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Thread: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

  1. #1

    Default Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    As we should all be aware by now, the Starcraft lore has changed substantially during development and over the course of the games and expanded universe materials.

    For example, the '96 website archive shows that the border sector Koprulu was originally meant to be in contact with the rest of Terran civilization across their space and Arcturus was originally a much more idealistic figure.

    But the focus of this topic is the inconsistencies in the original manual. If you carefully read the manual and cross-reference different mentions of the same concept, you will notice that different passages contradict one another as if they originate from different drafts.

    For example, overlords are mentioned in the history of the zerg as being present on Zerus whereas the unit biography states their ancestors Gargantis proximae were a space-faring race. This introduces an inconsistency because the zerg assimilated the space-faring behemoths to escape Zerus when they already had assimilated the G. proximae. Reconciling this would require positing explanations like there being two different breeds that were called overlords or that the G. proximae that came to live on Zerus had lost their spaceflight capability.

    There are a number of other examples as well.

    Khaydarin crystals are mentioned as being used by the xel'naga as the key component of their experiments. It is mentioned that only organisms thus engineered will be compatible with the crystals' interface. However, other details contradict (my rationale is provided afterward):

    1) The protoss history states that crystal-compatible life is rare and powerful, even though earlier in the same chapter the xel'naga are stated to have experimented on countless species across the galaxy.

    Rationale: the number of species who can utilize the crystals in their technology and such are rare, not merely compatible. The protoss were surprised because the zerg probes were running crystal-compatible software (wetware?). It is like humans discovering that aliens are running Linux.

    2) The biography of the pylon states that the "sacred" crystals are only found on the protoss home world, even though they were used across the galaxy by the xel'naga.

    Rationale: The best crystals for pylons are manufactured on the protoss home world, but lower quality crystals are naturally occurring on other worlds.

    3) The zerg incorporate the "energies" of the crystals after consuming the xel'naga, even though they should already be compatible.

    Rationale: The zerg incorporated the physical crystals (as seen in the briefing screens) and the underlying operating systems (as seen by the automatic translations into protoss language) into their physiology. This was easy because they were already compatible with the radiation.

    However, other contradictions are more difficult to reconcile.

    The protoss chapters cannot agree whether the protoss are a galactic empire or limited to a single planet. Their history mentions that they colonized hundreds of worlds over centuries after instituting the Khala, and they made contact with advanced civilizations and watched over countless primitive civilizations. Other passages are written as though the protoss only live on Aiur, such as their unit biographies. There is no way to reconcile this (the games claimed that this empire collapsed, but that undermines the entire premise because the zerg were searching for a tool that would allow them to fight the otherwise unstoppable empire on their own terms, at least until that was retconned into incoherence).

    The brief biography of the Kel-Morian Combine's pirate militia makes no mention of the Guild Wars explained in the history section. This is important because the Guild Wars resulted in the Combine losing their affiliated guilds to the Confederacy and being turned into a client state. In the biography they are stated to have close ties to the Confederate government and are given special privileges, but you would expect them instead to be kept at arm's length and plotting revenge (e.g. take advantage of the First Contact War).

    Those were the inconsistencies that I found so far, but there may be others that I missed.

    Feel free to discuss, critique, advise, etc.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    Once again this just shows how did you ever become a fan of the SC universe in the first place, if all you can do is see inconsistencies, contradictions, retcons, etc

  3. #3

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    For example, overlords are mentioned in the history of the zerg as being present on Zerus whereas the unit biography states their ancestors Gargantis proximae were a space-faring race. This introduces an inconsistency because the zerg assimilated the space-faring behemoths to escape Zerus when they already had assimilated the G. proximae. Reconciling this would require positing explanations like there being two different breeds that were called overlords or that the G. proximae that came to live on Zerus had lost their spaceflight capability.
    Maybe the Gargantis were not built for surviving in space for long though they could travel through it. The primary value of the Gargantis to the Overmind were their enhanced sensors, otherwise the Zerg would've left Zerus early on with their space-faring ability. What they took from the gargantuan space-faring lifeforms and enabled them to leave Zerus, were "super-dense hides" and the "ability to exist in a vacuum (for prolonged periods?)". This suggests that this was what the Gargantis lacked and what was the needed requirement to assure that Zerg could traverse space safely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    1) The protoss history states that crystal-compatible life is rare and powerful, even though earlier in the same chapter the xel'naga are stated to have experimented on countless species across the galaxy.
    So what? Just because they used the crystals on countless species, doesn't mean the experiments were successful or that those other experimental species are compatible with the crystals. Afterall, there's only 2 Xel'Naga success stories with their experiement: the Protoss and Zerg. As far as we know, they and only they are compatible with the crystals. Thus, it's not wrong to say that crystal-compatible life is rare and powerful in that context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    2) The biography of the pylon states that the "sacred" crystals are only found on the protoss home world, even though they were used across the galaxy by the xel'naga.
    They are probably only found on Aiur and nowhere else because the Xel'Naga brought them there in the first place for further experiments... you know, the only place that developed a species they considered to successfully meet their experimental criteria at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    3) The zerg incorporate the "energies" of the crystals after consuming the xel'naga, even though they should already be compatible.
    I think the difference is not whether the Zerg can use the crystals or not, it's a matter of how they can use the crystals. The Zerg have always been compatible with crystals, but they wouldn't have been able to utilise them the way they did nor get the best out of them until they gained that knowledge forcibly from the Xel'Naga.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The protoss chapters cannot agree whether the protoss are a galactic empire or limited to a single planet. Their history mentions that they colonized hundreds of worlds over centuries after instituting the Khala, and they made contact with advanced civilizations and watched over countless primitive civilizations. Other passages are written as though the protoss only live on Aiur, such as their unit biographies. There is no way to reconcile this (the games claimed that this empire collapsed, but that undermines the entire premise because the zerg were searching for a tool that would allow them to fight the otherwise unstoppable empire on their own terms, at least until that was retconned into incoherence).
    Maybe the "Protoss Empire" should just be regarded as territory or influence under their control/watch. Their tech alone would allow them to do this without actually having a typical physical presence that the word "empire" would normally suggest. The manual also states they're not a prolific people, so maybe the Protoss don't have such a large/substantial/significant physical presence on those worlds. I mean especially if there was life on those other worlds in their, the Protoss would've let them be due to their history of outside/Xel'naga influence and the Dae'Uhl. Those would still be considered under Protoss space/their Empire afterall

