• Newsletters
  • Submit News
  • SCLegacy RSS
 
Loading...

lorepanel.jpg

For the StarCraft Legacy team, the lore panel was definitely the highlight of BlizzCon Day II. Last year, at the lore panel, we learned quite a bit about the development of the story. This year, the presentation was a bit shorter, which left more time for questions. The following is the very best of the article truncated and extrapolated by the SC:L team for your use.

The BlizzCon 2008 StarCraft II Lore Panel was presented by Chris Metzen, Blizzard's Vice President of Creative Development, and Andy Chambers, lead writer for StarCraft II.

014.jpg

015.jpg

break.png

The panel began with an outline of some of the new characters:

Dr. Ariel Hanson – This character will be used to show a colonist’s point of view. Dr. Hanson is a standard colonist that needs to evacuate. She’s an ordinary person, not a hard-bitten mercenary, who reflects basic humanity - and romantic interest - because we all know how good Jim's track record is with that. She joins the crew after you save her people. The premise is that there is going to be a Zerg invasion - all good stories start with a Zerg invasion.

025.jpg

Rory Swann – The shop-floor man – takes care of the nuts and bolts inner-working of the ship. Swann was one of those characters who practically wrote himself. He’s the stereotypical industrial, New York accent, big uncle figure, union-worker guy. Swann is the Hyperion Armorer. Originally a Kel-Morian, he led a miners revolt that didn't go so well for him as he lost an arm. Raynor however pulled his ass out of the fire.

026.jpg

027.jpg

Gabriel Tosh – He’s the Jamaican, piratical sort of character with a savage, black ops look that ties in to the Ghost mythology. His back-story connects to the manga titles, novels and he has a connection to Nova. Keith R.A. DeCandido will be dealing with him in the Ghost trilogy. Tosh is like the Boba Fett character for this storyline. Where Dr. Hanson appeals to Raynor’s good side, Tosh appeals to Raynor's dark side. Whether you want to deal with him or not is up to you however. In short, he’s a whacked-out voodoo quasi Ross Safari type dude.

029.jpg

030.jpg

031.jpg

Tychus Findlay – Tychus is the Marine sergeant who walks around the ship all the time with his suit on. His back-story includes an association with Raynor - goes back to Raynor's history before StarCraft. They were old buddies; Tychus went to jail and Raynor went off to be a freedom fighter. It’s the first time in 14 years that they've seen each other - thick as thieves. Tychus represents what Raynor might have become if he had made other choices. Raynor is trying to keep the fuel in the revolution, but guys like Tosh and Tychus lead him towards a different path; Raynor’s choices are to either be a gung-ho revolutionary or a survivor in a ever darkening world.

033.jpg

035.jpg

036.jpg

Matt Horner – The "Jiminy Cricket of the storyline", Horner is the captain of the Hyperion with a career military, by-the-book kind of vibe. He believes in Jim Raynor more than Raynor believes in himself. Horner tries to keeps Raynor on the straight and narrow path - getting rid of Mengsk because he is a tyrant. When creating Matt's character gestapo, fascist uniforms with the hard-edged look were used as references (ironically Matt is fighting against the Dominion). Blizzard wanted to differentiate between the other non-military type figures in the storyline so that Horner didn't come across as a baby as he’s a fairly young guy in his early 20s.

037.jpg

038.jpg

039.jpg

Valerian Mengsk – There is too much bad blood between Arcturus and Raynor, but there needed to be some mainstream Terran authority for Raynor to interact with. The overt conclusion therefore is that Valerian, given his ample supply of money and love of Xel'Naga artifacts, is funding the Moebius Foundation. Valerian is trying to set himself up as emperor. He’s the typical young prince - very similar to Arthas. Whereas Arthas had great hope and fell into evil, we don't know which way Valerian is going to go. We will see the Mengsk insignia more often, especially in the novel I, Mengsk. When creating the insignia they knew the lion would be too much like World of WarCraft, but the wolf references back to Roman Emperors.

042.jpg

043.jpg

break.png

Q&A Session

The following are some of the main points covered by Andy Chambers and Chris Metzen during the Q&A Session:

  • There are a number of mini-campaigns so that the player is not in the same seat all the time. However, you'll be mostly sticking with Raynor.

  • The three trilogy campaigns will not occur simultaneously in-universe. They will all occur in chronological order.

  • When asked about leveraging Nova into a mini-campaign they said it could happen. It's extremely likely that Nova will be featured in either a normal or easter-egg mission.

  • Andy Chambers and Chris Metzen talked about some of their influences. Firefly for example did the redneck thing in space very well. StarCraft will have its own voice and vibe when you compare it to Firefly. Part of being a writer is incorporating all kinds of that idealism into your writing - everything inspires you.

  • The ratio of in-game to high-end cinematics is about four to one. As good as the pre-rendered cinematics are, Metzen likes the in-game cinematics better as they have more human and heartfelt moments.

  • As far as the Hybrids and Xel'Naga are concerned, there is an overarching thread that links all the campaigns - the culmination is in the Protoss campaign. What's really going on with this overarching mythology is really the background of the StarCraft II story.

  • The Terran campaign is focused on Raynor and revolutions. It has a very clean resolution. There is a funny tension between Raynor and Tychus; Tychus went to prison to cover Jim, and Jim was scared straight. Now how he is hardwired for justice and to be a hero swept away in events. As gods clash, one honest man makes a difference.

  • The Earth is a long way away. The UED kind of lost interest - one day they hope to do more. The Koprulu sector is a different part of space. Basically, this product has nothing to do with Earth and no new fleets from Earth will be making an appearance - there is too much stuff going on in the Koprulu Sector. When asked about StarCraft 3, Chris Metzen laughed at our collective faces.

  • The StarCraft universe will be much more fleshed out. We will have much more information about the planets, how big they are, how far away, their neighbors, politics, factions and economic status.

  • Ghosts are the epitome of human evolution. Transcendence, or higher evolution of humanity is a slippery slope. It's certainly a tool to be leveraged, but it could backfire.

  • There is the question of the Protoss relationship with humanity - to work together or fight each other? At the end of the day the Protoss view the Terrans as a big fascist state, essentially monkeys with machine guns. However, it's not like the Protoss don't have their own problems so that's an interesting political dynamic.

  • During StarCraft's development James Finney was writing the story. Kerrigan is based off the Command & Conquer character Tanya. Kerrigan was meant to be killed/betrayed by Mengsk in order to produce an emotional response. It wasn't until later that they decided that Kerrigan would return as Zerg.

  • There is always one question that is asked at a StarCraft II lore panel: Will a character return from the dead? StarCraft had great moments as far as characters are concerned:

    • Fenix's return
    • Kerrigan's infestation
    • Tassadar's sacrifice
    • Fenix's death.

    A selfless death means less if a character comes back. A permanent death is better. Chris Metzen joked that "the StarCraft bible would be a list of characters of which 80% would have DECEASED next to their names. I was young and angry, I wanted to keep the tough vibe." At the time Chris was trying to produce an emotional response. In the future however, the goal is to kill less but do something more interesting (like Kerrigan's infestation).

  • The novels to pay attention to concerning StarCraft II are the Dark Templar Saga and I, Mengsk - also Queen of Blades to catch up on the events of StarCraft.

  • As far as mission balance, the developers prefer to mix and match. Sometimes they need events and make the mission, sometimes they need a mission and come up with story. It's a very iterative, but not very clean process.

  • StarCraft Legacy's LordofAscension asked how many Protoss are there and do they have any more colonies? The answer is that there's a lot less of them than there used to be, and those that are left are in disarray. There are a few colonies around, but they don't have contact with each other - most are populated by fanatics.

  • "I'm feeling it - StarCraft is finding its own voice" says Metzen - StarCraft is so much richer, it makes WarCraft III look like a Saturday morning cartoon.

  • Novels and comics isn't Blizzard's core business says Metzen. "Being in love with these characters has never been about the business or raking in cash. In the end of the day we're just a bunch of geeks trying to tell our stories."

break.png

Last year's lore panel and our subsequent meeting with Chris Metzen established a relationship with Chris and SC:L that culminated in our lore exclusive. We're now pleased to announce that following this year's lore panel, SC:L has renewed its relationship with Chris Metzen, and Andy Chambers has been brought into the fold. When we were talking, Mr. Chambers told us that the lore writers including Metzen and himself used StarCraft Legacy. He told us that we were a valuable resource and he appreciated what we do. So keep watching us as we continue to work with the Blizzard lore masters to bring you additional articles and insights into the StarCraft Universe.

break.png

Thanks to our friends at StarCraft2forum.org for the pictures.
This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

Many StarCraft II videos have come out of BlizzCon 2008. Be sure to check StarCraft Legacy's official YouTube channel for updates.

All of the BlizzCon 2008 StarCraft II videos can be found in this YouTube playlist.

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

The following is a collection of StarCraft II gameplay impressions from the StarCraft: Legacy staff members that attended BlizzCon 2008. Zero has had a hand at playing StarCraft II a few times by this point. Gradius and DiscipleofAdun played StarCraft II at BlizzCon 2008 for the first time. LordofAscension's comprehensive review can be found here.

Zero:

At last year's BlizzCon, the multiplayer demo of StarCraft II had been 2v2. However, this year, the multi-player was limited to 1v1 matches. Although this made things easier in regards to having a more friendly match to focus on the intricacies of each race and the individual units, it did limit the fun in more competitive matches if both players were not evenly-matched. With a 2v2, if you were hit with an early rush and weren't prepared, there was always the chance that your ally could provide assistance, but by being alone, if you did happen to survive an early attack unprepared, you were hindered for the remainder of the match, provided that you survive until the end of the time limit. Regardless, between several single-player and multi-player matches, I was able to get a good impression of how the game was working out so far. Having stuck with the Terran and early Zerg at the March 11 Zerg release at Blizzard HQ, I played my more serious matches as the Zerg and Protoss. The following describe my two more memorable matches, one as the Zerg, and the other as the Protoss.

Zerg:

For this match, I faced off against a rather quiet opponent. I was unaware of what to expect, so I chose to mass up Zerglings, Roaches and Hydralisks. Unfortunately, fate was against me in this battle. My base was on the main ground level, while opponent, a Protoss player, had been set on high ground. I scouted with a drone, and quickly found him, but my lack of common sense told me to mass up a lot of ground units rather than tech straight to air, because the cannons along the edge of his base, coupled with a small group of Zealots, annihilated my Zerglings and Roaches before they could even get to the ramp to his base. It was after this defeat that I decided to tech to air, although it was a bit late in the game. Most of my Hydralisks had survived, and I had spawned several Mutalisks only to find that my turtling opponent had warped in a Mothership. Fortunately, I was able to micro my Hydralisks and Mutalisks effectively to destroy his Mothership, but still at great cost. By the time I had spawned my next wave of troops, another Mothership appeared, this time with several Immortals and a few Void Rays, and finished the job. Had I been wiser, I would have saved my ground forces for a defense as soon as I knew my opponent was on higher ground and quickly teched to air, or have done a Zergling rush. Oh well, lessons learned, perhaps next time.

