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starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) feature event article.

starcraft 2

World Cyber Games (WCG) 2011 has re-launched the WCG USA website and is now open for registration for the online qualifiers. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne and World of WarCraft: Cataclysm are featured games.

For StarCraft II, the game format will be 1 vs. 1 in a best of 3 maps. The following maps will be considered for map selection:

  • Shattered Temple
  • Metalopolis
  • Shakuras Plateau
  • Xel'Naga Caverns
  • Tal'darim Altar LE
  • Crevasse
  • Crossfire SE
  • Terminus RE

The game will start on the map listed on the tournament bracket. The loser of the first game will pick the next map. If necessary, the loser of the second game will pick the last map. All matches are played on US Battle.net accounts only, and by this note, only on US servers. According to their Online Qualifiers section, players must be US citizens.

World Cyber Games US
WCG US: StarCraft II Rules

Blizzard has officialy announced the sale date for BlizzCon's tickets.The tickets will go on sale in two batches. The first one on Saturday, May 21 and the second one on Wednesday, May 25. The prize for each ticket is $175.

Mark your calendars! Tickets for BlizzCon 2011 will go on sale at on Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. PDT and on Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. PDT through the official BlizzCon website (www.blizzcon.com). In addition, a limited number of tickets to an exclusive pre-BlizzCon Benefit Dinner will go on sale Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. PDT. BlizzCon tickets will be available at $175 USD each, while tickets to the BlizzCon Benefit Dinner (which include admission to the show) will be priced at $500 each, with proceeds going to benefit Children's Hospital of Orange County. Tickets to previous BlizzCon shows have sold out within minutes, so be sure to synchronize your hourglasses.

If you can't make it to the show in person, the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket will once again allow you to watch the event live from the comfort of your own home. The Virtual Ticket will be available as multi-channel Internet stream around the world and also via DIRECTV in the United States.

See the full press release or visit the official BlizzCon website for more information, and we'll see you at BlizzCon!

BlizzCon 2011 Tickets On Sale May 21 and 25
April 19th Press Event Header
On April 19th, 2010 Blizzard held a small, exclusive press event for American websites and publications at their headquarters in Irvine, CA. The main purpose of the event was to reveal three additional missions from Wings of Liberty, introduce the Research and Mercenary mechanics found in the single player campaign, and showcase two Challenge Mode missions. Even though the three new missions were fairly early within the campaign, each mission felt unique and stood apart from the multiplayer game.
Mission One – Welcome to the Jungle


Before embarking on this mission Swann briefs you on your objective. Tosh is willing to pay handsomely for a rare gas found on the planet called Terrazine. The problem is a rogue faction of the Protoss believes this gas to be sacred and will stop at nothing to ensure it does not fall into enemy hands. Your mission is to harvest seven canisters of gas from various geysers throughout the map. Shortly after recovering your first canister, the Protoss will attempt to make first contact with you, warning you of your trespass and demanding that you leave immediately. Raynor, never turning down easy money, politely refuses to the frustration of the Protoss tribe. The remainder of the mission has SCVs venturing forth gathering gas under the protection of the Terran army with an ever increasing Protoss ground and air force.
Those daring enough may try to destroy every Protoss force found on the map in order to unlock an achievement. This may be rather difficult the first time around as you have not unlocked the tech to build Siege Tanks or a Starport. Those looking to unlock all the achievements and recover all the Research Points will want to revisit previously played missions, but more on that later.


Mission Two – The Dig



In this mission you must recover a Xel’Naga artifact hidden deep within a temple. Previous attempts at retrieving it by a previous team resulted in failure. Luckily for you, they have left behind the materials needed to complete the operation. You are initially deployed to the planet with a rag-tag team of Marines and Marauders sent to gain control of the excavation site. Along the way a Dropship delivers some Siege Tanks in order to deal with some Protoss Canons. After a short tutorial on how to use Siege Tanks, the small excursion force comes across an abandoned Terran outpost with a Command Center, Barracks, Mercenary Compound, (more on the Mercenary Compound later,) Factory and finally a Laser Drill which you now control. The Laser Drill is used to melt your way through the doors of the temple in order to retrieve the artifact and a countdown bar on the top of the screen keeps you updated on your progress.

Standing in your way is a Protoss army sending wave after wave of units attempting to destroy your outpost and keep the artifact safely protected within the confines of the temple. There is one weapon added to your arsenal this time around in addition to the Siege Tank: the Laser Drill. That’s right; the giant Laser you are using to melt your way through the front door can also be used on the Protoss. Its targeting is slow but its fire power makes short work of Archons and Colossus.

Once again, you can attempt to venture out to earn the “Dug Out” achievement by destroying all the Protoss on the map but that is definitely easier said than done the first time around. Colossus will attack you plenty and the lack of a Starport makes it all the more difficult to gain sight on high ground or deal with a Colossus with only ground forces.



Mission Three - Zeratul Flashback


During the above cutscene, Zeratul visits Jim Raynor with a message. So that Jim may better understand what Zeratul has seen, he gives Jim a Xeon crystal. This crystal allows one to relive the memories of another and triggers the with the cinematic teased at BlizzCon 2009, which depicts Zeratul fighting Kerrigan in the Xel'Naga temple. It opens with a brief exchange of dialogue regarding the fate of the universe and tidings of impending doom. Zeratul, in a display of his power, envelopes himself in psi mist, disappearing and reappearing amid falling shards of the cavern’s ceiling. Following another brief exchange of words, Zeratul lunges at Kerrigan. She retaliates with a haduken-like attack, freezing Zeratul mid-leap as he pushes back with his own psi power. He throws a quick slash with his right arm but is quickly thrown back by Kerrigan's attack. Zeratul lands a powerful blow and her wing is shorn off; yet, she is unperturbed. As a new wing rapidly regenerates, she utters a short soliloquy regarding fate and her desire to embrace it. Zeratul is left to pick himself up, climb up through the caverns, and wonder how he can influence destiny.

As it concludes, the Protoss mini-campaign begins with a mission with the player controlling Zeratul in an underground cave, attempting to recover lost artifacts. Zeratul is not your ordinary Dark Templar by any means. In order to navigate the treacherous Zerg infested cave, Zeratul is granted additional abilities beyond the average Dark Templar. Those who have seen the Protoss Stalker in action can immediately appreciate the power of Zeratul’s Blink ability. In order to navigate the treacherous cave and its many pitfalls and impasses, Zeratul is able to teleport a short distant to bypass fallen bridges or move down cliffs. In addition to Blink, Zeratul can trap a unit or building in a Void Prison. The Void Prison resembles a more powerful version of Lockdown with a similar animation as the Phoenix's Graviton beam.  Void Prison temporarily disables any unit or building while keeping it frozen in place. While a unit is trapped in the Void Prison, the unit is unable to attack, move, use special abilities or detect cloaked units such as Zeratul. Zeratul gains some additional unit support through some Stalkers at first and finally some Zealots and a High Templar. However, the Queen of Blades makes an appearance and attempts to make the cave Zeratul’s final resting place. It is up to Zeratul and a small band of Stalkers to navigate through the cave in order to escape with the retrieved artifacts in less than two minutes as a swarm of Zerg pursues them.

Zeratul Blinks Zeratul Image 1



Unit Research

The Koprulu Sector is more dangerous since the events of The Brood War. In order to better survive, Raynor has the option of unlocking research for specific units. Every unit has two unlockable research items ranging from increased damage or improved durability to no longer requiring an attached Tech Lab in order to be produced. Although it is not possible to unlock every research item for every unit as there are only so many credits and missions found in Wings of Liberty, it will be possible to unlock about 80% of said upgrades as the mission credits are the only limiting factor.


Race Research

Found throughout the single player campaign are racial research points used to unlock a tech tree. These research points are awarded through completing secondary objectives such as collecting Zerg cocoons and Protoss artifacts, or hunting down and destroying a particularly deadly strain of Zerg. For every 5 Racial Research Points you recover, you are allowed one of two upgrades. However once you make your selection, you cannot research the other item. Here is an example of the Protoss and Zerg Research Tree for Terran.


Protoss Research Points


Tech Reactor

Your Tech Labs also work as Reactors



Orbital Strike

Units from Barracks are deployed through Drop Pod



Science Vessel

Automated Refinery

Refineries do not need SCVs to operate


Reactor Command Center

Your Command Center can train two SCVs at once

Orbital Depots 
Supply Depots build instantly


Micro Filtering

Increase gas harvesting by 25%

Ultra Capacitors

Weapon upgrades at the Armory and Engineering Bay increase weapon speed by 5%


Vanadium Plating 
Armor upgrades at the Armory and Engineering Bay increase health by 5%



Zerg Research Points


Hive Mind Emulator 
Create a building that can Mind Control any Zerg Unit



Psi Disruptor

Decrease the movement speed of all Zerg units

Cellular Reactor

Increase starting energy of all units by 100. Increase maximum energy of all units by 100.


Regenerative Bio-Steel

Damaged ships and vehicles recover hit points over time.


Unlock an anti infantry unit


Unlock a massive transport with instant deployment of all units.

Planetary Fortress


Perdition Turrets 
Unlock flame turrets that hide underground when not in use.

Strike Turret 
All bunkers are equipped with a Strike Turret. (Similar to an auto turret on a bunker)


Fortified Bunker

Bunkers gain 150 Health




A new addition to the single-player campaign is the introduction of the Merc Compound. The Merc Compound is an advanced building built by the SCV. From the Hyperion, you can spend hard earned credits to unlock a stronger version of an existing unit. The Merc Compound is similar to the Mercenary Camp of WarCraft III Frozen Throne. The Merc Compound allows you to instantly hire any unit that you have unlocked between missions. Each Mercenary is on a separate cooldown timer limiting how often you can hire them. The Marine counterpart to the Mercenary is available after five minutes while the Siege Tank is available after six or so minutes. Once you hire the Mercenary, the cool down is reinitiated and will not be available to be rehired until the cool down expires. In addition to requiring minerals and gas, each Mercenary also has a limit per mission. For example, the Marine Mercenary can be hired up to four times while the Siege Tank Mercenary can only be hired two times.

Hyperion Cantina  

Challenge Mode

Although the single player campaign of the original StarCraft was fun and robust, playing through missions did very little to prepare players to the wonder of Battle.Net and online competitive play. In order to fill that void and offer users a more fitting stepping stone into the online and cut throat world of competitive gaming, Blizzard created a number of mini games designed to build up the necessary skills to play online. Those familiar with the Spec Op Missions found in Activision’s Modern Warfare 2 will find these mini games to be challenging and fun. From each of the nine missions, it is possible to earn three stars depending on how well you perform during the mission for a total of 27 stars. Of the nine missions listed, only two were available to test.

In one mission you start with about six Sentries and six High Templars on a raised center platform. The point of the mission is to use the Sentries and Templars to destroy as many as possible.  In order to earn one star for the bronze level, 75 units must be destroyed with silver and gold levels being achieved at 150 and 225 units each level earning an additional star. The bronze level is easily attainable by any player who uses both their left and right hand at the same time while playing StarCraft II. The difficulty arises during the later waves as your Templars and Sentries are slowly running out of energy and units such as Repears start joining the wave of attackers and start attacking the high ground. Only a careful balance of energy conservation, Hallunication, Forcefield, Psi Storm, Feedback and merging of Archons will net you three stars.

The other mission puts you at the helm of a large Protoss army. Instead of simply trying to see how many units a player can destroy in an ever-increasing uphill battle, the player simply has a time limit to see how many units you can destroy with a large Protoss army. To complicate the matters however, the Protoss army is fighting on no less than five separate fronts with basic units ranging from Stalkers and Zealots to the micro intensive High Templar and a powerful fleet of Protoss Carriers. Earning stars is once again similar to the previous mission with 75 kills granting you one star while 150 and 225 kills earns you two and three stars respectively.
Wrap up
With the StarCraft II multiplayer Beta well along its way with the ninth patch, it is often easy to forget the lore and single player aspect of StarCraft II Wings of Liberty. Although the multiplayer community may often be the most voiceterous, there are some players who simply want to play through the campaign and delve depper into the StarCraft universe. The single player campaign of Wings of Liberty promises to do just that with a variety of missions across a number of backdrops. From the pre-rendered cinematics to the interactions with characters in between each mission on the Hyperion, there seems to be enough in StarCraft II to keep an avid gamer occupied long before they play their first game on the new Battle.Net. Blizzard has a reputation for delivering high quality games that are fun to play and Wings of Liberty looks to continue that tradition.



April 19th Press Event Header



Dustin Browder: To continue to add features down the road so i don't think that's going to make it for launch, um but it is something we definately want to do down the road in the worst way. Yeah, I totally feel you.

What ideas do you have for the queen tension right now, because I heard you mention that earlier?

Dustin Browder: Um, we're going to wait and see on that one, like I don't have anything right now in the bucket that's necessary. I have seen queens win and lose games with transfusion, one way or the other. It's not as often as it could be, but that might be balanced on Transfusion or it might not be. Um, I've certainly seen creep tumors be used very effectively. I think there's probably more to be done out there. I'm kind of waiting to see what the community does and I've seen some high level players do some kind of silly things with creep spreading that's kind of fun. Right, so um were going to wait and see how that goes.

Question:  How many minutes of cinematics are we going to see?

Dustin Browder: It's a lot, um, I'm sorry. I don't know the exact numbers. I think it's over 20 total, but I don't know the exact minute count. It's pretty big. Yeah, that's including pre-renders and in-game, but it's pretty huge.

Question: Will the Galaxy editor let us to make our own challenge maps?

Dustin Browder:
Yes. They won't show up in the challenge UI, but you can play them through a custom game but you can make them easily.

Question: What about custom achievements?

Dustin Browder: No, you're not going to be able to add custom achievements of your own, right? We may, if there's certain mods that become super popular, we may sort of roll them into the matchmaker and add achievements to them. But the achievements are all just from us.

Question: Will the UED factor at all into the single-player campaign?

Dustin Browder: The UED are not a big factor in the Wings of Liberty story-line, no.

Question: So its obvious that you're going to try and port DotA into Starcraft, right? Well, is it going to be the same kind of hero setup? Well its, you're not going to do that in the game, but you're going to have it for the Map Editor? It's it going to be like the six item setup?

Dustin Browder: Our bag system is much more robust. We have a concept of inventory and we have a concept of bags, what you can stick in your bags and bags within bags. There's all kinds of crazy stuff you can do. So we're planning on a much more robust inventory system. It's not had a lot of testing yet, but we'll do some of that testing within the next couple of weeks to see what exactly the community ends up playing and that's really up to the community. We're going to try and provide something at launch, this sort of a seed map. This is sort of using all of the triggers that we have and all the stuff we have that's kind of more or less like an Aeon of Strife or DotA type map, right? But we don't expect that map to last long in terms of popularity. We expect people to play that for a couple of days and we expect more popular maps to come out as the community makes them.

Question: Will there be any mini-campaigns besides Zeratul?

Dustin Browder: Nope.

Question: Is there any chance that you'll support custom ladders for custom maps?

Dustin Browder: Yes. It probably won't happen right away, but it's something we have definitely talked about and definitely want to do. There's some chance, but I don't have a TDA for you as to when that might occur.

Earlier in the beta, you said you were still open to add units or remove units. Is that still on the table or are you guys pretty comfortable?

Dustin Browder:
We're not planning on doing it, but we would have the courage to do it, should the need arise, alright? So at this point, like I said, there's no plans in the pipeline that I'm aware of. We are feeling comfortable, but if we are proven wrong then we'll absolutely do it.

So you have a really nice ladder setup right now and I'm curious, especially how much you guys have been catering to the E-sports scene, how you are going to be having plans to arrange your own tournaments and how you are going to deal with a lot of these tournaments like ZOTAC cup and ESL and sporting community-run tournaments?

Robert Simpson:
That's something that's going to be covered in the near future and we'll be sure to let you know.

Dustin Browder: We've run tournaments in the past, like at Blizzcon. I'm sure we'll continue to do that down the road. We obviously want to keep pushing E-Sports scene forward. It's very important to us. We think it's a great way to experience not only our game, but every video game to a certain level, not all of them but many are fun to watch that way. So we're going to continue to support them the best we can.

With the branching paths you can take in the single-player campaign, like choosing to grab the artifact, how will it affect the canon?
Dustin Browder: Right now, I think we're assuming that Raynor finishes the game and that it ends in one way, but we simply won't let those choices be a part of the canon down the road.
Follow-up: Back during like WC1 WC2 you pick the Alliance or the Horde game, so it'd be like that?
Dustin Browder: No, it will be like, we don't talk about the colonists from Haven anymore, because it would have been your choice as to how they lived or died or whatever happened to them, right? 
Follow-up: So they wouldn't factor it in.
Dustin Browder: We do not factor it in.  That content is yours right?  We have given to you, the player.  You decided what happened there, we didn't decide, and it's hands-off for us down the road.