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The brief biography of the Kel-Morian Combine's pirate militia makes no mention of the Guild Wars explained in the history section. This is important because the Guild Wars resulted in the Combine losing their affiliated guilds to the Confederacy and being turned into a client state. In the biography they are stated to have close ties to the Confederate government and are given special privileges, but you would expect them instead to be kept at arm's length and plotting revenge (e.g. take advantage of the First Contact War).
    Maybe for the KMC it's a means of "keeping your enemies closer" in regard to how they handle the Confeds currently. Short of something like the Zerg invasion to assist them, the KMC probably thought they'd never be able to go toe-to-toe against the Confeds again afterward so there was no point in planning for something that wasn't likely ever to happen (afterall, the KMC don't know they're in a fictional universe where shenanigans are bound to happen at the whim of some god author). Might as well build up profits and get political influence as means of revenge instead, I suppose.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  4. #4

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    For your 3 points, it's like this:

    The protoss felt the crystals weren't compatible with most life because that's only from their POV. Remember, the SC1 manual clearly stated they didn't know just where the Xel'Naga originated from, and we didn't know about the Void being an alternate dimension and what not. Thus to the protoss they thought the Xel'Naga simply came from another distant part of the universe. Thus what you had in the chapter were 2 different POVs, and from the Xel'Naga POV the crystals were compatible with a lot more species than the protoss once thought.

    The same holds true on the crystals and the pylons. It's possible that from the protoss POV, the crystals on Aiur were a more "refined" state, whereas the ones elsewhere were not and therefore could be considered "unstable," which led the protoss to believe that only theirs counted as real crystals.

    I'm a bit unsure with the 3rd point though. The Xel'Naga only helped the zerg survive Zerus's harsh environment, from that point on they merely allowed them to evolve and only the Overmind was something they made, hence only the Overmind should have known about how the crystals work. Maybe he just didn't pass the info on as quickly to his minions until he was ready to rebel.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    Once again this just shows how did you ever become a fan of the SC universe in the first place, if all you can do is see inconsistencies, contradictions, retcons, etc
    I am writing fanfiction and ran right into these inconsistencies. In order to tell my story I needed to pick a consistent explanation and stick with it.

    I speak from a position of concern for the setting, not hate. I doubt I am going to ever get through to you, but the fundamental difference between you and me is that I do not equate critical literary analysis with hatred. Having analyzed texts a lot in my schooling, I consider criticism and analysis to be fundamental parts of enjoying fiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Maybe the Gargantis were not built for surviving in space for long though they could travel through it. The primary value of the Gargantis to the Overmind were their enhanced sensors, otherwise the Zerg would've left Zerus early on with their space-faring ability. What they took from the gargantuan space-faring lifeforms and enabled them to leave Zerus, were "super-dense hides" and the "ability to exist in a vacuum (for prolonged periods?)". This suggests that this was what the Gargantis lacked and what was the needed requirement to assure that Zerg could traverse space safely.
    I do not think the exact specifics of the explanation matter, only that there is a reasonable explanation to explain the inconsistency. I find it questionable that the G. proximae would survive in space for any length of time without similar adaptations that could be studied and manipulated by the zerg, so I can only conclude that the population on Zerus lost those traits due to genetic mutation and the zerg were unable to re-evolve them from the leftover genes. While the zerg clearly cannot create desired traits willy-nilly, they have shown they can breed their hosts to cultivate existing traits (similar to how humans created chihuahuas from wolves).



