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Thread: Theorycraft

  1. #11

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius
    I'm curious how you would handle the choices though? First, I'd like choices that pose an actual moral dilemma i.e. resocialization or using bio-weapons/infestation or having to sacrifice colonists. Second, I'd like the choices to be acknowledged later on, perhaps with gameplay consequences. Make it so.
    It could work. Similar to the take on LotV, Raynor could choose one terran faction over the other. Still, the WoL one was mostly based on canon WoL, except I made it linear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robear
    To me, this feels a bit too much like Dreadlords/Archimonde/Mannoroth reporting to Kil'jaeden, or Sargeras, too WC3-y. But I guess I'm just still [incredibly] opposed to the idea of the Xel'naga. I mean, the Zerg wiped them out so easily, before they had even assimilated anything from other planets. I'd like them better as just normal alien dudes than as some shadowy, nearly all-powerful evil cabal.
    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich bird
    I agree that the Xel'naga themselves shouldn't be like the Reapers from ME or something but I'd accept that a small portion of them became more than regular Xel'nagas.
    I'm guessing it would turn some people the wrong way, but I'm afraid that's how the cookie crumbles. I do have an explanation in this take as to why the xel'naga do a 180 in both persona and abilities to fight (sort of), but the explanation comes at the end of part 2.

    Legacy of the Void: Part 1

    This operates on the basis that there has to be at least 20 missions (or a similar number), what with this being an expansion and therefore having the same no. of missions as HotS. There are missions similar to evolution missions where there are optional planets to rescue protoss on, but can only choose one out of two and get different characters and/or tech as a result. Because this is entirely speculative, and entirely confined to the canon of the above takes rather than canon canon, this is the longest "what if?" So long I've divided it into two parts.

    Intro Cinematic

    Basically the whole Amon/xel’naga thing.

    Ash’Arak

    Mission 1: Catering to gameplay, this is a training mission. Zeratul is on Ash’Arak, waiting for the members of the Hierarchy to arrive. Zeratul, being the highly respected venerable warrior that he is, guides newbie commanders on base building, army building, directing forces in battle, etc. Not too relevant to the plot, but something to get the player acquainted. Conveyed through dialogue that Zeratul has far bigger things on his mind and the sooner the Hierarchy arrives the better, but for now, he’s willing to ‘play the game.’ Pun possibly intended.

    Anyway, the mission parameters are complete, Zeratul is thanked. Ends with a hail from Ash’Arak’s capital. The Hierarchy has arrived.

    Cinematic: Zeratul is brought before the Hierarchy – the full membership, including Selendis. Some characterization would have to be given in a short amount of time (e.g. Artanis is the most sympathetic to Zeratul while Nahaan would be the most hostile), but basically it’s Zeratul recounting his experiences. Suffice to say, some awkward questions are asked – why abandon the protoss 5/6 years ago? Why did he wait all this time to warn them of the hybrids? Why, and this is the most pressing of all, did he save the Queen of Blades on Skygeirr? This would be intercut with shots of an approaching xel’naga worldship, conveying passage of time, conveying “talked about threat” (through Zeratul) with “visual threat” (the worldship). Ends with a warning that zerg are making landfall on Ash’Arak. So far, only in one area, but zerg being zerg, if you don’t nip them in the bud, they can easily spread.

    Mission 2: Zeratul insists he’s on the protoss’s side, and didn’t betray them through his actions. So, if he’s truly against the zerg, he can partake in their destruction. The protoss forces are marshalled to eliminate the zerg that have made landfall, though there’s no sign of any leviathan/behemoth. This would basically be a “destroy everything on the map”-type mission. Through dialogue, Artanis conveys the state the protoss are in, how there’s been a degree of tribalism and worlds like Ash’Arak are a rarity. Many protoss have taken to settling on worlds that are the domain of their tribe and theirs alone. The protoss are becoming fragmented when they couldn’t afford to be…and he could have used Zeratul’s help over those past five years, thank you very much. And is Zeratul’s so chummy with the QoB, why are these zerg attacking?

    Anyway, the mission ends, and Artanis gives Zeratul some thanks. Today at least, he rose to the challenge. Anyway, the zerg are here, their armed forces are out in the open, now it’s time to-

    Amon: “As I was your beginning, so shall I be…your end.” (Yeah, I went there).

    An energy creature descends from the sky, beams of energy extending downwards. Both the zerg bodies and the protoss are absorbed into it. Through dialogue, it’s learnt that a worldship has entered orbit and is deploying even more zerg, all of which are closing in on the now poorly defended capital. Faced with this, and the juggernaut of doom before them, all Zeratul and the other protoss can do is retreat.

    Mission 3: This takes place in the streets of Ash’Arak’s capital. Zeratul begins on one end of the map, the Void Seeker is on the other, explained that he doesn’t just teleport because he wants to help as many protoss as he can along the way. The energy creature slowly makes its way over the map and sends down streams of energy down a street every once and again. Zeratul has to get off the street and wait for it to pass, otherwise it’s incinerated. I admit this might not entirely be realistic, but I’m proposing game mechanics too.

    Anyway, Zeratul makes his way through it. Throughout the mission, numerous protoss air units commanded by Urun try to engage the energy creature, but are destroyed each time. The creature’s seemingly invincible, and if it isn’t, its power is too great to give its foes the chance to do any damage. Throughout the mission, Amon taunts Zeratul, his words explaining what happens in-game when the energy creature spawns zerg. It’s a creature of essence. It can convert that essence into zerg units, basically negating any losses suffered.

    Basically, things are bad. Really bad. And reaching the Void Seeker, Zeratul is left to dwell on that fact.

    Cinematic: Zeratul arrives on the bridge of the Shield of Aiur, and sees how bad things are. Artanis and Selendis are present, as are the other Hierarchy members bar Nahaan. Reports are coming in from numerous worlds all across the Protectorate that invasions are being launched. Artanis, much to the protest of Selendis and Zeratul, orders a general retreat to inner Protectorate space. Basically Shakuras and the area around it. Zeratul is aghast, but as Artanis angrily points out, things have changed. The protoss aren’t one people, they’ve gone their own ways, and as Hierarch, he has neither the time nor obligation to save all of them when he has to focus on the Protectorate itself. If Zeratul hadn’t left all those years ago, he would have realized this!

    Anyway, they can’t stay long. The energy creature’s still on the surface, but plenty of zerg organisms are in orbit. Shakuras gives the order to warp to Shakuras. Zeratul leaves the ship before this happens and enters the Void Seeker. The Shield of Aiur goes off in one direction while the Void Seeker goes off in another.

    Interlude/Story Mode Space: Thus the game opens up to Zeratul making choices. He doesn’t know what can be done, only that his instincts tell him to save as many of his people as possible. The zerg are attacking. Not Kerrigan’s zerg apparently, which begs the question of what happened to her. Anyway, the gameplay is thus presented with the primary plotline (e.g. world a, which is always where the main plot is) and exclusive choices of world b and world c, which are side missions, but unlike the evolution missions, are longer (not as long as regular missions though) and mutually exclusive (e.g. the equivalent of the Safe Haven/Haven’s Fall choice in WoL). These missions can be completed at any time, and are outside the main plot. Likewise, any characters rescued from them are confined to story mode space and never appear in cinematics (cinematic budget and all that).

    Choice 1

    Zeratul has a choice of worlds he can go to.

    World A: Nahaan has fled to Braken – Ara have long been migrating to this world, seeking to uphold the virtues of the old Conclave, to be free of the “taint” of the Nerazim. However, the zerg there have become active and organized, pressing in on the protoss. If Zeratul helps him, he’ll gain access to dragoons.

    World B: Praetor Khastiana is holding the line on Gyras, buying time for the protoss to retreat. However, he defence is wavering, and they run every risk of being overrun. If Zeratul helps her, he’ll gain access to immortals.

    In both cases, the character enters the SMS of the Void Seeker. Nahaan has no love for Nerazim, but honour is honour, and in exchange for saving the Ara, he pledges his allegiance to Zeratul. Likewise, Khastiana does the same if she’s saved. She’s loyal to Artanis, but like Zeratul, wants to save as many protoss as possible (I admit it would be difficult to write an immortal as a character, but hey, Fenix got the same treatment as a dragoon).

