rightful retribution thanks to her role in saving the universe, traumatized for having witnessed the prophetic visions of the Overmind, and above all, by the harsh and ruthless necessities of uniting all protoss tribes at all cost, thus leading the way into the protoss expansion.

    His decent into evil would thus mirror Kerrigan's own redemption. Like Mr.Peasant suggested, corruption by the DV would help along the way.

    Wouldn't that be interesting?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    I think it's going be, for a lack of a better word, formulaic. The following is what I suspect HotS may turn out to be, minus any other revelations about the lore that will no doubt pop out and cause some to face-desk.

    Kerrigan now has the pretense to undergo some form of personal redemption through her missions by trying to discover more about the Hybrids and fighting them while trying to avoid/endure persecution from the Dominion along the way which may involve revolving her complicated relationship with Mengsk (choice based decision here?).

    It eventually culminates in Kerrigan winning a major battle against the Hybrids but to our shock and horror, her victory was something the DV planned all along and accounted for. Kerrigan becomes a dupe and is somehow converted into the DV's champion to throw a wrench into the "prophecy" and to turn the Overmind's "vision" on it's head. This lends itself into tragedy, because at the start she's really out to forge her destiny for the better only to be cast down and used again. This enables the potential "tease" for possible reinfestation or a return to Kerrigan's 'bitchy' attitude in the next installment to appease the classic QoB persona. This outcome also sets up the more overt threat of the DV in the present time (not in a 'vision') through a display of its might in it's ability to subvert the only one who can stand up to it. Zeratul will be discredited by this turn of events as it was his vision of the prophecy that started things off and his desire to save Kerrigan that will put him at odds with the rest of Protoss society. Last, it will provide some much needed darkness, urgency and momentum to the proceedings before the 'dawn' that is LotV. This ending would be a juxtaposition of the ending we had in WoL. In WoL we expected it be a 'sad' ending due to nature of SC universe being 'dark' only to have an uplifting end. In HotS we may expect a either a neutral or uplifting ending again only to have it end in darkness.

    Ugh, now that I've just written this, I hope HotS actually doesn't turn out like this. There's nothing quiet like the feeling of knowing in hindsight that you actually spoiled something yet to come out when you were just speculating at the time. Some call it meeting their expectations, I call it predictable.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


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  4. #4

    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    Kerrigan's guilt shouldn't be swept under the rug; regardless of what made her evil she was never a monster until she became the Queen of Blades. She is going to be filled with guilt for the crimes she committed, and that should definately play a part in the story. I honestly do think that if kerrigan fights duran he will try some mind trip to break her. Yes the independence should be adressed but her guilt should also be adressed

  5. #5

    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    I'm not sold about the idea of Valerian running off with Raynor's Raiders, under the guise of a kidnapping by the media. Valerian, up until the invasion of Char, has supposedly stayed behind the scenes. I say "supposedly" because we don't know for certain how much collaboration existed between him and his father through Tychus and Moebius foundation scheme.

    I could see HotS starting right where WoL left off. As Raynor carries Kerrigan away, a number of Dominion marines surround them, only to be picked off quickly by Tosh and the spectres. They get to the dropship, race to the Hyperion, and warp off before the Dominion ships can surround them.

    As much as I want to believe that Zeratul will face Kerrigan in person, I believe it may be through the crystal, and Raynor's experience with it, that will teach Kerrigan the importance of her existence as Queen of the Zerg. Kerrigan will find out about a Xel'Naga temple and will receive a vision of what she needs to do. Kerrigan will then travel to the remaining Zerg broods, held in control by the more-intelligent queens, and begin infesting herself more and more as she re-gains control of the Zerg. And I'm sure many of the queens or Zerg spirits she faces will test her, not just physically in battle, but mentally as well. To purify the Zerg from corruption of the Dark Voice, Kerrigan must also purify herself, facing all of her demons (so to speak).

