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  #126  
Old 05-10-2017, 02:54 PM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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Is it? What it looks like is a terran ship investigating the debris of what is either a terran/zerg battle, or a terran/protoss battle, and then getting blown up for being nosy. There's no focus on the planet, or indications that anything's been infested.
It seems to me like a Terran salvage operation and then the Protoss show up to blow up Chau Sara and those Terrans were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I think most of the cinematics in StarCraft with a few exceptions were just generic conceptual ideas they had that they then worked into the story to be honest, but I do think that's the intention of what's going on in the opening cinematic... retroactively.
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  #127  
Old 05-10-2017, 05:01 PM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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Mission IV: One thing I really like about Brood War is that it tries to have other characters actively doing things during your mission, albeit off-screen. During both this mission and the earlier terran mission on Aiur, the other named characters were leading their own assaults to cover your flanks. It gives a sense of scope, it explains why you're not instantly overwhelmed, plus it handily explains why you don't have all these hero units (and in this case, non-zerg forces) available all the time.
I also notice the Cerebrate hasn't been acknowledged for a few missions now (well, he's acknowledged in one sentence at the end of this one, but that's it). During this campaign, you can definitely start seeing Blizzard slowly moving away from having player characters in their RTS stories. For the zerg campaign, Kerrigan is definitely the main character, while for the protoss campaign, Artanis is, with the player character in both being kind of an afterthought. The player in the Terran campaign also kinda is, but there's not really a specific character that replaces him as the viewpoint, with Duran taking centerpoint in many missions, while DuGalle is the only constant. In the original, Raynor and Kerrigan were kinda viewpoint characters as well, but both had cases where they were specifically not able to do what the player was doing (Raynor was in prison during the Mar Sara evacuation, while Kerrigan never joined in the assault on Aiur). This change would serve them well come Warcraft III, and I'd even argue it worked out decently in Starcraft II.

Mission V: Mengsk, Fenix and Raynor really should have seen this coming.
It's kind of a spoiler that the objectives don't include 'kill raynor', while Kerrigan does give you instructions to.
Paraphrase: "I think I'll let you live, Mengsk, in the ashes of your precious dominion. I want you alive to watch me rise to power". That little speech is so awkward come SCII, when Mengsk has pretty much rebuilt the Imperium, while Kerrigan hasn't done a dang thing post-Brood War. At least Raynor's "I'll be the one who'll kill you" can be explained away by him regarding infested kerrigan and old kerrigan as separate individuals (or just, in retrospect, not wanting to kill a brainwashed person)
And apparently, now the player cerebrate is also the cerebrate of the Garm Brood. These names mean nothing if you just keep reusing them when it makes no sense, dang it.

Mission VIII: Wait, I thought the point of pylons was to link with the psionic energies of Aiur. How do you overload that?


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Originally Posted by Aldrius View Post
I think most of the cinematics in StarCraft with a few exceptions were just generic conceptual ideas they had that they then worked into the story to be honest, but I do think that's the intention of what's going on in the opening cinematic... retroactively.
Fair enough, though I'll stick by comment that it's really unclear what's going on (especially if this is your first time starting up the game), it's annoying with the yokels, and it should have been centred on Chau Sara.
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  #128  
Old 05-10-2017, 06:52 PM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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Paraphrase: "I think I'll let you live, Mengsk, in the ashes of your precious dominion. I want you alive to watch me rise to power". That little speech is so awkward come SCII, when Mengsk has pretty much rebuilt the Imperium, while Kerrigan hasn't done a dang thing post-Brood War. At least Raynor's "I'll be the one who'll kill you" can be explained away by him regarding infested kerrigan and old kerrigan as separate individuals (or just, in retrospect, not wanting to kill a brainwashed person)
Human beings are also crap at keeping promises when they're made in an emotional moment. "I'm totally gonna kill that person that I hate more than anything the whole damn world."

*the next morning*

"Eh, they're not so bad."

Fickle, fickle creatures.

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Fair enough, though I'll stick by comment that it's really unclear what's going on (especially if this is your first time starting up the game), it's annoying with the yokels, and it should have been centred on Chau Sara.
Probably should have done what they did in Reign of Chaos. Had the broad conceptual cinematic. Then done a new version which was more contextual and specific.
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  #129  
Old 05-11-2017, 07:00 AM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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Reading the manual, I think that it might not be the destruction of Chau Sara, but instead Mar Sara. There wouldn't be non-terran space debris from the Chau Sara incident, but there was a brief naval engagement at Mar Sara around the start of the game, which ended with the protoss retreating for a while before returning to vaporize the planet.

Also, I'd completely forgotten that Tarsonis, Umoja and Moria were supposed to share a star system. That's kinda awkward come Brood War, when the zerg appear to have completely ignored two of the most important Terran worlds despite being in the same system as one of their main clusters.

Also, ghosts are weird. Despite a big deal being made of their psychic powers, they don't really seem to actually use them. Cloak and lockdown are both regular old technology. Instead, the psychic power is said to be channeled into enhancing their natural physical strength and endurance, which doesn't come up anywhere in-game or even most of the lore. Makes you wonder why they'd restrict ghost training to psychics (I mean, you're obviously still going to want some psychic ghosts, because having invisible mind-readers is pretty great)

Also, I'd completely forgotten starcraft having factions for all colors. Do Nova Squadron and the Umojan Protectorate ever actually show up? I can't remember ever encountering them in-game. I'm guessing Umoja was at one point planned to be the ones supplying the protoss with terran allies, given their description.

Also, Zerus was a volatile ash-world with firestorms which was left lifeless.

Was the queen's lore-wise role of controlling drones and spore colonies ever intended as a game mechanism, or always just a bit of fluff?

Okay, let's talk overminds again. The manual gives the backstory of the overmind. It started out as a true hive mind under psychic control of the xel'naga, grew and separated itself, then underwent a massive boost in sentience and power when it absorbed thousands of xel'naga, along with the energies of khaydarin crystals. This allowed it to give increased sentience to its underlings as well (which is why the cerebrates are actual people, instead of bio-automatons).
However, Daggoth didn't have a few thousand super-aliens, or a whole cluster of khaydarin crystals to absorb. Even if the new overmind had matured, and even if Daggoth had absorbed other cerebrates into himself, would he have been as capable as the old overmind?