    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    So what? Just because they used the crystals on countless species, doesn't mean the experiments were successful or that those other experimental species are compatible with the crystals. Afterall, there's only 2 Xel'Naga success stories with their experiement: the Protoss and Zerg. As far as we know, they and only they are compatible with the crystals. Thus, it's not wrong to say that crystal-compatible life is rare and powerful in that context.
    That could easily be the case. However, I would prefer to avoid that explanation since it writes the story into a corner by prohibiting the future appearance of species which were made compatible with khaydarin but discarded for other reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    They are probably only found on Aiur and nowhere else because the Xel'Naga brought them there in the first place for further experiments... you know, the only place that developed a species they considered to successfully meet their experimental criteria at the time.
    The counterpoint to this is that the xel'naga brought crystals everywhere they went rather than leaving it all on Aiur and the zerg clearly possess some of their own as seen in the zerg briefing screen background. The manual barely explains how the crystals work, but they seem to be a purely materialistic substance that may be replicated by any chemist/engineer with the proper knowledge and resources.

    For reference, I am treating the setting as a materialistic one at least loosely explainable in terms of real scientific processes, not literal magic in space. The setting is not our universe, however, as shown by the existence of psychic powers and species being able to evolve organs that generate artificial gravity. The important thing is to be consistent, rather than make things up on the fly without forethought and contradict previously established rules without good explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I think the difference is not whether the Zerg can use the crystals or not, it's a matter of how they can use the crystals. The Zerg have always been compatible with crystals, but they wouldn't have been able to utilise them the way they did nor get the best out of them until they gained that knowledge forcibly from the Xel'Naga.
    My point is that this is what I think unsettles the protoss, rather than merely being compatible with the technology. Assuming there are many species that are at least compatible with the crystals, the protoss should not be surprised unless a species is using the crystals with a high degree of competence. Running Xel'Naga OS certainly qualifies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Maybe the "Protoss Empire" should just be regarded as territory or influence under their control/watch. Their tech alone would allow them to do this without actually having a typical physical presence that the word "empire" would normally suggest. The manual also states they're not a prolific people, so maybe the Protoss don't have such a large/substantial/significant physical presence on those worlds. I mean especially if there was life on those other worlds in their, the Protoss would've let them be due to their history of outside/Xel'naga influence and the Dae'Uhl. Those would still be considered under Protoss space/their Empire afterall
    Those are clear contradictions. The manual is written with two different lines of logic that are not integrated: one side presents the protoss as limited to a small population on a single planet, whereas the other side presents them as a galactic empire with arbitrarily high resources to enforce their own prime directive equivalent. If they are not prolific, then they should not have the manpower to enforce the great stewardship across the many worlds and civilizations they are claimed to watch over.

    Furthermore, the zerg backstory is written under the logic that the protoss are so powerful that the zerg had to spent an arbitrarily long time and consume an arbitrarily high number of worlds to find anything that would allow the zerg to survive a prolonged conflict. The foreshadowed war is heavily implied to be some kind of terrible long-lasting galactic war (not the handful of days it was in canon), which does not really jive with the protoss having limited numbers.

    Even if the protoss naturally reproduce much slower than humans (considering they apparently can live at least a thousand years or so), there is no reason why they could not artificially boost their population through cloning or mind uploading. In the First Contact War they clearly die faster than they would be born even without the retcon about them dying of low fertility.

    For reference purposes, I am thinking about the story in terms of real military logic such as arms races. Unless a weapon destroys the world, you can develop defenses against it and develop weapons to overcome those defenses and so on. That is the history of warfare in a nutshell. The canon is clearly written by people with zero knowledge of military logistics and engineering, as shown by the copious amounts of plot devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Maybe for the KMC it's a means of "keeping your enemies closer" in regard to how they handle the Confeds currently. Short of something like the Zerg invasion to assist them, the KMC probably thought they'd never be able to go toe-to-toe against the Confeds again afterward so there was no point in planning for something that wasn't likely ever to happen (afterall, the KMC don't know they're in a fictional universe where shenanigans are bound to happen at the whim of some god author). Might as well build up profits and get political influence as means of revenge instead, I suppose.
    That could just as well be a case, but it does not make much sense for the Confederacy to treat the KMC so nicely after fighting a years long war with them ending in their annexation. The biography for the KMC pirate militia almost feels like it was written for a different faction since it does not jive with the KMC's backstory. Reading the synthesis of the various sources on the wiki page, it stands out to me as very strange. One passage the Confederacy is waging war and annexing KMC, the next the KMC is suddenly given special privileges and has large amounts of military power despite the previous war and their resources being confiscated? It does not make sense to me without a lot more explanation.

    Seriously, the Guild Wars and surrounding time periods are sufficient to write a whole series of books around just to explain how it makes any sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    For your 3 points, it's like this:

    The protoss felt the crystals weren't compatible with most life because that's only from their POV. Remember, the SC1 manual clearly stated they didn't know just where the Xel'Naga originated from, and we didn't know about the Void being an alternate dimension and what not. Thus to the protoss they thought the Xel'Naga simply came from another distant part of the universe. Thus what you had in the chapter were 2 different POVs, and from the Xel'Naga POV the crystals were compatible with a lot more species than the protoss once thought.
    The protoss backstory states that according to legend the xel'naga experimented on countless species. So it makes little sense that the protoss would be alarmed that another species is compatible (and thus powerful for no apparent reason) if the previous point suggests that many species would be compatible.

