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BlizzCon StarCraft 2 HD Terran Video: Analysis

The High Definition version of the Terran video presentation, originally exhibited in BlizzCon and later in GenCon and Leipzig, has been added to the official StarCraft 2 site.

In the video, Dustin Browder, lead game designer, presents the Terran forces and shows off their strengths and weaknesses. Right away, it is very apparent that the style, sounds and feel are very close to those of the StarCraft 1 Terrans. Unit responses are similar, and at times, identical. The buildings look very much like 3D versions of their predecessors, and most of them have returned from the original, practically unchanged.

The first thing presented to us is the Radar Dome. Within its detection radius, any approaching unit is represented as an exclamation point. While the Terran player can’t tell exactly which units are coming his way, this still provides invaluable tactical information for the race that is most dependent on deployment and positioning. Likewise, expert players might be able to determine which threat is approaching by analyzing the movement speed and concentration of units. A pack of Zerglings, for example, will be highly concentrated and move much faster than a group of Stalkers.

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Next up, we are presented with a group of Vikings in flier form, which devastate a few Battlecruisers with their heavy air-to-air missiles. Then, Dustin shows how easy it is to raid other Terran bases with the Vikings, since the Terran static defenses are only capable of anti-air attacks. The Vikings storm the base and transform to mech mode before the enemy Missile Turrets inflict a lot of damage to them, allowing the Vikings to eliminate the defenses and wreak some havoc on other enemy installments. However, since the mech mode’s weapon is a light one, the Vikings can not hold their own against a group of Siege Tanks, which forces them to transform again and fly away from the enemy base.

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This is a great demonstration of the Viking’s strengths and weaknesses: while it is a very versatile unit, it is still easily countered by dedicated anti ground forces. It will likely not be able to stand against dedicated anti-air attackers as well. Obviously, with its transformation ability, it will usually avoid confrontation with units that are dangerous to it.

 

Next up: The Banshee. Not much to say about this unit, except that its cloaking ability coupled with a very strong anti ground attack smells of a future nerf. However, since its attack is not concentrated, but spread over a relatively large radius, it will have a harder time facing static defenses and dedicated, ground anti air units. Also, the Banshee seems to be low on hit points.

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Reapers: We see how they use their timed explosives to take down a few buildings. The explosives stick to the ground and go off after a fixed number of seconds. This is very lethal to buildings. The ability is an exciting one from a gameplay point of view, as it will require great skill to effectively use against moving targets.

The Reapers go on to raid the enemy’s economy, annihilating its SCV workers. The enemy Terran player upgrades its Command Center to a Planetary Fortress, which completely outclasses the Reapers. It seems that the Planetary Fortress upgrade will be very effective in deterring these types of ground raid attacks.

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Dustin now presents a Thor being built by an SCV. Everything about the Thor has already been said, and as expected, it easily obliterates ground targets. Dustin uses the Thor’s bombardment ability to quickly take out the Planetary Fortress.

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Everything in StarCraft 2 has weaknesses, and we next see how a small group of Cobras easily outmaneuver the Thor, which has a very slow turning rate, and bring it down to its knees.

 

Moving on from that scene, we are presented with the Ghost. Cloaked and closing in on the target, we see the Snipe ability in use – each Ghost instantly takes down one marine. More interestingly, the Ghost uses its signal for Drop Pod ability to call down pods with six marines each. This works amazingly close to how we described it in our “Suggestions for StarCraft 2” article, and the end result is added mobility for the Terran race, similar to the Zerg’s Nydus Worm and the Protoss’ Phase Prism/Warp In.

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The video ends with a large Terran on Terran fight, showing how intense the game can get, with impressive explosions going off all over the battlefield.

This presentation offered an exciting look into the Terran race, but a lot still remains to be seen.

There are rumors of a similar showcasing of the Zerg race later this year. We hope that the Blizzard development team can create a worthy successor for the Zerg in StarCraft 2. At this point, they certainly seem to have done so for the other two races.

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