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  #51  
Old 05-31-2015, 02:31 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Some people act as if Warcraft 1-3 were the equivalent of Shakespeare and it turned into Michael Bay now. Get real.
There's a broad spectrum between dog shit and diamonds, and people like you seem to be the only ones having trouble understanding that.
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I was probably just upset about the Horde fleet in the Second War.
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  #52  
Old 05-31-2015, 02:36 PM
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Unlike every other fantasy/sci-fi story ever told?

And how do we know how the story "ought" to progress?
No...even reasonable sci-fi fantasy at least grants enough attachment to the races themselves to make it enough that they will be doomed if they fail, without making it about saving everything in all of existence.

As soon as they make it about "saving the universe", it's incumbent upon them to justify why out of all the infinite cosmos, the only thing that matters to the preservation of existence as a whole is the fate of three races isolated to a tiny corner of one galaxy.

And every other one ever told? No...not even Star Wars or Lord of the Rings hauled out the "if this bad guy wins, the universe will be destroyed", because they didn't have to. It was enough to know that if the bad guys won, the protagonists, their friends/families, their homes, and the same things for countless other people would suffer and die as a consequence.
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  #53  
Old 05-31-2015, 04:15 PM
miffy23 miffy23 is offline

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There's a broad spectrum between dog shit and diamonds, and people like you seem to be the only ones having trouble understanding that.
I'm only reacting to hyperbole towards the negative. I'm the one arguing for things not being quite as crappy as some seem to cry from the rooftops.
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  #54  
Old 05-31-2015, 04:16 PM
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Some people act as if Warcraft 1-3 were the equivalent of Shakespeare and it turned into Michael Bay now. Get real.
Warcraft 3's story wasn't that great, no. However that we keep going on about it so fondly IN COMPARISON to what we have now shows just how far south Blizzard's writing has fallen.
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  #55  
Old 05-31-2015, 04:17 PM
miffy23 miffy23 is offline

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No...even reasonable sci-fi fantasy at least grants enough attachment to the races themselves to make it enough that they will be doomed if they fail, without making it about saving everything in all of existence.

As soon as they make it about "saving the universe", it's incumbent upon them to justify why out of all the infinite cosmos, the only thing that matters to the preservation of existence as a whole is the fate of three races isolated to a tiny corner of one galaxy.

And every other one ever told? No...not even Star Wars or Lord of the Rings hauled out the "if this bad guy wins, the universe will be destroyed", because they didn't have to. It was enough to know that if the bad guys won, the protagonists, their friends/families, their homes, and the same things for countless other people would suffer and die as a consequence.
Semantics. In a manner of speaking, the protagonists' universe will always be destroyed, that's the threat. We only enter these stories through them, and eliminating them turns off the lights. Making it literal is just another interpretation of that.

And you're applying your own rationale that derives from the real world to a fictitious universe.
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  #56  
Old 05-31-2015, 04:28 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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A fictitious universe is worth nothing if it isn't coherent to Actuality.
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  #57  
Old 05-31-2015, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ARM3481 View Post
No...even reasonable sci-fi fantasy at least grants enough attachment to the races themselves to make it enough that they will be doomed if they fail, without making it about saving everything in all of existence.

As soon as they make it about "saving the universe", it's incumbent upon them to justify why out of all the infinite cosmos, the only thing that matters to the preservation of existence as a whole is the fate of three races isolated to a tiny corner of one galaxy.

And every other one ever told? No...not even Star Wars or Lord of the Rings hauled out the "if this bad guy wins, the universe will be destroyed", because they didn't have to. It was enough to know that if the bad guys won, the protagonists, their friends/families, their homes, and the same things for countless other people would suffer and die as a consequence.
This a billion times. I'm quite fed up with the: The whole universe will die trope.
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  #58  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:06 PM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is offline

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Originally Posted by miffy23 View Post
Semantics. In a manner of speaking, the protagonists' universe will always be destroyed, that's the threat. We only enter these stories through them, and eliminating them turns off the lights. Making it literal is just another interpretation of that.

And you're applying your own rationale that derives from the real world to a fictitious universe.
A fictitious universe that's basically written as having been our universe. StarCraft Earth is our Earth, up until right around the end of the 21st century.