Robert Simpson: Alright, Chris Sigity is here as well to answer your questions.
Chris Sigity: I'll answer them all, you guys are going to ask the hardcore ones I know.
Question: I have a question about the game revealed mechanic, like after you lose your main nexus or whatever building, because I feels like that destroys the complete point of 2v2 as it doesn't allow your teammate to hide and rebuild.
Dustin Browder: [Jumping up and down holding his hand up] Oo, oo, oo! Ok!  We're fixing it.  Whether you like the fix or not I don't know but I'll pitch it to you and then you can shout at me.  Basically we do think it's important to have a reveal mechanic at some level to prevent you from hiding a pylon in god-forsake of the map and then just walk away from the computer and laugh at you right?  We feel that's not cool.  But, at the same time we feel that the loss of a single town hall shouldn't automatically do all the crazy things it's doing right now so right now what it's doing so right now what it's doing is not only is it revealing you immediately but also reveals the new location of the new one you put into play, which totally, that's the worst thing ever.  So that we're getting rid of. So what we're doing now is when you lose your last central building, your last town hall, then we will say so-and-so has lost their last Command Center/Nexus/Hatchery and will soon be revealed and you have a 30 second countdown timer to get your stuff together before we reveal you.  After 30 seconds, you are revealed... too bad.  If you build a new town hall within the next 30 seconds, we don't show anybody where that town hall occured and your back in the game.   Now, the other important detail that I just screwed up here is, only the person who lost his last town hall, knows that he last his last town hall.  You just sit there and wonder "Huh, I wonder if that was his last one?" 30 seconds later "Oh! It was his last one." and you can go around and destroy all his stuff and you can go around and destroy all his stuff. But the guy who did lose his last town hall, he gets the notification "Dude, get it together. Thirty seconds. There's the timer. Get it together, Oh my god!" right?  So, you got thirty seconds basically of buy-in to get yourself back together before we start revealing you. And we can adjust that time.  If we feel that thirty seconds is too short, we can go to sixty seconds or whatever.  We do feel any revealer message is fundamental, it's just some of the details are kinda shotty so we should be patching that in really soon.
Follow-up: Would it be possible to turn that off for tournaments?  Because I was recently watching a tournament game from China where a player lost his nexus but had Dark Templar tech hidden.  And his opponent didn't have any detection and what happens is all his buildings got revealed and he just went to that weird location on the map and killed all his buildings off before anything happened.
Dustin Browder:  We probably will not have launch support for different rules for tournaments one way or another, but it's something we can look at down the road.
Question: Mr. Browder you were talking about the thirty second timer.  After thirty seconds is up, will the command center or Nexus or whatever.. will the new one still be revealed?
Dustin Browder: Still Hidden, the minute you put it down we just "No more information! Who knows where that was built.
Follow-up: Even after the thirty second timer?
Dustin Browder: Yes
Question: Are there plans to reconcile the different between fast and faster replays and stuff for the data collection and monitors.
Dustin Browder: I'm sorry, I think I understand the question.
Follow-up: When you start up a replay and it defaults to fast and all that time duration and APM all measured by not faster which is the game speed we actually play it at.
Dustin Browder: [Exchange knowing look with Chris Sigaty] We'll see what we can do.
Question: Is there any plans to bring some of the older games (StarCraft, WarCraft III) over to the new battle.net?
Chris Sigaty: Yes, we've got some grand plans, but honestly it's just a lot of battle.net related work that we still want to do.  Features, in fact, for Star2 may or may not have heard that our first patch is a biggie.  Tournament Support we're planning is about 3 1/2 to 4 months out after we launch.   So, there's a huge laundry list of stuff we want to do with the service and that's one of the things on that list.

Question: What about Diablo 1 and WarCraft II, are they going to be forsaken or are they on that list also?
Chris Sigaty: I think both of those are on that list... much lower.  Diablo 1 may not be.  I think they are much lower on that same list.
Question: About the marketplace, I remember reading about it once that you will be able sell maps or mods on it.  Do you have any general timeline on that?
Chris Sigaty: There's a lot of details to work out about marketplace, it's at least a year out.  That's part of the goal there.  We are launching with an editor, we will be able to publish to battle.net to share your works with other players.  We're really excited about that.  Some of the stuff that the dev team has already done is crazy.  Lost Viking, you guys didn't get to play it today, it's really fun.   I know you guys are like "Damn it! Why?" We're already shown you so much in single, comon! But it's fun and exciting.  I can't even imagine. Just as a bit of insight, we have four people called data specialist.  This position did not even exist back during WarCraft II and StarCraft before.   And all that they do is handle all of this data because it's so data driven.  So the power in the users hands is obvious just by seeing at our dev team. But any rate, going back to Marketplace itself.  Players can share this stuff now.  At some point the vision with Marketplace is to allow players to profit to some extent off of it, there's no details about that right now.  The vision is, if you could make some money "Wow!  Wouldn't it be cool" because you actually could hire an artist to do something really zany and really cool and different.  But honestly, there are so many details to work out there.  There is not much more I can say about that. 

Question: Are there going to be any charts or graphs viewable in replays? Any enhancement tools added to the replays in the future?

Dustin Browder: Not in the near future. That's not a system we're adding a bunch to at this point. We'll definitely be evaluating and go forward if we hear somethings might be fun for a wide variety of players. There's always an endless list of things that could fill up that box right to the point where it would almost be unusable, but if we do hear something that's really useful, we definitely are going to be adding it down the road in patches.

Question: First question is, right now, on Battle.net you can look up someone's match history. So if you're playing in a tournament, then can someone just look up the build orders that you've been using as opposed to getting a hold of replays? Second question is, if people name themselves, Boxer.1, Boxer.2, they all look the same in the game. Could you verify the purpose of identifiers?

Chris Sigaty: I think the "finding a friend", as far as what the intention is at launch as far as getting match history, yes you can get in the system and find somebody there. We are embracing that people can learn about what you do and that sort of thing. That's what every sport is about; you go watch a tape about every football team out there, and they just watch over and over about how the quarterback works and the defensive line tries to study that over and over so they can counter him the right way. Same thing: tennis, soccer, all the way across the board. We look at it the same way. We aren't trying to hide that. We don't necessarily make it easy, but some of our plans for the tournament patch are we're going to make it easy to find who the best of the best are. We don't have all the details to reveal right now, but ultimately there will be a sort a of professional level that you can get the best of the best that are going to be out there. People can watch it. The same way they ultimately can anyway, because they play these games and they watch what build orders they're doing. Ultimately if a player wants to practice and not reveal that stuff, then they would need to get a different account or something and play not as Slayer.Boxer or whatever. Ultimately, they show their hands often anyway as they play in the tournaments. The second part of the question was around the identifier. The identifier is definitely an area that we're exploring. We're still even talking about changing it further and look for further updates in the patches. We still haven't landed on a final answer to that one.

Dustin Browder: The basic goal behind it was to let you have any name you wanted to have instead of trying to guess what names were not yet taken. If we're talking about a service that's going to grow over many, many years, that's going to include Diablo, that's going to include a host of other places, we need to have some way so that if you want to be DarthVader you can be DarthVader.

Chris Sigaty: I want to be DarthVader.

Dustin Browder: Okay, you can be DarthVader. But there has to be some way to distinguish you. But our solution right now has not quite been working out for us in a number of ways.

Question: I've actually ran into a person with the same name as me, it was very confusing when we were talking to each other. Just to clarify, it's common first then unique second, correct?

Dustin Browder: Well, it's a combination of the two together in your name. It's a little confusing.

Question: My question is about the Galaxy Editor. I was a big StarCraft 1 mapper. How could you go about having players test your map? Because when I work I don't want to have it up on Battle.net right away. I want to be able to give it out to a couple people and say, "Hey, can you help me test?"

Chris Sigaty: We have a solution for that. First of all, I don't know if you've heard this, but cool news it that the Editor is coming out probably tomorrow or Wednesday with this next patch. It will not have publishing functionality in it. You need that to really start revealing to the world your efforts. But the idea is that you can publish privately. When you publish privately, anybody that's on your friends list can see it. So you can basically make a community of friends that share amongst each other and test each others' maps out. And then eventually you can publish public, and when you do that, then the world can start playing your maps. So that's how we envision you sharing and testing, and then eventually sharing it with the world.

Question: You said the next patch will have the map editor?

Chris Sigaty: Yes. The patch should be... Well, I can't tell you for sure, we're testing it right now. It's probably best-case scenario, tomorrow, and worst-case scenario, end of the week. Along with that too, for anybody that cares, the Mac version is probably three or four days right behind that.

Question: Just a follow-up on the private versus public. Is it friends list entirety or real-ID only?

Chris Sigaty: It's definitely real-ID only. Because friends are not necessarily mutual.

Question:nbsp;Is there any discussion about publishing Blizzard-made maps to the community and perhaps providing DLC's of any more maps Blizzard makes in the future? 
Dustin Browder: Well we would certainly want to put out some of these maps and make them available for the community as a kind of open source, so the community can use them to riff off of and to come up with their own cool versions as well. As we create these maps, as we've done in the past with WarCraft 3, we've created Extreme Candy Wars and we've created a bunch of custom maps that were kind of fun to play. We put them out into the community to play, not play, copy or change whatever they want and we certainty hope to continue to support those kinds of maps with that kind of dynamic.
Question: What's it like to work for one of the most innovative gaming companies? [Laughter]
Chris Sigaty: (sarcastic tone) I hate it. [More Laughter]

Chris Sigaty: No, it's amazing.
Dustin Browder: It really is.
Chris Sigaty: It's crazy. It's crazy, the series of events that have happened just going through this. I was asked earlier today by somebody, what it was like working on the original StarCraft and just even thinking back to that and back to now just thinking about how things have changed and having gone through it all. Its very to not see what's going on around you at the time, but looking back on it, its crazy. It's a total blessing. It's really great. I think all of us here, as far as what's happened with Blizzard and what's happened with the games here, we're always just sort of shocked about the stuff that happens, that we have high hopes, but a majority of the stuff that's happened here. The phenomenon in Korea with StarCraft, the World of Warcraft doing what it did, all this stuff. We're just making these games that are fun, that we think are fun for us and these crazy things happen so it's awesome.
Question: Two questions. One, can we talk about the content patch coming soon, because Friday is the NDA and I'd like to let people know its coming?

Chris Sigaty: Yea.
Follow-up: Ok, so second question. What are the changes that you guys plan on making to Battle.net for clans, because right now I don't see any. There's no support for clans and no clan chat rooms. A lot of people want to be able to get together in a more formal meeting place.
Chris Sigaty: So there's a couple of things. One of the biggest features that I'd like to see get in as soon as possible that won't be in there for launch is Groups. Groups is a concept of creating an entity like a map-making community so they can chat with each other and hang out. I don't have a date on that yet. It's past the tournament patch but its definitely one of the earlier features we'd like to see. Whether it happens in the patch or it happens in Expansion One, I don't know yet. There's a huge list of stuff on the Battle.net side that we really want to have happen but we don't have dates on it. Beyond that you're talking about actual constructions different than a group-like clan, I don't even have dates on that stuff, for now. I don't think that's in right now for the tournament patch.
Dustin Browder: So Groups we're viewing sort of as a social experience like if you want to get together with your friends or if you want to talk about anything. It's just sort of a group of friends or a casual group, just like Chris said. If its a mod-making group wanting to get together and discuss these things. It could be a hardcore Zerg strategy group. Whatever kind of groups you want to create. For clans, we're thinking more of a competitive construct. Something you would get together and compete with people in other clans. You would probably not have all of your friends, especially if they sucked, in your clan, but you could have anybody in your group and that would be fine. But those are all down the road.
Question: I have two questions. One, is there any reason why the F keys aren't in the game anymore? Like the screen hotkeys or Shift+F2?

Chris Sigaty: They are there. They're now F4, F5, F6, F7, F8.
Follow-up: Are they going to be in the next patch? That would fix my whole life. I would be able to deal with things better.
Dustin Browder: Well with F1 through F4, we used those for the hero hotkeys, because of all of the support that we're still trying to give to hero-type gameplay and we occasionally use them in campaign. I suppose they're not as relevant there. We're also reserving tilde for voice chat, which means we will want to use F1 for the middle PM key. So we had to move those up one level, to those middle function keys. I don't know if it's in the next patch or not. It will be in the final for sure.

Follow-up: The second one was that there's been some concerns about the high ground mechanic, that units take full damage from the high ground and people were able to use that defensively in the original StarCraft. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Dustin Browder: We think what we have is clear and we like that its not some random damage like it was in the original StarCraft so we're comfortable with it right now. We're willing to change it if were sort of shown that creates a very clear relationship with who has the advantage on the high ground and when that advantage is gone. 
Question: I just wanted to ask about the groups. Is it going to be similar to the party function or will it be like a channel, like Battle.net 1?

Chris Sigaty: This is the problem with talking about a feature that's not fully designed. You have a lot of stuff to work out with it still.
Follow-up: Because that are no chat rooms like in Battle.net 1.
Chris Sigaty: I mean, the basic concept is though that these groups, whether they be user-created or existing, everybody can communicate with each other and use it as a social resource.
Dustin Browder: Are they public groups? Are they private groups? We're not going to answer those questions yet.
Question: Can you tell us about the additional games?

Chris Sigaty: That's just a misnomer. I mean, they are full-on expansions at this point. As far as story goes they are chapters really in a three part story. We've gotten a lot of feedback on that and hopefully you guys see that people are concerned about the amount of content we're releasing. This is, by-far, the most amount of content we've released in any RTS. The others will be of similar size and scope and the sum total of what players are getting across the games is definitely there. There's an expansion that coincides with that as well, which will address multiplayer and other things as well.
Question: When future expansions come out, will expect to see new units or maybe units that have been taken out get put back into the game?
Dustin Browder: Yes.
Chris Sigaty: Yea, it's certainly possible. Anything can happen there. We'll definitely be weighing all of those choices very carefully. I think you've heard some of this theme today, but more is not always better. So, we want to carefully do that. The community will become familiar with what we have and a little bit more is good, but we can do things as crazy as move things to add things. But there's a lot of work going on and we're focused on getting this game out, ready, polished and, you know, at Blizzard level to get it out the door.
Question: Okay just, sorry, two questions. Sorry about this. People in ladder rankings like knowing where they stand over all in a ladder and it's nice to be ranked in your division...

Chris Sigaty: Not for hardcore guy! [Laughter]
Follow-up: Well it's like, a lot of people want to know, like, you could be top 5 in your division, but be top 500 in all of...
Dustin Browder: No. No lower than that. [More Laughter]

Dustin Browder:
 So here's our answer to that. We do plan on having for the tournament system have some stuff that allows you to compare only the top end players. Like if I'm number 50506 I do not need to know that I'm 50507. I don't need to know that! I don't want to know it and I don't need to know. For the top top-end players I would like to know. So we'll want to implement something that allows us to compare the top-end players only.

Follow-up: And then the second question is I'm not sure if you guys are aware of this but if you let's say you download a replay from let's say a game on the Korean server if you try to load that up on your computer. The characters are all messed up because there's no support for Korean language like in the U.S. Battle.net and so like you can't even tell what races they are. Like it's all broken characters. So I don't know if you guys plan on patching it for like maybe Asian font support or something like that?

Chris Sigaty: That's definitely something we're talking about. There's still some discretions that need to happen on that. It's a matter of font support within each of the different local clients but its certainly something we can solve.

Question: Ok in the originial StarCraft Brood War you said one of the originial problems that the hero units were just a beefed up Marine that if you lost them you'd lose the game and in WarCraft III you changed that. How is it gonna look in StarCraft II like will we actually use Jim Raynor going out in the field or will we just hide him so he doesn't die?

Dustin Browder: We don't use him nearly as often. We tend to use the hero characters on missions where it's just you and the heroes it's installation based gameplay.  We do have some mission for instance there's a mission later on where if your heroes get hit they go unconscious for a short period of time until they're revived which allows you to get back into the action if you lose all your heroes then you lost the mission but you have to lose all 4 of them at once to lose the mission.  But in general yeah we just use the heroes less. When we do use them we use them in missions where there's not 17 Battlecruisers that could suddenly roll up on them and wipe them out. 

Question:  Like the Zeratul mission that we were able to play today...
Dustin Browder: Right it's just him and just his guys and then later missions where Zeratul has a whole army you know he gets in his Voidseeker and he watches over the battle he doesn't jump in so he can get ganked.  
Chris Sigaty: He's careful that way.
Dustin Browder: He's Clever.
Question:  You just said "for all four of your heroes and you said that F1-F4 are for your heroes does that mean that there are a max of four heroes per map?
Dustin Browder: No there's no max. [ponderously] I wonder what happens to the hotkeys if you go over that...I'll have to look into that. [joking] I'm sorry we're gonna have to cut the shift hotkeys.
Chris Sigaty: [apologetically] Yeah you just heard it better.  Sorry it's cut. [laughter]
Robert Simpson: Any more questions we've got about 10 minutes left?
Question: [question unintelligable]
Chris Sigaty: We're still circling the wagons and still understanding what's going on there we don't have all the feedback yet we're looking at it right now. 
Question: Follow up is there any legal ownership of exhibitions like tournaments and stuff in the United States?  Or is pretty much people can do whatever they want?
Chris Sigaty: That's a legal question we just the dumb game makers... [laughter]
Question: I mean basically does Blizzard have any authority over tournament games at all?

Chris Sigaty: You know I can only speculate on this and this should go to legal but I will throw out there that ultimately that if someone uses Blizzard's IP and profits off of it somebody needs to contact Blizzard and ask them. 

Robert Simpson: I can tell you that for sure a license is required from Blizzard Entertainment to run literally any tournament using our IP. Any other questions?  This also includes beta tournaments so if you guys are running tournaments please email that email so that we can get your request and get you licensed.  

