StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Shown Off At Blizzcon

By Ben Barrett on November 8th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Well gosh, isn’t it around time? Blizzard have finally revealed and officially begun to speak about the third instalment of StarCraft II’s trilogy, Legacy of the Void, at Blizzcon this weekend. It’s focused on those enigmatic space-elves the Protoss for its singleplayer along with the usual spread of balance update and unit additions for multiplayer. The campaign is about your man in the middle there, Artanis, as he forms an army to take back his homeworld and coincidentally runs into the universe-ending machinations of the series’ big bad. Meanwhile the changes to the online game hope to bring the foundation of modern e-sports back to some of its former glory. Get the deets below.

The campaign looks to follow a similar formula to what’s come before. An opening couple of missions will set the scene, introduce you to the concepts of the Protoss and it’ll expand from there, giving you a choice of what planets to visit and units to unlock and upgrade. There’s a hub area, the Spear of Adun, Artanis’ flagship where characters can be spoken to. It also serves as the “hero unit” for this campaign, replacing Kerrigan from Heart of the Swarm. Rather than actually being present on the battlefield, it has a number of special abilities that can be called from orbit, disrupting or destroying enemies and buffing your troops. Missions themselves will be a mix of general RTSery and special scenarios. Shown off was an orbital facility where your base must be moved between resources via massive rails carrying the structure it’s based on.

For the e-sport side, three videos have been released detailing the changes for Zerg, Protoss and Terran. Each are receiving specific counters to strategies that have proven too strong in the past or nerfs to their own most commonly seen units. The return of the Lurker, Zerg’s burrowing, spike-spewing siege unit is welcome and long-requested, being one of the most powerful individual units from the first game. We see a little of the influence of the campaign shining through with the flying upgrade to the Swarm Host’s locusts, something which could be done in the latter stages of Heart of the Swarm.

Also announced, though not much detail was gone into, are two new game modes. One is a play on the old “team melee” mode from Brood War, where two players control one base in a multiplayer game. It leads to some great feats of multi-tasking or allows two newer players to still play at a reasonable level. Tournaments have been ran for it in the past and it would be great to see something like that again. The other is an “objective focused co-op mode” which very little was said about. You’ll select commanders from the StarCraft universe and have persistent campaigns against the AI with a friend. From that description it seems akin to Dawn of War 2’s Last Stand mode.

By the time you read this there should be an archive from the tournament livestream of some pros going hands-on with the new units and rebalancing.

, , , , .

71 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. subedii says:

    Largely I’ve always been in it for the singleplayer. And honestly I just wasn’t into the campaign in WoL. Whilst the missions themselves were usually interesting, I was a little surprised that with the clearly huge production values the campaign had, the story, writing and dialogue were just kind of… bad. I actually think they did a better job in Starcraft 1 with the writing.

    Did it improve any in the Zergrush KEKEKEKE addon?

    • sinister agent says:

      I was only ever interested in the single player, and I’ve not even played the second because the plot was so boring. I loved the first one. But taking that wonderfully silly, over the top, borderline campy space opera about the protoss and their imperious rumbling, and making the sequel about a boring gruff space marine being grizzled and brooding about rescuing some woman he met for all of 20 minutes. And then having the whole process of fundamentally altering Kerrigan’s very being casually undone, taking away the only interesting thing about her character… ugh. Everything I saw of it seemed exceptionally dull.

    • Kollega says:

      When I first saw the “Dark Voice” segments from WoL, I just couldn’t believe how unapologetically bad the whole “story” segment involving that “character” is. Protip: when you see “ancient prophecies” being depicted with a series of stone carvings, that’s pretty much screenwriting code for “bullshit incoming”.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Hello, I liked both

      *jets off into space*

      (Heart was definitely better written, but if you don’t like the style you don’t like the style)

      • Cockie says:

        So did I, actually. A lot. I can look at the writing and see “Ok, maybe that’s not the best writing, now you mention it”, but I still enjoy the hell out of it. :)

        • sinister agent says:

          He can’t hear you now. He’s in space.

          • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

            Maybe they’ve got a satellite uplink? I liked both sequels, too, by the way. And I’m not running or jetting off anywhere. Come at me, you foos (meaning all the high and mighty gits who rack on the story of SC II. Off course it’s bollocks, but it’s very well made bollocks). I’ll tear you a new space-time continuum.