    Bhekar Ro

    Selecting this core mission branch, an interlude occurs, where Zeratul is approached by a ship, piloted by Xerana (from Shadow of the Xel’naga…yes, I feel dirty just saying that). She too has been looking into the whole energy creature/xel’naga temple thing, and is also aware of the assault that’s being made against protoss space. She doesn’t know if the energy creatures can be destroyed, or why they’re doing what they’re doing. But if the energy creatures have a weakness, they have to go to their source. Such as, a world she once visited. The world where the first energy creature emerged.

    …Bhekar Ro.

    Mission 1: The protoss land on Bhekar Ro – a terran force is at the old temple that isn’t responding to their hails, so Zeratul reasons it’s best to land elsewhere and approach on foot. However, they’re attacked numerous times. Firstly, by Dominion (or KMC or UP, basically the alliance that was set up in alternate WoL) soldiers, who seem to want revenge for something. And by protoss. Strange protoss. In a way, they’re like the zerg, all of them without emotion or individuality.

    I’ll note here that the mission mechanics allow a certain no. of hero units be taken in each case. For Bhekar Ro, it’s two, which would be Zeratul and Xerana. If Zeratul has rescued Nahaan or Khastiana, he can replace Xerana with one of them, and the dialogue will shift accordingly during gameplay. Same principle would apply to other missions, only the no. of heroes able to be chosen for each will differ.

    The protoss eventually reach the terran camp, which is in a bad state. Their transmission tower has been taken out, hence why they can’t respond to their hails. The remaining soldiers are hostile, and Zeratul resigns himself to a fight, only they’re ordered to stand down by their commander – Jim Raynor.

    Interlude/Mission Briefing: This might not all be conveyed at once, but basically, Raynor aquaints himself with Zeratul. Basically, Valerian wasn’t too impressed with the stunt he did back in HotS, so he assigned him to guard duty on Bhekar Ro. However, it’s a duty that’s still important, even if Valerian can’t admit it publically. The Dominion is aware of the energy creatures and their assault on the protoss. So far the terrans have been ignored, but if that changes, Valerian wants to know how to defeat them.

    That changed a few days ago when protoss started attacking the site, killing many of their archeologists and destroying their comms tower. No idea where they came from though.

    Mission 2: Zeratul requests access to the temple, and he’s shown a hidden entrance that the Dominion only found recently (stretching belief I admit, similar concept to the Golden Mean puzzle in Firstborn). However, an energy creature arrives, as commanded by Amon, and it’s revealed where the protoss came from – the energy creature itself. Being composed of both protoss and zerg essence, it can create both zerg and protoss at will. Confident that he has Zeratul trapped, the energy creature holds its position, spawning waves of protoss and zerg. For the sake of realism, all the protoss mechanical units spawned use xel’naga tech – function similarly for game mechanics, but are buffed.

    Thus, the mission is a hold-out, with the player commanding protoss while the computer commands Raynor’s force. Zeratul works out the puzzle in the meantime, either through a timer or maybe in a manner similar to Starjewled, a puzzle that can be worked on in-between waves. Either way, the line is held, and Zeratul gains access to the temple’s lower levels.

    Mission 3: This is an installation-type mission. Still confident of victory, Amon periodically warps in protoss, zerg, and even hybrids. The energy creatures are “pure hybrids” in a sense, but his versions are still useful ground troops. Throughout the mission, Zeratul and Amon verbally spar, Zeratul believing that he’s requesitioned the energy creatures and worldships for his own ends. Amon avoids the issue.

    Eventually, Zeratul reaches the heart of the temple. There, he finds a crystal. A green crystal, similar in size and shape to Uraj and Khalis. He doesn’t know what it is, but Amon doesn’t want him to find out, and warps straight into the temple. He incapacitates Zeratul and reveals the truth – he’s not the master, he’s the servant. The xel’naga have returned. They will be reborn. And their children, who turned on them on both Aiur and Zerus, will be brought to heel.

    Zeratul’s angry/confused – he knows about the cycle of reproduction and the like, but if the purpose of the energy creatures is to collect essence, then surely they have enough to be reborn. Why do the xel’naga need to wipe out the protoss and zerg? Why would they need all this essence? Amon knows the answers, but enough talk, Zeratul’s going to die before he finds out.

    Before he can do so however, Raynor shoots him from behind, using the special anti-hybrid technology he acquired in WoL. Amon is severely wounded, but somehow survives, and teleports out. Word from the surface is that the slave zerg and protoss have lost cohesion, and the energy creature has stopped spawning them. No idea how long it’ll last though, so Zeratul and the protoss have to leave. Raynor and his men will cover their escape before leaving themselves. This Amon fellow doesn’t seem interested in terrans, but if so…well, Raynor’s Raynor. He understands the greater good.

    Interlude/SMS: Onboard the Void Seeker, Xerana studies the crystal. Indeed, its physical dimensions are identical to Uraj and Khalis. However, its psionic aspects are unknown to her, representing neither the Khala energy of Uraj, or the Void energy of Khalis. She’ll study it over time, but it stands to reason that if there’s one of these things out there, there may be others. It would be in their best interests to find another temple.

    In the meantime, Amon is on the bridge of his worldship, surrounded by blank-faced protoss. All slaves. All without identity. He brings up a display of the K-sector and/or surrounding space, numerous star systems are highlighted. All of them with a xel’naga temple.

    “Destroy them,” he whispers. “Destroy them all.”

    Choice 2

    Having completed the Bhekar Ro arc, Zeratul is presented with another choice of planets.

    World A: Mohandar is on Ehlna, fighting a zerg force. The zerg are without an energy creature, but they may win through sheer numbers. If Zeratul helps him, he’ll gain access to void rays.

    World B: Actually a space platform esque mission than a world. Admiral Urun is fighting Amon’s protoss in a space battle, defending a protoss space platform. The protoss are without a worldship, but he may not have enough aerospace power to defeat them. If Zeratul helps him, he’ll gain access to Phoenixes (note that at this point in the campaign, Zeratul is already using Scouts. Xerana flies a Nerazim Scout, so…there).

    Upon being rescued, Mohandar/Urun, while greatful, don’t join Zeratul at this point in time. They’re still loyal to the Hierarchy and will follow Artanis’s orders. However, they reveal that the war has changed a bit. The energy creatures have disappeared. They give Zeratul a no. of void rays/Phoenixes and/or the specs for them before departing.

    At this point in time, it’s probably worth mentioning in SMS that Xerana and Nahaan/Khastiana aren’t exactly chummy, what with being Khalai and Nerazim, and even Khastiana not being above prejudice. Not sure how much this could be factored in, but hey, conflict is the essence of drama.

    Nemaka

    Xerana confirms what Mohandar/Urun hinted at. While Amon’s zerg and protoss (even hybrids) are pounding the protoss, the energy creatures are strangely absent. And she knows why – they’re destroying every xel’naga temple they can find. Whatever they got from the one on Bhekar Ro, it must present a threat. They’re thus beholden to get another crystal before Amon destroys their only chance. With limited options and limited time, the pair head for Nemaka.

    Mission 1: The protoss arrive on Nemaka. A terran camp is in shambles, and they’re preparing to bug out. Turns out that Raynor related the events of Bhekar Ro to Valerian, who’s intent on doing what Zeratul and co. are doing. Get these artifacts, study them, form a defence. But while they’ve found the crystal in a lower level of the temple, lower than Jake or Zamara ever got, the zerg aren’t making transport easy. A convoy has been formed to get to their ships.

    Xerana, Khastiana and/or Nahaan are all for just taking the crystal and leaving the terrans to their fate, but Zeratul is more compassionate, and makes a deal. They’ll escort the terrans to their ships in return for the crystal. The terrans agree, and thus begins a convoy mission. Which, I admit, is kind of a repeat of Agria, but making this up on the spot kind of, I’m looking for opportunities for mission variety.

    Anyway, the zerg are fended off, the terrans reach their ships, and honouring the bargain (or because they know it’s not a good idea to piss off a protoss), they hand the crystal over.

    Mission 2: The Void Seeker starts heading out of the system, only for Amon to arrive with an energy creature. He’s dealt with the other temples, not it’s time for those crystals to be given to him. His worldship forms a blanket of distortion (xel’naga tech, roll with it), preventing the Void Seeker from warping out. Now it’s time to deal with them and as the characters no, they have nothing that can harm the energy creature.

    Xerana has an idea though, noticing that the two crystals are resonating. She suggests linking them to the Void Seeker’s weapon systems. To buy time, Zeratul takes the ship into an asteroid field.

