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Thread: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

  1. #1

    Default What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    The canonical appearance of the xel'naga are squid-like creatures (similar to the void thrashers, who are implied to be related) that would easily fit among the zerg armies. (The same applies to the hybrids.)

    Prior to the canonical depiction, xel'naga were often imagined by fans as looking identical to the protoss. I have no idea why. Indeed, the Dark Voice looked like a protoss (or a mouthless hybrid?) before it was given the squid form.

    What other ways do you think the xel'naga could be drawn to make them look distinct?

    I have a few suggestions to start with:

    • They looked really weird and abstract, but in a way that suggests the protoss modeled their clothing after them.
    • The xel'naga were actually tiny squids which wore the sarcophagi and robots from SC2 as mobile suits, similar to the Daleks from Doctor Who.
    • The xel'naga looked like adorable, cuddly stuffed animals with creepy, soulless eyes.
    • Like the elder things or flying polyps from the work of H.P. Lovecraft.
    • They looked like surreal entities that would not be out of place as the villains of a Japanese scifi or fantasy anime. Things like anatomy resembling sculpture rather than flesh, multiple arms held in poses reminiscent of Hindu deities, a lack of a distinct head, lifeless masks instead of actual faces, numerous eyes in strange places, bodies composed of platonic polyhedrons, immense sizes, each one having a unique form, holding meetings while floating in gigantic voids, etc.
    • They resemble the various sphinxes, angels and so forth of ancient Middle Eastern and Renaissance art. These can get very weird, like having multiple heads from different animals, feathered wings, scorpion tails, wheels covered in eyes, lion-headed snakes made of fire and other weird surreal patchwork anatomy.
    • They resemble demons from Judeo-Christian mythology, particularly the surreal and horrifying artwork of Hieronymus Bosch.
    • Like the Vorlons from Babylon 5, their appearance varies depending on who is looking at them. They have no true form.
    • Their forms are so grotesque and horrifying that anyone who looks at them goes insane, turns to stone, dies, their eyeballs explode, or something similarly horrible. Even recordings have the same effect. Thus, nobody knows what they actually looked like.
    Last edited by Mislagnissa; 07-16-2018 at 09:20 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    They looked really weird and abstract, but in a way that suggests the protoss modeled their clothing after them.
    Really like that look. Nice job Gna!

    Eons ago I drew this

    based on this

    I don't really like the idea of them being some sort of insectoid/warcraft Naga hybrid but that's how my 16(?) year old self interpreted that weird statue thing. Speaking of which, if this statue is not supposed to be a Xel Naga then I really wonder what it's supposed to be. Could be a broken Protoss bust but the head is too forward imo.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    Really like that look. Nice job Gna!

    Eons ago I drew this

    based on this

    I don't really like the idea of them being some sort of insectoid/warcraft Naga hybrid but that's how my 16(?) year old self interpreted that weird statue thing. Speaking of which, if this statue is not supposed to be a Xel Naga then I really wonder what it's supposed to be. Could be a broken Protoss bust but the head is too forward imo.
    That was how the protoss looked before they were redesigned. I suspect the terrain might be an easter egg. Do you have the redraw from the remaster?

  4. #4

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    Really like that look. Nice job Gna!

    Eons ago I drew this

    based on this

    I don't really like the idea of them being some sort of insectoid/warcraft Naga hybrid but that's how my 16(?) year old self interpreted that weird statue thing. Speaking of which, if this statue is not supposed to be a Xel Naga then I really wonder what it's supposed to be. Could be a broken Protoss bust but the head is too forward imo.
    Looks quite good for your drawing, sandwich bird. Picture doesn't seem to convey power, I guess I always felt the Xel'Naga should have had that sense in them

  5. #5

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    Looks quite good for your drawing, sandwich bird. Picture doesn't seem to convey power, I guess I always felt the Xel'Naga should have had that sense in them
    I never got that impression. They were scientists who plotted over millions of years, but their creations clearly surpassed them. It is not clear if they even knew how to fight, considering the protoss and zerg assaults encountered little to no resistance.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    I'm not terribly disappointed by the Xel'Naga design that we got, but the Hybrids seemed to be lacking in creativity. You can't tell me, from the "thousands" (Metzen's own words) of iterations and concepts Blizzard went through, the Reaver and Destroyer were the best they could come up with.

    Before SC2, I always imagined the Xel'Naga and Hybrids both to have strong aquatic features, something like the Ceph from Crysis. I also had this idea that the creation of Dragoons was originally inspired by the 'Naga themselves as these fusions of technology and organic components -- not necessarily scary, but definitely unsettling in aspect.

    Naturally, with "Naga" in their name, I also leaned towards snakelike and multiarmed designs:











    Or statuesque and angelic, in the trippy-weird Biblical sense:











    And the downright Lovecraftian:






    As for the Hybrids, I thought of a lot of directions. But I favored something reminiscent of both and neither, otherworldly and beautiful yet implacable and faceless:

















    Finally, in the heyday of Blizzforums, there was a popular theory that stated the Hybrids would be fungal in nature -- filamintous and layered or polypous -- a creature that could reconfigure itself on a whim:











    Instead... what we got we something designed by a 10-day-old DevinatArt account. :\ The Hybrid Nemesis came the closest to what I envisioned, with the Thrasher a distant second.