Plus they undermined the story connection to the Xel'naga themselves, and consequently how the larger story relates to everyone else. Originally they were an advanced race of scientists seeking their own answers through their experimentation on the protoss and zerg. An enlightened race who, for all their knowledge, made mistakes nonetheless and were destroyed by the last of them.

With SC2 they're basically immortal, cosmic space gods with prophetic foresight and their own eternally repeating cycle of death-and-rebirth, who apparently knew all of this would happen - including their own physical deaths by the zerg - and for whom the experiments on Aiur and Zerus went from failed attempts by a highly intelligent (but still mortal and imperfect) progenitor race at creating perfection, to premeditated and deliberately incomplete halves of a plan made by incomprehensibly eternal beings that went just as they were intended.

They essentially turned the Xel'naga into the one thing that trumps a Mary Sue: a character/characters who wrote the story in-universe before it even happened. The Xel'naga are, at this point, elevated to the state of bring literal self-inserts of the StarCraft writing staff. They're the Word of God, they're never truly gone, and no matter what happens, it's apparently always been according to their plan.

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  #59  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:06 PM
miffy23 miffy23 is offline

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Originally Posted by Anansi View Post
A fictitious universe is worth nothing if it isn't coherent to Actuality.
The entire fictitious universe is worthless if it doesn't adhere to real world philosophical and scientific findings? -_-

Isn't it sort of the point of fiction to expand beyond our concept of actuality....

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A fictitious universe that's basically written as having been our universe. StarCraft Earth is our Earth, up until right around the end of the 21st century.

Plus they undermined the story connection to the Xel'naga themselves. Originally they were an advanced race of scientists seeking their own answers through their experimentation on the protoss and zerg. An enlightened race who made mistakes nonetheless and were destroyed by the last of them.

Now they're basically immortal, cosmic space gods with prophetic foresight, who apparently knew all of this would happen - including their own physical deaths by the zerg - and for whom the experiments on Aiur and Zerus went from failed attempts by a highly intelligent - but still imperfect - progenitor race at creating perfection, to premeditated and deliberately incomplete halves of a plan that went just as they were intended.

They essentially turned the Xel'naga into the one thing that trumps a Mary Sue: a character/characters who wrote the story in-universe before it even happened. The Xel'naga are, at this point, elevated to the state of bring literal self-inserts of the StarCraft writing staff. They're the Word of God, they're never truly gone, and no matter what happens, it's apparently always been according to their plan.
And none of that invalidates anything that came before. Suffice it to say the Xel'naga were itroduced way before SC2, too.
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  #60  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:10 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Isn't it sort of the point of fiction to expand beyond our concept of actuality....
Are you honestly trying to tell me Starcraft II expands our concept of Actuality?
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  #61  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:11 PM
miffy23 miffy23 is offline

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Are you honestly trying to tell me Starcraft II expands our concept of Actuality?
Any fiction does. It's why it's called fiction, it's not bound by our concepts of actuality.
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  #62  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:17 PM
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And none of that invalidates anything that came before. Suffice it to say the Xel'naga were itroduced way before SC2, too.
I don't think you're listening to ARM. He knows that the Xel'naga came before SC2. He says so in his post, which is about contrasting their presentation in SC1 and SC2. Are you just that daft?
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  #63  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:23 PM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is offline

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And none of that invalidates anything that came before. Suffice it to say the Xel'naga were itroduced way before SC2, too.
Yes, they were introduced before SC2. Did I suggest otherwise?

No, I explained that very thing. They were introduced in the backstory of SC1, as an alien race that succumbed to its own faults in trying to rid its creations of theirs.

SC2 turned them into gods. And Amon into the devil. And arguably the mightiest champions of the three "mortal races" into the Nephalem (because for all the talk of having no predetermined fate, the Nephalem sure seems to get railroaded into fulfilling prophecies anyway). And all so that the characters could act upon an externally impose prophecy - essentially an in-universe manifestation of the authors' manuscript - instead of behaving like regular people, in response to their surroundings and the other characters.

