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  #151  
Old 05-26-2017, 11:54 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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But in that attempt at viral marketing, Project Blackstone, Dr. Rothfuss (I believe) said that Terran encryption is backwards and easy to crack. Plus to even access the adjutant they had to hack into it so that alone puts questions about the validity of things stored on it. I remain by the idea that audio can be easily spoofed and that Mengsk's propaganda machine could have easily discredited it. But anyhow that is a minor thing lets not get stuck on that.

What do you guys think about the point that the main issue with SC2 villains is that we never played from their perspective like in previous RTS games?
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  #152  
Old 05-26-2017, 01:20 PM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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But in that attempt at viral marketing, Project Blackstone, Dr. Rothfuss (I believe) said that Terran encryption is backwards and easy to crack. Plus to even access the adjutant they had to hack into it so that alone puts questions about the validity of things stored on it. I remain by the idea that audio can be easily spoofed and that Mengsk's propaganda machine could have easily discredited it. But anyhow that is a minor thing lets not get stuck on that.
The adjudant ain't Terran-tech though. Judging from its presence on the Alexander and Umoja, It's probably UPL technology.

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What do you guys think about the point that the main issue with SC2 villains is that we never played from their perspective like in previous RTS games?
Hrm, it would have helped for sure, but I'm not sure it's necessary. During Warcraft III, we never really play from the perspective of the Legion. Sure, we played the scourge, and the scourge was kinda semi-doing their bidding, but Raynor was also kinda semi-doing the bidding of Amon.

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I have not a doubt that making SC2 try so hard to be a soap opera was key in its disappointment. Blizzard was never really good at character driven stories as opposed to making interesting settings for you to explore.
Honestly, I don't think the soap-y aspect of Starcraft II is actually that bad. The primary difference between WoW and Starcraft II's usage of characters actually fits with how the game is structured. The story's focus characters are also the game's main characters, and you spend a ton of time interacting with other characters in an environment that's specifically been set up for that purpose.[1]

I actually rather like Kerrigan's character arc in Heart of the Swarm. I like Raynor's interactions with his rebel buddies (even if Tychus is kinda redundant to the story of WoL).

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The point about villlains is important here. Using WoW, I would say that a key problem in its Lore is how it transformed into what can be called the antics of a bunch of dysfunctional superheroes. Despite this, the faction leaders aren't well done enough as characters to have so much attention dumped on them. Can you tell me that Anduin has the pull of Arthas?
I don't think the dysfunctional superheroes idea applies nearly as much to starcraft II as to WoW.
Firstly, the power disparity between main characters and the rest of the universe is not even close to being as close to and inexplicable as it is in WoW. Raynor can't single-handedly wipe out a dozen marines without breaking a sweat story-wise, not like Garrosh (who has spent half his life sick in bed, grew up malnourished, has no special training, no extensive practical experience, and goes into battle near-naked) being able to plow through small armies of experienced veterans by mere virtue of him being a main character and them being nameless NPCs
Secondly, they're not the ones winning the war. In WoL and LotV, the main characters sit mostly on their ships. You actually get to use them on the battlefield only fairly rarely. Instead, wars are won through the blood, sweat and sacrifice of the masses, something which the story repeatedly acknowledges. [2]

I can also tell you that I enjoyed Abathur, Gabriel Tosh and Alarak a lot more than Amon.



[1] Though the main Leviathan screen utterly shatters my suspension of disbelief every single time I see it. Seriously, that's terrible.
[2] Except in that one stupid cinematic with Raynor on Valerian's ship. That has to be the lowpoint in Starcraft II's storytelling for me.
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  #153  
Old 05-27-2017, 11:27 AM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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The gate during Mission VI is pretty heavily guarded, so the zerg wouldn't just be able to run in and take over the gate. Plenty of time to shut it down.
But I'm fairly certain in the Protoss campaign they said they're shutting it down. Plus it's just an unnecessary risk if they lose it. It wasn't particularly secure.

And the sequence of events is just messy.

And yeah, SC2 has lame villains. The fact that we never see their perspective, and the fact that the game just cycles mindlessly between generic despicable Tal'darim, generic despicable Dominion forces/Moebius Foundation, generic despicable rogue Zerg broods/feral zerg/zerg swarm.

Rather than in previous games where there was a lot of development for who you were fighting and why and what they specifically wanted. The colour palette was used to signify a faction, whereas in SC2 everything's just kind of the same colour and you have good guys and bad guys.

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Honestly, I don't think the soap-y aspect of Starcraft II is actually that bad. The primary difference between WoW and Starcraft II's usage of characters actually fits with how the game is structured. The story's focus characters are also the game's main characters, and you spend a ton of time interacting with other characters in an environment that's specifically been set up for that purpose.[1]

I actually rather like Kerrigan's character arc in Heart of the Swarm. I like Raynor's interactions with his rebel buddies (even if Tychus is kinda redundant to the story of WoL).
I dunno how, but I find WoL and HotS both incredibly straight-forward and predictable, and they pander to their audience. While also being massively inconsistent and chaotic and random.
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  #154  
Old 05-27-2017, 04:44 PM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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I dunno how, but I find WoL and HotS both incredibly straight-forward and predictable, and they pander to their audience. While also being massively inconsistent and chaotic and random.
you do? wow, we're shocked.
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  #155  
Old 05-27-2017, 06:38 PM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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The colour palette was used to signify a faction, whereas in SC2 everything's just kind of the same colour and you have good guys and bad guys.
To be fair, even in the original Starcraft, the use of colours as factions was pretty underwhelming. Sure, the manual gave you a nice listing of the faction names and which colours belonged to them, but that ends up being really poorly integrated into the actual campaign gameplay.
For the Terrans, only half the colours appear in the actual game, with Nova Squadron, the Umojans and Kel-Moria all missing.
For the Protoss, the color distinctions really don't matter, because for some bizarre reason, they chose to use colours to represent an internal distinction that no longer exists among the protoss.
For the zerg, there is the issue that the same colours get reused even when it doesn't make sense. Not only does Zasz's brood keep appearing after his death, it keeps appearing with new cerebrates.

