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Thread: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

  1. #21

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Norfindel View Post
    I think what we see here, is a futile attempt to make the characters look better by making known characters give them more credit than they really deserve. There are light-years of difference between how Kerrigan was shown in SC1, and how she supposedly fooled the Protoss around and even controlled Raszagal somehow. That needed a good explanation. Artanis is introduced in BW, and somehow must became one of the main characters, as they went a little trigger-happy on the previous characters. They could have used Fenix instead, he was already introduced.
    If Artanis' development as a character had been better handled, he could have fit well with the role that was apparently destined for him. He is young and unburdened by the prejudices of older Khalai or Nerazim, he idealistic and honourable, he has great respect for the new teachings of Tassadar and he is dedicated to the well being of his people. All that he needed was to grow in maturity and confidence and earn the respect of his peers, and he could have become the character the writers wanted him to be, which would have vindicated his existence as a new character. Fenix, after all, is very much a soldier, while he might lead other Protoss in battle, he does so from the front lines. I doubt he would have made an ideal leader for the Protoss. But I do agree with you that because of the failures in Artanis' development, he does fill a role closer to a Fenix substitute than the individual, memorable character we needed him to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by broodmywarcraft View Post
    Brood War had its problems, hell, you showed me problems I didn't realize until I read them. But I heavily disagree that it's the worst installment. For all its problems, its execution was LIGHT YEARS better than SC2.
    That may well be. As the title says, this is no more than my own thoughts and impressions on the storyline. I'll get to Wings of Liberty, and its own strengths and failings in time.

  2. #22

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by broodmywarcraft View Post
    For all its problems, its execution was LIGHT YEARS better than SC2.
    That's debatable.

    Granted, it's storyline was a bit more cohesive, but that was pretty much the only thing it had over SC2 imho.

    WOL's main flaw was the disjointed nature of the campaign. Nicol Bolas I believe aptly described it as a 'mishmash of disconnected plot threads leading to a non-ending.' That being said, I thought the various plot threads were reasonably well scripted and acted; at least on the same level as SC1.

    Broodwar on the other hand, as I said was more cohesive overall, but that's simply the result of a linear, rail driven, and often times contrived and nonsensical mission progression. I'd even go on to say that 'character derailment' and 'plot-induced stupidity' were it's defining characteristic; especially so in the Protoss and Terran campaigns.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Thank you, very interesting once again. Can't wait to read the rest parts

  4. #24
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    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    That is some great detail here. I'm itching for updates

  5. #25

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Just wondering when you think the next part of the critique will be. These are really interesting reads.

  6. #26

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Should be soon. I've been a bit busier lately, but I finished the campaign yesterday and have started working on the writing.

  7. #27
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    Just don't listen to our appeals and don't hurry please, it's ok Take as much time as you need

  8. #28

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    The Iron Fist
    Hidden Content:
    Storyline

    It occurs to me that the campaigns in Brood War follow the same order they did in StarCraft. Not racially, of course, but thematically. Rebel Yell was largely self-contained, aside from producing the Queen of Blades, few of the events within would impact the rest of the game’s story. Likewise, The Stand has, if anything, even fewer repercussions, as those Protoss will not be seen again until the very end of the game, nor will any of the events that took place within the campaign affect the overall storyline of Brood War. This is not to say that they are equal in merit however – while Rebel Yell did not have much impact on the war between the Zerg and the Protoss that was the core of the first game’s story, it did help define our understanding of the setting through the development of the Terran, Zerg and Protoss factions that participated in it and also served to develop and produce Sarah Kerrigan and James Raynor, characters that would offer significant support to the Zerg and Protoss respectively, not to mention their own worthy contributions to the story. The campaign also has important effects on subsequent games in the setting, as well as having consistently strong missions storywise, every one of the ten missions contributing to the plot, setting or character development. The Stand lacked most of these things, which explains why my opinion of the two campaigns diverged so strongly.