Also check out the artwork of the queen in the manual. It does actually look like the Starcraft II queen. While I can see how it was translated into the in-game sprite, I have no idea how it's supposed to be flying.

Also, the estimated numbers for the zerg are adorably tiny. Whose a cute little brood. Yes you are, Zasz, yes you are.

The manual also mentions that there were many hundreds of races protected by the Dae'uhl. So I guess if we ever need more playable races for starcraft, there'd be plenty to choose from
Starcraft II does some subtle changes to the history of the protoss that I think actually work out for the better. In the original, it was kinda weird that the manual described the protoss as this massive empire, yet the game never really shows any protoss world beyond Aiur. Starcraft II introduces the concept of the Golden Age of Expansion, and the protoss kinda turning away from their status as masters of the galaxy prior to the Great War with many of their worlds being abandoned. Given one of the references in Brood War, a natural end for this Golden Age would be the issue with the Dark Templar, resulting in the conclave becoming more controlling and distrustful of the templar.
Another retcon of manual information is the alterations to the High Templar. In the manual, the Templars were the senior-most zealots. However, this never made much sense as to their in-game roles, since Templars are much more vulnerable, and lack any kind of attack. Starcraft II changed this to the zealots and templars being separate discipline that channeled their psychic powers in different ways.
The description for the Sargas Tribe offered some excellent backstory for Aiur-aligned stealth warriors, so the Avengers as a Dark Templar reskin were kinda lazy.

Also, it's weird that the description for the shuttle points out how massive it is, capable of holding the walking factories that are known as reavers, yet in-game it can carry only four zealots or two dragoons.

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Originally Posted by GenyaArikado View Post
Wasn't Kerrigan just supposed to be a "bridge" towards assimilating the protoss? If they had been able to assimilate them, then they could have probably dug onto their memories and find Aiur that way
The manual does indeed kinda talk about that, but somewhat differently. The Overmind wanted to infest humanity so he could create psychic warriors to fight the protoss on equal terms, as the swarm lacked the genetics for psychic potential (Though at other points in the manual, it's said that the original zerg larvae had psychic sensitivity, plus the overmind used his psychic powers to call the leviathans to zerus. On the other hand, the overmind's mass/psychic power ratio is so skewed that it's not really useful on the battlefield). For some reason, this ends up not happening. The only confirmed infested psionic in the original starcraft sits out the invasion of Aiur completely, and there's no indication of the creation of any new breeds of psionic zerg (heck, the infested terrans are just suicide soldiers, not psionics.)

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Human beings are also crap at keeping promises when they're made in an emotional moment. "I'm totally gonna kill that person that I hate more than anything the whole damn world."

*the next morning*

"Eh, they're not so bad."

Fickle, fickle creatures.
Silly, silly hairless apes. So inconsistent.
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  #130  
Old 05-11-2017, 07:28 AM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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Was the queen's lore-wise role of controlling drones and spore colonies ever intended as a game mechanism, or always just a bit of fluff?
Egg chambers repurposed to be gas bags probably
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  #131  
Old 05-11-2017, 01:01 PM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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Final brood war thoughts:

Mission IX: Y'know, Kerri, if you'd re-arranged your plans, this whole thing wouldn't even be necessary. You already had the protoss on your your side as part of your weird anti-UED alliance. It would have been plenty easy to schedule in the death of the Overmind before the assault on Korhal, and then stab the other factions in the back while you're preparing for the assault on the UED fleet.
Also, contrary to my assumptions, Kerrigan states that she corrupted Raszagal long before she joined them on Shakuras, which raises a lot of questions. Both the manual and game confirm that there's only mere days between the last mission of episode III and the first mission of episode IV. This does not under any definition fall under "long before". Either the first few missions of Episode IV take place over a pretty long time, or (like one of you speculated) Kerrigan had already visited Shakuras when the overmind was still in charge.
Between Mengsk, Raynor and now Zeratul, it's almost like Kerrigan wants to keep her enemies alive. Arrogance, her old personality seeping true, resistance against the dark master,

Bonus Mission: As much as I love this mission, I feel it's kind of a mistake to have put the great big sequel hook into a bonus mission. Especially since that bonus mission is actually pretty hard to access (though, of course, every kid had cheats). This should probably have ended up in the protoss campaign somewhere.
Really, the Protoss campaign was kinda pointless in general, being entirely focused on solving an artifical problem through a plot device. You could skip over it and the only thing you'd miss would be the evacuation of Aiur (which could have easily been part of the opening text) and the introduction of Raszagal (which could have been part of any story)(Spellcheck suggests Rasalhague).
The freed protoss should probably have had some lines. Especially the one that was being hybridized with a zergling.
Duran does state that Kerrigan's 'rebirth' into the swarm sped up the development of the hybrid. Though we don't know it yet, this will eventually fit pretty well with the idea that the overmind was under the control of Duran's master.
'This creature is the completion of a cycle'. Dang it, Narud, that's the exact opposite of what you meant to say. Get your lines straight.
One of the things that was weakest about Starcraft II to me was the hybrids (really, the villains in general were probably the weakest part of all three games). This level made them seem like such an achievement, with the mere idea scaring even Zeratul. Then, come Starcraft II, they're just kinda overpowered creatures. They seem particularly lacking in their protoss halves, with no cool psionic abilities.

Mission X: The briefing for this mission begs so many questions. Like, with most briefings you can either assume the conversations are either happening in a room, or through shipboard communcations. But with this mission, you have Kerrigan and the Cerebrate talking to one another in the beginning... and Mengsk reacting to it. How? It happens again later with DuGalle answering Kerrigan when she makes a comment to mengsk. Are Kerrigan and the cerebrate talking through an open chatroom?
Y'know, for a final mission, this level doesn't really affect the story that heavily. Even DuGalle's fleet is murdered off-screen. But by the Xel'naga, this mission is glorious. A full-on melee between Kerrigan and everyone she's pissed off (Well, there's no explicit mention of the Morians, but I'm guessing that's where Mengsk got the ships)
Sadly, because Mengsk ended his mail in 'au revoir', it was culled by the UED culture police, and neither his wife nor his children were allowed to read it.

