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SC2 blog Exclusive: Terran Harvesting Machines spotted.

During the very first seconds of the initially released StarCraft 2 gameplay video, the flying Protoss formation of multiple Phase Prisms and Phoenixes grab the attention. However, it’s what lies beneath the Protoss armada you should be looking at.

Hidden in plain sight, below the flying units, are several very awkwardly placed crystal patches, with two distinct units, of what looks to be Terran design.

Terran Harvester

The unit appears to be of sturdy mechanical construction, not unlike the Harvester in Westwood’s series of RTS games (Dune, Command and Conquer), and apparently harvests crystals by firing a short-ranged energy beam at them for long periods of time. Unlike the Yellow Crystals, that were spotted in such formation and placement that didn’t leave any doubts for the Crystals’ purpose, these Harvesters do appear to be placed near crystals not in the proximity of Vespene Geysers, and in quite unreachable surroundings – which might indicate that the unit is just a well designed doodad.

Harvester in actionMoreover – a somewhat similar, if not identical unit, makes an appearance at 0:50 into the gameplay video, and can be spotted in the top right corner of the screen prior to the Terran base landing sequence. The unit appears to be firing at nothing, just passing its laser over the barren ground.

None of the Harvester units have moved around, and are only seen turning the energy beams on and off, or moving the beam around while firing. This introduces another option – that the Harvester is a stationary building or unit, somewhat similar to the Colony of Civilization games – an outpost dedicated to collecting resources, which is later picked up and “unloaded” by SCVs.

 

Small Terran Harvester

Either way, it’s the first time that Blizzard introduces an alternative crystal harvesting method, or a mechanical laser-shooting doodad.

 

 

Additional theories explaning the strange Terran Harvester.

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colossus.jpg

 

Blizzard has updated the StarCraft2.com site with a page about the Colossus, containing the unit’s back story, a few new pictures, and awesome concept art!

 

 

Builds From: Robotics Facility
Armament: Twin Thermal Lances
Role: Heavy Support

The heavily armored hull of the Colossus carries two powerful thermal lances: one mounted on each side of its body. Complex focusing and targeting systems are used to pinpoint the continuous damage output of the thermal lances for optimal efficiency. As a target is destroyed, the lances are switched to a new target instantly so that a Colossus’ beam cuts a fiery swathe of destruction through multiple enemies with each firing cycle.

The Colossus thermal lances are awe-inspiring, indeed. Also, the ability to damage multiple enemies while switching targets, allowing the beam to sweep across the battlefield, could become an interesting micromanaging option for high level Protoss players.

The Colossus, being incredibly high, can be attacked by anti-air as well as anti-ground attacks. Even the Rocket Turret, the traditional Terran anti-air base defense building, makes an exception and attacks the Colossi with its rockets.

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The Colossi are the natural back up for a group of Zealots. Their great weapon range and sweeping type of attack supplement the Zealots, who are melee attackers, and makes them a good team for ground battles. The Colossi can easily step up and reach higher terrain, where they are effectively invulnerable to melee attacks, and enjoy the higher terrain’s advantage versus ranged attackers.

colossi2.jpg

 

 

In this update, Blizzard reveals that the Reaver was actually used as a mobile factory prior to the war:

Most Protoss robots are created for industrial or resource-gathering purposes. Even the much-feared Reaver is at its core a mobile manufacturing unit re-tasked to the creation of scarab drones for long-range bombardment.

Finally, here is the concept art picture, featuring the Colossus and a few peaceful Reavers:

colossusconcept.jpg

Make sure to visit the Blizzard Colossus page to check out the short in game video.

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The Zergling. One of the units most identified with StarCraft, and an obvious choice to carry on to the sequel.

The infamous Zergling is one of the core Zerg units. It’s the first offensive unit a Zerg player can build, yet still stays in play and has uses throughout the entire game. This is partly because of the many upgrades the Zerg evolution tree offers them, which eventually transform the Zerglings into unstoppable killing machines.

The StarCraft 2 Zergling will likely fulfill a similar role.