    • FuriKuri says:

      Personally I got a lot of value out of playing the campaign, although more from a pure gameplay perspective than anything to do with the largely forgettable storyline. There’s a good challenge in there, especially if you focus on grabbing all the achievements the 2nd time through… Definetly an example of ‘good’ achievements, e.g. they will challenge and change the way you play as opposed to merely absorbing your spare time in pointless ‘collect 1000 of these meaningless items’ boreathons.

      If you’re after a good storyline look elsewhere I suppose… But I’m hard pressed to name an RTS that transcends the mediocre in that regard (Homeworld being the only one that comes to mind, even then as a “minimalistic story told well”). I suppose you could accredit others as being ‘better’ merely for keeping their banality out of your face I suppose… but that’s nothing spamming Esc can’t alleviate.

    • bleeters says:

      Not hugely. I’d say I still enjoyed it, but the writing in Heart is still mostly full of contrivance, weird character writing and some pretty bizarre coincidence.

      I’m also not sure what to make of what Kerrigan actually does. On the one hand, she routinely does completely abhorrent things, especially with infestation, and for the record I’m completely down with that. But on the other hand, none of the returining human characters seem to actually care and the game’s story tries hard to paint her as a sort of anti-hero, complete with scenes of her commanding her zerg to flee and allowing a few surviving dominion marines to evacuate their wounded, and a strange ascending-to-the-heavens styled shot at the end with some pretty heavy handed angelic symbolism. Lady, you destroyed entire planets. You wiped out a colony of protoss because they were in the way. Hell, you implanted one of them with a zerg larva that later caused her to explode so you could smuggle it aboard their last remaining evacuation ship. I don’t think you’re the good guy of this story.

    • Premium User Badge

      aleander says:

      I’m pretty sure criminally bad dialogue is some sort of Blizzard tradition.

      • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

        I’d say it’s a AAA tradition. Blizzard just gets all the flak because they’re insanely huge. To be honest, I find most AAA dialogue and storylines complete kak, but kak is often fun.

    • Werthead says:

      In terms of story/character, Heart of the Swarm was definitely a lot better than Wings of Liberty. It was still cheesy as hell, but they at least killed off some very major characters and it also had a sense of its own ridiculousness, with the amusing Zerg ‘advisor’ characters Kerrigan could hang out with being vaguely amusing.

    • Xocrates says:

      I thought the writing in Heart of the Swarm to be more bearable largely because it was VASTLY worse, so my brain never interpreted it as anything other than some random background noise.

      Who are these people? What’s with all the essence talk? Why is Stukov suddenly here? No idea… SEND IN MORE ZERGLINGS KEKEKEKEKE!

    • Nevard says:

      The story was absolute pants, but the gameplay was amazing, I expect that to continue into this game.
      If you can look past the abysmal writing it’s an enjoyable experience.

  2. Cockie says:

    *happy dance*

  3. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    Space elves? They look more like Power Rangers villains if you ask me.

    • arisian says:

      The Starcraft factions are just an off-brand riff on the Warhammer 40k factions, which in turn are an “in-space” riff of the Warhammer factions. So Protoss = Dark Eldar = Dark Elves. Hence, space-elves.

      • Ben Barrett says:

        … how are they Dark Eldar and not just Eldar, if we’re doing those comparisons?

        • Werthead says:

          The Protoss have their own “dark” off-shoot, the Dark Templar, although they unify with the main Protoss race in the first game and aren’t really counted as separate after that.

        • Rich says:

          Dark Eldar are the BDSM ones, right? That’s definitely not the Protoss.

        • Premium User Badge

          JamesTheNumberless says:

          The Protoss are very much the regular Eldar… Not that it matters. The source for the Warhammer races is Dungeons and Dragons. The source for the D&D races is Tolkien. If you want to take it further back I think you have to learn several dead languages.

          But back to Starcraft, Protoss and Zerg are almost straight copies of Eldar and Tyranids. All Blizzard changed, that was significant, was to remove the darker and more religious aspects from the Terrans (i.e. the stuff that makes the humans interesting in 40k)

          • Ben Barrett says:

            This is a pretty common misconception. There are actually very, very few similarities between 40k and StarCraft beyond broad strokes (in space, in the future) and some aesthetic/stylistic choices. There are basically no similarities between the way Protoss, Zerg and Terran operate as societies, military forces etc. compared to Eldar, Tyranids and the various human factions in 40k. In fact I would say only the Zerg/Tyranid visual comparison is still really relevant.