Despite my misgivings with some of the plot decisions (particularly the entire protoss episode), Brood War remains a fantastic game to play. It is quintessentially starcraft, and that is glorious.


No Artanisses, Aldarisses, Razsagals, Overminds, Zaszes, Daggoths, Fenixes, Dukes or Stukovs were harmed in the playing of this game. DuGalle was, but only because he stubbed his toe.
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  #132  
Old 05-11-2017, 10:47 PM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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Also, contrary to my assumptions, Kerrigan states that she corrupted Raszagal long before she joined them on Shakuras, which raises a lot of questions. Both the manual and game confirm that there's only mere days between the last mission of episode III and the first mission of episode IV. This does not under any definition fall under "long before". Either the first few missions of Episode IV take place over a pretty long time, or (like one of you speculated) Kerrigan had already visited Shakuras when the overmind was still in charge.
I honestly think that's where Kerrigan was when Tassadar attacks Char. (She's weirdly absent)

Also I specifically have this incredibly suggestive avatar of an asian boy sucking a lollipop so that people will remember me. Come on.

Also: Blizzard sucks at timelines.

In Reign of Chaos it takes MONTHS (or at the very least weeks) to sail from Lordaeron to Kalimdor. In Frozen Throne it takes two days. They don't really care about what happened when.

To say nothing about all the absurd retcons SC2 had for Brood War in the manual/catching people up stuff alone. "Raynor and Fenix totally went to Shakuras after they met up with Kerrigan but before she betrayed them! That makes sense, right?"
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  #133  
Old 05-12-2017, 04:38 AM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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Also I specifically have this incredibly suggestive avatar of an asian boy sucking a lollipop so that people will remember me. Come on.
Pfft, you know how many pictures of asian cuties sucking on lollipops I see on a daily basis?

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To say nothing about all the absurd retcons SC2 had for Brood War in the manual/catching people up stuff alone. "Raynor and Fenix totally went to Shakuras after they met up with Kerrigan but before she betrayed them! That makes sense, right?"
It does, actually. The sixth Terran Brood War mission shows Fenix and Raynor firmly in control of a working warp gate on Aiur (either they failed to blow up the original, or got a new one to work), after having rescued Mengsk. At the end of that mission, a dropship flees through the portal, meaning Raynor, Fenix and Mengsk probably went to Shakuras.
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  #134  
Old 05-12-2017, 12:50 PM
Ol'Yoggy Ol'Yoggy is offline

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My intention of the game was that the infestation/amon's taint amplified an inner darkness (rage, anger, aggression) and suppressed things like empathy and compassion. The artifact breaking the conditioning allowed her old self to resurface.

Basically her empathy and positive traits were shut off and reawaken when the artifact purged Amon's taint and the infestation
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  #135  
Old 05-16-2017, 12:30 AM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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Pfft, you know how many pictures of asian cuties sucking on lollipops I see on a daily basis?
*sniff* Well I was just trying to stand out.

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It does, actually. The sixth Terran Brood War mission shows Fenix and Raynor firmly in control of a working warp gate on Aiur (either they failed to blow up the original, or got a new one to work), after having rescued Mengsk. At the end of that mission, a dropship flees through the portal, meaning Raynor, Fenix and Mengsk probably went to Shakuras.
But it doesn't make sense because Zeratul would have probably told them about what happened with Kerrigan. Then the plot of them trusting her makes even LESS sense than it already did.

Since they wind up on Tarsonis it makes more sense to me that they went to a location closer to there. Especially since they mention shutting the gate down on their end to keep the Zerg out of Shakuras.
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  #136  
Old 05-16-2017, 06:52 PM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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But it doesn't make sense because Zeratul would have probably told them about what happened with Kerrigan. Then the plot of them trusting her makes even LESS sense than it already did.
Kerrigan wasn't quite seen as as betrayer at the end of the protoss campaign. Rather, she was seen as meddling in an affair that the protoss should have had sole jurisdiction over. There's a reason she was simply let go at the end of that campaign, with no attempt to kill her.

Also, Artanis knows about the death of Fenix during the final level, so there must have been a restoration of contact between the two groups at some point anyway.

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Since they wind up on Tarsonis it makes more sense to me that they went to a location closer to there. Especially since they mention shutting the gate down on their end to keep the Zerg out of Shakuras.
The gate during Mission VI is pretty heavily guarded, so the zerg wouldn't just be able to run in and take over the gate. Plenty of time to shut it down.
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  #137  
Old 05-22-2017, 02:30 AM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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Okay, I've taken a few short looks back at starcraft II over the last week or so (not too many, rather busy), and I think I've singled out the most problematic issue with the story. It's not the overall direction (which is stupid, but has some good ideas), it's not the storytelling itself (which jumps all over the place, especially in WoL), it's not the characters talking way too much, it's not the porous fourth wall, it's not the treatment of the setting, it's not even the stupid, stupid decisions made with the xel'naga.

It's the villains.

Say what you want about them, but Blizzard is great at crafting villains. One only needs to look at the most popular and iconic parts of the franchises to see that. Whether it's the old horde, the zerg, the prime evils, the scourge, the burning legion or the Old Gods, they're all beloved. Even with WoW bringing a lot of villains I didn't like, I've got to give credit to blizzard for at least going all-in on style. Deathwing had no plan and made no sense, but he looks fantastically intimidating. Garrosh' arc made no sense, but at least when he turned full heel, the writers went all in on making him and his horde distinct, whether it was the true horde or the iron horde.

What all these villain groups have in common is Identity. Each one has a dozen iconic images to call its own, a dozen tropes that they invoke in their own way. Even if they aren't all that unique, they still feel distinct. Except the UED, but they're barely villains.