    Combat:
    • Vs. Terran - Dominion & other human factions
    • Vs. Zerg - Defiant Zerg broods and/or those under Hybrid control.
    • Vs. Protoss - Shakuran/Aiurian Protoss & Tal'Darim
    • Vs. Hybrids


    Assuming the video we saw is correct, by the end we see Kerrigan as having recovered her former power and regained control over most, if not all, of the Zerg. (Spoiler) And Arcturus is dead, with Valerian likely assuming power. But this may or may not change.


    Then, in Legacy of the Void, we see Zeratul trying to restore unity amongst the various Protoss tribes and colonies to prepare for the final assault of the Hybrids.

    Combat:
    • Vs. Terran - Aggressive human factions not associated with the Dominion.
    • Vs. Zerg - Defiant Zerg broods and/or those under Hybrid control.
    • Vs. Protoss - Wayward Protoss tribes that need a little "respect" beaten into them
    • Vs. Hybrids - ...duh
    Last edited by Zero; 02-01-2011 at 04:26 PM.
    [CENTER]

  6. #6

    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    I don't believe this will happen, but I've had an idea.

    Given the failure of his Tychus gambit, and the sudden escalation of Raynor's activities against him, Mengsk decides that screw it, Raynor needs to die and has him assassinated. This leads Kerrigan down the path of vengeance, while Horner replaces Raynor as head of the rebellion, becoming far more successful than Raynor ever hoped to be, creating a nice parallel with how the Confederacy's assassination of Angus Mengsk created their worst enemy, and also fulfilling some of the foreshadowing about Horner eventually leading the Raiders.

    On the other hand, it's a blatant reuse of Raynor's story arc where he turns against Mengsk after he sacrifices Kerrigan, so it's pretty unoriginal.

    Anyway, I doubt Blizzard is willing to kill Raynor, so it was just a thought you people might find interesting.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    I'm not sold about the idea of Valerian running off with Raynor's Raiders, under the guise of a kidnapping by the media. Valerian, up until the invasion of Char, has supposedly stayed behind the scenes. I say "supposedly" because we don't know for certain how much collaboration existed between him and his father through Tychus and Moebius foundation scheme.
    We haven't really seen anything that suggests Valerian as being anything but on the level; in which case, his natural next course of action, based on his motivation (prove his worthiness by taking down the Queen of Blades), would be to confront his father (which would be anti-climactic in opening HotS) or to wait/go into hiding (because something didn't work out as planned or is delayed) until he is ready to do so. Even if he is ultimately in cahoots with Arcturus, the lack of foreshadowing means his current status/cover would continue to be maintained and he would act accordingly, unless the double cross happens right off the bat.

    As for Valerian supposedly being the type to stay behind the scenes, I disagree. He did so during the first half of WoL because Raynor would not have collected the Artifacts if he knew Valerian was his employer. But once he revealed himself, he always kept himself directly involved in the execution of his scheme - giving Raynor the location of the Artifact directly (as opposed to through a subordinate, such as Findlay, like he did before) and being present on Char despite serving no real purpose during the invasion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    I could see HotS starting right where WoL left off. As Raynor carries Kerrigan away, a number of Dominion marines surround them, only to be picked off quickly by Tosh and the spectres. They get to the dropship, race to the Hyperion, and warp off before the Dominion ships can surround them.
    That's a very, very unlikely scenario. Blizzard has repeatedly mentioned that they are unlikely to bring up events from the side missions in sequels so as not to undermine the players' choice during those missions (e.g. Tosh being dead, etc).

    A second problem with starting right after WoL is that Kerrigan looked really weak (not just psionically but physically as well) after being struck by the Artifact. It would seem rather odd for her to be running around doing missions a few hours or days later, especially with Raynor around and keeping an eye on her. Hence, a time delay of weeks to months between WoL and HotS would make more sense and give Kerrigan time to get back on her feet.