    The Iron Fist, like Overmind, introduces their respective games’ primary antagonists, the United Earth Directorate and the Zerg Swarm. In these campaigns, we help the antagonists set themselves up to be on the very brink of total victory, and in the third campaign – Queen of Blades and The Fall – we undo those victories to various degrees and triumph over the antagonists. In StarCraft, while the Overmind is destroyed, the Zerg invasion has completely devastated Aiur, and Kerrigan, whom we spent most of Overmind developing and protecting, is still alive, so it’s not as if everything that was done in that campaign was lost. There is essentially nothing that happens in The Iron Fist that isn’t undone before the end of Brood War, however.

    One has to wonder why the United Earth Directorate was introduced to the setting. One reason was likely to force Terrans to have greater interaction with the other races, but if so it was largely a failure. While the UED does appear frequently in Queen of Blades, it only appears once in The Stand, and the Terran campaign itself is surprisingly similar in distribution to Rebel Yell: 5 missions involve Terran versus Terran in both – and with The Iron Fist only having 8 missions total, that’s a greater proportion than the campaign that was expressly about a Terran revolution – a single mission involves fighting the Protoss, and in either case that mission also includes Zerg that end up overrunning you. Finally, there are 5 missions against the Zerg in Rebel Yell (not counting the five Zerglings in The Jacobs Installation) and 4 in The Iron Fist, so surprisingly, the United Earth Directorate campaign involves fighting aliens less than the Sons of Korhal campaign. What’s more bizarre, is that if involving Terrans in the greater conflict was the goal, then the present situation already allows for it. The Terrans are the only race to emerge from StarCraft as strong, if not stronger, than they entered it. With the Zerg confused by the loss of the Overmind and divided between Kerrigan and the Cerebrates, and the Protoss broken and reeling, circumstances seem ideal for Emperor Mengsk to score political points and rally the Terran population by taking the fight to the aliens and keeping them from regaining their strength. Terran versus Terran conflict would also be easily available through the Umojan Protectorate or Kel-Morian Combine, factions that have been mentioned frequently as major factors in the Terran balance of power, but have never been developed or even, aside from the one unimportant appearance of the Kel-Morian Combine in Queen of Blades, even participated in the story thus far. When such groups are hardly even sketched out, it seems a bit overeager to introduce a whole new Terran faction to the game.

    There’s a redundancy about the UED too. The characters don’t really feel different than the might have had they been Dominion officers instead. Both are militaristic fascist organisations with ambitions of military expansion, imperialism, aggrandisement of humanity, and so forth. As you will recall, Rebel Yell ended on a note of futility, after spending most of the campaign fighting against the Confederacy only to install the equally corrupt Dominion. In The Iron Fist we experience something similar, though in this case it seems unlikely to have been deliberate – we spend five out of eight missions in The Iron Fist overthrowing Mengsk, which seems silly, since nothing that the UED does is different from what the Dominion’s objectives might credibly have been, given the opportunity. If the campaign had instead focused on one of the existing Terran factions, then those five missions could have been used to develop actual Terran politics or alien conflict instead. As it is, a story that sounds like it should be about imposing human authority over extraterrestrial life in the Koprulu Sector only begins that angle in To Chain the Beast, the very last mission of the campaign, or at best halfway through Patriot’s Blood.

    The introduction of the United Earth Directorate brings about a mess of confusion. For one thing, how did they know anything of what occurred in the Sector? They needed something or someone capable of transmitting that information. In the former case, that would imply that at the time the supercarriers were sent from Earth, the UPL was able – and willing – to send in mechanised drones with battery life of centuries and an artificial intelligence capable of adapting to never before chartered environments independent of the supercomputer ATLAS (which even the other three supercarriers didn’t have), equipped with a communication system capable of transmitting data to Earth – with warp drives far more powerful than the supercarriers, since the data has to reach Earth in ridiculous short times even though the supercarriers themselves took 30 years to reach their destination at warp speed – and still be small enough to evade detection, or have a cloaking system (again, with enough energy to remain functional for centuries). That doesn’t sound like antiquated Terran tech, that sounds like a next-generation Protoss Observer.