Protoss:

During BlizzCon, I had the opportunity to play PvT match with StarCraft Legacy's own DiscipleOfAdun. Going into the match, I had aimed to mass Stalkers and Void Rays, with the stalkers able to attack both ground and air effectively, holding off any early attacks, and then using the Void Rays as heavy hitters against the ground forces for my main assault on his base. Not expecting an early rush, I did a quick expansion to a resource node next to my base as I quickly built a Gateway and a Cybernetics Core to begin building my stalkers. I had put up two Photon Cannons and build one Stalker when DiscipleOfAdun sent in several Marines into my expansion. Using my single Stalker I was able to hit-and-run his Marines enough to lure them into my cannon's range. My first Stalker fell to the Marines, but not before my second Stalker appeared and finished the job. The expansion was saved, and I quickly set to build an additional gateway and more stalkers. I had chosen to limit my Stalker production in order to build a Stargate for my Void Rays, and DiscipleOfAdun took advantage of this by sending more Marines, but this time with a few Marauders. My Stalkers and cannons were able to hold off the second attack, but barely. (A noteworthy observation is the slowing attack of the Marauders. An attack on one of my Stalkers revealed that it had been slowed close to 50% of its normal movement speed.) Had DiscipleOfAdun sent a third attack party soon afterward, he would surely have won. However, he didn't, and I took advantage of this by building four Void Rays and eight Stalkers. With the Void Rays leading the attack into the front of Terran base, I was able to burn through his buildings with ease. As Marines were sent forth, my Stalkers were able to dispatch them quickly. When a few remaining Marauders appeared, I retreated the Stalkers long enough for my Void Rays to dispatch them. At the edge of my view I noticed some Vikings hovering in mid-air. I removed the Void Rays from production at one of my Stargates and set to build Phoenixes, not knowing if my Stalkers would be enough. I was able to get two Phoenixs quickly over and assisted my stalkers in eliminating the major threats to my void rays. I was able to raze DiscipleOfAdun's base in a matter of a few minutes. However, DiscipleOfAdun transformed two of his Starports into Starbases, and moved them away from his base. My two Phoenixs found the one and destroyed, but couldn't destroy the second before the time limit expired, so the game was technically a draw. It was an exciting match, and I look forward to our next one.

gpzero.jpg

Conclusion:

After playing through the StarCraft II demo several times throughout BlizzCon, I'm confident that the majority of StarCraft fans worldwide will accept StarCraft II. Although the game-play is similar, the visuals have improved greatly, and the game-play is more smooth than ever. Although there are quite a few changes that need to be made such as finalizing unit models and abilities, it is clear that Blizzard has put a lot of time and attention into StarCraft II, and if the game-play works so well, despite not being finished, there is no doubt that the end result will be incredible.

Gradius:

The biggest change going from StarCraft to StarCraft II is the 3d graphics. The vibrant and rich colors is one of the first things you notice when you start up your first game. Another thought that might pop into your head is the how much better the game looks than those grainy YouTube videos and even HD gameplay videos on StarCraft2.com. Navigating in a 3d space is easy, especially if you keep your camera angle in the standard position. The three dimensions only take some getting used to however when it comes to building placement and micromanagement. The majority of my time at BlizzCon was spent checking out the units and getting used to the feel of the game.

One game that I played was against another Terran. My opponent’s strategy was to build up a mixed force of Marines, Marauders and Hellions and send them at me in the last few minutes of the game. As far as the gas mechanic is concerned, I simply built two geysers, stacked them with peons and left them alone the rest of the game - this satisfied my economy needs for most games. Granted, I would have accumulated resources faster by managing my workers better, but that's something I planned to tackle after getting more used to this game. I began mass-producing Marines with the occasional Marauder and Hellion. I quickly gained an expansion while my opponent turtled in his base. For my first attack I took two Medivacs and loaded them with Marines and Hellions. I flew to the back of my opponents base and unloaded the units, killing some SCVs and doing some damage while my Medivacs were healing the Marines. However, my attack was quickly quelled by the huge army my opponent was keeping in his base.

First, my opponent tried to nuke my choke – but I revealed his Ghost with a Scanner Sweep and nailed it with a Siege Tank. My expansion was relatively well defended, with a Bunker, Tanks and infantry guarding the choke. In the last five minutes of the game, my opponent swarmed my expansion with his army. I was fully aware of the size of my opponent’s army, as I kept up constant Scanner Sweeps on his location. However, that availed me little, as I underestimated the power of his combined units. Ordinarily, in a StarCraft game, it felt like my opponent would have broken his teeth on my defenses, but in this case he rolled right over me. However, that could be my inexperience coming into play here. Fortunately for me, the timer ended before my opponent could reach my main.

gpgradius.jpg

My main concern with StarCraft II is the lack of core units - many units are essentially support units, which is why mixed armies are now the name of the game. This causes me to wonder whether Blizzard is having more difficulty balancing StarCraft II than I originally thought. For example, some of the units I felt underwhelmed with were the Colossus, Hydralisk and Thor. With that being said, I'm generally happy with StarCraft II's development. I believe that if Blizzard gives StarCraft II a solid and thorough beta that these issues will be balanced out and StarCraft II will be a success.

DiscipleOfAdun:

Having been the first time attending a Blizzard event where StarCraft II was playable, this was more a learning experience about basic gameplay than anything else for me. Knowing that both Terran and Protoss were more completed, I took a stab at playing as Zerg my first couple of times. Even knowing they needed a lot of work, the current Zerg race feels very much like it belongs in the StarCraft universe. One of the most noticable changes was that of the Queen. No longer restricted to having just one, it was much more fitting of a Zerg unit. At the build shown, the Queen had the Creep Tumor and Mutant Larva abilities already shown. Instead of the Deep Tunnel ability from older builds, which would have been far too powerful for no longer being unique, there was a new ability called Razor Plague. This spell did damage to all units caught in it, but the interesting part of it was that the player who cast it could move it around. While I did not get much time to mess with it, the few times I did showed a lot of promise in being able to reposition the spell. While it may seem supportive of just getting the spell down and then moving it to where you need it, the limited amount of time it lasts means that the full effectiveness of the spell will be lost. More powerful is being able to keep it over a retreating force. Unlike Psi Storm, which is static and can be partially avoided, good micro will maximize the damage done by Razor Plague.

In several of my first games, I opted for an AI match to get my bearings. In particular, the ZvZ I set up early on led to some interesting views on how the mirror match may play out. Roaches were very much the backbone of both armies, and battles pitched on the edge of the creep really showed how much an influence the speed increase really is. Combined with speed upgrades for the units that have them, the Zerg really felt like a swarm moving across my screen.

However, the Zerg are far from completed. I was disappointed by how high in the tech tree the Lurker was, along with the difficulty in distinguishing it on screen. I honestly felt that more Roaches would be a better use of my money and time. In addition, the current state of the creep is not good at all. While it does support a slight animation as a subtle reminder that it is alive, the contrast with the environments is horrible to look at and can be very confusing. On several of the tile-sets, it is much too shiny and appears plastic-like. Every time I ended up on a map like that or saw someone on it, I felt as though it was too much of a distraction and hindered game-play instead of promoting it.

gpdoa.jpg

My matches the second day took on a more serious approach. My opportunity playing against Zero was the first time I had ever touched the Terran race. I began rather conservatively, not knowing if I was going to be subjected to an early rush or not. However, after I began to realize that he was not going to be quickly rushing me, I spread out and sent part of my force after him. My initial attack was at his first expansion, almost exactly as he had gotten his first cannon up. With that and the ground forces I saw, I knew my force would not survive. However, I felt that a mix of marines and Maruaders, which I had been building up, would be enough to break through his defense. While possible for my units to break through, I poorly managed them and lost my force. Having not scouted far into his main, I did not know how much I had lost, and opted to hold off while I worked more on increasing my force. In retrospect, this was the turning point of the game, as I probably could have kept the attack up enough to break into his base and wipe out his economy.

break.png

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

Those who attend a Blizzard event will never forget it. Each person's experience is unique, interesting, and full of little stories. The following is a non-technical, short summary of each of StarCraft Legacy's staff member's BlizzCon adventures.

LordofAscension:

As the saying goes, this wasn't my first rodeo. This is now the third Blizzard event that I have had the distinct pleasure of attending. But no matter how prepared you think you are for something, there's always bound to be some surprise. My Blizzard III adventure started Wednesday night as I boarded a plane to CA. I arrived in Anaheim around 10 PM local time, checked into the beautiful Anaheim Marriot, and promptly knocked on AJ's door. We've done this for a long time now and it's become a bit of a tradition to hang out during these type of events. We went to IHOP for some late-night deliciousness before talking for a few hours about the next couple of days. Eventually the sugar rush subsided and I sought my bed - thinking that this was probably the most sleep I was going to get for the rest of the trip... I was right.

Thursday - Fansite Summit

Thursday started for me around 8:30 - I was too excited to sleep for long, AJ and I went down and ate some delicious breakfast and lo and behold who sidles up to us but Tasteless. I love this kid. We talk about Korea, StarCraft, chicks, food, and of course BlizzCon. We've been friends for many years now and it's always great to see him. The highlight was actually getting one of his super shiny pretty new business cards - haha. After we finished eating Tasteless took off to check out the venue while AJ and I made our way to the lobby where we met up with Karune, Xordiah, Cydra - I know Karune and Xordiah quite well but this was my first time meeting Cydra, he's a good guy and will fit in quite well with the rest of the community team. Slowly more and more site leaders started to appear. I renewed old acquaintances and met some new people; people with whom I'll have the pleasure of getting to know more, and working with in the future. This type of event is great for networking.

000_0073.jpg


After the invitees were all assembled we made our way out to the bus to head down to Irvine. The new Blizzard campus looks phenomenal. Once we arrived we were all characteristically asked to sign NDA's and we explored the Blizzard museum and the theatre. While we were waiting for everyone to be present, Bashiok, the Diablo Community Manager, gave away some BlizzCon and WWI key cards with some WoW and Diablo trivia (no SC!). Once everything was ready to go we were treated to a standard, no secrets revealed, tour of the campus grounds. Nothing super interesting was revealed and we weren't allowed anywhere near the dev building and so we promptly returned to the theatre where we received our highly coveted and collectible BlizzCon art.