    Thus, a similar mission plays to the Hyperion one from canon-HotS, only this time it’s more a case of cat and mouse. The Void Seeker can destroy the protoss and zerg that Amon sends their way, but can’t damage the energy creature, which pops up every now and then. Eventually, something changes, Xerana explaining that the ship can open fire and do damage. It does, and does damage. A lot of damage. So much damage that the creature is actually destroyed. It drains the Void Seeker’s weapon systems though, and with the distortion field dropping, they can use (and need) that power to warp out.

    Amon is pissed, but still maintains that they have no hope. The temples are destroyed. Only one remains. The world that shall be his next target when he’s marshalled his forces. A world where this will be ended…

    …Shakuras.

    Interlude: Zeratul is greatful for Xerana’s help, but wants an explanation. She explains the crystals are catalytic converters of sorts, the devices that nurtured and powered the energy creatures while in stasis until they could rise. Reversing their fields, they can do the same – destroy the energy creatures. Unfortunately, they require a lot of power. If more than one energy creature comes at them at a time, they’re boned.

    Still, Zeratul notices what’s been brought up before. The crystals are structurally identical to Uraj and Khalis. Amon is headed for Shakuras, and if he brings his full forces with him, then the protoss are helpless. But the temple helped them once before. If they replace Uraj and Khalis with these crystals…what then?

    Time to find out.

    Choice 3

    World A: Executor Selendis is fighting to hold Lorcadia, but an energy creature has arrived, against which they have no defence. If Zeratul helps her, he’ll gain access to carriers.

    World B: Tabrenus is on Swampus, overseeing colossi production. However, as powerful as they are, they have no defence against energy creatures. If Zeratul helps him, he’ll gain access to colossi.

    In both missions, the core objective is to destroy the energy creature present. The Void Seeker can activate its weapon systems to destroy the energy creature or other zerg/protoss units. However, it has a major cooldown time that prevents it from moving for a short time, so use it wisely.

    Whoever Zeratul saves stays with him. Contextually they’re heading for Shakuras (even if the previous choice missions have yet to be fulfilled), so they may as well stay along for the ride).

    Shakuras

    Interlude/Cinematic: The Void Seeker arrives at Shakuras, and it’s clear that Artanis wasn’t bluffing in his desire to preserve the Protectorate. The Great Fleet is here. The Templar Caste is here. Orbital defences are here. And thanks to Zeratul, they may be able to hold the line.

    Zeratul meets Artanis who, even if he doesn’t show it at first, is pleased to see him. Zeratul fought while he fled. He stood for the protoss as a whole while he thought only of the Protectorate. And Zeratul might have well brought the key to their salvation.

    Still, it’s a long shot. The temple’s a good device, capable of wiping out zerg. There’s no guarantee the green crystals can even be used. Still, it becomes a moot point, as Amon’s forces warp into the system. His worldship, energy creatures, and waves of zerg. If he can still use protoss and equip them with xel’naga tech, he’s not using them. The fleet and orbital defences engage the zerg (ala the Korhal invasion in HotS), but due to zerg numbers and/or protoss lack of numbers, many make it to the surface.

    Zeratul sends Xerana with the crystals to the temple, while Artanis remains in Talematros to coordinate the defence. Zeratul meanwhile heads out to battle with his companions at his side (Nahaan/Khastiana, etc.) Oh, and before/during battle, Zeratul rallies the troops:

    “Protoss brethren, heed me! The hour of twilight has come. We face an enemy that has taken our homes, our families, our friends. We are all that stands against the shadow. But if we are to meet our end this day, then we will do so AS ONE! En Taro Tassadar!”

    Hey, even if it isn’t Ulnar I can still use quotes, right?

    Mission 1: This is similar to the first Korhal invasion mission of canon HotS. However, instead of Kerrigan defending beachheads, it’s Zeratul and the protoss preventing those beachheads from being made. This can factor in similarly to one of the siege scenarios from the Lord of the Rings battle game, that if a certain no. of zerg are on the field, the mission is lost due to the protoss being overrun (in said game, if a certain no. of enemy are on/beyond the walls, the defender loses). Anyway, the line is held.

    Mission 2: The zerg attack has faltered. Losing patience, Amon sends the energy creatures forward. Such movement prevents them from spawning zerg waves, but they easily make it to the surface, headed for the temple. Xerana sends out a pulse, weakening them, but not killing them. Still, the energy creatures are still capable of spawning zerg and protoss now that they’re stationary, and Amon’s brought hybrids to the fore. Thus, another defensive mission plays, this time defending the temple. Which, I admit, is similar to the last protoss mission of BW, but hey, we’re fighting more than just zerg here.

    During these missions, Amon and Zeratul have verbally sparred. The motives of Amon and the xel’naga are still ambiguous at this point, but a few hints are made. The xel’naga built this temple. This temple once saved the protoss. There was indeed a time where the xel’naga were the benevolent figures the protoss believed them to be. But between their departure from Aiur and their return, something changed...

    Anyway, the line is held, and the temple is fired, this time using a concentrated beam. Amon’s energy creatures are destroyed, and the protoss press their attack, wiping out their foes on the surface.

    Mission 3: Amon has one last card to play. The temple is good against energy creatures. Those energy creatures (and hybrids) are now gone. But he still has standing forces on his worldship. He still has protoss, and still has production means, so therefore, is still a threat, especially since the temple can’t be fired again immediately. Thus, a space battle occurs similar to the Battle of Braxis mission from BW. Zeratul takes the Void Seeker. Artanis takes the Shield of Aiur. Depending on who was saved, the player can also take Selendis, Urun and/or Mohandar.

    Anyway, the mission plays out, the goal being to take out production structures and key points on the worldship. Throughout the battle in small cutscenes, the Shield of Aiur takes damage – it’s not represented in-game, but contextually, it’s being worn down. Throughout the battle, Artanis expresses how good it feels to be back in battle. Perhaps he’s a better warrior than a leader. Perhaps a better leader could have prevented the protoss from fragmenting. Zeratul doesn’t judge him, but his regret is clear.

    Anyway, the objectives are completed. Amon’s now completely out of options except one – send the worldship crashing into Shakuras. It’s aimed for Talematros, and given its size and velocity, that…isn’t a good thing. Out of options, Artanis does the only thing he can:

    Cinematic: The bridge is in a bad state, Artanis is the only one present. It becomes clear what he intends to do – to overload the mothership, send it crashing into the worldship’s central structural point, which will divide its mass, alter its trajectory, and spare Shakuras some of the damage. The voices of Zeratul and co. can be heard, but he shuts them out. What he can’t, or doesn’t shut out is Amon’s visage filling the viewscreen. So, cue attempts at dialogue:

    Amon: “Like children, you have to be beaten down time and time again!”

    Artanis remains silent.

    Amon, clearly worried, but still defiant: “You think you’ve won? You think this has ended?! You think you can escape fate!?”

    Artanis: “I have only one thing to say to you.”

    Amon: “What?!”

    Artanis (whispering): “En taro Adun…”

    The mothership hits the worldship, its impact and detonation literally ripping the enemy vessel apart. Amon screams as the fire consumes him. Debris falls down on Shakuras, but not nearly doing the level of damage Amon intended.

    Cinematic 2: I admit I’m stretching the cinematic budget, but WoL got away with it, showing New Gettysburg being pre-rendered followed by Raynor and Horner in the bar using the game engine. Anyway, it shows the streets of Talematros, its flags furled up. Zekrath – the last Hierarchy member that’s yet to be seen outside the intro (as in, his survival is canon regardless of choice, hence why he’s the leader in a cinematic). From the balcony of the capital building (or whatever equivalent Talematros has), he steps forward to address the crowd. Zeratul and Xerana are there, as are numerous Khalai and Nerazim. One people, united. So, cue attempt to write speech, superimposed of shots of Shakuras.

    Zekrath: “We are the protoss. The Firstborn. The children of the xel’naga. But here today, under twilight, I do not see children. I do not see Khalai, or Nerazim. I see Daelaam. One people. One purpose. Hierarch Artanis, our father, died so that we could live. Let us not sully his sacrifice, or betray his memory. Let us not slide into discord once more. Let our differences strengthen us, not divide us. Let us go forward, past twilight, into the sun.”

    “En taro Artanis!”

    Crowd: “En taro Artanis!”

    …this is why I don’t write speeches.