However, the main villain of Starcraft II, Amon, does not have any identity at all. He has no character beyond 'generic doomsday villain'. He has no personal history beyond 'guy in shadows who did history'. Heck, he doesn't even really have a design. He's a psionic entity for most of the story, and the body he ends up in is just another generic hybrid.

His minions are terrible too. The different types of hybrids all look way too much like one another, and as a result they blend into one another. Even without that issue, their design is just kinda unmemorable. I can think of a dozen science-fiction series where you could have randomly inserted them, and I wouldn't even have noticed that it was them.
I'd like to contrast the hybrids with a group that player a similar role in an earlier blizzard game: The Burning Legion in Reign of Chaos. Small groups of elite units that were the direct servants of the main universe-threatening villain, far above the petty playable races. However, the legion's units were actually distinct from one another, giving each one that much more identity. Couple that with their interesting abilities, and the end result is a lot better.
As a side-note, the hybrids don't even feel that hybrid-like. Yeah, they've got some design elements from both races, but they're missing the assets. They're just generic big monsters, lacking both the abilities of the protoss and the swarminess of the zerg.
Maybe I should make a thread challenging users to come up with better units for the hybrids.

What makes it worse is that the hybrids aren't even his primary minions. Instead, he gets equally generic minions from each race, plus the tal'darim, who don't get any explanation or development until they break away from him. Like, what you can say about the moebius foundation that makes them distinct from any other terran organization? What can you say about the dark protoss that makes them more than re-skinned protoss? Or what about unknown number of nameless and generic zerg broods? He doesn't even really have a roster of characters on his side. There's Narud, there's nameless Tal'darim overlord guy, there's Tal'darim highlord with minute role and there's that one hybrid that had lines and a name.

And it didn't have to be this way. Even without making significant alterations, I can see at least some ways to give the villain more identity. Imagine if the Moebius Foundation wasn't just a generic terran science club, but was a front for the umojans. We know that they're kinda cold in their science-adherence (they looked up to the protoss while the latter were actively cleansing terran worlds), so Amon's offer of transhumanism would probably hold some appeal for them. Then, you could have all sorts of unit variations for Amon's terrans, like those marines with the protoss glow-lines, scientists as casters, and waves of disposable robots.

Also, for Johanna's sake, make some actual models for the void monsters, rather than just making generic units black and shimmery. At least when WoW did that, they used the model that looked like blobs of random flesh.
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  #138  
Old 05-22-2017, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ijffdrie View Post
Okay, I've taken a few short looks back at starcraft II over the last week or so (not too many, rather busy), and I think I've singled out the most problematic issue with the story. It's not the overall direction (which is stupid, but has some good ideas), it's not the storytelling itself (which jumps all over the place, especially in WoL), it's not the characters talking way too much, it's not the porous fourth wall, it's not the treatment of the setting, it's not even the stupid, stupid decisions made with the xel'naga.

It's the villains.

Say what you want about them, but Blizzard is great at crafting villains. One only needs to look at the most popular and iconic parts of the franchises to see that. Whether it's the old horde, the zerg, the prime evils, the scourge, the burning legion or the Old Gods, they're all beloved. Even with WoW bringing a lot of villains I didn't like, I've got to give credit to blizzard for at least going all-in on style. Deathwing had no plan and made no sense, but he looks fantastically intimidating. Garrosh' arc made no sense, but at least when he turned full heel, the writers went all in on making him and his horde distinct, whether it was the true horde or the iron horde.

What all these villain groups have in common is Identity. Each one has a dozen iconic images to call its own, a dozen tropes that they invoke in their own way. Even if they aren't all that unique, they still feel distinct. Except the UED, but they're barely villains.

However, the main villain of Starcraft II, Amon, does not have any identity at all. He has no character beyond 'generic doomsday villain'. He has no personal history beyond 'guy in shadows who did history'. Heck, he doesn't even really have a design. He's a psionic entity for most of the story, and the body he ends up in is just another generic hybrid.

His minions are terrible too. The different types of hybrids all look way too much like one another, and as a result they blend into one another. Even without that issue, their design is just kinda unmemorable. I can think of a dozen science-fiction series where you could have randomly inserted them, and I wouldn't even have noticed that it was them.
I'd like to contrast the hybrids with a group that player a similar role in an earlier blizzard game: The Burning Legion in Reign of Chaos. Small groups of elite units that were the direct servants of the main universe-threatening villain, far above the petty playable races. However, the legion's units were actually distinct from one another, giving each one that much more identity. Couple that with their interesting abilities, and the end result is a lot better.
As a side-note, the hybrids don't even feel that hybrid-like. Yeah, they've got some design elements from both races, but they're missing the assets. They're just generic big monsters, lacking both the abilities of the protoss and the swarminess of the zerg.
Maybe I should make a thread challenging users to come up with better units for the hybrids.

What makes it worse is that the hybrids aren't even his primary minions. Instead, he gets equally generic minions from each race, plus the tal'darim, who don't get any explanation or development until they break away from him. Like, what you can say about the moebius foundation that makes them distinct from any other terran organization? What can you say about the dark protoss that makes them more than re-skinned protoss? Or what about unknown number of nameless and generic zerg broods? He doesn't even really have a roster of characters on his side. There's Narud, there's nameless Tal'darim overlord guy, there's Tal'darim highlord with minute role and there's that one hybrid that had lines and a name.

And it didn't have to be this way. Even without making significant alterations, I can see at least some ways to give the villain more identity. Imagine if the Moebius Foundation wasn't just a generic terran science club, but was a front for the umojans. We know that they're kinda cold in their science-adherence (they looked up to the protoss while the latter were actively cleansing terran worlds), so Amon's offer of transhumanism would probably hold some appeal for them. Then, you could have all sorts of unit variations for Amon's terrans, like those marines with the protoss glow-lines, scientists as casters, and waves of disposable robots.

Also, for Johanna's sake, make some actual models for the void monsters, rather than just making generic units black and shimmery. At least when WoW did that, they used the model that looked like blobs of random flesh.
Summarized: No new races (playable or not).

The game setting is depressingly homogeneous. This is SC2's biggest mistake from a lore and worldbuilding perspective.

