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Old 01-01-2012, 05:00 PM
Genesis Genesis is offline

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Default Was Starcraft the height of Blizzard storytelling?

While playing through the SC2 campaign recently, I was struck by just how memorable the characters of Starcraft are. They're almost all too easy to remember: Jim Raynor, Kerrigan the Queen of Blades, Zeratul, Arcturus Mengsk, Tassadar, Fenix, Duran, etc. What's more, is that both Arthas and Sylvanas were constantly being compared to Kerrigan, but neither of these characters seem to hold a candle to Kerrigan's complexity. But these highly memorable characters became that way through the storyline that developed over the course of Starcraft 1 and the Brood Wars expansion. And while it may be debatable whether the story to SC2 is as strong as SC1 or TBW, SC2's story nevertheless builds up on the SC's strength of characterization. Maybe I have become somewhat disenchanted with Warcraft and its stifling story in WoW, but I am now wondering if Starcraft, and not Warcraft, is the height of Blizzard's storytelling.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:17 PM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
While playing through the SC2 campaign recently, I was struck by just how memorable the characters of Starcraft are. They're almost all too easy to remember: Jim Raynor, Kerrigan the Queen of Blades, Zeratul, Arcturus Mengsk, Tassadar, Fenix, Duran, etc. What's more, is that both Arthas and Sylvanas were constantly being compared to Kerrigan, but neither of these characters seem to hold a candle to Kerrigan's complexity. But these highly memorable characters became that way through the storyline that developed over the course of Starcraft 1 and the Brood Wars expansion. And while it may be debatable whether the story to SC2 is as strong as SC1 or TBW, SC2's story nevertheless builds up on the SC's strength of characterization. Maybe I have become somewhat disenchanted with Warcraft and its stifling story in WoW, but I am now wondering if Starcraft, and not Warcraft, is the height of Blizzard's storytelling.
The conversations at the beginning of each mission showed each character pretty well, but I still think W3 is better. SC is so limited to the same 3-4 factions all the time. Lore isn't just about the story, but about the setting, too.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:25 PM
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Curveball here! If the question is what the best piece of fiction published under the Blizzard Entertainment name in terms of characters, setting, narrative, description etc ... then I would actually say Warcraft Legends.

Not all of the stories (or even some other manga), but a significant majority I feel were of a very high quality. It was a genuinely fun and interesting experience reading the stories. Thrill of the Hunt, Family Values and An Honest Trade all spring to mind. Fair enough though, they're generally not very long individually and they weren't written or published 'in-house'. Also throw in Death Knight too, it was really good as well.

If your question just meant the storytelling in the three actual games, i.e. Starcraft vs. Warcraft vs. Diablo, then I have no idea!
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:27 PM
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If your question just meant the storytelling in the three actual games, i.e. Starcraft vs. Warcraft vs. Diablo, then I have no idea!
Yeah, I basically mean the actual game media that forms the central core of the story.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:23 PM
HalfElfDragon HalfElfDragon is offline

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I think I would say that I think that Starcraft is easily Blizzard's best game. I've never actually thought to compare it's storytelling to that of Warcraft, but as a whole product it is superior.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:51 PM
Mshadowz Mshadowz is offline

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It is because of how amazing Starcraft 2 was that I demand for a warcraft 4. I went into the WoL campaign thinking "This will be fun I guess," and came out of it passed out on the floor from the sheer fufilment of such an amazingly told story.

Imagine Warcraft 3 but with the mini cinematics between each mission, the high quality animations ect. The story telling is so much better than in 2002.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:17 AM
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The conversations at the beginning of each mission showed each character pretty well, but I still think W3 is better. SC is so limited to the same 3-4 factions all the time. Lore isn't just about the story, but about the setting, too.
I'm not entirely sure that WC3 was better, though it's probably the best of the Warcraft franchise. Starcraft's story felt tighter. And your criticism holds basically the same for Warcraft too. Warcraft has more diversity in terms of races. I certainly don't think that can be denied, but the Starcraft universe is especially composed of factions, though primarily within humanity.
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:04 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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Originally Posted by Sarahmoo View Post
Curveball here! If the question is what the best piece of fiction published under the Blizzard Entertainment name in terms of characters, setting, narrative, description etc ... then I would actually say Warcraft Legends.

