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Pre-Beta Press Event: Tech Trees, Screenshots, Impressions

In a short and concentrated press blitz, Blizzard has released a wealth of new StarCraft 2 information and media, including a new HD gameplay video, 10 high resolution action packed screenshots and a batch of updated unit and building models. The information was released during a press event that took place in Blizzard’s HQ, and we’ll summarize the elaborate coverage, interviews and build updates that were uncovered during the event in this post.

The brand new gameplay video features several skirmishes, six battles in total:

  1. Large Zerg and Protoss forces clash: Ultralisks and Roaches face a Mothership, Phoenixes and an armada of Void Rays.
  2. Terran Hellion forces raid a Zerg opponent behind the lines.
  3. Protoss offensive-cannoning a Terran choke, with the Terran defending using Supply Depots, Marines and Bunkers.
  4. A massive Protoss Mothership-led force invades another Protoss base.
  5. Hellions repeatedly hit-n-run a large group of Banelings.
  6. Ultralisks rampage all over the place until a small group of Ghosts fend them off.

The beautiful high-resolution screenshots that were part of the press blitz are some of the most action-packed and detailed StarCraft 2 images yet.

Protoss and Terran in the CityProtoss Faces a Terran Armada
Mar Sara Battle
Psi Storm Hits HardActionA Protoss Phoenix Raid
StarCraft 2 Shakuras clash
Battle for Mar SaraStarCraft 2 Queen Laid Eggs
Zerg and Terran Toxic Battle

Images include a variety of beautiful terrains and battle moments with shots including a fight taking place in a sky-scraper themed terrain, a Terran force being immobilized by an Anti-Grav-abusing Phoenix armada and many other great scenarios.

You can download the entire screenshot collection here.

Blizzard’s art team, which has unveiled multiple model and texture updates over the course of the last six months, has released a batch of updated models. Worth noting are the different models for the differently-upgraded Battlecruisers, each clearly showing which path the Terran player took with the specific unit:

Blizzard has also released the latest StarCraft 2 tech trees for all three races. These are likely to make it to the beta, so if your testing intentions are serious, now would be a good time to print and memorize the following.
StarCraft 2 Zerg Tech Tree

If you haven’t been following StarCraft 2’s development and internal balancing, take notice of the fact that both the Zerg and Protoss had their cloaked units pushed up the tech tree, with both the Lurker and Dark Templar becoming Tier 3 units, and the Terran Ghost becoming a viable mid-game unit with an arsenal of useful abilities.

StarCraft 2 Terran Tech Tree
StarCraft 2 Protoss Tech Tree

The press event included an abundance of gaming time, and several attendees have published extensive impression write-ups, the most notable one being TeamLiquid’s summary of the visit. A few highlights from TL’s own and others’ impressions:

  • With Overlords no longer having detection capabilities, the lack of Zerg detection coverage makes the Protoss Phoenix + Dark¬† Templar a powerful combo in the current build – even more so than the equivalent Corsair + Dark Templar build of the original game.
  • Banelings can explode while burrowed.
  • The upgraded Zerg Hydralisk movement speed is on par with that of Cracklings (speed-upgraded Zerglings).
  • The Terran ability to salvage 100% of the resources invested in a building proves a fertile ground for offensive bunkering, cliffing and early-game harassment.
  • Reactor add-on cross-building compatibility allows the Terran to crank out key units such as the Medivac Dropship two at a time immediately as a Starport becomes available.
  • The Protoss High Templar Psi Storm is even more powerful than in StarCraft 1, with a larger radius, shorter duration and more total damage.
  • Ultralisks are no longer a late-game screw-you unit, but hands down the most powerful and effective physical ground unit in the game.
  • Merging different Protoss Templars together still produces the exact same Archon.
  • Cliff-walking Colossi and burrowing Infestors are not able to traverse destructible rocks.

Dustin Browder and Chris Sigaty Interviews have been released via G4TV and Joystiq, summarizing the recent development challenges and their expectations of the beta.