    It feels like the writer was combining text from different drafts and did not synthesize them by adding further explanations or removing contradictory details. This is very sloppy, but that does not mean I think the setting is bad like you think I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    The same holds true on the crystals and the pylons. It's possible that from the protoss POV, the crystals on Aiur were a more "refined" state, whereas the ones elsewhere were not and therefore could be considered "unstable," which led the protoss to believe that only theirs counted as real crystals.
    You misunderstand. That was the same rationale I used. The text itself suggests that the crystals in their entirety are only found on Aiur, when that is contradicted elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    I'm a bit unsure with the 3rd point though. The Xel'Naga only helped the zerg survive Zerus's harsh environment, from that point on they merely allowed them to evolve and only the Overmind was something they made, hence only the Overmind should have known about how the crystals work. Maybe he just didn't pass the info on as quickly to his minions until he was ready to rebel.
    While the text is vague at the best of times, the suggestion is that species experimented on with the crystals become receptive to their radiation and that this radiation does not sit well with species not so altered. So when the Overmind incorporates the "energies" of the crystals, the strange wording could be interpreted to mean a lot of things like that the zerg became compatible (when other passages suggest this should already have been the case) or that the zerg started using the crystal in their biotechnology. The latter interpretation is the only one that makes sense.

    Overall, the flaw of the text is that it is often very vague, clearly was not proofread, and demonstrates that the writer clearly had no understanding of the concepts he was trying to write about. It feels very much like the author(s) was more familiar with writing fantasy stories involving magic than scifi stories using real scientific concepts. Someone familiar with science fiction would never use terminology like "energies" because that doesn't make any sense grammatically.
    I think Starcraft needs rebooting. See "Enumerate" for details (links: timeline, full document, original forum thread).

  6. #6

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The protoss backstory states that according to legend the xel'naga experimented on countless species. So it makes little sense that the protoss would be alarmed that another species is compatible (and thus powerful for no apparent reason) if the previous point suggests that many species would be compatible.

    It feels like the writer was combining text from different drafts and did not synthesize them by adding further explanations or removing contradictory details. This is very sloppy, but that does not mean I think the setting is bad like you think I do.
    The fact that the xel'naga experimented on countless species does NOT automatically mean their experiments turned out a success. From the protoss POV it's possible they thought those experiments ended in failure, meaning they weren't crystal-compatible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    You misunderstand. That was the same rationale I used. The text itself suggests that the crystals in their entirety are only found on Aiur, when that is contradicted elsewhere.
    But you also used the word "sacred." Did the protoss view the crystals on other worlds as non-sacred?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    So when the Overmind incorporates the "energies" of the crystals, the strange wording could be interpreted to mean a lot of things like that the zerg became compatible (when other passages suggest this should already have been the case) or that the zerg started using the crystal in their biotechnology. The latter interpretation is the only one that makes sense.
    That'd be nothing new. It's possible only the Overmind was subjected to the crystals during xel'naga experimentation and not the rest of the zerg, hence why after assimilating the xel'naga he had to work to make the crystals less harmful or something for the rest of the swarm (otherwise the whole Aiur invasion wouldn't have worked out like he wanted it to)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    I do not think the exact specifics of the explanation matter, only that there is a reasonable explanation to explain the inconsistency. I find it questionable that the G. proximae would survive in space for any length of time without similar adaptations that could be studied and manipulated by the zerg, so I can only conclude that the population on Zerus lost those traits due to genetic mutation and the zerg were unable to re-evolve them from the leftover genes.
    The devil is in the (omitted) details I suppose. We don't really know the specific nature and parameters of what "space-faring" means (beyond supposition) when applied to the Gargantis, but we do know later on what "space-faring" Gargantis lacked: the superdense hides and ability to exist in a vacuum that the Zerg got from those gargantuan lifeforms. Maybe the Overmind had some other stricter criteria (that the Gargantis didn't/couldn't provide) beyond just getting into space that it wanted to meet before actually going into space.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    However, I would prefer to avoid that explanation since it writes the story into a corner by prohibiting the future appearance of species which were made compatible with khaydarin but discarded for other reasons.
    Unfortunately, that's how the manual sets it up. The Xel'Naga only had two creations that it deemed successful or warranting further experimentation (most likely with Khaydarin).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The counterpoint to this is that the xel'naga brought crystals everywhere they went rather than leaving it all on Aiur and the zerg clearly possess some of their own as seen in the zerg briefing screen background.
    Eh, I don't put much stock on the crystal in the briefing room being Khaydarin since it could be any other crystal really. I mean afterall, "magic crystals" exist in this universe, so why can't there be other sorts of "magic crystals" or why do "magic crystals" all have to be one type? Any Khaydarin crystals the Zerg may still possess at the time (if they even did at all) would have been from when they destroyed the Xel'Naga above Zerus. If the Zerg already had Khaydarin at their disposal and it was everywhere, they wouldn't have had to make a point of having to go harvest them on Aiur, would they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Those are clear contradictions. The manual is written with two different lines of logic that are not integrated: one side presents the protoss as limited to a small population on a single planet, whereas the other side presents them as a galactic empire with arbitrarily high resources to enforce their own prime directive equivalent. If they are not prolific, then they should not have the manpower to enforce the great stewardship across the many worlds and civilizations they are claimed to watch over.
    Not necessarily. The Protoss make up for their lack of manpower through their technological prowess - it even says so in the manual. They don't need much manpower when they can literally warp spacetime/be anywhere quickly/surveil anything and destroy things by flicking a switch on their OP machinery/tools/weapons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The foreshadowed war is heavily implied to be some kind of terrible long-lasting galactic war (not the handful of days it was in canon), which does not really jive with the protoss having limited numbers.
    That's because the Zerg have to get through both the Protoss bulwark of technology first (which may not need much manpower to operate) and then the enhanced physical capabilities of the people behind such tech.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    That could just as well be a case, but it does not make much sense for the Confederacy to treat the KMC so nicely after fighting a years long war with them ending in their annexation. The biography for the KMC pirate militia almost feels like it was written for a different faction since it does not jive with the KMC's backstory. Reading the synthesis of the various sources on the wiki page, it stands out to me as very strange. One passage the Confederacy is waging war and annexing KMC, the next the KMC is suddenly given special privileges and has large amounts of military power despite the previous war and their resources being confiscated? It does not make sense to me without a lot more explanation.
    The Confeds may not have been unified as a group in their dealings with other factions (as expected when it comes to Terrans). There may have been factional elements within that "supported" KMC and some that preferred conflict with them, each and all for their own, unknown reasons.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  8. #8