Question: Only ones you profit on though right?
Robert Simpson: Realistically any tournament should come to us so that we're aware it's happening that way we can tell people about your event. 
Question: Would you allow maps or games to communicate to outside servers for example two people play a game and then the match results are recorded automatically to some some server that's not part of Blizzard?
Chris Sigaty: I mean ultimately people are tracking anyway because it's just information somebody says "hey they won this one they lost this one" but as far as outputting data  that's a totally different story I think we would definitely want the question and want to know what the idea with it was and then go with it from there. 
Question: Uh so can you denote the entire patch 9 note changelog? [Dustin laughs]
Chris Sigaty: Um I can't off the top of my head because there's honestly so much stuff going on right now I'm neck deep in Campaign stuff but do you [adressing Browder] remember a couple of the balance things?
Dustin Browder: Two of the biggest ones will be we felt like we overnerfed a bit on the Marauder like the Marauder slow we wanted that not to be a rush against the Zealot and as a result it's kinda hard to get your slow on your Marauders back so we're gonna reduce the cost and build time on that so it will stillbe late enough that you can't roll a poor Protoss playter in the first two and a half minutes but it'll hopefully come online in enough time that you can actually deal with a Stalker swarm. Then we're also dealing with that Queen rush issue where the Zerg add a couple of Queens to their Zergling rush on small maps against Protoss and roll em that way That was a couple of them. 
Chris Sigaty: Was that in beta 9? I thought you were talking about beta 10.. [laughs]
Dustin Browder: I thought it was [throws arms up in exasperation] In some patch down the road! It has some of these fixes in it! Like 89 and 10 they're all the same to me I don't know yeah..[laughter]
Chris Sigaty: There's a couple of features that are coming online achievements come online in this patch decals and portraits close to how they will be at ship you know it's not final but you get a subset you win some games you get a new portrait now you can show that to other players decals also we're really just testing the system rather than demonstrating the final version.  There are a lot of little things in there. 
Question: Are there any new maps in there?
Dustin Browder: Yeah and we made a big fix well I don't know if it's a big fix but we made a fix a lot of our 2v2 maps and some of our 1v1 maps Terran were losing a lot of games especially if you were both Terran in 2v2 forget about it you're in a lot of trouble.  So we're going to a more fortress style for the 2v2s and we essentially culled out the Kulas Ravines and the Lost Temple and the Metalopolis from the 2v2 and put in more fortress style so we can see if that's a fix for our Terran/Terran alliances. 
Robert Simpson: Alright so our last question is there anybody that hasn't had anything answered?
Question: So what is your overall goal with the Marauder because at one point it was like "Ok I'm playing the Protoss time to build Marauders." And then it was "ok they nerfed it but i'm still gonna build Marauders just mass Marauders."  And it really feels like isn't it doesn't really feel like it has a place in a diverse build...
Dustin Browder: [taken aback] I disagree.  Keep going but I disagree.
Question: Ok well I mean it feels like ok you use Ghosts to kill the shields then you just run Marauders in.
Dustin Browder: Sure. Well what makes me like Marauders Roaches and Immortals is that they're unbelievably is dangerous and they can't attack air. So it promotes diversity.  I've got this unit on the ground that can't be countered on the ground it can be a little rough but it hits really hard but it's got no air weapons whatsoever. Which pushes people to the air which is something we want to promote like we want to promote that unit diversity.  So the Marauder is a otugh hard hitting ground unit that if it encounters a single Banshee is gonna be crying a river.   So um you know exactly where his numbers will end up I can't say for sure.  But he's definitely part of a diverse force.  Like if you build nothing but Marauders things can go horribly horribly wrong for you.  He doesn't even do that well against a lot of the tier 1's you get enough Zerglings running in there things can go horribly wrong and then you can use terrain to help block. 
Follow-up: I was just saying for against Protoss. 
Dustin Browder: Sure. ok Well I'm just saying he has a lot of roles in a lot of forces that keeps them diverse.  
Robert Simpson: Ok last last question. 
Question: This is a chain off of that you said "going to air" and im thinking of Protoss air and Protoss air trying to counter a Marauder is...You've got your Phoenix which isn't the best then you've got the Void Ray which you've got three Marines and...
Dustin Browder: This is the source of our last change in the last couple of days where everybody thought we nerfed the Void Ray and we thought we buffed it.  By giving it more damage against Light fundamentally across the board and keeping it's damage at tier 3 so we'll keep looking at the Void Ray. But that's a seperate issue right? As long as the Marauder is out there the Void Ray could be good. So you guys are looking at the balance as it is which is totally fair end you should do that while we look at the balance as what it could be.  So if the Void Ray becomes a more prominent more useful tool then that makes that matchup a lot more interesting.  
Question: So you're saying the Void Ray should counter the Marauder it's just not doing it's job? 
Dustin Browder: I'm saying the Void Ray is too easily countered right now. So the Void Ray does counter the Marauder there's just too many things out there right now that will ruin his day so you're kind of disincentivized from building it and that's sort of a problem we've had with the Void Ray from day one and we'll try to address it.
Robert Simpson: Ok so thank you very much for all your questions and thank you so much Dustin and Chris.  

IgroMir 2009 - Starcraft Legacy Coverage

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3

Source: http://www.sc2tv.ru/starcraft-2/sc2-articles/1119-my-igrali-v-starcraft-2-otchet-s-igromira-den.html

The following is an article provided by imba.Adolf[RA] at www.sc2tv.ru. He's spent large amounts of time testing and playing StarCraft II at IgroMir 2009. Thanks to Pure.Wasted again for the translation; the English community as a whole and StarCraft: Legacy appreciates your efforts.

The final gameplay article delves into his opinions on game play with each race.  He also provides the reports on his 3 tournament games and speculates changes that he feels should happen in the future beta based on his limited experience with the game so far.



Games from Day 3
Added Material

And here it is, the last day of Igromir, and our reluctant good-bye to the now beloved Beta version of SC2. It's time to crunch numbers, count chickens, and fix mistakes made in earlier articles (it turns out they exist). Today I got a chance to play a few interesting games against people-type people, to see in action the difference between attack and armor upgrades, to ask witnesses (among whom numbered members of clans 7x, SR, SCII). We'll also try to play at being Cassandra and guess what changes will be forthcoming once the Beta is available to the public.

For convenience purposes, we will break the information down by race.


We'll start with them for the reason that there's actually just about nothing new to say -- I didn't get to play a single game as Protoss. But I did beat the tar out of a few tourney-goers who extracted some interesting information from their own experiences. For example, the famous Moscow Zerg 3D.u3 (Fedor Potapov) played as Protoss in the tournament and was defeated by another Protoss. He says he was beaten down by Immortals, which destroy Colossi with ease, and I quote: "And they've still got half HP remaining!" PvP, which had until now gone expressly under the guise of Stalker and Colossi armies duking it out, might completely change its face.

My impression of PvP-to-come is stranger yet... I wouldn't be surprised to see plenty of Void Rays, or air battles in general. But this is just a guess, and here's some actual information: Warp Gates can be turned back into Gateways, although this takes some time. This trick is unimaginably useful -- Warp Gates are needed only for teleportation, and in all other scenarios Gateways are preferable. Already people are talking about the options opened up by Disurptors (formerly, Nullifiers), which do a great job of taking down the Zerg by preventing his reinforcements from getting into an expansion-raid-in-progress.

Unfortunately that's it for interesting Protoss tidbits -- maybe because their units haven't changed significantly since the original game, and people tend to play them more predictably. A few players at the tourney tried to actively put to use Warp Prisms, and this even netted them some victories.


I'll start by fixing up errors and inadvertant falsehoods told after the second Igromir. Overlords really can drop creep anywhere you want, but only after the Lair upgrade. So any sort of attacks predicated on their ability to plop down creep in the early stages of the game won't be happening. But later this really does turn into a neat trick, as it allows you to throw down Sunkens just as you're taking your third expo, for example -- like any Toss has been able to do since the beginning of time. Also opened are a variety of possibilities for late harassment -- for example, building in the dark corners of your opponents' territory, or even completely locking him inside (since you can now pick up your Sunkens and walk over to wherever you please).

More relevant to these concerns is the Queen's Creep Tumor. She's the one that'll let you throw down some creep near the entrance and place those Sunkens. It's simple; place one of these "growths" near the outskirts of your creep (like the Injection, only 25 mana) and soon enough the creep will spread to your desired destination. In general, it's pretty important to connect your main Hatch to the one at the Expo. Why? Because the Queen runs pretty quickly across creep... and very slowly on open ground. Her attack on the ground, by the way, is a dual attack, 2 by 4 damage. This means that armor will counter her pretty well. But in the air it's a clean 9. As far as her own armor goes, she's pretty well off, so harassing units have a tough time dealing with her.

I took some time to look over the armor of Zerg units and came to a disconcerting discovery -- the Zerg have practically nothing to deal with Hellions until Lair. Zerglings, Banelings, Hydras -- all have Light armor and die in droves to standard Hellions. That's why, IMHO, mass Hellions will be, for the moment, the optimal TvZ build -- and don't forget you can even upgrade them at the Tech Lab for +10 damage to Light. That's double damage... and all splash! These guys can be dropped to harass while you're already switching to Vikings to pre-emptively counter Mutas (because they will, apparently, see some use versus Terrans).

Roaches are pretty tough guys with 160 HP, to be aimed at anything sporting the Light armor tag. I expect they'll be countered by Marauders and Stalkers. At the Lair the regeneration is regular and at the Hive you can upgrade it. They start to regen like mad, and to put it simply, a Marine would never be able to kill one. It regenerates too quickly. If even this is too little for you, Burrow the bugger, and he'll regenerate about twice as fast. In ZvZ Roaches eat everything except Mutas for breakfast, and even then only because they can't hit air. And, I would venture a guess, Ultralisks... but this is not a fact. In any case, with their bonus against Light armored units, Hydras, Lings, and Banelings stand practically no chance. Same as Marines and Zealots. The micro at this stage basically comes down to picking out those Roaches that are being focus fired, and either Burrowing them or retreating them outright.

I got a better look at Infestors. It turns out he can't quite move around while burrowed until the Zerg Burrow ability is researched for all. It seems that this upgrade can now only be researched at the central Hatch (though I may be wrong). The Infestor really does start with all his spells, but moves around above-ground VERY slowly, and for this reason the speed upgrade is a must. He can cast his voodoo from underground no problem, which instantly makes him a lot more attractive. Apart from the aforementioned pack of 4 Marine-Zombies (very slow, but otherwise perfectly statistically analogous to their Terran Marine counterparts) and mind control, he's got one more SUPER useful skill. After being targeted, the enemy unit's movement speed is slowed, and after about 5 seconds, stands in place stupidly, losing the ability to move. But be warned: if you're not careful, you can get your own units caught in the cast, as it's AoE! He stands for about 10 seconds. Oh, and the Infestor looks amazing... very Zerg-like.

The last curious fellow is the Lurker. Here I was figuring that a Lurker is just a Lurker, and, well, what's there to say? But it's not quite so simple this time around. You get him at Hive-level by upgrading your Hydralisk Den (the same way you might upgrade a Spire). He's morphed from a Hydra, of course, and runs pretty speedily. And it seems like everything's just about the same... except for one very interesting detail: he can be upgraded to increase range by THREE units! This turns the Lurker into just a monster machine that can (as long as I haven't screwed anything up) destroy FROM AFAR any of your opponents' belongings.


More and more new and interesting things keep coming up for these guys, and you'd think, didn't we cover everything?! Oh, no, we didn't! To start, I took some care in examining the Engineering Bay. This is now a pretty important building that houses a whole bunch of upgrades (apart from the infantry attack/armor ones). For example, an upgrade that increases the Bunkers' holding capacity! Yup... after this upgrade you can fit inside your Bunker 6 Marines or 3 Marauders or 3 Ghosts. Naturally, improving your Bunker's capabilities by half is going to come handy in many pinches, and figuring out just how tough a Terran defense is may be trickier than before. And this is still not everything, as while you're here you can also get an upgrade for Terran structures. Click and +2 to all building armor. The upgrade might as well be called "good luck, Zerglings, even denting a Bunker." But wait, there's more. One final upgrade in the Engineering Bay allows the Terran to increase the attack range of his Planetary Fortress, Missile Turret, and the Raven's Autoturret and defensive drone.

If we take into account that the Planetary Fortress is already the toughest, most powerful defensive structure in the game, so with upgrades to range, armor, and SCVs repairing 'round the clock... destroying it will be possibly only at LONG range, or from the air (I'm reminded of the Castle from Age of Empires 2). And even a pair of Bunkers will allow the Terran to hold back even some serious pressure from his enemies. There's also some bad news related to Stimpacks. Not only are they now researched in the completely out-of-the-way Merc Compound, their duration has been reduced to only 4-5 seconds. Yes, Stimmed Marauders showering anything and everything with their rockets is a sight to behold, but this is such a hassle to get to and lasts so little that I'm not sure that, in this version of Beta, this is a usable upgrade.

By the way, I figured out why the Ghost is so awesome -- and this is unbelievable -- he costs 200 gas! So hold on to any Ghosts you make and never let him go. And under no circumstances are you allowed to lose him after a Nuke or a successful economy harass! Speaking of the Nuke, the thing can be built MONSTROUSLY fast. Nearly as fast as a Hellion drop -- though that's not counting the wait for Cloaking research. But in a 2 on 2, when a Ghost can be covered by your teammate's army, the Nuke will be absolutely the first choice for breaking down any doors. Hell, probably even in 1v1s. The Ghost is considered a Psionic unit, though what exactly this entails I'm not quite sure. Maybe takes some extra damage... or dishes it out.

Marauders are pretty excellent, and I'm sure I've said this before. I've also told you that they slow down the units they hit, not including Massive ones. That would be the Thor, Colossus, and Ultralisk. They hit for 6, but twice, which comes out to 12. In general StarCraft 2 seems to have a lot of these dual attacks, which in the original was had only by Zealots, Gollies, and Scouts. Marauders deal extra damage to armored foes, which includes themselves. They're great for dealing with Stalkers and not quite so great against Zealots, Zerglings, Hydras, Banelings. Very handy with Medivacs, and not just because of the healing. You can pick up the near-death ones mid-battle and carry them away to safety, healing there.

Take heed! If you've dropped one of your Supplies to below ground and an enemy walks over it, you CANNOT raise it. So be careful, or some careless micro can easily cost you the whole match. It's basically the same thing as with a floating Barracks.

I spent some more time with the Raven. It turns out that apart from their fire-and-forget rockets (from the second BR, I believe) and Autoturrets (duration - 3 minutes) he can place a defensive drone. This thing floats in the air and shoots down any air units from pretty long range. This thing is great for fending off economy harassment from those pesky Banshees, and, probably, from Mutas, too. It also turns out that apart from MULEs and ComSat, the Terrans have the ability to throw down +8 Supply at a time. Whether it's permanent or temporary wasn't clear. What this means is you should never be afraid to make a wall of Supplies because you might lose one, since all it takes is a cast to get yourself back in the green. Another convenience is that building add-ons is now strictly a hands-off approach -- click a button and presto! The thing builds by itself.

Oh, and that range indicator for the Tank's attack? It's shared by the abilities of the Thor, High Templar, Infestor, and plenty of other units. Convenient but still a bit unfamiliar. Almost as if your hand is being held as you're crossing the street and someone's placing coats under your feet so your shoes don't get wet.

Thanks to all Blizzard staff for giving us this opportunity to play in the tournament without answering any of the trivia questions (albeit without a chance to go for the prize). In all, the support was very competent, everything was done strictly by schedule, and "longstanding customers" like ourselves were even given a chance to play longer. Today I played in the tourney three times, and I'll attempt to cover them all.

Terran vs. Protoss:

Map from second BR! I started walling, and specifically walling so that a Tech Lab would have no trouble being placed next to my Barracks. My SCV found the Toss, noticed his lack of gas and an obvious attempt at a second Gate. His Probe showed up fairly early and placed a Pylon at the entrance. A classic situation from the original game, and the intuitive solution turned out to be just as correct -- took a few workers off the minerals, took out the Pylon, and finished the Supply before the Zealot showed up. And this is now a lot more convenient -- just bring out a few SCVs and set them to autorepair, and they'll fix your wall for you as it comes under fire.

Back home I set up a Factory. After my first Refinery I made the second, made a Tech Lab at the Barracks. Started production of Hellions, Marauders, and a Starport. Came out with 2 Hellions and 3 Marauders. Not far from the entrance stood 5 Zealots. I got in pretty confident, thinking that the Toss would turn and run. When he didn't, I figured that his Zealots would start keeling over any second. Turns out, if I hadn't microed, he would have come out on top! I lost 2 Marauders and a Hellion before getting some sense, and with reinforcements beat him away. I built a CC on the expansion, placed the Hellions and Marauders in a Dropship, and threw right on top of his Nexus. The Probes died quickly; they tried to duke it out with the Marauders, but the Medivac was there to heal. At that time a pair of Stalkers showed up at my expand, but new arrival Marauders beat them back easily. The Stalkers continued to press and, leaving his main behind, the Protoss made a last grab for it... but Marauders are cheaper, build faster, and hit just as hard. By the way, they're 2 supply to a Tank's 3. At the very end a lone Colossus showed up and attempted to dismantle my defenses, but the Marauders killed him surprisingly quickly.