Warcraft III doesn't do much with it either now that I think about it. Kul Tiras has blue units, the scourge don't have distinctins, the night elves distinctions are never explained, and the orcs don't really seem to use the colour system at all.

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But I'm fairly certain in the Protoss campaign they said they're shutting it down.
Raynor says they're going to try and destroy it, yes. However, Zeratul says even earlier that it's Aiur's 'last functioning warp gate'.

Either statement must already be a lie. So, let's look at which is more likely. Let's assume that there are two gates. The first gate must not have always connected to Shakuras. That means that the warp gates can switch destinations quite easily. Either you could secure the gate by just switching addresses or turning it off, in which case there's no need to blow up the original gate, or even a gate connected to a different location can't considered secure, in which case the 'other' gate shouldn't be left intact either. If the former, they would still have the original gate. If the latter, they wouldn't have a second gate.

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I dunno how, but I find WoL and HotS both incredibly straight-forward and predictable, and they pander to their audience. While also being massively inconsistent and chaotic and random.
Oh hell yeah, they're predictable. Just because I know what all the pit stops are does not mean that the journey is meaningless though.

I'd agree that WoL is "massively inconsistent and chaotic and random". HotS seems way more sanely structured in its plot though.
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  #156  
Old 05-29-2017, 01:23 PM
CoDimus the Staunch CoDimus the Staunch is offline

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Can I just say, as someone who got into SC2's Multiplayer just three months ago, I do not understand why people enjoy cheesy plays. I see people praise such plays all the time, but they just make me salty af. It's especially bad when I play PVP, as it seems that whenever a Protoss player sees another, their reaction is to either cannon rush the fuck out of them, or settle down for long macro games involving both sides going Skytoss and the one with better macro winning. The latter is still quite fun, but I do not enjoy the former. It's not that bad when it's less common, but I find that PVP more often than not will have one player attempting to cheese. Hell, if it was rarer, I would actually enjoy the games more, because it would be innovative and unconventional. The worst part is when you get cheesed in two or three games in a row, as even winning in that situation isnt much fun(the other player is quite likely to just surrender when their tactics fail).
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  #157  
Old 05-30-2017, 03:03 PM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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To be fair, even in the original Starcraft, the use of colours as factions was pretty underwhelming. Sure, the manual gave you a nice listing of the faction names and which colours belonged to them, but that ends up being really poorly integrated into the actual campaign gameplay.
What I meant was. UED in Brood War are white (or brown), Dominion are red. Khalai survivors are brown/yellow, Dark Templar are blue, Raynor's crew is blue, Kerrigan's swarm is purple, Overmind's swarm is orange. Even basic distinctions like that are missing from SC2, I guess past WoL at least.

Good guys are generally blue, bad guys are generally red. Even when it doesn't really fit.

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For the zerg, there is the issue that the same colours get reused even when it doesn't make sense. Not only does Zasz's brood keep appearing after his death, it keeps appearing with new cerebrates.
To be fair, that was in Brood War when they'd used up all the colours anyway, and some of the colours just looked really bad. (Yellow Zerg look terrible)

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Warcraft III doesn't do much with it either now that I think about it. Kul Tiras has blue units, the scourge don't have distinctins, the night elves distinctions are never explained, and the orcs don't really seem to use the colour system at all.
WarCraft 3 had more factions so the colours could represent more things I guess.

Like the colours are contextual too, they mean different thigns in different contexts. That is, sometimes green Undead represent Kel'thuzad, sometimes Green Undead represent Detheroc or the Burning Legion in general. And just the sheer number of different factions in WarCraft 3 with hugely distinct goals and objectives is so much more interesting to me.

But then Blue Undead is always Sylvanas for example.

They don't do anything even remotely like that in SC2. Even though they introduced decals to distinguish these factions even further.

It took them until Legacy to really do ANYTHING with the Tal'darim other than as placeholders for evil Protoss, and whatever they needed that evil protoss group to be opposed to on the mission in question. There isn't even a strong sense of where the Tal'darim were or where they came from.

And yet they're STILL the most interesting thing about SC2 (mainly Legacy of the Void).

My point isn't really about colours, my point is more that WC3 in particular had a variety of factions with viewpoints and objectives and goals and over the course of it's long story you'd see the interactions between these varying factions and objectives. (Ner'zhul vs. the Burning Legion for example, which becomes the primary conflict of the expansion)

But in SC2 you really have good guys (Raynor, Artanis), not so good guys (the Zerg Swarm) and evil (Amon & his followers).