    Notes

    At this point in time, I could stop…sort of. If I cut out the xel’naga and just left Amon, it would end here. If the optional missions are longer, and combing them with the compulsory ones, I’d have a total of 14, more via replays if you choose different characters to save in a subsequent playthrough. But not counting those missions, I have 11 missions. A logical half-way point in terms of no., basically the equivalent of where Mengsk contacts Kerrigan in canon-HotS. I do admit there's some questionable choices, how the energy creatures can spawn zerg and protoss, and why if I want protoss enemies why I don't just use the Tal'darim (which I'll get to in part 2), and admittedly the borderline DEM with the crystals and using the temple again (ala BW), and Artanis slamming into the worldship ala Tassadar from SC1, but...well, at least with the temple, it's something that already exists, and has the poetic justice of using xel'naga tech against the same race that built the temple in the first place.

    So basically, this is the halfway point. And this is gone on far longer than I expected but dammit, I’m finishing it! At least, after I take a break. So I’ll end part 1 here.

    Cinematic/Interlude: Zeratul is on the Void Seeker, despondant. Shakuras has been saved. Via the temple, they’re now safe from any more energy creature attacks. Yet Artanis is dead. And the mystery of Amon and the xel’naga remains. It…

    …actually, nevermind that, because Zeratul’s just activated his blade. Spinning around, he finds a hybrid walking towards him.

    Zeratul: “Hybrid!”

    Springing forward, Zeratul gets the blade to the creature’s throat. Yet he hesitates, for the creature isn’t resisting.

    Creature: “Impressive. You are as skilled as she said, friend Zeratul.”

    Zeratul draws his blade back. Friend? And who’s she? He asks so along these lines, and the creature draws itself to full height.

    “Creature: “As you said, I am a hybrid. My name…is Dehaka.”

    “And I bring a message from the Queen of Blades…”

  2. #12

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    I don't envy the task of having to rewrite HotS wholesale as you've done here. Given the re-interpretation of WoL though, I guess it's expected for you to have to draw in other ideas to fill in the gaps. It's an admirable effort that you've able to keep it linked up and as continuous as it is. I share Robear's sentiment about it being a bit Warcraft-ish with your treatment of the Xel'Naga in general but otherwise I like the plot twist with Narud and Zeratul's reluctant "big damn hero" moment.

    I actually like how you've maintained the relationship between Kerrigan and Raynor. It's much less ham-fisted and overt (I've never had a problem with them theoretically still being in love, just they way it was presented and portrayed) than what we actually got in HotS. One can see the motivation behind what they do to resolve their issues - there's a nice theme about "moving on" you've got there in that scene. I can see that working.

    I think you partially broke one of your initial rules, the "no artifact" one in your HotS version. Sure, it doesn't have the effect of the actual one, but the problem with the artifact in general is like all the other plot devices ever used in Sc so far (BW being the most heinous what with the Xel'Naga temple, Psi Disruptor and so oon) it brings about unnatural plot progression and reeks of convenience. The scenario of where Duran happens to create an artifact that controls Zerg, only to then be stolen by Kerrigan to be used against him in the final battle centres/forms/propels the story more around the artifact/plot device than the characters.

    I'm not too sure about the possibility of Narud's syringe dart thingy being the sole cause of Kerrigan's personality change. As you said, you know it's iffy and I think it's because like the plot device thing I mentioned above, it's a little contrived.

    One major thing that you (and the actual HotS even) neglected to do was to explore the 4 year gap for Kerrigan. Given how you're version of WoL pans out, we now don't have a possible reason for why Kerrigan just sits there for 4 years. Maybe the introductory missions can be re-worked as a prologue to the proper start of HotS where you can explain Kerrigan's "change of heart" from wanting to kill everyone to saving the Zerg (with the unintended secondary benefit of saving everyone else as well) from Amon through her own investigations into her feelings of hollowness at the end of BW.

    Overall, still a big thumbs up!
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  3. #13
    TSCR's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: Theorycraft

    Why were the zerg even dormant for 4 years? Was it so Kerrigan could evolve them? If that were the case I don't see why OP needs to fill in the 4 year gap.
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  4. #14

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    I would just rearrange the mission order honestly (mostly force you to do certain missions at certain times) and make some small changes to the campaign's story. For example:

    Mar Sara Misisons - Tentpole cinematic (Zerg attack Mar Sara) - Choosing Between Agria, Monlyth, Tarsonis, Red Stone (you'd need to finish all of these in any order to progress to the next tier) - Tentpole cinematic/mission (dunno what) - Xil, Meinhoff, Bel'shir, Cutthroat mission - Tyrador VII (Tentpole mission, bigger, grander) - Valhalla, Haven, New Folsom, Supernova mission - Bucephelus mission (basically the cinematic where Raynor meets Valerian except as a mission) - Media Blitz + Xel'Naga worldship - Char

    The Media Blitz mission would be made possible by Valerian's invovlement. Valerian's plan is to discredit his father, take larger control of the Dominion and then use that control to get a fleet to assault Char with. I dunno how the Protoss missions would fit in, I think they'd just be unlocked at the same tier as Valhalla and then be mandatory to starting the Char stuff, they're not necessary from a story perspective. Pretty optional. Valerian would be a MUCH more ambiguous character, and instead of proving himself, his goal is to use the Queen of Blades as a bargaining chip (potentially to control the Swarm and use it as a weapon) or failing that, the destruction of the Swarm to take CONTROL of the Dominion, rather than prove himself as a worthy successor. There'd be some moral questions about if helping one Emperor to dethrone another is a good idea or not, and in the end the question would be left unanswered to an extent.

    Valerian himself would be very shady, and be more involved in the storyline and the cinematics. He'd be very shrewd and intelligent, and a smooth talker. He'd give Raynor a bad vibe and be very confident and self-assured. At the end of the game, the Dominion would be sent into shambles, with a civil war erupting between Valerian and Arcturus' followers.

    That's how I've been thinking about it lately.

    EDIT: Oh and Tychus would just be a spy for the Moebius Foundation/Valerian, not Arcturus. I dunno how the ending would, I'd probably involve the Daelaam Protoss in the Assault on Char somehow.
    Last edited by Aldrius; 05-20-2013 at 01:59 AM.


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  5. #15

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon
    I think you partially broke one of your initial rules, the "no artifact" one in your HotS version. Sure, it doesn't have the effect of the actual one, but the problem with the artifact in general is like all the other plot devices ever used in Sc so far (BW being the most heinous what with the Xel'Naga temple, Psi Disruptor and so oon) it brings about unnatural plot progression and reeks of convenience. The scenario of where Duran happens to create an artifact that controls Zerg, only to then be stolen by Kerrigan to be used against him in the final battle centres/forms/propels the story more around the artifact/plot device than the characters.
    Yeah, I do admit I was kind of stretching the "no artifact" rule there. Its main reason was to somehow find a way for the HotS space missions to be reworked, but also make it irrelevant plot-wise in the Char missions. Something for the sake of the mission rather than the sake of the story. Again the temple crystals are another stretch of this, but reasoning that I'm relying on the temple, its less DEM as it relies on something that's already been established.

    Quote Originally Posted by TSCR
    Why were the zerg even dormant for 4 years? Was it so Kerrigan could evolve them? If that were the case I don't see why OP needs to fill in the 4 year gap.
    Idea being that Kerrigan is saving her forces for the greater conflict/threat she senses at the end of BW (which is the same canon explanation really). Instead of primarily going after the artifacts in canon WoL, the equivalent here is that she's primarily going after the hybrids.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldrius
    Mar Sara Misisons - Tentpole cinematic (Zerg attack Mar Sara) - Choosing Between Agria, Monlyth, Tarsonis, Red Stone (you'd need to finish all of these in any order to progress to the next tier) - Tentpole cinematic/mission (dunno what) - Xil, Meinhoff, Bel'shir, Cutthroat mission - Tyrador VII (Tentpole mission, bigger, grander) - Valhalla, Haven, New Folsom, Supernova mission - Bucephelus mission (basically the cinematic where Raynor meets Valerian except as a mission) - Media Blitz + Xel'Naga worldship - Char
    In regards to canon WoL, my personal order is Liberation Day - The Outlaws - Zero Hour - The Evacuation - Smash and Grab - Outbreak - The Great Train Robbery - The Devil's Playground - Welcome to the Jungle - The Dig - Whispers of Doom - A Sinister Turn - Echoes of the Future - In Utter Darkness - The Moebius Factor - Safe Haven - Breakout - Cutthroat - Engine of Destruction - Media Blitz - Piercing the Shroud - Supernova - Maw of the Void - Gates of Hell - Shatter the Sky - All In

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldrius
    Valerian himself would be very shady, and be more involved in the storyline and the cinematics. He'd be very shrewd and intelligent, and a smooth talker. He'd give Raynor a bad vibe and be very confident and self-assured. At the end of the game, the Dominion would be sent into shambles, with a civil war erupting between Valerian and Arcturus' followers.
    Maybe...it could work, e.g., instead of Arcturus at the head of the pursuing fleet in Flashpoint and HotS, it would be Dominion rebels. Only then we're left to speculate what Kerrigan would do against a Dominion with Valerian in charge, if anything.