    The alternative, that the information was provided by human spies has its own problems. For starters, why would the UPL put spies in a group of prisoners slated for execution in “Project Purification”, or in a group of prisoners sent to colonise Gantris VI – a planet that was approximately one year’s warp travel from Earth? Surely a colony on Gantris VI would have been well within the UPL’s ability to monitor without needing to send in loyal agents. Unless we want to venture into the possibility that the UPL was responsible for ATLAS’s malfunction and the Terrans being sent across the galaxy as part of some overly complicated conspiracy, but even then one has to wonder who would be loyal enough to embark on this no-return voyage. Which brings us to my next point – even if there were UPL spies aboard the supercarriers, it seems unlikely that they would remain loyal for long to that distant power that had essentially abandoned them to die on the other side of the galaxy. More than that, the loyalty of those spies is irrelevant, since it would be multiple generations before the kind of warp technology necessary to communicate with Earth would become available. It was over sixty years before the Terrans were even able to develop sub-light space travel, after all. So the UPL would need not only stupidly loyal spies, but stupidly loyal spy families. That’s a lot of loyalty to expect from people who are getting all of absolutely nothing out of it.

    And where are those spies, anyway? The UED Expeditionary Fleet was sent in response to the second Overmind. When did the UED learn of that? Even the Protoss only learn about it when they are directly informed by a powerful Zerg insider. Not only am I unaware of any Terran group who would know about the second Overmind, it is questionable whether any Terran group outside of Raynor’s Raiders knows about the first Overmind. After all, it only manifested itself on that weird holy ground and khaydarin crystal combination on Aiur, and it dies there at the end of The Fall. Since it never communicated with anyone outside the Swarm, its unlikely any Terran group learned about it outside the Raiders, at least until the latter half of Brood War. And the UED doesn’t have any spies among Raynor’s men either, as we can certainly determine from their curious lack of knowledge about James Raynor (as we can tell by DuGalle’s ignorance of Raynor’s identity even after the “rebel command ship Hyperion” is identified in Emperor’s Fall) or Sarah Kerrigan (this time in To Chain the Beast). Anyone with insider information from Raynor’s crew would know about these two, and at the very least information regarding the Queen of Blades would have been considered important to the UED. On the other hand, they apparently know about “the devastated Protoss homeworld of Aiur”, which is impossible since we’ve just established the UED has no spies among Raynor’s men and that the “secret location of Aiur” was a significant plot point in StarCraft. The knowledge available to the UED is haphazard and incoherent, which is truly annoying, but consistent with their introduction as a retcon.

    Oh, and they’d have to be ridiculously efficient too. I’m assuming that the transition between the United Powers League and United Earth Directorate and inclusion of multiple new countries into it happened soon after the aliens first appeared, but given that we are expressly told that the Expeditionary Fleet was sent in reaction to the second Overmind, then they had to start their preparations sometime between the first Overmind’s death in late July and their arrival on Braxis in September. Of course, that’s being optimistic, since I have no idea when the new Overmind was born, nor when the UED learned of it. We – and the Protoss on Shakuras who were informed directly by Infested Kerrigan – only learn of it before setting out for Braxis. By the time we leave Braxis, the UED is already there and has blockaded the planet. We must assume that the UED learned about the second Overmind before the Protoss then. Even if we assume that the UED knew about the second Overmind from the moment the first one died, which is practically impossible since Daggoth himself was on Aiur at the time, that still leaves us with at the very most four months for the UED to receive the information, plan their invasion of the Koprulu Sector, amass and train an Expeditionary Fleet powerful enough to fulfill those objectives – and this can’t have been a simple task, this force would have to be powerful enough to handle threats the likes of which the UED never had to face in its home sector, and yet it couldn’t deplete its active army, which would still be needed to defend the regime from threats at home – devise an Overmind-controlling drug (more on this later) and then travel there. It puts a different perspective on the Adjutant’s references to the “long voyage from Earth” and “long cold sleep” too. A months-long or weeks-long voyage is certainly nothing to scoff at, but neither is it the end of the world.