They should have made multiple subfactions with unique models for each race, and then tons of alien races and wild creatures. Look at W3 and how much stuff it had going on.

SC2 is pretty much the same as SC1, with nothing new.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:42 AM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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Summarized: No new races (playable or not).
Yeah, that's a good way to put it too. Warcraft I and II gave the horde half of the stuff, Warcraft III had the scourge as an entire race plus Burning Legion units, TFT further expanded that with the naga and a lot more legion stuff. SCII adds like one hybrid unit per game.

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The game setting is depressingly homogeneous. This is SC2's biggest mistake from a lore and worldbuilding perspective.
Yeah, quite accurate.

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They should have made multiple subfactions with unique models for each race, and then tons of alien races and wild creatures. Look at W3 and how much stuff it had going on.
I suspect the creators deliberately tried to not be inspired by Warcraft III too much, to keep the franchises a bit more distinct.

It was way too late, but the need to develop subfactions seems to have finally been realized by Legacy of the Void, which did a lot to make the three branches of the protoss race (and the newly introduced Purifiers) way more distinct. I find it a real shame that they didn't patch the enhanced tal'darim into the previous games.

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SC2 is pretty much the same as SC1, with nothing new.
Eh, I wouldn't quite go that far. The inclusion of campaign mechanics does a lot to change the way the campaign works, and I'd argue some of it really adds a lot. There's also the environments, which are really well-done, and a vast improvement over the original starcraft's rather lackluster environments (remember that time we visited Moria and it was played by a generic Mar Saran wasteland? Or the time we visited Tarsonis, but it was actually a space platform map?)
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:59 AM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is online now

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Yeah, that's a good way to put it too. Warcraft I and II gave the horde half of the stuff, Warcraft III had the scourge as an entire race plus Burning Legion units, TFT further expanded that with the naga and a lot more legion stuff. SCII adds like one hybrid unit per game.
Not just that. The most amazing part of W3 is the ton of neutral enemies.

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Not just that. The most amazing part of W3 is the ton of neutral enemies.Eh, I wouldn't quite go that far. The inclusion of campaign mechanics does a lot to change the way the campaign works, and I'd argue some of it really adds a lot. There's also the environments, which are really well-done, and a vast improvement over the original starcraft's rather lackluster environments (remember that time we visited Moria and it was played by a generic Mar Saran wasteland? Or the time we visited Tarsonis, but it was actually a space platform map?)
Lore-wise.
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  #141  
Old 05-22-2017, 10:58 AM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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Not just that. The most amazing part of W3 is the ton of neutral enemies.
Honestly, I can see why they would avoid those. Warcraft is a fantasy setting. Having the woods crawling with bands of monsters, bandits and mad sorcery made sense within the context of the universe. For starcraft though, because of the modern technology and much greater scope of the warfare, it wouldn't really make sense to have all these aggressive creeps anywhere near the most story-relevant areas.

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Lore-wise.
Related to the environments, but Starcraft II gave us a pretty extensive tour of the koprulu sector. Contrast with the original starcraft, which limited itself to a very small set of important planets, plus Mar Sara.

I also think that some of the story ideas for starcraft II actually have a lot of potential, though the narrative doesn't really build on them well:
- Making Mengsk's own words on Tarsonis public was a great idea, and should have been a much more major plotpoint than it actually ended up being.
- Kerrigan's strategy in Wings of Liberty is actually pretty clever. She launches a massive attack wave against the poorly defended outer worlds of the dominion. She knows that, like the confederacy before it, the Dominion will be unwilling to expend the troops necessary to protect these worlds, instead recalling all its fleets to defend the core worlds. This leaves her free of following her true objective, the recovery of the artifact and/or elimination of Narud, with minimal forces opposing her. Not only that, but she infests the refugees of the outer worlds with hive spores, with the goal of unleashing a trojan horse on the dominion core worlds, inserting massive zerg forces without the need to first circumvent the dominion fleet. Had Mengsk not done everything he could to stop the refugees, Kerrigan would have taken out the entire dominion without a single major battle.
-Legacy of the Void's usage of the Khala as a double-edged sword was pretty cool, with the narrative actually doing a good job of reinforcing this point through the opening cinematic of the game.
-That one mission where you blow up Shakuras? That was great.
-Giving the Tal'darim some actual character and culture was great, if way overdue.
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Old 05-22-2017, 11:54 AM
Ol'Yoggy Ol'Yoggy is offline

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Honestly, I can see why they would avoid those. Warcraft is a fantasy setting. Having the woods crawling with bands of monsters, bandits and mad sorcery made sense within the context of the universe. For starcraft though, because of the modern technology and much greater scope of the warfare, it wouldn't really make sense to have all these aggressive creeps anywhere near the most story-relevant areas.



Related to the environments, but Starcraft II gave us a pretty extensive tour of the koprulu sector. Contrast with the original starcraft, which limited itself to a very small set of important planets, plus Mar Sara.

I also think that some of the story ideas for starcraft II actually have a lot of potential, though the narrative doesn't really build on them well:
- Making Mengsk's own words on Tarsonis public was a great idea, and should have been a much more major plotpoint than it actually ended up being.
- Kerrigan's strategy in Wings of Liberty is actually pretty clever. She launches a massive attack wave against the poorly defended outer worlds of the dominion. She knows that, like the confederacy before it, the Dominion will be unwilling to expend the troops necessary to protect these worlds, instead recalling all its fleets to defend the core worlds. This leaves her free of following her true objective, the recovery of the artifact and/or elimination of Narud, with minimal forces opposing her. Not only that, but she infests the refugees of the outer worlds with hive spores, with the goal of unleashing a trojan horse on the dominion core worlds, inserting massive zerg forces without the need to first circumvent the dominion fleet. Had Mengsk not done everything he could to stop the refugees, Kerrigan would have taken out the entire dominion without a single major battle.
-Legacy of the Void's usage of the Khala as a double-edged sword was pretty cool, with the narrative actually doing a good job of reinforcing this point through the opening cinematic of the game.
-That one mission where you blow up Shakuras? That was great.
-Giving the Tal'darim some actual character and culture was great, if way overdue.
I also think that Kerrigan becoming a hero could have worked. She had a dark edge in the original game but she had a noble side too. So while I could see her being more bitter angry and ruthless (her HOTS side) I didn't see her being as cruel and evil as she was (and even with Tarsonis there's the fact that a.) the entire sons of korhal were involved b.) Kerrigan still felt deeply uneasy about it and c.) Not only was she acting more out of misguided loyalty but she could have convinced herself that the protoss would have killed everyone if she didn't stop them.)