Next came one of the best parts of my entire trip, lunch with Dustin. I met Dustin last year at BlizzCon and since then we've communicated back and forth pretty regularly. So, it is always great to see him again and talk some more. This the whole fansite corp was divided into franchises and we were treated to some catered bbq lunch. After we got our food, the 7-10 of us SC site leaders carved out a spot for ourselves and Dustin and we talked for a little more than an hour about the game. He enlightened us about some of the philosophy behind some of the new design decisions. For example, we discussed the whole gas as the more important of the two resources and the Queen's move to an economic powerhouse unit with multiple roles. A large majority of our discussion was centered around what we wanted from the new Battle.net, what functionality we thought was imperative, and discussion the pros and cons of controversial mechanics - like multiplayer resource sharing, etc. We also started talking about quite a few things that at this point in time we were asked not to talk about, quite a bit of it revolved around replay viewing and other in-game UI mechanics. But I promise there are some very exciting things heading our way.

000_0072.jpg


After lunch wrapped up we headed back to the theatre to pick up our belongings and boarded the bus again. We drove back up to Anaheim, stashed our goodies and then went to the venue as a big group. We picked up our Press badges and then trekked upstairs to one of the conference room where the fansites participated in community brainstorming sessions. After that we went back downstairs to the main convention center entrance and while we endured the angry looks of hundreds of "regular" fans as we waltzed right onto the show floor. The first thing that really hit me was how much more space there was last year as compared to last year. The difference was really significant - we made a beeline for the StarCraft II demo area and for the next hour had a chance to reacquaint ourselves with our future. It was good fun; I mostly played against General Mengsk from in-game.de and it was really nice as we were pretty evenly matched we were really able to keep things interesting.

Directly afterwards we all had dinner together with the community team. We were treated to a three course meal. I sat next to AJ, Jon (from starcraft2forum.org, another good friend), and Plexa from Team Liquid. Plexa and I talked throughout most of the dinner and we made some interesting plans for the future. We talked about the community, our sites, SCII, others there, the weather, just about ourselves. It's always a pleasure to meet and get to know the other significant people in our community. After dinner, we all broke into our little cliques and walked back to the hotel. Plexa had to take off to meet some other people but AJ, Jon, and I made plans to meet-up in my room in just a bit.

I returned to my room and two of SC:L's staff members, Gradius and DiscipleofAdun, were there waiting for me. We talked a bit and got to know one another since this was our first time actually meeting. AJ and Jon joined us and we headed over to Downtown Disney to the ESPN Zone where I treated my staffies to some deliciousness and we all just kind of hung out. When we finally made it back to the hotel room we stayed up for quite some time planning our coverage and our agenda. Eventually we all made it to sleep. About 4 hours later the alarm went off; BlizzCon was about to begin.

Friday - BlizzCon Day 1

After Gradius, DoA, and I were ready we went down to the lobby to enjoy breakfast with AJ, Jon, another SC:L staff member, Zero, and his entourage. After eating we all took off for the convention center, a convenient 100 yards away, and waited right next to the doors as the clock ticked down to the beginning. There was, as expected, a massive tidal wave of people as the doors opened. AJ and I jumped in the Blizzard Store line, hoping to hit that before the opening ceremony (since we had press passes we weren't worried about getting good seats, they were reserved for us). Sadly the line moved like molasses as we had to skip out to get to the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony was cool, as always, but without a new cinematic, or a new game for us to feast our eyes on it was a bit disappointing, considering. Still it was awesome and the Wizard reveal was pretty sweet despite the fact that the video had been accidentally looped with the rest of the cinematics all over the convention center in the hour proceeding the announcement. One of the things we figured out pretty quickly is that there wasn't wireless internet for press. That put a dampener on our live mIRC chats and blogging but we did all we could and then made the best of it.

000_0064.jpg

000_0065.jpg


Following the ceremony the rest of the day was a blur. I played StarCraft II, played Diablo III, watched people stand in line for 3-5 hours for the store, watched part of the pro-matches, attended the panels, actually waited in line for the store, checked in/hung out with the SC:L staff and in general enjoyed myself. The highlight was most definitely the StarCraft II Gameplay Panel (be sure to check out our trilogy feature and Gameplay Panel articles). It was amazing to sit in the front row and see that happen. As the panel was wrapping up - I looked up and saw Dustin looking right at me laughing - I gave him a big thumbs-up. That cloud-nine feeling lasted throughout the rest of the day and it felt good to have one less secret. While I absolutely love all things StarCraft at these events - I am almost always in reporter mode. What many of you might not know is that several of us have really good, friendly relationships with people like Dustin, Samwise, Metzen, and Karune and we communicate regularly. It's always nice to take off the seriousness and talk about something totally unrelated. It was also really relaxing to watch some of the Diablo III panels because I was there for myself and not trying to take crazy notes to get up online. The one major downer for day one, was SC:L crashing. That has all been explained elsewhere but suffice to say that it's definitely not a fun thing and it sucks to be running around like a chicken with your head chopped off trying to solve impossible problems from thousands of miles away. The rest of the time that we had that day AJ and I spent playing StarCraft II(be sure to check out our articles on the game itself!).

Day one ended with a cool fansite mixer. Everyone that received a ticket from a fansite was invited. After the venue had closed we were allowed back in. I got to chat with my predecessor, mnm, and it's always great to see her and see how she's doing. Once we got in there the SC:L crew hung out with some people from SC.org and StarCraft2forum.org. Karune came over and joined us so we had a more casual SC discussion with him. It's things like that where we can all relax that a lot of relationships are established for the future. After that concluded, AJ, Jon, and I live blogged about SC which was pretty neat - definitely be watching for more of this in the future. We all chilled for a while and then we all crashed for just a few more hours of sleep.

Saturday - BlizzCon Day 2

Since SC:L had already crashed and there wasn't anything I could do about it from California I relaxed during day two. There weren't any huge announcements and there wasn't anything especially pressuring to attend to. AJ and I stopped by the store again, chilled in the press room with Jon and Plexa, attended some more Diablo panels, played StarCraft II for several hours, played D3 for a few hours, and met up with some more people that I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting before.

The highlight of day two was the Lore Panel. StarCraft Legacy is very proud of our lore roots and we're definitely poised to continue this in the future. At the lore panel, the entire SC:L staff was once again in the front row and we all had our laptops open taking down notes and while the actual presentation was lighter than last year it was great to have quite a few questions from the audience. I even asked the all important question, "How many Protoss are there, do they have colonies? And more importantly, how do they reproduce?" I knew from joking around with these guys that they weren't going to answer but it elicted a good laugh and a quick quip by Metzen. After the panel, I introduced myself and the staff to Andy Chambers and chatted with him about some future projects. One of the coolest parts of our conversation with him was when he told us that he, Metzen, and other writers actually use our site as a resource and they actually look at what we have to say about different things. It's definitely nice to hear things like that, especially from people who work on the games we love and from our fans, we do all of this for them. After we talked to Andy we snagged Metzen as he was running out to get to another panel but we did manage to say hi again and talked to him about some potential collaborations/projects ;). After that Gradius had to head to the airport. The rest of us hit the SCII area again and played for a few more hours. AJ and I went outside to meet-up with XG3, Enforcerman, and Mystical. We were all going to watch the closing ceremony but we discovered that they had eliminated the press area and there was standing room only. Since we had seen this show two other times we decided one last great dinner would be the best plan. XG3, Mystical, AJ, Jon, a bunch of Jon's members, and I ended up eating dinner together and chatting about everything in general. Mystical and I talked quite a bit and we discussed some interesting possibilities for SC:L so there are lots of surprises coming in the next several months - look out.

000_0063.jpg


When we finally made it back to the hotel, I chatted with Zero before he took off to go back home and then I hung out with DoA, AJ, Jon and a few others in AJ's room before finally making it back to my room and spending the next three hours talking to DoA and packing (I practically bought out the Blizz Store). What some of you may know about me is that I have an absolutely huge Blizzard collection (someday pics will actually make it up). My room looks like a warehouse meets warzone. Sleep proved to be a precious commodity and I crashed for two hours before I had to be up at 5:30 for my Sunday of travel. Fifteen hours and two time zones later and I was finally home. What a weekend, this is a big part of my life and I love it.

Zero:

My day started at 5:15am on Friday, October 10th, 2008. My clothes had been packed for Saturday, and everything else was ready to throw into my truck. My sister awoke also, got ready, and by 5:45 we were on the road. We picked up our cousin 30 minutes later, and we drove down to Anaheim. We got into Anaheim around 8am, too early to check into the hotel, so we parked there and walked across the block over to the Anaheim Marriott to meet the rest of the group from StarCraft Legacy. We ate breakfast at the hotel, and my group left for the convention center early because we were the only ones in the group who hadn't gotten our passes yet. After waiting in the VIP line, which was ironically longer than every other line (that had been divided alphabetically), we received our passes and swag bags.

000_0058.jpg

000_0060.jpg

When I had first walked into the Anaheim Convention Center for BlizzCon 2007, I was overwhelmed by what I saw. The lack of general lighting, the various sections for demos, vendors, discussion panels, and tournaments, as well as the people dressed up like characters from their favorite Blizzard games. It had been my first time attending such a convention, but when I walked into the convention center this year for BlizzCon 2008, although far bigger and better than last year, I felt right at home. My sister and cousin were as overwhelmed as I had been the first time, but with me there, I knew they'd have an even better time than I had last year. Immediately in front of us was the set-up for the StarCraft II demo. Slightly to the left was the World of WarCraft demo for Wrath of the Lich King. Past the StarCraft II demo area was the life-size statue of Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, and a little further was one of the two BlizzCon stores. And all of this was within half of one of the three halls that Blizzard had reserved for BlizzCon.

After playing the StarCraft II demo once, we went over to catch the opening ceremony, presented by Mike Morhaime. Throughout the rest of the day, my small group would continue playing the StarCraft II demo in between the StarCraft tournaments and the various StarCraft discussion panels. As 9:30pm rolled around, the StarCraft Legacy group met up with the other staff from other sites for a special VIP/press dinner. Unfortunately, it took 45 minutes after BlizzCon closed for the day for us to be allowed re-entry, and then the dinner wasn't as VIP as expected. The VIP group was only allowed to stay about an hour, and there was no private demo play allowed. However, it was well worth it, because our group, consisting of both members from StarCraft Legacy and StarCraft2Forum.org, had a private discussion with Karune until it was time for us to depart to our hotels.

000_0070.jpg

The next morning, we were back in the main halls soon after 10am. That day DiscipleOfAdun joined my sister, cousin, and myself, having only a VIP pass like ourselves, while LordofAscension and Gradius had press passes which allowed them early access into BlizzCon. DiscipleOfAdun was a welcome addition to our group. With the multiplayer demo for StarCraft II strictly 1v1, I was left to face unknown challengers on Friday. This didn't offer much chance to focus on observing any of the races, as any hesitation on my part would have given my human or computer opponent plenty of time to defeat my forces and raze my buildings. With my help, DiscipleOfAdun was able to record all of the Zerg information for the BlizzCon build. As with the day before, any time not spent watching the tournaments or listening on a StarCraft discussion panel was dedicated to the StarCraft II demo.