Not all of the stories (or even some other manga), but a significant majority I feel were of a very high quality. It was a genuinely fun and interesting experience reading the stories. Thrill of the Hunt, Family Values and An Honest Trade all spring to mind. Fair enough though, they're generally not very long individually and they weren't written or published 'in-house'. Also throw in Death Knight too, it was really good as well.

If your question just meant the storytelling in the three actual games, i.e. Starcraft vs. Warcraft vs. Diablo, then I have no idea!
Yeah, many of those were quite decent. I especially liked the one about the orc who saves the little draenai girl. It was cliche, it was cheesy but damn did I like it, I guess I am just sappy like that.


Anyhow, on to the topic.

I can't just compare the games, for me a full comparison requires the entire universe. And from that standpoint, or hell any standpoint, the SC universe blows warcraft out of the water.

From books to the actual game, for me SC was superior in every way to WC, from a story standpoint. And for all the complaints I may have for SCII it is still many times better then WoW, and unlike WoW it was very fun to play in all it's aspects, you only see the lore faults when you scrutinize it, it just flows so good you don't care about it while you play.

So for me SC wins over warcraft hands down.

I however can't say that it's the best they've ever made as I've never played diablo.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:10 AM
Kembei Kembei is offline

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In terms of lore and narrative:

Warcraft 3 = Perfection
Starcraft (and BW) = Almost Perfect
Starcraft 2 = Amazing Lore
Warcraft 2 = Cool Lore
Diablo 2 = Cool Lore
Diablo 1 = Interesting Lore
Warcraft 1 = Where it all began

And then...

Black Thorne = +1000 better than WoW
WoW (+expansions) = Lore Killer
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
I'm not entirely sure that WC3 was better, though it's probably the best of the Warcraft franchise. Starcraft's story felt tighter. And your criticism holds basically the same for Warcraft too. Warcraft has more diversity in terms of races. I certainly don't think that can be denied, but the Starcraft universe is especially composed of factions, though primarily within humanity.
It's not just about numeric differences between playable races, it's about unplayable races. SC is all terran/protoss/zerg, and W3 is full of creeps, race variations and unplayable races.

SC would need new races or visually different factions of the same races to compete with that. Just try to imagine W3 with only the 4 playable races, it would suck terribly, and SC was too limited in that regards.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:35 AM
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Everything's just gone down hill since Lost Vikings.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:36 AM
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Everything's gone down hill since pong.
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:34 PM
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Everything's gone down hill since WoW.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:17 PM
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It's not just about numeric differences between playable races, it's about unplayable races. SC is all terran/protoss/zerg, and W3 is full of creeps, race variations and unplayable races.

SC would need new races or visually different factions of the same races to compete with that. Just try to imagine W3 with only the 4 playable races, it would suck terribly, and SC was too limited in that regards.
Of course that would be the case. Not all possible races will have access to space travel, and there is a tendency in sci-fi towards consolidation of major races as opposed to the 1,001 races of fantasy. But for the life of me, I cannot see what this has to do with what makes the better story.

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Originally Posted by Kembei View Post
In terms of lore and narrative:

Warcraft 3 = Perfection
Starcraft (and BW) = Almost Perfect
Starcraft 2 = Amazing Lore
Warcraft 2 = Cool Lore
Diablo 2 = Cool Lore
Diablo 1 = Interesting Lore
Warcraft 1 = Where it all began

And then...

Black Thorne = +1000 better than WoW
WoW (+expansions) = Lore Killer
WC3 was hardly perfection, especially considering that Arthas's fall is a little too close to a rebranded Anakin Skywalker and Sylvanas is a rebranded (and idiot-stamped) version of Kerrigan. And when you compare Archimonde as being the Overmind who led the Zerg/Burning Legion to Aiur/Ashenvale...yeah. SC had love, friendship, betrayal, political intrigue and upheaval, into a fairly tight story. WC3's story was far more choppy, especially whenever you include The Frozen Throne, much as you included Brood Wars with Starcraft.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:43 PM
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I don't think the Arthas=Anakin complaint is at all fair. At the time War3 was out all we knew of Anakin was that he was good but went bad. Phantom Menace was the only prequel that was out during War3's development and there are little similarities between what we see there and Arthas.