    Quite frankly, I'm happy with the way Valerian turned out, and the idealism of the endings of WoL and HotS. It's the same reason how even in altered WoL I had an idealised ending. I know people have said in both cases that "it's too idealistic" and "this isn't StarCraft!" but in all honesty, we've had our share of gritty/phyric/hollow endings. If it's repeated too often, it loses its impact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldrius
    Oh and Tychus would just be a spy for the Moebius Foundation/Valerian, not Arcturus. I dunno how the ending would, I'd probably involve the Daelaam Protoss in the Assault on Char somehow.
    Honestly, I'm glad the Daelaam don't "do a Tassadar" in WoL. It's a terran story, where the terrans win the conflict (HotS aside) by their own merits. It provides a nice contrast to SC1, where terrans have gone from victims caught in a war between the zerg and protoss, to a race that can fight and win (or lose) on its own merits. Where Raynor is able to talk to Selendis as an equal rather than a member of a primitive species that was beneath the Conclave's consideration.

    Anyway, enough with that, finally got to writing up part 2.
    Last edited by Hawki; 05-20-2013 at 02:14 AM. Reason: Keep part 2 in its own post.

  6. #16

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    Legacy of the Void: Part 2

    Interlude: This would probably be best covered similar to how in canon WoL, Raynor reflects on Valerian’s offer rather than showing the offer itself. Basically, Dehaka brings a message – Kerrigan is on Char battling the forces of Amon, and wants his help. After all, he did help her at Skygeirr, right? The hows and whys Dehaka is vague on, and being a hybrid, the protoss can’t tell if he’s telling the truth.

    Most protoss, Zekrath included, are aghast at the idea. This is Sarah Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades. The one who killed Raszagal (Zeratul doing the actual deed aside). The one responsible for deaths of numerous protoss. Oh, and remember the last time Kerrigan asked for Zeratul’s help? When she kidnapped Raszagal and turned on them? And heck, she didn’t have a BLOODY HYBRID back then!

    Suffice to say, most of the protoss are pissed, Zekrath especially. Zeratul however, having aided Kerrigan before, wants to travel to Char and determine the truth. Zekrath can’t stop him, but he’s not giving him any help. As such, only the Void Seeker will travel to Char, along with those loyal to him (Xerana and the other characters he’s saved in the previous missions) – note that at this point in the campaign, those missions are no longer accessible. Gameplay-wise, this restricts the tech tree severely – hero units can keep their ships (e.g. Mohandar is still in a void ray, Selendis would still be in a carrier, etc.) but their usage in missions is restricted.

    Oh, and Dehaka travels as well. In HotS, he learnt what it was to be a zerg. Through SMS interactions, he learns what it means to be a protoss.

    Choice 4

    The choice missions still occur, but have different effects in gameplay terms. Up until Shakuras, they unlocked units on the tech tree. Here, they unlock campaign-specific upgrades. One choice unlocks upgrades that can be used by Khalai units, the other choice unlocks upgrades for Nerazim units. Also, contextually, there’s less threat from the energy creatures and such, and it deals more with independent protoss groups.

    World A: A group of Shel’na Kryhas survived the events of the Dark Templar Saga and have uncovered ancient Khalai technology in one of Aiur’s ruined cities. However, feral zerg are closing in on them. If Zeratul saves them, these Khalai technologies, once declared forbidden, could be theirs.

    World B: A Sargas group has settled on Alamar, and after salvaging some xel’naga tech, they have been given new insight into the powers of the Void. However, they have come under attack by terran raiders. If Zeratul helps them, Nerazim units could be improved upon.

    Char

    Mission 1: The Void Seeker arrives at Char, where Kerrigan promptly contacts the protoss. It turns out that she’s currently battling for her homeworld, with hybrid-led zerg opposing her. These hybrids have absorbed the essence of the deceased second Overmind and its cerebrates, enforcing a similar system of reincarnation that only the powers of the Void can nullify (and can’t be controlled by the HotS artefact either). Basically, she wants Zeratul to help her. Again. And to Xerana’s disgust, Zeratul agrees, prompting her to storm off the bridge.

    Thus begins a sneak and attack mission – two zerg forces attacking while Zeratul and other heroes go with him (aside from Xerana who’s unavailable). Throughout the mission, Kerrigan and Raynor banter. Zeratul maintains that the past is the past, they face a greater threat, and in turn, Kerrigan makes vague reference to what’s happened on her end between the end of HotS and this point in LotV. Regardless, the hybrids are killed and their zerg sent into disarray.

    Kerrigan meets Zeratul, and she comes off as being quite confident. She becomes much less confident when a blade pierces her from behind, incapacitating her (this can be done in-game). Xerana is the culprit and Zeratul’s demeanour changes instantly. He never trusted Kerrigan for a moment. She betrayed him here during BW, now it’s his turn to do the backstabbing – the whole Xerana thing on the bridge was a show for Kerrigan to see. So, right now, the only reason he isn’t going to finish the job is that they face a common enemy, and he wants to hear what Kerrigan has to say before killing her or not.

    Interlude/Game Mechanic Storytelling: Kerrigan fills in the gaps. After HotS, she was able to find Ulnar, and brought the Swarm to bear. There, she discovered that the xel’naga were present, or at least their three remaining worldships were. No biggie, the zerg overran the xel’naga worldships at Zerus, they could do so again, and they attacked. What the xel’naga didn’t have back then were the energy creatures, being against which Kerrigan’s zerg had no defence against. The attack was decimated, and while Amon was pressing in on the protoss, another force of protoss/zerg/hybrids/energy creatures were pushing in on the zerg, driving them all the way back to Char. Her victory against Duran prevented the xel’naga from using the zerg as an army (as in, stressing the events of HotS weren’t for nothing) but she couldn’t stem the tide. Suddenly though, the energy creatures disappeared, but by this time, the enemy had pushed her back to Char.

    Zeratul recognises this as the moment when Amon chose to destroy the temples. However, that does raise the question of where the energy creatures went, aside from the ones destroyed on Shakuras. Regardless, it’s been shown the hybrids can still control the zerg under the right circumstances, so while Zeratul would like nothing better than to kill Kerrigan, circumstance dictates that she live. Better that she leads the Swarm than the xel’naga.

    Which will be difficult due to the backstab, thank you very much. The wound, along with the one Duran inflicted, have taken its toll, and Kerrigan will have to remain on Char for now, to heal and take back the rest of the planet. Neither she nor Zeratul trust each other, but some protoss are left behind in the system to keep an eye on her, while she wants Dehaka to stay on the Void Seeker. Neither’s particularly happy with the arrangement, but desperate times call for desperate measures and as a sign of good faith, Kerrigan gives Zeratul the artefact she recovered in WoL.

    Choice 5

    World A: A group of Nerazim mercenaries have been aiding a UED rebel group, but having returned to Abaddon, they’ve been betrayed, the UED’s need for them having expired. They have no means of mistake and the terrans are closing in on them. If Zeratul aids them, they’ll be able to bring their experience and war techniques to other Nerazim.

    World B: A group of Velari isolationists have settled on Albion. Unfortunately, some of Amon’s slave protoss are here as well, and while not controlled, are still dangerous. So far, they’ve managed to hold their own by reverse engineering some of the xel’naga tech used by the slave protoss, boosting Khalai technologies. If Zeratul aids them, they’ll gladly share these technologies.

    Planet X

    The same Zerus stand-in from the take on HotS.

