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Thread: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

  1. #1

    Default What do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    AFAIK, Kerry was originally intended to die after Episode I but the writers liked her so much they decided to bring her back as QoB. I feel like the Terran and Protoss characters were shoehorned into Episode II at the expense of the Zerg characters. The plot device of psychic dreams compelling Duke and Raynor to visit Char feels forced. The last two missions of Episode II feel disconnected from the previous missions, and Kerry never appears in Episode III while Raynor and Duke do, making me think that Episodes II and III were rewritten to include them. This contrasts Episode I, where the missions where Tassadar made a cameo were cut from the final campaign.

    A lot of StarCraft fiction feels like it emphasizes the Terrans as the expense of the alien characters. Aside from the games, there are only a few comics and short stories which focus on Zerg and Protoss characters. The novels always focus on Terran protagonists, including the novelization of Episode II (which gave Raynor psychic dreams so he could overhear Zerg briefings). There's no novelization of Episode III at all.

    How do you suppose Episode II would have been different without the cameos? What if time was taken to explore the Zerg characters on their own merits? What would be the overarching plot of Episode II, compared to the rebellion in Episode I and the war effort in Episode III? How would the missions be structured? Etc. At this point I would take inspiration from HotS if it would make for compelling Zerg characters, like Abathur or Dehaka.
    Last edited by Mislagnissa; 09-29-2017 at 09:59 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Not entirely sure if the sole reason they included Kerry was only just because they "liked her". I thought it was also because they had trouble breaking the story in regard to the Zerg given that the nature of the Zerg characters don't lend themselves well to a traditional narrative. Kerrigan added an element that allowed the Zerg narrative to rise, fall and have internal conflicts, whereas without her, the Zerg would just be observed as a consistent and efficient machine going through its processes, thus making a somewhat staid narrative to follow (not that I would necessarily mind, but others probably would).

    Kerrigan's role as plot device in the Sc1 narrative is also important in terms of the sequence of events that transpires. Without her and her incorporation into Swarm and the psionic calls that attracted everyone to Char, Tassadar may not have went to Char and Zeratul may not have had the support (if he was already on Char himself at the time) to destroy Zasz and given the Overmind the idea of a preemptive strike against Aiur. Even if the Overmind was able to garner the location of Aiur from Zeratul, would it necessarily still have attacked Aiur, as it did in the Sc1 we got, if it did not have confidence (which is represented as Kerrigan and, in its own opinion, its "determinant" that would decide the war in its favour) that it would win?

    Kerrigan also helps tie Episode I into the story. It gives us an answer as to "why are we having to go through this?", albeit a delayed one that plays off in Episode II. Like WoL, Rebel Yell helps set the scene for the universe but unlike WoL, it has more import plotwise to what happens later. One can easily play LotV without WoL or HotS as they have no bearing on each other. The only two major plot events in WoL and HotS of note are: the deinfestation of Kerrigan and the death of Mengsk respectively, but one can easily head straight into the Epilogue in LotV without really having to know those two plot bits to understand how they got where they are now.

    For Sc1, Episode III The Fall is a culmination of previous events such that we actually wouldn't have Episode III the way it starts out were it not for Episode I and II. I think this is one of the things that people potentially refer to when they say Sc2 lacks a feeling of consequence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    A lot of StarCraft fiction feels like it emphasizes the Terrans as the expense of the alien characters. Aside from the games, there are only a few comics and short stories which focus on Zerg and Protoss characters.
    The Terrans (and Raynor to be more specific) are our "in" for the fictional universe. Afterall, we relate and can write best about ourselves and other humans so of course, most of it is going to be filtered through that lens. It's why Protoss are only "alien" in theory because they're really just another variation of idealised human we see in all fantasy and sci-fi "aliens". The Zerg and their nature are the most "alien", which is why they're my favourite race lorewise.

    That being said, I do think that Sc2 has more of bent toward Terrans than compared to Sc1. I've belaboured the point for a long time now, and even before LotV released, that two-thirds of Sc2 was about Terran affairs (yes, I do include HotS) above all else. Because of the focus on Raynor and Kerrigan, LotV seems out of joint with what came before even though it's ostensibly (and ironically...) the reason why we even have a continuation of that story at all.
    Last edited by Turalyon; 09-29-2017 at 12:05 AM.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  3. #3

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    A lot of StarCraft fiction feels like it emphasizes the Terrans as the expense of the alien characters. Aside from the games, there are only a few comics and short stories which focus on Zerg and Protoss characters. The novels always focus on Terran protagonists, including the novelization of Episode II (which gave Raynor psychic dreams so he could overhear Zerg briefings). There's no novelization of Episode III at all.
    That's because as Blizzard sees it, it's virtually impossible to do it for the Zerg since they're nothing more than savage animals. It wasn't until Evolution that they tried to change this due to Kerrigan giving Zagara a choice for the swarm to trying something different if she wanted. I'm actually surprised you read the novelization of Episode II, I disliked that book....