            Obviously there’s plenty of inspiration in there, but as was pointed out above, fiction has basically been ripping off european folk tales and Tolkien for the best part of a century, so that’s hardly unique.

          • Premium User Badge

            JamesTheNumberless says:

            How is it a misconception? You’ve just said more or less the same things I said. Obviously they’re not *exact* copies but they certainly didn’t stray too far from the inspiration. Tyranids themselves owe a lot to the creature from the Alien films (see the description of Genestealers in the Rogue Trader rulebook) the point in its entirety, is that these races can be clearly identified as recycled archetypes rather than fresh ideas. Broader sci-fi, particularly literature, is awash with colourful and interesting ideas. Gaming sci-fi is, on the whole, endlessly riffing off of a small subset of proven themes.

          • Premium User Badge

            JamesTheNumberless says:

            To spell these out, there are the technologically superior, ancient, somewhat unknowable and somewhat mystical (perhaps ethereal) and world weary (universe weary?) Eldar/Elves/Protoss/Vulcans. Then there is the utterly alien (in form and motivation) homogenizing swarm, which is sometimes biological and sometimes artificial that exists to consume and assimilate (Tyranids, Zerg, Borg, Alien aliens etc) The main archetype not present in Starcraft is space barbarians (Klingons, space Orks) The representation of interstellar humans tends not to fall too far from the visions of either Star Trek or Frank Herbert.

  4. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    ______hangs in the balance for the *th time

  5. Geebs says:

    Do the Protoss have noses? I ask because having your face-scarf integrated with your loincloth like the dude on the right seems more sartorially daring than it is practical.

    • sinister agent says:

      They don’t have mouths either, so all that psychic gubbins and thousand year lifespan stuff comes at the price of never having a blow job or a plate of chips. No wonder they don’t like humans much.

  6. Turkey says:

    Wait. There’s a sexylady version of the protoss? I thought they were supposed to be asexual plants or something.

    • sinister agent says:

      They had a matriarch in the (sequel-sized) expansion pack, Brood Wars. I’m pretty sure she didn’t have tits, though. Quite why any protoss would have tits is beyond me. Maybe that’s where they keep the helium.

      • Hunchback says:

        Aren’t they space-mammals?

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        Do they have tits? I might have missed that. They definitely are more distinctly human-norm feminine in form, that much is true. They weren’t portrayed as sexually dimorphic before.

        • sinister agent says:

          There’s one in the trailer who appears to, however on a closer look she might be one of the xel naga, who aren’t protoss, so my mistake there.

          It’d be interesting to see how the protoss one is portrayed, though – are they just protoss who happen to sound female to humans, or are they sexually dimorphic, or what? And will they act or be treated in a noticeably different way to other protoss?

          I doubt I’ll care either way though, to be honest. It all looks so generically ‘epic’, and most of the fun characters are dead anyway.

          • Premium User Badge

            RedViv says:

            I’ve powered through the dreadful EPICNESS for so long… I’ll only be angry if they kill Kerrigan’s pet zergling. It came to cheer her up when she was sad! Now THAT is what we need more of.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            THREE HOUR SLOW PANNING BUTT SHOT WITH EPIC MUSIC

    • bleeters says:

      I’m assuming it’s Executor Selendis, who showed up in Wings of Liberty from time to time.

  7. ansionnach says:

    Oh no, seems the plot is similar to Mass Effect 3?!?

    • bleeters says:

      Good god, I should hope not.

      • ansionnach says:

        Precursor race returns to wipe out all life? Not entirely the same. I’d guess that Blizzard will allow you the satisfaction of a glorious victory, though. Somebody often has to make The Ultimate Sacrifice, especially if they’ve been built up as especially noble. Maybe Zeratul?

  8. Hunchback says:

    Hell, it’s about damn time!

    Sorry, i had to.

  9. XhomeB says:

    I couldn’t care less about the campaign, the story in SC2 is so bad, childish and poorly written I almost want to erase it from existence for destroying everything I liked about SC1.
    The changes to the multiplayer mode feel like a step in the right direction, however.