    Speaking of the Thrasher, if Amon could summon those things from the Void, then what was the point of the Hybrids??
    Last edited by Visions of Khas; 07-17-2018 at 09:47 AM.
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    Speaking of the Thrasher, if Amon could summon those things from the Void, then what was the point of the Hybrids??
    The missions needed a gimmick and the writers were not about to let consistency stand in their way.

    (Personally I thought the thrashers would have made the perfect new generation graphical update for cerebrates given their Cthulhu design. In my imaginary remake of SC1 you would fight them in boss battles with BFGs rather than whacking at gooey buildings with a tiny ineffectual laser sword.)

  8. #8

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    The missions needed a gimmick and the writers were not about to let consistency stand in their way.
    Eh, I thought they could have been Hybrids corrupted by the Void and sent back into realspace. Of course, if it's so easy for Amon to create portals between here and there, then what was stopping him from stepping foot into the material universe? -_-
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    Wow, Blizzforum's old concept as fungal hybrids really works for me. Given Protoss do that whole photosynthesis thing, and the Zerg reconfigure themselves, fungus is pretty much the best blend of the two.

    Lol, y'all's Xel'Naga are super artistic. Mine were much more mundane and boring. For one thing, they had hands, not fins or anything like that. The XN are scientists, so they need dexterity and control to do what they do. I've always imagined that the XN were humanlike, consumed food and water, and aren't as tall as Protoss. Thing is, if the Protoss were meant to be the perfect race, why would a race that is perfect bother to create its own version of perfect? Judging from what happened with the Protoss and Zerg, it's clear that the XN didn't have as well-defined a conception of what it means to be perfect, and thus they are seeking perfection by what they create. They're using their science to create creatures that lack the flaws that exist within their own kind. The Protoss are an artistic expression of what the XN idealize, and the Zerg represent adaptability to all circumstances.

    Long story short, the Xel'Naga were over-idealized scientists playing God, and the more things went on, the less idealistic they became. They aren't super-powerful (except through technology and knowledge) and are perhaps only a bit stronger than regular humans.


    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What other ways could the xel'naga been drawn like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    Eh, I thought they could have been Hybrids corrupted by the Void and sent back into realspace. Of course, if it's so easy for Amon to create portals between here and there, then what was stopping him from stepping foot into the material universe? -_-
    The writers needed Amon to be in the Void for the final confrontation when he would be defeated by a deus ex machina, critical thought be damned.

    Since you seem adamant on derailing this thread, I will nip this in the bud with a long-winded explanation right now. The plots of BW and SC2 do not make sense and cannot be adequately explained. That is what you get for trying to write sequels to a game where the main antagonist was set up as a galactic space monster only to be killed at the end by deus ex machina.

    In BW, the plot falls apart upon cursory inspection.

    Episode 4 has numerous plot holes. The protoss were previously established as using warp gates to transport their buildings and armies to other planets, yet they are reliant on a xel'naga warp gate to evacuate to Shakuras. You would expect them to just connect to the dark templar psionic matrix, which they clearly have since they can teleport their units and bases, but this does not happen. Somehow they are able to evacuate millions of protoss in what appears to be a few hours through a really tiny gate, when it would take New York City weeks to evacuate by land, sea and air without bottlenecks. When they arrive at Shakuras, the zerg are already waiting for them, having followed them through the same gate, when there was no possible time in which the zerg could have prepared for their arrival. Then the local xel'naga temple inexplicably has the ability to kill zerg despite being built long before the zerg existed, but it inexplicably requires two specific crystals to activate and for no apparent reason these crystals are located on two random planets far away. Then Kerry shows up and the protoss trust her despite having mind reading powers which should make it obvious she is psychotically insane or deliberately concealing her thoughts. Then Kerry brainwashes Raszagal despite having no time in which to do so. When Aldaris discovers this, without any evidence besides irregularities in Raszagal's behavior he should not notice since he only just met her, he decides to start a rebellion rather than tell the other protoss leaders they have been compromised. The other khalai refugees go along with Aldaris' rebellion despite having no reason to rebel other than him telling them to since he clearly did not tell them why he was rebelling. When Aldaris is finally captured and tells the other protoss leaders, Kerry shows up and kills him in front of everyone else. This assassination takes several minutes for her to arrive by overlord with four lurkers, during which nobody else reacts to her presence or tries to stop her clear offensive. Instead of immediately attacking and killing her for what is clearly an act of war by any stretch of the imagination, the protoss leaders tell her to go away and never return. She only survives because Metzen needed her to survive despite this looking clearly ridiculous and unrealistic.

