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Thread: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

  1. #11

    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    Well said Sandy. The zerg seeking to replicate archons figured into my speculations for some time, but the zerg seeking a twilight archon as you suggest never occurred to me.

    Edit: Although the context of your explanation is an ad hoc rationalization for Metzen's idiot plot.
    Thanks, I think archons should have a bigger role in the main story. For one, they're pretty cool and they fit nicely with many other concepts.

    Yeah I know you'd prefer changing everything but I like trying to fix what is already there(for SC1 anyways...screw SC2).

    I dunno. The Xel'Naga took a long time to find the right candidate for their further manipulations until they happened on the Protoss. They had exceedingly high expectations apparently, so the fact they finally settled on the Protoss is quite significant.
    It all depends on what is considered perfect form. If perfect form means being the strongest in combat then something like a brontolith (ultralisk) was probably stronger than a protoss in a 1v1 fight. If perfect form means being adapted to any environment without tech, then the protoss would also fall short behind most flying creatures like the Mantis screamers (mutalisk). It's fair to say that the Protoss had potential but it's also fair to say that they didn't attain perfect "form" in many way that this can be defined.

    Thing is, the Protoss history describes that the Protoss just happened to be the most promising/advanced species the Xel'Naga could derive from all their multiple failed attempts. The Protoss were not a foregone conclusion or what the Xel'Naga specifically set out to create from the onset.
    Are you saying the XN wouldn't have the biological information of the protoss available when they were attacked by the zerg? They didn't make them from scratch but if they tinkered enough with them, it's fair to assume that they have their entire DNA sequenced. If anything, it'd be easier to believe that the information was destroyed during the attack.

    Can one assume that "pre-discovery by Xel'Naga"/primitive Protoss were able to form Archons from the get go? Wouldn't the Xel'Naga have known about this ability and used this to cultivate their development then?
    My guess is that fusion wouldn't predate the Khala so I'd say no regarding the primitive Protoss. It's possible that the archons were theorized by the XN though. The XN left when individuality was on the rise among Protoss and it is the XN that empowered Protoss psi. You could almost speculate that their goal was to create archons from the start. Archons can only be created with psi mastery and a strong psi link. With the psi link broken through individuality, the XN might have thought it would take too long to fix the issue and decided to work an a race that is fundamentally always linked.

    I thought it was pretty clear from the get go: Purity of form is the (arbitrary) distinction devised by the Xel'Naga to denote what they deem as an ideal physical life-form. Purity of essence is the (arbitrary) distinction devised by the Xel'Naga as a life-form that retains its fundamental/original aspects despite undergoing massive changes of all kinds.
    Purity of essence is somewhat clearer but purity of form is really unspecific. " what they deem as an ideal" What is ideal?

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    Are you saying the XN wouldn't have the biological information of the protoss available when they were attacked by the zerg? They didn't make them from scratch but if they tinkered enough with them, it's fair to assume that they have their entire DNA sequenced. If anything, it'd be easier to believe that the information was destroyed during the attack.
    I think it boils down to the zerg being unable to use computers (and yeah, the information being destroyed during the attack).

  3. #13

    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    It all depends on what is considered perfect form. If perfect form means being the strongest in combat then something like a brontolith (ultralisk) was probably stronger than a protoss in a 1v1 fight. If perfect form means being adapted to any environment without tech, then the protoss would also fall short behind most flying creatures like the Mantis screamers (mutalisk). It's fair to say that the Protoss had potential but it's also fair to say that they didn't attain perfect "form" in many way that this can be defined.