Even then you can simply have it that the infestation/amon's taint/whatever amplified her inner darkness and suppressed her more positive traits.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:12 PM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is offline

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The recycling of assets for Amon's void army in the final mission was downright sad. Like the sort of thing I'd expect from a fanmade map by someone who lacked the resources to develop new models and just cranked down the brightness on existing units to create "shadow creatures" instead.

This could've been Amon's hook: A distinct race of creatures in the Void that he was helping to cross over by creating the Hybrid as their new host race. Some ancient racial enemy of the Xel'naga from their own realm that had managed to turn Amon against his kind, appropriating the Xel'naga rebirth cycle so they can be reborn themselves in our universe and conquer it. Moreover, such an "other" race could have been what Narud/Duran was; one of Amon's alien allies who'd crossed over ahead of the rest in human form to help facilitate their rebirth as something more powerful.

And in the final mission, we could have fought that species in its true form within the void, instead of the infinitely respawning, monochromatic terrans, zerg and protoss we faced ininstead that felt like a weird attempt at half-replicating the "fighting against all three player races at once" angle from the final mission in Brood War.

It could have even been a play on the non-interference doctrine of the Xel'naga and how they arrived at it. The "new" (or old, depending on one's point of view) enemy race could be a result of the Xel'naga having used to meddle directly in the development of their intended host species, eventually creating an iteration that ran amok threatening our universe and had to be killed off, and was enough like the Xel'naga themselves that the whole race was forced into the void upon death the same way the Xel'naga themselves return there when killed in the regular universe.

Then Amon could have been a Xel'naga who was growing impatient and disillusioned with his fellows' hands-off methodology, thinking he could do it through forced manipulation without making the same mistakes. Then along come the void-trapped aliens convincing him that if he let them co-opt the Xel'naga's life cycle and helped to force the evolution of pure Essence and Form, together they could produce exactly the sort of host races he wanted, when he wanted them.

Then as each newly introduced Hybrid form got more powerful, they could start looking more and more like the void-aliens themselves until finally outright being their true bodies remade in our universe. Instead of Hybrids basically just being Amon's manufactured soldiers for controlling the Swarm, they could be the living, breathing reincarnations of his allies in the void as they seek to essentially supplant the Xel'naga. Meaning each one would be a person of that race instead of just a fancy and disposable uber-zerg monstrosity. Meaning there could be more villains to develop in the form of Hybrid characters.

Additionally, having an entire race of identifiable, distinct and powerful allies within the void (instead of just a handful of native wildlife like Void Thrashers and whatever Narud was serving him) would make more logical sense than Amon just arbitrarily being so powerful that he could singlehandedly wipe out his entire race within their home realm and spontaneously generate legions of soldiers there from nothingness.

All the above said, it would've also been nice to encounter some of those other sentient nraces the protoss used to watch over before their empire was destroyed. Considering how much they routinely underestimated the terrans, it'd be nice to find out that some of the civilizations they'd previously deemed primitive and in need of aloof stewardship were in fact fairly advanced and powerful in their own right. Maybe have a few of them striking out to colonize other solar systems while the protoss were away and running into the three primary races.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:25 PM
Ol'Yoggy Ol'Yoggy is offline

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The recycling of assets for Amon's void army in the final mission was downright sad. Like the sort of thing I'd expect from a fanmade map by someone who lacked the resources to develop new models and just cranked down the brightness on existing units to create "shadow creatures" instead.

This could've been Amon's hook: A distinct race of creatures in the Void that he was helping to cross over by creating the Hybrid as their new host race. Some ancient racial enemy of the Xel'naga from their own realm that had managed to turn Amon against his kind, appropriating the Xel'naga rebirth cycle so they can be reborn themselves in our universe and conquer it. Moreover, such an "other" race could have been what Narud/Duran was; one of Amon's alien allies who'd crossed over ahead of the rest in human form to help facilitate their rebirth as something more powerful.

And in the final mission, we could have fought that species in its true form within the void, instead of the infinitely respawning, monochromatic terrans, zerg and protoss we faced ininstead that felt like a weird attempt at half-replicating the "fighting against all three player races at once" angle from the final mission in Brood War.

It could have even been a play on the non-interference doctrine of the Xel'naga and how they arrived at it. The "new" (or old, depending on one's point of view) enemy race could be a result of the Xel'naga having used to meddle directly in the development of their intended host species, eventually creating an iteration that ran amok threatening our universe and had to be killed off, and was enough like the Xel'naga themselves that the whole race was forced into the void upon death the same way the Xel'naga themselves return there when killed in the regular universe.

Then Amon could have been a Xel'naga who was growing impatient and disillusioned with his fellows' hands-off methodology, thinking he could do it through forced manipulation without making the same mistakes. Then along come the void-trapped aliens convincing him that if he let them co-opt the Xel'naga's life cycle and helped to force the evolution of pure Essence and Form, together they could produce exactly the sort of host races he wanted, when he wanted them.

Then as each newly introduced Hybrid form got more powerful, they could start looking more and more like the void-aliens themselves until finally outright being their true bodies remade in our universe. Instead of Hybrids basically just being Amon's manufactured soldiers for controlling the Swarm, they could be the living, breathing reincarnations of his allies in the void as they seek to essentially supplant the Xel'naga. Meaning each one would be a person of that race instead of just a fancy and disposable uber-zerg monstrosity. Meaning there could be more villains to develop in the form of Hybrid characters.