    Episode 5 has far fewer plot holes. The first is that the UED are a clear retcon. The manual established that ATLAS got lost, but through what I can only describe as space magic the UPL was able to keep track of the Koprulu sector for centuries. When the zerg and protoss show up, it takes the UED only a couple of months at most to send a fleet when it took ATLAS 30-60 years to travel there and ATLAS was completely blind and lost in warp at the time. The invasion goes well, since Koprulu was just decimated by the zerg and protoss. When Duran joins the UED, DuGalle states that he does not trust traitors then goes on to obey everything Duran says over the advise of his childhood friend Stukov. Duran betrays the UED in a very public fashion that everybody should have noticed since the fleet is composed of many thousands of people working together. DuGalle then trusts and obeys Duran despite the clear evidence known to thousands of witnesses. When Stukov is revealed to have disobeyed orders in order to study an anti-zerg weapon, DuGalle obeys Duran when Duran suggests assassinating Stukov. Since Stukov is a childhood friend of DuGalle, DuGalle should have no reason to suspect Stukov of anything but the best of intentions. Furthermore, this sort of disobedience with the complicity of many thousands of other personnel in the fleet should merit a court martial and an investigation by the standards of any sane military, not immediate execution. When Duran shoots Stukov, Stukov lives long enough to talk to DuGalle over the radio and reveal that Duran was manipulating them to whole. Despite thoughtlessly obeying Duran previously, DuGalle believes Stukov and decides to use the anti-zerg weapon himself. This proves instrumental to capturing the Overmind, proving Stukov's concerns right.

    Episode 6 is when the plot holes and inconsistencies come to a head. The protoss and Koprulu terrans decide to trust Kerrigan when she asks them for help to stop the UED, despite having every reason to not trust her (she just betrayed them!) and every reason to trust the UED. The UED clearly do not practice eugenics since they use ghosts and the same tech Koprulu does; just open a dialogue with them and they would probably be happy to form an alliance with the protoss. Furthermore, it would be a terrible idea to attack the UED since their fleet only represents a tiny fraction of their full forces back on Earth who would no doubt seek revenge a couple of months later with a bigger fleet. When Kerry's foolish allies succeed in killing the Overmind (again), she immediately betrays them. This is doubly silly since they previously talked to each other about how they knew she would do something like this, then when it finally happens they act all surprised and are unable to mount an offensive when you would expect them to have already prepared for this. Furthermore, Kerry takes control of all zerg in the sector instantly after the death of the Overmind when in fact the Overmind was reliant on innumerable cerebrates to coordinate the broods and they were not all killed off at the time. After the death of the Overmind the cerebrates should have immediately starting killing everything they perceived as a threat to themselves, including Kerry's zerg. Furthermore, the creation of a new Overmind and the cerebrates' stated reliance on its existence raises numerous questions about how the zerg hive mind works. How can the Overmind be a bodiless entity and a giant brain at the same time, aside from a deus ex machina to kill it at the end of SC1 which is immediately undone by resurrecting it in BW? Why do the cerebrates need the Overmind to keep existing but all the other zerg do not? How did Daggoth know how to create a new Overmind? Why is Kerry able to take control of millions of zerg when she was created specifically for combat against the protoss and control is only exerted by breeds with the gigantic brains necessary to manage all those minions?

    When SC2 rolls around, the plot holes and inconsistencies only intensify. In addition to the retcons and other inconsistencies with SC1 and BW, SC2 has numerous plot holes and inconsistencies with regard to itself. It was clearly being made up at the writers went along and it really shows. Prophecies and plans are mentioned, but the plot does not make any sense as the result of planning by anyone. Mengsk sent Tychus to kill Kerry when she was vulnerable, but there was no possible way for Mengsk to know this would happen. Overmind infested Kerry with the intent that she would kill Amon, yet this required her to visit Zerus for cleansing; there was no way for the Overmind to know she would do this. If Kerry could disobey Amon by taking a dip to cleanse herself of his control, why did the Overmind not take a dip itself to remove the constraints and then kill Amon? If the xel'naga could predict the future to such a degree that they could write prophecies that could not be defied, then how come they did not kill Amon before he killed them? Why did Amon even bother trying when the prophecy said he would die and there was nothing he could do to stop it? If the Overmind was a good guy all along, despite having the same vicious hunger as all other primal zerg, what would he have done without Amon's interference? Why did Raynor choose between the false dichotomy of helping or attacking the protoss when they wanted to purify an infested planet, when he could have just lied to them that he would take care of it when he would actually help Hanson make a cure? When the protoss find time to purify infested planets when they were still dealing with their own problems at the time? How did Raynor's plans even work when they usually relied on the Dominion lacking even the most basic security or communications in general? Where did the Dominion get the population boost and manufacturing capabilities to bounce back from the losses of the Great War and Brood War within a couple of years? Why did Kerry replace the zerg hierarchy when she was controlled by Amon and thus it would make more sense to retain the hierarchy that served him? Why did the zerg even have brood wars when they were all controlled by Amon? Why did the Overmind not tell the cerebrates of his plans to make Kerry the new leader? Why did he make her the leader when she was still under Amon's control?

    It is obvious that the writers were making things up as they went along rather than planning anything in advance. Thus, the story makes no sense even with retcons taken into account. Furthermore, every installment of the franchise has rehashed the same basic plot involving terran rebels, protoss schisms, and a galactic space monster controlling the zerg.

    With that out of the way, may we please get back to the original topic?

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