    For all that, I actually enjoyed The Iron Fist. A large part of that is the dynamics between DuGalle, Stukov and Duran, but there is also a return to more significant missions after the horrible plot of The Stand. While I don’t find that overthrowing the Terran Dominion was an especially interesting plot, it is an important objective for the UED to maintain control over the Sector – though one wonders why they didn’t bother conquering the Morian and Umojan worlds too – and the missions we are given help progress that plot in credible and useful ways. With the exception of Emperor’s Flight which is really no more than an extension of Emperor’s Fall, there is actual progression toward your goal, even though Mengsk does end up escaping. That somewhat undercuts the satisfaction of getting this far, since five of the six previous missions had the ultimate goal of his execution. Still, the invasion of Char makes for a satisfactory climax (and it was obviously reused in Wings of Liberty) and Kerrigan’s declaration of war is an appropriate conclusion for the campaign and set up for the final arc.

    The Psi Disrupter too makes for an acceptable plot device, for now. While it does, like the Xel’Naga Temple in The Stand, serve as a device to allow you to fulfill your objectives without needing to outthink or outfight your enemies directly, its main purpose in the story is to serve as the source of conflict between the campaign’s three characters, culminating in Stukov’s death and Duran’s betrayal in Patriot’s Blood, which like the Dark Templar’s Void energies in The Fall incline me to be lenient toward it. If the plot device allows the development of character and story rather than propping up an otherwise empty plot (as was the case in The Stand) it is far more tolerable. Patriot’s Blood is also a great mood setter. In a way, it plays out much like The Insurgent should have. Here the lack of communication makes sense – Stukov knows there’s no point in speaking with Duran, and DuGalle won’t initiate contact because he would lose the element of surprise. It also works because there is a solid element – the Psi Disrupter – to provide concrete basis to the accusation of treason. Besides, Samir Duran is a much better manipulator than Kerrigan has ever proven to be, having already started set the seeds for this moment in Ruins of Tarsonis. Alexei’s last words are an appeal to redemption, a gripping demand for vindication and affirmation of his loyalty, driving home your error. Aldaris, on the other hand, was contemptuous and implied that those attacking him were idiots, which while I might agree with, certainly doesn’t endear him to us. And Duran immediately vanishes instead of gloating about how he’s used everyone until DuGalle tells him to “begone from this Psi Diusrupter. You are no longer welcome here.” I’m pretty sure DuGalle would have had Duran killed if he could.

    The Disrupter does have significant problems though. Notably, it’s Terran technology. I mentioned back when dealing with Rebel Yell that the Psi Emitters were such clever devices – a simple yet effective application of the observable consequences of the Overmind’s desires in order to create a decoy or lure. The Psi Disrupter is no such mechanism. If it were so simple to disrupt the Swarm’s communications that Confederate scientists were able to build a device to do so from scratch in about a year, one has to wonder why no other Terran faction has done so in the four years between Brood War and Wings of Liberty. Or, for that matter, why the Protoss haven’t. You would think that for such a technologically advanced species, replicating the Psi Disrupter would be easily done after having already seen the Confederate one in effect. Ancient Xel’Naga devices at least have the benefit of being “so advanced it’s magic” technology that prevents easy replication.

    The invasion of Char may be a suitable climax for the campaign, however there was one monumentally atrocious element to it: the United Earth Directorate uses drugs to mind control the eternal will of the Swarm. I’ve heard some pretty crazy conspiracy theories about pharmaceutical corporations, but enslaving the Zerg Swarm is pretty insane by any standards. It’s hard to overstate how devastating this is for this story and that of the original StarCraft. The Overmind, after all, is effectively an anthropomorphisation of the Zerg Swarm, an attribution of recognisable characteristics and singular will to a combined essence of a species of countless billions. The Overmind is not a racial leader like Arcturus Mengsk or Raszagal, it is not an individual, it is the entire Zerg race, and to so summarily overcome it reflects poorly on the entirety of the Swarm. It also renders much of The Fall preposterous, not to mention demeaning Tassadar’s sacrifice. It really wasn’t necessary to find the Dark Templar and bring them back to Aiur, because the Void energies aren’t the only thing that can harm the Overmind – so can drugs. Tassadar’s death becomes meaningless because killing the Overmind achieved nothing, the Zerg simply created a new one. Really, had the Protoss had better pharmaceutical scientists among the Khalai, the entire thing might have been averted. What was the Overmind even doing on Char, physically incarnate? I mentioned this in The Stand, but what happened to that whole Xel’Naga holy ground thing from the end of Overmind?