It sucks the life and personalized motivation out of the characters. If SC1 had been handled that way, Tassadar wouldn't have refused to burn Tarsonis because he thought it was wrong; he'd have refused because some Xel'naga script cue (read: prophecy) told him the savior of the galaxy (Kerrigan) was down there. He'd have sought out the Dark Templar because another prophecy pointed him at them as the key to stopping the zerg. Zeratul would have known to attack the Cerebrates not because he deduced their nature after the Conclave's attack failed, but because - hey, once again - prophecy told him the energies of his kind were more like those of the zerg than the other protoss.

Prophecy is in and of itself generally a cheap mechanism by which the author directly tells the characters what to do so as to not burden himself with having to write their own reasons for doing it, but it's enormously worsened when it's given a source in other characters - i.e. the Xel'naga, because it literally turns those characters into the author.
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  #64  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:30 PM
miffy23 miffy23 is offline

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Originally Posted by ARM3481 View Post
Yes, they were introduced before SC2. Did I suggest otherwise?

No, I explained that very thing. They were introduced in the backstory of SC1, as an alien race that succumbed to its own faults in trying to rid its creations of theirs.

SC2 turned them into gods. And Amon into the devil. And arguably the mightiest champions of the three "mortal races" into the Nephalem (because for all the talk of having no predetermined fate, the Nephalem sure seems to get railroaded into fulfilling prophecies anyway). And all so that the characters could act upon an externally impose prophecy - essentially an in-universe manifestation of the authors' manuscript - instead of behaving like regular people, in response to their surroundings and the other characters.

It sucks the life and personalized motivation out of the characters. If SC1 had been handled that way, Tassadar wouldn't have refused to burn Tarsonis because he thought it was wrong; he'd have refused because some Xel'naga script cue (read: prophecy) told him the savior of the galaxy (Kerrigan) was down there. He'd have sought out the Dark Templar because another prophecy pointed him at them as the key to stopping the zerg. Zeratul would have known to attack the Cerebrates not because he deduced their nature after the Conclave's attack failed, but because - hey, once again - prophecy told him the energies of his kind were more like those of the zerg than the other protoss.

Prophecy is in and of itself generally a cheap mechanism by which the author directly tells the characters what to do so as to not burden himself with having to write their own reasons for doing it, but it's enormously worsened when it's given a source in other characters - i.e. the Xel'naga, because it literally turns those characters into the author.
Only that SC1 wasn't handled that way, and the Xel'naga were never depicted or described in such depth to warrant any major conflict with their role in SC2 and going forward.

And so the story changed as the prophetic element was made known to the characters, and not before. And their personal arcs and motivations have not changed.

Broodwar hinted at the bigger threat looming, and SC2 delivered. What, exactly, is the great narrative conflict here?

Suffice it to say all Blizzard stories are steeped in messianic and prophetic themes - and yes, they were way back when too, not just now. It's a very common element in human story-telling, and why religion took such hold in our culture.
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  #65  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:44 PM
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The Overmind was never secretly a good guy; the only thing that was altered by Amon was implanting its obsession with assimilating the protoss - a race that, as it turned out, was psionically immune to assimilation.

Otherwise, the Overmind would have still gladly run amok, assimilating everything in the galaxy that it thought would bring the Swarm closer to "perfection" and exterminating everything that didn't. It was no "good guy", just a bad guy whose priorities got co-opted by a bigger bad guy.
OK, but I was referring more to how his actions tie in with the goals of the good guys rather than his personal motivations. Tassadar seems to feel almost sympathetic to the Overmind and present him as a kind of secret hero to Zeratul, though I don't recall the exact tone. At any rate, by making Kerrigan the savior of the galaxy, Overmind effectively becomes a hero with foresight, concerning that particular matter which is most important, regardless of his intentions about other matters.


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And so the story changed as the prophetic element was made known to the characters, and not before. And their personal arcs and motivations have not changed.
I don't see how Kerrigan's motivations remain anywhere near the same...

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  #66  
Old 05-31-2015, 05:56 PM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is offline

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OK, but I was referring more to how his actions tie in with the goals of the good guys rather than his personal motivations. Tassadar seems to feel almost sympathetic to the Overmind and present him as a kind of secret hero to Zeratul, though I don't recall the exact tone. At any rate, by making Kerrigan the savior of the galaxy, Overmind effectively becomes a hero with foresight, concerning that particular matter which is most important, regardless of his intentions about other matters.
The issue there is, the Word of God in the SC1 manual established that the Overmind's reasons for seeking Kerrigan (or someone like her) was to incorporate the strongest possible genetics of terran psionic potential into the Swarm for the purpose of countering protoss psionics and facilitating their race's assimilation.