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Not entirely sure if the sole reason they included Kerry was only just because they "liked her". I thought it was also because they had trouble breaking the story in regard to the Zerg given that the nature of the Zerg characters don't lend themselves well to a traditional narrative. Kerrigan added an element that allowed the Zerg narrative to rise, fall and have internal conflicts, whereas without her, the Zerg would just be observed as a consistent and efficient machine going through its processes, thus making a somewhat staid narrative to follow (not that I would necessarily mind, but others probably would).
    The biographies of the broods and their cerebrates suggests that Kerry was not necessary for this. Zasz/Garm is whiny and argumentative, Gorn/Baelrog is ravenous and bloodthirsty, Kagg/Surtur was destructive and reckless. The Baelrog brood is explicitly stated to be "without hesitation, mercy or self-consideration," implying other broods have these qualities. The Surtur brood is so dangerous to other Zerg that it is kept in reserve. You could replace Kerry with Gorn and/or Kagg and they'd make the same foolish mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Kerrigan's role as plot device in the Sc1 narrative is also important in terms of the sequence of events that transpires. Without her and her incorporation into Swarm and the psionic calls that attracted everyone to Char, Tassadar may not have went to Char and Zeratul may not have had the support (if he was already on Char himself at the time) to destroy Zasz and given the Overmind the idea of a preemptive strike against Aiur.
    The manual states that the Zerg invaded the Koprulu sector to assimilate Terran psychic potential. Less than one percent of Terrans are psychic according to ATLAS. Ergo, the Zerg invaded to abduct psychics for infestation and assimilation. That's why they were attracted to the psi-emitters the Confederacy deployed in an ill-fated attempt to lure to them to isolated locations for containment (which kick-started the Great War, as the Zerg were present in Koprulu since as early as 2487 AD according to the earliest novels). They could create several different breeds using psychic Terrans as the core genus, and one or more of these could produce the psychic beacon that lures the Protoss to the hive worlds.

    In fact, the Nerazim originally visited the Koprulu sector simply to test their mettle against the Zerg. Discovering that they could drive broods permanently insane by killing a cerebrate was probably an accident. In fact, I have difficulty visualizing how a dark templar would be able to kill a cerebrate that is many times larger than himself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Even if the Overmind was able to garner the location of Aiur from Zeratul,
    The Zerg were already aware of the location of Aiur because they obtained the knowledge from the Xel'naga. They spend millennia traveling across the galaxy, consuming every species between them and Aiur. The reason they did not attack was because the Protoss could warp reality at whim and the Zerg needed a countermeasure. The Zerg send out numerous deep space probes, one of which discovered Terrans. Other space probes were discovered at the edge of the Protoss Empire by the Khalai and Nerazim, which is what prompted them to investigate the Koprulu sector in the first place.

    Indeed, the Xel'naga kept detailed genetic histories of the species they manipulated. This was acquired by the Overmind. For whatever reason, the Overmind could not clone the species from scratch and had to infest and assimilate them. This makes any statements that Protoss are immune to infestation obvious as retcons, since the Zerg should be easily capable of sequencing their genome. It is more likely that infestation must be tailored to new species in advance, which explains why the Zerg spent a decade in the Koprulu sector before there were open hostilities.

    Nobody knew the Zerg were intelligent or had a goal at that point in time. Tass' conversation with Kerry makes no sense since it references events that never happened and information he could not possibly have, like meeting human Kerry or knowing what the Overmind and Cerebrates are.

    In the manual the Protoss were sure the Zerg were created by the Xel'naga, but not under what circumstances; in the game Zeratul's assurance that the Zerg were created by the Xel'naga implies that the Khalai were unsure. In the Zerg briefing screen we seen a purple crystal that is either a khaydarin crystal or an artificial substitute.

    There's a plot hole here, since some statements contradict one another. The manual is littered with inconsistencies:
    • Xel'naga used khaydarin to facilitate experiments, left crystals on Aiur (SCM 74)
    • Khaydarin crystals are found only on Aiur (SCM 85)
    • Overmind incorporated khaydarin energy; Zerg were not originally compatible (SCM 53)
    • Zerg probes processed khaydarin naturally; other species cannot and this indicates xel'naga manipulation (SCM 77)


    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    would it necessarily still have attacked Aiur, as it did in the Sc1 we got, if it did not have confidence (which is represented as Kerrigan and, in its own opinion, its "determinant" that would decide the war in its favour) that it would win?
    Again, the Zerg should have been abducting numerous psychics and creating armies of psychic Zerg. In the manual, the Zerg needed a weapon to compete with the Protoss and found humanity suitable. It did not matter if the Protoss could not counter resurrection when they could just exterminate the Zerg wholesale with their reality warping power.

    In the game, this is retconned into nonsense. The Zerg don't know where Aiur is, they invade the Koprulu sector for no apparent reason, they infest Kerry as a weapon they don't need, they learn where Aiur is and send an invasion fleet, they send Kerry to kill Dark Templar when they don't need her help at all, and despite making her out to be a superweapon they discard her when they invade Aiur.

