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1UP had the opportunity to play StarCraft 2 along with the Games for Windows and Super Play reporters.

They’ve published an article with some valuable notes, plus a long interview with Dustin Browder, lead designer, and Chris Sigaty, lead producer.


Here are the important notes from the article:


* The Yellow Minerals, which were originally discovered by The Official Unofficial Starcraft 2 Blog, yield 12 crystal units per cycle, as opposed to 8 units for the regular, blue minerals.

* The Vikings in flying mode have a powerful air-to-air attack, but no air-to-ground attack. The ground mode is not a particularly strong ground assault unit.

* The Banshee is a cloaked bomber that is very vulnerable to Missile Turrets and Phase Cannons.

* The Reapers have a timed explosive which can be used for demolition purposes. These do not work like the old Vulture mines.

* The Thor can attack both air and ground forces. It has a long range bombardment ability. Its range is longer than that of Phase Cannons and Reavers. It has a very slow turning rate, making it vulnerable to fast units, like the Cobra.



* The Cobra can attack both ground and air forces.

* The Ghosts have a Drop Pod ability, which is used exactly as we have suggested in our “Suggestions for StarCraft 2” Article!

“A late game upgrade could perhaps grant the Ghosts an ability similar to the one the Human forces have in the Warhammer RTS games, also a late game upgrade – drop pods that hit the ground and deploy units anywhere on the battlefield, launched from orbital positions. A Ghost would be required here to signal the drop, adding to its role (which was quite limited in StarCraft 1), since an ability like this should still be range-limited.”

Also, there are rumors of female Ghosts making an appearance alongside their male counterparts. Wouldn’t it be cool to randomly get either a male or female every time you train a Ghost?

* There’s a new Bel’Shir jungle map that’s been modeled after the classic Lost Temple map.

* The Mothership’s Black Hole ability is considered overpowered at the moment. The development team is trying to come out with ideas to balance it.


The 1UP reporter has gathered some interesting statistics and information about the Protoss tech tree:

Nexus (100) [Numbers after unit name — when known — indicates time to build in seconds]

– Warp in Forge (33)
– Warp in Assimilator (35)
– Warp In Pylon (25)
– Warp in Gateway (50)

Forge (33)

Requires Nexus
– Warp in Photon Cannon (35)

Gateway (50) Requires Pylon

– Upgrade to Warp Gate (30)

Twilight Council (42) Requires Gateway

* Research Soul Hunter Tech (35)
* Research Stalker Tech (35)
* Research Immortal Tech (35)

Robotics Facility (60) Requires Twilight Council

– Warp in Phase Prisms (50)
– Warp in Observers (33)
– Warp in Reavers (55)
– Warp in Colossus: Requires War Beacon (100)

War Beacon (60) Requires Robotics Facility

– Warp in Colossus
* Research upgrades for Colossus

Null Circuit (50) Requires Robotics Facility

– Required to produce Observers and Reavers
– Required for upgrades for Observers and Reavers
* Gravitic Booster: Observer movement speed (110)
* Gravitic Drive: Phase Prism movement speed (110)
* Increase Scarab damage (140)

Stargate (60) Requires Twilight Council

– Warp in Phoenix: Air and ground attack (45)
– Warp in Tempest (previously known as Carrier): Air and ground attack (60)
– Warp in Warp Ray: Air and ground attack (90)
– Warp in Star Relic: Force Field, Detonate, Cloak Field (60)
– Warp in Mothership: Air and ground attack (140)


Fleet Beacon (65) Requires Stargate

– Required to produce Warp Rays
– Required to produce Star Relics
* Research Gravitic Thrusters: Phoenix movement speed (140)
* Research Apial Sensors: Phoenix sight range (110)
* Research Detonate: Star Relic cloak field ability. Star Relic will explode after a short time when activated. Hit points determines damage (110)

Cybernetics Core (50)