    " what they deem as an ideal" What is ideal?
    The definition of perfection doesn't have to include the capability to do absolutely everything or fly or be the strongest creature ever (strength is relative to one's size afterall). "Perfection" is a subjective ideal, therefore, there's no universal metric for it. We are not told the parameters of what is considered "perfect" for the Xel'Naga save for the fact that they considered the Protoss met their criteria for physical perfection. It's just an established fact you have to accept as part of the backstory.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    Are you saying the XN wouldn't have the biological information of the protoss available when they were attacked by the zerg? They didn't make them from scratch but if they tinkered enough with them, it's fair to assume that they have their entire DNA sequenced. If anything, it'd be easier to believe that the information was destroyed during the attack.
    Depends on a lot of things, like whether the biological information they have is something that can be used by the Zerg. Unless the Xel'Naga had live samples taken from Aiur with them, there's not much they can do with just information. Perhaps the Protoss don't have DNA/have something different. The Zerg wouldn't have the capability to create the conditions, the ability to speed up time nor the patience the Xel'Naga had to create/evolve the Protoss naturally themselves even if it weren't for the fact that the creation of Protoss was pure luck to begin with. It'd be (relatively) quicker to go find them.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    My guess is that fusion wouldn't predate the Khala so I'd say no regarding the primitive Protoss. It's possible that the archons were theorized by the XN though. The XN left when individuality was on the rise among Protoss and it is the XN that empowered Protoss psi. You could almost speculate that their goal was to create archons from the start. Archons can only be created with psi mastery and a strong psi link. With the psi link broken through individuality, the XN might have thought it would take too long to fix the issue and decided to work an a race that is fundamentally always linked.
    Hmmm, I like it in theory but Dark Templar represent individuality incarnate (when it comes to the Protoss that is) and they can easily form Archons. Even then, pre-Aeon of Strife Protoss were at their height (discounting the retcons, that is) even as they were becoming more individualistic, so Archons could've been possible.

    Also, I can't imagine the Xel'Naga just losing patience since they spent forever (figuratively speaking) before finally settling on the Protoss in the first place, afterall. They left the Protoss because they genuinely believed the Protoss were a failed creation and couldn't do anything more with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    Purity of essence is somewhat clearer but purity of form is really unspecific.
    Heh, most people seemed to understand what purity of form meant whilst not understanding what purity of essence due to its more esoteric nature.

    If I had to wager a guess on what esoteric nature constitutes purity of form though, I'd probably lean into the word "purity" and the aspect that that implies. If something is "pure", it's uncontaminated/uncorrupted and to have this purity maintained suggests resistance to specific change of that quality. So, like the essence of the Zerg being a mental quality (their drive to survive, improve and be on-top of the food chain) being constant despite the inclusion of and potential of foreign agents into it (ie: alien species it incorporates into itself and, to an extent, the Overmind) to denote purity, the form of the Protoss is a physical quality (their current physical shape and the capabilities of it) that remains constant despite the exposure to and potential of foreign elements to denote its purity.

    In hindsight, it would have been much easier to explain why the Protoss are resistant to infestation (but not assimilation as I've always considered this a different process) by the Zerg because of their "purity of form" rather than because of their psionics/psionic link/Khala/whatever.
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  4. #14

    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    I think it boils down to the zerg being unable to use computers
    That makes sense too. There are instances of zerg using technology but that was after the XN. You could say that the zerg didn't know about technology until after they assimilated the XN but by then, all of it was already destroyed.

    We are not told the parameters of what is considered "perfect" for the Xel'Naga save for the fact that they considered the Protoss met their criteria for physical perfection. It's just an established fact you have to accept as part of the backstory.
    That's not to say that the story wouldn't be more solid with a concrete definition though. I think it's warranted but we can disagree.

    The Zerg wouldn't have the capability to create the conditions, the ability to speed up time nor the patience the Xel'Naga had to create/evolve the Protoss naturally themselves even if it weren't for the fact that the creation of Protoss was pure luck to begin with. It'd be (relatively) quicker to go find them.
    They wouldn't need to evolve them, just to spawn the latest version. If they have the bio information, it should be no trouble for them. With that said, if all they know are the features of a protoss, it's debatable if they could make one from scratch.

    but Dark Templar represent individuality incarnate (when it comes to the Protoss that is) and they can easily form Archons.
    Dark Archons though(nvm sc2). I don't remember, was there any instances of DT forming regular archons pre-sc2?

    Even then, pre-Aeon of Strife Protoss were at their height (discounting the retcons, that is) even as they were becoming more individualistic, so Archons could've been possible.
    According to the wiki, psi storm didn't happen pre-khala. If making archons is something that is harder to accomplish then it wouldn't happen beforehand. I'll admit that it could be either way though.