    Another problem with Raynor tagging along with Kerrigan is that his presence would steal some of the spotlight from Kerrigan in her game; receiving equal billing as her rather than being a minor character. Think back to how Raynor and Arcturus shared similar importance with Kerrigan during their missions in Brood War. Hence why, getting him out of the way early and instead having him interact with Kerrigan from a remote location would thus keep the focus more on Kerrigan.

    As for why keep Raynor and Valerian together, let's just say that due to their somewhat opposing personalities and approaches, I can't help but imagine them arguing with one another like an old married couple as they guide/give missions to Kerrigan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    As much as I want to believe that Zeratul will face Kerrigan in person, I believe it may be through the crystal, and Raynor's experience with it, that will teach Kerrigan the importance of her existence as Queen of the Zerg.
    I think this is the last we've seen of Zeratul's crystal. It's possible, of course, but I feel that using the same info-dumper in WoL for HotS would be somewhat lazy writing on Blizzard's part.

    Also, I strongly feel Zeratul needs to appear in SC2 (or at least the Protoss featured prominently) because it needs to be shown how he loses his standing in the Protoss community or why the Protoss community has fractured so seriously that they can't/won't readily work together against a common foe. When last seen, the Protoss presented a pretty united front, relations weren't so bad that they wouldn't be dropped in the presence of an imminent threat and Zeratul's warnings wouldn't be disregarded as paranoid ramblings. Failure to show it, with the player simply being told about it, would be pretty bad form and while Blizzard can often be accused 'telling rather than showing' with regards to their characters' backstories, they have always done a decent job in showing the plot unfold (even if awkwardly at times).

    In addition, some time should be spent developing the Dark Voice's forces. The seeds have been planted but nothing has really come to fruition just yet. It's yet to make an appearance (maybe Kerrigan might release him from his sleep?), it hasn't had any major victories at present and its forces don't feel like a major threat at the present. Showing this would help set a mood of urgency and/or hopelessness that the heroes would need to overcome in LotV. Compare this to SC1 and BW, as well as WC3 and TFT, where the player spent the middle episode playing the antagonists as they succeeded in a string of in order to establish that they are threats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    Assuming the video we saw is correct, by the end we see Kerrigan as having recovered her former power and regained control over most, if not all, of the Zerg.
    Hidden Content:
    And Arcturus is dead, with Valerian likely assuming power. But this may or may not change.
    *'hide' tag added to quotation because background colour reveals the content of the black font*

    While this is not ideally the place to discuss the authenticity of it, I think it is worth mentioning that the leaked video was dated early 2009, making it at the very latest made a year plus before the release of WoL; which might mean it might have originally been intended as the ending for WoL. This is further leant credence by how WoL was originally promoted to focus on Raynor's fight against the Dominion, which was at best a B-plot to the game compared to his relationship with Kerrigan. Also, the fact that it's unfinished (and looking like a rough draft) also means that it is far from being set in stone even if it was confirmed to be for HotS.
    Last edited by mr. peasant; 02-02-2011 at 02:16 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    Well, I've got my own theory as well, a bit non-sense, of course, but it's so interesting as hell:

    Kerrigan has been de-infested and the Raiders are on the run once more. Valerian and Warfield return to Korhal to confront their father, but, mysteriously, he forgives both of them. What they don't know, however, is that Mengsk has a plan to do what the UED and the Confederacy couldn't: The control of the Swarm for their benefits.

    On the Hyperion, Raynor faces off the vengeful Tal'Darim, in a pursuit for all the Protoss killed in WoL. There should be a series of Terran missions before the beginning of the true Zerg campaign, that should be done in a return to Haven (To save Hanson and her folks from a Zerg assault.), revealed to be orchestrated not by the Hybrid, but from Mengsk's greatest secret: Infested Nova.

    Therefore, the sacrifice will have to be made, much like to Raynor's distaste: Kerrigan will have to be infested once more in order to not allow Mengsk to control the Zerg and assure his rule once and for all. Still, Raynor will keep a close watch on her gradual ascension, which should be the focus of HotS. In the missions that follow, Kerrigan indeed discovers the importance of her role in the prophecy, not only being alive, but also in control of the Zerg.