Later out-of-game lore established that - unbeknownst to the Overmind - doing so was a waste of time as the communal link of the Khala rendered the essence of the protoss immune to assimilation or infestation, but then SC2 went and outright retroactively replaced the Overmind's reasons entirely, so that infesting Kerrigan became its way of freeing the Swarm from Amon's control instead of the attempted means to assimilating the protoss.

If the original lore had been presented as coming from a biased source, that would justify the deviation, but it wasn't. This wasn't like the journal of Brann or the musings of Caine and Tyreal; the SC1 manual was never suggested to be anything but an unbiased telling of pre-game events.
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  #67  
Old 05-31-2015, 06:19 PM
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OK, but I was referring more to how his actions tie in with the goals of the good guys rather than his personal motivations. Tassadar seems to feel almost sympathetic to the Overmind and present him as a kind of secret hero to Zeratul, though I don't recall the exact tone.
Tassadar did present it very awkwardly.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:45 PM
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WUT? They whitewashed OVERMIND?!!!!!
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:31 PM
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WUT? They whitewashed OVERMIND?!!!!!
I feel sorry for you, but you have to face the truth. Behold, the greatest bullshit committed by Blizzard:



I become one with Zeratul here: "Madness." "I do not understand." "I cannot bear it. Stop!"

And Tassadar feels like Blizzard itself. "Forget what you know, Zeratul."

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Old 05-31-2015, 11:45 PM
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I did not like it.

My opinion on the revelation has mellowed somewhat (due to the lore Q&As spelling things out), but my opinion on the scene remains unchanged.

...Also, I still do not understand the Dark Templar trilogy. It feels like they rebooted it into StarCraft II anyway, so no real loss there.
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  #71  
Old 06-01-2015, 12:18 AM
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That's the other weird thing, it's not that infesting Protoss is absolutely impossible and that they're totally immune, it's that it's freaking difficult and would require a lot of effort. That whole Khaydarin Crystal thing and manifesting on Aiur were the first steps in the Overmind's plan to do so.

Also the twist itself is lame. That's really all there is to it. Someone on the writing team needed to justify this new plot so they basically brought back a bunch of classic memorable characters as ghosts to have them go 'hey, forget the current character trajectory you're on. We really need you to be a crazy prophet/tortured anti-hero with a conscience/frontier cowboy.' In the cleanest, quickest, easiest way possible so they didn't have to get bogged down with things like 'developing a story'.

I mean Zeratul being a crazy prophet isn't THAT huge a leap, but they basically got rid of everything he was passionate about and turned him into a robot who's sole purpose is reciting exposition on the plot. That's terrible.

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Broodwar hinted at the bigger threat looming, and SC2 delivered. What, exactly, is the great narrative conflict here?
The Xel'naga were a bunch of crazy alien scientists who were trying to create the perfect specis -- who the Zerg subsequently killed the bulk of. They were not prophetic gods trying to achieve some sort of cosmic objective. That is not implied in any way shape or form.

Sure the Xel'Naga could have been involved in the whole Duran tease from Dark Origin, and I think it's implied that they are, I just think the way it was done doesn't really add up.

The other main thing is the tone, SC1 wasn't super realistic or anything, but the tone of it was... small. It was about war and conflict and vicious people and vicious monsters, and the people caught in the middle of all this. People had agency and power and strength, and they could control their own fates and bring about ruin all on their own.

Now it's about... prophecies. Everything is this big, grand cosmic ballet involving basically magical powers. Again, not that SC1 portrayed realistic science or anything, but tonally, it portrayed things as being at least somewhat within the realm of physical action. Kerrigan was a powerful, physical combatant who could at best create lightning storms with her mind like the High Templar -- she was not a space wizard.

There's just something really melancholic and understated about StarCraft I feel is missing in it's sequel.

SC1/Brood War/WC3/tFT are good, well told stories. They aren't Shakespeare, no, though I find that a specious comparison. It's not the quality of it, but the themes of Arthas and Kerrigan and a lot of the other characters are relatively Shakespearean thematically. And are worth discussing with those criteria. That doesn't mean anybody's looking too deeply into it.

