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Old 05-23-2018, 12:19 PM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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Originally Posted by C9H20 View Post
You make a good point that any new conflict will be somewhat contrived but it won't be too bad, I mean history is full of nations declaring eternal peace only to break it a few years later.
On Earth humans fight over resources and ideologies. In Starcraft, if you want resources or freedom of religion, you can fly off into space and claim your own planet. You need to work really hard to start a war that people will want to fight.

The three races don't have logical reasons to fight. SC1 introduced a variety of carefully reasoned or contrived reasons for conflict. For example, the zerg seeking the determinant, the terrans wanting independence, the protoss wanting freedom of religion, etc.

SC2 took every chance it could to destroy these reasons and to destroy the cultures of the three races without ever really exploring them. Now the races don't have any logical reasons to fight, or indeed any kind of motivations or culture to inform their existences. They just settled for peace regardless of the logic behind it and now they twiddle their thumbs and sing kumbaya. Even if SC3 contrived a new reason for conflict, it would come off as stupid and inferior to the reasons in SC1 pre-retcons.

If the zerg do not want to assimilate the universe, they have no reason for existing within the narrative. As of SC2, they are depicted as puppets who mindlessly follow the last orders given to them by Kerry and lack any will of their own.

The protoss are just funny-looking humans as of SC2. They have absolutely nothing unique going for them. All of their tribal divisions alluded to in the manual, much less the khala and why they have it, were flushed down the toilet.

In other words, anyone who actually cares about the politics in Starcraft is better off playing Stellaris.

My thoughts on Enumerate

Enumerate is certainly better than canon, but I disagree with some aspects of the chronology.

In a general sense, the chronology is inherently limited by recycling the stock plot of the games. When Starcraft was being developed, the major events of the games were not decided until well into development. The manual, which the chronology is based on, leaves the events of the Great War open-ended. With the premise of the Koprulu sector caught between two alien races, the plot could have gone in any number of directions. I understand why, since that is familiar and intended for multiple authors to share the same universe with minimal collaboration.

The chronology doesn't mention psi-emitters, which in the game were shown to have attracted the zerg. I can understand why, since 1) the zerg are intelligent and looking specifically for psychics, and 2) the psi-emitter was a blatant plot device that should have been used more often than it was. Although if the chronology is going to keep the fall of Tarsonis, or the zerg's experiments producing a similar effect, this needs to be explained.

The zerg tech tree arbitrary explains that queens do not play a leadership role, despite this being part of their fluff since their inception. I know they don't provide Control in the game, but that's a matter of gameplay and story being segregated.

The tech trees arbitrarily ignore all the units introduced by SC2 in favor of BW-era and entirely new units, which I thought was unnecessary. New units would be great, but SC2 already comes with a large assortment of units, skins, co-op commanders, etc and it would be a waste to ignore them. For example, the Heptacraft mod creates seven new tech trees using mostly existing units.

The chronology arbitrarily ignores the tal'darim and purifiers. I can understand why since they don't contribute anything of value, but that doesn't mean they can't be salvaged. The tal'darim could be treated as a subset of nerazim or a generic term for various protoss fanatics. The purifiers could be introduced as relics of the pre-aeon protoss and given new or additional backstories, like IDK the necrons from 40k? A bunch of protoss converted themselves into immortal robots after a million-year slumber they want to reclaim their former empires? I mean, they're a decent way to explore the potential of the "explore ruins of the pre-aeon protoss" plot hook mentioned in the chronology.

The problem with dark templar and brain bugs
The plot point about dark templar being a deus ex machina that can drive broods feral was only added into the game because Metzen wrote himself into a corner by removing the determinant and the protoss empire. In the manual, and the chronology based on it, the protoss have a massive empire, reality-warping psychic powers and fleets of death stars... so the zerg needed to assimilate humanity simply to achieve parity and not superiority. It is not necessary for the dark templar to be able to break broods and I'm sure that the terrans and protoss could devise any number of ways to assault the hive mind without that deus ex machina. The chronology outright states the khalai have mind control and memory wiping.

In a similar vein, the distinction between "insane" and "feral" broods seems unnecessary (similar to the introduction of "primal zerg" in SC2). The only difference is that the former is lead by a feral cerebrate, but in practice it could behave no differently. Conversely, if the hive mind is part of the zerg's genetics and not something that can be trivially removed, then there is no reason why a feral brood (assuming it doesn't cannibalize itself to death first) could not spawn a new cerebrate like the Flood or Necromorphs spontaneously develop grave minds. At one point the Starcraft beta named the evolution chamber a "cerebrate" instead (and by the logic of buildings, a base could have multiples of it), suggesting cerebrates previously played a far less vital role in the narrative than they did in the final product.

There's a related plot hole about feral broods that wasn't addressed. In SC1 the feral Garm brood had to be exterminated because it could not be reclaimed, but in BW feral zerg default to the control of nearest leadership. Under BW logic, the Garm brood should have reverted to the control of the PC cerebrate (or whoever) rather than going feral. One could make the argument that the zerg only developed mind control afterward because feral zerg do NOT default to the control of the nearest leadership, but that's an ad hoc rationalization that is not given in the games. The latter scenario is only implied by the EN chronology, not explicit.

While I know maintaining cerebrates is part of the charm of SC1 nostalgia (although the chronology isn't entirely nostalgic since the author recognizes SC1 had storytelling sins), it makes no sense they haven't adopted combat forms like the SC2 zerg commanders. I understand that from a technical perspective they need to have giants brains in order to coordinate their massive broods, but there's no reason why they don't have defensive shells like the Overmind, redundant backups, multiple smaller brains in different locations, or something along those lines. The shtick of the zerg is adaptation so it makes no sense they would retain such obvious vulnerabilities. By comparison, overlords and queens (which are to cerebrates what cerebrates are the the Overmind, as stated in the manual) can be easily replaced if lost.

Something that isn't mentioned in the chronology, but is a plot point in the Retribution expansion, is that cerebrates killed (by mundane means) don't revive instantly (a la overlords and queens) and this opens a window of opportunity to deal decisive blows to the brood before they reorganize. I thought that was a lot more interesting than the instant revival depicted in canon. If the dark templar deus ex machina is removed, that would be a decent replacement. The zerg could conceivably counter this by spawning multiple cerebrates, but that's the nature of arms races in reality because reality doesn't have deus ex machinas.

Despite lambasting this problem in the games as the reason why the zerg hierarchy got killed off in BW and replaced in SC2, the chronology still falls into the trap of treating the zerg hive mind as having distinct and unchanging points of weakness (i.e. cerebrates and the Overmind). By contrast, overlords and queens are not depicted as suffering the same weakness despite serving the same purpose. I mentioned above that this could be mitigated by dropping the dark templar deus ex machina in favor of more general psychic warfare and giving feral broods the ability to replace cerebrates (essentially treating them the same as overlords and queens, but one rung higher). This could be explained in the fluff as the zerg personalities being inherently bodiless entities existing within the brood's telepathic/hereditary memory rather than embodied by brain bugs. In other words, every brood would have its own mini-Overmind.
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