  10. botd says:

    Blizzard just takes its games way too seriously in all the wrong places. The utter ridiculousness on display in every plot they throw together undermines the somber tone they attempt. Look at that Overwatch trailer, it has none of the charm of the tongue-in-cheek Team Fortress 2. Meanwhile, World of Warcraft is littered with pop culture references and bad sexual innuendo.

    Anyways, I like SC2 WoL for its campaign and achievements, if not the story. As someone else said, this was a really well thought out set of achievements that made you play missions completely differently. I found the Heart of the Swarm campaign much less interesting and the achievements far less engaging. Part of it was that insane difficulty was still fairly easy compared to the same difficulty in WoL, but I found the achievements lacking after the brilliance of WoL.

  11. Premium User Badge

    JamesTheNumberless says:

    I’m another who mainly plays SC2 for the singleplayer. Blizzard’s RTS games always have well crafted missions and a balanced sense of progression. The plots may be terrible but I’ve never really felt that we were supposed to take them all that seriously! They’re unashamedly self-indulgent, good honest space-opera schlock, which is great fun if you aren’t expecting too much from it. There are more ways to write a story than people here have suggested. SC2 is a fantasy cartoon with very high production values. It’s the He-Man or the Thundercats of video games. The story probably only fails to appeal if you’re at a certain cynical age.

    • Horg says:

      ”The plots may be terrible but I’ve never really felt that we were supposed to take them all that seriously!”

      Blizzard certainly never said we were supposed to treat them as satire or throw away filler. Ever since Blizzard North closed, their writing and world building have been trash. If they had the sense to get raid of, or reassign Chris ”Jesus Thrall” Metzen, they could get some real talent in to do story boards and vastly improve the quality of their games.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Humour and satire have always been big themes in almost everything Blizzard does. With the exception of Diablo and Blackthorne, Blizzard has always been pretty light and cartoony.

        • Horg says:

          ”Humour and satire have always been big themes in almost everything Blizzard does”

          I’m going to need evidence of that or i’ll just stick to my original statement that they lack talent.

        • Distec says:

          I can’t help but think that there are some significant tonal differences between Starcraft as last seen in Brood War versus the one we have today. And while I’ve never credited Blizzard for brilliant writing, things like Raynor’s handling in SC2 and Kerrigan’s arc of redemption are fanfic quality. But I’m not shocked, since this is the direction they’ve been going with all their properties in the last decade.

        • MisterFurious says:

          That’s not true. The game cinematics for their games were usually really grim and serious but then you get in the game and hear dumb pop-culture quotes. That’s one of the many things I hate about Blizzard’s games. That and every goddamn thing they do is a rip-off of some other game or story.

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        But my point is that there are in-between states between deadpan seriousness and total self-ridicule. Blizzard’s plots and writing are self-indulgent and hammed up to high heaven, even camp at times. This is not because they’re trying to be Shakespeare and failing, but because of a conscious design decision to be that way.

        • Premium User Badge

          JamesTheNumberless says:

          Going back to my cartoon comparison. Consider the writing in an episode of He-Man. Except the the slapstick/comedic moment it isn’t written to be funny. But it is not written to be taken seriously either. They aren’t trying to advance the medium of storytelling or produce a great work of fiction, but just to produce something fun and enjoyable with high production values for a universal audience. It isn’t void of literary merit because the writers don’t know what they’re doing, it’s quite the opposite!

          I do, however, agree with most of what people have said about Wow, but it’s always been extremely difficult from the early days of MUDs to do a persistent online world with a huge volume of content, maintain consistency, and resist shortcuts that kill the immersion for some people. But nobody really wants to be immersed in the backstory of Starcraft do they? It’s a silly universe from the beginning, I’d hate to have to write a novelization of it. but it’s a cool one as the setting for epic RTS battles.

          • Horg says:

            ”something fun and enjoyable with high production values for a universal audience”

            I contest the high production vales statement, their prose over the last few years has been fan faction quality. Also the universal audience concept, it doesn’t exist. You can please some people some of the time, or no one all of the time, as the saying goes. Blizzard are targeting the 12-15 year old boy demographic, which in my opinion is a huge mistake considering the average gamer age in the west is approximately 25-30. Blizzard still have a huge following in that age range from the classic battle.net days as well. There is another saying that goes something like this; you must write for children the same way you write for adults, only better. Blizzard don’t follow that maxim, they dumb down. All that achieves is creating vapid plots, uninspiring settings and cliched characters that would be torn to shreds if they didn’t have such a venerable name behind them. Their writing team certainly has a method, but it’s one that consistently generates crap. They need new talent and a complete change of approach to how they write if they ever want to see the critical acclaim they got in the days before WoW. They would probably make even more money as well, you barely ever see anyone who claims to buy Blizzard games for the story any more.

