StarCraft II: Legacy Of The Void Is Live

It seems daft to launch two of the year’s biggest games on the same day, yet here we are. Alec is telling us all about Fallout 4 (check out Wot He Thinks and his fashion show, and who knows what’s next?) but what about StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void [official site]? Well, Blizzard’s subtrilogy-capping real-time strategy game is indeed out today too, but our thoughts won’t be coming until later this week. You wouldn’t believe the traffic in hyperspace on a Tuesday morning, I tell you.

Legacy of the Void, then, is the third part of StarCraft II, focused on those dour Protoss. They’re reuniting to reclaim their homeworld and save the galaxy and all that in its campaign. Along with new missions and units and all that, LotV brings new co-op missions, an ‘Archon Mode’ where two players control the same base and units, automated tournaments, and other new bits.

It’s now been eight years since SC2 was officially announced, and five since it started with Wings of Liberty. While the Zerg-y second part, Heart of the Swarm, was an expansion, Legacy of the Void is playable standalone – no need to buy the lot to jump on this one. Beyond LotV, Blizzard are planning a mission pack starring the Ghost superspy Nova.

StarCraft II is one of those funny games where folks who are primarily interested in the singleplayer side are likely to wait for reviews, while multiplayer SC2 folks are likely to leap on it because, hey, it’s the newest SC2. We’ll tell you Wot We Think later this week, so I’m told, but for now, say, did any of our dear readers stay up late playing it and perhaps fancy sharing a few initial thoughts?

Here’s the opening cinematic (first shown in September):

42 Comments

  1. Rao Dao Zao says:

    The retail industry certainly doesn’t give them equal precedence, they didn’t have any Legacies of the Void on the shelves when I went in this morning — had to ask the assistant and she went rumbling in the back for five minutes. It was pure Fallout 4 and the staff were still reeling from the midnight launch, nobody cared about SC2 in the slightest.

    I still love you, Zeratul. ;_;

    • Optimaximal says:

      You’d think that it would be everywhere, given how Activision Blizzard games are usually guaranteed front and centre shelf space…

      I guess is shows how little fanfare SC2 actually got (or just that everyone bought the extra bits online).

      • Abndn says:

        To be fair, there was almost no hype surrounding Heart of the Swarm either, yet that was supposedly the best-selling PC game of 2013.

        • PhilBowles says:

          I recall Heart of the Swarm getting a lot more attention than LotV, but the release process for SC2 has been so drawn-out that I doubt Blizzard can drum up mainstream enthusiasm for an expansion to a five-year-old game. Not to mention that it’s launching into a different world; back when HotS launched League of Legends was the only other high-profile ‘eSport’ on the block, but that’s now become much more mainstream and imitators like Dota 2 also have a high profile. RTS games aren’t the face of modern eSports as they were in 2013 and earlier, and no one else cares about them.

      • Nevard says:

        To be honest at this point I think Blizzard sort of expect most players will buy it digitally through their “Steam but only for Blizard games” launcher.

      • Ksempac says:

        I think it mostly show that Blizzard pissed off a lot of people with SC2.

        First in Wings of Liberty, they pissed off players who wanted a friendly, non-stressful experience in multiplayer by 1- forcing everyone to play ranked games 2- not having support for custom games (guess Blizzard wasn’t happy that people bought WC3 only to play Dota or Enfo)

        Second, in Heart of Swarm, they pissed off single players with one of the worst plot they ever wrote. Full of cliches, plots that repeat themselves and transforming one of the best character in video games (the scary, powerful Kerrigan zerg queen from SC1) into one of the worst damsel in distress role ever. She is reduced to crying for help for her boyfriend to rescue her, and/or looking “good” (ie ultra objectified) in cinematics (high heeled alien with big boobs and buttocks, and some “well placed” cameras).

        Meanwhile, one thing that may or may not be Blizzard’s fault, a third group of players moved on : competitive players have been moving massively towards MOBAs. I do not know enough about SC2 competitive scene to know if that’s just because people preferred MOBAs or if Blizzard made some mistakes there as well.