Terran vs. Protoss 2:

Duel map. Again Protoss, so I start to wall up immediately. It turns out, not for nothing. My Supply+Barrack+Tech wall was sound. A few Zealots showed up but saw they couldn't accomplish anything. I took to Hellions (and Marauders along the way) but decided to try without a drop this time, and got another Factory instead of the Starport. 1 Marauder, 3 Hellions go out to meet the Toss, and he has pure Zealots. In the battle the Marauder and one of the Hellions die, but he loses all Zealots. With the two Hellions I race around his base for some two minutes, killing Probes and Zealots. Just as doable as with Vultures. Killing workers is a lot harder, since there's not so much damage per attack, but there is splash. Plus I came up on another Hellion trick -- the longer you keep attacking, the more damage you end up dealing. If you pull them off an attack to retreat too quickly, you might end up doing nothing. Stalkers showed up and I had to run.

While I was racing around town, I took an expansion and started building Tanks, Hellions, and Marauders. With three Tanks and a whole bunch of everything else (and a few SCVs on autorepair for good measure) I started the attack which closed the game with a win.

Terran vs. Terran:

The same duel map as last game. I seal off the entrance easily. My plans, from before the match, are to attack him with early Marauders while floating overhead with an Engineering Bay for vision of the wall. OMG, the Engineering Bay won't fly! Now it's like an Academy. I lose it, my plan folds, and I have to fast-track onto a fast expo. I build Hellions, Marauders, Vikings, an Armory for Thors, everything I can get my hands on. Even Ghosts. The lack of a concrete plan hurts my game -- I feel like the army doesn't mesh and will buckle under serious pressure. I drop my first Nuke on him and completely demolish the wall. I control the map through superior vision, but build a Fortress on my expand just in case. Good thing I did.

The Terran's been building an army of his own and decided to move out. It turns out he's got both Tanks and Thors. In the coming conflict my multipurpose army suffers a defeat, but even he takes some serious casualties. He's coming up on the Planetary Fortress, which starts firing back at the invaders. He retreats. At this moment I toss my second Nuke at a nicely-placed row of his Supplies, destroying them en masse. I decide to try my hand at Banshees, but keep building Thors all the same.

In all, this match had me thinking. Are we really returning to the Tank lines of old? On the ground, even Thors aren't capable of breaking through a sound Tank defense. Once again it looks like everything will come down to careful selections of air/anti-air, etc. And there's no Wraiths this time -- Vikings are clearly not a replacement. But this is just contemplation. In-game, I take a third expo at the yellow minerals, siege with Banshees (which take fire from Thors, OMG, they attack air? But I thought they didn't do anything to Mutas... or did I just miss it?). Banshees take SCVs out pretty well, even working alone. Buildings, too. But you won't get too many, since they're pretty expensive. It only takes one moment of carelessness on the part of the opponent to let a Banshee slip through the defenses, and this can cause serious damage to his economy... and create a fun diversion, all at the same time.

After this came the frontal assault; Thor artillery attacks, by the way, aren't AoE, but single-target. This comes in handy for Tank-sniping, even from below. And buildings don't stand a chance. Wham-bam, Factory's gone, GG. This was it for the game, although he spent some time floating around the map with a Barracks. But not too long, since now, after you lose your last Command Center your opponent will see all your buildings, just like in WarCraft 3. Very convenient. Pretty much all niceties from WC3 have been carried over into SC2. I don't even mention this, since it's to be expected. For instance, throwing down a Sunken in the mineral line is easy enough, since they'll all disperse automatically; idle workers can be selected on a left-hand button; Tab moves through unit groups within a selection; 12 High Templar casting a Psi Storm will do so one by one; you can bind all structures to one key; and so on, and so forth.


A great thing was said today by the not-unknown [7x]Zeratul -- "He who looks for StarCraft I in StarCraft II will be disappointed. This is a different game." I agree, that's how it is. But the game is without a doubt solid... maybe even a masterpiece. Everything will come down on the balance. When the Beta will come out is unknown. The President at BlizzCon promised it would be this year, but Igromir staff say it's coming sometime in 2010. In any case, the Beta's going to be a lot of work. Beta-testers are the ones tasked with bringing SC2's balance to the state of SC1's (if this is even possible). I think that the following things will be (or ought to be) changed; IMHO, of course:


-Change Inject Larve. Fewer larvae, higher mana cost, etc.
-Changed armor type for at least one type of pre-Lair unit, so they're not all Light.
-Nydus taken up to Hive. Lurkers and Roach regeneration brought down to Lair.


-Higher cost for casting PC (alternately, it only works on a few Probes at a time, ie. 8). Remove ability to regenerate energy.
-For Disrutptors, make Hallucination come standard and Force Field require research.
-Dark Templar back down to Templar Archives.
-Only Phoenix allowed from Stargate to start. Void Ray now requires Twilight Council.


-MULEs are possible from Planetary Fortress instead of Orbital Command.
-Remove Marauders' slow.
-Require Starport as pre-req for Nukes.
-Stimpacks moved over to Barracks Tech Lab.

Additional Forum Comments:

In practice it turns out that Scan is used all the time, and there's no energy left over for MULEs. How are you supposed to NOT scan your opponent? Maybe he has hidden expos, or maybe he's build Dark Templar, Banshees, Ghosts, and you wasted it all on MULEs...
What this means is that cross-race match-ups end with the Terran receiving far less resources than the Protoss or the Zerg, thanks to Dark Pylon and Inject Larvae, respectively.

It seems that going into MULEs blind is just too dangerous. Of course each player will play differently, but we can discuss optimal BOs, right? No one will argue that you can 5-pool... and in some situations that's a must, but you can't play like that all the time. If the Protoss got Stalkers, scouting becomes pretty much impossible. He might be going mass Stalkers with Blink (Twilight +3 Gates), for this you need to defend with Tanks and Marauders or just mass Marauders. He might be going for a drop (Robotics + Warp Gates), you have to be ready for a Prism flying in overhead. He might get a fasto expo, or go DTs, or get Stalkers+Colossi, Zealots+Immortals, the list goes on. Usually you have only too many reasons to get the Fortress on an expansion. And surviving off a single ComSat is tough -- you can't scan or keep your energy saved for later. [Presumably due to casting MULEs all the time.]

I won't argue that maybe some compromise is called for -- getting MULEs in the beginning, for example, when a worker scout will suffice, then save up energy for Scans you know you'll need (based on worked out timing), but switching back to MULEs right after.
We'll see in Beta. =)

IgroMir 2009 - Starcraft Legacy Coverage

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3

Source: http://sc2tv.ru/starcraft-2/sc2-articles/1116-my-igrali-v-starcraft-2-otchet-s-igromira-den-2.html

The following is an article provided by imba.Adolf [RA] at www.sc2tv.ru. He's spent large amounts of time testing and playing StarCraft II at IgroMir 2009. While the google translation leaves one desiring better information, a member of our community stepped forward and provided the article in english. Thank you Pure.Wasted for the translation, the English community as a whole and StarCraft: Legacy appreciates your help providing this for us.

This article goes further than yesterday's article by providing information on his tournament games and providing the opinion of another attendee's, Slow Reaver, opinion on Build orders and strategies.




Games from Day 2
Added Material

And so ends the second day of Igronom, when we finally got to test our mettle against live opponents -- that is, each other. The first victories, defeats, and impressions: all of this awaits you inside, along with a few photos. We asked the Blizz. Reps for the system requirements, but apparently they're not allowed to answer that question. Based on what we've seen, SC2's sys. req's seem to be, approximately, (recommended) Core Duo, 2GHz, 2 Gig and 256 MB video card. But remember, this is just a guess! Now, impressions of game balance, that's a topic where we can speak with a lot more certainty!
Again I'll try to divide my impressions by race, for readers' convenience. But to begin, I'd like to note the friendliness of Blizzard staff (the Russian tech support guys from France). All planned activities went off exactly on schedule, and we didn't have to participate in anything to partake in the tourney (even twice -- but without the possibility of winning a prize on the second time).

Got to know all of their units personally, including the air. Mutastack is non-existent, but Mutas... [TN: Funny non-translateable joke goes here.] take care of workers pretty well with their splash, and remind me very much of Muta demonstrations from 2002 [?]. Taking out Marines is still doable, and although Hold only keeps them in a stack very briefly before they disperse, it's enough to hold off Terrans. The first BO I tried versus a Comp -- Mutas from one Hatch vs. Terran. To protect from an early attack you can set up Sunkens near the entrance. How? Elementary -- Ovie drops creeps wherever you like. Want to try a Sunken rush? Already dreaming of blocking a Nexus from going up vs. Toss, or hiding your buildings in random corners all over the map? All is do-able! The opportunities invented by this mechanic are simply amazing.
It's hard to get used to the fact that Overlords no longer detect cloaked units -- for that, you need to upgade them to Overseers. Overseers are pretty and brainy, capable of producing little puddles of goo that ooze around. If you click on an enemy unit, such as a Marine or Zealot, it turns into one, and can quickly file in the enemy's ranks to observe and report. I'll warn you now: this will be entertaining... but highly impractical. Blizzard keeps trying to throw in these inventive methods of surveilance into their games, and they keep failing. It's true that the unit is relatively free of charge, so it might have been handy to leave one around in key areas of the map... if Overlords weren't already so much better at standing around and doing nothing.
The Corruptor, oh my. I didn't get to see him in a firefight, so it's hard to judge, but he seems like an interesting enough fellow. It's him, and not the Mutalisk, that turns into the Broodlord using Hive Tech... and the Broodlord is the funniest unit in the game. It just floats in place, shooting down broodlings. Remember how you could throw worms around in Half-Life? It's the same principle, only now the ammo is infinite. Broodlings have 30 HP, a short life-span, and a small attack. But if there's many, the situation gets very hairy very quickly. For the most part, Zerg no longer need Hive for anti-air. There they'll find only heavy anti-ground.
The other impression of Zerg is that they're a very strong race, with a great deal of potential. If all of this potential is realized, the end will be nigh (unless the Zerg're fixed, of course). Playing them, on the one hand, is very simple: grow more Larvae, grow more units; but from the perspective of building a proper BO and taking into account the maximization of Larvae, and the timing, is sure to be complex. They're vulnerable to early rushes by Zealots -- most of the defeated Zerg in the tournament lost exactly to this. As for Inject Larvae? As things stand... let's put it this way: Hatcheries at expansions are built exclusively to gather resources. And so it goes.

Finally I managed to get all the way to Protoss air, and I'll be honest -- it's pretty darn good. The Void Ray is available right away, hits ground and air, can take a punch AND has decent range. An amazing instrument for laying seige. On a few of the maps you can attack the Refineries from out of retaliation's range (whilst floating over water, for instance). Phoenixes seem to be anti-air at first glance, but in reality have a wonderful tool for picking up ground targets... making them a serious anti-ground fighter. They don't simply pick the unit up, they disable it completely. A pack of Phoenixes will take down 6 Stalkers without taking a single casualty. Workers die equally fast at undefended expos. By the way, mana is expended to keep a target afloat, which means you're going to have to watch your energy as you get into engagements, and taking down tougher targets will empty your energy pool.
Carriers... are... Carriers. Their upgrade now speeds up construction of Interceptors, and little more. Really, even without it they're built fairly fast. For some reason they struck me as a little underwhelming and a tad less interesting than the original's counterparts, but they ARE good to go right out of the gate. Thirty seconds after construction on a pair completed, they were already tearing through the blockade my Protoss foe had set up outside my main. And of course, the Mothership, a monstrous and monstrously SLOW hunk of machinery. Slower than a Terran's Barracks! It's built from the Nexus, which is quite convenient as your Stargates are left for other tasks. It doesn't take much food, but the cost is hefty.
For a mere 25 mana it can teleport to any Protoss structure, and it seems it might work as a defensive measure. Here come in handy her other abilities: Black Hole, which is simply Stasis by another name, castable on either your opponent's saboteurs or your own workers, to keep them safe from a harass. It lasts about 25 seconds... but combined with the mana-recharge of a Dark Pylon, it's possible to keep units disabled for a veeeeerrry long time. Time-Bomb is a very neat looking effect that doesn't seem to be practically useful. But the Mothership does pack a punch with her own lasers. And last but not least, from her grandpappy the Arbiter, the Mothership gets to make everything around her invisible, no research required. The key question is whether a Mothership can port to a Warp Prism... otherwise, her intended battlefield applications are murky at best. Then again, having one lying around your base can't hurt.
Now I have to make a correction regarding High Templar. Their second ability does NOT allow one to save their own units from death. It can only be cast on enemy troops, making it a great counter to Thors, Colossi, Ultralisks and other guys that Storm won't deal with. At the moment the Protoss remain the most productive, in terms of winning Beta keys at the tournaments, race at Igromir. Zealots in early game, to Stalkers, Colossi, and GG, as early-game Zerg timing is thrown off too much and it's hard to know how to counter the rush. Former StarCraftians, take heed if you really want that Beta. Then again, waiting through the line-up at Igromir is an achievement worthy of praise. Just walking beside it is about a 2-minute's task, and at the line's speed it's something like 2 or 3 hours. But what won't we do for a chance to play SC2!
They say that Colossi and Warp Prisms are simply unstoppable: unload, WHOOSH, load; though I haven't tried it for myself. One guy mentioned that his brother saw someone destroy a pack and a half of Roaches using this method. I hope you're taking notes. Zerg's got no Scourge to patrol the friendly skies anymore.

Now I finally started to unravel their little secrets. First of all, I'd like to offer my sincerest apologies to the Hellions. I complained about their boring micro -- well, this turned out to be false. It just needed getting used to, as it's quite a bit... unfamiliar. You have to stop at precisely that distance, from your target, which it will be able to cover as the flames come out. That way, by the time the flames reach it, you've already retreated and are at it again. Lings and Zealots will fall back like nobody's business. But Lings come with their own set of difficulties -- when they're speedy, it's hard to maintain a mobility advantage... let alone all sorts of horrendous brush and other sight-blockers. Zerglings, leaping out of all sorts of nasty areas, will cleave through Hellions with frightening speed, so be warned.
Another characteristic which I judged unfairly -- the Ghost's Snipe ability. There's no cooldown and the cost is next to nil. A pair of snipers can, in the span of 4 seconds, turn a Zerg economy into a mass of all sorts of limbs and intestines. You just need to have the energy for it. Ghosts are the Terrans' future... unless they're 'fixed,' of course. This is a cheap caster with universal usefulness, which can single-handedly replace an armada of Tanks (via Nuke), force an entire Protoss army to displace (via EMP), and swiftly neuter a Zerg expansion (via Snipe). The Nuke is available VERY quickly, costs 100 by 100, and is HIGHLY effective. Take special care to note that since invisible units are now in tier 3, defenses against them are mostly lacking (Zerg need to make overseers, Terrans would rather spend their energy on MULEs, and so on), and this can cost a player very dearly. All it takes for Ghosts is a Tech Lab on top of a Barracks, and a Ghost Academy -- that's it! Just like the Banshee, really, which is an excellent anti-ground attacker.
A few words on MULEs -- these are the Terrans' achilles' heel. Time to change up expectations. The Terrans in SC2 have to expand much faster, maybe even faster than the other races. I understood why David Kim, in BR4, put down 2 Command Centers against his opponent. You see, the folks at Blizzard decided the Zerg should have Inject Larvae, the Protoss their Dark Pylon, and the Terrans -- MULEs. Consequently, the two alien races practically bathe in resources, but the Terrans have to ask themselves, "resources or ComSat?" I always chose ComSat and I think, in playing, you might have to do the same.
Although it might in some way be replaced by the Sensor-Tower, an extraordinary invention of the earthly pursuits. A word of advice: find on the map a location, any obscure high-ground location, by way of which passes the main road between your base and your opponent's. Even better is to place the towers in a circle around his base (dangerous against Zerg, as he'll eat it with Ovies and Mutas). Missile Turrets are expensive and, for this reason, not very effective, which means that as far as anti-air defense is concerned the Terrans are in pretty big trouble.
For the Battlecruiser you're going to need the Fusion Core -- the Terrans' most high tier structure. The problem is that your starship enters the world like a little babe, naked and defenseless. But all it takes is one upgrade at the Fusion Core [TN: blast, another untranslateable joke! This man clearly has too much fun at the expense of his international readership!] and you can immediately place on the ship any one of the three available upgrades: Defensive Matrix, Yamato, and Rockets. I've yet to try them. By the way, I had a go at Reapers. To make them truly effective you need to research TWO upgrades, and there's never enough resources and time for both, so the harsh choice will always be between D8 and Stimpacks. The bombs are effectful if not terribly effective. Throw them at a bunch of enemies and the bombs will be focus fired immediately and destroyed. Throw them at a bunch of workers -- they run way. Throw them at a building -- well, 8 bombs took a Spawning Pool down... to half. While the cooldown was still going (no energy cost for the bombs), the Reapers had to take off, as the Roaches showed up. They micro comfortably, but fight very poorly. They're super weak and blow up like pricked balloons. And you have to know when to build them, too, as plenty of maps don't take advantage of their cliff-hopping abilities at all. If between you and your enemy is some endless abyss, or there simply isn't any high-ground around the expo, the unit is pretty much useless.
Infantry versus Zerg. Again, honestly -- it's pretty effective, as long as the Zerg makes no Banelings. Banelings with upgrades punish infantry so hard it's scary. See, Inject Larvae really does spawn THAT MANY larva, and the Terran just doesn't have time to kill all of the Banelings as they roll on down to blow everyone up. Then again, without them, Zerglings, Roaches, and Hydras all together can't even put up a fight. Maybe Banelings will go down to more Marauders; I'm not sure. The problem lies elsewhere -- getting out the Medivacs for your infantry. This requires completely different techs. For Stimpacks (and JUST for Stimpacks!) you need a Merc Compound. For Shields -- a Tech Lab. For Medivacs -- a Factory, and then, a Starport. Anyone who tries this on only one expand has a death wish. It's a lot easier to start the game through mech, and if you're going to move into biomech, do that much later. Marauders are beasts, especially so because their attacks slow. Even the scouting Probe can't escape.
As for wall-building, it ought to be undertaken on a massive scale. This is absolutely not questionable. Most maps will allow a sound wall-in against Lings. A few will not, and this significantly impacts the flow of the game. Another important factor -- does the Planteray Fortress's attack range cover from your main to the entrance to your expand? [TN: not sure this is right...] This is a huge factor, because it will give you a lot more defensive options. In using Thors, bringing 5-6 SCVs into battle is absolutely essential. You can now set workers to auto-repair. Also, you can pre-emptively set this to workers at an expansion and they'll fix up any damaged units, buildings, etc, which is very convenient. [TN: is this a direct negation of WC3's worker priorities? It SOUNDS like he's pretty certain...] In whole, I've played the Terrans so far most of all, and they interest me the most of the 3 races... but they're not without their drawbacks.
One of them is the lack of any solid GtA. No one's turned up to replace our knight in shining armor, that's to say our Goliath. If you've got mass Factories and you run up against an air army, go ahead and write GG. Thors, Tanks, Hellions don't hit air. Marines aren't bad, but you need masses, and they need their upgrades. Plus, against Battlecruisers, Banshees, Carriers, Motherships, and plenty other clear and present dangers, they are completely useless. Reapers are expensive and ineffective, Marauders hit only the ground. Ghosts take a long time to produce and are ineffective as fighters. All that's left to hope is that you've got at least one Starport with a Reactor on top that'll pump you out a few sorely needed Vikings (for a Raven, you'd need a Tech Lab).
The second day we were allowed to play against live opponents. I played 6 games, and each time attempted different strats and builds. I'll attempt to write them out in as much detail as I can:

