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The First StarCraft 2 Battle Report – Analysis

Finally. Blizzard has released a high-resolution, well narrated, well played and action packed StarCraft 2 video. The Battle Report features two of Blizzard’s “game balance designers” (dream job ?), Matt as Protoss and David as Terran – fighting for dominance on StarCraft 2 Alpha map “Kulas Ravine”. It is narrated by none other than Dustin Browder – StarCraft 2′s lead designer, who is accompanied by Robert Simpson of  the eSports devision.

StarCraft 2 Battle Report Intro

Kulas Ravine was obviously not a randomly chosen map – it incorporates virtually all of StarCraft 2′s new battlefield elements:

And the game itself could not have served as a better showroom for all of StarCraft 2′s novelties.

Observer Battle Information Box:

All throughout the game, the observers enjoyed a multi-mode, translucent information box, providing data summaries for:

  • Resources: Current Mineral, Gas and Food counts
  • Production: Unit, Research and Construction
  • Unit: Total unit count summary

StarCraft 2 Information Box

Observers were also able to see units’ Health Bars and player’s commands – however it remains unclear whether the Observers enjoyed the additional info during the live game or via a replay viewer.

Destroyable Barriers:

Played a major role from the very beginning, culminating in an epic Barrier destruction race to save/destroy an expansion. The Terran’s ability to lift n’ load ® allowed David to take advantage of an isolated natural expansion for quite a while, only to find himself unable to assist the mining SCVs when a Colossus barged in later on.

Xel’ Naga Watch Towers:

Multiple Watch Towers placed in the middle of the map provide the controlling player with invaluable ground movement information. The Watch Towers have been captured right at the beginning of the match and have changed hands multiple times as the players struggled for mid-map dominance.

Kulas Ravie Map

Proxy Pylons:

Protoss remote warp stations. Absolutely vital for the Protoss’ ability to keep the pressure on from the very start. The Pylon is a great point of retreat and regroup and serves as attack launching spot. The enemy will have great trouble in attacking other targets as long as a well placed Proxy Pylon remains in place.

Marauder Kiting and Trapping:

Charging Zealots are not really avoidable for most ground units. Upgraded Zealots close the distance extremely fast, and swarm enemy units in a fashion that would make Zerglings blush. However, even these units have been kited (to some success) by Maraueders.
The Marauders themselves have played a cetral and vital role throughout the game – used to lure and trap (by stunning shots) units early on, deliver deadly assaults in numbers, and to successfully kite (hit and run) when outnumbered has positioned the Marauder as a key weapon in the Terran’s arsenal – a status that the Firebat has never attained.

This is the very first of many millions of StarCraft 2 replays to come – a must for every StarCraft 2 fan.

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28 Comments to “The First StarCraft 2 Battle Report – Analysis”


  1. Joe — December 21, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

    Sweet :D Dustin Browder’s commentary is always entertaining!

  2. Kent — December 21, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

    It is awesome.
    but still not seeing too many new components yet..
    Still feels more like a SUPER starcraft I, then a total new game.

    which I am fine with.

    but just want to emphasize the point that when a game doesn’t come with many new things, it might not land well with critics, and we all know how a bunch of magazine’s poor review can spoil the game’s sales… at least dent it.

    so from that front, I still hope Blizz will put in some ‘signature difference’ that makes SC2 ahead of SC1 in the multi-player level.

    how about.. additional multi-player campaignes that can add battlenet record into how well your colony’s defenses are being managed?

    just thinking out loud.

  3. BarGamer — December 21, 2008 @ 7:35 pm

    Awesome new Feature. We want more!

    If they do the Single Player Demo from BlizzCon 07 next, I can definitely tell you that Browder will remember that Vikings are best from the air vs all those Protoss anti-ground.

  4. Joe — December 22, 2008 @ 12:36 am

    I see your concerns, Kent. I think so long as it is ‘better’ than the original starcraft, then the improvements so far will be reviewed favorably. I think it will be viewed both as a sequel, and a remake.

    I think,

    Sequels usually require more story, more content, and more gameplay features. Remakes tend to be better if they provide the same experience as the original, but present it in todays standards.

    With its audience following, Starcraft certainly needs both a remake, and a sequel – and from what we’ve seen so far, I think it will do fine in the reviews, and the sales will be bolstered by blizzards marketing strategy (which I don’t care to speculate on; it’s probably going to be successful).

  5. Marticus — December 22, 2008 @ 12:52 am

    I think this Battle Report will show people the direction they want the game to go. Which still requires a high amount of skill and concentration.

    The two things I learned were: Strategy still plays a large role. And that micro/macro still plays a large role.