    Again, human pharmaceutical companies have the power to enslave the eternal will of the Swarm. I can’t get over how this is canon lore. I imagine it can’t be a coincidence that starting with Brood War, the Zerg lose any personality or identity they ever had. But more on that in the Zerg campaign itself.

    Characters

    Alexei Stukov

    The United Earth Directorate officers are certainly selected for competence. Unlike Edmund Duke, there is never any doubt that Stukov and DuGalle are effective at what they do. They also benefit from being manipulated by Duran rather than Kerrigan, meaning that they dodge the character idiocy that is so prevalent in Brood War. Alexei strikes me as cool but quick-witted, he is clearly the more open-minded of the two officers, or perhaps the most adventurous. In the Psi Disrupter, for example, he sees and opportunity where DuGalle sees a threat. He is more willing to trust Samir Duran when they first recruit him, but he is also the first to realise that Duran’s loyalties are not all that they could be. He also goes against DuGalle’s orders regarding the Disrupter and returns to Braxis without informing the Admiral.

    Stukov and DuGalle represent something of a first for characters in this series: a pair of linked characters. Other characters link up through the development of the story, but Stukov and DuGalle are introduced as being close friends already, with the implication of a long and complex background to their friendship. They are neither of them young, they have had long lives before they even entered the story. DuGalle obviously trusts Stukov implicitly, as he tells Duran in Patriot’s Blood, and yet… in The Dylarian Shipyards, Gerard mentions how Alexei knows about his intolerance for traitors, and Alexei replies “only too well”. A curious choice of words, implying that Stukov has personally suffered from DuGalle’s perspective on treason. Was Stukov a traitor at one time? It seems unlikely, either that the UED would trust a turncoat with such a critical endeavour, or that DuGalle would grow so close to him, but these are exactly the kinds of unique events that might make such friendships so interesting. There’s a definite tension between the two in Brood War’s introductory cinematic, too. One that isn’t repeated anywhere in The Iron Fist, the closest being DuGalle’s curt dismissal of Stukov’s objections in Ruins of Tarsonis. On the other hand, a more probably explanation is simply that Alexei and Gerard have disagreed on this topic before, likely repeatedly. Stukov may be more willing to use traitors and see great interest in their value, whereas DuGalle would see them as a liability, a situation that mirrors their views on the Psi Disrupter. If so, then in this case Gerard was right – Duran certainly proved to be untrustworthy. Friends who have known each other for long tend to know what subjects will cause disagreement or discomfort, this may be the reason for the tension in the opening cinematic too. It’s not that DuGalle didn’t trust Stukov, he simply knew that this particular element would be something Alexei might be reluctant to go through with.

    Alexei seems to give out most of the orders on the field. He was also the one to intercept the Protoss in The Battle of Braxis. I think this is meant to imply that like the player character, he has a more tactically focused role in the Fleet, while DuGalle handles the strategy and logistics. This also fits in with what we’ve observed of their personalities: Alexei reacts fast and well, and is quick to seize opportunities, while Gerard is cautious and meticulous. Obviously, this would make Kerrigan regard Alexei as more of a threat as she has no grasp of subtlety whatsoever, being herself closer to Alexei’s methods.

    Alexei also gets flustered. There is an element of fear when he speaks of the Zerg on Aiur in Emperor’s Flight, in contrast to Gerard’s calm and collected rationale. He also gets irate with Duran both in Ruins of Tarsonis and at the end of Emperor’s Flight, which lead him to commit the grave mistake of running off to Braxis without warning his friend. This error gets exploited by Duran and leads to his death.

    One of the Ghosts in Ruins of Tarsonis refers to him as Admiral Stukov again. I still don’t get it, maybe it’s something quite simple, and vice-admirals are actually referred to as admirals in unofficial shorthand?

