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Archive for the 'Starcraft 2 strategy' Category

More Protoss units at E3

Posted in Blizzard, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 News, Starcraft 2 Protoss, Starcraft 2 Units, Starcraft 2 strategy on July 12th, 2007

Gamespot just released another bit of Starcraft 2 news. They do admit Blizzard are being too secretive because they do not to release info ahead of Blizzcon (remember a Starcraft 2 beta will be playable at Blizzcon).

It’s mostly about new Protoss units

Protoss units - Warpray

While Pardo affirmed that previously discussed units such as the zealot infantry and immortal battle tank are still on the table, we were also introduced to several new units that hadn’t been shown at Blizzard’s previous event in May.

These include the soul hunter, a hovering ground unit that can attack both air and ground opponents. Another new unit is the phase cannon, a stationary turret that can be changed into a hovering energy ball that can move like a normal unit, reminiscent of Warcraft III’s wisp units, as long as it remains within range of the Protoss power grid. They can then be redeployed as stationary turrets to act as roadblocks or as forward firing lines.

Other units include the tempest, a flying troop transport with an underside energy shield that protects against ground-to-air fire, but leaves the unit vulnerable to air-to-air attacks, and the return of the dark templar (which still has stealth abilities) and the high templar (which still possesses the devastating psi-storm ability) units. As before, templars can be merged to form archons, known as twilight archons in Starcraft II, which act as exceptionally powerful infantry units.

Note that while all these units sound promising and offer intriguing new strategies, none of them are final. A completely different set of units may end up in the final game.

Starcraft 2 Multiplayer

Posted in Blizzard, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 News, Starcraft 2 strategy on July 11th, 2007

In his interview, Rob Pardo mentioned that gameplay will be almost exclusively focused on the multiplayer (including a total revamp of Battle.net). He added there will be a several surprises for the Starcraft 2 single-player campaign, so everyone will play it through at least once.

I won a couple of Starcraft games last night – against two (admittedly weaker) opponents. Which got me thinking – I would’ve had a MUCH tougher time in Warcraft III (though I have beaten two players repeatedly). Why? Because armies in Warcraft III are much smaller, the bases have much better protection, expands are generally harder to build.

So comparing apples to oranges, I meant Starcraft to Warcraft to Starcraft 2, I think a good player in Starcraft 2 will be able to take on (and beat) 2,3, even 4 opponents. Just like in Counter Strike, one top gun will nail 5 lesser players just with his Desert Eagle.

Skill, in other words, will play a much bigger role in Starcraft 2. Rob’s interview seems to confirm this. Now all we need to do is wait for the beta at Blizzcon.

Now, I don’t think I will be able to beat three opponents but if two or three of you join me, we might stand a chance against a gosu player from Korea. Or maybe not.

Starcraft 2 beta playable at Blizzcon

Posted in Blizzard, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 News, Starcraft 2 Units, Starcraft 2 strategy on June 30th, 2007

Starcraft 2 betaDespite what Rob Pardo said about the game not being launched this year, there’s plenty of evidence that a Starcraft 2 beta will make an appearance at Blizzcon.

Here’s the gist from WoWInsider:

In case you needed any more reasons to want to go to BlizzCon, they’ve just announced that convention-goers will be treated to a playable demo of StarCraft II. Of course, who knows how much “playable demo” there is to the game yet, but but Blizzard tells us that “attendees can sample the new units and gameplay elements for themselves in multiplayer battles.”

Protoss Colossus

Posted in Blizzard, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Protoss, Starcraft 2 Units, Starcraft 2 screenshots, Starcraft 2 strategy, Starcraft 2 video on June 13th, 2007

The Protoss Colossus is probably one of the most recognizable of the new Protoss units in Starcraft 2. It bares a close resemblance to the aliens in War of Worlds. It’s a huge walker, so in this respect it has a reference to The Empire Strikes Back.

Trivia aside, the Protoss Colussus looks like a replacement to the Reaver. The Reaver has a splash attack (scarabs) and apart from it’s obvious role as a ground support for Zealots, it is often used in hit-and-run missions on enemy bases. The shuttle carrying a reaver and support troops is definitely one of the better weapons in the Protoss arsenal, especially against Zerg expansions.