After the Cinematics Panel, the last discussion panel for BlizzCon, the four of us met up with the StarCraft Legacy and StarCraft2Forum.org staff for dinner. We met at ESPN Zone, however, a group of 13 on a Saturday night required at least a two hour wait. The other nine left to find another place, while my group stuck around for a much shorter wait. After dinner, we were able to race back to BlizzCon before the halls were closed. Unfortunately, the demos were already being shut down, but this didn't stop us from hanging out and taking some pictures in areas that normally would have been off-limits. Both DiscipleOfAdun and I had pictures taken in the soundproof booths that were used for the BlizzCon tournaments, and I was able to take better pictures without many other people around. Once we were finished, we parted with DiscipleOfAdun, and met LordofAscension and the other staff members, who had recently returned from their dinner. We talked for a while, and then the others went back to their hotel, as me, my sister, and my cousin returned to the truck for the hour and a half ride home.

000_0062.jpg

An addition I would like to make, is that before BlizzCon, both my sister and cousin had played StarCraft before, but after experiencing the StarCraft II demo, they are both avidly playing in order to be ready for the release of StarCraft II.

Gradius:

BlizzCon 2008 being my first gaming convention, I wasn't sure what to expect. It was certainly a spectacle to say the least. One of the first things I saw as I was heading towards the Anaheim Marriott was the giant BlizzCon sign on a beautiful glass building. Inside the building were giant-sized posters of characters from all three franchises. At the hotel I met up with LordofAscension, DiscipleofAdun, JoneagleX from starcraft2forum and AJ from StarCraft.org. LordofAscension bought us all dinner at the ESPN Zone restaurant. I ate a giant hamburger loaded with grease and bacon. It was delicious.

In order to pick up a BlizzCon pass or to test out a game, one had to wait in line for a hefty amount of time. The lines would be backed out of the ticket pick-up booths and extended into the showroom. Just as you round a corner thinking you've reached the end of the line, you see that it loops back across a hundred more times. However, I had the special privilege to represent StarCraft: Legacy as a press member and went straight to the press booth to pick up my pass. The press pass offers many perks such as being able to skip lines for games and access to the press room which has food and a high-speed internet connection. Basically, the press pass only exists to spoil people - I'm not sure I could imagine attending a BlizzCon without one of these.

000_0061.jpg

The show floor was filled with lights, fog and giant screens that played Blizzard cinematics. The Kerrigan statue was magnificent; naturally, there was much talk of "borrowing" or "liberating" the statue from the show floor. The art museum had some amazing artworks of the Medic, the Battlecruiser portrait aka. Admiral Gaskaville and many others; it's unfortunate that nobody took pictures of these artworks. The opening ceremony with Mike Morhaime on Saturday highlighted the success of Blizzard and their previous event - the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Paris. I knew I was in for a treat at BlizzCon and that this event was going to be historic. Afterwards I went to the front of the line for StarCraft II gameplay area, was escorted to one of the available booths and for the first time, began to play the glorious game that is StarCraft II. Naturally, I spent the majority of my free time doing this. Despite the fact that I've never played any Diablo games, I took a few shots at playing the new Wizard class in Diablo III, which should be a great game that I eagerly await.

For what was arguably the best part of BlizzCon 2008, the StarCraft II gameplay panel, I sat at the front to get the best view. The Kerrigan/Zeratul cinematic was absolutely astounding to watch on the big screen - there was so much detail that just couldn't be captured by even the high-definition cams recording the show. For those of you who have already seen the high-definition Kerrigan/Zeratul intro cinematic, prepare to be astounded once again as you watch it in it's full quality when StarCraft II is released. During the gameplay panel, I certainly wasn't expecting what were essentially two new StarCraft game announcements, and being a StarCraft lore buff myself there weren't any better news I could have conceivably received. I also thoroughly enjoyed the StarCraft II Art Panel. While the actual presentation was mainly a repeat of BWWI, it featured some awesome fly-by videos and a Marine armor "stress-test" video that were also regretably not captured by any video cameras. Samwise is one of my favorite Blizzard employees; this guy has an amazing sense of humor. He kept us on our toes throughout most of the panel.

When the show opened on Sunday I was making my way to the StarCraft II gameplay area when I turned my head to see a stampede of people charging at me. I was nearly trampled by rabid WoW players who were all charging like Ultralisks to play Wrath of the Lich King. I tried not to laugh as I actually saw one of the people fall. Then, I went to my most anticipated panel - StarCraft II lore. It was not so much informational as it was thematic, dealing with the general themes that pervade the StarCraft II story. Afterwards, LordofAscension and I talked to Andy Chambers and I shook hands with Chris Metzen. This year's BlizzCon really was historic - with games from all three Blizzard franchises being playable and the announcement of the StarCraft II trilogy.

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

StarCraft II has come quite a long way from the last time I really had a chance to play it a few months ago in Paris and it has evolved completely from a year ago when I was first able to play, at BlizzCon 2007. As the game evolves and moves closer to its beta there's less to tear apart and report on - the game isn't new anymore. It's been refined and it looks gorgeous and it feels great; it is coming into it's own. So instead of a multi-page article focused on every minute detail/change - this report is going to be about the different things, the fun things - the things that really give StarCraft II its own flavor.

The Protoss:


An Overview:

The Protoss are still my favorite race, despite the awesome strides the other two races have made since last year's BlizzCon and even from Paris just a few months ago, nothing can compare to warp-in. The mechanic is probably one of the few things in the game that I would say the developers have 100% met their goal of re-imagining the game rather than reinventing it. Warp-in is so Protoss - it even feels classic. In one of the games I played during the first day - I devoted the entire game to just playing with it. Phase Prisms are the perfect catalyst for this feature and have so many uses I think that we'll see warp-in and proxies used in phenomenal ways. A force of 2-3 protected by a few Phoenix were easily able to deploy the pseudo-pylon ability just out of my enemy's site. With my twelve Warp Gates working at full capacity - in a little under two minutes I had a ground force created and inside his main. It's brilliant and what's more is that it is fun. Other units also have as much potential and feel right too. The Stalkers, Immortals, Colossi (in theory - see below), and Dark Templar all have that same feeling to them - they all fit. This Protoss race really feels like a worthy successor to the classical feel and handling of StarCraft's. And they're still powerful, expensive, and incredibly pretty to watch.

loa1.jpg

Changes - What They've Gotten Right:

Since WWI 08 the Protoss haven't really undergone too many changes - especially positive ones but there's at least a few. The Mothership feels better - a lot better. In Paris, this unit felt like a glorified defensive Arbiter - that was the weak equivalent of the previous incarnations of StarCraft II's Zerg Queen. Now it feels like it's coming into its own a bit more. The abilities are solid and while they aren't as powerful as the original StarCraft II intro game-play demo they still are useful. In addition, its speed has seen a bit of an increase, which helps it move out of that sluggish role that it had fallen into before. The Void Ray is an amazingly fun unit. As a matter of fact, currently it is my favorite unit in the entire game. It is the most solid support unit in the whole game. Armies of these things can cream quite a bit of enemy bone and metal. Their cost and tech is perfect and they will play a perfect companion role to warp-in.

Changes - What They've Done Wrong:

These are really a bit more subjective and as a Protoss player, I admittedly have a bias, nevertheless these changes didn't feel good. Firstly, the Colossus has been nerfed hardcore. In the WWI build the unit was definitely over-powered but the nerf it received was way more than we expected. The damage is still done concurrently to all units in the line but it's been reduced significantly. Where before it was able to annihilate small Zerg armies, now it falls to small expeditionary forces. It doesn't feel like the backbone of the Protoss ground force but rather a support unit. This change also made it less viable as a good harass unit. Its high cost doesn't merit stepping over cliffs into an enemy camp just to be destroyed, and since no other Protoss ground unit can accompany it like that, it means that warp-in has to be used to support it. That in itself isn't necessarily bad - but it changes the dynamic of the unit. As for the Archons, they still suck. They don't do the scale or type of damage that we would expect them to considering what an Archon can do in StarCraft - and it isn't that this unit was nerfed but that its classic enemies have gotten better. This unit feels less like a heavy assault ground warrior and more like another support unit that is to be used carefully and in moderation, lest its cost bankrupt you. Right now - the unit just isn't worth it. My next comment isn't really a change from the previous build but rather a long-standing complaint aimed at the Protoss air. Carriers are ridiculous. Right now they could cut the unit and it wouldn't matter in a game-play sense. Critical mass is essential to the viability of these units and it is just too difficult to do that. Even as a support unit they aren't worth the tech - their role needs to be seriously re-evaluated. The Phoenix was, I think, supposed to be a melding between a Scout and a Corsair. Each of those units had a particular use, purpose, and role and to a debatable degree, they did them well. The Phoenix doesn't do anything very well. It's weaker, inflexible, and more expensive compared to its Zerg and Terran counterparts. Since WWI it has gained the former Nullifier ability, Anti-Gravity. This is apparently an attempt to make the unit more useful, more flexible - and it works - kind of. The ability works because you can pick up ground units to blast them away but because its an ability you can't spam it - so the Phoenix is still limited. Additionally, this change means that Anti-Gravity is now a later tier ability.

Protoss Conclusion:

Ultimately, my biggest gripe (and it is really more food for thought than anything) about the Protoss is their lack of clear backbone units. To some degree the Stalker has filled that role for the ground force but in every other regard the Protoss force is full of support units. I've lauded this choice before because it forces you to have variety and not rely on one or two units throughout the whole game but the more I play it, the more I feel like it also takes away an important element. The Stalker is a good example of how this problem can be mitigated. The unit itself isn't overly strong, it is cheap, mobile, and has more than one use. Unlike the Stalker, almost all of the other Protoss units are incredibly specialized making the game more frustrating than fun. This problem isn't huge but it definitely changes the way you play. However, this doesn't change what I think about the Protoss. Despite their shortcomings the Protoss are fun, sleek, sophisticated, powerful, and the warp-in mechanic makes the race truly a joy to play.

loa2.jpg


The Zerg


An Overview:

The Zerg have evolved and it feels good. The Zerg felt pretty polished and the devs have made huge strides in pefecting this race as a whole. I played the Zerg quite a bit compared to what I had in the past and they're definitely my second favorite race. The theme for the Zerg in the BlizzCon 08 build seemed to be "global" and that fits - very well. There are, as with the Protoss, many new mechanics and avenues which are probably going to make the Zerg the most mobile, adaptive, reactive, and innovative of all three. And that's just the way it should be.