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    The fact that the xel'naga experimented on countless species does NOT automatically mean their experiments turned out a success. From the protoss POV it's possible they thought those experiments ended in failure, meaning they weren't crystal-compatible.
    There is no implication that failure equated to incompatibility or success equated to compatibility. The xel'naga were trying to create a perfect life form to advance their science of protogenetics. Being crystal-compatible is a side effect of experimentation by the crystals and is the first step in the long line of subsequent experiments.

    The inconsistency is that a latter passage in the protoss history states that a species compatible with the crystals would, by definition, be rare and powerful, when just a few pages earlier the xel'naga were stated to have experimented on countless species across the galaxy. There should be many species that are compatible and of variable strength because that is the implication, so the logic that such species are always rare and powerful does not follow.

    Furthermore, this assumption just raises more questions. What reason do the protoss have to believe that crystal-compatible species are rare and powerful? It makes no sense to use themselves as a example unless the text is trying to subtly imply they are arrogant to the point of assuming all creations of the xel'naga must be as awesome as they are even though that is irrational and only true in this specific case due to sheer chance. More charitably to the writer's state of mind when writing it, this implies that the Protoss have encountered such species before and with disastrous results. Additionally, the manual also states that the protoss debate over whether the zerg were actually created by the xel'naga, which implies that species not created by the xel'naga made be compatible with the crystal. This raises even further questions, like how unrelated species would be compatible in the first place.

    However, this clashes with their behavior in the actual game when the conclave ignores the obvious threat presented by the zerg. Not only that, but the game itself contradicts the manual by stating that the protoss do not believe the zerg were created by the xel'naga and it is only an admission by Zeratul about information he gained from a nigh-impossible intel leak that reveals they were created by the xel'naga. Check the transcript for Episode 3: Zeratul is the only character to ever mention the xel'naga. The way he says this only makes sense to players who previously read the manual which explained that the protoss debated over this.

    My overall point is that the manual is vague and contradictory, leading to a plethora of possible interpretations. The games just exacerbate this problem by introducing further contradictions and plot points out of nowhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    But you also used the word "sacred." Did the protoss view the crystals on other worlds as non-sacred?
    This is what I mean when I say that the text is vague. It is impossible to determine the importance of adjectival qualifiers because the text does not provide enough context to understand the meaning. The statement could be interpreted to mean that only the crystals on Aiur are sacred, or that crystals by definition are sacred and only found on Aiur (at least as far as the Protoss know).


    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    That'd be nothing new. It's possible only the Overmind was subjected to the crystals during xel'naga experimentation and not the rest of the zerg, hence why after assimilating the xel'naga he had to work to make the crystals less harmful or something for the rest of the swarm (otherwise the whole Aiur invasion wouldn't have worked out like he wanted it to)
    The Overmind being a physical entity is only implied once in the manual, but its biography explicitly states it is a "bodiless entity." The latter statement does not really make sense in context: it is the collective consciousness of the zerg, so it is not bodiless because the zerg are its body. Those are clearly examples of writer sloppiness.

    This discussion focuses on the manual's inconsistencies. Using evidence from outside the manual... The lore is pretty much MADE of inconsistencies, so whenever people argue they rely on their own headcanon as evidence which differs from person to person and thus makes debates completely pointless since nobody can agree on what the facts even are. Try to avoid relying on the extended lore as much as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Unfortunately, that's how the manual sets it up. The Xel'Naga only had two creations that it deemed successful or warranting further experimentation (most likely with Khaydarin).
    That does not mean only those creations were compatible. There could easily be many compatible species but none of them are as advanced as the protoss or zerg.

    In the history chapter the Protoss believed that any species compatible with the crystals would be rare and powerful. There is no reason given for why they would believe this and it contradicts the previous statement that the xel'naga experimented on countless species (the implication is either absurd levels of self-delusion or that they encountered such species before without exception). The fact that they even debate whether this is case implies that species not manipulated by the xel'naga may be compatible with the crystals somehow (which further implies they encountered such species too; I don't know, random chance? Deliberately altering themselves? The exact explanation isn't important).