See the Protoss Colossus in a gameplay video and you’ll see it shares some of the Reaver characterstics.

Now, all the hit-and-run missions aside, the Reaver was definitely one of the LEAST utilized Protoss units. Its slow speed combined with the AI of the scarabs meant its usefulness was limited.

Protoss ColossusSo what have changed in Starcraft 2? For one, the colossus still makes an excellent raider (see screenshot).

The Colossus has kept the splash attack but this time it’s not easy to evade it or mis-direct it with a few dancing Zerglings. In addition, you don’t need a shuttle to move it to higher/lower ground.

Going back to rock-paper-scissors, the Protoss Colossus looks like a hard counter to mid-game Zergling drops and Terran marine-medic push. It has to be a tier 2 Protoss unit in order to have a chance to counter the above. I’ll be extremely surprised if it turns out it has an air attack as well. So while the Colossus is the ultimate ground weapon, the Protoss Mothership still rules supreme in the air.

Protoss Mothership review

Posted in Blizzard, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Protoss, Starcraft 2 Units, Starcraft 2 screenshots, Starcraft 2 strategy on May 29th, 2007

Initially, I was thinking of starting with the Zealot. It made sense to start with the first unit that’s coming out of the Gateway. However, the Protoss Mothership seems at least 10 times more exciting, so lets forget about build orders for now.

If you interested in how the Mothership fits the storyline, here’s a brief primer:

After the destruction of Auir, and the attacks on Shakuras, the Protoss has decided to create safe havens within the sky. These glass domes encase entire Protoss cities and are a symbol of hope and power. Headed by the leaders of the Protoss Conclave, Motherships are not only armed to the teeth, but also act as a funnel for the Conclave’s immense psionic power.

Let’s look at the gameplay video (Protoss Mothership only)

Protoss Mothership Stats

The production cost for producing a mothership is not clear, yet you know what you get for your money – a finisher that will destroy your opponents fleet and level a heavily fortified base. It has 850 hit points and is protected by a 350-point shield.

The Mothership’s standard attack consists of eight psionic missiles that home to nearby targets. It seems like they’ll be difficult to focus-fire effectively. In the gameplay video, it looked like the Mothership is hitting two or more targets simultaneously. Lets go through the abilities next.

Protoss Mothership Ability: Time bomb

The time bomb ability will slow down to crawl all enemy movement in the area around the Mothership. In addition, all missiles fired by stationary base defenses (maybe Goliath missiles as well) will get caught up in this force field. Once the units are destroyed, the missiles fall to the ground and the Mothership continues unscathed.

Protoss Mothership Ability: Planet Cracker

This ability reminds me of the movie Independence Day. It’s a deathray that hits all targets on ground below the mothership. Its purpose is to level a base and/or destroy all ground reinforcements that enemy throws at you. Not sure if you can use this ability in conjunction with the Time bomb. It seems like a deadly combo to me: no one moves, while I level the base.

Protoss Mothership Ability: Black Hole

In case you’ve got the impression that the Mothership abilities target ground only, here’s my favorite ability: the Black Hole. It looks like the Mothership will expend all its energy on this one (you might even need an energy upgrade). The effect is devastating to all units in range – they are sucked in the black hole, never to be seen again.

This disappearing act takes things a bit too far in my opinion. So maybe Blizzard can balance it with making it a Wormhole instead of a black hole. It could cause damage and throw the sucked units all across the map.

New Protoss units

Posted in Blizzard, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 News, Starcraft 2 Protoss, Starcraft 2 strategy on May 23rd, 2007

New Protoss unitsEn Taro Adun!

It seems that the Protoss have received most of the attention so far in terms of development. Judging from the gameplay videos (make sure you download the hi-def video), the Protoss have a well-rounded force at all tiers.

It’s a bit of speculation at this point but the tiers look something like this:

Tier 1

Protoss Zealot – the mainstay of the Protoss ground forces hasn’t changed much, except for getting a Charge ability to get him close distances faster.
Protoss Immortal

Tier 2

Obviously, at Tier 2 you’ll have some strategic choices to make. The options seems to be equally strong (at this point).

Protoss Immortal – Immortals get through heavy hitters like the Terran Siege tanks so if you expect the Terran to go mass tanks, Immortals will be a good strategic option.