Changes - What They've Gotten Right:

Since March I have been one of the biggest and most outspoken critics of the "hero" Queen. Now? I love it. The Queen is no longer unique and it has taken on a more economic role and I think it works perfectly. The Queen can spawn Mutant Larva (with a cool-down) at any Hatchery/Lair/Hive, which virtually provides an awesome quick response army. When I had some time to sit down with Dustin Browder he explained that Mutant Larva was really the economic push that they had been looking for. Early game you can get a leg up on mining and later the Mutant Larva become versatile and, with proper micro, really become game changing. In most of the games I played as the Zerg I would spam this as soon as I could, creating huge pools of mobile larvae. When I was attacked I could react and adapt to the situation much easier because I was producing units closer to the front lines, closer to the action. In addition the Queen provides a defensive ability to help ward off pesky intruders. Her Creep Tumor ability provides even more of a unique role for the Queen. Over the past several weeks discussions about the Creep have made theory-crafting particularly interesting. Creep Tumors are just one part of the huge potential that the re-imagined Zerg Creep has going for it, as a mechanic rather than a hindrance. I'd liken it to the Protoss warp-in and I'm just as excited for its possibilities. Pushing Creep is going to change the way StarCraft II is played and it's going to take some inventive and innovative thinking for classic players to understand and use properly. And even though the Queen's damage seems to have been nerfed a bit and Deep Tunnel has been removed, the fact that you can make several of them more than makes up for this fact. The Lurker is also a unit that I've railed against in the past but in this build has returned with a vengeance. The Lurker now has an even bigger bonus against "armor" than before, with an improved attack (the swath now cuts twice as wide), making it harder to dodge, and combined with the fact that it is now Lair tech, the Lurker has come back from the dead. The infantries' bane has returned. Another interesting, yet potentially positive change, is that the Zerg Baneling can now be purchased almost entirely without gas (150 for the Baneling Nest). This is probably a double-edged blade. It makes Banelings awesome and even more useful but balance-wise it creates some interesting scenarios. Protoss ground is still expensive and is pretty vulnerable to this type of attack. The Banelings high damage plus new low cost has me questioning what this will do. I'm not overly concerned because I imagine that this is something that will get sorted out during the beta. The final thing that really put the cherry on top of the Zerg for me was the Infestor. This unit is incredible. Yes it doesn't actually infest anything but let's reflect for a moment on what it can do. It's the only Zerg unit that can move while burrowed, it can "spawn" Infested Terrans (it throws little goop balls that in seconds morph), it has Neural Parasite (a 10 second Mind Control ala a limited Dark Archon), and it has a new ability called Fungal Infestation. The new ability is awesome - once a targeted unit has been infested it is going to die. But the unit's health determines how long before it explodes (Note: no massive units can be targeted), but when it does explode it does splash damage. Think about the possibilities of this unit - sneak mineral attacks, flanking, behind enemy lines, etc. And to top it all off Samwise confirmed that the Infestor would be getting an art makeover.

loa3.jpg


Changes - What Still Sucks:

I don't think there were any drastic Zerg changes that I didn't think were positive but rather I still have some gripes that have persisted since the beginning. Firstly, Overlords aren't detectors. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is certainly a change and it takes some conscious thought to ensure that you upgrade some of them as soon as you can. Secondly, the Zerg still don't have a great transport mechanic. Yes, the Nydus Worm is nifty, but it isn't as mobile or practical for expansions, specific unit drops etc. It definitely has an offensive design bias. Mutalisks looked way better than they did in Paris but the stacking isn't as smooth or as true to StarCraft as we'd like - I think that's something else that is still a work-in-progress. Hydras too still bother me a bit. They don't feel quite as weak as they did in Paris but they still don't fit their traditional role as the Zerg every-unit. I'm not sure if this was a conscious choice by the devs to diversify the practical Zerg force or if it was a casualty in refining everything else. None of these complaints especially turned me off to the Zerg - but I think that the beta will show whether or not they are truly important issues or just my subjective and limited biases.

The Zerg Conclusion:

The Zerg have truly stepped up here. They look and feel far better than they did in Paris and while I don't think they are polished to the point that the Protoss and the Terran are, they nevertheless are coming into their own. Many of the previous glaring problems have been mitigated or outright fixed and the direction they are headed with the Creep and mobility is fantastic. I really think that the Creep dynamic is going to change vZ match-ups. It was apparent to most that played for an extended period of time at BlizzCon that comparably the Zerg isn't balanced and as such it was slightly more powerful than the other two races. But we have to remember, this was a status report, a pre-beta trial run, and the Zerg surpassed my expectations for their progress. Most importantly though, they're still very fun to play and the innovative potential has me very excited to play them again - possibly even enough to abandon the Protoss as my primary race.

loa4.jpg


The Terran


An Overview:

Despite the changes that StarCraft II has brought to the Terrans, they're still my least favorite race. Regardless of my personal bias the Terrans probably are the most polished and most functional of all three races. It's the Terran, more than the Protoss or the Zerg that come across as finished. With very few exceptions, things work. They're still the middle of the road race in terms of individual unit power and cost, so they still fit their niche quite well. It's just that they are, well, boring.

Changes - What They've Done Right:

Marauders - the replacement for the Firebat is fantastic. As a matter of fact it's probably too good. Coming out of BlizzCon we heard many reports that with a few Marauders and Marines the game was quickly over. The unit itself is innovative (for the Terran) and makes for a nice addition to the ground force. When I spoke with Dustin on Thursday he actually expressed that there was some concern from the devs that the Marauder was eclipsing and overpowering the utility of the Marine. Reports coming out of BlizzCon addressing this have been mixed and I personally think that there is that potential but we won't really know till the beta. Another positive change is the Nighthawk. It fits better with the Terran than the Nomad ever did. It's new abilities compliment the Terran's forces in new ways and fits with the covert story very well. Actually, I'd say that the Terran airforce is probably the most polished and most functional of all three races. Every unit has a purpose, they're good at their purpose, and the cost, in general, adequately reflects what you're getting. The Reaper, too, is far better than I had anticipated. It is very close to a perfect harass unit - it's moderately powerful, has an alternate ability, and can cliff jump. It's great and fits so well with the other diverse infantry that the Terrans can push. I even found myself likeing the Medivac - I think it really changes up the game-play choices and opprotunites both for the Terran player and for counter possibilites. You have to worry about AA as instead of just countering another ground force. Overall, the units seem to have found their place, even units I previously hate. The Terran units have a purpose, they are functional, and they're defined. They fit into the new standard direction the Terrans are headed - "standard".

loa5.jpg


Changes - What Could Still Be Improved:

My biggest strike against the Terrans coming out of playing at BlizzCon was the relative worthlessness of the Thor. I honestly don't think this unit, in its current form is worth anything. The concept was cool when it was built by an SCV, the rebuilding (battlefield self-repair) was also neat, but even in it's AA capacity I think it gets creamed by any air force worth its salt. While the Zerg Queen, and the Protoss Mothership have both found their roles, the Thor still remains the odd man out. Another unit that is awesome in concept but didn't translate well in the BlizzCon build was the Viking. It's the perfect compliment to the Tank and just about any other force but it's weak, but a little buff and it's right back to being quite good.

The Terran Conclusion:

The Terrans actually feel the most done and for what they are they look and feel good. When I said that the Terran were boring - I mean in terms of innovation. The Protoss have warp-in, the Zerg have the Creep dynamic, and while the Terran have some neat infantry mechanics going on (the Reactors, the new role of the Ghosts, etc) there isn't any sweeping change for the Terran. There is no evolution. They are the middle of the road race; there isn't anything wrong with that - they're very solid. I would have just liked to see a little more innovation. But honestly, the Terrans at this point, are very well done.

The Gas Mechanic:

The new gas mechanic is far better than Paris' forced attempt. This time the mechanic is automatic. After 300 gas have been mined the harvesting structure must replensish itself. It goes down for 60 seconds. During that time you have the choice of whether or not to use your three miners for something else (thus increasing macro) or not. After the cool-down period any miners that were left there will automatically go back to work. This still places an added emphasis on gas over minerals and it still accomplishes its goal of rewarding the macro-minded player. Honestly, the mechanic is a very good thing. Not only did it feel right but it wasn't prohibitive of your goals - rather it encouraged rather than forced better macro application. I think players really just wanted to have the choice rather than be forced into participating in what was ultimately, a prohibitive mechanic.

loa6.jpg


Conclusion:

The game still feels absolutely fantastic. It has been an amazing journey to watch and play it at many of its stages of development and I can say from personal expierence that it is getting better. The beta will be here before you know it and then the true analysis will begin - the true fun will begin. And while some user interaction debates still rage i.e. MBS (which is actually very good in its current form - see the WWI write-up) and Automine (still lousy), my suggestions, at this point, are just that - suggestions. There is nothing inherently broken in this build and it is poised to be the worthy successor to StarCraft: Brood War.

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

gameplaypanel.jpg

The BlizzCon 2008 Gameplay Panel was presented by Rob Pardo with Dustin Browder and Chris Metzen in reserve to answer questions.

IMG_0036.jpg

The largest news to come out of the gameplay panel was the announcement of two new games - StarCraft II is now being developed as a trilogy. The working titles, which are now trademarked by Blizzard, are as follows:

The Terran Campaign: Wings of Liberty

IMG_0066.jpg

The Zerg Campaign: Heart of the Swarm

IMG_0067.jpg

The Protoss Campaign: Legacy of the Void

IMG_0069.jpg

First Rob began talking about StarCraft II’s new approach to RTS single-player:
  • Emphasize player choice i.e. the ability to choose missions, technology and interact with characters.
  • Have varied and interesting missions by trying to avoid sameness and making single player as unique as possible. The goal is to have a gimmick for every mission. Some units in single player will not be in multiplayer.
  • Have a sense of geography i.e. know the major players, factions and planets. Immerse the player into StarCraft universe.

IMG_0041.jpg

IMG_0045.jpg

IMG_0043.jpg

Each campaign is approximately 26-30 missions if the player does everything. The ending is set, but the middle has branches. There are more branching missions and some Easter-egg missions. The meta-game mechanics are different in each campaign.

IMG_0070.jpg

IMG_0074.jpg
  • Terran: Player is a mercenary/rebel leader playing as Jim Raynor.
  • Zerg: Playing as Kerrigan. More to do with making her powerful – sort of like an RPG.
  • Protoss: More diplomacy i.e. rallying the tribes. It is still up for debate who the actual player-character is.

Pardo also showed us a typical mission outline diagram with fake mission names:

IMG_0060.jpg

IMG_0061.jpg

Each campaign will feature its own mini-campaign. Wings of Liberty will include a Protoss mini-campaign that centers around Zeratul. Zeratul’s story threads all the way through the campaigns and focuses on the greater threat. It is a great way to allow players to play another race within the campaign.

The Terran Campaign

You will be playing as Jim Raynor and deciding who he is going to be. Jim Raynor’s friends and environment will depend on whether you decide to go save a colony under attack by Zerg or go raid for artifacts or credits. New characters will be introduced depending on the choices you make i.e. if you rescue the colonists, Dr. Hanson will board your ship.