    Also, I can't imagine the Xel'Naga just losing patience since they spent forever (figuratively speaking) before finally settling on the Protoss in the first place, afterall. They left the Protoss because they genuinely believed the Protoss were a failed creation and couldn't do anything more with them.
    We're never given any specific reason why they were deemed failed creations (correct me if I'm wrong). All we know is that they left when individuality was rising. This is interesting because the XN were trying to make the "perfect form". What does social behavior have to do with perfect form? If we assume that archons were the goal and that psi-link is required, being able to break away from the link could be considered a fundamental flaw.

    the form of the Protoss is a physical quality (their current physical shape and the capabilities of it) that remains constant despite the exposure to and potential of foreign elements to denote its purity.
    I mean, if a being remains constant despite exposure to any foreign elements, it would be said that this being is adapted to any environment(unless you accept constancy through death but then the protoss wouldn't be too special ). This leads back to my definition. Maybe it would be better to talk about purity of form in reference to the psi-link rather than the biological form. A psi-link that remains constant despite exposure to any foreign elements. idk, that could explain why the XN left if anything.

  5. #15

    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    That's not to say that the story wouldn't be more solid with a concrete definition though.
    There was a concrete definition... of sorts. "These beings were incredibly adaptable to harsh natural conditions and climates. Their strength and speed were unparalleled amongst the other races known to the Xel'Naga."

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    They wouldn't need to evolve them, just to spawn the latest version. If they have the bio information, it should be no trouble for them. With that said, if all they know are the features of a protoss, it's debatable if they could make one from scratch.
    Eh, you're kind of suggesting it's as easy as 3d printing, which I don't think is warranted. The Protoss were a fluke the Xel'Naga happened on since they were "despairing at last" until they discovered them on Aiur. How can they be sure their quick-fire, construct-a-Protoss version would be the same as the original thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    Dark Archons though(nvm sc2). I don't remember, was there any instances of DT forming regular archons pre-sc2?
    I wasn't really specifying whether the difference between an Archon and Dark Archon mattered though. If "purity of essence" meant "energy beings" and the Xel'Naga was aiming for this all along in the Protoss, Archons and Dark Archon are both "energy beings" even if one happens to be vanilla flavoured and the other strawberry...

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    According to the wiki, psi storm didn't happen pre-khala.
    Does this imply that Protoss had no psionic capabilities other than telepathy before Khas? That must be a retcon since the precursors to Dark Templar/non-Khala adherents/Rogue tribes that Khas was trying to train/hide were able to cast psionic storms (though unable to control them). Also, the legend that they were able to devastate the greater land masses of Aiur during the Aeon of Strife must have some grain of truth in it, suggesting that Protoss should've been able cast psi-storms even before Khas' time.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    We're never given any specific reason why they were deemed failed creations (correct me if I'm wrong).
    I'll gladly correct you.

    "Believing that they had made a grave mistake in pushing their failed creation too fast, the Xel’Naga made to depart Aiur forever."

    "They believed that the Xel’Naga had been right to abandon them and that because their racial essence had been corrupted by the rise of ego, they were indeed a failed creation."

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    All we know is that they left when individuality was rising. This is interesting because the XN were trying to make the "perfect form". What does social behavior have to do with perfect form?
    "The Xel’Naga deemed that the purity of form they sought to create had been sullied by a conflict of essence and thus decreed that the Protoss were, in fact, a failed creation."

    The Xel'Naga were looking to make the perfect life-form, not just purity of form or essence in isolation. They initially were pursuing the physicality of that life-form first (the purity of form) and after many disappointing outcomes, they found it in the Protoss. They then decided to shift their priorities to more social aspects since the perfect life-form should apparently have this aspect, too. Because they failed in that regard with the Protoss, they wanted to focus on purity of essence and getting that right, disregarding physical form in that next attempt. They succeeded, but the Zerg are hardly the "perfect life-form" because their physical forms are changeable and corruptible.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    I mean, if a being remains constant despite exposure to any foreign elements, it would be said that this being is adapted to any environment
    Indeed, if you look at the very first quote I provided in this reply, this is what the Protoss is described as being capable of.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    Maybe it would be better to talk about purity of form in reference to the psi-link rather than the biological form. A psi-link that remains constant despite exposure to any foreign elements. idk, that could explain why the XN left if anything.
    This then suggests Zerg have both purity of form and essence and are therefore the perfect life-form the Xel'Naga were striving for, yes? Hmmm, that's certainly an interesting interpretation...
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  6. #16

    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
    I think it boils down to the zerg being unable to use computers (and yeah, the information being destroyed during the attack).
    The zerg could use computers. We see them do so in the Loomings/Precursor campaign when they lay traps inside the terran facilities. Even if the concept of making tools eludes them, they are capable of using existing technological devices when pressed. They probably have numerous breeds designed specifically to use alien tools.