    Arcturus Mengsk

    Arcturus Mengsk reacts rather curiously to his defeat in Emperor’s Fall. Not only does he sound quite calm about the whole thing, which is unlike his previous or subsequent appearances. Maybe he really was planning his return to power, his threat to DuGalle does seem to contain that note of bragging that one would expect from him. His polite address to Admiral DuGalle is again his conceit of appearing suave and elegant, but there’s really no excuse for his surprise at being told he would be executed. This man is supposed to be brilliant, but he hasn’t even considered the possibility that he might be executed?

    Gerard DuGalle

    DuGalle is, like Stukov, an excellent character and officer. He seems more methodical than Stukov, slow and inexorable, but still exceptionally efficient at getting his way and capable of adapting to changing circumstances. He has an air of confidence and authority, and when he speaks others fall silent. He gives orders with the certainty that they will be carried out. We’ve already discussed him a bit, how he contrasts with Alexei and what might lurk in their past, there’s no need to retread that ground.

    While it is Alexei who addresses the Protoss in the Battle of Braxis and General Duke in The Dylarian Shipyards, DuGalle is the one to speak to Arcturus Mengsk and Kerrigan. While in the latter case Stukov is dead, it seems that DuGalle had something of a personal interest in Mengsk which drove him to meet the man personally. Perhaps he was impressed with the efficiency of Mengsk’s overthrow of the Confederacy, he certainly speaks to him in a very complimentary fashion, which doesn’t seem to be for appearances’ sake like Mengs’s own attitude. After all, there was really no need for DuGalle to speak with Mengsk at all. It seems that Arcturus fails in the Admiral’s expectations though when all he has to answer to the statement of his impending execution is some panicked and ludicrous threat.

    He’s pretty reasonable, and always calm about what his next move will be. Think about Patriot’s Blood when he has been manipulated into killing his best friend and sabotaging his own mission. Most other Terran characters would be raging. Raynor would be blaming everyone including himself, Mengsk would be furious at being tricked, Stukov would be yelling at Duran, but Gerard DuGalle has processed all this and has arrived at his new plan: find Duran, kill him. And seconds later he has to change priorities and save the Psi Disrupter, and he just switches over smoothly. If anybody, he resembles General Duke who reacts so dismissively whatever the situation is, but DuGalle is far more cautious, and far more cunning.

    This said, I have to wonder at his reasoning for wanting the Psi Disrupter destroyed. True, it could be disastrous to their plans of controlling the Swarm if it fell into the hands of Arcturus Mengsk, but since their established order of engagement appears to be first the Dominion, then the Zerg, and finally the Protoss, one has to wonder how it would really play a part. After all, according to this plan Arcturus was going to be dead before they even tackled the Zerg, so there was no chance whatsoever of Mengsk disrupting the UED control over the Swarm.

    Likewise, if the fact that Alexei did not destroy the Psi Disrupter is incontrovertible evidence that Stukov is a traitor and must be executed, then shouldn’t he have executed Duran as well? Duran did move his troops out of position on Aiur, that’s clearly a violation of orders as well, no matter that Duran feigned not to hear Stukov’s orders to return to the position that he had already been ordered to be in.

    James Raynor

    There’s not much to say about Raynor’s appearance in Emperor’s Fall. For someone working with Kerrigan and saving Arcturus Mengsk, he doesn’t give much sign of the history between them, really. It’s a bit disappointing, I must admit. A reunion between Raynor and Mengsk should’ve had much more fireworks.

    Beside, why is Raynor saving Mengsk anyway? Sure, Kerrigan told him to, but she didn’t give a reason why. It’s not like Raynor to just do whatever it is Kerrigan asks him, it is well within character for him to make stupid decisions in an attempt to save her, but this is not the same thing at all. Alas, I’m afraid there will be no answer to this question.

    Samir Duran

    Samir Duran plays the role of Kerrigan’s hand in this campaign, and as a cunning manipulator, he fares much better than she did. For starters, he at least gives a credible reason for joining the UED Expeditionary Fleet. But mostly, he we can see him actively sabotage the UED’s efforts at numerous occasions. He attempts to make himself invaluable by providing insight into the Dominion’s methods and secrets, he tries to divide the highest officers, he gives hindering counsel and ultimately, he sabotages the mission to capture Mengsk, murders Stukov, and sets the Zerg loose on the Disrupter.