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Raynor says they're going to try and destroy it, yes. However, Zeratul says even earlier that it's Aiur's 'last functioning warp gate'.
I think Raynor said 'we'll shut down the gate on this end'. Then Artanis warns them that they won't be able to send them any reinforcements. I BELIEVE. It's been a long time since I've played it.

I double checked the cinematic. Yeah Raynor says that, and Artanis tells them they'll be hopelessly outnumbered and they'll send all the troops they can spare. Like the motivations make so much more sense if Raynor and Fenix were desperate for any help they could get.

Like, they could just turn the gate off, or set it for a different destination so that none of the Zerg go to Shakuras and make the Protoss there's lives even more hellish.

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I'd agree that WoL is "massively inconsistent and chaotic and random". HotS seems way more sanely structured in its plot though.
HotS has similar issues but the plot has a better conceptualization of what it is and what it wants to be.

Wings of Liberty was blatantly completely changed in mid-development. Metzen said as much in an interview. The main character's whole arc was changed from one thing, to... not existing. Raynor doesn't really have an arc in Wings of Liberty. (Good guy who's down on his luck succeeds and is no longer as down on his luck -- basically.)

Kerrigan conversely has a very confusing, inconsistent arc, but there's a much more clear singular goal that they're at least going for. Though I'm not sure they wind up ultimately realizing it.

Legacy of the Void is even better in this regard, but even more straight-forward. Artanis is pretty flat, but at least has consistent goals, objectives and methods.

I think building these campaigns around a single character and their posse was a humongous mistake, probably the single biggest one they made. But there it is.

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you do? wow, we're shocked.
Maybe you could for once contribute something meaningful to the discussion instead of constantly 'calling me out' because you disagree with me and taking everything I say so personally for whatever reason.

Maybe? No? Okay then.

Moving on, another point I think is interesting and I've been watching clips of people talking about this is how the cinematic aspects of the story are directly integrated into the gameplay. I've always kind of thought about this myself.

That StarCraft 2 has kind of an arcade feel. The story takes place inbetween the missions and gameplay, and then the gameplay itself is just an uninterrupted special arcade-type game that you might find on the SC2 arcade.

Like, comparing SC:BW's True Colours to WC3's the Culling to SC2's Media Blitz.

True Colours is probably one of the first Blizzard missions that integrates a plot and gameplay element on top of one another. The enemy is resting because of plot, meaning they won't fight back in the gameplay. As it is, you're going to perform a sneak attack and you're going to use units that are good at sneak attacking to attack them. Almost a perfect integration of gameplay and plot.

The Culling is similar. The plot is that you're racing Mal'ganis to kill innocent NPC civilians who can't fight back. And that's literally the gameplay too. I suppose symbolically the introduction of the knight is intended to make a two-fold statement. The knights are symbols of chivalry and heroism, just as Arthas takes his first steps towards throwing those aspects of himself away in order to get the job done. From a gameplay perspective, they're the fastest human unit in their roster. So they can move quickly from house to house, killing peasants. They also have a lot of health so they don't get worn down quickly.

In StarCraft 2's case Media Blitz is probably the game's BEST example of doing something in the old style. Facing off against Mengsk is one of Raynor's express goals and it is established very early on that he'd like to bring him down. There's also something of a cause-effect plan here. You steal the Odin, then you use it to attack Korhal. There's a gameplay element that is integrated FULLY and TOTALLY into the storyline. You use gameplay to steal something and then in the next mission you actually use it to fight the enemy you've been battling, who is someone that Raynor has a personal connection to.

I guess you could argue capturing the pieces of the Artifact then using it in the finale is a similar, but I don't feel that's as thematically connected. It's also a particularly simplistic connection. Especially since you've hardly been racing Kerrigan for the artifact pieces, you've mostly been fighting nameless, faceless evil Protoss. Who are just sort of generic fanatics that Raynor has no relationship toward or with.

It'd be like if a third of the Undead campaign in WC3 was dedicated to fighting the Blackrock Clan to get pages of the Book of Medivh and if the Undead campaign was 30 missions long instead of 10. But instead, it's just a single mission meant to progress the plot, introduce Kel'thuzad properly and re-introduce Arthas's return to Lordaeron. It also works as a book end because it shows Arthas revisiting where his first mission in the human campaign took place. And even THEN, I think Arthas has a more personal connection to fighting the Blackrock Clan than Raynor does the Tal'darim and Raynor spends WAY more time fighting the Tal'darim. There is so much more going on in that ONE shallow, stupid WC3 mission than there is in a SERIES of missions in Wings of Liberty that are integral to the game's main plot and climax.

I think if more of the missions had been like Media Blitz, I would have liked Wings of Liberty more. Media Blitz is a well-realized mission with strong gameplay and plot integration that gives the characters a lot to do and develops their relationships while dealing with a villain that Raynor actually has a personal relationship with. Too bad it really doesn't go anywhere.
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  #158  
Old 05-30-2017, 04:37 PM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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Maybe you could for once contribute something meaningful to the discussion instead of constantly 'calling me out' because you disagree with me and taking everything I say so personally for whatever reason.
why? so you can ignore it because it doesn't fit your narrative? I'm sorry, i know better than that now


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  #159  
Old 05-30-2017, 06:01 PM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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why? so you can ignore it because it doesn't fit your narrative? I'm sorry, i know better than that now
Make better points, then.