The campaign starts on Mar Sara. Since that's where it all began, it’s an appropriate place to start StarCraft II. Jim hasn't had a lot of luck – he’s fighting a losing battle trying to take down Mengsk – however, he has more resources than you are led to believe.

IMG_0051.jpg

Tychus Findlay is a character who has a history with Raynor. The first part of the Terran campaign takes place on a Mar Sara bar area. The bar area is very interactive, the player can mess around with many different things: the jukebox turns the music on/off, the bulletin board shows different postings i.e. “wanted” ads and the Heaven's Devils banner, and the player can talk to the other characters that are in the space. The interactive map also shows things that have changed:

thmarsaramap.jpg

Transcript:


Tychus: You know, for the most wanted man in the sector, you ain’t that hard to find. I had to see it for myself - little Jimmy Raynor, the peoples’ hero.
Raynor: Tychus Findlay. Nice suit.
Tychus: Pays to be prepared.
Raynor: I heard they put you on ice? Life sentence. What, did they give you time off for good behavior?
Tychus: That’s right buddy, I’m a model citizen now.
Raynor: So to what do I owe the pleasure?
Tychus: Just a friendly business proposition? Do you even know what the Dominion are doing out here?
Raynor: I’m guessing you’re about to tell me.
Tychus: Digging up alien artifacts old buddy. Your boy Mengsk has gone crazy for them. But I have a contact who’ll pay top-dollar for every artifact we…liberate from the Dominion.
Raynor: I guess I can hardly pass that up now, can I Tychus?
Tychus: Partners then. 60-40.
Raynor: 70-30. My way…..Feels like old times already.
Tychus: Old times…
Raynor: I’m curious - but how’d you get out?
Tychus: Well, I busted out of my cryo-freezer while they were transporting me to New Folsam. Oh…I must have killed at least a dozen guards with my bare hands.
Raynor: Yeah, I’ve heard this one before, but you’ve left out the part where you walked on water and made off with the warden’s daughter.
Tychus: Don’t get uppity with me, boy. I heard all about you becoming a big-time freedom fighter while I was away. What happened Jimmy, the war for truth & justice get too much for you?
Raynor: I ain’t licked yet Tychus. And I promise you, Mengsk is going down one way or another. Meantime just remember you need me one hell of a lot more than I need you.
Tychus: Hehehe. You ain’t changed a bit.
Raynor: So who’s your mysterious buyer Tychus. Who are we supposed to hand this alien artifact over to?
Tychus: A bunch of eggheads I ran into called the Moebius Foundation.
Raynor: Moebius? They’re a legitimate research group. Why the hell are they talking to you?
Tychus: Soon as your boy Mengsk made it illegal to trade alien goods, they got desperate….and you know me Jimmy, I am a great patron of the sciences.
News Anchor: Recent reports of growing unrest on Mar Sara took a dangerous new turn today. Kate Lockwell is on the scene.
Kate Lockwell: Just hours ago, insurgents raided this Dominion facility. Dominion security control has informed us that the base was neutralizing dangerous bio-weapons left over from the last war. Strictly as a precautionary measure, martial law has been declared as the hunt for the missing weapons begins. This is Kate Lockwell of UNN, reporting from Mar Sara.

Mission: Zero-Hour
  • Hold out until extraction.
  • 5 million credits.

Raynor: I’ve got transport coming to pick us up. All we gotta do is sit tight.
Tychus: Don’t sound too hard…I figure, we earned ourselves a little R&R.
Adjutant: Incoming transmission . Commander, I’m detecting a massive concentration of Zerg bio-signatures landing at the abandoned dig site. Given their current course, the Zerg will overrun this location within the hour.
Tychus: I swear man, I didn’t know nothing about no Zerg.
Raynor: Hell, we gotta hold out long enough for extraction. If we man the Bunkers, and hold those two bridges as long as we can, we just might stand a chance. We’re gonna have a real fight on our hands here.
Tychus: I’ve been in plenty of holdouts before.
Raynor: Not against the Zerg you haven’t.

break.png

In the armory the player can customize his force. Spells and abilities need to be purchased i.e. Stim Packs and a Bunker capacity upgrade. Matt Horner is Raynor's first mate - he's the one that lets you know what is going on with the ship, with the missions, news, etc. The Star Map shows all the worlds and your choices of missions. Things may open up depending on which missions you choose and in which order. Mission screens show the portrait of the character that brings the mission to the table. You can get involved in the story to any degree you want, or you can simply fly through the missions at your leisure.

Gabriel Tosh is a mysterious character. He went to the Ghost Academy during the same time as Kerrigan. In the story you will have a choice whether to save colonists on the planet Agria, or whether to retrieve another alien artifact on the planet Monlyth – a Protoss world with fanatics who stayed behind.

Transcript:

Raynor: Take your time Matt – no rush.
Horner: Cavalry’s arrived, anyone still alive down there?
Raynor: Good to see you Matt, welcome to the party.
Horner: Glad we made it in time sir, now let’s get you guys out of there.
---
Tychus: Damn Jimmy, you’ve been holding out on me.
Raynor: Cutting it pretty close there Matt.
Horner: Never left you hanging before sir.
Raynor: Fair enough. Just get us the hell out of here.
Horner: All hands brace for warp-jump on my mark….mark.
Raynor: What the hell happened? We ain’t seen the Zerg in years. Why attack Mar Sara now?
Horner: It’s not just Mar Sara…you need to see this.
News Anchor: …Zerg swarm launched a full-scale attack spread throughout all outer-rim planets. Sustained heavy casualties in the billions.
Kate Lockwell: Minutes ago the Zerg attacked a Dominion military research facility…
Tychus: Sweet mother mercy…
Kate Lockwell: New exclusive video footage confirms…the Queen of Blades is in fact leading the swarm.
Horner: We always knew she’d be back – but what’s she after?
Raynor: She’s come to finish the job.
---
Tosh: I see the Queen of Blades out in the world again.
Raynor: How much do you know about Kerrigan, Tosh?
Tosh: I had some…friends in the Ghost Academy. That girl was a legend even before she disappeared from the program. There’s a few that know the truth – how the Queen of Blades came to be.
Raynor: She’s a creature of pure rage now.
Tosh: Oh yes, it’s her or us man. If we don’t kill her, she’ll slaughter us all.
---
Raynor: Just how bad is it man?
Horner: Zerg attacks are being reported all over the sector, but the biggest push is against the Dominion core worlds.
Raynor: How’s that bastard Mengsk responding?
Horner: He’s pulled the fleet back to protect his main resource centers, leaving the fringe worlds to fend for themselves. He’s a real man of the people.
---
Raynor: What's the general status Matt?
Horner: We've picked up a distress call from the planet Agria. There's a colony there under attack by the Zerg. Your convict buddy Tychus, lined up another mission retrieving an artifact. It’s on a world called Monlyth, but you’d best ask him for the details.
Tychus: The Moebius boys think there's another artifact on some world called Monlyth. Supposedly there's Protoss guarding it - fanatics that stayed on after the rest of them bugged out. Don't get all sentimental thinking these Protoss buddies of yours, because they ain't.

Mission: Queen's Gambit
  • Secure the artifact.
  • 7 million credits.

-----
Dr. Hanson: Any ship receiving this transmission – the Zerg are invading Agria. The Dominion have abandoned us here; we’re just a small farming colony. We’ve got to evacuate before we’re overun. If you can hear this message, please help us.

Mission: Savior
  • Evacuate colonists
  • 7 million credits.

break.png

Next, Blizzard gave us some insight into the cinematic development process. Each cinematic begins with a rough mock-up. The following mock-up of Kerrigan’s dream of her betrayal at the hands of Arcturus was meant to be a full-blown pre-rendered cinematic:

Finally the audience was shown what Rob Pardo aptly referred to as “the coolest part of this panel” - a segment from the introduction cinematic of the Terran Campaign Wings of Liberty:

The BlizzCon 2008 StarCraft II Gameplay panel revealed a slew of information about the Terran single-player story mode. With the shattering announcement of the StarCraft II trilogy, StarCraft II's longevity has been assured for three more years.

break.png

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

artpanel.jpg

The BlizzCon 2008 Art Panel presentation was similar in format to the Worldwide Invitational 2008 Art Panel. It was presided over by Samwise Dider, Blizzard Art Director, and Brian Sousa, Senior 3D Artist for StarCraft II. However, the panel began with the Q&A session due to technical problems.

Q&A Session

The following are some of the main points covered during the Q&A Session:

  • “The art isn't finished till the game ships.” - Samwise

  • Blizzard has not decided how many full-scale movie cinematics there will be, but there will be many in-game cinematics. This should be good news though; in the StarCraft II Lore Panel, Chris Metzen mentioned that the in-game cinematics are so much more interesting than the pre-rendered because the in-game cutscenes show off the story better and the writers are given more time to fine-tune the in-game cinematics. The pre-rendered cinematics offer less room for modification or improvement because they must be planned out ahead very early on in the process - since Blizzard loves to do multiple passes this is particularly troublesome. Both the pre-rendered and in-game cinematics will be story-intensive.

  • The Dark Templar are a motley assortment - they are not militaristic or pristine. There are two Dark Templar models in the game, one has a scythe and the other has a warp blade. Samwise also mentioned that a Dark Templar with two blades might be added later. These Dark Templar variations will be spawned randomly. However, there’s not much point in giving the Zergling, for example, anything special because they are harder to eyeball.

  • StarCraft II is the first Blizzard game to seriously work with lighting. Lighting makes or breaks graphics – it is necessary to find lighting that looks good and bend it to the environments. The lighting for multiplayer maps for StarCraft II will all be the same.

  • The Protoss’ gold metals contrasted well with the grimey and rusty Terrans and the organic Zerg. In StarCraft II, depending on the light, gold will change from bright to dark to banana-ish gold.

  • Blizzard’s art team’s advice for breaking into the graphics industry is to focus on modeling and texturing, especially with a strong drawing background. After you learn how to model and texture, you can pretty much model anything.

  • Next, Samwise talks about the art of the Xel'Naga. The Xel’Naga are the mother race – they are what the Protoss would take their architecture from, but with some Zerg influences while still being unique.

  • Zero, one of StarCraft Legacy’s staff members asked about the Infestor. Samwise replied that the Zerg were the last race that they began working on. Right after the Zerg announcement, the art team went to polish the Terran and Protoss - they have yet to do that pass on Zerg.

  • Samwise then outlined the basic artistic differences between the three franchises. He claimed that it’s difficult moving between the Diablo, StarCraft and Warcraft universes:
    • Warcraft - super hero elements, giant shoulder pads, giant weapons, more humor.
    • StarCraft – darker, still heroic, but not as silly. Colors are not as bright, shiny and speckly, but rusty & dingy.
    • Diablo - more dark, more down to earth, more realistic. Unique compelling characters - even realistic guys are larger than life with bold silhouettes and superhero proportions.