    Furthermore, the attack on the Amerigo was completely pointless. When the Zerg invaded Tarsonis, they attacked the Ghost Academy there. They acquired the research data and infested the trainees, one of whom may have been Jim Raynor's son Johnny. That's a much better reason for Raynor to get involved and more convincing than an inexplicable romance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Kerrigan also helps tie Episode I into the story. It gives us an answer as to "why are we having to go through this?", albeit a delayed one that plays off in Episode II. Like WoL, Rebel Yell helps set the scene for the universe but unlike WoL, it has more import plotwise to what happens later.
    We should not have gone through it. The way Episode I is tied into the later story is badly written and could be cut without losing anything of value: the Terrans have no sensible reason to be involved and their presence is forced and artificial. Shoehorning cameos was pointless and wasted time that could be spent on the alien characters and setting up the plot. Kerry is probably the worst example. I'll quote the "UA Plays Starcraft" thread on spacebattles because he put it best:

    Quote Originally Posted by Unhappy Anchovy
    It leaves me thinking that Kerrigan was under-utilised, actually. The manual suggests that Kerrigan was somehow vital to the Overmind finding a way to counter the protoss' psionic abilities, and she's not. She doesn't even participate in the invasion of Aiur. All she actually did was bumble around recklessly. On top of this, there's really no narrative closure for her. She became a zerg, she hunted protoss on Char, but there's no real sense of her as an evolving character. She had an arc in the Terran campaign, but here she just acts totally unlike her Terran self, is useless, and then is left behind once the plot decides there are more important things to be getting on with. What was the point of the entire Kerrigan-gets-infested subplot? Her character is not used in an interesting way, as her personality change is not explored. She just becomes a one-note ranting villain. Its effect on other characters isn't really explored either. You'd think it would be pretty important to Raynor, but after this Raynor barely appears. He shows up a bit as a supporting character in the protoss campaign, but that's all.​
    I think the overarching problem is that the campaigns placed certain restrictions on themselves which resulted in the stories going in illogical directions. Off the top of my head, each campaign must be from the POV of one race; this forced the Terran characters to reappear in later campaigns, rather than have a separate campaign about them which takes place in the same time period. For example, while the Zerg were twiddling their thumbs on Char, Raynor could have been fighting Mengsk a la WoL. Furthermore, each campaign must have skirmishes against all three races; in the case of Protoss vs Protoss and Zerg vs Zerg, the conflicts were poorly setup. Compare this to Insurrection, which spent an entire campaign on setting up the cameos, intra-alien conflicts, and inter-racial alliances.

    Let's pretend that the Zerg campaign focused on the plot set up in the manual about the Zerg assimilating Terran psychic potential in general. Let's pretend Raynor went off to fight the Dominion in logical continuation of his arc. Let's pretend that we are not limited to three campaigns that must occur in linear order, but an arbitrary number of campaigns which may occur concurrently or otherwise non-linearly.

    How would Episode II have been different? What would missions have focused on instead of "protect the chrysalis" or "runs errands for Kerry"? What other Zerg characters could have been introduced and what could they have done to inject drama and pathos?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Let's pretend that the Zerg campaign focused on the plot set up in the manual about the Zerg assimilating Terran psychic potential in general. Let's pretend Raynor went off to fight the Dominion in logical continuation of his arc. Let's pretend that we are not limited to three campaigns that must occur in linear order, but an arbitrary number of campaigns which may occur concurrently or otherwise non-linearly.

    How would Episode II have been different? What would missions have focused on instead of "protect the chrysalis" or "runs errands for Kerry"? What other Zerg characters could have been introduced and what could they have done to inject drama and pathos?
    If you still wanted the Zerg assimilating terran psychic potential in general I really don't think the Dominion could have lasted very long under Mengsk. If you read the SC Ghost Nova book, this was exactly the reason why the Confederacy was so desperate to get Nova to become a ghost operative, as the war against the zerg was taking its toll and they needed special agents (they didn't know the swarm was after terran psychic potential).

    Of course, if you want the swarm simply to assimilate terran psychic potential, then you'll want to explain what happens when they get enough. I'm not sure if this was explain in the SC1 lore, but it seemed even by then they were trying to imply that terran essence simply didn't work for swarm evolution.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Haven't had a decent wall-o-text in a long time....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The biographies of the broods and their cerebrates suggests that Kerry was not necessary for this.
    Perhaps, in a Doyalist/out-of-universe way, but this would be inconsistent with the Watsonian/in-universe reason of the Overmind stating that "the greatness of her spirit has been left to her" and "that the Swarms may benefit from her fierce example". Clearly, the Overmind thinks the Swarm was lacking something until if found it in Kerrigan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Zasz[/URL]/Garm is whiny and argumentative
    Keep in mind that this is only apparent when it is in regard to Kerrigan specifically. She represents a purposefully introduced chaotic element into what was previously, a uniformly ordered Zerg.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Gorn/Baelrog is ravenous and bloodthirsty, Kagg/Surtur was destructive and reckless. The Baelrog brood is explicitly stated to be "without hesitation, mercy or self-consideration," implying other broods have these qualities. The Surtur brood is so dangerous to other Zerg that it is kept in reserve. You could replace Kerry with Gorn and/or Kagg and they'd make the same foolish mistakes.
    Kerrigan is different from Gorn and Kagg because she chooses to be this way, not programmed to fulfill a specific role. Her greater autonomy and sense of selfishness/individualism is a perspective the Overmind does not get with its cerebrates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    They could create several different breeds using psychic Terrans as the core genus, and one or more of these could produce the psychic beacon that lures the Protoss to the hive worlds.
    They definitely could but the narrative conceit (for better or worse, depending on whichever you're inclined to) to using Kerrigan as the psychic beacon is more... palatable, I suppose, for lack of a better word. On one hand, sure, it's "way so convenient and coincidental" that it happens to involve the very same characters that we had been previously following. On the other, it's much more pedestrian, unpoetic/unmeaningful and expository/mechanical for the sake of plot progression to just have some other random Terran the Overmind happened to find off screen right after Rebel Yell in order to motivate its later attack on Aiur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Discovering that they could drive broods permanently insane by killing a cerebrate was probably an accident. In fact, I have difficulty visualizing how a dark templar would be able to kill a cerebrate that is many times larger than himself.
    Well, a Dark Templar killing a cerebrate is not that difficult to visualise when compared to what Tassadar eventually did against the Overmind, right? They used "energies" (the Void, aka: Space Magic ) that were much like the Overmind to harm it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The Zerg were already aware of the location of Aiur because they obtained the knowledge from the Xel'naga.
    I'm by no means an expert but precisely navigating and finding a specific location, that is not always in the same point due to stellar drift, across the entire galaxy without expecting some miscalculation and random variance to such calculations would be more difficult than just knowing the area and direction of where the Protoss are generally. Also, if the Overmind knew exactly where Aiur was, it wouldn't have mentioned that it had located it, that it was "secret" nor that "our searching is done".

