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I love StarCraft. I've been playing for more than nine years. I love so much about the game. I love the story, the lore, the gameplay, the balance, the community; it is in my opinion the greatest game ever made. I mean really, I've dedicated a large portion of the last nine years to it. Obviously my expectations are high. When I first saw the announcement and accompanying media I didn't know how to feel. StarCraft II was here - but being a purist, I wasn't convinced that this is what I'd waited for so long.

Twenty-one hours ago I got to spend several hours playing the game and discussing the game with Dustin Browder.

I was absolutely floored. The game at this stage is incredible. It's an absolute blast to play. The build that is playable at BlizzCon is an excellent one. We were told that the game builds change at least weekly if not every day. Both the Protoss and the Terran were fully playable and I spent well over an hour with both - I played both single scenarios (one for Terran and one for the Protoss) and I also was party to some extremely fun 2v2.

I started with the Protoss - my favorite race. The Protoss feel good to play. Right now they have a great mix of quick, maneuverable units, and their classic heavy tech.

The Zealot is the same as always - a great, fast, cheap infantry unit that really is the staple of the Protoss force. Honestly, he hasn't changed much, with the exception of his upgradable Charge ability that really does make a huge difference.

The Stalker is a great light back-up unit that really is there for early game harassment. Browder and I discussed how he envisioned it used in the early game and then once its ability, Blink, had been upgraded that it would serve as a very micro-able unit into the mid-game. However, he cautioned, its purpose isn't to be a late game unit. I found using this "dark dragoon" to be fun and the sheer versatility of it early/mid game will make it a very exciting unit.

In the current build the Star Relic is now a ground unit known as Stasis Orb. Its current purpose is as a secondary support unit. It has a normal ability that allows it to slow down enemy units. I didn't really find that it was an amazing or a necessary unit but it will definitely have its uses and of course I only played the game for a few hours so there's plenty more to learn.

The Immortal turned out to be one of my favorite units in the new Protoss arsenal. Browder admitted that right now it might be a little too strong against the Terran, but man it is fun. It is the anti-tank killer, but the Protoss really need something to do that. The units animations were smooth, concise, and it was just fun to play around with. It has a shield upgrade that makes the unit one of the best ground warriors the Protoss now wield.

The High Templar and Dark Templar are really two that have changed the least. The High Templar's damage has been reduced slightly but its purpose is exactly the same – "the stormer". Unfortunately, the storm animation is one of the few things I really didn't like about the Protoss, but Dustin assured me that that it would most likely change. The Dark Templar really is the exact same unit as in the original. But once again, I wasn't fond of the unit model. The unit appears cloaked, wielding some kind of scythe blade but it has this very odd neon outline that makes it seem very out of place. Of course this is all subject to change - and in all honesty, it probably will.

The Twilight Archon was another unit I was really excited to see. It still does splash damage and it has been gifted with the Dark Archon's Feedback ability. The unit looks good and plays well as the very heavy archon of the original. It really is like the original archon. I was also informed that both the shadow and the legs would be disappearing quite soon!

The Reaver was another unit that I was anxious to play with - and it didn't disappoint. They're still fun, loveable, and still do massive amounts of damage to the Terran infantry - just watch out for tanks.

(Important Note: Blizzard confirmed they had removed the Reaver from the current build (that was shown at BlizzCon).

The Colossus was a unit that I wasn't sold on before playing it. Now I love it. The cliff mechanic is really going to add another, fun, dimension into the game and really change how battles will be fought. It's amazingly good against ground units and buildings and its trade-off is that it is extraordinarily vulnerable to air. The Colossus is worth it because the potential for hardcore micro and versatility really make this unit something special.

The Phase Prism's primary function is to really use it's Matrix ability and facilitate the warping in of units from the Warp Gates. I played with this mechanic quite a bit and it definitely adds something to the Protoss that wasn't there before. It adds mobility and another dimension of versatility that will really change the flow and play of the game. It was really fun.

The Warp Ray was another unit that I was quite worried about. And it turned out to be another unfounded worry. The unit is another great addition and plays well. Its focusing ability makes it unique and stands out.

The Phoenix is probably one of the only two units that I wasn't sold on. Its overload ability has been nerfed down so that it only affects six surrounding enemies instead of all of them. All in all, it didn't feel worthy of being both the Corsair and the Scout's replacement. And it is currently highly unbalanced. It's cheap, early tech, and does great damage against ground, especially the early units with weak to no anti-air. I'll be keeping close watch on this unit.

The Carrier - yes, you read that right -the Carrier has returned along with its interceptors. The "dark carrier", the Tempest, is out. Dustin said that the Tempest didn't feel right and that there was too much of an emotional connection with the original unit. He mentioned that if you asked someone what his/her favorite Protoss units were, the Carrier is one that is always near the top of the list. And he's right. The Carrier hasn't changed much from the original. It looks, feels, and plays great. And this time around it can even auto-build interceptors if you so choose.

The Mothership's abilities and powers have been significantly changed. It's much cheaper than I had expected but I soon found out why. It's Planet Cracker ability delivers some excellent damage to the ground but it is ridiculously weak against air. On more than one occasion my Mothership was reduced to rubble by a decently sized air fleet. The black hole is also reportedly undergoing some massive changes but it still looks pretty powerful. It did quite well against most forces that my enemy sent. However, it has no affect on buildings. Browder also mentioned that one of the Mothership's new abilities is to cloak all the ground units under it so you could really pack a nice force down under there and do some major damage. It will be interesting to see how that ability works out with further testing.

It really was amazing to play the game - both the single player and the 2v2. The game looked great, flowed amazingly well, and ultimately did feel like a worthy successor to the original. It was also great to have Dustin Browder all to ourselves for several hours and get him familiar with the community, what you, our members want, and how we felt about the game. He was right there talking to us, asking for suggestions, and offering tips as we all played and it was amazing. Dustin Browder is a great guy and a ton of fun and I think he's going to do a great job. I really was impressed and it gives me great faith in the development of this game, when really they aren't even close to being out of pre-alpha. The Protoss are the closest to being finished but things are always being tweaked. The Terrans are playable but aren't really polished or even fully designed. And while we talked a bit about the Zerg, nothing at all was shown - the development team really hasn't touched upon them much beyond concept. I talked to both Testie and Tasteless who were also playing the game and they were both impressed. I specifically asked Testie what he thought of it. His answer? "At first I was like this is horrible, but now I'm like - this is actually pretty good." I agree.

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