            ”But nobody really wants to be immersed in the backstory of Starcraft do they? It’s a silly universe”

            I’ve known people who dismissed Middle Earth as silly, and couldn’t understand why anyone got excited over anything Tolkien related. Same for Star Wars. Same for Warhammer. Same for just about any fantasy universe you can name. People do get invested in them, even of you can’t see the appeal. There is no reason why Blizzard couldn’t keep a high standard of writing in house to keep their fictions as compelling as they once were.

  12. Armante says:

    Question for those of you who have played both Starcraft 1, and these new Starcraft 2’s:

    I enjoyed the first one immensely, much more than Warcraft, because of its sci-fi settings. I was super-disappointed when 2 came out and focused only on the Terrans, and basically the series has now become an E-Sport game, which I’m totally not interested in.

    Now that all three parts will soon be out, is it worth picking up for its single player campaigns? I don’t mind if it has a bad story line, as long as the missions and gameplay are acceptable. So, as a single player Campaign Mode fan who won’t be bothering with the multiplayer aspect – should I bother picking it up?

    Thanks :)

    • Reefpirate says:

      By far the vast majority of SC2 players never play on the 1v1 multiplayer ladder as reported by Blizzard. They know their campaigns are the main selling point, and they put a lot of resources into making them good.

      Especially if you’re not all that worried about the story, the single-player campaigns are probably the best in the RTS genre.

    • Cockie says:

      I think the campaigns are very very good gameplay wise, they are waay more varied than the originals (which could be summarised as a) Kill all enemies, b) Kill thing X, c) Get unit Y on place Z, d) Don’t die for W minutes).
      They’ve also realised that balance in multiplayer and the campaign doesn’t need to be connected so you get a lot more toys to play with in the campaign, several Brood War units that aren’t in the MP make a comeback, you can choose upgrades for units etc.
      Oh, and they’ve improved pathfinding a lot so units won’t start wandering over the whole map if other of your units happen to stop before them in a bottleneck :D
      I’ve bought both parts almost solely for the campaign and haven’t regretted the purchase.

      Also, if you’re on the fence, you can download the free starter edition which gives you access to the first 5 Terran missions to try out.

  13. Asurmen says:

    I really don’t get the dislike of any Blizzard stories and dialogue :(

    • Unclepauly says:

      Welcome to the internet.

    • MisterFurious says:

      You don’t get why people would dislike derivative, uninspired crap?

      • Asurmen says:

        I don’t get it because I don’t see that, but not from the point of view that I think it’s amazing. I just see them as, well, stories.

        I know I’m struggling to explain this. With books for example, I can quickly form an opinion on its quality. I’ve read books which range from dire to exceptional. With computer games I only have two settings: good stories and everything else. I sort of understand my requirements for a hood computer game story, but I have no criteria for a bad computer story.

        Blizzard games exist in my everything else bracket. They’re not bad, they just exist.

        • Distec says:

          Well, I don’t really demand great stories from all my games. But if you’re going to push it into my face with millions of dollars worth of production value and voice acting, you really should be making sure it’s decent. How many character building moments for Raynor did they shove into SC2 compared to the first game?

          I never finished HotS, but Diablo 3 was horrible in this regard. The story and dialogue were just cringe-inducing, and there was no way to really escape it. Blizzard hand-waved their garbage with “We’re not trying to be Shakespeare, guys! The story wasn’t really important.”, which is total crap when you look at all the (superfluous) efforts that went into writing character dialogue and their bombastic cutscenes.

        • Premium User Badge

          JamesTheNumberless says:

          Yes I think I agree with you, it is very hard to explain. I think it’s a bit like music. If you play the right music for the right moment, mood, or environment. It doesn’t have to be technically good music, or even anything that you would listen to for its own sake. In fact your very favorite music can be unwelcome in many situations. Still, you will find a lot of people who will “only listen to” one thing or another or who are unable to find any redeeming features in a particular genre.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>