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The reason they did not attack was because the Protoss could warp reality at whim and the Zerg needed a countermeasure.
    It was because the Overmind thought it needed a countermeasure. It feared the Protoss and was almost in despair until it found Kerrigan. It then had nothing to fear once it found what it was looking for. The game then also reveals the Overmind didn't exactly know where the Protoss homeworld was, either (as mentioned in my reply just above).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    This makes any statements that Protoss are immune to infestation obvious as retcons
    There's always been some confusion about whether infestation and assimilation are the same thing or whether the former requires the latter. My head canon has always thought of those two processes being largely mutually exclusive and that either state is not dependent on the other. In that way, I can fathom why Protoss can be immune to infestation (even though it may seem like a retcon) but not assimilation. It is a definite retcon to say the Protoss cannot be assimilated since it completely undermines the whole raison d'être behind the concept of the Overmind/Zerg and illegitimises everything that we have ever seen from the Zerg POV up to that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Nobody knew the Zerg were intelligent or had a goal at that point in time. Tass' conversation with Kerry makes no sense since it references events that never happened and information he could not possibly have, like meeting human Kerry or knowing what the Overmind and Cerebrates are.
    Incorrect. The Protoss knew the Zerg had some malevolent intelligence when it first intercepted the biological probes the Overmind sent out to spy on the Terrans before the events of Sc1 began. They could've done more studies and found out more about, we just weren't informed about it. For the Terrans, the Confederates knew enough about the Zerg to know that they were attracted to psionic emanations. As to Tass referring to meeting Kerry before, I know that it most likely referred to a cut mission but it could also be easily applied to their encounter at New Gettysburg, where their "meeting" is a euphemism for "engaging in combat" and that though she was fighting the Protoss and not the Zerg at the time, she was doing so "selflessly" and with the ultimate intent of "defending humanity from the Zerg" (as she said in New Gettysburg, "Once we've dealt with the Protoss, we can do something about the Zerg".)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    There's a plot hole here, since some statements contradict one another. The manual is littered with inconsistencies:
    Xel'naga used khaydarin to facilitate experiments, left crystals on Aiur (SCM 74)
    Khaydarin crystals are found only on Aiur (SCM 85)
    What contradiction are you referring to here? That the Xel'Naga left the Crystals on Aiur takes precedence and is of most important because this implies that Khaydarin did not originate from and only on Aiur, but were introduced into it by the Xel'Naga. This does not refute the later statement that Khaydarin crystals are found only on Aiur in any way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Overmind incorporated khaydarin energy; Zerg were not originally compatible (SCM 53)
    Zerg probes processed khaydarin naturally; other species cannot and this indicates xel'naga manipulation (SCM 77)
    I see no inconsistency as there is a sequence of events. At first the Zerg were not attuned to Khaydarin, until the Overmind took it from the Xel'Naga and incorporated the energies into its own. The probes that the Protoss find much later are the consequence of the Overmind having incorporated the attraction of Khaydarin wayback on Zerus. That the Protoss have found no other lifeform that reacts to Khaydarin, like they do and that they know their history about Khaydarin being originally from the Xel'Naga, it is not a big leap for them to surmise the Zerg perhaps, also have something to do with Xel'Naga as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Again, the Zerg should have been abducting numerous psychics and creating armies of psychic Zerg. In the manual, the Zerg needed a weapon to compete with the Protoss and found humanity suitable. It did not matter if the Protoss could not counter resurrection when they could just exterminate the Zerg wholesale with their reality warping power.
    That it feared and was almost in despair about the "Protoss problem" seems more like a subjective need rather than an objective one. In other words, all the Overmind wanted (not really needed as such) was a "safety blanket". It got one in Kerrigan, and henceforth, it became supremely confident in anything it ever did from then on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The Zerg don't know where Aiur is, they invade the Koprulu sector for no apparent reason
    The Overmind is making preparations to fight the Protoss proper, so it invades the Terran named Koprulu Sector to see if it can find a psionic to incorporate into the Swarm thinking that this is what will tip the balance in its favour before they meet in battle proper. The Zerg are not actually engaging in open warfare with the Protoss the whole time because it's only attacking Terran territories. The Protoss are just noticing these encroachments and responding in their own accord.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    they infest Kerry as a weapon they don't need, they learn where Aiur is and send an invasion fleet, they send Kerry to kill Dark Templar when they don't need her help at all, and despite making her out to be a superweapon they discard her when they invade Aiur.
    I totally get this and agree from a Doyalist POV since as a narrative, the plotting doesn't seem to make much sense. There is a Watsonian explanation for it though. The Overmind doesn't really objectively need Kerrigan to literally defeat the Protoss entirely, it just subjectively thinks it does. Really, the capture of Kerrigan is to soothe its own insecurity and to give it the confidence to finally engage the Protoss proper. The suggestion that Kerrigan is not being utilised against the Zerg is false, because she, being the most powerful agent of the Swarm is tasked to combat the only real physical threat to the Overmind has and that Aiur has none of these threats (as the Overmind says "all of his secrets were made known to me"). The Overmind thinks it's in an unassailable position when it goes to invade Aiur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    We should not have gone through it. The way Episode I is tied into the later story is badly written and could be cut without losing anything of value: the Terrans have no sensible reason to be involved and their presence is forced and artificial. Shoehorning cameos was pointless and wasted time that could be spent on the alien characters and setting up the plot. Kerry is probably the worst example. I'll quote the "UA Plays Starcraft" thread on spacebattles because he put it best:
    I disagree. Like it or not, the premise is about these three races so it's important to have the perspective of the Terrans even though they are "outside" of the rivalry between Zerg and Protoss. The whole idea is that the Terrans are supposed to be doing there own thing and then just get caught up in this mess. It's great, because although it's an obvious conceit to make the Terrans an inlet and surrogate for the audience member to engage into the universe, the initial concept of the Terrans allows this to happen in the firstplace. Otherwise, you might as well say Starcraft should only be about Zerg and Protoss, right?