If you want to say Arthas is a ripoff, go for Elric, not Anakin.



On a tangential note, am I the only one who never got the impression from SC and BW that there was romance between Raynor and Kerrigan? I just got the impression they were friends, the whole romance angle came out of nowhere for me.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:59 PM
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I don't think the Arthas=Anakin complaint is at all fair. At the time War3 was out all we knew of Anakin was that he was good but went bad. Phantom Menace was the only prequel that was out during War3's development and there are little similarities between what we see there and Arthas.

If you want to say Arthas is a ripoff, go for Elric, not Anakin.
Even if Phantom was the only prequel out, we knew that Anakin would fall and what the outcome would be. And even at the time of release of WC3, people were comparing Arthas to Anakin/Vader, as the fallen idealist who becomes the right hand of the dark Emperor/Lich King. Arthas also received a number of comparisons to Kerrigan as well.

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On a tangential note, am I the only one who never got the impression from SC and BW that there was romance between Raynor and Kerrigan? I just got the impression they were friends, the whole romance angle came out of nowhere for me.
I saw sparks between them, but I thought they were more flirtatious as opposed to an existent romantic relationship.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:14 PM
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Even if Phantom was the only prequel out, we knew that Anakin would fall and what the outcome would be. And even at the time of release of WC3, people were comparing Arthas to Anakin/Vader, as the fallen idealist who becomes the right hand of the dark Emperor/Lich King. Arthas also received a number of comparisons to Kerrigan as well.
I think that's too vague to be a fair complaint. I never saw Arthas as an idealist either.

Kerrigan is more apt, but still not quite there.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:18 PM
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I think that's too vague to be a fair complaint. I never saw Arthas as an idealist either.

Kerrigan is more apt, but still not quite there.
Regardless, numerous comparisons were made to Arthas between Kerrigan and Anakin. And I think Kerrigan's story in SC is more compelling than Arthas's story in WC3.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:46 AM
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Regardless, numerous comparisons were made to Arthas between Kerrigan and Anakin. And I think Kerrigan's story in SC is more compelling than Arthas's story in WC3.
...and? Arthas is only similar to Kerrigan as far as the fact that they're heroes who become villains. The main similarity is in the structures of the stories themselves. (First campaign focuses on the character as a hero, second focuses on their transformation into a villain, then the expansion has their face on the cover and they star in the whole storyline.)

But as far as the nuts and bolts go the two are very different, Arthas is almost the definition of a medieval fallen hero. Like something out of King Arthur. While Kerrigan very much occupies the world of sci-fi. Not even so much just in terms of their bells and whistles. (Kerrigan being part alien, Arthas being a dark knight.) But in terms of their characters. Arthas is all machismo. He's all about proving what a man he is. And how he doesn't need anyone else's help.

There's a bit of that in Kerrigan, but Kerrigan is more about cunning and guile. Kerrigan doesn't want to just defeat her opponents, she wants to screw them over in the most humiliating and domineering way she possibly can. Arthas doesn't give a damn about that in the slightest. Like when Kerrigan gets Arcturus helpless and defenseless on Korhal. Arthas would have just killed him (actually Arthas wouldn't have even bothered with the pretense of teaming up with him, he would have just killed him to begin with.) Kerrigan wanted to watch him squirm.

As for comparing Archimonde to the Overmind... uhh... what? Maybe in terms of role, but otherwise they're really quite different characters. I get the comparison, but Archimonde is hardly a rehash of the Overmind, and even if he was he's a much better rehash of the Overmind.

People seem to think it's a flaw when they can see similarities between characters and themes in different products, and it's... really not. People sit in school learning about Shakespearean tragic heroes and the elements that they all share. And the characters we're comparing are hardly so similar as to be distracting, it always comes across more like people think they've caught Blizzard being lazy or something, when I don't see it that way at all.