 

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Lets examine what we know about the Zerglings of StarCraft 2, so far:

The Zerglings are small, extremely fast melee units which are best used by swarming enemies in masses.

zerglings.jpg

They quickly surround the enemy units, attacking from all directions and preventing retreat.

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Their attack is fast and vicious. A large enough group of Zerglings can quickly take down the shielded Protoss Zealots and Stalkers without suffering many losses.

 

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zerglings-burrow.jpg

 

 

The burrow ability is still available to the Zerglings. In the original StarCraft 2 gameplay video, we can see large amounts of them hiding on the battlefield, waiting for the right opportunity to surface and attack.

The Zergling is also the first unit that has been shown in conjunction with the Nydus Worm – a new Zerg transportation method which appears to be able to deliver 15 Zerglings at a time.

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While the Zerglings are very effective units for the early game even without upgrades, mid to late game units such as the Colossus or Reaver annihilate these fragile units with ease. The Zerglings are small and have few hit points, which makes splash damage dealing weapons very deadly to them.

Fortunately for Zerg players, the Zerglings of StarCraft 2 are getting an upgrade, in the Zerg spirit of evolving. The Zerg player can command the Zerglings to encase themselves in a protective carapace while on the field, and…

banelings.jpgAfter a short period of time in their cocoons, they emerge as Banelings.

 

 

The Banelings have only one purpose: Suicide. They rush up to the designated enemy and explode, releasing corrosive acids, effectively dealing damage to multiple targets.

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Banelings appear to be relatively cheap, expandable, kamikaze units – similar to the scourge Zerg flying unit in StarCraft, yet a bit more versatile in combat. Banelings’ damage to primary targets appears to be in the rage of 29-48, plus sizable splash damage, which is especially useful when attacking groups.

scourge *Scourge – The original suicidal unit

Infested TErran * Baneling’s distant cousin – the Infested Terran. This StarCraft unit is extremely fast, and powerful enough to take down entire buildings in just one hit.

 

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Flying Zergling

The Zerglings of StarCraft 2 have gone through another distinctive evolution: they now have wings.
The new Zerglings hop forward while flapping their wings to move around. Perhaps this hints at another upgrade, which will allow the Zerglings greater mobility, or perhaps even grant them flight?

 

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Karune

Karune, Blizzard’s Official RTS Community Manager, has released a third batch of answers, giving rest to a few myths and answering other interesting questions:

1)What is the role of heroes in StarCraft II? Will they be the same as in StarCraft?

 

StarCraft II campaign heroes will fulfill roles similar to what appeared in the original StarCraft single player experience, but they will have even more unique abilities from standard units, and will be more innovatively integrated into the story campaign. Heroes will not be buildable in multiplayer.

infested-kerrigan.gifjimraynor229547241.gif

Heroes drastically change the balance of a multiplayer match, and can interfere with the core StarCraft gameplay that SC players have come to expect from StarCraft 2. For many, this confirmation brings a sigh of relief.

 

2)What is the max unit count population for each faction?

 

Unit population count for each faction will be very similar to the original StarCraft.

This echoes what Chris Sigaty, Lead Designer for SC2, has said in the leaked GFW interview.

 

3)Will there be an in-game option to change hotkeys around?

 

Currently it is planned to have this feature, though much testing has yet to be done on it. We are looking into several innovative ways to make the UI customizable to players, to allow flexibility in their style of game play.

Good news, no doubt. StarCraft’s hectic pace requires expert players to become intimately familiar with the keyboard shortcuts. This will allow all players to have a greater degree of control over the game.

 

4)Is Karunes Battle.net Forum Avatar a Protoss High Templar?

 

Yes it is.

karune1.gif

5)Will the Robotics Facility have a similar upgrade to the Warp Gate allowing it to warp units in?

 

There are no plans for this at the moment. Currently Warping technology is limited to the Warp Gate. Of course, we are still testing and balancing this, and nothing is set in stone.

roboticsfacility.gif

The Reavers will have to get to the field the old fashioned way, it seems.

 

These Q&A updates are now appearing weekly. The Official Unofficial Starcraft 2 Blog has sent its own questions, regarding the Yellow Crystals (a sc2blog exclusive find!), to Karune. We hope to bring you Karune’s official answers by next week!

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