    Zeratul contacts Zekrath, telling him what Kerrigan told him. He believes the xel’naga are not defeated, that there’s a strong risk of returning, and they have to travel to Ulnar – they used the catalytic crystals against the energy creatures before, they have the means to take the offensive and succeed where Kerrigan failed. Zekrath is having none of it however. Kerrigan can’t be trusted, Zeratul should have killed her on Char, and if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll stop dishonouring the memories of Raszagal and Artanis and get back to Shakuras where he belongs. With that, he signs off.

    Orders are orders, even if Zeratul isn’t keen on following them. However, it’s at this point that a garbled transmission is received, one that’s traced to Planet X. It’s protoss in origin, and whoever these protoss are, they need help. Dehaka recognises the planet, and briefly recounts the events of HotS when Kerrigan was on it. Given Planet X’s link to Amon, Zeratul decides to make a detour.

    Mission 1: The protoss make landfall. There, they learn the protoss who contacted them is Lhassir, of the Tal’darim (a separate individual from Nyon, just using his development name because it saves me having to make up a new one). They’re all that’s left of the Tal’darim on this world. When Amon rose, they expected their faith to be rewarded, not for the zerg and hybrids to turn on them. Not for their place in the gods’ plans to be replaced by clone protoss rather than serving as their loyal subjects. They’ve managed to slay all the hybrids, but the zerg are still coordinated somehow. Basically, they’re screwed. And like it or not, Zeratul is the only one who can save them.

    Basically the mission plays similarly to Safe Haven, with the Tal’darim camps having to be evacuated/defended from the zerg and hybrids. The final site is the ziggurat that Amon emerged from. To Zeratul’s shock, the body is still there. So…if that’s Amon…who…or what…was “Amon Mk. II?” You know, the xel’naga that was kicking their protoss rears from Ash’Arak to Shakuras? Lhassir doesn’t know, but silently voices his belief that “you cannot kill a god.”

    Zeratul doesn’t want to hear it. Amon’s dead. He’s dead here, he’s dead on Shakuras, Khas damn it, he’s dead! But then again, he has to wonder. The zerg on Char were coordinated, but they had hybrids controlling them. But these zerg…who…or what…is controlling them?

    Interlude: Lhassir enters the story mode space as a character, potentially as a hero unit. Narratively wise, he serves to give insight into the Tal’darim, why they believe what they believe, how Amon’s actions have impacted his faith, etc. He doesn’t like having everything he’s believed in turned upside down like this, but “heathen” or otherwise, Zeratul saved him. That’s got to count for something.

    Cinematic/Cutscene/Interlude: Zeratul contacts Zekrath, briefing him on Planet X and stressing the need for action. This isn’t over. Amon may be dead, but his zerg are still being controlled, even in cases where hybrids aren’t acting as the controllers. They need to go to Ulnar (Dehaka’s been there with Kerrigan, he knows the coordinates) and end this. An exasperated Zekrath again refuses, but points out a key reason why they can’t – the temple has enough power to utilize the crystals. They take those crystals out of the temple, Shakuras is defenceless. No protoss ship is advanced enough to use them as weapons and remain functional. Maybe a xel’naga ship could, but where are they going to get back from? Answer: Nowhere. Now return to Shakuras!

    While Zeratul is frustrated, he realizes Nahaan is right. They have no means of using the crystals as an offensive weapon effectively. However, Lhassir is Tal’darim. He knows things. He hears things. And he knows where they can find a xel’naga worldship. A worldship that was occupied by Tal’darim until some terrans took them out. A worldship that lies in the Sigma quadrant.

    The same worldship that appeared in WoL.

    Choice 6

    World A: Venatir isolationists in the Sigma quadrant have come under attack by slave protoss. Prior to this, they’d uncovered some xel’naga tech that could be used to boost Khalai powers. If Zeratul saves them, the tech is his.

    World B: A group of Tal’darim survivors from the WoL attack have come under attack by zerg. Out here, in the middle of nowhere, they have devised new means of tapping into the powers of the Void. If Zeratul aids them, they will gladly pass on these techniques.

    Worldship

    Mission 1: The Void Seeker arrives at the worldship, where they find a Dominion salvage operation going on, again led by Raynor. Turns out Valerian took the events of Bhekar Ro and Nemaka to heart, and wants to salvage this xel’naga tech. Again, it’s a question of who gets it. Raynor is willing to trust Zeratul’s word, but again, it’s not so simple as ignoring Valerian’s orders. However, it comes to a head as a pair of energy creatures arrive. One deploys zerg strains. The other moves in for a direct attack.

    Both the terrans and protoss want the worldship, and it’s clear that the enemy wants to destroy or recover it themselves. The protoss are more savy with xel’naga tech, so they’re left to get the ship’s Void drive ready. The terrans, having the larger force, are left to defend it. At the least, the energy creatures can’t use their essence against them.

    As such, this mission involves controlling Raynor’s forces in addition to protoss heroes and Dehaka. Gameplay variety and all that. They find that they can use the rip fields strategically, using them to destroy zerg and incapacitate energy creatures. Additionally, Dehaka’s powers have reached the stage where he can control some zerg. Basically, the ship’s Void drive is reactivated, and the ship jumps, leaving the enemy in its dust.

    Interlude: The worldship arrives at Shakuras. They now have the means to use the crystals offensively, and the ship has enough power to use it repeatedly. With this knowledge, and after everything that’s occurred, Zekrath concedes to Zeratul’s demands. The protoss will take the fight to the xel’naga. However, it will require every ship, every soldier, and even if they put Khalis and Uraj back in the temple, what’s to stop Kerrigan from invading Shakuras when they’re gone?

    Dehaka speaks for Kerrigan – she will provide him with a brood, but no more – she’s busy reclaiming Char. Still, they’re only taking her at his word, but Raynor steps in – he knows Kerrigan, for all the good and bad that entails. He’s willing to give her the benefit of the doubt after WoL, but he’ll keep his forces here at Shakuras. If Kerrigan attacks, well…he knows what’ll have to be done. He can hold the fort until the protoss get back.

    Cinematic: Insert rousing music/various scenes of protoss preparing for departure, of the worldship being retrofitted to use the crystals as an offensive beam, etc. Eventually, the fleet is ready. Not the largest fleet in the world, but it’s still pretty much every ship, every soldier the protoss have. A fleet of protoss ships with the worldship as its flagship. Zeratul is made the commander. Thus, the order is given, and the forces depart for Ulnar.

    Gameplay-wise, the protoss now have access to the entire tech tree, even if they didn’t meet the requisites during certain missions (e.g. if Zeratul missed out on Phoenixes due to not rescuing Urun, he has access to them now). As for Raynor and Kerrigan, as tempting as it is to have them all go together, it’s a protoss story, and it should remain the focus of such.

    Ulnar

    The fleet arrives in Ulnar’s star system. As Kerrigan said, there were three worldships here when she last brought her forces here. Amon’s one was destroyed, and it seems she was telling the truth, as there’s now two, accompanied with zerg and protoss tech of their own. Still no sign of the xel’naga…not at least until Amon appears.

    Yes, Amon’s very much alive and kicking, despite being killed on Planet X and incinerated on Shakuras. If there’s a reason behind this, he’s not revealing it. What he does reveal is that he was indeed coordinating the hybrids, zerg, and slave protoss from afar, even after his ‘death’ at Shakuras. Indeed, they’ve brought the entire protoss fleet to bear against him and yes, this includes a worldship with rip fields and a cannon that can destroy energy creatures. But it’s too late. The xel’naga’s ascension is nigh. Even if the ascension itself is sullied, even if their wayward children have yet to be eliminated, it matters not. The end has come.

    Not that he’s revealing why the xel’naga have got delusions of grandeur, but it doesn’t matter. It’s time for the last battle.

    Mission 1: Amon’s worldships take up positions on either side of the protoss one. One worldship is filled with slave protoss, the other with zerg. That, and he’s got energy creatures and hybrids. The player has to defeat the two forces, using the rip-fields to their advantage and reserving the cannon for the energy creatures. However, the player has to alternate power, as the rip-fields and cannon can’t be used at the same time (I may as well point out that the cannon is like the pulse cannon from WoL in terms of game mechanics). Dehaka controls his own brood, but it’s quite minor, the tech tree limited (still the protoss’s fight in the end). It ends with the enemy worldships being destroyed along with the last of the energy creatures, and Amon being killed. Again. But he hardly seems perturbed. He’ll see them soon…

    How soon is soon, Zeratul doesn’t know. And what’s worst, their own worldship is crippled, its weapons useless. Still, they have the fleet at their back, and the order is given to descend on Ulnar.

