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Old 08-21-2018, 10:46 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 150


Originally Posted by Cacofonix View Post
Knowing bits of that WoW dev interview, yeah, I can buy a bunch of swaps and changes happening that might overall make the game bit wonky.
That is putting it mildly. There have been numerous essays analyzing the many problems with the plot of StarCraft 2. It is full of plot holes, deus ex machina, idiot characters, and other bad writing.

Although they get nowhere near as much attention, StarCraft 1 and Brood War have bad plots too. Brood War is full of plot holes that render the story nonsensical, and the retcons do not help matters. StarCraft 1 falls apart after Episode 1. Episode 2 is forgettable filler and Episode 3 is a meandering mess. Episode 1 is the best plotted episode of the entire StarCraft series, and even then it still has an enormous plot hole.

Arcturus' plan to overthrow the Confederacy while two hostile alien races are invading is blatantly suicidal. The zerg and protoss only cease assaulting the terran worlds, conveniently at the same time Arcturus forms the Dominion, because of writer fiat. There was no way for Arcturus to know that would happen so to everyone listening at the time his plan would only serve to weaken the terrans against the attacks of the zerg and protoss who, as far as they knew, would keep attacking indefinitely. (In fact, that exact sort of teleological prescience is endemic to StarCraft plots. The characters act as though they read ahead in the script rather than acting based on what they should currently know. The stories are plot driven rather than character driven, in the worst possible way.)

I mean, his actions are not inherently bad writing. It is the consequences that turn it into bad writing. If Arcturus' success had resulted in things taking an even worse turn in the war against the protoss and zerg, then it would have been a good way to show that his obsession with revenge was a character flaw without turning him into the absurd cartoon supervillain he became in canon. He might be forced to ally with the protoss, who he would have previously seen as genocidal monsters no better than the Confederacy based on their glassing of inhabited planets. His sacrifice of Kerry and Tarsonis might come back to bite him (but not in the stupid way where she comes back as a psychotic villain) when an autopsy of new zerg warrior beasts reveals that they contain the genetic material of ghosts who were present at the Ghost Academy on Tarsonis; had he not sacrificed Tarsonis, the zerg would never have captured them.

But no!

The writer fiat that made the zerg and protoss withdraw when convenient is also the same fiat that forgot key plot hooks planted or foreshadowed in the manual. I should have already explained these, but quick refresher: the zerg were in Koprulu to harvest human psychics of which there were probably millions across the sector and eat the terran's planets for the resources like they did every previous planet, while the protoss were there to exterminate the zerg and argue over the terran's fate and had an insurmountable military advantage. The writer forgets that and instead we have Kerry setup as a messiah who ultimately contributes nothing and the protoss are retconned into wimps who need a deus ex machina to win the day.

The setup in the manual of the three races fighting for the fate of Koprulu could have been milked indefinitely for a multimedia franchise. The zerg alone ensured that the war would never end until they were exterminated: the Overmind exists innately within all zerg, and we actually see this in the Precursor/Loomings demo missions when packs of zerglings in a Confederate installation are able to rewire security systems in the absence of any overlords or cerebrates to give orders.

Instead Metzen decided to overstep his boundaries and condense what should have been years and years of story material into a few hours of gameplay. So it is only natural that the subsequent installments got worse with time. Each game kept killing off its main antagonist so every subsequent game had to pull a new main antagonist out of their ass. Every time it was terrible because the Overmind was the best antagonist and could never be equaled or surpassed.

The licensed expansion Insurrection is not Shakespeare by any means, but it shows quite clearly that every individual planet in the lore could provide fodder for multiple campaigns. StarCraft works great as the backdrop for an anthology series of gritty military scifi; trying to shoehorn mythic heroes and epic quests ruins it.
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