    Importantly, his manipulations rely on actual faults within his victims. You can tell when he wants to get something done by his suddenly far more humble tone and manner. He tries to play on Alexei’s pride by insinuating that he doubts his fleet’s capacity, but it doesn’t work. However, you can be sure that when he saw that Alexei had personally dispatched Ghosts to handle the Disrupter’s disassembly, he had strong suspicions about Alexei’s real objective – which is why he let him do it. It’s likely also why he returned to the Fleet after his sabotage on Aiur – with Alexei gone, he knew he finally had an opportunity to turn the UED against itself. Obviously if Stukov had remained, it would have been quite foolish to return, as Alexei was not at all fooled by Duran’s “equipment malfunction” charade and the consequences would likely have been disastrous for Duran.

    I wonder about the Zerg Broods on Tarsonis being incapacitated by destroying their Hives. That doesn’t seem to fit with any existing Zerg command structure. Since Tarsonis serves as a base for Kerrigan, and Duran himself serves her, I wonder if the whole thing wasn’t planned between the two of them to make Duran appear more valuable to the UED?

    One has to wonder about Duran’s origins, and about the Confederate resistance he commanded, but that ventures close to pure speculation. It’s interesting to wonder how long ago Duran started preparing his backstory to deceive not only the UED, but Kerrigan as well. How could Duran have known about the UED’s arrival? Even if he was contacted by Kerrigan after her encounter with the Fleet in The Battle of Braxis, that leaves very little time for Duran to set himself up. What was Duran and his group really set up to accomplish?

    There is very little I can say about Duran, it is after all one of his core character traits to remain mysterious.

    Sarah Kerrigan

    Kerrigan appears only briefly at the very end of the campaign, to set up the conflict between her and the UED that would drive the next campaign. She’s reverted to her brash, overconfident, taunting personality which, given how pathetic her scheming side turned out to be, is very much appreciated. She’s just being villainous and claiming that she’s going to kick everybody’s arses and that she owns thing. Again, she talks a big deal, it’s really important for her to have her enemies know how powerful she is, consistent with her adolescent, insecure personality. Her parting taunt – about DuGalle murdering Stukov – is particularly delightful though, she’s at least improved in that respect from simply calling her enemies cowards.

  9. #29

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    I like this one. Your analysis of DuGalle is a refreshing change from the usual 'He's a complete moron' view that everyone seems to take.

  10. #30

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticTemplar View Post
    The Iron Fist
    And where are those spies, anyway? The UED Expeditionary Fleet was sent in response to the second Overmind. When did the UED learn of that?
    Just my opinion, but:

    1) Until Tarsonis fell, the UED was simply getting information from ATLAS. Possibly the Confederacy learned of the Overmind before Tarsonis fell (and didn't mention it, as taking out the Overmind was basically impossible at that time).
    2) The UED might not have known about the Second Overmind. They might have mistook it for the first.

    The knowledge available to the UED is haphazard and incoherent, which is truly annoying, but consistent with their introduction as a retcon.
    I got the impression Blizzard was ham-handed there.

    The Overmind is not a racial leader like Arcturus Mengsk or Raszagal, it is not an individual, it is the entire Zerg race, and to so summarily overcome it reflects poorly on the entirety of the Swarm.

    It also renders much of The Fall preposterous, not to mention demeaning Tassadar’s sacrifice.
    I disagree somewhat with this. The Second Overmind was not the First Overmind. It was never incorporeal. It was never mature. It never "spoke". It used antiquated tactics, enabling Kerrigan to kick its butt.

    If it weren't for the UED, there would have been no real reason (before Wings of Liberty, that is) to cheer for Kerrigan over Overmind the Second. However, once the UED captured it, Kerrigan had to win, or the UED would conquer the galaxy with its enslaved zerg. The UED had already demonstrated their ruthlessness, and the manual even says they wanted to crush the protoss.