Requires Twilight Council
– Upgrades for Zealot
– Upgrades for Stalker
– Upgrades for Immortal
– Upgrades for weapon and armor
– Upgrades for air units
* Research Charge: Increase Zealot speed for intercept purposes
* Research Blink: Allows Stalkers the ability to blink in and out of combat (80)
* Research Hardened Shield: Increases power of Immortal Shield, reducing damage of single attacks by 10 (110)
* Upgrade air weapons for Phoenixes, Warp Rays, Tempests, and Interceptors: Level 1, level 2, level 3 (140 each upgrade level)
* Upgrade air armor for Phoenixes, Warp Rays, Tempests, and Interceptors: Level 1, level 2, level 3 (140 each upgrade level)

Templar Archive (75)

Requires Cybernetics Core
– Warp in High Templar
– Spell research and upgrades
* Research Psi Storm: High Templar AoE attack (110)
* Research Khaydarin Amulet: Max High Templar energy increases by 50 (110)

Dark Obelisk (??) [SC2Blog note: We now know it is required for the production of Dark Templars]

Requires Cybernetics Core


Notes from the interview:

* The development team tried very hard to stick to the StarCraft 1 feel and gameplay mechanics.

* Currently, only Marines can fit in Bunkers.


* The Zealot Charge is an ability that’s automatically used when the Zealot gets close to an enemy.

* The decision to stick to 3 races was made very early in development.

Several interesting images were released via GameMeca’s website, including detailed images of Terran buildings and unit design, four original screenshots and a new Siege Tank concept art drawing.
After receiving much criticism for butchering the design of one of SC’s most original and beautiful units, Karune has confirmed that Blizzard are redesigning StarCraft 2’s Siege Tank, and the design will make its first appearance during the upcoming BlizzCon 2007.

This image appears to be the concept art that the new Siege Tank 3D model will be based upon.

New Siege Tank design

The following screenshot includes two very interesting elements – the top right doodad-looking building is described as

a neutral observatory Terran took control over to get rid of fog of war in area around it

(click to enlarge)
Neutral buildings and mines
If the above assumption true, Blizzard might be implementing neutral capturable observatories just like the ones used in the turn-based Heroes of Might and Magic series.
Among the probes, there also appears to be a small device resembling a mine, which were confirmed to make a comeback in StarCraft2, but it remains unclear whether this actually is a mine.
The following screenshot shows Nuke impact during a massive attack of Zerglings and Mutalisks on the Terran base. It includes two very intriguing structures- the Bar building (If I had to take a guess, this might be some sort of super supply-depot) and what appears to be a defensive Gatling gun structure. (click to enlarge) Terran Nuke Landing

Terran Units
Viking (Ground)
Viking (Air)
Terran Buildings:
Command Center
Planetary Fortress
Supply Depot
Supply Depot (Submerged)
Reactor Add-On
Sensor Dome
Radar Dome

Beautiful Thor action screenshots :
Thors attacking Thor in action

Dustin Browder, lead gameplay designer, is determined to keep the community up to date on important game issues and the decisions the development team has made regarding them. This time, he posts about unit abilities and their automation, or “auto-cast“.

I have seen a lot of concerns on this board and on other boards about autocast and how this will remove a lot of skill from the game. This would be a really exciting debate, if only we were using it as much as some folks imagine we are. I’m afraid that most of our abilities aren’t really appropriate for auto-cast. Here are some examples from the latest build.


Psi Storm: this ability fires with so much authority, uses so much energy and hits your own units if you’re not careful. The player MUST choose when to do this. We cannot possibly do it for him. Any decision we would make would certainly be wrong most of the time. Plus if we could figure out a rule set for autocasting Psi-Storm (and I don’t see how we could) we would remove way too much skill by putting it in the game.


Force Field: same deal. Position is so important we couldn’t possibly choose for you and be smart about it. Plus it would ruin all the fun of using the spell.


Time Bomb: same. We can’t make it auto-cast. There is no simple rule that would work. Plus, it would remove a lot of skill of using it at exactly the right moment.


StarCraft special abilities are very different from special abilities in other games. They fire off occasionally, they can be used with great precision and they cost a lot of energy so a “miss” is a huge loss. With this kind of design on our abilities, autocast simply doesn’t work very often.