Terran vs. Zerg
Narrow ramp, yay! Started building a Barracks with a Supply and ordered an SCV to scout. Found the Zerg right away, he's rushing with an early Pool. Closed the exit, checked to make sure -- a fly wouldn't get through the cracks. The Zerglings gnawed on the Depot a bit and retreated. By now the Refinery was completed (I started teching right away), so I started the second right away. Then the Factory (on the second gas, not gathering right away with 3 SCVs), and went for Hellions while building a Starport. The first Hellion came out to harass, ran through a patch of brush, and this almost cost him his life. The Zerglings were lying in wait on the other side. I got him out and around, repaired him, and this time came out with 3 Hellions right away. Right then the Starport Reactor finished and I started simultaneously on 2 Vikings.
The Hellions chased the Lings back and found a Zerg expand defended by a Sunken. The Lings stood properly at the entrance so as to block passage into the main. Calling upon the spirit of UpMaGiC, I took my Hellions around the Sunken and packed them behind the expo mineral line. For the time being, this second expand was complely shut down. Attacking the blocked Hellions with Lings would have been even more foolish than if they'd been Vultures, because these guys are basically super-beefy Firebats. At this time two Vikings on rally were already flying above the Zerg base and with them I started Ovie-hunting. I killed two, sat down behind the minerals, wanted to kill some Drones -- but Hydras showed up and I had to turn and fly. By now I had my second expand and I started up the Armory.
I repaired the beat up Vikings, added another pair, and tried the trick again. I sat down behind the Minerals and started shooting up more Drones, which is something the Vikings do EXCEEDINGLY well. By this time, the Hellions at the second expand had already managed to burn down the Hatch while remaining out of range of all defenses, died to incoming Hydras, and barely witnessed the re-construction of another Hatch on top of the old one. The Vikings meanwhile were wreaking havoc. They hit for 14 damage with what seems like no cooldown. The incoming 5 Hydras, despite their range, were ground up into bloody pieces, as were the Zerglings. Only the Roaches seemed able to send my Vikings packing once more. My second expansion up and running, I just then got my first Thor. From the one Barracks came out Marauders, and from the Starport more Vikings. Started up the Ghost Academy and started up the Nuking upgrade [TN: I think he means he PURCHASED a Nuke].
I came out with the entire mass: 2 Thors, 3-4 Marauders, 5-6 Vikings, 2-3 Hellions, and a Ghost for good measure. I came up to the Zerg's Sunkens (about 3 or 4) and pointed the Nuke. I didn't even bother researching Cloak for the Ghost, because I planned to lob the Nuke right into the Zerg's face. The Nuke dropped, I came in and swept everything away nice and clean. Conclusion: good old classical build did not fail me! Vikings against the Zerg work wonders, getting past defenses does not require Tanks -- a Nuke will suffice. Hellions make for excellent harass, no worse than Vultures!

Terran vs. Zerg 2
The widest ramp imaginable. It's difficult to close off, if not impossible. I was very concerned about early Lings and for that reason started with 2 Barracks, in an attempt to get into Reapers after the pre-requisite 5-6 Marines. This was the BR3 map. Got into Reaper tech, simultaneously working on Factory and Hellions (and later a Starport). With this whole army came into battle. As between me and the Zerg there was a lot of empty space, the Reapers went mostly without any special treatment. Came up on the Zerg expand and found an army of Lings+Banelings+Roaches. I threw down all the Mines I could manage, but he picked each one off as it came out with no trouble. On an even-ground battle, the Reapers do nothing. I had to flee.
By now I got my first Medivac and started churning out infantry and expanding. The Zerg came around, attacked, and was successfully pushed back. I set down an Armory for Thors and got Stimpacks. Resources were running astronomically low. Another skirmish with the Zerg and I realize I'm economically suffocating. My infantry+Thors simply cannot stop Banelings... I need something else -- but what, I don't yet know. I guess that Tanks might help, and so plop out 3 and put up a hidden expand at a yellow mineral patch, in a lower corner of the map.
Now he comes at me with Muta! The only thing that can help now is Vikings or Turrets, but in the meantime I'm barely making by. But there's no real hope. No money, no critical mass army -- it builds and is summarily annihilated. I'm not being permitted to live at the yellow mineral expand, so I lift up to an island... I'll live there. I try to finish up some Factories, Barracks at an expo, and then the Zerg attacks. He's got Mutas in the air and just about everything else on the ground. The last Thor falls apart -- my first defeat at SC2 =). Right away it gets me to analyze, draw conclusions... I want to try something different.

Terran vs. Protoss
The same map with the same giant ramp. I'm starting to wall-up, then scowl and plop down a Bunker at the entrance instead. That'll be safer. Factory, Starport, drop three Hellions. Simultaneously getting a Tech Lab by the Factory. Racked up some good Probe kills, but the Hellions all die in the attempt, and the Medivac returns alone. Start an expansion, first tank, and Siege. At the same time I'm getting a Tech Lab on the Barracks and starting production of Marauders. I take the second expand comfortably under cover of Tanks, get an Armory, and start a second drop. This time 2 Marauders and a Tank. Marauders distract him at the main (he fights back with Stalkers, and I even kill one) while the Tank lands at his second.
A few minutes later, a mix of Thors, Tanks, Marauders and a pair of Medivacs come out looking for blood. Word of warning: look after your Medivacs. If you throw in 1-2, your Marauders will always be good as new. And if you take 5 SCVs along, too, so will your mech units. The Protoss already lost economically, so he loses the battle, too.

Terran vs. Terran
Played on the dueling map from BR2. Barracks+Supply at the entrance, early gas, for early tech. I closed down the entrance with a Tech Lab, which may be necessary if you're going for early Maraudres (a distinct possibility on many MUs). The Terran tried to place a Rax in my base, which I promptly burned down. The first marauders went on his base while I started a Factory. Marauders pushed his Marines into his main all the way onto the ramp, but past that ramp they couldn't go. Later I understood what I needed to do -- just build a nearby Engineering Bay, lift it up for sight, and destroy the Supplies with Marauders from below. Infantry can't do anything in this situation and Tanks come out much later. Thinking with my other brain, I left my Marauders sitting around the enemy base doing absolutely nothing.
Back home the Starport had finished up, so I started a second CC at an expansion. An add-on to the Factory, Armory, Ghost Academy. A productive Hellion drop into his base revealed Starports and plenty of infantry. Cloak, Nukes, I run my invisible Ghost past his expand right into his main. Pin-point the Nuke... and in one fell swoop his entire economy is kaput. Is the red dot really that difficult to spot? I gather my forces and confidently start the advance on his base. When I'm just about halfway across the map I notice he's got his own drop of infantry plowing through my base. Here I found another drawback of the Terrans, perfectly translated from the original game: they are SLOW. I was cursing the entire way back to my main, and by the time I got back I'd lost plenty of plenty. Luckily, he wasn't aiming too well.
Maybe the beta doesn't have these settings, but here, units kept to the speed of the slowest in the group. Who is that? The Thor, of course. I assume it will be possible to turn off later, just like in WC3, but at the moment it's very difficult to get somewhere in time to save anything. I can only imagine how the Zerg will punish Terrans with the mobility afforded by Nydus Worms. The only speedy counter the Terrans will have will be Vikings and Ravens. Worse comes to worst you can always use your Medivacs to ferry infantry. You can't pick them all up, of course, but it's better than the alternative. [Confusing passage about units loading into Medivacs.] If you lose a Medivac carrying a Thor, the Thor blows up, too. This makes sense, of course, but is very unfortunate... but, anyway. Thankfully this drop was too little too late and the opponent was soundly thrashed.

Zerg vs. Protoss
I decided to spice things up and played Random. I got Zerg. I remembered my earlier game against a Computer, where I went one Hatch to fast-Muta (though it was against Terran, not Protoss!). So that's what I did. My Zerglings ran freely around his base, attempting to kill off his workers as usual. This is now very awkward and unfamiliar -- everything is so smooth, nothing gets stuck on anything and doesn't slow down. Zealots chase down Lings, workers escape... buut the Lings escape, too. At this time a few Zealots make their way to my base and, spending my Larva a bit impractically, I lose a few workers. I make, in my main, an absolutely unnecessary second Hatch, and more Lings.
We continue to go back and forth for some time, but the Zealots eventually overpower my Zerglings, and the Toss's economy is more robust. Big fat lose. The Zerg needs a thought-out, worked-out build. You can't "just play" -- you have to know what to do, and when, and how. I think that against Protoss the standard expand will be necessary, and maybe a later Queen. That's not quite as critical here. But defending with Sunkens against Zealots, instead of with Zerglings, may be necessary... losing Lings hurts too much. You have to keep building your economy, after all. Take an expand, Sunken up with some Lings, and only then you can do whatever you like. Either the Roach tech or the Muta tech or just mass hydras. With one expand it's all very impractical, Inject Larvae or otherwise. But maybe I'm not entirely right. After all, Ovies provide an excellent opportunity to rush! Just stubbornly mass Lings, get an Overlord to plop down some Creep outside of the Toss's base, and start up a few Sunkens! Or start somewhere nearby on some pre-formed creep. And then with heavy Ling support, throttle the Protoss under the weight of encroaching Sunkens! Yep, StarCraft 2 turns everything on its head.

Protoss vs. Protoss
Decided to try an experimental strat. I walled-in my entrance with Zealost built one Stalker and gung-ho'ed all the way into two Stargates. The first unit to come out is the Void Ray which goes to harass the economy of the Toss who is at this moment attempting to break down my blockade. Meanwhile I'm making Phoenixes the Void Ray is massacaring his workers and my line of Lots is just about to go down... With a little micro I lose 5 Probes and a Gateway. Two Phoenixes help tremendously. One Phoenix is almost completely useless as he can only pick a unit up but two that's a force to be recknoed with. One lifts the other pummels. Later when the first runs out of mana the second starts to do the heavy lifting. Slowly but surely I beat him back while the Void Ray racked up a kill count of 28 just flying back-and-forth through his base killing Probes then the Assimilator then a Photon Cannon then a Stalker and so on and so forth.
Then the Toss came at my gate again and beating him back was difficult especially as he closed me off with Photon Cannons and started making Stalkers. Little by little I teched over to Carriers (even with one expand this is possible) beat back with Phoenixes a large Stalker attack and used them to crush his economy completely. Lift a Probe destroy the Probe. Rinse repeat. Carriers changed the course of the match and they're still just as tough.

Additional Impressions from Slow Reaver:
I played more than a few games and devised a few Toss builds: [TN: note this is all vs. Computer on first day.]
  1. The most effective -- 2 gate Zealot push. It's pretty simple -- 9 Pylon 11 Gateway Zealot Pylon Zealot Gate attack =) Tech in this build is pretty late (I had something like 8-10 Zealots when I started my gas) but it makes up for it by handily pressuring Zerg and Protoss (Terran walls unfortunately are not breached).
  2. Much better against Terran and decent against Protoss -- 9 Pylon 11 Gate Zealot Pylon Zealot Gas Cybernetics (150 Minerals now) Zealot Gate Stalkers. Zealots are plenty enough to deal with Marauders and Stalkers take care of Marines no problem.
A blurb on new features:
  1. Protoss Warp Gate -- a great addition in my eyes which makes normal Gates completely obsolete. Costs a measely 50/50 at a Cybernetics Core to upgrade and the Core won't be doing anything else useful in the early-game anyway.
  2. Idle Gate button -- if a Gate isn't doing anything or a Warp Gate's cooldown is up on the right hand side an icon appears alerting you to the quantity of idle Gates. Unfortunately I didn't notice if it did the same for other production buildings.
  3. Dark Pylon -- a pretty convenient thing. Recharging shields is pretty much useless as armies are highly mobile and rarely fight in the base (and in those cases everything tends to die very quickly -- either for one side or the other). But the Probe buff... well that's highly usable. As there's a lot of freed up control groups I set the DP to 5 and the expansion's DP to 7.
  4. Warp Prism or should I say Portable Base Where Your Opponent's Main Should Be (: -- despite the fact that the pylon-radius it provides is very small even four Warp Gates activated will make putting pressure on your opponent very easy.
  5. Dark Templar -- complete and total disappointment. They're pushed to the last tier (Twilight Obelisk which they require can only be built after Templar Archives and Twilight Council (pre-req for Archives)). As they appear VERY late they do VERY little... Marines by now have had their HP upgrade for a very long time and now take two hits to kill (not counting upgrades). Drones die much faster to 1-2 Colossi SCVs also take two hits to kill... in all I couldn't find anything to do with them.
  6. Colossus aka new Reaver -- takes a VERY long time to build but he's worth it... as he doesn't wait before attacking combining him with a Warp Prism makes him into a Weapon of Mass Destruction. If there's no anti-air to combat this threat then you might as well have no army at all. Two clicks (unload load) means one very powerful blast which hits at minimum two units for just about half of their HP (tested on Marauders Roaches and Lings). I once used a Colossus and Prism to take down a pack and a half of Zerg ground units.
Unfortunately I just didn't have the time to test out all units. Usually the game didn't get past Stalkers or max Warp Prisms.

IgroMir 2009 - Starcraft Legacy Coverage

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3

Source: http://sc2tv.ru/starcraft-2/sc2-articles/1114-my-igrali-v-starcraft-2-otchet-s-igromira-den-1..html

The following is an article provided by imba.Adolf [RA] at www.sc2tv.ru.   He's spent large amounts of time testing and playing StarCraft II at IgroMir 2009.   While the google translation leaves one desiring better information, a member stepped forward and provided the article in english.  Thank you Pure.Wasted for the translation, the English community as a whole and StarCraft: Legacy appreciates your help providing this for us.

For Day 1, he provides in depth information relating to his testing and impressions on each race's strengths, weaknesses and thoughts on how they interact against computer opponents.




Finally, it happened. A combined raid from reps.ru and sc2tv.ru at Blizzard's stand at Igromir went off without a hitch. By the way, we were all let in together, thanks to the efforts of MiG.Largo, so a VIP ticket wasn't necessary. Whoever pooled money and wants a refund -- send a PM; I can return it. This was the good news. Now the bad. First -- Blizz reps didn't allow us to film screens. "Just a little, panorama-style," they relented later. This didn't work for us, and, really, we didn't understand the rationale for being so secretive. It's not like we're going to steal the beta through film... But most importantly, attention! Yes, I played StarCraft 2! And now I can say with certainty that it turned out to be totally, absolutely, wholly...

Of course the ending of that sentence isn't coming, that's a tease. Conclusions we'll draw at the end, but for now -- concrete details, facts, and first-hand information!

Conditions under which the game was tested weren't exactly ideal (except, perhaps, that Blizzard reps were very friendly). Firstly, the computers were set to disgusting sensitivity. As most SCers play under low sensitivity (myself included), playing was very difficult, but in the end I persevered. The keyboard was also unsual -- but, again, I managed. No, the real problem was that there was no multiplayer, so we could play only against comps... in addition to the fact that the games were artificially limited to very annoying lengths, either 15 or 20 minutes. Taking my time with things proved difficult.

And this was unfortunate. We know all about all of the units, we've seen them, and now we wanted to try different BOs, test out the game speed, the macro, the micro -- all that is near and dear to our hearts from StarCraft. Well, good news -- the game speed is nicely tuned and not overwhelmingly fast, basically normal. When I got accustomed to the sensitivity, playing became a lot more intuitive -- selecting, ordering, clicking. Near the end of the two hour game-a-thon minerals moved almost faster than they could come in and troops moved fluidly (with a few exceptions, noted later).