    Furthermore, and this is not really pertinent to the manual, this plot point is barely alluded to in the game which depicts the exact opposite: the protoss believe the zerg are not a threat at all, even though the zerg are handing their asses to them. The only reason for this is to artificially heighten the drama (because the writer forgot or didn't care what he previously wrote in the manual about the zerg being at a disadvantage) and make the conclave look bad (because the writer was too lazy to write his political opponents as anything other than caricatures, which also ignored what he wrote in the manual about the dark templar nearly causing the apocalypse).


    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Eh, I don't put much stock on the crystal in the briefing room being Khaydarin since it could be any other crystal really. I mean afterall, "magic crystals" exist in this universe, so why can't there be other sorts of "magic crystals" or why do "magic crystals" all have to be one type? Any Khaydarin crystals the Zerg may still possess at the time (if they even did at all) would have been from when they destroyed the Xel'Naga above Zerus. If the Zerg already had Khaydarin at their disposal and it was everywhere, they wouldn't have had to make a point of having to go harvest them on Aiur, would they?
    I agree with you that, purely in terms of logical world building, crystal technology may vary between different civilizations in the same way that our computer technology right now comes in a variety of hardware and software and firmware.

    The whole zerg campaign is absurd, but if I had to explain that one plot point then I would say that the zerg are trying to hack the psionic matrix by physically connecting to the lattice of crystals under Aiur's crust which serve as the central hub of the psionic matrix across the Protoss Empire. I don't know, perhaps the zerg are trying to implant some kind of Behemecoatyl in the crust to hack the lattice directly. It makes no sense that the zerg would need to harvest crystals from the crust to connect to the crystals in the crust. All they need to do is dig a huge hole and physically connect to the crystal lattice.

    The thing about harvesting a raw crystal and placing it on desecrated ground in order to summon the Overmind is a satanic ritual that has no place in a materialistic scifi universe. From an out-of-universe POV, these missions are filler because the writer seemingly could not come up with an interesting story involving the zerg (or only cared about Kerry, who is still not an interesting story).

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Not necessarily. The Protoss make up for their lack of manpower through their technological prowess - it even says so in the manual. They don't need much manpower when they can literally warp spacetime/be anywhere quickly/surveil anything and destroy things by flicking a switch on their OP machinery/tools/weapons.

    That's because the Zerg have to get through both the Protoss bulwark of technology first (which may not need much manpower to operate) and then the enhanced physical capabilities of the people behind such tech.
    While literally true, there are a few mitigating points.

    1) The protoss are so honor-bound and arrogant that they still send legions of infantry wielding melee weapons. They do not seem particularly concerned about the lives they sacrifice given their logically slow reproductive rate based on their lifespan. Logically speaking their death rate should be much higher than their birth rate. Even when they were retconned to a declining vestigial empire the writers stated they were dying out of old age and low fertility long before the zerg started killing them off; not only that, but their warriors were apparently dying off in droves fighting wars and rebels and so forth for centuries prior. In another show of canon inconsistency, this contradicts the teleport retcon that was introduced specifically to explain why they were not already extinct (the only rationale is that teleport interdiction is commonplace, which of course renders having personal teleporters largely pointless unless your enemy is polite enough not to use them which is absurd).

    2) At least one entire ethnic group out of who knows how many exist, the Furinax tribe, has been pigeonholed as military engineers and mechanics. Similar goes for the other tribes named in the manual. This is pretty absurd from a human perspective. Even our most vapid stereotypes of entire ethnic groups generally placed them in one or two entire industries (e.g. racist stereotypes of Indians working in tech support and food service) rather than such highly specific fields. That sort of thing is generally only found in specific regions, like Japanese morticians being treated as second-class citizens, not our entire species. Even so, this implies that they have a population large enough that entire ethnic groups may be pressured to pursue to highly specific professions across the at least many hundreds of worlds within their interstellar empire.

    3) Starcraft: Ghost's leaked content posited that protoss spawn in mass like amphibians, so at least at one point in time Blizzard didn't care about the "prolific" line in the manual or interpreted it very liberally. To be fair to Blizzard, which I usually am not, the line is extremely vague because the manual does not qualify it. Humans, relatively speaking, are not prolific compared to most other terrestrial species but our population exploded from roughly one billion to seven billion over a single century (roughly three or so generations) due to slight increases in the effectiveness of agriculture and medicine even though UNICEF estimates that half of all children live in poverty and a third of food produced globally is thrown away.

    4) If I was writing Starcraft as a serious military scifi universe, I would totally have the protoss using their tech to artificially boost their numbers whenever they please because I think writing them as idiots who don't understand their own technology is bad writing. I can accept the protoss not fully understanding the principles behind the technology they pilfer and reverse-engineer from the ruins of xel'naga and pre-Aeon protoss, but I find it absurd to believe that they cannot imagine the potential practical applications of their own technology such as replicating any device they encounter by using their shuttles' Star Trek-style transporters to make atomic-scale blueprints. IMO the protoss should be nigh-omnipotent and that is the sort of enemy the zerg should have to contend with, an enemy so powerful that the zerg had to spend millennia burning a path across the galaxy in order to find the fabled "determinant" despite the Overmind being a Singularity-level artificial intelligence that presents an existential threat to the entire universe.