    Mission 2: The ground forces hit a snag, and that’s the xel’naga defence system that surrounds the arena as seen in the intro cinematic. Unfortunately, up to this point, the xel’naga have relied on servant protoss and zerg, with the former using relatively cheap tech. Here however, are bona fide xel’naga defences. Rip-fields. Turrets (the cancelled xel’naga structure from SC2). Other nasties. Basically it’s like the final Illidari mission from The Frozen Throne, where the defences are basically impregnable.

    And to top it off, Amon emerges yet again, coinciding with a strange light emanating from the arena. Still no word on what’s going on bar himself. Per their cycle of reproduction, the xel’naga were always able to transfer their spirits/souls/essences into the new race of xel’naga. Now, they have a way to streamline the process, to transfer one’s consciousness upon the point of death. He did die on Planet X. He did die over Shakuras. He did die over Ulnar. And that’s left him a bit pissed off, to say the least.

    The rip-fields have been altered to adversely affect units that rely on plasma shields. So basically, the protoss don’t have a chance of advancing. Thanks to Dehaka however, the zerg do, along with all the hybrids he can control with the artefact. Thus, the mission plays out. Dehaka destroys rip-field generators, defences drop, protoss move up to a certain point, rinse and repeat. Due to the structure of the mission, Dehaka is isolated from the protoss, whom Amon has constantly berated for turning on him. With the defences destroyed, Amon teleports out and retreats. The protoss are ready to advance, except Dehaka is nowhere to be found.

    Mission 3: The final line of xel’naga defence is ready – protoss and zerg vs. protoss...since Dehaka has disappeared. Jackass. But there’s little time for bitterness as the protoss behold the sight before them. What’s before them is like an energy creature, hovering above the arena, fed by a white light. It’s where the individual xel’naga were at the start of the game, but they’re nowhere to be found. Except Amon. The last xel’naga to “ascend.”

    Time for explanations. Always, the xel’naga cycle continued. Always, a new race of xel’naga would be born through combining purity of essence with purity of form. And always, the cycle would then have to be repeated. And yet still they repeated their actions. Only now did it come to haunt them. The protoss turned on them at Aiur, sullying their purity of form by killing their own, hence why they provided the means for Khas to discover the Khala. At Zerus, the zerg nearly wiped them out, the only surviving worldships (the three that were at Ulnar when Kerrigan was there) fleeing. Almost all the xel’naga were wiped out, reduced to the last remaining ones that have been seen here.

    Yet some xel’naga had foreseen this, the same xel’naga who indirectly predicted the Great War and the role the Argus Stone would play. It was why Amon was in slumber. It was why the shapeshifter Duran/Narud/whatever was created, to begin preparations for the hybrids if they were necessary. The surviving xel’naga meanwhile shaped the energy creatures and sequestered them in temples. They knew the zerg would head for Koprulu. They knew they would come into contact with the protoss. They would enter range, and what began at Bhekar Ro was repeated. Essence that would be taken back to them. Pure essence for the xel’naga, lesser essence for the zerg and protoss they’ve been using. The xel’naga will become a single, perfect being. The cycle will end. They will become unchanging, immortal, without need to repeat the cycle. Amon failed to eradicate the zerg and protoss and hasten the process, but it matters not. There is still enough for them to ascend. To cease to be gods, and become one single god. And the protoss and zerg here will be the perfect tribute. All that’s left is for Amon to destroy them and let the xel’naga ascend.

    Naturally, Zeratul and co. aren’t happy about this, so the order is given to attack.

    This is basically a pitched battle scenario. All or nothing, final battle, insert intense music here, bases have to be destroyed to drop the shields protecting the creature. Amon remains on a kind of bridge leading to the top of the arena. Once a certain requisite is met (e.g. no. of enemy bases destroyed), an in-game cutscene occurs, where Dehaka appears on the bridge before Amon. And, cue scene that I admit, probably takes a bit of a cue from Tron: Legacy and Revenge of the Sith:

    Amon: “You’ve come.”

    Dehaka remains silent.

    Amon: “You could have been beautiful. You could have been magnificent. You could have been…perfect.”

    Dehaka: “The thing about perfection is that it can never be achieved. It is something to be pursued, not enforced. To aspire towards, not achieve.”

    Amon: (Snorts) “You truly believe that?”

    Dehaka: “I do.”

    Amon: “Then you are truly lost.”

    The two do battle in the in-game engine both have infinite HP/regenerating HP, it’s something for show. This also signals a new spike in difficulty, as the uber energy creature fires beams of energy every so often, against which the protoss have no defence. Still, they’re able to succeed. On cue, Dehaka defeats Amon, and he’s without any other bodies to transfer his consciousness into. But it’s too late. The charge sequence is complete.

    Yet there’s one last thing Dehaka can do. As a hybrid, he takes essence. As a hybrid under Kerrigan, he learnt what it meant to be zerg. As a hybrid under Zeratul, he learnt what it meant to be protoss. As an individual, he knows what must be done. And knowing what it will cost him, he begins assimilating the essence of the forming “uber energy creature.” He can’t take all the essence without destroying himself. But it’s enough to destabilize the process. The creature detonates, ending the xel’naga, as well as the last hybrid. Much to the joy and grief of Zeratul and co.

    End Cinematic

    Culmination of numerous scenes with Zeratul doing a voiceover. And yes, I’m taking a few references from other settings here, but…well, I’m at the end.

    Scene 1: The destruction of the energy creature

    Zeratul: “In the end, the fall of those who would be gods came at the hands of one of their children. Not zerg. Not protoss. But one who was both.”

    The energy creature, which has been rising into the air, is destroyed. The protoss gaze upwards, the twilight of Ulnar briefly being illuminated by this glow.

    Zeratul: “For the first time in aeons, the Firstborn can step out of the shadows. To be one people, and stand in the light.”

    Scene 2: The protoss return to Shakuras, the fleet missing the worldship. Zekrath and those on the surface gaze upward, knowing they have succeeded.

    Zeratul: “Much has been lost. Our homes. Our lives. Our innocence.”

    Scene 3: The ships land. Nerazim and Khalai. Together.

    “But we can rebuild. We can endure. We can look to those who may be our allies…”

    Scene 4: Brief snippet of Raynor saluting in front of Valerian. After everything that’s happened, they’re still friends and allies.”

    Zeratul: “To those who may again be our enemies.”

    Scene 5: Kerrigan stands tall on Char. The planet is hers now. The zerg are hers. They have suffered, they have been bloodied. But they can rise again.”

    Scene 6: A statue of Artanis is unveiled. It’s in a long line of many. Not that we have much physical comparison, but others include Khas, Adun, and Tassadar. All heroes.

    Zeratul: “But for now, we rebuild. We look to the future, and honour those who cannot share it with us.”

    Scene 7

    Zeratul walks onto the bridge of the Void Seeker. Xerana and Lhassir are there. In an ideal world the characters recruited in the campaign would be here as well, but this being a cinematic, it’s not ideal. Xerana approaches him.

    Xerana: “Orders from Hierarch Zekrath. Some of our brethren wish to return to the fold.”

    Zeratul: “Very well. Set a course. (pause). Bring us a new sunrise.”

    The camera pans out from the bridge, showing the Void Seeker in the darkness of space, yet under the glow of the stars. And with that, it sets out into the Void. To bring more protoss into the light.

    The End

    Notes

    Obviously this isn't going to happen in any shape or form in canon, and I admit that I'm really straying into territory that I know many fans don't like. Artifacts, beings of incredible power, an ending that I freely admit takes reference from...certain medias that's probably safer not to mention.

    I briefly considered sending Raynor and co. to Ulnar and co., and having Raynor make a sacrifice, using terran essence to corrupt the process, but decided not to because a) Raynor shouldn't be a martyr in a story he barely features in, b) the terrans teamed up with protoss at the end of SC1, and c) energy creatures can canonically filter out terran essence, there's no reason why the xel'naga couldn't. Still, there are ideas I wouldn't mind seeing in canon-LotV. We really need a Tal'darim character for the Void Seeker's SMS IMO, and come to think of it, a sapient hybrid character isn't something I'd object to either.

    Anyway, that's that. This isn't something I'll really continue working on, as it was meant as a challenge to be done in a short ammount of time, and I originally had no intention on framing a take on LotV in the altered context. More stories to write/plot/draft, StarCraft included, but if I ever novelize WoL, HotS and/or LotV, they'd end up sticking to canon for the most part.