I don’t know who thought Psi-Storm is going to be an auto-cast ability in StarCraft 2, but now we know for sure that it isn’t. Dustin nails this on the head – Psi-Storm and the other mentioned abilities are absolutely battle or even game changing events, which will require great skill to properly use.

An ability that IS going to become auto-cast, like we have suggested in our “changes we want to see in StarCraft 2” article, is the SCV’s Repair, along side the previously automated Medic’s Heal.

The only place we are doing auto-cast at the moment is on the SCV repair ability and on Medics healing people. Both are very similar abilities. They are used a lot. They have a very low cost associated with them so if the unit automatically heals or repairs something you don’t want, it’s not that big a deal.

Since Repair actually costs resources, we’re still hoping to see a toggle for it instead of complete automation. Either way, great news from the Blizzard team.


Kerrigan. StarCraft’s infamous villain, and the most interesting character in the StarCraft universe and story. Today, we will continue reviewing her history and development, starting with her role as the ghost and up until her transformation into the Queen Bitch of the Universe!


In part one of the story, we’ve followed Kerrigan, from the time of her childhood until her full transformation into the Queen of Blades. Along the way, she had met Jim Raynor and has developed feelings for him while serving as Arcturus Mengsk’s second in command. While participating in his plan to destroy the confederacy, Mengsk leaves Kerrigan behind on Tarsonis, the confederacy capital planet, while it was being completely overrun by the Zerg swarms.
The Zerg Overmind, which had sensed Kerrigan’s mental powers, has taken her into his custody, evolving her and treating her as his prodigy.

The story continues when Tassadar arrives at Char to face Kerrigan, now infested to the core, and with control of her new abilities. Kerrigan decides to challenge Tassadar, feeling confident in her power.

Infested Kerrigan

Protoss commander, it was folly of you to come here. For I am Kerrigan, and I am Queen of the Zerg!



I know of you well, O Queen of the Zerg, for we have met before. I am Tassadar, of the Templar. I remember your selfless exploits, defending humanity from the Zerg. Unfortunate it is, to see that one who was once so honorable and full of life would succumb to the twisted wiles of the Overmind.


Infested Kerrigan

Do not presume to judge me, Templar. You’ll find my powers to be more than a match for yours. In fact, I sense that your vaunted power has diminished since last we met.



Mayhap, O Queen. Or is it only that I need not flaunt my power in such an infantile test of will?


Infested Kerrigan

Foolish Templar. Prepare your defenses! I will come for you soon.

When Kerrigan finally faced Tassadar, she realized her mistake – Tassadar’s figure was merely an illusion, created to distract her and her Zerg forces, while Zeratul, using his Dark Templar powers, permanently destroyed the Cerebrate Zasz.


Attacking the Cerebrate, Zeratul exposes his mind to the Zerg Overmind. The location of the Protoss homeworld, Aiur, was revealed to it. The Zerg Overmind decides to repay the Protoss for the death of the Cerebrate, and begins attacking the Protoss forces, annihilating them in masses, while advancing to Aiur…

The Protoss, who have lost the battle for Aiur and suffered heavy losses, fled to Shakuras, the Dark Templar homeworld, led by Tassadar. The Overmind, confident in his total victory, embeds himself into the crust of the planet. The Protoss regroup and reinforce themselves on Shakuras, aligning themselves with their old, Dark Templar brothers.

The final battle on Aiur ended with the Overmind’s destruction by Tassadar, who combined his energies with those of the Dark Templar in a final suicidal attack, crashing his Carrier into the Zerg supreme leader.


A new Overmind began to form from several of the remaining Cerebrates, trying to take control over the scattered Zerg broods. Kerrigan decides that she is the one deserving of leadership, and begins a campaign to take control of all the Zerg.

Here end the events of StarCraft, and the Brood War begins.


In the beginning of the expansion, the Protoss align themselves with Raynor, while Arcturus Mengsk consolidates his power and declared himself leader of the newly formed Terran Dominion.