But if you don't have anything to add except cheeky, bitchy GIFs and making passive aggressive comments while people are having an actual conversation probably best just not to say anything.

But you do what you want.

Moving on:


I enjoyed this video comparing SC1 and 2 a lot. I don't agree with a lot of it (and disagree very, very strongly with some of it), but it's a cool dissertation.
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  #160  
Old 05-30-2017, 06:38 PM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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But you do what you want.
Have i ever done differently?

"u dont make gud arguments" Such a weak defense.
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  #161  
Old 05-30-2017, 07:03 PM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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Have i ever done differently?

"u dont make gud arguments" Such a weak defense.
Well I know it doesn't quite live up to "I'm not satisfied with your response to my argument" but we do what we can.

Like, if you can't handle having an adult conversation where people might not accept your viewpoint and subsequently agree with you I have no idea what to tell you and I have no idea why you're even posting on a discussion forum.

Like, seriously. You like Heart of the Swarm. Good for you. Go enjoy it. Stop bothering me because I don't like it and probably never will.
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  #162  
Old 06-10-2017, 11:13 PM
Ol'Yoggy Ol'Yoggy is offline

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Well I know it doesn't quite live up to "I'm not satisfied with your response to my argument" but we do what we can.

Like, if you can't handle having an adult conversation where people might not accept your viewpoint and subsequently agree with you I have no idea what to tell you and I have no idea why you're even posting on a discussion forum.

Like, seriously. You like Heart of the Swarm. Good for you. Go enjoy it. Stop bothering me because I don't like it and probably never will.
The issue is that you can be rather churlish about it and are inconsistent. There are problems with SC2 but in many ways it is superior than Vanilla. You can interact with the other characters more and get a better sense of their motivation. Details are more explained rather than the little blurbs we get.

It's basically that you hold SC1 on a pedestal and ignore that a LOT of the things you slam SC2 for are in SC1 (in some ways SC1 is WORSE).

SC2 had problems but in terms of presentation it blew SC1 out of the water and the underlying ideas had the potential to outclass SC1
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  #163  
Old 11-21-2017, 12:34 PM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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Hey again!

Some dude wrote a huge proposal for a Starcraft alternate universe. Most of it is just exploration of cultures and tech trees. If that's too much for one sitting, he also posted a separate 14 page timeline detailing the major events, as well as a 150 page document compiling the posts.

The AU is based around 4 major changes to the plot of Starcraft: the Queen of Blades is replaced with Zerg breeds created with a Terran core genus, the Duran/Hybrid/Xel'naga plot is dropped, the UED plot is tweaked to follow the Umojans rather than Earth, and Zeratul sacrifices himself to kill the Overmind rather than Tassadar.

I am really loving it so far. It focuses on everything I find interesting like the different conflicts and moralities underlying each of the races. It feels generally more believable, too. I am disappointed it has not gotten more attention, but that's life!

More detailed breakdown:
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No Kerrigan, instead the Zerg will have Assimilated Terrans as units.
Awesome! Queen of Blades lacks a consistent personality, lacks the Zerg's unique perspective, and only took power because the plot said so. These "Assimilated Terrans" look so much more interesting. Not content with one, the author gives us no less than THREE soylent green monsters.
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No Duran, Amon, nor major Xel'Naga Plotline such as Hybrids nor Prophecy.
Great! I always felt this stole the thunder from the Zerg and adding a 4th race distracted from the conflict between the Terrans, Zerg and Protoss.
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UED is replaced by the Umojans, and the Kel-Morians will also be a major component.
Also great! It made no sense to me that the backstory went to so much effort to have Koprulu cut off from Earth, only for the very next expansion to say "lol! Earth was secretly spying the whole time!"
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Zeratul sacrifices himself instead of Tassadar during the Death of the Overmind.
Sure, why not? I guess Zeratul wants to atone for leaking intel and Tassadar wants to train new twilight templar.
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  #164  
Old 11-24-2017, 12:39 AM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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The issue is that you can be rather churlish about it and are inconsistent. There are problems with SC2 but in many ways it is superior than Vanilla. You can interact with the other characters more and get a better sense of their motivation. Details are more explained rather than the little blurbs we get.

It's basically that you hold SC1 on a pedestal and ignore that a LOT of the things you slam SC2 for are in SC1 (in some ways SC1 is WORSE).

SC2 had problems but in terms of presentation it blew SC1 out of the water and the underlying ideas had the potential to outclass SC1
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Like, seriously. You like Heart of the Swarm. Good for you. Go enjoy it. Stop bothering me because I don't like it and probably never will.
I'm not being churlish. I'm not a hypocrite for liking SC1 more than SC2 or thinking it's better.

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Some dude wrote a huge proposal for a Starcraft alternate universe. Most of it is just exploration of cultures and tech trees. If that's too much for one sitting, he also posted a separate 14 page timeline detailing the major events, as well as a 150 page document compiling the posts.
As someone who enjoys fan-writing and stuff like that, that seems like... a ton of work for very little payoff.

Also I feel like changing the original game is kind of... weird.
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  #165  
Old 12-04-2017, 10:29 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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As someone who enjoys fan-writing and stuff like that, that seems like... a ton of work for very little payoff.