        To be fair, some of the mistakes from Wings of Liberty have been fixed over time, but it’s hard to get people back in once they’ve moved on.

        • DariusOne says:

          As far as competitive SC2 goes Blizzard had a pretty large, self-sustaining, independent tournament scene going for it. A bunch of weekly leagues doing their own thing and a huge bunch of dedicated-since-SC1 people doing it, not to mention rather frequent LANs and such all over the world. That is until they saw what Riot was doing with their championship, consolidated(ie. picked 4 tournament organizers) into 4 major leagues(1 in NA, 1 in EU and 2 in Korea) and fucked over everyone else. Mainly any major tournament wasn´t allowed to broadcast SC2 while their main thing was on, which was basically always large part of the year.

          Now it is absolutely hard to say if that actually caused anything, LoL was soaring past SC2 at that point, but as far as I´m concerned that is when Blizzard pissed away the one major advantage they had over other E-sports. As well as lost a ton of talented people who were trying to make E-sports happen.

          • Neutrino says:

            Didn’t think SC2 had LAN play. Wasn’t that one of the major issues folks had with it all along?

          • ikehaiku says:

            @Neutrino: No, SC2 doesn’t have LAN play, but “live” local tournaments (as in, on-site) are still usually called LANs ;-)

    • devland says:

      SC2 lost the old timers because of online only-drm.
      Why would you stand in line for a box and a cd with an already outdated copy of the game client.
      You’re buying access to a service not a product. The box is irrelevant.
      I really haven’t been excited about a blizzard game since warcraft 3.

  2. Cinek says:

    StarCraft II is one of those funny games where folks who are primarily interested in the singleplayer side are likely to wait for reviews” – I very much disagree with this assessment.

    Folks who are interested in singleplayer will jump on it right away because it’s the end of a whole storyline. It’s kind of like an episodic game – after you’ve invested in all the episodes before it – there is no reason not to jump on a last one as soon as possible.

    • McB says:

      I was a huge Blizzard fan in my youth, but I’ve been so let down by WoL, HotS and Diablo 3 + expansion that I’ve gotten to the point where I have zero interest or hope for this story. SC2 lost me with its prophecies, its alien queen with stiletto heels and its generic ultimate evil who wants to destroy everything basically because the creation of the Universe made a lot of people very angry and is widely regarded as a bad move. Probably just going to read a summary of the story somewhere, sip my coffee, shake my head, laugh a bit and then get on with playing Fallout 4

      • Assirra says:

        Till you get stuck in a terminal.

      • Zekiel says:

        Thank you for the HHGTTG reference!
        I am vaguely hopeful that the final chapter might be fun, though after HotS I’ve given up any hope that the plot will be any good. I’m just holding out for the generically-portenteous Protoss pronouncements to be bearable in a cheesy B-movie kind of a way.

        (I still love you Artanis.)

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          The plot is very cheesy, a bit camp, and completely fun. As a sci-fi setting Starcraft should be compared with He-Man, or Flash Gordon, not with Blade Runner or Dune. Whatever you think the original SC was, SCII is unabashed space opera at its most indulgent and melodramatic.

          The plot was a bit better in WoL than in HotS but what really matters is the mission design. SC fans like to gush over the storyline in Brood War (or at least, the way they remember it from their adolescence) but I’ll take WoL’s missions over Brood War’s story every time.

          • PhilBowles says:

            HotS was a big letdown in single-player on both story and mission grounds. Since Dawn of War II Retribution I don’t think I’ve played a game whose single-player mode bore so little relation to the actual Starcraft gameplay, and why are you buying a Starcraft game if you want a hero-unit-stuffed Dota variant? No SC game (including the originals) has had good storylines, but they could at least boast memorable characters – Tychus in WoL was a fantastic character; HotS gives wiiticisms to one of its minor protagonists, but without any of the same depth of personality, while Kerrigan is simply not interesting as a main protagonist (sure, nor is Raynor, but he had a better supporting cast with which he interacted more meaningfully).