    The campaigns are still largely about the race they're ostensibly about and the human characters don't "stick out" or get in the way at all. Episode II is titled Overmind where the one and only truly important character of the Zerg is certainly given its limelight, Kerrigan's inclusion notwithstanding. Episode III is about Protoss and the main focus is on them and the vagaries of their cultural identity; Raynor just happens to be along for the ride as well. You're overstating the supposed "detriment" the inclusion of Terran characters have in the Sc1 Zerg and Protoss campaigns. I mean, really, with this mindset you might as well be giving praise to Episode I for not including any Zerg or Protoss characters whatsoever... right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    I'll quote the "UA Plays Starcraft" thread on spacebattles because he put it best
    I actually do agree with that in terms of the narrative structure and plotting that is Episode II. We're kinda misled into thinking she's this all important thing because the campaign is largely taken up with protecting her, but then she isn't or is summarily ignored at the end and it seems likes it was poorly conceived/written. When I look back on it though and compare this to how BW and then SC2 go on to then make certain single characters into untouchable, god-like beings with insane and improbable significance, I find that the ignoring of Kerrigan in Episode II was a hidden positive because a) it denotes that she really isn't that important as she should be afterall and b) that the focus on Kerrigan was a subtle (but unintended most likely) way to shed light without outright bludgeoning us over the head (like they tried to do with Amon) that the Overmind was, like most god-like beings turn out to be, just an insecure being who became overconfident when it found what it wanted/sought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Off the top of my head, each campaign must be from the POV of one race; this forced the Terran characters to reappear in later campaigns, rather than have a separate campaign about them which takes place in the same time period. For example, while the Zerg were twiddling their thumbs on Char, Raynor could have been fighting Mengsk a la WoL. Furthermore, each campaign must have skirmishes against all three races; in the case of Protoss vs Protoss and Zerg vs Zerg, the conflicts were poorly setup. Compare this to Insurrection, which spent an entire campaign on setting up the cameos, intra-alien conflicts, and inter-racial alliances
    Not really. Episode I didn't force Protoss or Zerg characters to appear in that story (indeed they were removed as that secret mission where Tass and Kerry had actually met attests). The Terran characters in the other episodes aren't that intrusive but they do help in giving a sense of continuity and that things are progressing along for everyone. The only forced and contrived coincidence is that the Overmind happened to find Kerrigan and induct her specifically as its champion, but if that was a problem, we might as well disavow any fiction with a twist ever made forevermore! That Raynor appears later is just a mere consequence of that random chance of fate.

    Not sure what you mean by how PvP and ZvZ were poorly setup. The PvP in the campaign is to highlight the unrest that is part of their collective racial history. The ZvZ (of which there is only one instance) was to show the ramifications of what harm the Protoss can do to the Swarm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    What other Zerg characters could have been introduced and what could they have done to inject drama and pathos?
    Zerg and drama/pathos are sort of incompatible since the former are inhuman, unconflicted and unified (in a way unlike the other two races), whilst the latter is a quality that only humans (or human-like in the case of Protoss) possess. I think that's why Terran characters were introduced into Episode II because, on the flipside, one could just as easily say that giving drama/pathos to the Zerg in this way is just as forced and as unnatural as you say that introducing Terran characters into the Zerg to create drama/pathos is. Cuts both ways I'm afraid.
    Last edited by Turalyon; 09-30-2017 at 04:32 AM.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  7. #7

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Tura, I get where you're coming from. You still haven't answered my question: without Kerry Sue, what would the plot of Episode II look like? See, I am trying to structure a campaign and I am having trouble thinking what the mission objectives would be.

    I think the canon plot is poorly plotted. Focusing on a small cast of recurring characters is precisely the problem. It is unrealistic, particularly in a space opera setting set during a war spanning across dozens or hundreds of inhabited planets. I feel that the SC1 plot would have been better if it was not linearly plotted and did not force cameos. Instead of trying to force these plot threads together, they should shine in separate campaigns.