Additionally, having an entire race of identifiable, distinct and powerful allies within the void (instead of just a handful of native wildlife like Void Thrashers and whatever Narud was serving him) would make more logical sense than Amon just arbitrarily being so powerful that he could singlehandedly wipe out his entire race within their home realm and spontaneously generate legions of soldiers there from nothingness.

All the above said, it would've also been nice to encounter some of those other sentient nraces the protoss used to watch over before their empire was destroyed. Considering how much they routinely underestimated the terrans, it'd be nice to find out that some of the civilizations they'd previously deemed primitive and in need of aloof stewardship were in fact fairly advanced and powerful in their own right. Maybe have a few of them striking out to colonize other solar systems while the protoss were away and running into the three primary races.
My idea was that Amon didn't want to be replaced. The idea is that over the millennia the xel'naga have been reborn again and again, acting as stewards to help the races achieve their potential. Amon, not wanting to be replaced decided "fuck that" and persuaded some like minded followers to make a play for godhood where they'd pervert the cycle to ascend instead. Their chosen followers would then RULE over the races outright (with the protoss and zerg being exterminated outright.)
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Old 05-22-2017, 06:31 PM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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This could've been Amon's hook: A distinct race of creatures in the Void that he was helping to cross over by creating the Hybrid as their new host race. Some ancient racial enemy of the Xel'naga from their own realm that had managed to turn Amon against his kind, appropriating the Xel'naga rebirth cycle so they can be reborn themselves in our universe and conquer it. Moreover, such an "other" race could have been what Narud/Duran was; one of Amon's alien allies who'd crossed over ahead of the rest in human form to help facilitate their rebirth as something more powerful.

And in the final mission, we could have fought that species in its true form within the void, instead of the infinitely respawning, monochromatic terrans, zerg and protoss we faced ininstead that felt like a weird attempt at half-replicating the "fighting against all three player races at once" angle from the final mission in Brood War.

It could have even been a play on the non-interference doctrine of the Xel'naga and how they arrived at it. The "new" (or old, depending on one's point of view) enemy race could be a result of the Xel'naga having used to meddle directly in the development of their intended host species, eventually creating an iteration that ran amok threatening our universe and had to be killed off, and was enough like the Xel'naga themselves that the whole race was forced into the void upon death the same way the Xel'naga themselves return there when killed in the regular universe.

Then Amon could have been a Xel'naga who was growing impatient and disillusioned with his fellows' hands-off methodology, thinking he could do it through forced manipulation without making the same mistakes. Then along come the void-trapped aliens convincing him that if he let them co-opt the Xel'naga's life cycle and helped to force the evolution of pure Essence and Form, together they could produce exactly the sort of host races he wanted, when he wanted them.

Then as each newly introduced Hybrid form got more powerful, they could start looking more and more like the void-aliens themselves until finally outright being their true bodies remade in our universe. Instead of Hybrids basically just being Amon's manufactured soldiers for controlling the Swarm, they could be the living, breathing reincarnations of his allies in the void as they seek to essentially supplant the Xel'naga. Meaning each one would be a person of that race instead of just a fancy and disposable uber-zerg monstrosity. Meaning there could be more villains to develop in the form of Hybrid characters.

Additionally, having an entire race of identifiable, distinct and powerful allies within the void (instead of just a handful of native wildlife like Void Thrashers and whatever Narud was serving him) would make more logical sense than Amon just arbitrarily being so powerful that he could singlehandedly wipe out his entire race within their home realm and spontaneously generate legions of soldiers there from nothingness.
That's actually a really cool idea. Presumably, the reason that the void creatures would need hybrid bodies is that they themselves were an attempt of the Xel'naga to directly create a race with both purity of form and essence?

You could also do this story while keeping the original game's intent for the Xel'naga, and instead move the creation of the void creatures to after the incident with the overmind eating an entire worldship full of Xel'naga, as a direct reaction. It would make perfect sense that large portions of the Xel'naga race as presented in the original starcraft would not have been present for that. So rather than risk creating an incomplete race again, they go directly for creating a species with both purity of form and purity of essence, and it bites them in the ass in the worst way possible.

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like a weird attempt at half-replicating the "fighting against all three player races at once" angle from the final mission in Brood War.
Correction: The final mission of Brood war did not involve an enemy zerg faction. The enemies were the UED (after the overmind had been lost), Dominion and Protoss

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All the above said, it would've also been nice to encounter some of those other sentient nraces the protoss used to watch over before their empire was destroyed.
I don't think the protoss empire ever was destroyed. The impression I got from the original starcraft was that the only protoss world that was directly targeted prior to the overmind's death was Aiur. Because the protoss are so intensely tied to their homeworld, this was a massive loss, but all those other worlds in the empire presumably survived.

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Considering how much they routinely underestimated the terrans, it'd be nice to find out that some of the civilizations they'd previously deemed primitive and in need of aloof stewardship were in fact fairly advanced and powerful in their own right. Maybe have a few of them striking out to colonize other solar systems while the protoss were away and running into the three primary races.
Eh, the timescale for that is kinda short, but it would be neat to at least see stuff like that acknowledged.

Maybe have one of the zerg gene-sources during their evolution missions be one of these sentient races.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:15 PM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is offline

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That's actually a really cool idea. Presumably, the reason that the void creatures would need hybrid bodies is that they themselves were an attempt of the Xel'naga to directly create a race with both purity of form and essence?

You could also do this story while keeping the original game's intent for the Xel'naga, and instead move the creation of the void creatures to after the incident with the overmind eating an entire worldship full of Xel'naga, as a direct reaction. It would make perfect sense that large portions of the Xel'naga race as presented in the original starcraft would not have been present for that. So rather than risk creating an incomplete race again, they go directly for creating a species with both purity of form and purity of essence, and it bites them in the ass in the worst way possible.
Well, my hypothetical idea would be that the Xel'naga commitment to non-interference came from a reaction to something going horribly wrong when they did otherwise, just as the protoss implemented their similar policy after intervention on a less advanced world led to calamity. That the first time the Xel'naga tried this whole cycle business, they could have just whipped up a race that was already a blend of Essence and Form or even artificially forced two species to merge against their will, with the finished product proving to be aggressively bent on asserting its supremacy over everything else and therefore having to be destroyed. Except due to their intended purpose the species would be physiologically similar enough to the Xel'naga themselves that wiping them out would similarly send them to the void.