    It looked like two well rounded SC players fighting. However, give it to any two random joe’s in walking down the street and peg them against each other, not so entertaining….

  6. John — December 22, 2008 @ 12:53 am

    agreement with w/ sc2 not being a new game
    As above, I still like it, I’m just disappointed

    and it’s much too late for that “signature difference”, those things are done from the very beginning in the design, a new unit or new feature now, isn’t going to do it. all they can do is polish

    Unfortunately, Blizzard decided from the start it would just be a remake of the orginal (they said: “we wanted to make it true to sc1″)

    i really wanted that protoss-zerg hybrid race playable…

  7. redrach — December 22, 2008 @ 12:54 am

    Now that we’ve finally seen the full footage of that infamous Colossus trying and failing to kill any SCVs (during the attack on the expansion), my opinion of it hasn’t changed much.
    The Colossus is still extremely weak on its own, takes damage from all sources, and requires 3-4 to do any significant damage.
    The problem with massing Colossus is that you have to build them from Robotic Facilities, and we usually don’t see more than one or two of them unlike Warpgates, because of their limited use.

    The Colossus seems like a poor replacement for the Shuttle-Reaver harass combo thus far. Moderate damage in a line << Huge AoE damage.

    —————————————————-
    The Zealot’s Charge upgrade seems better than their Leg Enhancement upgrade when it comes to chasing and killing units, but it doesn’t help at all when they’re trying to run away. Zealots seem worse off than their SC1 counterparts.

  8. Anonymous — December 22, 2008 @ 1:32 am

    the video was nice but what happened to the charge and warp-in animations? :( it looks bad. a far cry from what i saw in the announcement video. however, this may be because this is what the game may look like if televised on screen for it to be clear to the audience.

  9. kmh — December 22, 2008 @ 2:14 am

    Dont forget about those high grass that units can hide in!

  10. Battlarmd — December 22, 2008 @ 8:11 am

    Colossi… I have yet to see a footage whereby I be convinced to use them… at all, they suck.

    marauders are good, kind of like heavy duty marines, but I don’t think they shoot air, which is a good limit.

    the protoss needs a heavy hitter, it doesn’t have one at all.

  11. jibbiajabba — December 22, 2008 @ 9:45 am

    Something looks funny about the colossus at about 16:50 of the video. If you look at the beams they glitch around, but whatever it’s an alpha build.

    Video definitely made me more interested in sc2 again.

  12. whiteknight — December 22, 2008 @ 10:45 am

    Colossi look really weak and die very fast
    they can kill only 1 worker in first attack

    think if colossi was replace by reaver

    there will be more workers corpses

    ps.now i’m really enjoy starcraft boardgame ^-^

  13. SikTh — December 22, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

    I don’t like the Marauder concept. They’re too spammable… a low tier, hard hitting, relatively armored unit that’s perhaps a bit too well rounded.

    I’m not sure making them weaker would be a good solution, but I hope they don’t make it to release in this form.

  14. andre agassi — December 22, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

    “and it’s much too late for that “signature difference”, those things are done from the very beginning in the design, a new unit or new feature now, isn’t going to do it. all they can do is polish”

    I completely agree with this. Contrast what is being offered with the vast differences between Warcraft 2 and Warcraft 3. It is now way too late for Blizzard to achieve anything remotely in that league of evolution. This is going to be Starcraft+ more than Starcraft 2.

  15. LK — December 22, 2008 @ 7:47 pm

    well, throughout the Internet, we see many different comments on the concepts of how the game should be made. When Blizzard used to put in units like Tempest and the “Protoss on a skateboard-guy” and many other units that was removed from the game already, people tend to complain that Blizzard is like creating a new game, and not staying near the StarCraft concept. They say that Blizzard shouldn’t call this Starcraft 2, but instead another game.

    So now, Blizzard has made a few changes by altering and modifying current units that were previously in StarCraft, to bring the concept nearer to the StarCraft Universe. In that way, people wouldn’t complain that Blizzard is ‘recreating’ the StarCraft world.

    But now, the problem is, many people complain again that ‘this unit shouldn’t be changed like this’, ‘this unit shouldn’t be changed like that’, ‘this unit sucks more than the Starcraft version’…

    I mean, if the gamers want a change in the game but not far from the StarCraft concept, then Blizzard IS GIVING IT TO YOU NOW, there’s the modified Zealot, a new version of the Dragoon, Immortals, a new tech to the Dark Templars, which are the Stalkers, Collossi…they’re all here. Blizzard knows what they’re doing.

    For the Terran, many people wanted the Firebat. Then why do we hear complains that StarCraft 2 is like ‘redesigning’ StarCraft?? What’s the point of SC2 then if players want ALL their favourite units in the game again? Changes need to be made, it’s a vital factor for a SEQUEL to a game.