    We could come up with countless reasons why the xel'naga's "detailed genetic histories" were detailed enough that the Overmind could make overlords and queens much smarter, yet enough detail was missing that the zerg were forced to physically harvest species listed. The exact reason compared to other possible reasons is not relevant unless it is used as a plot point, and even then I suspect the difference would be academic.

    In any case, only Metzen's script explicitly states the zerg will become perfect immediately after they assimilate the protoss. Key word being "immediately." The manual states the Overmind seeks perfection by assimilating the strongest species in the universe, with no implication that this has any kind of time frame (as Abathur claims) nor that the protoss are the single strongest species in the universe (as the campaign claims).

    I can understand the protoss being a stepping stone in the zerg's quest to conquer the galaxy and eventually the universe, but I cannot see "purity of form" being what the zerg need to achieve perfection. It's an arbitrary quality, for one thing. You can make all kinds of arguments about the validity and what the xel'naga were pursuing but ultimately you are missing the point of their desires being wholly arbitrary. Whose to say that the xel'naga would not have changed their minds even if the protoss were successful?

    As it stands, the only bar we have for judging perfection is omnipotence. An omnipotent entity is as close to perfection as we can conceptualize, depending on what you believe.

  7. #17

    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    Eh, you're kind of suggesting it's as easy as 3d printing, which I don't think is warranted. The Protoss were a fluke the Xel'Naga happened on since they were "despairing at last" until they discovered them on Aiur. How can they be sure their quick-fire, construct-a-Protoss version would be the same as the original thing?
    It's hard to know exactly what their bio engineering capabilities are. Listening to Abathur, it really does sound like they can manufacture anything like a 3d printer. Of course, that's SC2 logic. It's less obvious in SC1.

    As for the accuracy of their home-made protoss, the overmind knows enough about the protoss to assume they have purity of form. You could assume that he understands what the requirements for such a thing are. If he knows the requirements, it's as simple as placing check-marks.

    I wasn't really specifying whether the difference between an Archon and Dark Archon mattered though. If "purity of essence" meant "energy beings" and the Xel'Naga was aiming for this all along in the Protoss, Archons and Dark Archon are both "energy beings" even if one happens to be vanilla flavoured and the other strawberry...
    Yeah but do they know that dark Archons can exist or that the void can be manipulated this way? Do the old protoss master void energy enough to form dark archons? Do they even know about the void?

    Does this imply that Protoss had no psionic capabilities other than telepathy before Khas? That must be a retcon since the precursors to Dark Templar/non-Khala adherents/Rogue tribes that Khas was trying to train/hide were able to cast psionic storms (though unable to control them). Also, the legend that they were able to devastate the greater land masses of Aiur during the Aeon of Strife must have some grain of truth in it, suggesting that Protoss should've been able cast psi-storms even before Khas' time.
    Meh, you could just say that the level of mastery was not advanced/refined enough during those days. XN were also psi fanatics; it's possible that they consider the void and evil energy or something. Being pure void energy would be then considered unsuitable to their own definition of perfection.

    Indeed, if you look at the very first quote I provided in this reply, this is what the Protoss is described as being capable of.
    The thing is that the protoss don't satisfy that at all. As I was saying, it's impossible unless you can change yourself. I can list examples again: in a gas world, the Protoss aren't adapted because they can't fly. In a jungle full of giant predators, the protoss would be prey without technology. Etc.. The only time where a protoss can be adapted to anything is when he's pure energy as an archon.

    This then suggests Zerg have both purity of form and essence and are therefore the perfect life-form the Xel'Naga were striving for, yes? Hmmm, that's certainly an interesting interpretation...
    If you'd approach it that way, you'd have to make it clear though that the Overmind interpretation of perfect is different than the XN.

    As it stands, the only bar we have for judging perfection is omnipotence. An omnipotent entity is as close to perfection as we can conceptualize, depending on what you believe.
    I didn't thought about it that way before but yeah, if perfection is omnipotence then by assimilating the universe, the overmind would be omnipotent and thus perfect.