So the implementation of hands-off evolutionary seeding and letting two races choose to eventually merge could be their solution to not just continuing to spawn already-powerful races from the get-go that prove less than interested in coexisting with anything else. The very decision of two species to mutually combine could amount to the final "test" to ensure that they haven't engineered yet another aggressive species that reaches the apex of its power by dominating and killing everything else.

Then the zerg, protoss and Hybrid could amount to Amon essentially trying to replicate that original effort and produce a new host species that could properly serve as the means to rebirth for his allies.

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I don't think the protoss empire ever was destroyed. The impression I got from the original starcraft was that the only protoss world that was directly targeted prior to the overmind's death was Aiur. Because the protoss are so intensely tied to their homeworld, this was a massive loss, but all those other worlds in the empire presumably survived.
I'm not really suggesting their worlds were destroyed; more that with the loss of Aiur and their government they don't really come across as still being a functional empire any more. Whenever they go to this or that outpost or laboratory, the places tend to be unmanned or minimally staffed, like the protoss haven't really been maintaining their previous network of protected worlds since Aiur's fall.
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Old 05-23-2017, 12:43 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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- Making Mengsk's own words on Tarsonis public was a great idea, and should have been a much more major plotpoint than it actually ended up being.
Huh, I feel the exact opposite. I think an audio signal would be so ridiculously easy to fake in the 26th century (it is easy to fake now) that it being effective as it was is too much. I'd say it only was as effective because Mengsk's rule was already shaken and unpopular.

As for your general idea about villains and diversity. I sorta agree? Diversity would sure be nice but hardly crucial. Villains were a bit one dimensional generally, and lacking completely at times, true. Especially true for Amon which is why I like ARM's idea and the thought of fleshing out the Void itself. Perhaps the big difference is that unlike previous Blizz RTS we haven't played as the villain at all, it was all from the perspective of the protagonists (even Kerrigan was pained as such). That is what helped make iconic and relatable villains like old Kerrigan, Lich King and others. We helped them succeed, we learned their methods and knew their goals.
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:47 AM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is offline

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Huh, I feel the exact opposite. I think an audio signal would be so ridiculously easy to fake in the 26th century (it is easy to fake now) that it being effective as it was is too much. I'd say it only was as effective because Mengsk's rule was already shaken and unpopular.
To be fair, I suspect the recording's impact came from its signal being verifiable as coming from an Adjutant, with all sorts of layered authentications that couldn't be copied built-in that would keep it from being faked. Considering he was a participant in half of the conversation, Raynor probably already had just a soundbite of the exchange on his end, but it wouldn't have been useful because not coming from an Adjutant would keep it from holding up under scrutiny. Hence the need to capture the actual Adjutant itself.

Still, I do feel like the effects of it and the Dominion simultaneous botching their management of the zerg invasion were kind of haphazardly swept under the rug by the time of HotS. He basically got hit with this political scandal while at the same time abandoning planets full of people left-and-right to protect the core worlds, yet instead of those same planets revolting over such mistreatment, come the start of HotS the whole Dominion (including Warfield, dammit) reset to pre-WoL status and forgot all about it.

Kind of like how you'd never know in SC2 that the Dominion's fleets and armies had been demolished by Kerrigan and the UED by the end of Brood War. The only reason he's alive at all for SC2 is that she deliberately left Mengsk to squirm in the ruins of his mangled empire, yet the intervening books and SC2 act like none of it ever happened and Dominion had been riding the same wave of uninterrupted military dominance from the moment he took power.

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Old 05-23-2017, 11:36 AM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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To be fair, I suspect the recording's impact came from its signal being verifiable as coming from an Adjutant, with all sorts of layered authentications that couldn't be copied built-in that would keep it from being faked. Considering he was a participant in half of the conversation, Raynor probably already had just a soundbite of the exchange on his end, but it wouldn't have been useful because not coming from an Adjutant would keep it from holding up under scrutiny. Hence the need to capture the actual Adjutant itself.
Yeah, that's what I figured as well.

Heck, Raynor probably had two soundbites of the exchange. Mengsks sent the lines from the communicator on-board the Hyperion, after all, which Raynor commandeered almost immediately afterwards.

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Still, I do feel like the effects of it and the Dominion simultaneous botching their management of the zerg invasion were kind of haphazardly swept under the rug by the time of HotS. He basically got hit with this political scandal while at the same time abandoning planets full of people left-and-right to protect the core worlds, yet instead of those same planets revolting over such mistreatment, come the start of HotS the whole Dominion (including Warfield, dammit) reset to pre-WoL status and forgot all about it.
To be fair, because he's so busy fighting Kerrigan, Warfield doesn't really get to display any of the nuances in his view towards the Dominion. It's not like he knows Kerrigan's goals (There's a tragic irony to the fact that he could have possibly been an ally in the cause of eliminating Mengsk, had Kerrigan not got caught up so much in her vengeance role.)

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Kind of like how you'd never know in SC2 that the Dominion's fleets and armies had been demolished by Kerrigan and the UED by the end of Brood War. The only reason he's alive at all for SC2 is that she deliberately left Mengsk to squirm in the ruins of his mangled empire, yet the intervening books and SC2 act like none of it ever happened and Dominion had been riding the same wave of uninterrupted military dominance from the moment he took power.
That bugged me so dang hard.
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Old 05-24-2017, 02:22 PM
Almed Almed is offline

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I have not a doubt that making SC2 try so hard to be a soap opera was key in its disappointment. Blizzard was never really good at character driven stories as opposed to making interesting settings for you to explore.

The point about villlains is important here. Using WoW, I would say that a key problem in its Lore is how it transformed into what can be called the antics of a bunch of dysfunctional superheroes. Despite this, the faction leaders aren't well done enough as characters to have so much attention dumped on them. Can you tell me that Anduin has the pull of Arthas?
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