    As Blizzard had said, StarCraft is a different game than Warcraft. In Warcraft, units are just like carbon copies of each other, it all depends who attacks first, there’s lack of variety. Now here’s StarCraft, a totally different gameplay, each faction has different strategies to play..so in StarCraft 2, if one units was to be modified, the whole balance of the game will be ruined…therefore, a change in a unit affects changes and modifications in other units, which causes a big circle, in which the game has to have some changes, nerfs and buffs to units…the purpose of all these changes is to create a different feel for the StarCraft World, and yet maintain the balance of the game.

  16. THE_BANANA_REPUBLIC — December 23, 2008 @ 3:18 am

    -The comments in this sc2 blog post are some of the best comments I’ve seen in a long time.

    - I agree that the change from sc1 to sc2 is not as fundamentally different as the change from wc2 to wc3 (does anyone remember “RPS?”) — however, that does not seem to be what the gosu fanbase would like. Kent writes that he is fine with the game differences, or starcraft ‘upgrades,’ and I think this is what the professional gaming community demands. Joe indicates that sc2 meets all the criteria necessary for starcraft 2 to be considered starcraft *2* instead of some different game of the starcraft ip. One thing that many people have not yet had the opportunity to experience, is hands-on gameplay. The *feel* of the game, to me, feels very much like starcraft *2* instead of a simple upgrade from starcraft 1.

    - Maaaybe the colossi could use a mild buff, but perhaps it was just that Matt Cooper didn’t use the colossi’s attributes to their full advantage. It seems to me that Cooper could have used the colossi’s terrain scaling to a greater effect. Remember that units on a lower level cannot see the units attacking them from a higher level. I would have used the colossi to terrorize the terrans in the same manner as the banshees did to the probes at 16:19.

    -I completely agree with Sikth regarding the Marauder. But it could just be that in this particular game, the Marauder was used/presented in a way that it appeared to be so. I think there was talk earlier about the difficulty of avoiding the marauder’s similarity to the dryad. This is a hard hitting, slightly slower, armored dryad.

    -Another thing to note about the observable information in the replay, is being able to see the players’ action commands. At 3:21, you can see how many times, at at which locations, Cooper used the “move” command to maneuver his probe around the marine. You can also see planned building locations (as seen at 7:34).

    -Check out that cool lookin’ probe attack animation at 10:22!

    - I wonder if this battlereport was done on a first take, or if the alpha crew had a round of games to eventually produce a skilled and evenly matched game for a fun and exciting battlereport.

    - Nice analysis by the sc2blog.

  17. Anonymuzz — December 23, 2008 @ 1:52 pm

    Warp-In with Pylon seems to be a very deadly tactic early game, but it seems to set up for an underdeveloped army later on, with most of your focus set on warping in Zealots and Stalkers to the front lines.

    Warp-In is basically a gambit, to me. If the Protoss player can’t eliminate the enemy, or at least hinder their economy well enough to slow defense production, it may decide the game from there.

  18. Apharion — December 23, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

    The warp-in built is a great idea, it really made the production of Terran/Protoss/Zerg all unique in it’s own way. I am sure there are probably more creative ways to use the warp in too, players will show us in time.

    but yes, the colossus seems extremely useless, I mean, even the commentator mentioned that ‘you need a few of these’. I find such a unit very UN-protoss like, they should UP the beam power 3 times, and slow the cool down 3 times as well. If the colossus can kill workers/low tier units in 1 hit, there’s still some use for them. And stop letting air-to-air attacks hit them already, it is not like they need the weakness.

    Thor we have yet to see in true action, same with seige tanks.

    I also agree Marauders are too spammable, if they don’t hit Air, then that is still ok though, just a heavy ground marine.

  19. Chronos — December 24, 2008 @ 8:20 am

    Up the colossus attack 3 times?, so… having 3-4 colossus would surely make you win every battle. Having a mobile, wall climbing, siege ranged, siege aoe damage unit… that would be balanced… yeah right xD

    before all we should understand the role of the colossus, it’s a support unit, I agree with “it’s so un-protoss”, because protoss haven’t used to have support units. I think is good the way it is, including they Air-to-air weakness.

    And te protoss do have a heavy hitter, it’s called Psi Storm

    The game looks and fells wonderfull from the video, can’t wait to play it xD

  20. John Mo — December 24, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

    Chronos, you sound like a typical protoss hating posters. Psi-storm as a heavy hitter… That’s a stupid comment. That’s like saying you don’t need seige tanks cause Terrans have snipe.