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Yeah I basically agree, HotS is weaker in every respect. Inserting the Protoss bits into WoL, really helped break things up a bit. I think with the Terrans they made a faction you can really immerse yourself in playing as, with the Zerg they provided the best kind of evil alien space baddies, and the Protoss work best as a sort of ambiguous presence that only gets involved sparingly. So for me, this makes playing as Zerg or Protoss, in a campaign, not ever quite the same. Too much protoss is just… Well, too much. Being the zerg and throwing squishy wave after squishy wave against mechanized defences is not nearly as satisfying as being the ones in the bunkers, turtling up for the big push.

          • malkav11 says:

            I don’t understand the “but the singleplayer campaign isn’t skirmish gameplay!” complaints. If I wanted to play no-frills SC2 (or any other RTS) I would be playing multiplayer, or at least running skirmishes against bots. But I don’t, because I find that intensely dull. It is precisely the campaign’s substantial divergences from the very restrained, minimalist design of the multiplayer game that makes SC2 such an enjoyable singleplayer experience for me. I certainly wish the writing were better, but that’s modern Blizzard for you, apparently.

            And FWIW, I would probably buy a MOBA-like game oriented towards solo/coop play, ideally with some sort of narrative campaign riffing on the formula the way SC2 does the basic SC2 gameplay. But nobody has ever made one and bot skirmishes in things like LoL are a pale substitute.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Right, the single player mode is the “actual Starcraft gameplay” as far as I’m concerned – not the multiplayer. I’m utterly uninterested in the MP, it’s just not fun to me, taking a subset of a game’s gameplay and seeing who can do it the fastest.

      • Shadow says:

        Frankly, it makes more sense to jump into Legacy of the Void than Fallout 4 right now, given the latter likely needs a patch to iron out annoying issues, while Blizzard generally guarantees a more polished Day 1 experience.

        That’s not to say I won’t get FO4 in the near-ish future, but as a launch day choice it’s not much of a contest.

        And story-wise, heh, let’s not pretend the newer Fallout games win any awards…

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Yeah this is the way I’ve gone. Plus I still haven’t played NV, and couldn’t stand more than a couple of hours of F3, so finishing the SCII campaign is way more appealing. Taking it very slowly at the moment because it’s likely to be the last oldschool single player RTS experience that comes along for a while – hopefully they can make it as good as Wings of Liberty.

      • MooseMuffin says:

        The story is generally nonsense at this point, but I’ve enjoyed the mission variety of the previous 2 games and will play this one for more of that.

        • PhilBowles says:

          Whispers of Oblivion left me with mixed feelings – the first two missions were challenging but the design was uninteresting; both in my own play and watching casts of people playing on Brutal, they’re designed purely to be “mass an army, A-move, win”. On the plus side they do at least play out like Starcraft, unlike too many of the HotS missions. Even though the third was a hero mission, it placed much more emphasis on microing the supporting Stalkers and on timings than it did on running into monsters and mashing buttons a la Diablo or HotS, so it still retained much more of an ‘authentic’ Starcraft feel than anything in the last expansion.

    • Chris Cunningham says:

      I’m single-player and I’m holding off even though I’ve always been fond of the Protoss. HOTS was a pile of toss and I’ve already got a strong feeling that any plot that the new one has will be window dressing to the continued deification of Kerrigan.

      • Cinek says:

        Well, then holding off will change nothing.

        On the other hand there’s Fallout 4 where waiting a month or two might make a huge difference in terms of playability, as… well…. let’s face it: It’s Bethesda game, needs at least two patches till it gets to some decent, playable state.

      • EhexT says:

        “any plot that the new one has will be window dressing to the continued deification of Kerrigan.”

        Oh boy you couldn’t have been righter. They’re literally deifying her – and utterly sexually objectifying her at the same time.

        While every other species in the starcraft universes history (and good god is it annoying that the Starcraft 2 writers don’t know the difference between galaxy and universe, but that’s another problem) turns into the same gross cthulhus on Aptheosis. Except Kerrigan. She turns into a giant naked woman.

        Come the fuck on Blizzard. Stop wanking over Kerrigan.