Protoss Phoenix – dubbed as a air-supriority fighter, the Phoenix seems to be a counter to Mutalisk rushes. The Overload ability allows it to fire at all nearby enemies which makes it perfect to stop Mutas from destroying your expansion.

Protoss StalkerProtoss Stalker – Stalkers excel at hit-and-run tactics. Their Blink ability not only gets them to a higher/lower ground in a … blink, it also allows them to massacre running units (e.g. CSVs). In that respect they are similar to their Dark Templar brethren.

Protoss Colossus – Technically, the Colossus will probably be Tier 3 but I see a lot of players teching quickly to get him as early as possible. It looks like it replaces the Reaver unit which failed its role as a ground support unit in Starcraft. Most Protoss players didn’t use it except for harassment via drops.

The Colossus seems to have a much better potential to support the Zealots. His ability to move to lower/higher ground means the harassment potential is still there… I bet it’ll go through a dozen Drones in 5 seconds.

Tier 3

Protoss Warp Ray – the demo pitted Terran battlecruisers against Warp Rays. The four rays destroyed 3 battlecruisers without a single loss. These will be a mid-/late-game answer to massed heavy units as their attack increases the longer they shoot at their target.

Protoss Mothership – you can only build one of these and Blizzard calls it the Ultimate Protoss weapon. It has three specials – one defensive, two offensive ones. My guess is once you build one, it’s GG for your opponent. It’s a like the finishing move in Mortal Combat.

I’ll go through them in more detail, once Blizzard post more info. Otherwise, I’ll simply continue with the speculation!

Top 5 differences between Starcraft 2 and Warcraft 3

Posted in Blizzard, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 News, Starcraft 2 strategy, Starcraft 2 video on May 20th, 2007

Gamespot has a detailed interview with Blizzard’s top creative talent, including Rob Pardo.

Here’s some of the key points that have surfaced about Starcraft 2 gameplay, apart from the obvious fact Starcraft 2 is now 3D!

1. Quantity vs. Quality

As opposed to Warcraft III where the player controls a few units with many different special abilities, Starcraft 2 will be a numbers game, says Pardo:

Starcraft 2 [units] will instead act as “movers and shooters”–mostly autonomous forces that generally lack special abilities, but will instead be used in large control groups to “do their own thing” in battle, rather than requiring the micromanagement of high-level Warcraft III play.

2. More emphasis on economic activity

starcraft 2 gameplayAnother comparison to Warcraft III which had relatively little emphasis on the economy, so players can focus on battles instead. Starcraft 2 will have its pronounced emphasis on bases and expansions as a means of achieving victory.

3. Rushing – strongly encouraged

Unlike Warcraft which introduced neutral creeps to keep the players occupied, Starcraft 2 will put more emphasis on rushing. Engaging the enemy early and keeping him occupied will distinguish good players from mediocre ones. Which leads us to…

4. The good, the bad, and the GOSU

According to Pardo, Warcraft III was more forgiving to beginners (and lamers!). In Starcraft 2, the gap in the level will be a lot more evident. Pro players will be able to mow down their opponents in record time by way of builds, multitasking, quick expansions, uber units like the Protoss Mothership:

Starcraft 2 … will appeal to hardcore fans by being geared toward “highly competitive, skill-based gameplay,” as well as by efforts to “continue to drive new features onto Battle.net”.

5. Beyond rock-paper-scissors

Starcraft 2 units will introduce more and more subtle ways to counter the opponent’s strategy. The key to good counters will be timing, maneuverability, and position (there’s a brand new implementation of higher ground – more damage, fog of war).

The protoss phoenix, a flying raider, has a special “overload” ability that creates a damaging energy field around itself, then renders it immobile and helpless shortly afterward. In a simulated battle between a player with six phoenix units and another player with only four, the player with six phoenixes apparently chokes and uses the overload ability too early, allowing the other player to dodge out of harm’s way, then arrange the four phoenixes around the now immobile six in a loose formation and overload the six into oblivion.

If you have any other insights, feel free to comment below and I’ll expand the list! Make sure you check out the Starcraft 2 trailer and the new gameplay videos, they’re full of insights.