    >having 3-4 colossus would surely make you win every battle.

    That’s what is required now too, get 12 of these and it will toast everyone… BLAH, you need a unit that’s able to do ‘something’ on it’s own, any unit that’s suppose to be a seige unit, but needs 3-4 to do anything meanwhile.. then… well..

    I think upping the colossus attack is a good idea, maybe not three times, or maybe just have the initial unit getting hit feeling more pain. Like, first unit getting hit takes 80 damage, then the splash is 30 across.

    Adding a longer cool down to a heavier hit is also a way to balance as well.

  21. redrach — December 25, 2008 @ 12:22 am

    @Chronos:
    I’m going to compare the Colossus to the Reaver + Shuttle combo here. I know it’s not entirely a fair comparison, but bide with me.
    The Colossus can scale cliffs. So can a Reaver in a shuttle.
    The Colossus is vulnerable to both ground and air fire. So is a Reaver in a shuttle.
    The Colossus moderately damages units in a line. The Reaver does enormous damage to units in a circular AoE.
    You need 3-4 Colossus before they make much of a difference. You need a single Reaver before it can be used (to defend your ramp/expansion) and a Shuttle to move it around.
    Colossi, Reavers, and Shuttles are all produced from Robotic Facilities. Producing large number of Colossi (which are needed) from a single Robotic Facility is more difficult and time-consuming than producing a single Shuttle and a Reaver.
    Watching pros micro Reavers and Shuttles can be extremely fun. Watching Colossi stand and fire at enemies, not so much.
    In these aspects, the Reaver-Shuttle combo is superior to a mob of Colossi.

    There are drawbacks too, though.
    Reavers are quite fragile. Reavers require considerable micro. Reavers, and even Shuttles until you upgrade them, move quite slowly. Reavers have a long cooldown between shots. Each Reaver shot costs minerals.
    Most of these went a long way in making the unit interesting for me.

    All said and done, I prefer Reaver-Shuttle. Your mileage may vary.

  22. Chronos — December 25, 2008 @ 1:13 am

    I think of Psy Storm as a heavy hitter because I’m a zerg player, and believe me, it is, comparing snipe to siege tank seems rather strange, mainly beacause they are two different things.

    John, colossus can do something on it’s own, I’m sure, I don’t think that the video resembles it’s true power, it’s a support unit not a heavy hitter nor Shuttle+Reaver.

    Rad, I know, Colossus is not like Shuttle+reaver, but… the game has changed SO MUCH, so i agree with you It’s not a farçir comparison.

    Regarding to S+R combo, they are some things we should remember before comparing:

    S+R+corsairs is a matchup, I mean, i’ts for a match which limits other tech posibilities due to resources.
    It’s true that a single Reaver can do something, but it’s weak on it’s own, even with a suttle, the real combo needed corsairs, so, you need extra units, like it or not. That combo twisted (I think) the role of a support unit to a first line-economy raider unit. I think Blizzard wants to “balance” and keep this kind of strategy.

    But after all, we have only seen a video of Star2 and colossus vs 10 years of BW progaming, we don’t really know if the colossus is going to be “stand and shoot” forever, kind of thing, so it’s to early to know

    one more thing, one shuttle + reaver surely takes the same time or more than building 1 colossus.

    I prefer R+S too, I agree that it was more fun to play with and against, but… the game is another universe right here, until playing it… dk

  23. NX — December 25, 2008 @ 2:22 am

    Collosus have Thermal Lance upgrade, which can greatly extend its range. After that you can use collosi units as snipers, who can lay death from distance. this can, in my eyes, greatly upgrade collosi usefulnes.

  24. Simon — December 25, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

    The commentator says (7:08) “..this high level of play..” – nonsense – if the terran were any good, he wouldn’t throw away his units like this. These comments suck, really :-) . Watch GOMTV.net (original SC), Tasteless shows how SC comments should look like!
    Anyway, SC II looks cool.

  25. Starcraft 2 — December 27, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

    While fighting in the enemy base you could warp in a pylon, by the time the battle ends, the pylon would be up, and you can instantly warp in more units.

  26. Anonymous — December 28, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    I wonder if warp in could be combined with the “manner pylon” tactic to cause havoc in the very early game.

  27. Joe — January 10, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

    Those mauraders seem pretty powerful, I think maybe their attack speed and missle speed is too fast?

    If it were slower, like the vulture, then they would be slightly less effective. (ever so slightly) They would still always hit, but enemy would have more chance to attack before dying.

    That would leave marines with instant missle speed, good for Assault units. Maurader meanwhile is better as support unit, and Ghost as special unit.

    I’d love a smokey trail on their missle too! Give more character to the weapon.

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