    What follows are my thoughts on Terrans and Zerg, respectively. If you want to know more about how I think the three races plots could be improved, I suggest reading Enumerate, which has all the best ideas before I did.

    Terrans
    After Rebel Yell, we should segue immediately into a variation of WoL which occurs during the Great War where the Terrans are trying to deal with the Zerg left behind to lazily exterminate them while Raynor and other rebels fight the Dominion with the secret support of the Umojans. All the Terran governments have become clients of the Dominion but the Umojans are secretly trying to undermine Arcturus. They acquire the Confederate research on Zerg from the Dominion in order to develop strategies against the Zerg. However, they also want to weaponize the Zerg to discredit the Dominion, taking over the role of the UED (who I felt were an obvious retcon, unnecessary, and unsung heroes). Heck, DuGalle and Stukov could be easily tweaked to Umojans without any other changes and still be considered heroes. (The preceding paragraph is a paraphrase of the plot points explained in Enumerate, natch.)

    Zerg
    I think that the Zerg characters circa SC1 could be fleshed out a la the Zerg characters circa SC2. I am going to quote UA Plays Starcraft again:
    Quote Originally Posted by Unhappy Anchovy
    A few general thoughts on the zerg backstory: it's really interesting how they set this up so that the zerg swarm contains actual characters. It's obvious to compare the zerg to the Tyranids of Warhammer 40,000, or the titular aliens of the Alien franchise, or perhaps the Bugs of Starship Troopers or whatever else you like. The bug race is a science fiction cliché. What the zerg add is a whole layer of sapient individuals who, while genetically bound together, have personalities, friendships, rivalries, and even internal politics. For me, the characters are what make the zerg stand out and make them memorable.​
    While Raynor fights Mengsk, the Zerg campaign gets to shine a light on the intelligent strains and give them neat alien personalities a la Abathur and Dehaka in SC2. You might think that clashes with the Zerg being a horde of alien locusts, but I say that having those things is the only thing distinguishing them from all the other locust hordes in fiction. Without Kerrigan stealing the spotlight, the cerebrates, broodmothers (lets add them to take that accomplishment away from Kerry Sue), overlords/overseers, queens and other intelligent strains have time to shine. You could easily insert Abathur as an entire breed of genetic engineers subservient to the Cerebrates. When the Overmind dies, we then have a setup for more compelling, not easily solved Brood Wars. During the Brood Wars, you could add the Primal Zerg as a mutation of the feral Zerg on Aiur and introduce Dehaka as a severely mutated cerebrate who managed to survive.

    Kerry Sue
    I hate Kerry Sue's character and think she is better off either dead or subordinate to the cerebrate protagonist. Her personality is inconsistent, she undergoes no real character development, she is a textbook Mary Sue, etc. She constantly develops new capabilities and powers as demanded by the plot (e.g. hailed as Zerg messiah, being mean to Zasz, betraying the Swarm, controlling billions of Zerg despite not being a giant brain, creating brood mothers, respawning after death, etc). The writers literally call her a demigoddess in one of the Q&As.

    Kerry Sue was only ever necessary so that her psychic genes could be spliced into the new psychic Zerg warrior beasts, and even then she's supplemental to the genes of the trainees captured when the Ghost Academy on Tarsonis was infested (as well as the millions of other psychics the Zerg abducted). But if Kerry Sue really is so important to keep as a character, we can kill her and clone her a la Alien Resurrection. She doesn't have a consistent personality (every work in which she appears has a different one), so it's easier to just have multiple clones running around doing their own thing like loosely preserving her human personality, bland supervillains, revenge-driven rage machines, etc. SC2 made her respawn at the hatchery after death, so clones are not a stretch. (Speaking of which, that sets a precedent for any Zerg to be resurrected without needing the Overmind specifically.)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    While Raynor fights Mengsk, the Zerg campaign gets to shine a light on the intelligent strains and give them neat alien personalities a la Abathur and Dehaka in SC2. You might think that clashes with the Zerg being a horde of alien locusts, but I say that having those things is the only thing distinguishing them from all the other locust hordes in fiction. Without Kerrigan stealing the spotlight, the cerebrates, broodmothers (lets add them to take that accomplishment away from Kerry Sue), overlords/overseers, queens and other intelligent strains have time to shine. You could easily insert Abathur as an entire breed of genetic engineers subservient to the Cerebrates. When the Overmind dies, we then have a setup for more compelling, not easily solved Brood Wars. During the Brood Wars, you could add the Primal Zerg as a mutation of the feral Zerg on Aiur and introduce Dehaka as a severely mutated cerebrate who managed to survive.
    Again with the whole Mary Sue matter. This was an attempt to try to show the zerg as something more than just savage animals, if only she acted better than all that, certainly in HotS's case.