From here, the conclusion that will elicit cheers from some and tears from others -- tricks and skills learned in the original will be a TREMENDOUS help. Former B/B+, in SC2, will most likely beat former D+/C-. Multitasking is in place, the ability to play fast is a must, micro is needed, [заказ никуда не делся, хоть и стал легче], perfecting a BO is important, and timing, memory, attention, the ability to improvize -- all will come in handy. You get used to the game surprisingly fast, your hands start to do whatever needs doing, and your head is already working on churning out available strategies, calculating resources, out-thinking your opponent, etc. As an example I'll recount one game, played today. Scouting over to the Toss with an SCV, I saw the Core, the Twilight [Citadel], ran around for a long while, saw a Dark Obelisk, gathered that DTs were coming went. Simultaneously, I arranged a drop at his expansion and started upgrading my own CC into an Orbital Command. My suspicions were confirmed -- the Toss couldn't put any pressure on me and died quickly when he attempted to stop my Marauder+Thor+Viking+Hellion assault.

Yep, SCVs have rally-mine. Yep, rally-mine is hugely convenient, and saves a ton of time. But Blizz came up with an artificial replacement -- Larvae Injection, MULEs, and Dark Pylon. If you don't want to lag behind in economy, you have to use them all the time (approximately once per 40 seconds). With the added amount of locales [TN: battlefields, expansions, etc?], it follows that you have to click more, and so a lot more time is spent clicking. When you've got three expansions as a Toss, you're already starting to kindly remember the good ol' days when all you had to do was order Probes around, instead of tediously clicking on Dark Pylons. But you can't not click -- your opponent is clicking away! But what are you going to do? It's too impactful on the economy to ignore.

Another key moment -- setting up Refineries. This another added area to manage that distracts with building, ordering of SCVs, re-counting them after a harss, sending them back to gas. Balancing gas gathering isn't so straight-forward anymore -- sometimes you get a build up of excess, but more often than not, it's MADLY lacking. Now you begin to understand why there's two -- everything costs heaps of gas, but retrieving it is a slow process.

As for general impressions of game balance -- each race has terribly interesting characteristics. Of course you can't find everything in two hours, let alone that the Comp, on Hard difficulty, is mostly a push-over and runs out of steam fairly quick. This wasn't a game against live opponents that awaited us in the upcoming days. And even so, there's already a lot to tell.



The race of contrasts. On the one hand, incredibly similar to the original game; on the other -- with profound, marked differences. I'll try to explain again, in better detail. On some maps (chosen for play randomly) you can wall-in with a Barracks and two Supplies. Soundly -- no Ling will get through. But the Comp's gotten smarter and doesn't get stuck in these areas. Walling-in seems to be something of an acquired skill, even if it appears to be easier in general. How one is supposed to wall-in wider entrances, which do crop up, remains a mystery; maybe you'd need a whole row of Supplies. By the way, breaking old habits is tough, like submerging a Depot instead of lifting a Barracks out of familiarity. But man is it convenient! Now, no matter how badly designed the layout of your base, you can solve all your problems by hiding Depots underground.

Well, you're walled-in, what are you going to do? Say, the classical tech route against Toss? It's not likely that the old strategies still hold up, and it's not for nothing the Battle Reports keep showing new ones. Yes, Hellions now replace Vultures in the early game, burning to a crisp Lings and Zealots; but it's an awkward and uncomfortable unit. It's not that it's difficult to control, it's that he just sits in place, somehow, while attacking -- either gets stuck [TN:?] or stops awkwardly. Even with the +10 attack upgrade they get against light units, this is a poor man's Vulture. You're forced to use them in drops, of course, but it's not the same... and as they don't have access to mines, they lose a lot of mid-game usefulness. Working miracles does not come standard for these guys -- if, even, at all possible.

Siege Tanks are, naturally, all pretty and nice... but confused. Mass tanks against Toss is useless; both the tried-and-true Zealot and the new Immortal handle this tech fine. So you don't see any Immortals... because you don't see any Tanks. Closed circuit. Besides, Terrans now have plenty more interesting and versatile ways of breaking down defenses than Tanks. Tanks are expensive, require a Techlab and upgrade -- why not send in a thundering and ever-so-slightly more expensive Thor instead? The interface shows a Siege Tank's attack radius. It's convenient, but it also makes you feel a bit like an idiot. Couldn't we leave the pros to their own trained eye, sizing things up? But let's not grumble. The upgrade to Siege Mode is now trained through hotkey E instead of S? Why? In general, most buildings and upgrades were left on their original bindings, except the Probe, now on E, and the Ovie, which is unfortunately STILL on O. Oh well, moving on.

For a long time now, ever since SC2's original vids on the Terrans, I've been terribly fond of the Viking. Today was my chance to give them a whirl. I tried an improv build vs. Zerg -- [перекрытие], Factory, Hellion for harass, 2 Starports and mass Vikings. When I had about 8, I flew over the Zerg, killed his Ovies, sat down, killed his Drones. This was absolutely delightful! After this came a pre-planned turn to mass infantry and mass Medivacs from Starports (by the way, neither Medivacs nor Vikings need a Techlab, and a Reactor allows two to build at the same time). One problem -- the Zerg, having decided to fight toe-to-toe, came knocking at my main. The thing is, Inject Larvae allows the Zerg to raise a huge army very quickly, and the Hydra massacres anything with wings (including my Vikings). Old strategies and timings did not avail me.

I'm not really sure that mech builds will be generally effective against Zerg, primarily because of the threat of early attacks of UNGODLY masses of hydras. Lings will at least burn to Hellions, but the Hydra is a more swift and deadly beast. But, I digress. I remembered that I was playing a brand new game and had nothing to feel bad about. The build simply needed perfecting. When I played Toss, I lead with Hellion drops, one Starport with Reactor, a few Vikings, Marauders and Thors for support -- a two-legged robot army =). This was more like it, but again, against a Comp. it's hard to tell what the results would really be like.

In practice I couldn't try my hand at Reapers -- I'll try to spend some time on them tomorrow, if I get a chance to play (word is, there's a lot more people coming). But I did get some impressions of the Ghost -- that's to say, the Bombs. Of the Nuclear variety. Easy to see why David Kim was throwing them around left and right -- it's easy as pie. Moreover, this is basically replaces Tanks, nullifying ANY defenses. All you have to do is order one in from the Ghost Academy -- they're priced reasonably. Teching to them isn't hard, and neither is hiding a Cloaked Ghost behind the mass of your main army. And if we take into account the Ghost's EMP, which comes equipped free of charge, even Storms don't seem quite so menacing. It's only the Snipe ability that raises doubts. Hard to imagine in what situations it might be found useful. And on that note, one of SC2's great improvements is that many of the most powerful abilities come without the need of upgrades -- the Thor's artillery, the Ghost's EMP, the Raven's Turret, and so on.

I didn't bother building Banshees or BCs, and mass infantry didn't get too much use. But I did spend some time with the Raven, the Sci Vessel's replacement. I didn't get to rockets -- ran out of time -- but the turret... this is really a very cheap and useful cast. For only 50 energy you get a pretty powerful and speedy turret. Yes, it disappears with time, but that takes a long while -- at least two minutes, if not longer. A whole bunch of Ravens is basically a self-sufficient force that can not only roast Drones and all manner of Zerg with rockets, but destroy the base with turrets, too. They're mobile and powerful, and this versatility makes them just as useful in TvT and TvP match-ups.

The Thors are the bread-and-butter of your ground forces. Finally, the Terrans can feel safe and sound on the ground =). By the way, the Thor is transported by a Medivac... but with a cool twist. The Thor is hooked up underneath, visibly, and flies along with the transport. Very reasonable and practical! Their artillery is very useful for taking down buildings. They do turn rather quickly, but in-game, this isn't annoying -- in fact, it's pretty nice. All in all, the Terran forces move around pretty well, react quickly, and put the 'Attack' command to great use -- which is welcome! Hellions are the unfortunate exception, and I hope someone will come up with something as far as they're concerned.



Probably the StarCraft 2 race most welcoming to newbies. Not a lot seems to have changed, and playing them might even be a little easier than before -- but this might be a false impression. The best early unit is the Stalker. It's fast (chases down Medivacs), mobile, and has good defense and offense. You can chse Marines and Zerglings around this way and that, racking up kills all the while. The Stalker attacks while harassing and retreating and the micro is smooth; he reacts well to commands and almost never gets stuck. And Blink opens up a whole world of new possibilities -- you can stupidly chase down any enemy, focus-firing specific units, and Blink out of harm's way the moment the ugly beast rears its head. There's no mana to burn, just a cooldown. There's difficulties too, of course. For instance, I was chasing down some enemy Reapers, jumped down from a cliff into his base, and there a whole mass of Marauders lay in wait. And there's no going back -- high-ground. You're gonna get tired of following around with an Observer very quickly, which means it's very convenient to use Stalkers with Colossi -- these giants have absolutely no problem overcoming geographical obstacles. And, thanks to their friends, your Stalkers can now make good their escape.

Generally, the Stalker+Colossus combination is very straight-forward and comfortable to use. Mass Zealots in the early game are good only against Marines or Zerglings, and die to both Hellions and speedy Hydras. Stalkers, in the early-game, destroy basically everything, and in later-game serve as excellent defenses against Mutas, Reapers, Hellion drops, and so on. When they get Blink, adequately countering them becomes pretty much impossible. They can always use Blink to get a high ground positioning advantage. And if you bring along for the ride a Disruptor (former Nullifier), which is dirt cheap and comes with Force-Field, you can beat back ANY early attacks, creating a wall-in secured by high-grounded Stalkers.

Where the Stalkers start to falter is frontal assaults against an enemy; there just isn't enough damage output. This role is taken up by the Colossi, replacing Reavers. Except now you don't have to purchase any Shuttles, as they are fairly mobile, being not terribly slow OR terribly expensive. In effect, the age-old Dragoon+Reaver combination seems to have gotten a second wind, and is pretty much the standard. And if your coffers are overflowing with minerals after the second expand, warping in a few extra Gates for Zealots and researching Charge can be the icing on the cake. They do a decent job at tanking in front of Colossi and Stalkers. By the by, don't make the mistake of sending your Colossi in alone -- they get torn up quickly, and do their best work behind a front line that can take some hits.

I didn't get a chance to try out the Protoss air and remain hopeful for tomorrow. Teching into DTs isn't very convenient (you have to build the out-of-the-way Dark Obelisk) or effective. Terrans get the Orbital Command anyway (who doesn't need MULEs?). Usually after a Cybernetics Core, you get a Robotics (faster Colossi) or Twilight (faster Blink or Charge, not very reasonable, IMHO [unclear if just Charge or both]). But if you happen to have the Twilight, not getting Templar Archives is a sin. High Templar aren't just here for pretty Storms anymore, now they can cast Fade on themselves or any other units. Faded units can't attack or take hits, but they can run. Saving Colossi this way is a must!

As for the Dark Pylon, well, it's a very useful building that you need to get as soon as possible. And it's more than a little imba, since it can improve Probes' gathering speed, works as a Shield Battery AND restores mana! A High Templar in the mineral lines can take out a Mega-Drop's worth of units. Most mana-related upgrades now typically increase not the max amount of mana, but his starting amount. Which, you agree, is a lot more useful. Finish the upgrade and your High Templars plop out ready to unleash hell at a moment's notice, and Ravens with a hull-full of rockets to unload on someone's head.

Archons will most likely see most of their use against Zerglings and Ultralisks. Given the loss of Mutastack, alternatives seem limited. [TN:?] There is, however, one difficulty in upgrading Gateways. Obviously it's very cool that your units appear IMMEDIATELY after you ask for them, WHERE you ask for them -- and then all you have to do is wait out the cooldown... but you don't get a rally for these Gates! You have to cast it in Pylon range every time, and this can become inconvenient. I think it makes more sense to upgrade only some Gateways for reinforcements in the heat of battle (if you grabbed a Warp Prism along), or for diversions. In any case, this is a tough question that calls for some thinking... I've yet to find the solution that works for me, as it's pretty hard to say good-bye to those conveniences that you've already gotten accustomed to.



Feels like not much has really changed for the Zerg since SC1. Maybe it's because the fundamentals of Zerg hotkeys, mobility, and Hatcheries, are largely the same as before. 5sh6sh7sh -- and presto! Masses of Hydras spew forth to whomever's doom. Of course, then it turns out that the order didn't quite go through as planned -- but more on that later. But there are changes. Very significant ones. Of course, you all remember the wonderful article Inject Larvae. Yes, it really is true -- this thing is a BEAST. Keep in mind, the original game worked on the principle that an early second Hatchery will yield more Larvae. Well, now the dynamic is completely different -- an early Pool means an early Queen, and THAT means more Larvae.

Put down the Pool before the Hatch and the moment it's finished IMMEDIATELY get to work on the Queen. She builds from the Hatch without taking up a Larva. With the press of a button -- in this case, W -- you select the Hatchery and watch as no less than FOUR extra Larvae pop out. The cost is a measely 25 mana. If you have a second Hatchery, take your Queen for a walk and rinse, repeat. Back and forth the whole game through. From two Hatcheries I easily beat a Hard Terran Comp. with nothing but Lings. If you prefer, you might mass Hydras instead. Or whatever strikes your fancy -- don't worry, you've got Larvae to spare! I wouldn't dare call this imba before facing down some human opponents, but safe to say that any Zerg fan is gonna get a kick out of this.

And, now, well... don't yawn, just don't forget to macro and micro. Lings dance around very nicely, if a little differently. With the Speed upgrade, they run like crazy, and gobble Marines for breakfast. Marauders, too. Hellions are a different matter. Another cool unit is the Baneling, but I had trouble getting any actual effectiveness out of them. The Queen can heal up attacking Sunkens and packs a punch herself. Along with hopping Zerglings, she can beat back a Zealot rush (especially if you remember that she just did two Injections, which means you've got 8 new Zerglings about to join the fray). It even seems like regular Larvae come back faster this time around.

What the Roaches are all about I can't tell you. They've been thrown into the Lair, and their ridiculous regeneration's been pushed up all the way to the Hive. What role they're intended to fulfill is uncertain, and in micro they're no different from Hydras. Hydras look gorgeous, absolutely destroy air, are useless without their Speed, and have ugly attack animations. It used to be a lot better. I can't say anything for sounds -- the comps didn't have them. Lurkers are in Hive now, and I didn't bother with them either. But I was very pleased with Infestors. For a pretty low mana cost you get 4 Infested Marines shooting guns. Being a fan of zombie films and all, I nearly drooled. If we consider that the Infestor can move around underground, then all it takes is one hidden in your opponent's base to successfully harass his economy for a long, long time. Let alone that this is a MAGNIFICENT counter to Thors and Colossi. Take control of either behemoth and fire away at the enemy's own forces. The best part is you don't need to research ANY of this stuff! Sure, you can upgrade the underground movement speed and something else, but the good stuff is all standard.

Air, as usual, I didn't check out, but with Ultralisks I just couldn't resist. These guys are unbelievable! Huge, 600 HP, upgrade for splash damage, awesome, Burrow-able, seemingly invincible... they destroy anything and everything in their path, like a bulldozer or hurricane. Any battle with them becomes 100 times more entertaining. I promise -- you're gonna love them!

Now, rally-points for Zerg Drones are set-up independently. That's gonna take some re-learning, and all day today I sat and fumed, thinking this was a bug. "Right-click rally for Drones doesn't work!" Turns out it's working as intended. Now you can order in Drones and reinforcements simultaneously, boosting your economy... just like the other races.

The Nydus Worm works without a hitch. Create the worm, place the exit, throw in whatever you like -- just like a drop. Then exit them wherever needed. You can build a network around the entire map, anywhere you like. Taking a Zerg expo is now an accomplishment to be proud of. [Или нюка. Решайте, что вам ближе =)] You won't ever have to worry about Overlords dropping armies from the air. Why bother? Just press your ear to the ground and listen for the sound of teeth grinding through the rock underfoot.



Some more critical comments I left off for the end. First of all, you're going to have to re-train yourself. Used to going through your Hatcheries 5sh6sh7sh? Tough luck. Every Hydra now needs to be called for individually, and this is going to look like "5shhh6shhh7shhh." On the one hand this is versatile (you can order 10 Hydras, one Ovie and one Drone), but on the other hand, not very convenient. In retrospect, you ought to put all your Hatches on a single hotkey.

Protoss and Terrans, don't look quite so happy -- you're getting the same treatment. You're gonna be jamming the same button as quickly as possible. Select 10 Gates and 10 times press Z. There may be a way to select from all simultaneously, ie. Shift+Z, but I haven't found it. From upgraded Gateways you won't get any sort of rally at all, because those units don't undertake epic journeys in order to reach their destinations. They just warp-to!

A lot of the micro seems to have been lost in translation. This is a serious problem, albeit possibly an intentional one. The only units I felt had micro to them were Zerglings and all Stalker-tech equivalents (Hydra, Stalker, Roach, Marauder). And micro-ing around individual Zerglings when you can just select 60-some at the same time... well, it's a nice touch, but something feels a bit out of place. Units come together in stacks more nicely and don't bump into each other quite so much. Only the Zealots get in each others' way. [?] Say good-bye to your favorite micro from Vultures, Reavers, Mutas, M&M -- there's no way around the loss. But maybe there will be plenty of exciting new micro from the new units -- a lot remains, after all, undiscovered.