    But I digress.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    The Confeds may not have been unified as a group in their dealings with other factions (as expected when it comes to Terrans). There may have been factional elements within that "supported" KMC and some that preferred conflict with them, each and all for their own, unknown reasons.
    The Confederacy is a corrupt plutocracy that thought an obviously invasive alien ecosystem would make for a great PR stunt (the wiki doesn't say that exact thing, but that's the general idea), so that suggestion is probably the least incompetent idea that occurs to them.

    But seriously, that is a great answer and exactly the sort of premise that would inform a political thriller novel.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    My point here is that even if you add in the protoss knowledge of the xel'naga experiments via the crystals, they didn't exactly know the SPECIFIC DETAILS about those experiments. I'm not even sure of they knew the xel'naga was trying to create the perfect lifeform and all that. You also have to remember that being compatible is only from the xel'naga POV, and therefore what you think should be compatible may not translate into just that as the xel'naga sees it.

    As for why the protoss believe crystal compatible species should be rare and powerful would depend on what they had experienced with the crystals. After all, Aiur has other species too. For all we know, other species got close to the crystals and ended up getting themselves killed or something, which led the protoss to believe that the crystals are powerful and that if you're not physically or psionically strong enough when you come in contact with them, it'll end in disaster.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Inconsistencies in the Starcraft 1 manual

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    That does not mean only those creations were compatible. There could easily be many compatible species but none of them are as advanced as the protoss or zerg.
    I suppose that it kinda depends on the extent of what that "compatability" entails and what that means. We don't have enough information either way to say one way or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    In the history chapter the Protoss believed that any species compatible with the crystals would be rare and powerful. There is no reason given for why they would believe this and it contradicts the previous statement that the xel'naga experimented on countless species (the implication is either absurd levels of self-delusion or that they encountered such species before without exception). The fact that they even debate whether this is case implies that species not manipulated by the xel'naga may be compatible with the crystals somehow (which further implies they encountered such species too; I don't know, random chance? Deliberately altering themselves? The exact explanation isn't important).
    That initial presumption from the Protoss about "crystal compatibility = rare and powerful" is probably due to them only having one reference point (ie: themselves) and seeing no evidence to the contrary in their explorations - prior to the arrival of Zerg that is. It's not that absurd to consider that they'd make such presumptions - we humans use similar reasoning (make presumptions based on info at the time that is) all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Furthermore, and this is not really pertinent to the manual, this plot point is barely alluded to in the game which depicts the exact opposite: the protoss believe the zerg are not a threat at all, even though the zerg are handing their asses to them. The only reason for this is to artificially heighten the drama (because the writer forgot or didn't care what he previously wrote in the manual about the zerg being at a disadvantage) and make the conclave look bad (because the writer was too lazy to write his political opponents as anything other than caricatures, which also ignored what he wrote in the manual about the dark templar nearly causing the apocalypse).
    But the Zerg were not really an obvious threat to the Protoss because the Protoss' initial tactics were seemingly working well against them. Things only really tilted toward the Zerg advantage because of the consequences arising from Tassadar deciding to switch things up. Sure, the Zerg probes reacted to the Khaydarin initially and that would've triggered and tested their belief that only powerful races can be compatible but they were effectively handling the Zerg from that point on (afterall, even when the Zerg invaded Aiur, the Conclave thought they were capably handling the Zerg well enough to send an expedition to find Tass). Seeing how this supposedly powerful race (being compatible with Khaydarin and all) were being effectively handled at first, they probably reevaluated their initial presumption that Khaydarin compatibility =/= powerful. Who knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The whole zerg campaign is absurd, but if I had to explain that one plot point then I would say that the zerg are trying to hack the psionic matrix by physically connecting to the lattice of crystals under Aiur's crust which serve as the central hub of the psionic matrix across the Protoss Empire. I don't know, perhaps the zerg are trying to implant some kind of Behemecoatyl in the crust to hack the lattice directly. It makes no sense that the zerg would need to harvest crystals from the crust to connect to the crystals in the crust. All they need to do is dig a huge hole and physically connect to the crystal lattice.

    The thing about harvesting a raw crystal and placing it on desecrated ground in order to summon the Overmind is a satanic ritual that has no place in a materialistic scifi universe. From an out-of-universe POV, these missions are filler because the writer seemingly could not come up with an interesting story involving the zerg (or only cared about Kerry, who is still not an interesting story)
    Aside from the obvious purpose of "getting Khaydarin" being artifice/plot device, there could be several Watsonian reasons why it needed to do this (along with why the Overmind becoming a physical manifestation was required). At the end of the day, Khaydarin is a "magic crystal with power/energy" so it's obviously going to be used to power something or other. That Khaydarin had been used by the Xel'Naga to facilitate their proto-genetic experimentation and the Overmind perceived it was essentially carrying on their work in its own way, one can only presume that it was going to be used to somehow help it achieve its goal of assimilating Protoss.