Also I feel like changing the original game is kind of... weird.
Would you like to elaborate? I found his reasoning very convincing and the outline to be better plotted than canon.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:09 PM
Aldrius Aldrius is offline

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Would you like to elaborate? I found his reasoning very convincing and the outline to be better plotted than canon.
I just mean that's a lot to write for something that's not being produced. I don't even understand things like writing Kerrigan out and replacing her with... generic units? Kerrigan's kind of a central focal point of the story for a reason. In hindsight it's easy to be unhappy with the way Brood War is written, but certainly in the original StarCraft's Overmind campaign she's pretty integral.

I didn't read it in that much detail, but it just seems overtly ambitious.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:42 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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I just mean that's a lot to write for something that's not being produced. I don't even understand things like writing Kerrigan out and replacing her with... generic units? Kerrigan's kind of a central focal point of the story for a reason. In hindsight it's easy to be unhappy with the way Brood War is written, but certainly in the original StarCraft's Overmind campaign she's pretty integral.

I didn't read it in that much detail, but it just seems overtly ambitious.
Ambitious? Perhaps. I think it was made as a fanfic bible so a bunch of different mappers could work on their own campaigns and still pretend to take place in the same universe without having to write around Blizzard's bland epic fantasy heroes. The dozen page timeline is pretty simple and explains all of the major plot points. The full hundred page document is just a bunch of ideas for tech and culture the author made up for the races, but isn't necessary to understand the timeline. A lot of the ideas are stuff I've seen bandied before by other people, but to see all the best ideas in one timeline is very helpful.

Also, the deviantart links have expired so I copied the pdfs to google:
I don't understand the complaint about Kerry being fridged. I thought Overmind campaign was lackluster and meandering. It did not have the cohesive narrative that Rebel Yell did and felt more like a lame spin-off of that campaign.

I had several problems with it, actually.
  • Kerry was not particularly integral to the narrative we got. While the Overmind talked about her role a lot, the PC did all of the actual work. When time came to invade Aiur, Kerry was left behind even though that was the role she was intended for. She was not created to fight the dark templar. Her presence in the campaign feels forced and incongruous, like they took a previous script and then shoehorned her into it.
  • Kerry actively defies key Zerg qualities. The Zerg have cerebrates and overlords and queens to oversee the management of units and hive clusters, but they do not endow warriors with intellect. They do not have heroes on the field of battle, they build armies of engineered monsters. It's all very specialized and efficient.
  • Kerry serves little purpose besides a cameo. The original manual makes a big deal about how humanity was the determinant in the war against the Protoss. The Zerg were all set up to abduct countless psychics and spawn an army of new psychic warrior breeds. This never happened in the actual game and the concept of the determinant is quickly forgotten after being alluded to in the early missions. I know a lot of people have tried to make ad hoc rationalizations, but taken at face value it feels like the campaign was partly rewritten and not proofread for consistency. According to an interview at polygon, Metzen said he originally intended her to die but added her because he liked her so much; this despite QoB being a completely different character from Kerry, defeating the point of bringing her back.
  • The script was clearly rewritten multiple times. It feels like they originally wrote a story line about the Zerg building an army of psychic terran-derived creatures, and then halfway through someone decided to throw all that away in favor of introducing Kerry. They didn't even do anything interesting with her: her Terran story line is never resolved, she contributes nothing to the narrative, and the writing of the campaign feels really weak overall. The Zerg feel like they were demoted into playing second fiddle to the Terran cameos from Rebel Yell.

I really have no problem with letting Kerry die on Tarsonis. If we need a bloodthirsty Zerg character we can just make a new Zerg character rather than shoehorning a Terran cameo. An army of assimilated terrans just makes sense for the Zerg to do. The determinant was added specifically to justify including Terrans in the story, so removing it makes their presence feel forced.

Here I segue into a discussion of the timeline's overall structure
The timeline itself is pretty simple. It takes the original lore from the SC1 manual as its basis, takes the events from the expansions and sequels, then forces the latter to follow the former. The games recycle the same basic plot repeatedly so nothing of value is lost.