    Later, it's eventually revealed a dark secret: That Mengsk collaborated with the Hybrids ever since the Guild Wars, due to their 'offering to help' in a personal matter (Which lore readers shouldn't find difficult to know which), and now they wish Mengsk to have control of the Zerg assured. Therefore, Raynor's quest for payback against the bastard suddenly becomes more than a personal matter. And, for Valerian, an opportunity...
    We should also see some sub-plots in the midst of the story, one which I'd like is a division between the Protoss loyal to Zeratul, who understands the prophecy is more important, and those loyal to Artanis/Selendis, who desire Kerrigan's death, infested or not, for all the genocide she committed in SC/BW. Another one is a grow up in Raynor/Hanson relationship and Kerrigan, as more as she becomes Queen of Blades once more, wanting Raynor to stop focusing on her and stick with Ariel, seeing she and Jim won't ever have a chance of staying together.

    So, the gaming conflicts, for the sake of the plot, should be:

    vs Terran:
    • Dominion forces loyal to Arcturus.
    • Several other factions, like the Kel-Morians and Umojans.
    • Tosh's forces (Might be briefly, if Tosh notices Kerrigan and Raynor are together and they plan to bring Mengsk down, like Tosh wants.)


    vs Zerg:
    • Broods out of leash.
    • Broods loyal to 'independent' Queens.
    • Broods loyal to Nova, who in turn is under Mengsk's charge.
    • Some unknown broods who're under the control of the Hybrids.


    vs Protoss:
    • Tal'Darim
    • Selendis' Fleet
    • Guardians of the Xel'Naga thingies (Artifacts/Temples) Kerrigan must visit.


    I'll post some suggestions for missions later.
    SC II - HOTS Coming Soon... What to expect? I don't know, I'm busy playing WoL.



    I failed a thousand-fold to many enemies, but won a hundred victories over the same enemy. Now he trembles in fear, knowing I am bettering at prevailing. Tremble, enemies of the Code. For I am Legionnaire and you are my enemy. Therefore, today, thou fall! - Imperator Davien Servolo III.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    What I think should happen

    It's established that the artifact pumped a great deal of xel'naga energy into Kerrigan's body, meaning that she has the potential to harvest both the energies of the zerg and the energies of the protoss. Narud reveals that he's one of the few xel'naga to survive the dark voice's betrayal (the dark voice lowered the defenses and sicked the zerg on the xel naga) and that he and a few others decided to create an individual who could lead the zerg away from destruction and out of the dark one's control. the artifact was meant to fulfil the purpose but they were forced to scatter it in several directions to keep it from being destroyed.

    It's decided that Kerrigan needs to become zerg again, albeit at a picemiel process

    several likely scenarios

    1.) Main (Kerrigan attacks the pawns of the Dark voice and regains control over the swarm step by step. As she becomes more zerg like her doubts become stronger and she is forced to face her lack of confidence and her guilt.

    2.) Investigating the hybrids: Zeratul asks her to check out the hybrids and weaken their progress

    3.) Learning about the effect of the artifact upon her and learning to cope with her power

    4.) Facing her guilt; while it might be difficult, it would be absurd to sweep it under the rug. she was never a monster till she became infested and she will be filled with guilt for all the lives she ruined or ended. the story will likely climax with a meeting with the soul of the overmind, gaining his powers, and then facing Duran in an epic battle. during the fight duran will try to break her for good by playing on her insecurities (maybe show her the scene where Jimmy swore to kill her) in order to get her to give up. Kerrigan's struggle allows her to finally forgive herself and realize that even though she can't undo the lives she ruined or ended, she can work to make amends and save the universe. after ripping duran a new one he tries to tell her that "you will always be alone" and kerrigan simply responds "Yeah. I think I'll be able to live with that."

    5.) Mengsk is finally overthrown

  10. #10
    Rezildur's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: Heart of the Swarm Discussion

    No more stuff with souls or ghosts, please. lol.

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