  3. Cyroch says:

    yep, I stayed up and jumped in. Here’s my impressions of the multiplayer:

    Oh god, none of my builds and timings work anymore. Where is the early game? There is no early game, we now start with midgame! Whaaaat? My main is already mined out? But we just started. Liberators are evil! Adepts are evil! Hey, I forgot, larva injects are stackable now! Oh god I’m dead!

    • Ysellian says:

      Same here, I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing yet.

      • Cyroch says:

        Neither am I. On the one hand it’s fun to experiment around without any established Meta, on the other hand I am sorely missing tried and tested builds that I can fall back on.
        I guess it’s just a matter of time and getting used to it tho. We will have a meta game and established builds in a few weks/months.

        I think the change that’s hardest for me to accept is the complete absence of any early game, which really was the only time in a match you weren’t incredibly tense.

  4. Greg Wild says:

    Played the first few missions this morning. So far I’m enjoying it. The missions really keep you on your toes on brutal difficulty.

    • Shadow says:

      Good to hear.

      Is it true the three prologue missions need to be replayed even if you beat them when they were first released?

      • Cyroch says:

        I did not progress in the campaign very far yesterday, as I focussed on MP, but the 3 missions are listed as a seperate campaign called whispers of oblivion. So unless they just appear as later campaign missions in lotv, they can be skipped. It should even save you achievement progress on them.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        No they’re separate sub-campaigns. Plus the prologue missions assume familiarity with the protoss units from previous campaigns and throw you more into the deep end, the protoss campaign proper builds up like you would expect.

  5. ikehaiku says:

    I’m about three quarters of the way into the campaign as of now, played for a while yesterday night, and pretty much since I woke up today (very late!)

    And it is really, really good. Everything is up a notch compared to WoL (and, obviously, 2 notches vs HotS!).
    The story is pretty good so far (yes, it has a real scenario that does make sense, even tho, it is very…protossy!). The cinematics are good, and there is a lot of them (I’m talking the “small-ish” ones that you get after every chapter, every 2 missions or so). The graphics are awesome within the “menus”. Forget the Leviathan, think the Hyperion…only turned up to 11.
    The missions are, well, Starcraft missions. Mostly RTS, some were you’re free to turtle if you want to, some timed. And then the few “solo” missions as usual (that I actually did enjoy) – but beware that I’m playing on normal for my first play trough, were, as casual MP player, I can pretty much win everything without thinking about it. From what I could gathered, difficulty is up a notch in Brutal, more akin to WoL than HotS.

    Didn’t encountered a single bug so far. Only thing, some cinematics are laggy here. Nothing major, but still.

    Bottom line, if you played the first two games, you can go ahead. If you did not…well even thought LotV is stand-alone, you still have to play the first two games if you want to make any sense of the story.

    I still have to try the Co-Op Missions, might give it a try tonight.

    • polecat says:

      This is very encouraging. I broke a rule and pre-ordered, but Whispers of Oblivion was really terrible and had me worried. (Especially that first mission – Kerrigan had a right bee in her bonnet for no convincing reason and the mechanics of it were dull dull dull.)

  6. Viral Frog says:

    I have yet to even play SC2. Although I know for sure that I will be getting SC2 and expansions prior to picking up Fallout 4. I need to upgrade my GPU before I can even hope to run Fallout 4.

  7. Punning Pundit says:

    Does Blizzard ever explain when Karrigan and Raynor got together? In StarCraft, he had a thing for her and she did _not_ return those feelings. It made the whole Wings of Liberty campaign kind of awkward.

    • Darloth says:

      There’s a massive wiki article about it on wikia, probably the easiest way to understand all the backstory. It covers several games, at least one comic, and possibly some unreleased bits? I’m unsure myself, but they certainly had a lot of writing for it :)

  8. tinners says:

    The single player storyline is totally stupid, and for anyone who has played a bit of multiplayer it is extremely easy.

    However – blizzard seem to have a great knack of making ordering a bunch of units to move around extremely satisfying. the animations, the sounds, the speed and responsiveness is all just perfect.

    so – great game, well worth it

  9. polecat says:

    It’s fun! A couple too many ‘defend central map point’ missions but lots of inventive ones too.

    A ‘Wot I think’ is surely rather overdue on this one?