The timeline divides itself into a few distinct eras.
  1. Precursor: the era preceding the Great War, but after the Guild Wars. The Zerg vanguard arrives in Koprulu and the Terrans begin studying them in secret. Meanwhile, some Protoss watching the sector (e.g. Executor Andinunn from the beta) send token forces to deal with the Zerg but eventually realize that conventional tactics don't work.
  2. Great War: the era where the Zerg, Terrans and Protoss are in open conflict. This is actually much more complex compared to canon, since it takes place across multiple theaters. It is easiest to describe it as sub-eras by time and place.
  3. Great War (Koprulu sector): In K-sec, the great war starts off with the Terrans defending themselves from Zerg invaders and Protoss purifiers. This comes to a peak at Tarsonis, when the planet is lost and the Protoss seemingly abandon the sector (the timeline doesn't go into much detail on the Protoss POV). While most of the Zerg flee with abducted psychics, some broods continue to maintain a presence in the sector with the ultimate intent of exterminating the surviving Terrans (this is standard practice for the Zerg). The Dominion takes the KMC and Umojans as clients, and they work together to fight the Zerg. However, Umoja secretly was to overthrow Mengsk and institute democracy, so they secretly finance rebels like Raynor.
  4. Great War (hive worlds): After abducting enough psychics, the Zerg settle on a series of hive worlds to experiment. They produce numerous horrifying monstrosities that produce massive psychic signals. These signals attract Protoss to the hive worlds, including the dark templar. When Zeratul unwittingly kills Zasz, the Zerg acquire all his military intel about the Protoss Empire and the Nerazim, giving them a massive head start. The Zerg expel the Protoss forces and launch an invasion of the Protoss empire.
  5. Great War (Protoss Empire): The Protoss empire consists of hundreds of worlds, both khala and nerazim. The Zerg assault them all at once. They deploy assimilated terrans as soldiers and defenses, hunt nerazim to keep them from interfering, harvest khaydarin crystals for electronic warfare, investigate ancient ruins containing lost technology, etc. The Zerg are stated to attack the Psi Matrix and Khala using assimilated terrans and khaydarin crystals, loosely mimicking Amon in SC2. The scale is much, much grander than in canon.
  6. Brood War: The Overmind is killed as in canon, but since it is a gestalt of the Zerg, they will eventually resurrect it. In the interim, the Zerg broods go crazy and turn on one another, giving the Protoss and Terrans greater chances to fight back. Various Zerg broods are enslaved by the Protoss, Nerazim, and Terrans alike. The Umojans unleash their enslaved Zerg against the Dominion, mimicking the UED in canon.
  7. End: The timeline ends with the revival of the Overmind, mimicking the Amon arc from SC2, unifying the Zerg and giving them a modified directive to survive rather than seek perfection. In the full document, it is also suggested that the Terrans and Protoss will come into conflict at this time (the Protoss glassed Terran worlds, after all).

I think that is a much more fertile ground for stories than what we got in canon. A lot of existing custom campaigns already follow some variation of this overall plot, since they have to write around Kerry and all to tell any other kind of story.

What follows is my criticism on the franchise future
The franchise as it stands has no future that I can discern. SC2 went out of its way to force a happy ending where everyone makes peace. There is no logical reason for any of the races to ever fight each other. Any reasons for war would be obviously contrived and fake. This is in clear contrast to SC1, or at least the manual backstory, where the Zerg were responsible for the conflict and all three sides had compelling reasons to fight basically forever.

Originally, the Zerg need to eat the Terrans in order to get the strength needed to eat the Protoss. The expansions and sequels did everything they could to retcon the Zerg into good guys, even though their original portrayal was what made them popular in the first place.

After Starcraft 2 there is basically no reason for anyone to fight. The Zerg are already perfect and having nothing left to do but sit around. The Terrans became a benevolent dictatorship under Valerian, and only crazies like the Defenders of Man dislike him. The Protoss have all become goth hippies ranting about crystals.

If there is ever a Starcraft 3 or other continuation, I expect that it will be a reboot of some kind. Blizzard cannot keep their lore straight, so even if it is supposed to be a sequel the retcons will render it a soft reboot. If Blizzard does a hard reboot, then either they will recover the conflict from the original manual or make up something else.

The original conflict set up in the manual about the Zerg creating armies of assimilated Terrans was never explored in the games (infested and aberrations don't count), and I think that's a shame. It would certainly have been more interesting than the bland epic fantasy in space that we got.
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  #168  
Old 05-22-2018, 12:55 AM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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Reading the posted links to the reboot pitch, I agree they do look better as a setting than what was actually done with the series. And yeah, Kerrigan in many ways isn't really a good character.
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  #169  
Old 05-23-2018, 07:36 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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I liked that redesign BCT though I don't think SC is so far gone it needs a reboot. Kerrigan always was a bit whatever to me so cutting her out despite being a big character doesn't matter much to me. You make a good point that any new conflict will be somewhat contrived but it won't be too bad, I mean history is full of nations declaring eternal peace only to break it a few years later.
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:19 PM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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You make a good point that any new conflict will be somewhat contrived but it won't be too bad, I mean history is full of nations declaring eternal peace only to break it a few years later.
On Earth humans fight over resources and ideologies. In Starcraft, if you want resources or freedom of religion, you can fly off into space and claim your own planet. You need to work really hard to start a war that people will want to fight.

The three races don't have logical reasons to fight. SC1 introduced a variety of carefully reasoned or contrived reasons for conflict. For example, the zerg seeking the determinant, the terrans wanting independence, the protoss wanting freedom of religion, etc.

SC2 took every chance it could to destroy these reasons and to destroy the cultures of the three races without ever really exploring them. Now the races don't have any logical reasons to fight, or indeed any kind of motivations or culture to inform their existences. They just settled for peace regardless of the logic behind it and now they twiddle their thumbs and sing kumbaya. Even if SC3 contrived a new reason for conflict, it would come off as stupid and inferior to the reasons in SC1 pre-retcons.

If the zerg do not want to assimilate the universe, they have no reason for existing within the narrative. As of SC2, they are depicted as puppets who mindlessly follow the last orders given to them by Kerry and lack any will of their own.

The protoss are just funny-looking humans as of SC2. They have absolutely nothing unique going for them. All of their tribal divisions alluded to in the manual, much less the khala and why they have it, were flushed down the toilet.

In other words, anyone who actually cares about the politics in Starcraft is better off playing Stellaris.

My thoughts on Enumerate

Enumerate is certainly better than canon, but I disagree with some aspects of the chronology.