  • When asked about the Zergling, Samwise replied that the Zergling in StarCraft was like 8 pixels - they don't even know what a Zergling looked like. The cinematic Zergling was a Hydralisk head on a weird body. The StarCraft II Zergling will get wings as upgrade visual. The Marine will get the riot shield.

  • There will be 20 unique environments for StarCraft II.

Post-Panel Interview
(SC:L-Exclusive)

After the art panel, when most of those present had left, the StarCraft II art team stayed behind a few minutes for pictures and extra questions, which opened up an opportunity for an interview with Brian Sousa, Senior 3D Artist for StarCraft II. At the March 11th Zerg release at Blizzard HQ, a question was asked regarding the option of weather and day/night features appearing in StarCraft II. At the time, weather effects were being played around with, but the results were not turning out very well, and day/night features had not been tested, as it was the least on the list of priorities. This has recently changed, with efforts being made to give a more realistic representation by adding a rain effect to the greener worlds and snowstorms for the ice worlds. Brian related Samwise's story from March 11th about the lava world terrain being given random fireballs dancing around the map. The results didn't turn out well because at least one point during the game-play, the player would mistake a fireball blocking their view of the base as an attack. However, Brian did mention that should weather effects be used, it would be a constant feature, and there would be no imbalance to it. For example, if your vision is blocked 50% by the snowstorm, everyone else on the map will only have 50% vision as well, and there would be no advantages or disadvantages given to any unit as a result of the weather. The point behind this feature is to be fun, but to keep any multi-player game evenly-matched.

Next, Brian Sousa described the work being done on the new day/night transition for the StarCraft II maps. Currently work is being done on a transition between day and night. Brian gave an example of one mission within the Terran campaign where the mission will be timed, and when you begin, it will be light, but as time progresses, it will get darker and darker. If the mission hasn't been completed by the time darkness fully sets in, you lose. Another example is a mission where there is a constant transition between light and dark. Within various places on the map, there will be lights set up, and if the darkness sets in and one of your units isn't within the protection of one of the set lights, they'll die. Of course, these missions, as well as the effects within them, are all subject to change by the time the final product, or rather, part one of the trilogy, goes gold.

One thing that Brian Sousa made clear in the interview is that one of the priorities in the final product is that it will be fully supportive of competitive play. In competitions, there would be no weather or light transitions (such as light/dark transitions and different light angles) being used, or simply, anything that could distract the focus of the player from the game. The ability to have weather effects or changes in the lighting, if they are included in StarCraft II, will be mainly used for single-player or casual multi-player games.

~Zero

Presentation


The general art development process is to be creative and experiment often; if you try a dozen different things, the odds are that at least one of those things will be good. Artists do mock-ups and animations, the level designers say it’s not balanced, and a good amount of ideas are filtered out: “We're looking for this type of unit which attacks ground."

The first few slides outline Blizzard art basics:

thsc2%20%289%29.jpg


thsc2%20%281%29.jpg


thsc2%20%282%29.jpg


thsc2%20%2816%29.jpg


The various art passes are shown again:

thsc2%20%283%29.jpg


thsc2%20%284%29.jpg

thsc2%20%285%29.jpg

thsc2%20%286%29.jpg

thsc2%20%287%29.jpg

thsc2%20%288%29.jpg

thsc2%20%289%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2810%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2811%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2812%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2813%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2814%29.jpg


Samwise jokes that he will add one more wing for every complaint he hears on the forums about the Zergling with wings:

thsc2%20%2815%29.jpg


The StarCraft II 3d engine is astounding. These next two slides show stills from a video of a Marine undergoing various “stress-tests”, if you will, to his armor. The Marine was nuked, shot, cut in half, crushed etc. The video was mainly created for fun, but also to show off some of the things we will be able to make in StarCraft II's editor. The Marine shown is a high-poly model that will come with the editor. Basically, we can expect some amazing movie maps in StarCraft II. Unfortunately, no copies of this video are available on the internet at the time of writing.

thsc2%20%2817%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2818%29.jpg


The StarCraft II art team has done multiple passes to the environment as well:

thsc2%20%2821%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2822%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2823%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2824%29.jpg

thsc2%20%2825%29.jpg


The effects in StarCraft II are kept fast & tight in order to not intrude on gameplay:

thsc2%20%2827%29.jpg

Final Art Impressions

Similar to the fly-by videos shown at the art panel, during StarCraft II gameplay sessions it was possible to experience a “cinematic” animation effect by moving the camera all the way down, ordering a unit to a location and holding the mouse over the portrait. This would allow you to see a unit crossing the battlefield as your camera followed it and you were afforded with a beautiful viewing angle of the environment. It was there that you could truly see all the work that has gone into the art since the original StarCraft II announcement. The grass is darker, the units are more bold and the game definitely has its own style - StarCraft II is now a far cry from the awkward, cartoony version originally revealed.

There is much more art that needs to be integrated; the BlizzCon build itself is 3 weeks old. Combined with more touch-up passes to the textures, the game should look phenomenal at release time – after all, “the art isn’t finished till the game ships.”

break.png

Thanks to our friends at StarCraft.org for the pictures.
This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.


Index
Gameplay Questions
Lore/Campaign Questions
Production Questions
Online/Battle.net Questions



Gameplay Questions:


What happened to the physics-enabled death animations? Are they there, and if not, why?

Physics-enabled death animations were not in the BlizzCon build of StarCraft II. However, whether physics-enabled deaths will be a toggle-able option in-game remains to be seen.

Does the "hover" status of units still remain in SC2?

Yes. Although in previous builds, there was a small section on a unit's profile that indicated the ground/hover/flying status, in this build its presence was noticeable. However, the hover status still exists, allowing hovering ground units such as the Zerg Drone and Protoss Probe to move over traps such as spider mines without activating them.


Are drop pods still out?
Yes. For the BlizzCon build, the Ghosts' abilities are Cloak, Psi Round (+5 dmg to psionic units), EMP, and Nuclear Strike.

How easy is it for Reapers to use their mines? Is that ability innate or a late-tier upgrade?
It is necessary to upgrade Reapers in order to use their mines. After some testing, it was clear that it was difficult to accurately throw the Reapers' mines. However, the splash damage did make up for the lack of accuracy.

What role does the Hellion/Jackal play in the game, and is it useful enough to justify being able to double-built it at the factory with the reactor add-on?
Currently the Hellion is strong against light ground units. To obtain their full effectiveness, it is better to build Hellions en masse. They are particularly useful against slower units or large groups of weaker units such as Zerglings.


Will the Ghost's EMP ability be AoE like it was in StarCraft before, or will it be effective on a single target only?
The ghosts' EMP ability is AoE, and doesn't require a unit for targeting.

Can an Overlord perform a Creep Drop on space barriers? If so, can units walk across while the creep is present?
An Overlord can only target a creep drop on a targeted area of the ground. The dropped creep will only spread to that ground level, and will not cross barriers or flow onto a different ground level.

Do Swarm Guardians expel Broodlings or Swarms? Are Swarms still emerging from destroyed buildings?
At this point in the game development, Swarm Guardians do shoot Broodlings at their opponents. Also, there is an upgrade available after mutating a Hatchery into a Lair, called Razor Plague that will have any Zerg building release a number of Broodlings upon destruction. It is unclear how many Broodlings are released, but as with all Broodlings, they have a very short lifespan before dying.

Will multiple units be able to burrow in one spot like in StarCraft, and if so how will this affect units with large collision?
At this point in the game, yes. At the end of one game, an experiment was tested by ordering several Ultralisks to burrow into the same spot. They did as they were ordered, and one at a time, they would burrow on top of each other, showing a very close set of Ultralisk carapaces sticking up through the top of the ground. (A side note: a burrowed Ultralisk is more hidden to the player than in previous builds, where the entire top of the unit was visible to the player.) After stacking them while buried, it was time to test unburying them all at once. Instantly every one of the seven or eight Ultralisks popped up out of the ground in a giant blob of thick legs and large scythes, and very quickly separated and moved to a nearby open space, ready for their next order. One point to note is that the AI is far more intelligent than in StarCraft/Brood War, and there was no confusion at all between the Ultralisks as to where they should go in order to avoid their comrades.

What is the current status on team-colored psi for units/buildings?
According to any BlizzCon screenshots and videos, you will notice that the Protoss' team colors have undergone a pleasant change.

Will Colossi interact with water differently than other units?
No, Colossi do not interact with water any differently than any other unit. Even small cracks of a ground barrier (water, space, etc.) are uncrossable, although small walls of varying ground levels are no problem for the Colossi.

What happens if an Immortal gets hit with EMP?
Even with Hard Shields, an Immortal hit with EMP feels the same effect as any other Protoss unit, it loses its shields.


Lore/Campaign Questions:

Will there be many installation-type and non-building missions in the campaign? Are there any sort of mechanics being included to make them more interesting similar to WarCraft 3?
Yes. In order to prevent the monotony of playing the same type of missions, simply building bases and massing forces to destroy your enemy, Blizzard is working to create a campaign of varied mission types. Along with this, the art team is working to perfect a weather system and a day/night transition. (See StarCraft Legacy's article on the BlizzCon StarCraft II Art Panel)

What happened to the remnants of the Confederacy in the Koprulu Sector? Yes, most of the Tarsonian Confederacy's remaining forces were impressed into the Dominion's ranks, but Samir Duran's Resistance Forces and the Confederates in Deceptions prove that this is not the case. There are Confederates out there which have not been accounted for, and we've heard remarkably little from them. Will they be playing a part in the continuation of the StarCraft storyline?

The old Confederacy may play a minor part in the Wings of Liberty.


Production Questions:


What is the ballpark estimate of the project's completion?
This was one of main concerns when ultimately deciding to divide StarCraft II into three parts, that the game could be released, even if it's one campaign and the multi-player, as soon as possible. At this point, it was speculated that Wings of Liberty will be released within 8 months to a year. As less time is necessary for each of the second and third parts, it has been speculated that each will released several months following the previous release.

If the UED return, will they be completely different from the Terran? Is there a possibility that they will come back as a completely new and unique race (playable or not)?
According to Metzen, the Earth hasn't heard from their expeditionary fleet in four years, and assuming the fleet has fallen, has temporarily lost interest in the Koprulu Sector. Whether they are readying themselves to send another fleet or not, there is no evidence to support either. However, it is confirmed that the UED will not be sending another fleet during the events of Wings of Liberty. As for the second and third parts of StarCraft II, there is a possibility, however, it is doubtful, as the main focus of StarCraft II is the mysterious threat that approaches.

Are there any new abilities being experimented with for the Archon or High Templar?
At the BlizzCon 2008 build, High Templar and Archons have not changed their abilities or lack thereof. Although the Archon still lacks special abilities, Blizzard has at several times mentioned that they are experimenting with abilities for the Archon, so rest assured, by the time Wings of Liberty is released, the Archon will (hopefully) have at least one special ability at their disposal.