Or that they're better just because they're older. I find all the time the things that stick with me and that I really enjoy stuck with me for a reason. Even stuff I enjoyed as a kid.

To answer the topic's original question, though. I don't think Blizzard's given up. I think the people who were mainly responsible for WC3/SC have just gotten older and the company's gotten bigger -- Metzen basically wrote SC/WC3 by himself, this is back when their RTS team did one game at a time and he only worked with the RTS team, now CDev is responsible for the lore and storytelling of three different franchises at once. So we've got a lot of other outside talent coming in to work on these stories, and Metzen doesn't actually really do anything anymore. He more or less just supervises. And people who seemed much more concerned with storytelling and gameplay integration (like Rob Pardo) are gone, and people who really don't care as much or don't know as much about it (like Kaplan, who blatantly just doesn't give a shit or Browder, who just doesn't really seem to understand it) are doing their jobs.

That's gonna lead to a shift in quality. For better or worse, things are going to be different.
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:28 AM
Siegrune Siegrune is offline

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The other main thing is the tone, SC1 wasn't super realistic or anything, but the tone of it was... small. It was about war and conflict and vicious people and vicious monsters, and the people caught in the middle of all this. People had agency and power and strength, and they could control their own fates and bring about ruin all on their own.

Now it's about... prophecies. Everything is this big, grand cosmic ballet involving basically magical powers. Again, not that SC1 portrayed realistic science or anything, but tonally, it portrayed things as being at least somewhat within the realm of physical action. Kerrigan was a powerful, physical combatant who could at best create lightning storms with her mind like the High Templar -- she was not a space wizard.

There's just something really melancholic and understated about StarCraft I feel is missing in it's sequel.
I think you're exactly correct about the problem. A related thing is that the original Starcraft is a lot less black-and-white. Sure there are heroes, and also unquestionable villains (and the most evil of them all was none other than the Queen of the Blades herself, who has now become the Hope of the Universe), but the conflicts are a lot more complicated, for example the Protoss allying with Kerrigan against the UED and so forth. But in that same example, even though UED is an evil (and even the UED have sympathetic moments) that is threatening the Koprulu Sector, the anti-UED forces are not all-good either - whereas SCII basically blames all the evil on Amon, and all the anti-Amon guys (Mengsk doesn't count, he rather gets lumped in with Amon) are presented as good.


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SC1/Brood War/WC3/tFT are good, well told stories. They aren't Shakespeare, no, though I find that a specious comparison. It's not the quality of it, but the themes of Arthas and Kerrigan and a lot of the other characters are relatively Shakespearean thematically. And are worth discussing with those criteria. That doesn't mean anybody's looking too deeply into it.
Agreed on this as well. I'm not sure how successful anyone would be trying to defend SCI/WC3 as literature, they aren't high art, but they were good stories from which you could even maybe construct mythologies that have tragic impact, and much more than adequate for creating an immersive backdrop for a game. And you don't need to be groundbreaking or completely original to do that.

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  #73  
Old 06-01-2015, 05:12 AM
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WUT? They whitewashed OVERMIND?!!!!!
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  #74  
Old 06-01-2015, 05:48 AM
miffy23 miffy23 is offline

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The themes of Arthas and Kerrigan are exactly what they started out to be - prophetic/messianic. The greatest hero of the tale must fall and either redeem himself or perish, depending on the story. Blizzard has always been obsessed with the Lucifer/Jesus theme in their narratives, they've never been particularly original.

And while it's true that SC1 and BW were a bit more chaotic in the conflicts and alliances that emerged temporarily, the end of Broodwar nontheless very obviously pointed at the Xel'naga as the looming larger threat that make the previous conflicts seem petty. The introduction of the UED also opened up the small, localized conflict and the possilibity of far-reaching stories in that universe. In short, Broodwar was very clearly pointing at a widening of the story and raising the stakes.

I just don't see the narrative disconnect that some of you do. Not all decisions and retcons were good decisions, but overall the tone and course of the story fit.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:25 AM
Slowpokeking Slowpokeking is offline

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So Blizzard ruined their once best-written franchise-SC....
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