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Banshee The official StarCraft 2 website has been updated with a new page, containing little information and some nice art of one of the Terran’s newest machines, the AH/G-24 BANSHEE.

Builds From: Starport
Armament: Backlash Cluster Rockets
Role: Tactical Strike Aircraft

 

The Terran’s Banshee is a completely new unit – neither an upgrade nor an update to any unit in the Terran arsenal. The unit’s role on the battlefield appears to be somewhat similar to the Zerg Guardian‘s role of a heavy air-to-ground striker, able to eliminate lightly defended expansions and provide powerful anti-ground support for capital ships and infantry forces.

Banshee Art

As a planetary craft, the banshee wouldn’t need high-powered engines to achieve escape velocity and fight in orbit, so instead technicians fitted it with economical twin turbofans. Any air-to-air weaponry was deemed unnecessary: the banshee would only hunt ground targets. Thus, it was equipped with powerful air-to-ground cluster rockets.

While hit and run attacks are mentioned multiple times on the Banshee’s web page, experience shows that aerial hit and run tactics are often impractical and costly, due to cheap stationary anti-air defences and, most importantly, other airborne units that the Banshee simply has no weapons against. The Banshee’s true role on the battlefields is yet to be decided, but there will always be a room for a heavy air-to-ground bomber.

CnC OrcaThe Banshee’s design was obviously inspired by the famous ORCA series of machines, used by the GDI faction in the Command and Conquer RTS series. StarCraft 2 is full of Command and Conquer influences, and the Banshee’s design and function are no exception; Dustin Browder‘s touch is more evident than ever.

It seems that Blizzard’s presentation at the Leipzig Games Convention was not much more than a now well rehearsed show for the European gamers, as both the information and game build presented were similar, if not identical to the ones used in BlizzCon and Gen Con.

IGN has covered the event, and are as disappointed as we are. However, in their words, “More of the same is never a bad thing where Starcraft II is concerned, and we certainly weren’t going to pass up a chance to play the game.”.

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After getting a chance to play the game some more, they also have some insight to share:

Our initially positive impressions of the game haven’t changed much since the last time we got our hands on it, but we are starting to sense more and more that the real challenge in playing Starcraft II online is less about managing your units than deciding what units and upgrades you need to spend your money on in the first place.

 

While the sides are each going to be choosing from just a dozen or so core combat units, the range of upgrades for them gives players a great degree of freedom in terms of designing their armies. This makes building a quick and steady flow of resources is key to getting the right balance between the number and quality of units.

 

In our matches, we got lots of mileage out of the Vikings and Siege Tanks but that’s mostly because we made an effort to boost their effectiveness by researching general vehicle upgrades and some specific powers that each unit can obtain. Our tank-busting Cobras benefited from some of the vehicle upgrades but we were focused more on the other two unit types to spend much time or money on the speedy vehicle killers.

 

When you consider that you can make use of just as many upgrades for your infantry and air units, and that you’ll be fighting enemies online who are making the same customization decisions with regard to their army, the possibilities for finding cool strategies increases to a remarkable level.

StarCraft was always a game of important decisions, but somehow I doubt that managing your units is less emphasized in StarCraft 2.

 

And now for something completely different:

Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, hasn’t posted a Q&A batch in a while. However, a post about the Immortals has been spotted on Battle.net. The topic in discussion was Immortals and their lack of an anti-air attack. Karune has posted the official stance on this issue:

At the moment, if Immortals were to be anti-air, they would be far too powerful. In terms of balance, we really want to make sure you don’t have one type of unit be able to kill all others. Currently, the Immortals are vulnerable to rapid fire units and air units. On the other hand, they absolutely own armored units, including Stalkers and Siege Tanks.

A fair decision. Immortals, as they are now, already seem almost too powerful.

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A gameplay video, filmed at Gen Con, has been uploaded to YouTube. The video itself isn’t very thrilling, but it is accompanied with commentary by Blizzard’s very own Karune, the RTS community manager.

Video highlights:

  • The Viking is a replacement for the Goliath.
  • The flier transformation upgrade for the Viking is researched at the Tech Lab, the Factory’s add-on.
  • When the Command Center is upgraded, the transformation is distinct and very visible, allowing the Terran player’s opponent to know what to expect if he’s observant enough.

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  • Karune says there are different death animations for various units, depending on how they meet their demise.
  • “StarCraft really shoots for having each individual unit have a lot of personality… and they all serve a very particular role”
  • The Siege ability for the Siege Tank is also found in the Tech-Lab.

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  • “Everything has a role. Everything has a reason for existing in the game”.
  • Profile shot of Karune himself at 7:44, for the hardcore fans.

Only twenty days after BlizzCon, Blizzard’s exclusive gaming event, StarCraft 2 will again be playable at the public Leipzig Games Convention.

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Blizzard has put up a press release on Blizzard.co.uk regarding the event:

PARIS, France. – 20 August, 2007 — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. revealed today that World of Warcraft®: Wrath of the Lich Kingâ„¢, the second expansion for World of Warcraft, and StarCraft® II, Blizzard’s highly-anticipated real-time strategy game, will be playable at the 2007 Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. The Games Convention opens for the trade on Wednesday, 22nd August and is open to the public from Thursday the 23rd to Sunday the 26th of August.

 

Recently unveiled at the company’s BlizzCon™ gaming festival, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King opens the forbidding wasteland of Northrend to exploration by the hardiest adventurers. European players will be able to adventure in the Howling Fjord region of Northrend and test their mettle in Utgarde Keep, a five-person dungeon located there. In StarCraft II’s first European appearance, attendees will be able to experience the recently revealed new units of the Terran race and play as either the Terrans or the Protoss in single-player skirmishes and in multiplayer battles on six different maps.

 

Members from the development teams will be on hand to give live demonstrations of the games over the course of the event, in addition to presentations and interview sessions for the press.

The Leipzig Games Convention is an annual video game event in Leipzig, Germany. It is the largest gaming event in the world, taking place at the Leipziger Messe Fairgrounds.

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In 2006, it was attended by 183,000 visitors, 2,600 journalists and 368 exhibitors from 25 countries.

For more information about the event, check out the official Games Convention website.

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