In a general sense, the chronology is inherently limited by recycling the stock plot of the games. When Starcraft was being developed, the major events of the games were not decided until well into development. The manual, which the chronology is based on, leaves the events of the Great War open-ended. With the premise of the Koprulu sector caught between two alien races, the plot could have gone in any number of directions. I understand why, since that is familiar and intended for multiple authors to share the same universe with minimal collaboration.

The chronology doesn't mention psi-emitters, which in the game were shown to have attracted the zerg. I can understand why, since 1) the zerg are intelligent and looking specifically for psychics, and 2) the psi-emitter was a blatant plot device that should have been used more often than it was. Although if the chronology is going to keep the fall of Tarsonis, or the zerg's experiments producing a similar effect, this needs to be explained.

The zerg tech tree arbitrary explains that queens do not play a leadership role, despite this being part of their fluff since their inception. I know they don't provide Control in the game, but that's a matter of gameplay and story being segregated.

The tech trees arbitrarily ignore all the units introduced by SC2 in favor of BW-era and entirely new units, which I thought was unnecessary. New units would be great, but SC2 already comes with a large assortment of units, skins, co-op commanders, etc and it would be a waste to ignore them. For example, the Heptacraft mod creates seven new tech trees using mostly existing units.

The chronology arbitrarily ignores the tal'darim and purifiers. I can understand why since they don't contribute anything of value, but that doesn't mean they can't be salvaged. The tal'darim could be treated as a subset of nerazim or a generic term for various protoss fanatics. The purifiers could be introduced as relics of the pre-aeon protoss and given new or additional backstories, like IDK the necrons from 40k? A bunch of protoss converted themselves into immortal robots after a million-year slumber they want to reclaim their former empires? I mean, they're a decent way to explore the potential of the "explore ruins of the pre-aeon protoss" plot hook mentioned in the chronology.

The problem with dark templar and brain bugs
The plot point about dark templar being a deus ex machina that can drive broods feral was only added into the game because Metzen wrote himself into a corner by removing the determinant and the protoss empire. In the manual, and the chronology based on it, the protoss have a massive empire, reality-warping psychic powers and fleets of death stars... so the zerg needed to assimilate humanity simply to achieve parity and not superiority. It is not necessary for the dark templar to be able to break broods and I'm sure that the terrans and protoss could devise any number of ways to assault the hive mind without that deus ex machina. The chronology outright states the khalai have mind control and memory wiping.

In a similar vein, the distinction between "insane" and "feral" broods seems unnecessary (similar to the introduction of "primal zerg" in SC2). The only difference is that the former is lead by a feral cerebrate, but in practice it could behave no differently. Conversely, if the hive mind is part of the zerg's genetics and not something that can be trivially removed, then there is no reason why a feral brood (assuming it doesn't cannibalize itself to death first) could not spawn a new cerebrate like the Flood or Necromorphs spontaneously develop grave minds. At one point the Starcraft beta named the evolution chamber a "cerebrate" instead (and by the logic of buildings, a base could have multiples of it), suggesting cerebrates previously played a far less vital role in the narrative than they did in the final product.

There's a related plot hole about feral broods that wasn't addressed. In SC1 the feral Garm brood had to be exterminated because it could not be reclaimed, but in BW feral zerg default to the control of nearest leadership. Under BW logic, the Garm brood should have reverted to the control of the PC cerebrate (or whoever) rather than going feral. One could make the argument that the zerg only developed mind control afterward because feral zerg do NOT default to the control of the nearest leadership, but that's an ad hoc rationalization that is not given in the games. The latter scenario is only implied by the EN chronology, not explicit.

While I know maintaining cerebrates is part of the charm of SC1 nostalgia (although the chronology isn't entirely nostalgic since the author recognizes SC1 had storytelling sins), it makes no sense they haven't adopted combat forms like the SC2 zerg commanders. I understand that from a technical perspective they need to have giants brains in order to coordinate their massive broods, but there's no reason why they don't have defensive shells like the Overmind, redundant backups, multiple smaller brains in different locations, or something along those lines. The shtick of the zerg is adaptation so it makes no sense they would retain such obvious vulnerabilities. By comparison, overlords and queens (which are to cerebrates what cerebrates are the the Overmind, as stated in the manual) can be easily replaced if lost.

Something that isn't mentioned in the chronology, but is a plot point in the Retribution expansion, is that cerebrates killed (by mundane means) don't revive instantly (a la overlords and queens) and this opens a window of opportunity to deal decisive blows to the brood before they reorganize. I thought that was a lot more interesting than the instant revival depicted in canon. If the dark templar deus ex machina is removed, that would be a decent replacement. The zerg could conceivably counter this by spawning multiple cerebrates, but that's the nature of arms races in reality because reality doesn't have deus ex machinas.

Despite lambasting this problem in the games as the reason why the zerg hierarchy got killed off in BW and replaced in SC2, the chronology still falls into the trap of treating the zerg hive mind as having distinct and unchanging points of weakness (i.e. cerebrates and the Overmind). By contrast, overlords and queens are not depicted as suffering the same weakness despite serving the same purpose. I mentioned above that this could be mitigated by dropping the dark templar deus ex machina in favor of more general psychic warfare and giving feral broods the ability to replace cerebrates (essentially treating them the same as overlords and queens, but one rung higher). This could be explained in the fluff as the zerg personalities being inherently bodiless entities existing within the brood's telepathic/hereditary memory rather than embodied by brain bugs. In other words, every brood would have its own mini-Overmind.
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Old 05-25-2018, 11:35 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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I've said my part about how I think the zerg fared in Enumerate, but I wanted to talk more about the protoss and terrans. In the SC1 manual, the protoss and terrans received a fair amount of plot threads and foreshadowing.

