Here at NerdSwole, we’ve always looking for new talent, feature all areas of nerd culture as we can, and let our fans contribute. As such, head writer Brian put out a call to a couple of places to see if we could get some people to write for us. Be it continuously or one shots; we’re absolutely happy to present this feature about Starcraft II, written by Saul Rivera. Enjoy!
WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR STARCRAFT II AHEAD. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
One of my absolute favorite real time strategy games has fully released its second installment, as StarCraft II: Legacy Of The Void has launched. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, the world follows three warring faction in their endless struggle to maintain their species and thrive as a civilization. They are the human-like Terran, the insect savages called the Zerg, and the alien mystics known as the Protoss. Now I will say that I have been a StarCraft fan, being my favorite game when I had a PC back in 2000. When I started playing StarCraft II a year ago, it was a great welcome back to the universe I fell in love with. Legacy of the Void, the last Chapter/Expansion left for SC2, came out earlier this month and I must say, the wait has been worth the 15 years.
Well, this campaign is what I have been waiting for 15 years. The Campaign is based on the Protoss retaking their homeworld, lost in the first StarCraft back in 1998. In the story, only 4 years or so have passed since the end of Brood Wars (the expansion of the first game). You command the honorable Protoss leaders as they struggle to unite the broken tribes and take back Auir as well as stop the Fallen Xelnaga. You even get a surprise return of a fallen brother. The Campaign comes with a 3 Mission Prologue based on Zeratul, 19 Protoss Missions with Artanis, and 3 Epilogue Missions where all the heroes of the Korpulu Sector gather for their most epic stand against the dark one. You can customize different campaign exclusive units, deciding which branch you choose once you help out a tribe. As awesome as the Auir Zealots with their battle Axes and the Dark Zealots are with their Stun blades, the Purifier Zealots were handy as hell.
All being said, I can’t believe how good that ending was. Heck, even as the story started, the feels were right there from the second mission, establishing the tone throughout the game and laying the weight of the struggle on your shoulders. Finishing off in the Epilogue, I know I wasn’t the only one left with teary eyes. Bravo Blizzard.
Starcraft veterans will find plenty of new advancements as the latest expansion has plenty to offer for each of the three races. The first and major thing to notice that has been changed was the upgrade to the Starting Base Buildings (Command Center, Hatchery, and Nexus), which provide more supplies and also to start off with twelve workers instead of six. This promotes faster game play start and encourages faster expansions and aggression. Other units got changed/edits somewhat; Terran Battle Cruisers got a warp ability, allowing them to teleport anywhere on the map, even without vision.
Siege Tanks can now be picked up by Medivacs in Siege mode, allowing tanks to go around, just waiting to be dropped near enemy units and begin their hilariously powerful shelling. Terran Reapers now get grenades that can attack a small area for damage, causing knock back that can stun for a short period. Protoss Warp Prisms get a longer area to reach and load units on the ground, great for micro harassment. Terran Carriers get a command that sends out their Terran Interceptors to an area and attack any enemy there. The Protoss’ Photon Overcharge ability from mothership Cores have been removed from Nexus to be casted onto Pylons. Zerg Overlords can now upgrade individually to also carry units, Nydus Worms are now invulnerable when spawning at their designation, and Corrupters get a new ability called Caustic Spray, which literally looks like vomit, that does increasing damage over time. These are just some of the bigger changes to note, as the game is full of surprises. I think that Terran and Protoss got the better of the changes, as Zerg don’t need that many changes to rip faces off. In general, change to the dynamics are designed with a joy to play with, without hindering what has been taught through the campaign.
Each race gets two new units each, so we’ll break them down starting with the Zerg.
Lurkers, shouldn’t need much introduction, are back from Brood War! Morphed from Hydralisks, these nasty little buggers borrow into the ground, leaving them hidden and waiting for an enemy to approach. When that unfortunate enemy unit gets in range, the Lurker shoots out spines from under the ground in a line of damage.
Ravagers, morphed from Roaches; they are an artillery unit that can launch Corrosive Bile into the air and rain down acid onto the field in a singular area. One shot can melt a Marine. Melt. The damage can also damage flying units in the area it attacks. These are mean evil big bugs; they can also bust down a Protoss Forcefield created by a Sentry. Damn these things, I’m not a fan of the ruthless Zerg.
Adepts are a new range attack unit for Protoss; they inflict bonus damage to light units such as Marines and Zerglings. Adepts are also handy for early scouting missions; using their ability to clone itself, they split off to the opposite direction, offering countless opportunities to harass opposing armies. Tricky lil gals.
Disruptors are a new protoss unit built from the Robotics Lab with a Robotics Bay add-on. It can shoot out a energy ball, dealing massive damage when its timed detonation occurs.Their energy balls are great for catching units retreating or used for zoning, with great micro required. Enemy units have to split up or retreat when they see the energy nova heading their way. The attack location is selected by the user, unlike many commands that select specific units to attack.
Cyclones are a new Factory unit for the Terrans. A fast, mechanical unit, the Cyclone can keep a lock on enemy units and keep on firing, doing continuous damage. I’ve been somewhat confused to where it could fit in my Terran army, but I have seen it been a good mobile defense against harassment by some pro players in a tournament already. It can attack both air and ground, with the range of its attacks and damage vs armor units upgradeable.
Lastly, my favorite new unit, the Liberator is an anti-air gunship from the Starport. When this unit was announced, I begged to get into the Beta because of how game-changing it was. Using anti-air missiles to cause splash damage, the unit comes with an ability that can cover a radius area on the ground and blast enemy units once they enter. Liberators are good for worker-line harassment and zoning off enemies in-front of a mobile army. The transformation takes about as much time as a Siege Mode change, so it can be vulnerable. I would recommend getting the range increase for it, almost doubling the range it can dispense lasers to your opponent, or as I would say, letting Freedom reign!
Co-Op, formerly called Allied Commanders
This feature may be my favorite thing from the game. Co-Op allows you to pair up with a friend or random player, completing Campaign style missions together. Such missions are:
- Don’t let the Shuttles Escape
- Stop the Trains from Escaping
- Kill the Void Thrashers before they destroy a base
- hold out against waves of enemies attacking your base”.
You get to choose a commander from the Campaign, such as Raynor, Kerrigan, Artanis, Swann, Zagara, and Vorazun. Zerg commanders also get to command their respective hero units on the field, while Protoss command from their Spaceship, the Spear of Adun, and get to use their abilities like warping in Pylons and creating Black Holes that stop enemy forces caught up in them. Terran commanders get to stay in their Command Centers but Raynor can call down airstrikes with Banshees and the Hyperion, his Battlecruiser flagship. Swan gets a giant laser drill with special damage abilities and uses a mechanized army. All units can be upgraded, with many familiar units returning from Campaign with fun abilities. Zealots that can stun and wield Battle Axes, twirling around to inflict area damage. Protoss Dark Templars slice and dice while teleporting, Archons that can cast Psionic Storms, and Corsairs that can cast Disruption Webs that causes enemy ground units in the field unable to attack. Terran Firebats make a nice comeback with upgraded flamethrowers and armor. All of these upgrades even out the difficulty level that can be increased for an even harder challenge, resulting in plenty of experience. While missions are about 30 minutes long, Co-Op offers countless hours of fun to be had with a friend or even random folks. I can’t wait to play this with some other friends.
Well that’s my take on StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Hope you can get a chance to play!
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