  8. #18
    Gradius's Avatar Administrator
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    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The zerg could use computers. We see them do so in the Loomings/Precursor campaign when they lay traps inside the terran facilities. Even if the concept of making tools eludes them, they are capable of using existing technological devices when pressed. They probably have numerous breeds designed specifically to use alien tools.
    Their usage is limited though. They're not going to know how to use complex programs or convert coordinates, or enter passwords, pass biometric security, interface with their psionic machines, etc. It's completely believable the Overmind couldn't get more than a general location from Xel'Naga memories, especially after destroying all their ships.

    I can understand the protoss being a stepping stone in the zerg's quest to conquer the galaxy and eventually the universe, but I cannot see "purity of form" being what the zerg need to achieve perfection.
    Ok, well, it's the plot of the game.

    It's an arbitrary quality, for one thing. You can make all kinds of arguments about the validity and what the xel'naga were pursuing but ultimately you are missing the point of their desires being wholly arbitrary. Whose to say that the xel'naga would not have changed their minds even if the protoss were successful?
    Who cares? What the Xel'Naga wanted no longer matters because they're dead and the Overmind is going to be the one to finish their experiments. Obviously the Overmind's conception of "perfection" is contextual and subjective, on top of him using flowery Abrahamic language to express what he wants.

    I thought it was obvious that unless "purity of form" shows up in your Merriam Webster, what the Overmind considers perfect and the literal dictionary definition of the word perfect clearly aren't the same.

  9. #19

    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    In any event, there is no implication in the manual that the zerg will become perfect by assimilating the protoss specifically. They seek to become perfect by assimilating the strongest species in the universe, but "perfect" and "strongest" in this case are both arbitrary and situational. The zerg assimilated countless species like the slothien and mantis screamers, who are hardly the strongest species in the universe at first glance, and there is no way to predict when or if the zerg will ever qualify as perfect.

    The immediate reason why the zerg are obsessed with the protoss is because the protoss constitute an existential threat, which should be obvious from reading the relevant passage in the manual. The protoss have both the means and the motivation to exterminate the zerg with ease. Whether they can/should be assimilated is a secondary concern by any sane ordering of priorities.

    I have my disagreements with Enumerate, but what I did like about it was that it made a clear distinction between perfection and survival and worked this into the plot. Within the chronology the fatal flaw of the Overmind was that it sought perfection over survival, which led to its destruction by the protoss who exploited the vulnerability in the hive mind it created by interfacing with the psionic matrix before victory was actually assured (btw: there are plenty of reasons to hack the psi matrix beyond assimilation, since it is integral to the protoss infrastructure, and psi warfare is a major plot point). After its resurrection at the "end" of the chronology (i.e. it isn't detailed beyond that point), the Overmind's priority changes to survival over perfection.

  10. #20

    Default Re: Old School Analysis: The Overmind really WAS trying to destroy the protoss

    We're never given any specific reason why they were deemed failed creations (correct me if I'm wrong).
    I'll gladly correct you.

    "Believing that they had made a grave mistake in pushing their failed creation too fast, the Xel’Naga made to depart Aiur forever."

    "They believed that the Xel’Naga had been right to abandon them and that because their racial essence had been corrupted by the rise of ego, they were indeed a failed creation."
    Sandwich is still correct. The above quote states what the Protoss believed about the XN, not what the XN themselves would have said. Given the line in the first Protoss missions (Zeratul or Tassadar I can't remember which) about completing the experiments of the XN, it's entirely possible that the XN were simply putting the Protoss on hold, or simply leaving them to develop their culture without interference. We don't actually know for sure why the XN did what they did. Actually the only person who might have known is the Overmind (cerebrates, maybe?), because they learned from the XN they destroyed.

    With apologies for interrupting your discussion, of course.

    Ah, here we go:

    Zeratul: Indeed. When I slew the Cerebrate on Char, I touched briefly with the essence of the Overmind. In that instant, my mind was filled with its thoughts, and I tell you now our worst fears have come true.
    Zeratul: The Zerg were indeed created by the ancient Xel'Naga, the same beings that empowered us in our infancy. But the Overmind grew beyond their constraints and has at last come to finish the experiments they began so long ago.
    Tassadar: So you see my friends, we fight not only to save Aiur, but all creation! If we fall to the Zerg then the Overmind will run rampant throughout the stars, consuming all sentience - all life. It is up to us to put an end to this madness, once and for all.
    This seems to imply that the end result of the XN experiments is infested Protoss, or somesuch. Not that anyone can really say for sure.


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