    Kerrigan didn't just win, she won in a manner the Second Overmind could never have done. Unlike the First Overmind, she was a Magnificent Bastard. This even let us know she learned her lesson after beat by Tassadar (or the entire Queen of Blades novel). Of course this has the downside of giving her a human-style victory.

    One of the Ghosts in Ruins of Tarsonis refers to him as Admiral Stukov again. I still don’t get it, maybe it’s something quite simple, and vice-admirals are actually referred to as admirals in unofficial shorthand?
    Shortly... yes. In real life, a lieutenant colonel is usually called "Colonel" (unless someone wants to belittle them), a major general is usually just called "General" and a vice admiral is usually called "Admiral".

    Arcturus Mengsk

    Arcturus Mengsk reacts rather curiously to his defeat in Emperor’s Fall. Not only does he sound quite calm about the whole thing, which is unlike his previous or subsequent appearances. Maybe he really was planning his return to power, his threat to DuGalle does seem to contain that note of bragging that one would expect from him. His polite address to Admiral DuGalle is again his conceit of appearing suave and elegant, but there’s really no excuse for his surprise at being told he would be executed. This man is supposed to be brilliant, but he hasn’t even considered the possibility that he might be executed?
    I'm more interested in his reactions being the prisoners of both Kerrigan and Raynor, two people he feels betrayed him. It's bad because Raynor rejected him and is now on top, and it's worse because he made Kerrigan. He made her into a super-powered zerg while trying to kill her, and despite the power-up, she still hates him.

    Beside, why is Raynor saving Mengsk anyway? Sure, Kerrigan told him to, but she didn’t give a reason why. It’s not like Raynor to just do whatever it is Kerrigan asks him, it is well within character for him to make stupid decisions in an attempt to save her, but this is not the same thing at all. Alas, I’m afraid there will be no answer to this question.
    I think he did do so just because of Kerrigan. He was still in love with her (until True Colors) and blames her infestation for turning her "evil". However, in True Colors, now that he knows she's not under anyone's control, she still killed Fenix. (Of course, One Million Is a Statistic. Why didn't he get mad at her for infesting terrans on Moria?)

    I wonder about the Zerg Broods on Tarsonis being incapacitated by destroying their Hives. That doesn’t seem to fit with any existing Zerg command structure. Since Tarsonis serves as a base for Kerrigan, and Duran himself serves her, I wonder if the whole thing wasn’t planned between the two of them to make Duran appear more valuable to the UED?
    I can't believe I never thought of that. It is like Kerrigan to sacrifice pawns for the greater evil.

    One has to wonder about Duran’s origins, and about the Confederate resistance he commanded, but that ventures close to pure speculation. It’s interesting to wonder how long ago Duran started preparing his backstory to deceive not only the UED, but Kerrigan as well. How could Duran have known about the UED’s arrival? Even if he was contacted by Kerrigan after her encounter with the Fleet in The Battle of Braxis, that leaves very little time for Duran to set himself up. What was Duran and his group really set up to accomplish?
    Read I, Mengsk. We find that he was posing as a regular terran (or was one!) very shortly before making contact with the UED. Apparently he was on Tarsonis and barely escaped. Just my opinion, but I think he introduced himself as a terran infested under the First Overmind's control and "answered her call" during the civil war (when zerg had to make a "choice" of sorts). So it seems he wanted to kill Arcturus Mengsk for whatever reason in I, Mengsk, but it's possible that whole thing was a charade. (If Kerrigan knew he wanted Mengsk dead for personal reasons, that would make recruiting him more attractive.) And then he could have just lucked out with the UED.

    He said so himself; he saw a powerful force working against the Dominion. Perhaps he first intended to strike a secret (literally) alliance between the zerg and the UED, guiding them vs Mengsk. Then he finds out they want the zerg gone too, so he starts sabotaging them. (The hybrids would eventually take over the Swarm and use them to kill the other races. Until that point in time, the zerg had to be preserved.)
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    "Do you hear them whispering from the stars? The galaxy will burn with their coming."

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