The Confederacy was dealing with the Sons of Korhal, Umojan Protectorate and Kel-Morian Combine, who all had substantial reasons to get involved in the Great War. All three had cause to overthrow the Confederacy: the SoK wanted vengeance, the UP wanted democracy, and the KMC wanted its guilds back. The UP also wanted to ally with the protoss.

The Protoss had the Akilae, Ara and Dark Templar factions with their own stakes in the Great War. The Akilae wanted to defend the terrans from the zerg, whereas the Ara callously considered the genocide of terrans to be collateral damage. The dark templar could have followed the zerg probes to Koprulu too, and its up in the air how they would take part in the Great War.

These plot points were dropped in the canon games without being explored, but oddly enough they suffer a similar treatment in Enumerate. There is no protoss timeline, for example. The author of Enumerate pretty clearly displays a pro-zerg bias, so I am not really surprised about this. Part of this also has to do with the chronology adhering to the broad strokes of the canon timeline, which as I just said ignored these plot points.

The author of Enumerate seemed to have misunderstood the position of the KMC, since the chronology depicts them as being the first target of the zerg despite the Guild Wars resulting in their guilds being claimed by the Confederacy. What makes more sense would be them trying to, IDK, take advantage of the Great War to reclaim their territories. They might even enslave zerg or reverse engineer protoss tech while they are at it (that is a key plot point of the Antioch Chronicles, for example).

The zerg and protoss leaving after the fall of Tarsonis doesn't make much sense either. That only happened in canon because Metzen contrived it to, but in Enumerate this doesn't make sense. The protoss are not wimps like they are in canon, so they would still have fleets in the Koprulu sector to fight the zerg and terrans. The zerg have been abducting psychics ever since they arrived, so it wouldn't make sense to suddenly make major withdrawal at that specific point in time (even if Enumerate specifies they leave a token force to exterminate the surviving terrans).

What should really happen during the Great War, if these plot points are integrated, is that the protoss would experience a civil war within the Koprulu sector due to the schism between the Ara and Akilae and the additional presence of the dark templar (who would have their own motivations*). The Umojans would secretly fund the SoK and try to ally with the protoss (probably the Akilae or the dark templar). The KMC would try to reclaim its former glory (through dubious means). The zerg would be performing their experiments from the moment they arrive as they keep sending the psychics they abduct to the remote hive worlds, eventually attracting protoss attention once the psychic signals become strong enough to cross interstellar distances.

(* Dark templar motivations could range from Ulrezaj seeking revenge on the khalai, Alarak gathering power for a coup against Ma'lash, Zeratul helping terrans fight off zerg, or anything else you could think of.)

Once the zerg send their swarms and assimilated terrans into protoss space, I assume the protoss forces present in Koprulu would be in a situation similar to the Asgard in Stargate SG-1. While allied with humanity against the zerg, they cannot spare many forces due to fighting a greater zerg force in their own space.

Speaking of the zerg invading the protoss empire all at once, it shouldn't be possible for them to do that unless they have hacked the psi matrix to make their own wormholes. While it makes sense they would acquire defense codes or something from Zeratul on top of their existing psychic warfare preparations, this isn't noted anywhere in Enumerate.

Removing the dark templar deus ex machina in favor of cerebrates taking time to replace a la Retribution shouldn't make a big difference on the chronology even with my suggested adjustments above (mostly because the scale is so large and the events are described in broad strokes). If distinctions like the insane or feral broods are needed, it should be simple to explain them on a case-by-case basis under the rationale of general psychic warfare. This also allows terrans and khalai to "kill" broods without dark templar help (although by the same token the broods are equally easy/difficult to revive).

Like, IDK, Zeratul relied on creating a psionic storm to kill Zasz and the Overmind (ironic considering that dark templar psionic storms nearly destroyed Aiur). When he killed Zasz it was completely unintentional because Zasz had easily killed his companions and was mind-probing him at the time; the storm severely weakened and would have killed him if a dark/void pylon hadn't recalled him at the last moment. Killing the Overmind required help from other dark templar and resulted in his death since he needed to stay behind to maintain the storms against the Overmind's own strength.

While I agree that queen of blades was a bad character, the basic idea of an infested terran controlling a brood isn't completely stupid. Terrans used psychic warfare to enslave broods, and canon had nanomachine treatments that could allow infested terrans to regain their sanity (e.g. Sistask, Morrik, Stukov; these were named "mutates" in one source). If you combine the two ideas, you could hypothetically have a case where a mutate uses terran tech to enslave a brood. The SC2 co-op commander Stukov is the logical extreme: combining terran tech with zerg biology in all his forces.

So Enumerate, while superior to canon, suffers from not being creative enough. The last I heard from the author was that he was thinking to revise Enumerate, but I don't know if he was aware of any of the points I raised.
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  #172  
Old 05-26-2018, 12:51 PM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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The author wouldn't have wrote anything for Warcraft would he?
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  #173  
Old 05-30-2018, 06:50 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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The author wouldn't have wrote anything for Warcraft would he?
No idea. Trying to make sense out of Warcraft is impossible at this point.
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