    Given this ultimate goal of the Overmind, one has to also presume that all its actions are in furtherance to achieving that goal. The physical manifestation of the Overmind was considered necessary toward achieving that goal - whether it be a required/practical/physical step toward actual Protoss assimilation or being a beacon to draw more Zerg from around the galaxy to the K sector or whatever. The specific detail/reason isn't important - it's more important narratively (and the implications that that carries) that the Overmind feels victory is within reach due to that successful action.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The protoss are so honor-bound and arrogant that they still send legions of infantry wielding melee weapons. They do not seem particularly concerned about the lives they sacrifice given their logically slow reproductive rate based on their lifespan. Logically speaking their death rate should be much higher than their birth rate. Even when they were retconned to a declining vestigial empire the writers stated they were dying out of old age and low fertility long before the zerg started killing them off; not only that, but their warriors were apparently dying off in droves fighting wars and rebels and so forth for centuries prior. In another show of canon inconsistency, this contradicts the teleport retcon that was introduced specifically to explain why they were not already extinct (the only rationale is that teleport interdiction is commonplace, which of course renders having personal teleporters largely pointless unless your enemy is polite enough not to use them which is absurd).
    One can really take this further by saying how ridiculous that Protoss even have ground troops at all/engage in planet surface melee, let alone sending actual living beings into armed conflict given their technological prowess allows them more practical and efficient methods. In a way, that they use such an archaic means of ground combat (direct face-to-face melee) is probably an indication of how out-of-touch they are in direct military engagements and how rare they may actually be used normally. Interesting food for thought...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    2) At least one entire ethnic group out of who knows how many exist, the Furinax tribe, has been pigeonholed as military engineers and mechanics. Similar goes for the other tribes named in the manual. This is pretty absurd from a human perspective. Even our most vapid stereotypes of entire ethnic groups generally placed them in one or two entire industries (e.g. racist stereotypes of Indians working in tech support and food service) rather than such highly specific fields. That sort of thing is generally only found in specific regions, like Japanese morticians being treated as second-class citizens, not our entire species. Even so, this implies that they have a population large enough that entire ethnic groups may be pressured to pursue to highly specific professions across the at least many hundreds of worlds within their interstellar empire.
    Tribes have less of an overt effect given the caste system and that there'd most likely be several tribal affiliations within each caste who are more or less well known/ have more or less expertise in a particular area. Those that associate with the Furinax tribe may still be a small number for all we know since it doesn't exclude the possibility of there being other tribes who are also military engineers and mechanics but are less renowned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    3) Starcraft: Ghost's leaked content posited that protoss spawn in mass like amphibians, so at least at one point in time Blizzard didn't care about the "prolific" line in the manual or interpreted it very liberally. To be fair to Blizzard, which I usually am not, the line is extremely vague because the manual does not qualify it. Humans, relatively speaking, are not prolific compared to most other terrestrial species but our population exploded from roughly one billion to seven billion over a single century
    Well, we are trying to make suppositions only on what the manual gives us right? Sure it's but just one word that was used only once, but it's there, so it must have some import for them to even state it, amirite? I'm paraphrasing here but I believe they even make a point that they use machines/tech to supplement their numbers in their description of the Reaver which makes you wonder why they'd even make such a point since such a description is applicable to Terrans as well (and even moreso given how the standard humans is relatively "weak" without our ingenuity and use of tools) but yet it's not mentioned for Terrans or it's an implied given for Terrans. This possibly implies the Protoss may have some hang-up with their numbers perhaps...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    4) If I was writing Starcraft as a serious military scifi universe, I would totally have the protoss using their tech to artificially boost their numbers whenever they please because I think writing them as idiots who don't understand their own technology is bad writing.
    If you wrote Sc seriously, there wouldn't be much of a 3-way conflict at all since the Protoss would realistically roflstomp anyone in their way. The issue with the Protoss is that they're technically too powerful on a fundamental/conceptual level. Short of changing that, they kind of have to be "idiotic" for a protracted three-way war with comparatively inferior opponents to even exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    The Confederacy is a corrupt plutocracy that thought an obviously invasive alien ecosystem would make for a great PR stunt (the wiki doesn't say that exact thing, but that's the general idea), so that suggestion is probably the least incompetent idea that occurs to them.
    It's kinda unclear how much the Confeds really know about the Zerg or whether they really did have nefarious plan for the Zerg since all we really know is their past history of dealing harshly with opposition and then later, Mengsk's biased rhetoric (albeit compelling and seemingly reasonable at the time) to form our opinions on.

    Duke is the only insight into how the Confeds operate and he is surprisingly ignorant, incapable of handling the situation at hand and pliable to Mengks' arguments despite supposedly being a high-ranked military leader and that the Zerg were supposedly intended to be used as a military weapon. You'd think the Confeds would have a tighter reign on things, be more knowledgeable/transparent within their own network and be more prepared for the Zerg if we're to presume they'd been concocting this plan from way before the events of Rebel Yell happen. This is not to excuse their past atrocities or say they're completely innocent mind you, but it seems the Confeds, as represented by Duke, are just blindly poking around in the dark.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


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