It's quite difficult to see the minimap with peripheral vision... it seems less easy to read. When an expo has Sunkens, Roaches, Hydras, Lings, and Drones, telling anything apart via the minimap becomes tricky to say the least. But this is just lack of familiarity speaking. There's a few other hitches -- getting a Hellion drop ready, the first Medivac seems to come out when only 3 (out of a possible 4) can be prepared. The first game was usually a lot more certain with these kind of numbers... but this could just be the result of an unperfected BO.


I want to keep grumbling about this and that, but I won't, because it feels like on the whole there's obviously more good here than bad. And essentially, the picture you got of SC2 from the Battle Reports is completely accurate. No more, no less. The game looks amazing, the dynamics are great, the units and their mechanics are interesting, and to speak of balance now would be premature. Remember the first StarCraft's Beta? Who could have thought that from that horrible mess would emerge such a successful game? StarCraft 2 is still an infant and needs time to grow. It still lacks a lot of those finishing touches and beautiful details, but it'll take years to get to know so intimately. And anyway, those final touches come only with the involvement of our hands and minds. Hopefully, soon they will have a job to do.


July 20, 2009 StarCraft II Single-Player

(Note: Click on screenshot thumbs for high-res.)

July 20, 2009, a number of individuals from various websites and organizations visited Blizzard HQ in Irvine, CA for a press release regarding the single-player version of StarCraft II. The amount of events for the day's schedule were very small, to allow those present the maximum amount of time to review the single-player game. Rather than showing a new Battle Report at the beginning of the day's events, as was done at the previous press event, the representatives were given a brief overview of the single-player mode so that those present could jump right into the game without confusion and make the most out of the day's game-play.


Mission: Liberation Day (Mar Sara)
Mission: The Dig (Mar Sara)
Mission: Zero-Hour (Mar Sara)
The Hyperion:
Mission: The Evacuation of Agria (Agria)
Mission: Tooth and Nail (Monlyth)
Mission: Outbreak (Meinhoff)
Mission: Mining Your Own Business (Redstone III)
Final Thoughts and the Future of StarCraft II

wings of liberty single player


The following is a demo of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player mode:


Click here for standard quality.


In addition, the following video offers a closer look at the portraits shown in the preceding video:



wings of liberty single player

The following is an FAQ from Blizzard about the Wings of Liberty single player mode:

Q: Can you give me an overview of StarCraft II's single player campaign?

A: The single-player campaign of StarCraft II will focus the adventures of Jim Raynor, the terran hero from the original StarCraft. Fresh off the events of Brood War and the fall of the Confederacy, Arcturus Mengsk has established a tyrannical government called the New Dominion to rule over the terran colonies. Raynor has spent the past few years as an outlaw resisting the rule of the Dominion, and plotting revenge against Mengsk for his treachery. In the meantime, Kerrigan has resurfaced along with her Zerg brood, sweeping across the galaxy and destroying life on planets in her path.

Players will begin the game on the planet of Mar Sara, taking the role of Raynor as he begins a series of mercenary missions. As players complete missions, they'll earn new units to expand Raynor's Raiders, as well as currency which they can use to customize their armies. Some of the units that players will use in the campaign are unique to single-player. Classic units like the firebat and wraith, and unique units like the diamondback tank, will become unlocked as the campaign progresses.

Q: Can you offer more details about customization of your army in-game?

A: The credits earned from completing each mission can be used to buy the services of mercenary units that players can use in battle. Mercenaries are more powerful versions of standard units in the game; as a basic example, Kel'Morian mercenary marines have higher armor and damage output than a regular marine. Any skilled mercenaries that players opt to unlock can be built from the merc haven structure within each mission.

Additionally, players can opt to buy technology upgrades for their units. Examples of the campaign-specific technology upgrades that might be available for purchase include improved bunkers with a gun turret, and upgraded flamethrowers for firebats to attack a wider radius.

Between the ability to purchase mercenaries and special technologies, the campaign offers players the ability to customize their armies to suit their playing style and better tackle the challenges within the missions.

Q: What can you tell me about the missions in-game?

A: As players make their way through the campaign, they'll interact with a number of different non-player characters (NPCs) who will offer a variety of different missions. In many cases, you'll have choices from a few different NPCs at the same time. Some of these missions will advance the main storyline, while others lead players down pathways that present interesting, peripheral storylines. At some points, player choice can even affect the resolution of a side-plot. Players will be able to view detailed briefings that detail the objectives of the mission, show how many credits are rewarded for completion, and determine which new unit, if any, is unlocked by taking on the mission.

More than 25 missions will be available in the campaign, and each of these missions is being designed to offer unique gameplay experiences and objectives to keep the gameplay fresh. To detail just a couple of examples, one mission will have players roving around a map to intercept and rob Dominion cargo trains moving along different railroad tracks. Another mission will take place in a volcanically unstable area €“ lava will periodically flood the lower elevations of the map, requiring players to be extra careful in their mining operations and troop movement.

Optional research objectives are also designed into many of the missions. These could involve exploring maps to find lost Protoss artifacts, or hidden Zerg chrysalis as a couple of examples. When players collect enough of these research objects over the course of a few missions, they can earn upgrades and improvements for their units that carry over for the rest of the campaign.

Q: I've heard about a €œstory-mode€ aspect to StarCraft II €“ can you tell me more about that?

A: In between each mission, players will be able to explore various sets within the game. These include the bar on Mar Sara, and the Hyperion battlecruiser that acts as Raynor's flagship. Players can point and click on different characters in these environments to converse with them, and get additional story background. These conversations are fully voice-acted, and the characters and sets are animated with intricate detail from within the game engine.

There will also be interactive objects in the sets €“ clicking on these can also provide extra background story. Television sets, for example, will show news reports that detail happenings around the galaxy. There are also console units, such as the one in the armory on board the Hyperion that allows players to access the tech purchase interface, or the star map on the bridge of the Hyperion where players can examine and choose from various mission briefings.
The purpose of the story-mode is to bring players even closer to the characters in the game and offer added story telling elements for those players who wish to immerse themselves in the game's epic plot.


wings of liberty single player


In short, the single-player campaign looks amazing. The basic game-play is the player acting as Raynor on the Hyperion and interacting with his Raiders. The first mission starts with the Terran basic unit, the Marine. Each additional mission expands the player's tech tree by offering technology to build new units. This is one of the single-player campaign's first aspects that gives the player an infinite amount of replayability. Throughout the campaign, there will be times when the player will be given a choice between several missions. The order in which you perform missions will affect how your strategy works in future missions, depending on the technology you have gained access to. When players are given multiple missions to choose from, many missions will remain for a certain amount of time, although there may be times in which a player must make a critical decision between two missions, and the technology offered by the unchosen mission will be lost to the player for the remainder of that particular campaign.

When starting a new campaign, the player can choose between four difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard and Insane. According to the afternoon Q&A with Dustin Browder and Chris Sigaty, the differences between difficulty levels goes beyond the intensity of the computer AI. A harder mode of difficulty also gives the enemy forces additional units and even a handicap such as a boost in the damage and armor ratings of enemy units.

Cinematic - Public Enemy
The new campaign begins with Raynor in JoeyRay's Bar. On the TV there is a news report of Emperor Arcturus Mengsk concerning the construction of Holo Boards, large hologram generators with the emperor's hologram broadcasting a speech meant to bolster the morale of the colonists on Mar Sara. Mengsk appears slightly younger than his appearance in an artwork depicting him with an unknown female ghost. However, his appearance in-game fits better than the artwork, as his actual age is 44 years old. Raynor finds out from a hologram of the Terran Adjutant that the Dominion has taken over a local colony on Mar Sara, taking all of their credits and equipment to benefit the greater good of humanity, which becomes the basis for the first mission of the game.

Mission: Liberation Day (Mar Sara)
New Tech: Marines
Mission Objective: Save the colony from the Dominion.
Reward: $50,000

Click on screenshot thumbs for high-res.

Go ahead HQ
Hercules-class Dropship - "In case of a water landing, you may be used as a flotation device."

This mission begins with seven Marines dropped from a Dropship, which flies off-screen after unloading your Marines. For this mission and others, once in a while the game will pause itself in order to provide the player with a small tutorial, with Raynor speaking through a pop-up window in-game. The objective of this mission is to liberate a colony from the Dominion forces that are oppressing them. As you send your Marines down the pathway, there are a lot of dynamic doodads that carry on their business despite your presence. In this mission taking place near a mining colony, there are numerous cranes collecting rock from large piles, rotating, and then dropping them into nearby trucks. After dispatching some resistance from Dominion Marines, your small group reaches a small settlement, with a Holo Board placed right on the side of the road, displaying the emperor's morale-boosting announcement.

Dominion Holo Board
Dominion Holo Board on Mar Sara

Once your Marines destroy the Holo Board, you engage more Dominion Marines within the settlement. As the Marines battle it out, civilians duck down or run for cover, either down the street or into nearby buildings. At one point during the mission, Raynor's forces receive backup as several Drop Pods land, unloading additional Marines.

Drop Pod Reinforcements
Raynor sends back-up.


Upon reaching the Dominion defenses surrounding the colony's center of operations, Raynor motivates the civilians to stand up for themselves, who group together without player control and assault the base along with your forces, throwing fire bombs resembling Molotov Cocktails. When the colony has been saved from the Dominion, the Adjutant advises that Raynor is now free to take the credits and resources from the colony, but Raynor refuses, as his concern was the well-being of the people.

Mar SaraRevolution
After some inspiring words from Raynor, the people are ready to fight!

Backwater Liberator: Complete "Liberation Day"
Flawless Liberation: Complete €œLiberation Day€ on Normal Difficulty without letting any civilians die
Backwater Speed Run: Complete €œLiberation Day€ on Hard Difficulty in under 3 minutes.

Cinematic - Old Times
Back at JoeyRay's Bar, Raynor returns to celebrate with another drink. With Raynor sitting at the bar with his back to the door, he hears the door open, and footsteps indicating someone approaching him from behind. Raynor grabs his pistol and spins to point it at the figure behind him, only to discovers it's his old buddy, Tychus Findlay, from the Heaven's Devils. Raynor was surprised to see Tychus, since last he heard, Tychus had been locked up with no hope of getting released. As they talk about Raynor's rebellion, the issue of a lack of money comes up, to which Tychus offers some assistance, since there are groups out there paying good money for alien artifacts. See StarCraft: Legacy's BlizzCon 2008 Gameplay Panel article for more in-depth information & videos about the things Tychus and Raynor discuss.

After the exchange between Jim and Tychus, the player can once again look around the area of JoeyRay's Bar. At this point there is a new news articles, entitled "Raynor's Raiders: Evolution of Revolution," written by Mike Liberty. Also present is a Heaven's Devils poster, with Raynor there in the center of the group. There is another picture as well of a destroyed Viking. Clicking on the TV reveals to the player another news clip, discussing the lack of effectiveness of the Holo Boards, which were meant to boost morale of the fringe world colonies.

Mission: The Dig (Mar Sara)
Mission Objective: Sieze the alien artifact
Reward: $50,000
New Tech: Medic

The Dig introduces the player to the first tier of the Terran base: the Command Center, Refinery, Supply Depot and Barracks, although the Tech Lab is the only add-on available. Raynor's forces are provided with a Command Center and several SCVs to begin collecting resources and build up a sizeable attack force to break through the Dominion defenses and retrieve the alien artifact.

Artifact Hunter: Complete €œThe Dig€
Revolutionary: Complete all objectives for €œThe Dig€
Flawless Throwdown: Complete €œThe Dig€ on Normal Difficulty without losing a unit.
Quick Throwdown: Complete €œThe Dig€ on Hard Difficulty in under 7 min

Once back at JoeyRay's Bar, the player is open to view the various objects around the bar. To the side, there's a jukebox. Tychus expresses his dislike for the jukebox, but Raynor doesn't share that feeling, and admits that he'll be taking it with them when they leave. The jukebox plays four different tunes, with each click by the player initiating another song. The order of the songs is set, so that on the fifth click, the jukebox will turn off. Another click will turn the jukebox on again, playing the first song again until clicked again. All of the tunes sound like old country songs, which is probably the reason that Tychus didn't care for the jukebox, although Raynor seems to enjoy them enough.

When clicking on Tychus, a new exchange begins, with Jim asking Tychus about his employment. Tychus explains that he's been working for the Moebius Foundation. Jim is surprised, since the Moebius Foundation, at least in the past, was a very credible organization. However, Tychus explains that with the emperor's declaration making all alien artifacts illegal, they've turned to other means in order to get what they want.

Mission: Zero-Hour (Mar Sara)
Mission Objective: Hold until extraction
Reward: $70,000
New Tech: Bunker

Raynor and Findlay were discussing their departure when they're given a warning of Zerg presence on the planet. Far from a simple planetary departure, now Raynor's Raiders on Mar Sara need to hold out until Matt Horner and the Hyperion can rescue them. This mission truly embodies the evolution of StarCraft II from the original StarCraft and its expansion, Brood War. Similar to the early mission in StarCraft called Desperate Alliance, the player must build up their defenses and survive for the specified time period against the continuous Zerg attacks threatening your base. Although building up your defenses is your main priority, it is also open to the player to build up a sizable force of Marines and Medics to assault the nearby Zerg bases.

Throughout the mission, you're given alerts about local colonists trapped by the Zerg, needing rescue. When a group of colonists, or rather, Marines, are rescued, they will transfer to player control. After assaulting one of the two main Zerg bases, there is a strange sight in the upper section of the map, almost out of view. There, a Tauren Marine stands. However, as you bring your forces closer, he walks up toward a small shack, appropriately named a Tauren Outhouse and goes inside, disappearing for the remainder of the mission. An important bit of information to note, is that in the similar mission from the original StarCraft , the threat of the Zerg attacks ceased if the player was able to eliminate the Zerg bases. However, in this mission, that is not the case. Continually falling throughout the mission are Zerg sacs, similar to the Terran Drop Pods, providing additional Zerg reinforcements. Even in an early mission such as this, strategy is important, because even if the Zerg base is falling at the gauss rifles of your Marines, a sizeable force can arise from elsewhere on the map and assault your base unexpectedly.

A Dark and Rainy Night
All seems peaceful... for now.

As the time limit reaches zero, an enormous wave of Zerg rush toward your base as more Zerg sacs fall from the sky, this time with many of them dropping inside the perimeter of your base. When the time limit expires, salvation arrives in the form of the Hyperion. The player loses control of their view as it automatically shifts the view and zooms in on the Hyperion and you watch an in-game cinematic. The Hyperion flies toward the center of your base, with multiple laser batteries raining fire on the Zerg, while your remaining forces on the ground, if any, continue to hold their ground.

Up and Away: Complete €œZero Hour€
Zero Hour: Complete all objectives for €œZero Hour€
Hold the Line: Complete €œZero Hour€ on Normal Difficulty without losing a building
The Best Defense: Kill all enemy buildings on €œZero Hour€ on Hard Difficulty

Cinematic - Escape from Mar Sara

Escape from Mar Sara
Hyperion charging forward!

After the player continues on from viewing the mission statistics, a cinematic begins, as seen from the demonstration of the Gameplay Panel at BlizzCon 2008.


The Hyperion:

The Hyperion, Jim Raynor's Battlecruiser, is the setting for the vast majority of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player story mode. So far it is made up of the cantina, armory, lab and bridge:


Hyperion Cantina
The Hyperion Cantina

Here the player is introduced to Graven Hill, who is the guy you turn to in order to purchase the services of mercenary units for missions. Graven introduces himself, and describes how his services work. When a player purchases the services of mercenaries, an elite group of hardened soldiers, they will be available for the respective price of their regularly buildable counterparts from the Merc Compound for every future mission. However, if your mercenaries die before the end of a mission, they may no longer be available for the duration of that mission, depending on the details of the contract you make. Regardless of the contract limitations, if you lose your mercenaries during a mission, they will be available to be called from the Merc Compound again for the next mission. Initially, the player is available to purchase the services of Kel'Morian Mercenaries.

Kel'Morian Mercenaries:
Force: 4 Elite Marines
Contract: Once per mission
Trained From: Merc Compound
Cost: $35,000

Graven Hill
Graven Hill

Within the duration of the press event demo, two other sets of mercenaries were available to the player:

Devil Dogs:
Force: 4 Elite Firebats
Contract: Once per mission
Trained From: Merc Compound
Cost: $40,000

Hammer Securities:
Force: 4 Elite Marauders
Contract: Once per mission
Trained From: Merc Compound
Cost: $40,000

Despite the rushed departure from Mar Sara, Raynor was true to his word, and took the jukebox with him. It's strapped to a small roof overhang, and works just like it did back at JoeyRay's. Also available to view within the cantina is a TV, currently showing a news report. Emperor Mengsk makes a formal announcement regarding the formerly-retired Horace Warfield taking command of the Dominion forces.

Cantina TV & Jukebox
Would you trust Raynor? I do. He kept his men alive from the Zerg and still had time to save the jukebox.


The armory is where the player can find Rory Swann, the chief engineer aboard the Hyperion. Meeting with Swann will allow the player to view their current available technology, and purchase upgrades. On the Technology Board, there are seven columns, each column corresponding to the type of technology or the faction that it was obtained from. The seven columns are labeled as: Base, Infantry, Vehicles, Starships, Mid-Tech, Ghost-Spectre, and Dominion.


Technology Board
The Technology Board. See all those empty spaces? Most will be filled by the time you reach the end of the campaign.