As far as which I prefer... I prefer War3 and it's expansion. It's a little messier than SC, but it's so much more detailed and layered, and the characters feel fuller to me. (Though Kerrigan is easily their most tragic.) I guess I just prefer grandoise characters and themes to the more ground, nuanced themes you get in StarCraft. There's no larger than life grand characters like Mannoroth, Archimonde or Grom in StarCraft. Things there are softer, quieter, more nuanced. Which befits it's more space-age setting.

I think there's a lot of flaws with WC3. (As I mentioned just a few weeks ago, I think TFT contains some of Blizzard's absolute best writing and absolute worst at the exact same time.)
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:33 PM
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...and?
-snip-
And the characters we're comparing are hardly so similar as to be distracting, it always comes across more like people think they've caught Blizzard being lazy or something, when I don't see it that way at all.
These are simply parallels that people have draw in terms of the plot and archetypes used. Obviously differences exist, otherwise I could not say that Kerrigan's story was more compelling than Arthas's, could I? As Blizzard only has three up-and-running franchises that's a little different than Shakespeare's own parallels. After all, you know that if you are stepping into a tragedy, that there will be a tragic protagonist, and those characters will share parallels. But it's a bit more open-ended with science-fiction and fantasy, which are not so much a genre with their own set of literary 'rules' as they are about setting. And the parallels became especially noticeable to people when Blizzard's next RTS after SC was WC3. For example, it's not that Archimonde is the same character as the Overmind, they obviously aren't, but that when you see their role as the gigantic evil power that has to be stopped by the ancient elves/protoss in their ancestral lands through a spirit bomb (wisps/void&khalai energy) and then factor in all the other parallels, the little things start to add up. I don't think Blizzard was being lazy. I think they genuinely thought that they had a great story, and I think that they did. I just think that Starcraft showed a higher quality and more original story.

Quote:
As far as which I prefer... I prefer War3 and it's expansion. It's a little messier than SC, but it's so much more detailed and layered, and the characters feel fuller to me. (Though Kerrigan is easily their most tragic.) I guess I just prefer grandoise characters and themes to the more ground, nuanced themes you get in StarCraft. There's no larger than life grand characters like Mannoroth, Archimonde or Grom in StarCraft. Things there are softer, quieter, more nuanced. Which befits it's more space-age setting.

I think there's a lot of flaws with WC3. (As I mentioned just a few weeks ago, I think TFT contains some of Blizzard's absolute best writing and absolute worst at the exact same time.)
I think that the grounding and nuances provide SC with more believable and overall better characters. Their characterization does not just ground their own characters, but the plot as well. I don't think that "larger than life grand characters" somehow equates to "better written characters," as you are basically just expressing a preference of fantasy over science fiction rather than the quality of Blizzard's storytelling.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:51 PM
Triceron Triceron is offline

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Starcraft hits a huge nostalgic note because it was the first time you really see betrayal on that level in any game. Between Starcraft and Final Fantasy 7, you rarely saw a game at the time where one of the main characters you played is killed off/turned into a bad guy. Now? It's become cliche and we've all come to expect the plot twists.

As a story-telling medium, I really enjoyed the Mission Briefings style more, and found it more effective. I don't like how the in-game cutscenes of Warcraft 3 stops gameplay. That, and I found the low-poly graphics a bit too rudimentary to get really involved (although I admire the style of the game).

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Old 01-06-2012, 12:33 AM
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Starcraft and Brood War have the best soundtrack of any Blizzard game.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:13 AM
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Starcraft and Brood War have the best soundtrack of any Blizzard game.
The opening to Brood War with the Wagnerian music still gives me chills.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:14 PM
TerrorhoofMayo TerrorhoofMayo is offline

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A big part of SC is the nostalgia. The other factor is SC was a blank canvas in terms of story. Blizzard didn't have to follow an established lore, nor were they forced to come up with new ones on a regular basis.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:55 PM
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A big part of SC is the nostalgia. The other factor is SC was a blank canvas in terms of story. Blizzard didn't have to follow an established lore, nor were they forced to come up with new ones on a regular basis.
Thankfully that would never be the case with WC3 on a Warcraft lore site.
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