    I'm surprised they called her a demigoddess in one of the Q and As (but then it's been a while since I looked there). The writers simply didn't know how to put a limit on her, so the only way was to remove her from the story after LotV, which wasn't necessary. All that was needed was for Ouros to drain her, allowing him to kill Amon instead, and her death can be considered enough of a sacrifice.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    You still haven't answered my question: without Kerry Sue, what would the plot of Episode II look like?
    Umm... there's a great deal of latitude in answering that question because it can run from the extremes of the plot being exactly the same but all references to Episode I, past interactions of characters (real or imagined - as in the case of Tassadar "meeting" Kerrigan before) and exchange it with random Terrans, to it being totally and completely different from/original from/unlike the Episode II we did get. I don't really have a preference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    See, I am trying to structure a campaign and I am having trouble thinking what the mission objectives would be.
    Well, you said you wanted to focus on the Overmind making good on it obtaining the psionic potential and making an army out of them. That should be easy in terms of making up objectives. You could start with the actual finding and obtaining of this psionic and then go on from there. You could have different Zerg cerebrates commenting on the specimen and what their thoughts, based on their defined function/role in the Swarm, on it and its development are and what the changes to be brought about due to its induction into the Swarm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    I think the canon plot is poorly plotted. Focusing on a small cast of recurring characters is precisely the problem. It is unrealistic, particularly in a space opera setting set during a war spanning across dozens or hundreds of inhabited planets. I feel that the SC1 plot would have been better if it was not linearly plotted and did not force cameos. Instead of trying to force these plot threads together, they should shine in separate campaigns.
    To each their own. The Sc1 plot does well enough to telegraph the feeling/motivations of each race in an economical way (10 missions only for each!) and weave a narrative that connects those races. I feel the named characters in Sc1 are more important in terms of the ideology and the spirit of the race they represent than what they are as individuals. They don't feel like they have plot armour and could die at any time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    After Rebel Yell, we should segue immediately into a variation of WoL which occurs during the Great War where the Terrans are trying to deal with the Zerg left behind to lazily exterminate them while Raynor and other rebels fight the Dominion with the secret support of the Umojans. All the Terran governments have become clients of the Dominion but the Umojans are secretly trying to undermine Arcturus. They acquire the Confederate research on Zerg from the Dominion in order to develop strategies against the Zerg. However, they also want to weaponize the Zerg to discredit the Dominion, taking over the role of the UED (who I felt were an obvious retcon, unnecessary, and unsung heroes). Heck, DuGalle and Stukov could be easily tweaked to Umojans without any other changes and still be considered heroes. (The preceding paragraph is a paraphrase of the plot points explained in Enumerate, natch.)
    This is fine and dandy for widening the universe and I'm all for it, but if we're talking to limiting our scope to Sc1 only, all this stuff doesn't really shed any more light on the behaviour of Terrans (that they are opportunistic and play themselves against each other) than we got in the Episode I we have already and it delays us from us focusing on the other races.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    I think that the Zerg characters circa SC1 could be fleshed out a la the Zerg characters circa SC2.
    Much as l like Abathur and how he feels like what a quintessential Zerg character should be like, he and Dehaka (especially Dehaka) are really nothing more than just "hats". Gimmicks. Quirky alien personalities for the sake of alien personalities. Zagara shows some development as a character but only the expected amount from the broad archetype that she is (a rash wannabe who learns to be better).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Without Kerrigan stealing the spotlight, the cerebrates, broodmothers (lets add them to take that accomplishment away from Kerry Sue), overlords/overseers, queens and other intelligent strains have time to shine. You could easily insert Abathur as an entire breed of genetic engineers subservient to the Cerebrates. When the Overmind dies, we then have a setup for more compelling, not easily solved Brood Wars. During the Brood Wars, you could add the Primal Zerg as a mutation of the feral Zerg on Aiur and introduce Dehaka as a severely mutated cerebrate who managed to survive.
    I love these ideas (the Primal Zerg being a mutation of feral Zerg has been my own preferred alternative fanon take as well) but they work best in BW. This sort of stuff should've been the focus of Zerg in BW. That said, it would be hard to show this in Sc1/Episode II because the Zerg under the Overmind are efficient, unified and ordered so well that the idea of conflict within the Swarm then would seem more like a manfactured plot device out of nowhere. Sure, Kerrigan too, is a plot device and promoted internal conflict in the Episode II we did get, but at least it was more justified in that the Overmind wanted to introduce this element (in that the personality came with the psionic potential) specifically in the hopes it would better the Swarm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Her personality is inconsistent, she undergoes no real character development,
    The difference in Kerrigan's personality within Sc1 is quite interesting. I like to think that the personality that we see in Infested Kerrigan is the true Kerrigan, and that the coy, naive and in-denial human Kerrigan in Episode I is the "inconsistent"/mask personality she likes to think she is in order to hide her dark nature. I mean, afterall, is it even remotely realistic that an actual honest, good-natured, lovable girl would continue to work willingly of her own free will as a frickin' assassin of all things? No, of course not! Only those of a certain mind and with latent sociopathy would do this...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    she is a textbook Mary Sue, etc. She constantly develops new capabilities and powers as demanded by the plot (e.g. hailed as Zerg messiah, being mean to Zasz, betraying the Swarm, controlling billions of Zerg despite not being a giant brain, creating brood mothers, respawning after death, etc). The writers literally call her a demigoddess in one of the Q&As.
    Most of what you refer to only happens in BW and Sc2. Also, some of your examples (I didn't know whether "betraying the Zerg" and "being mean to Zasz" constitutes as being capability or power that defined her as a Mary Sue) are a bit odd. She's Sue-ish because everything goes her way or as she "planned" despite her plans not being very complex/smart and relying on characters making dumb decisions that always ultimately end up benefiting her regardless.