Currently, each unit or building is given two available upgrades or abilities, unlocked once the respective technology has been obtained. Each upgrade costs valuable credits to purchase, so one must be a careful spender so that only the most useful upgrades are bought to custom build forces that work best with the player's favored strategies. The available upgrades are listed as such:

SCV: Cost reduction to 35 // Repair Quicker

Command Center: Reduce structure costs // Damaged structures don€™t catch fire

Bunker: +2 capacity // automated turret

Missile Turret: Gain area attack // upgrade single attack strength

Perdition Turret: Buy Perdition Turret // Detection ability

Marine: Stimpack // Shield

Medic: 50% bonus healing // Improve healing radius

Marauder: Concussion attack // +2 armor

Firebat: 40% area attack bonus // +2 damage

Hellion: +1 damage per second for 3 seconds // 40% Movement speed



Hyperion Science Lab
The Hyperion Science Lab

The lab is a new area in the Hyperion that hasn't been revealed to the public until now. Here we are introduced to Stedman, who's in charge of the science labs. Stedman can be best described as your extreme science geek: early twenties, skinny, with thick glasses and numerous cans of energy drinks strapped to his person. As the head of the science labs, he regularly performs experiments in order to aid Raynor's forces, but needs help in obtaining the data necessary. By viewing the computer monitor in the lab, you can view a list of bonus objectives within missions, that, if accomplished, will yield additional upgrades to your forces, such as bonus weapon damage or improved armor for your forces. Some research projects, such as the Zerg Evolution Research, can be completed within a single mission, while others, such as the Protoss Shields Research, will be completed over the course of several missions. Initially, there are two available research objectives:

Zerg Evolution Research:
Objective: Find 4 Zerg Chrysalis
Reward: +1 Damage for Infantry

Protoss Shields Research:
Objective: Find 12 Protoss Relics
Reward: +1 Armor for All Vehicles

Within the duration of the press event demo, one other Research for the Lab was available:

Zerg Mutation Research:
Objective: Kill 2 Brutalisks
Reward: Viral Munitions: All Vehicles Gain Bonus Weapon Damage

Side Note: The Brutalisk is a new Zerg hero unit of gigantic proportions, walking on several spiny legs with large scythe-arms similar to that of a Hydralisk.


The bridge of the Hyperion is where the player, as Raynor, will choose their next mission. Matt Horner and Tychus Findlay are stationed here at the moment, and you can talk with them to learn new information in between missions. In their initial exchange, Horner is a little disgusted at the thought of Tychus remaining in his Marine combat suit while on the bridge and asks him why he is still inside. Tychus replies that he was given help in escaping prison, and until his debts are repaid, he will be locked within the suit. No mention is made of who assisted in his escape.

The Bridge of the Hyperion

At this point two mission choices are provided for you or rather for Raynor. Matt Horner alerts you to a distress call from a Dr. Ariel Hanson from the colony of Agria. The Zerg have arrived on the fringe world with no support or evacuation provided by the Dominion. The colony will inevitably be overrun by the Zerg and without help the colonists will have no escape. Tychus Findlay with no concern for the fringe world colonists is more concerned with money and advises Raynor to accept a mission to steal an artifact from a Protoss base.

Before continuing to the next mission here is the information regarding the other locations for the player to visit within the Hyperion:

For this single-player demonstration players were only allowed to play two missions into campaign upon reaching the Hyperion. By choosing The Evacuation of Agria mission you would unlock the Outbreak mission opon its completion. The Mining Your Own Business mission however was unlocked by doing the first mission from the Hyperion. As such the possible chain of missions were limited to:

-> The Evacuation of Agria -> Outbreak

-> The Evacuation of Agria -> Tooth and Nail

-> The Evacuation of Agria -> Mining Your Own Business

-> Tooth and Nail -> Mining Your Own Business

-> Tooth and Nail -> The Evacuation of Agria

However rather than restarting a new campaign after the second mission it was possible for those at the press event to return to a manually-saved or auto-saved point of the game and play a different order of missions rather than starting a new campaign from the beginning and replaying the same three missions before making it back to the Hyperion. During normal activity the game would perform an auto-save every few minutes and the game could be reloaded to any of those points in time from the Load options. Whether the auto-save will remain this way to the final product is unknown at this point.

The first two missions available to Raynor are The Evacuation of Agria and Tooth and Nail. Neither of these missions are time-critical and will still be available for a time if not chosen. However careful thought must still be taken by the player since the technology gained from this first mission's choice may make a difference in how your strategy will need to adjust for the next mission. The following is the information for these first two missions:

Mission: The Evacuation of Agria (Agria)

Mission Objective: Evacuate the Agria Colony
Bonus Objective: Harvest Chrysalis DNA
Reward: $60000
New Technology: Firebat

This rescue mission takes Raynor's Raiders to the lush planet of Agria a planet of paradise conditions until the Zerg arrived threatening to infest the planet and kill anyone in their path. The colonists were able to secure an evacuation area with a Starport to transport themselves off the planet. However with the Zerg running through the area the road between the main settlement and the evacuation area is far too dangerous to travel without armed escort. Your main objective is to safely escort 50 civilians to the evacuation area. Starting with three Firebats and a Medic your small group must fight through several groups of Zerg to reach the main settlement. Once there command is shifted over so that Raynor can begin building a base to send out additional escort forces. Not long after your arrival the first transport truck arrives and begins loading ten civilians. An announcement is made regarding the transport vehicle leaving and a number of your forces will be required to help protect the truck. If the truck happens to be destroyed the ten civilians will appear and continue their trek to the evacuation area. If any of the civilians are killed along the way additional transport vehicles will be necessary to reach the 50 civilian quota.

The Zerg won't make this escort mission easy and will attack the evacuation party at three different points on the road where pathways cross the main road. Multitasking is very important in this mission in order to continue maintaining your base and building additional forces along with carefully watching the current transport vehicle and building up stationary defensive points along the roadway. With each trip to the evacuation area the Zerg attacks grow in intensity so advance preparation will be necessary in the few minutes between transport vehicles. Also if you've been keeping track of the optional Lab Research assignments you will discover that this area contains the four Zerg chrysalis necessary to complete your Zerg Evolution Research. Some of the Chrysalises are not far from the road but others will require you to split your forces from their escort mission to travel through the jungle risking attacks from the Zerg in order to find them. After a Chrysalis is found an SCV is necessary to extract the DNA from it.

Once the 50 civilians have made it safely to the evacuation area your mission will be declared a success and Dr. Ariel Hanson will be joining your crew aboard the Hyperion. Although more money could be made with other missions Raynor undoubtedly feels better helping out these folks.

Agria Evacuated: Complete "The Evacuation of Agria€
Man of Science: Complete all objectives for "The Evacuation of Agria€
Safe Evacuation: All colonists must survive.
One Way of Doing It: Destroy all Zerg bases on "hard" difficulty.

Mission: Tooth and Nail (Monlyth)

Mission Objective: Seize the Alien Artifact
Bonus Objective: Find Protoss Relics
Reward: $80000
New Technology: Maurader

Learning of a new alien artifact from his contacts at the Moebius Foundation Tychus Findlay offered this mission to steal it from a group of Tal'darim Protoss on the planet of Monlyth the same group of Protoss enslaved by Ulrezaj's sundrop in the Dark Templar Saga: Shadow Hunters. Tychus reassures Raynor that these Protoss aren't his friends in order to ease his conscience about attacking the same people as some of his most trusted allies. Before the mission begins you find out that you're not the only unwelcome visitors to the area. The Zerg have landed in the area and have already begun an assault on the western end of the Protoss base. By starting on a secluded side to the south of the Tal'darim base it will be far easier to reach the artifact without hitting heavy resistance. However your forces cannot linger too long because the Zerg forces will eventually overrun the Protoss base and will claim the artifact for their queen.

Assault on Protoss Base
Fighting through the Protoss defenses.


The quickest way through this mission would be to take the trail south of the Protoss base facing minimal defenses in reaching the artifact. However another way is to combat the Zerg and remove them from being a distraction from your main objective. Fighting through a group of Spine Crawlers your forces can head west to destroy the Zerg base or head east and assault the Protoss from the main entrance. One must note that although the Zerg base may be destroyed the Zerg will not disappear. As in the mission Zero-Hour Zerg sacs continue falling from the sky throughout this mission replenishing the Zerg numbers even after the hatchery has been destroyed. If a player chooses to risk extra battles and search the map 4 of the 12 Protoss Relics necessary to complete the Protoss Shields Research objective can be found.

Protoss Relic Found
A Protoss Relic just asking to be liberated. It's not stealing when it's in the name of science!

Regardless of the path taken the object of your desire hovers over a small base on a circular paved island. As the first unit approaches the artifact whether Terran or Zerg two walls appear blocking the two bridges prevent your forces inside from escaping and those on the outside from gaining entrance. Four tall statues known as Stone Zealots come to life attacking the forces within the perimeter of the island with laser beams coming out of their eyes. After defeating the stone giants Raynor calls for a Dropship to pick up the artifact. With the artifact successfully in the Raiders' grasp a window pops up with Kerrigan revealing herself. Whether she's in direct contact with Raynor or talking to her self isn't for certain yet but she's mildly annoyed in underestimating Raynor. She forgot how resourceful he is but that she wouldn't be making that mistake twice. Before leaving Kerrigan adds "Time's running out... for all of us."

Queen's Gambit: Complete "Tooth and Nail"
You Weren't Using That?: Complete all objectives for "Tooth and Nail"
Swift and Deadly: Complete the mission within 20 minutes on "hard" difficulty
Photon Phobia: Do not destroy any Photon Cannons on "hard" difficulty

The following two missions Outbreak and Mining Your Own Business are unlocked upon the completion of either The Evacuation of Agria or Tooth and Nail:

Mission: Outbreak (Meinhoff)

Mission Objective: Clear out all mutated nesting structures.
Bonus Objective: Harvest chrysalis DNA
Reward: $90000
New Technology: Hellion

In the mission opened up after The Evacuation of Agria Outbreak breathes a fresh perspective into the a theme seen in many other genres: fending off waves of mutated humans and struggling for survival. Raynor is tasked with a mission to contain the threat of the infestation outbreak. To do so Raynor's Raiders must destroy all of the nesting structures that are scattered throughout the area. The mission begins with setting up your base in the middle of the infestation zone setting up your defenses and locating the nearest nesting grounds that will release scores of the infested at night. Half of this mission's challenge lies during the day balancing base defenses and building up your forces while seeking out the numerous infested nesting grounds and destroying them to thin out their numbers.
Ready to face the Zerg
Infested Terrans hide during the day...
As darkness sets in and the night cycle approaches you're alerted to quickly retreat your forces back into the safety of the perimeter as countless waves of infested humans start to encroach upon your base from all directions. The battles can get hectic as you continually try to beef up your defenses depending on the situation at each access point into the base. Based upon the technology gained at this point of the campaign strategies will vary between players in their means to defend themselves from this menacing threat. Helpful upgrades for this mission include the upgraded Bunkers which can gain auto-turrets and/or hold six infantry units versus four. Being able to better defend the base and keep more soldiers alive resources were put into better use in increasing the number of forces for the next daylight assault. As the mission progresses the nightly raids will begin to decrease in intensity as more of the nesting grounds are destroyed during the day. Most of the nesting structures are grouped together and easy to kill but the difficulty lies in finding all of the nests which are numerous and scattered out the map. Once all of the nesting structures have been taken out Raynor's Raiders will have survived another grueling mission.
This mission showcases a new mechanic to the RTS genre which brings the level of single player missions and custom maps to new heights: the dynamic day/night cycling system. The changes between day and night flow beautifully and although the scenery is noticeably darker at night it was never to difficult to see what was going on within the lit areas of Raynor's base. As with the other mission encountered within the single player demonstration it is definitely apparent that Blizzard is breaking the mold with StarCraft II making every mission unique on its own right and not adhering to the typical RTS strategy of simply building your base and destroying the opposing forces. As the campaign is revealed fully upon the release of Wings of Liberty the full extent of unique gameplay will undoubtedly impress all StarCraft fans both old and new.
Doctor in the House: Complete "Outbreak"
Still Time to Operate: Complete all objectives for "Outbreak"
Quick Containment: Finish the mission before three nights on "hard" difficulty
The Night Shift: Destroy 10 buildings at night

Mission: Mining Your Own Business (Redstone III)

Objective: Mine 8000 minerals
Bonus Objective: Kill Brutalisk Locate Miners
Reward: $100000
New Technology: Reapers

A mining mission commissioned by a Gabriel Tosh this mission takes Raynor's Raiders to Redstone III a volcanically active and very dangerous planet that houses a significant amount of mineral resources. You€™re tasked with gathering the rare yellow mineral deposits that sit atop a very active volcanic region. Under normal circumstances a simple mining mission would be easy even with interference from enemy forces. However this mission adds another aspect to the mix with a dynamic environment that's deadly to the unwary player. The Raiders' starting base is on the main ground level with all of the mineral patches lying on the lower ground levels throughout the map. Every five minutes the ground begins shaking pillars of earth rise and fall in various areas and finally lava rises from the ground covering the lower ground level of the terrain. Any units or buildings caught on the ground level are destroyed within seconds. Any flying units or buildings will be safe from rising lava. After some time the lava subsides and mining can resume on the low-lying mineral patches. After the first lava surge a timer is added to the player's screen which gives warning of the next lava surge to come.


Head to high ground!
Quick! Head to high ground!


Rising Lava Surge
Hopefully everyone made it in time. If not they're extra crispy right about now.


The interesting factor that comes into play here is the constant balance of the number of combat units you€™ll need to fend off the lightly populated Zerg foes since your're pulling your minerals from the same pool of resources you need to collect a certain amount of to achieve victory conditions. Gaining Reapers in this mission are a great addition to Raynor's forces with their ability to jump from level to level. Also their attacks work well against light-armored Zerg and in addition with mines were a force to be reckoned with against the majority of the Zerg faced in this mission. One Zerg unit in particular that the Reapers were not effective against was the Brutalisk. In order to achieve the Zerg Mutation Research bonus this was the first of two Brutalisks to be killed. The Brutalisk was an intimidating sight a Zerg warrior standing taller than an Ultralisk and appeared to be a mix of a Hydralisk and a Zergling in a form similar to the new Zerg Queen. Its strong armor was too tough for a Reaper's attack. However it was not resistant to a flooding surge of molten lava. A player can avoid a head-on fight with the beast but using the quick Reapers to lure the Brutalisk onto the lower ground as the countdown for another lava surge approaches. As the lava surge arrives the Reapers can easily jump to higher ground escaping the fiery death that spells doom for the Zerg juggernaut. Another bonus objective in this mission is to rescue local miners that have become stranded due to the extreme conditions and relentless Zerg attacks. Surely they will be grateful for their rescue.

An additional point of note on the lava world terrain is the addition of a new critter: the Lava Crab. In this mission small groups of lava crabs would congregate near the ramps between higher and lower ground. Normally they would wander about at the lower section of the ramp. When the time came for a lava surge the Lava Crabs would scurry up the ramp to a safe spot and burrow into the ground. When the lava surge receded they would unburrow and wander about at the bottom of the ramp again. The Lava Crabs were peaceful creatures and didn't bother the Terran invaders not even if attacked. It's likely that these lavaworld crustaceans will also be seen on other lavaworld missions" as well as many more new creatures native to the worlds visited in StarCraft II.

Mined Out: Complete ""Mining Your Own Business""
Red Lobster: Complete all objectives for ""Mining Your Own Business""
Big Game Hunter: Kill the Brutalisk
Working Overtime: Finish the mission in under 15 minutes on hard difficulty



After the completion of the second mission after boarding the Hyperion" the game would end. Those at the press event were then able to reload their campaign from a saved point or replay the campaign over from the beginning. If you were to go back to the Hyperion before the fourth or fifth missions there is a computer aboard the Bridge that allowed you to look at your current progress throughout the campaign. Achievements can be reviewed and previously played missions can be replayed. While many achievements require a certain difficulty level to unlock a player can replay the mission at a different difficulty in order to meet the requirements for achievements missed on the first time through the mission. When replaying a mission it's unclear whether the player will be able to utilize all of their current technology or only the technology they had access to when they originally played the particular mission.


Final Thoughts and the Future of StarCraft II:

At 6pm the press event had come to completion and the representatives left with the near impossible task of keeping all of this information secret for an entire month. Why was it so hard to keep silent? Simply put StarCraft II is shaping up to become an even greater RTS than its predecessor. The multiplayer has gained new and improved aspects of racial balance between the Terran Zerg and Protoss; and the single-player is establishing itself as a unique campaign-style with nearly unlimited replayability. Due to the dynamic missions no longer will the single-player campaign consist of hiding behind your defenses until massing an unstoppable force of the most powerful units available to you. With the new campaign style each time you play through the campaign can be a different experience selecting harder difficulty levels taking different mission choices and facing each challenge with a different line-up of units and different upgrades allowing new strategies and gameplay far beyond the capabilities of StarCraft and its expansion Brood War.

At the upcoming BlizzCon 2009 more than twenty thousand attendees will have a chance to play the StarCraft II demo being given a taste of either the single-player campaign or the multiplayer experience. Regardless of whether the demo proves to be single or multiplayer StarCraft fans will surely be impressed eagerly awaiting any news of the arrival of the StarCraft II beta. For those who aren't able to make it to BlizzCon this year make sure to check out StarCraft: Legacy's coverage of BlizzCon 2009. And as the StarCraft II development continues toward the release of Wings of Liberty and all of Blizzard's continued development within the StarCraft universe be sure to keep current on all news by visiting StarCraft: Legacy.

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This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) feature event article.

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