Here are the highlights from the Dustin Browder interview::

  • StarCraft 2 will include an online Casual Gaming League that will feature “anti-rush” map designs, a normal (slower) game speed and other care-bear perks.
  • Blizzard will push for mainstream adoption of E-Sports and public broadcast/televised StarCraft 2 matches.
  • The Beta is expected to run for 4-5 months.
  • Blizzard will seek ways to prevent uber-skilled players from plowing through the low ranks repeatedly when they create new names on Battle.net.
  • Beta testers will be added over the course of the beta.

Chris Sigaty, Lead Producer for StarCraft 2 and a long time contributor to Blizzard’s developmental efforts, has unveiled some interesting tidbits in an interview for Joystiq:

  • In two years, Chris is expected to receive the Ring – a special mark for fifteen years of Blizzard service, complimentary to the Sword and Shield which are given at 5 and 10 years, respectively.
  • StarCraft 2 has been in the works ever since World of WarCraft’s shipment in 2004 – marking 2009 the 5th year of its development.
  • Unit portraits’ lips are in full sync with the units’ voices, and the original voice actors for Jim Raynor and Arcturus Mengsk are used.

All in all, Blizzard’s official intents for this recent press blitz were quite clear and fully disclosed – the StarCraft 2 Beta is imminent; do your tech-tree homework, get your gaming rigs ready, ‘couse, hell… it’s about time.

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14 Comments to “Pre-Beta Press Event: Tech Trees, Screenshots, Impressions”


  1. Battlarmd — July 4, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

    In the screen shot, the colossus’s attack looks different, have they finally found a better animation for it?

  2. n00bc4nnon — July 5, 2009 @ 3:45 am

    http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/3857/terribleterribledamage.jpg
    superb write-up as usual
    SC2 has come such a long way. I seriously can’t wait for the beta. Shame about the Lan thing though :(

  3. Etherkaii — July 5, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

    Help! It’s the attack of the flying binoculars! Blizzard should SERIOUSLY consider changing the model for interceptors.

    Finally we get to see the Mothership in action. Good to know that it’s not too overpowered. WE NEED TO SEE WHAT COLOSSI CAN REALLY DO! All the previous battle reports just show its @$$ getting kicked by the other races.

  4. Ish — July 5, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

    Great write-up. Thanks!

  5. victorvndoom — July 6, 2009 @ 2:48 am

    i hope the techscreen info is visible in the game as a sort help, i hate opening maps with techinfo. they take over space in the cd-boxes then if they are in the game the gamemanual can be larger and thicker

  6. SCV_Operator — July 6, 2009 @ 5:59 am

    does anyone know what the structure is that the SCVs in the first pic (city pvt) are travelling to? Are these just an updated model for the vespene gas collectors, or are they some sort of additional collection module?

    Also, the collossi attack does look different; even if its still a sweep attack, it will look much better with the symmetry of two lasers.

  7. THE_BANANA_REPUBLIC — July 7, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

    It looks as though a couple of the phoenixes were accidentally sucked up in the mothership’s vortex ability in the youtube video (check :20). It seems the mothership’s vortex ability affects friendly units, too.

  8. SCV_Operator — July 8, 2009 @ 3:19 am

    @THE_BANANA_REPUBLIC

    Yeah, definitely friendly units are being sucked up by the vortex. The units don’t seem to be damaged by the experience, just held and grouped for a while.

  9. SikTh — July 8, 2009 @ 6:40 am

    So basically, the Mothership equivalent of Statis Field?

  10. Joe — July 8, 2009 @ 7:29 am

    You’ll also notice any other units who enter the area after the vortex has appeared are caught inside as well.

    However, yes, the result is otherwise identical to statis field. It would be interesting to see another layer added to this ability, or if they changed it to a variation on the timebomb.

    At the moment, the effect seems a little too much for me – it could be more interesting if it were difficult to see, so it could be better laid as a trap. Just a slight refraction of space should do the trick, so skilled players can spot it if they are careful. The mothership would also be less at risk this way.

  11. THE_BANANA_REPUBLIC — July 10, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

    beta beta beta..!

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