  7. #17

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    Maybe...it could work, e.g., instead of Arcturus at the head of the pursuing fleet in Flashpoint and HotS, it would be Dominion rebels. Only then we're left to speculate what Kerrigan would do against a Dominion with Valerian in charge, if anything.
    No, no. Not what I meant. Mengsk would still be the head of the main Dominion on Korhal. Just a large portion of it would be under Valerian's control. The civil war would continue into HotS in my mind. HotS wouldn't change much either. Valerian would be plotting a major assault on Korhal using the Zerg as a weapon. (Under Kerrigan's control)

    Quite frankly, I'm happy with the way Valerian turned out, and the idealism of the endings of WoL and HotS. It's the same reason how even in altered WoL I had an idealised ending. I know people have said in both cases that "it's too idealistic" and "this isn't StarCraft!" but in all honesty, we've had our share of gritty/phyric/hollow endings. If it's repeated too often, it loses its impact.
    I don't need phyric or gritty, but I need it to not be a fairy tale. They were victorious because "Raynor's just that good". It cost them nothing. The end of the Korhal thing was just weird. Neither victory felt like it cost anything. And if the stories HONEST, it should have cost them something. Beyond essentially nameless marines and zerglings. Even the original StarCraft has Tassadar sacrifice himself. I mean I guess Kerrigan had to turn herself back into the QoB, but that doesn't mean anything beyond her no longer being able to be Raynor's 'one twue love'. Kerrigan's Brood War victory cost her, the UED victory cost them... there should always be a price to pay for victory. Because there always is.

    Honestly, I'm glad the Daelaam don't "do a Tassadar" in WoL. It's a terran story, where the terrans win the conflict (HotS aside) by their own merits. It provides a nice contrast to SC1, where terrans have gone from victims caught in a war between the zerg and protoss, to a race that can fight and win (or lose) on its own merits. Where Raynor is able to talk to Selendis as an equal rather than a member of a primitive species that was beneath the Conclave's consideration.
    They're not IN it (they're in one mission =S), the Protoss beyond strawmen Tal'darim (who I have some ideas about actually) don't appear in the campaign, and I feel like they should have. And honestly, an assault on Char makes A LOT more sense with a joint Daelaam/Dominion led expedition than it does with just half the Dominion fleet attacking the planet. And it'd be cool to see Valerian negotiating with the Protoss. (The Dominion would basically have a weapon that not only destroys the Zerg but theoretically also the Protoss). I'd probably set it up with the first mission hinting at Valerian having 'special allies' on their way. The mission plays out mostly the same, then after a brief hold out with Warfield, the Protoss come flying down. (Or hell, instead of Banshees, the Protoss fly down and bail them out in that cinematic.) The Protoss would be the ones pushing for killing her, with Valerian arguing against it (Raynor being undecided). Then hell, the final cinematic could be Valerian trying to dissuade Raynor from killing her (with Raynor pointing a gun at her and not being sure what to do.)

    I just think there'd be more going on there.


    The Mother of all Queens!

    Thanks to Dynamik- for the signature!

  8. #18

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldrius
    The end of the Korhal thing was just weird. Neither victory felt like it cost anything.
    For me personally, both victories felt like they'd come at a cost. For WoL, all the dead soldiers and Tychus. For HotS, everyone who died so Mengsk could remain on the throne, plus Kerrigan's chance at a normal life because of Mengsk's actions. Heck, of the original endings of SC1 and BW, only Episodes 3 and 5 made me feel like the victory had come at a cost for the faction I was playing at.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldrius
    They're not IN it (they're in one mission =S), the Protoss beyond strawmen Tal'darim (who I have some ideas about actually) don't appear in the campaign, and I feel like they should have. And honestly, an assault on Char makes A LOT more sense with a joint Daelaam/Dominion led expedition than it does with just half the Dominion fleet attacking the planet. And it'd be cool to see Valerian negotiating with the Protoss. (The Dominion would basically have a weapon that not only destroys the Zerg but theoretically also the Protoss). I'd probably set it up with the first mission hinting at Valerian having 'special allies' on their way. The mission plays out mostly the same, then after a brief hold out with Warfield, the Protoss come flying down. (Or hell, instead of Banshees, the Protoss fly down and bail them out in that cinematic.) The Protoss would be the ones pushing for killing her, with Valerian arguing against it (Raynor being undecided). Then hell, the final cinematic could be Valerian trying to dissuade Raynor from killing her (with Raynor pointing a gun at her and not being sure what to do.)
    Well, to each their own, but the above scenario is one I would despise. Terrans helped the protoss in SC1, but Raynor's force was always in the background, it never dominated proceedings. The CRF aided the UED, and Kerrigan couldn't have achieved victory in BW without her allies (turning on them aside), but they always kept the focus on the faction you were playing as. The notion that the protoss have to come down at the end of WoL to save terrans (again), to be given equal standing as the Dominion when the protoss have barely suffered in the conflict at all by comparison, is just...wrong, for me, on so many levels. It would be like the Raiders having equal footing in HotS when Kerrigan assaults Korhal. From a narrative sense, it takes away focus from where it should be. From an in-universe sense, not only is it a stretch of disbelief that the Dominion and Daelaam would ally when they both despise each other and have a rocky record with Valerian when it comes to protoss interaction, but it basically gimps any sense of accomplishment and shows that the terrans are still the victim species they were back in SC1.

    Oh, and I have only three words to say to those kind of cliffhangers - "no. God no." If HotS had you continuing Raynor's story, maybe, but it isn't, it's Kerrigan's story. If that was the case, Raynor's story could get resolution in a story that isn't his.

    Anyway, this is falling back into the same old arguments that have been going on forever.
    Last edited by Hawki; 05-20-2013 at 04:10 AM.

  9. #19

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldrius
    Kerrigan's Brood War victory cost her
    I'm not so sure the Brood War necessarily cost her anything. Just the opposite in fact. What made the Zerg campaign compelling was that she used everyone else and made them pay for the costs of her war. Yes, no one made it out unbloodied, save perhaps for Kerrigan herself.
    Aaand sold.


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

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

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

  10. #20

    Default Re: Theorycraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    I'm not so sure the Brood War necessarily cost her anything. Just the opposite in fact. What made the Zerg campaign compelling was that she used everyone else and made them pay for the costs of her war. Yes, no one made it out unbloodied, save perhaps for Kerrigan herself.
    It cost her her humanity and any lingering connection she still had to her past life. I mean she gave it up willingly and she wasn't sorry to see it go, but she still had to give it up. And (mostly) innocent people died as a result.

    Well, to each their own, but the above scenario is one I would despise. Terrans helped the protoss in SC1, but Raynor's force was always in the background, it never dominated proceedings. The CRF aided the UED, and Kerrigan couldn't have achieved victory in BW without her allies (turning on them aside), but they always kept the focus on the faction you were playing as. The notion that the protoss have to come down at the end of WoL to save terrans (again), to be given equal standing as the Dominion when the protoss have barely suffered in the conflict at all by comparison, is just...wrong, for me, on so many levels. It would be like the Raiders having equal footing in HotS when Kerrigan assaults Korhal. From a narrative sense, it takes away focus from where it should be. From an in-universe sense, not only is it a stretch of disbelief that the Dominion and Daelaam would ally when they both despise each other and have a rocky record with Valerian when it comes to protoss interaction, but it basically gimps any sense of accomplishment and shows that the terrans are still the victim species they were back in SC1.
    I never said equal standing. They'd just a play a role in the invasion and supplement the Dominion's forces.

    For me personally, both victories felt like they'd come at a cost. For WoL, all the dead soldiers and Tychus. For HotS, everyone who died so Mengsk could remain on the throne, plus Kerrigan's chance at a normal life because of Mengsk's actions. Heck, of the original endings of SC1 and BW, only Episodes 3 and 5 made me feel like the victory had come at a cost for the faction I was playing at.
    Every campaign has 'dead soldiers' as a cost. WoL was just the first campaign to draw attention to them for whatever reason. (Soldiers dying was played for laughs in SC1 most of the time.) It was even worse in HotS where they were trying to get me to care about even the Zerglings it seemed. And then Tychus was just a traitor. Who Raynor didn't even seem to really care all that much about. I liked Tychus, but his death was cheap. Only Tychus seemed to care and even then... I dunno.


    The Mother of all Queens!

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