    Infested Kerrigan's not actually Sue-ish in Sc1 since she is unwise (gets tricked by Tassadar), unheeding of others advice leading to a detriment (in the loss of Zasz) to her new cause and she ultimately fails in the task assigned to her (killing the DT)... with this failure being the reason for how the Overmind is eventually defeated. What's interesting it is that the Overmind itself treats her like a Sue in that it believes she's the answer to the Protoss problem it faces. This is an illuminating aspect of the Overmind itself in that it a) highlights hubris as its weakness and b) that the search for psionic potential is ironically the cause for its downfall and not its victory!
    Last edited by Turalyon; 10-03-2017 at 07:15 AM.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  10. #10

    Default Re: Why do you suppose Episode II would have been like without Kerry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    This is fine and dandy for widening the universe and I'm all for it, but if we're talking to limiting our scope to Sc1 only, all this stuff doesn't really shed any more light on the behaviour of Terrans (that they are opportunistic and play themselves against each other) than we got in the Episode I we have already and it delays us from us focusing on the other races.
    You don't have to play the expanded universe campaigns in order, particularly since they take place non-linearly. The general idea is that the Great War is structured into a set of time periods and theaters, with any number of campaigns showing the nitty gritty details. While Raynor is fighting the Dominion, the Umojans are (still) fighting the Zerg, the Zerg are experimenting with Terran psychics on the hive worlds, the Khalai fleet is returning to Aiur for court martial, and the Dark Templar adventurers are testing their mettle against small groups of Zerg.

    Of course exploring all these different things going on throughout time and space would take many campaigns that would involve a lot of play time or skipping through the campaigns you aren't interested in. This is how real wars work, after all. Did you find history books hard to follow because events happened to multiple countries at the same time? of course not!

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I love these ideas (the Primal Zerg being a mutation of feral Zerg has been my own preferred alternative fanon take as well) but they work best in BW. This sort of stuff should've been the focus of Zerg in BW. That said, it would be hard to show this in Sc1/Episode II because the Zerg under the Overmind are efficient, unified and ordered so well that the idea of conflict within the Swarm then would seem more like a manfactured plot device out of nowhere. Sure, Kerrigan too, is a plot device and promoted internal conflict in the Episode II we did get, but at least it was more justified in that the Overmind wanted to introduce this element (in that the personality came with the psionic potential) specifically in the hopes it would better the Swarm.
    Without personalities, the Zerg are boring. Why do you think the only memorable parts of Episode II are the Overmind and Kerry? Why do you think Abathur and Dehaka are the only memorable parts of HotS? Why do you think the Zerg were constantly shat upon and twisted into Kerry's mindless slaves over the course of the series?

    Lots of Terran and Protoss stories focus on the individual foot soldiers, their personalities, friendships and dooms. This makes them relate-able and sympathetic. The only equivalent the Zerg have are the overlords and queens and infestors, who are canonically intelligent as humans and semi-canonically capable of forming whatever passes for sentences among Zerg. Retribution's Zerg campaign features an overlord announcer without voice acting, while SC2 "For the Swarm" challenge mission features a queen narrating the objectives with voice acting.

    Why couldn't the Overmind do the same as it did with Kerry with the existing intelligent Zerg? The purpose of the Overmind is to prevent the Zerg from ever having civil war, not suppressing individual personalities. Zerg could compete with one another to determine which strategies are more efficient, or simply for the fun of it. There could be numerous friendly or vicious rivalries that would erupt into open violence without the calming influence of the Overmind. The original manual even explains Gorn and Kagg as being vicious bloodthirsty monsters feared even by other Zerg, which could certainly be explored here (regardless of what you said about doylist vs watson). That's the reason why the alternate Brood War involves cerebrates attacking each other rather than being unified as they were in canon: without the Overmind to unify their egos, the Zerg will enter their own equivalent of the Aeon of Strife.

    Numerous custom campaigns even before SC2 featured intelligent rank-and-file Zerg. While I find the concept of an intelligent warrior beast like an ultralisk or hydralisk to be absurd and unnecessary, I think it does work fine for the commanders (queens, overlords, infestors, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    The difference in Kerrigan's personality within Sc1 is quite interesting. I like to think that the personality that we see in Infested Kerrigan is the true Kerrigan, and that the coy, naive and in-denial human Kerrigan in Episode I is the "inconsistent"/mask personality she likes to think she is in order to hide her dark nature. I mean, afterall, is it even remotely realistic that an actual honest, good-natured, lovable girl would continue to work willingly of her own free will as a frickin' assassin of all things? No, of course not! Only those of a certain mind and with latent sociopathy would do this...
    The original manual biography certainly foreshadowed something like this, what with her being afraid of embracing her darker nature. SC2 said she was an inherently good person or something, at least by Blizzard standards where Adolf Hitler is considered equivalent to Jesus Christ.

    However, you could say the same thing about the army. The truth is that humans are complex. Our psychology is actually wired to avoid war. The only way we are able to kill people is by dehumanizing them. Even drone pilots suffer from PTSD.

    Kerry probably suffers from loads of guilt and PTSD. The only reason she's still sane is probably because her remaining implants dampen her emotions or something. The Confederacy engages in brainwashing and psychosurgery as a matter of course to prevent these sorts of problems.

    You could certainly argue that Kerry would immediately become a murderous psychopath after infestation, but I find QoB to be an extremely bland and boring character. I prefer good!Kerry or antihero!Kerry simply because that's actually interesting.
    Last edited by Mislagnissa; 10-03-2017 at 08:52 AM.

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