Are you considering a change of the Carrier model, to be more like an enhanced SC1 Carrier? It looks very different to be the same unit, and seems to have an excess of glowing things, and has a lot of empty space for a capital ship.
Will the Infestor be undergoing any model changes? A lot of people dislike its design, it looks least likely from the Zerg line-up to be able to move underground.
As indicated at the BlizzCon 2008 StarCraft II Art Panel, the art is not finished until the game is released. As always, the art team does search through various forums in order to read through constructive criticism on the current artwork. It was mentioned that the Infestor is one unit confirmed to have an art update planned for it.



Online/Battle.net Questions:

What kind of matchmaking system will Bnet have?
What kind of new features since StarCraft should we expect from the StarCraft II battle.net?
Is resource trading being considered for multiplayer games, and how do you see it impacting team games?

As of this point, everything about battle.net is purely speculative. However, one of the intentions regarding multi-player is an advanced system of statistics for each player that will automatically groups you with other players of similar skill level. This will allow the more-skilled players to match up against people of their own rank, and the lesser-skilled or casual players to match up with others on their level. As for resource trading and other features, again, this is also speculative, and no definite answer can be given at this time.


This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

Terran Buildings Information


Index


Command Center
Refinery
Supply Depot
Barracks
Engineering Bay
Merc Haven
Bunker
Surveillance Station
Planetary Fortress
Sensor Tower
Missile Turret
Factory
Starport
Armory
Ghost Academy
Anti-Matter Core
Tech Lab
Reactor






Command Center


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 1500
Minerals: 400
Vespene: None
Requires: None
Supply Given: 10
Build Time: 100
Hotkey: C
Associated Unit/Upgrades: SCV
Abilities:

  • Lift Off
  • Carry SCVs







Refinery


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 500
Minerals: 100
Vespene:
Requires:
Build Time: 30
Hotkey: R
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Vespene Extraction






Supply Depot


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 350
Minerals: 100
Vespene: None
Requires: None
Supply Given: 8
Build Time: 30
Hotkey: S
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Lower/Raise
Abilities:

  • Salvage








Barracks


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 1000
Minerals: 150
Vespene: None
Requires: Command Center
Build Time: 65
Hotkey: B
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Marine, Reaper, Marauder, Ghost
Abilities:

  • Lift Off
  • Load







Engineering Bay


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 850
Minerals: 125
Vespene: None
Requires: Command Center
Build Time: 35
Hotkey: E
Associated Unit/Upgrades: None
Abilities:

  • Salvage







Merc Haven


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 1000
Minerals: 150
Vespene: 50
Requires: Factory
Build Time: 70
Hotkey: H
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Salvage
Abilities:

  • Salvage






Bunker


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 400
Minerals: 100
Vespene: None
Requires: Barracks
Build Time: 20
Hotkey: U
Associated Unit/Upgrades: None
Abilities:

  • Salvage







Surveillance Station


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 1500
Energy: 200
Minerals: 100
Vespene: 50
Requires: CC & Merc Haven
Build Time: 35
Hotkey: S
Associated Unit/Upgrades: ComSat Sweep






Planetary Fortress


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 1500
Minerals: 150
Vespene: 150
Requires: CC & Engineering Bay
Build Time: 50
Hotkey: F
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Defensive Guns
Damage: 15 (Ground/Air)
Range: 6






Sensor Tower


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 200
Minerals: 125
Vespene: 100
Requires: Engineering Bay
Build Time: 25
Hotkey: W
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Detection
Abilities:

  • Salvage







Missile Turret


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 250
Minerals: 100
Vespene: None
Requires: Engineering Bay
Build Time: 25
Hotkey: T
Associated Unit/Upgrades: None
Abilities:

  • Salvage







Factory


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 1250
Minerals: 200
Vespene: 100
Requires: Barracks
Build Time: 65
Hotkey: F
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Auto-Turret, Targeting Drone, Siege Tank, Hellion, Thor
Abilities:

  • Lift Off







Starport


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 1300
Minerals: 150
Vespene: 100
Requires: Factory
Build Time: 55
Hotkey: S
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Viking, Medevac, Banshee, Nighthawk, Battlecruiser
Abilities:

  • Lift Off







Armory


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 750
Minerals: 150
Vespene: 100
Requires: Factory
Build Time: 65
Hotkey: A
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Mechnical weapon upgrades, mechanical armor upgrades, air weapon upgrades, air armor upgrades.
Abilities:

  • Salvage






Ghost Academy


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 1250
Minerals: 150
Vespene: 50
Requires: Barracks
Build Time: 70
Hotkey: G
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Nukes, Cloaking Field, Moebius Reactor






Anti-Matter Core


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 750
Minerals: 200
Vespene: 200
Requires: N/A
Build Time: 100
Hotkey: C
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Missile Pod, Yamato Cannon
Abilities:

  • Salvage






Tech Lab


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 400
Minerals: 50
Vespene: 50
Requires: Barracks, Factory, Starport
Build Time: 30
Hotkey: A
Associated Unit/Upgrades: Researches infantry weapon upgrades, infantry armor upgrades, Combat Shield, High Capacity Barrels, Siege Tech, Stim Pack, Titan Reactor
Abilities:

  • Salvage







Reactor


Type: Building/Mechanical
HP: 400
Minerals: 50
Vespene: 50
Requires: Barracks, Factory, Starport
Build Time: 40
Hotkey: O
Associated Unit/Upgrades: None
Abilities:

  • Double Unit Queue
  • Salvage



This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

Terran Unit Information

Index

SCV
Marine
Reaper
Marauder
Medivac
Ghost
Hellion
Viking - Ground Mode
Viking - Air Mode
Siege Tank - Tank Mode
Siege Tank - Siege Mode
Nighthawk
Auto Turret
Targeting Drone
Battlecruiser
Banshee
Thor





SCV


HP: 60
Minerals: 50
Supply: 1
Speed: normal
Built by: Command Center
Build Time: 17
Damage: 5 (Ground)
Range: melee
Armor: 0
Unit Type: Light Biological Mechanical
Hotkey: S
Abilities:

  • Gather
  • Repair
  • Build Structure
  • Build Advanced Structure





Marine


HP: 45
Minerals: 50
Supply: 1
Speed: normal
Built by: Barracks
Build Time: 20
Damage: 6 (Ground/Air)
Range: 5
Armor: 0
Unit Type: Light Biological
Hotkey: M
Abilities:

  • Stimpacks





Reaper

HP: 60
Minerals: 75
Vespene: 50
Supply: 1
Speed: fast
Built by: Barracks
Build Time: 30
Damage: 4x2 (Ground)
Bonus: +4 vs light
Range: 4
Armor: 0
Unit Type: Light Biological
Hotkey: R
Abilities:

  • D8 Charges





Marauder

HP: 125
Minerals: 100
Vespene: 25
Supply: 2
Speed: normal
Built by: Barracks
Build Time: 30
Damage: 14 (Ground)
Bonus: +6 vs. Armored (slowing)
Range: 6
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Biological
Hotkey: D




Medivac

HP: 150
Energy: 200
Minerals: 100
Vespene: 100
Supply: 2
Speed: Normal
Built by: Starport
Build Time: 42
Damage: 0
Armor: 1
Weapon Speed: none
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical
Hotkey: D
Abilities:

  • Heal





Ghost

HP: 100
Minerals: 150
Vespene: 150
Supply: 2
Speed: normal
Energy: 200
Built by: Barracks
Build Time: 33
Damage: 10 (Ground/Air)
Bonus: +15 vs Light
Range: 7
Armor: 0
Unit Type: Light Biological Psionic
Hotkey: G
Abilities:

  • Cloaking Field
  • EMP
  • Nuclear Strike
  • Psi Round





Hellion

HP: 90
Minerals: 100
Vespene: None
Supply: 2
Speed: fast
Built by: Factory
Build Time: 30
Damage: 12 (Ground)
Bonus: +6 vs Light
Range: 6 (possibly 4)
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical
Hotkey: E




Viking - Ground Mode

HP: 125
Minerals: 125
Vespene: 100
Supply: 2
Built by: Factory
Build Time: 42
Damage: 10 (Ground)
Range: 6
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical
Hotkey: V
Abilities:

  • Fighter Mode





Viking - Air Mode

HP: 125
Supply: 2
Damage: 10x2 (Air)
Bonus: +8 vs Massive
Range: 6
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical
Abilities:

  • Assault Mode





Siege Tank - Tank Mode

HP: 150
Minerals: 200
Vespene: 150
Supply: 3
Speed: Normal
Built by: Factory
Build Time: 50
Damage: 15 (Ground)
Bonus: +10 vs Armored
Range: 7
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical
Hotkey: T
Abilities:

  • Seige Mode





Siege Tank - Siege Mode

HP: 150
Supply: 3
Speed: Stationary
Damage: 50 (Ground)
Bonus: +50 vs. Armored
Range: 13
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical




Nighthawk

HP: 140
Minerals: 100
Vespene: 200
Supply: 2
Energy: 200
Built by: Starport
Build Time: 60
Damage: 0
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical
Hotkey: H
Abilities:

  • Auto Turret
  • Spider Mine
  • Targeting Drone





Auto Turret

HP: 200
Minerals:
Built by: Nighthawk
Build Time: 0
Damage: 6 (Ground)
Range: 6
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical
Hotkey: T




Targeting Drone

HP: 120
Minerals: 0
Built by: Nighthawk
Build Time: 0
Damage: 0
Range: 6
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Light Mechanical
Hotkey: 0
Abilities:

  • Channeling - increases damage output of another unit by 50%





Battlecruiser

HP: 600
Minerals: 400
Vespene: 300
Supply: 6
Speed: normal
Energy: 200
Built by: Starport
Build Time: 110
Damage: 8 (x8) (Ground/Air)
Range: 6
Armor: 3
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical Massive
Hotkey: B
Abilities:

  • Yamato Cannon
  • Missile Pod
  • Defensive Matrix





Banshee

HP: 140
Minerals: 150
Vespene: 100
Supply: 3
Speed: normal
Energy: 200
Built by: Starport
Build Time: 60
Damage: 12 (x2) (Ground)
Range: 6
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical
Hotkey: E
Abilities:

  • Cloaking Field





Thor

HP: 400
Minerals: 300
Vespene: 200
Supply: 6
Speed: normal
Build Time: 60
Damage: 10 (x4) (Ground), 4 (x4) (Air)
Bonus: +10/2 Armor
Range: 6 (Ground), 10 (Air)
Armor: 1
Unit Type: Armored Mechanical Massive
Hotkey: T
Abilities:

  • Mechanical Rebirth

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2008 feature article.

Ventrilo Servers
Contact Us About Us

SCLegacy is hosted by DarkStar Communications, home to high quality Ventrilo Servers.