In the mean time, the United Earth Directorate, which has been watching the struggle as it unfolds, decides to join the fray. Led by Admiral Gerard DuGalle, they plan to take control of the Zerg and unleash them on the Protoss, to ensure human supremacy.


The Aiur Protoss meet with Raszagal, Matriach of the Dark Templar. She tells them of an ancient Xel’Naga temple, which has the power to destroy the Zerg. To use the temple’s power, they must find two crystals: the Khalis and Uraj.

Kerrigan appears and offers her help to the Protoss. She claims that the destruction of the Overmind has freed her from his control. She tells them of the new Overmind and her fears that it will be able to control her once it has matured.


Now then, Kerrigan. Perhaps you had best explain yourself. What is this news you’ve come to give?


Infested Kerrigan
There is a new Overmind growing on Char.


What? Impossible! Why should we believe anything you have to say?


Infested Kerrigan
Because, Zeratul, I’m no longer the mindless murderess whom you fought on Char. The Overmind is dead. Whatever warped control it once had over me is gone. I know that this is a lot to take in all at once, but you’ve got to believe me! There’s more at stake here than-


She lies! She is infested to the core! I for one will not listen to any of this-


Silence, Judicator. Continue, Kerrigan.


Infested Kerrigan
Apparently, many of the renegade Cerebrates, commanded by Daggoth, have merged into a new Overmind. Fortunately, the creature is still in its infant stages. It can’t control the Swarm yet, but Daggoth and the others still have control over most of the Broods. The two Cerebrates you killed here were part of Daggoth’s forces.


Look, I don’t need to tell you all what might happen if that thing reaches maturity. I can guarantee you that should it awaken, it’ll take full control of me just like it did before. I don’t want that to happen, and I’m pretty sure you don’t want it to happen either.


Even if what you say is true, our priority is to save this world, not assault the new Overmind! We must find the crystals Uraj and Khalis before we are all vanquished.


Infested Kerrigan
Then I’ll help you with your search. If you can defeat the renegade Zerg gathered here, it’ll weaken the efforts of Daggoth and his ilk.


My children, you must put aside your fears and misgivings to accomplish what must be done. For the time being, Kerrigan will assist you in your endeavors. Though she has been your enemy, it is enough that we share the same agenda now. Allow her time enough to prove herself to you, and you may find her to be a valued ally. For now, you must focus on the task at hand. Search for the Uraj on the planet Braxis, and let nothing stop you from recovering it.


We will do what you ask, Matriarch. But you cannot expect us to forgive Kerrigan’s crimes against our race! Executor, prepare our forces. We shall debark for the planet Braxis before the next moonrise.

Kerrigan helps her new allies find the crystals, giving the Protoss a powerful weapon against their Zerg enemies.

Upon returning to Shakuras, the allies find out that Aldaris is revolting against Raszagal. Aldaris feels betrayed by the Matriach for aligning herself with the evil Queen of Blades. He tries to tell Zeratul that he has discovered that the Matriach is harboring a dark secret, but Kerrigan kills him before he succeeds in doing so. Zeratul, enraged that Kerrigan has killed his old friend, demands that she leaves.

Wretched creature! This was a Protoss matter; you had no right
to interfere! Begone from this world! You are no longer welcome
among us!


Fine. I’ve done what I came here to do. I’ve insured the
destruction of the renegade Cerebrates, and I used you to do it.
Have fun, mighty Protoss… We’ll be seeing each other again,
real soon…

Zeratul understands that Kerrigan has used them the entire time, but realizes that they had no choice. He also suspects that a dark influence has control over Raszagal, but she quickly reaffirms his faith in her. The Protoss continue to hold the temple against the invading Zerg forces, While Kerrigan runs off to continue her devious plans…


This is where part two of the story ends. In the next part, we’ll follow Kerrigan as she continues playing all sides against each other, see how she deals with the unexpected visit from the UED forces, and learn how she managed to destroy all her enemies and become the Queen Bitch of the Universe!

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