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StarCraft Legacy has conducted an interview with Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment’s Vice President of Creative Development. They got to ask him many questions regarding StarCraft 2’s story and lore, to which he extensively replied.

Here are a few interesting highlights. The full interview is massive, so if you’re interested in reading it in its entirety, head over to SCLegacy.

So, what’s up with that Duran guy?

SC:L – Can you put more emphasis on this quote: “…her (Kerrigan) rebirth into the Zerg Swarm has sped up my progress…” (Duran, Dark Origins)? Why exactly?

 

Metzen – That would be telling… We’ll just have to wait and see what Duran’s motivations are and how Kerrigan’s true role within the Swarm ties into all this galactic-scale maneuvering.

Next up, Chris talks about Zetaras’ good friend – the new Protoss heroine in StarCraft 2, Executor Selendis.

SC:L – Please tell us more about the new Protoss Executor, Selendis: her history, her new role etc…

 

Metzen – Selendis – Protoss Templar Executor: Selendis was a student of Artanis. In the new hierarchy now ruling the Protoss she has been elected executor: overall leader of the combined Protoss military forces. At her command, many new weapons and robotic fighting machines have been developed to help preserve Protoss lives in battle, and she is eager to take the battle to the Zerg and reclaim Aiur. Selendis represents the best and brightest of what the Protoss can be–fiercely loyal to her race’s ideals, completely dedicated and focused beyond any mere human capacity.

selthumb.JPG

 

What ever happened to the Arbiters?

SC:L – Why did the Protoss abandon Arbiters during the time of StarCraft II and what ships do the Judicators now pilot (as Arbiters were “their” ships)?

 

Metzen – After judicators were eliminated from the Protoss power structure, the arbiters quickly fell into disuse. When the Protoss fled to Shakuras, the arbiters were lost along with Aiur.

The return of Tassadar?

SC:L – And last, for our own curiosity – you referred to Tassadar as a “twilight messiah” during the lore panel on BlizzCon – is there ever a chance of seeing his return in some form or another?

 

Metzen – What goes around comes around. You know our Blizzard heroes: they roll back from the brink of death more often than the original X-Men. Seriously, though – given what the Khala is, and some of the other upcoming themes we’ve devised – it’s probable that Tassadar’s spirit is out there somewhere. However, I wouldn’t count on his pulling a “Medivh” any time soon… (if ever).

The rest of the answers deal with other, more minor characters in the StarCraft lore and reveal some more of the history of the universe. This level of detail sets a precedent in the RTS world (with the exception of WarCraft, perhaps), which usually revolves around stale, historical stories or shallow, formulaic “Sci-Fi” settings. With StarCraft 2, Blizzard is taking the story to a new level.

We can’t help but feel the build up for the inevitable release of World of StarCraft.

raynor2_100.gifEarlier this week, Blizzard has released its brand new and highly anticipated StarCraft 2 Fansite Kit. Such kits aren’t usually of much use for normal gamers, but provide invaluable resources for Blizzard fan sites, aiding in basic layout and setup of pages around the net. The graphics and layout templates included in the Kit can be of great help to StarCraft 2 site webmasters, but not only.

Art assets including screenshots, concept art, hi-res logos, and wallpapers
Site design elements including borders, backgrounds, fonts, and stylesheets
Exclusive content: Unit renders and forum avatars / Messenger images
StarCraft II fact sheet and FAQ
Sample StarCraft II text content
Site building tips

So what is in it for you ?

For starters, there is a collection of beautiful StarCraft 2 forum avatars of different characters and image sizes, which can be used in various forums and social sites that allow visitors to express themselves by adding a custom profile picture or forum avatar. Click here to download all the included avatars -(850 Kb) if that’s all you need, this will save you the 43 MB Kit download.

The kit also includes three beautiful (but not new) wallpapers, these three come in 1920*1200 resolution:
Marine WallpaperNukeZeratul

Inside the kit you will also find plenty of artwork, which includes this stunning 4000*1704 hallway illustration:

Hallway

Along with several concept art drawings and unit sketches, the artwork section is definitely the best part of the Fansite Kit. It includes multiple high-resolution images that can be used for fan-art creation, as desktop wallpapers or even posters, if the right equipment is used. To download the StarCraft 2 Artwork section, click here.

To much disappointment, the kit does not include all of the available Protoss and Terran unit models, while the Zerg units are not represented in any way. The included screen-shots are not new, and neither is the sample site content. However, one image within the Fansite Kit brings hope to many Protoss fans…

The Reaver

Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, has posted another Q&A session on battle.net. Keeping up with the recent trend of providing great information, this batch does not disappoint.

First up, a chat with the devs:

Chat with Devs: Since BlizzCon, the Terran Bunkers have been increased in size (to 3×3) and given added hit points, making it a more viable defensive structure for the Terrans. The Dev Team really wants to further define the uniqueness of how each faction plays, giving Terrans a strong character of defensive type tools. Watching the Firebats flame from these Bunkers sure do bring back memories!

 

As clarification- the Bunkers being increased to 3×3 is the visual size of the Bunker, rather than the capacity. The Bunker will still be holding 4 units in it.

A few more changes to the Terran faction have taken place, as you’ll see in the Q&A:

1. Does the Time Bomb ability of the Mothership stop a Nuclear Missile (just like other missiles) when used on the area where the Nuclear Missile is about to explode?

 

The Time Bomb ability of the Mothership is designed to stop a Nuclear Missile if used at the right time, making a powerful counter in the hands of a skilled Protoss Player. This ability has still yet to go through the needed balance to make sure this is not over powering, but it is our intention to try and get that ability in the final version as designed.

Awesome. This sounds like a great way to counter the dreaded nuke, which will hopefully have a greater presence in StarCraft 2. Will the Zerg get a nuke counter too?

timebomb.JPG

The StarCraft 1 nuke was hard to properly use. However, when a player skillfully managed to set one off, the insane amount of damage coupled with the large blast radius usually made a huge impact on the game. Now that we know Blizzard is considering implementing a defense against the nuke, we can safely speculate that we will see it more often in StarCraft 2 matches.

2. In the UI there are little boxes just to the right of the minimap that have numbers on them. How exactly do these function? Different gameplay screenshots suggest different functionality.

 

I believe the small boxes you are referring to are the Control Groups used to select multiple units at a time, making it faster to give attack and move orders.

 

3. Does Drop Pads make new units or use this recruited before?

 

There are plans to have the drop pods be manually loaded with units created by the player, to better allow the player to adapt to their current tactical needs.

Will this prove to be more tedious than useful? Time will tell.

ghost2.jpg

4. What was the design team’s rationale in adding a second siege style unit (Thor) to the Terran race?

 

The Thor’s role compared to the Siege Tank, is more of an assault unit rather than a siege unit. The Thor is much more exposed when attacking an enemy location, while the Siege Tank has a much larger range and is able to hit the enemy at a larger distance. The range of the Siege Tank has also been increased since the BlizzCon Demo.

Another interesting change to the Terran. The Siege Tank, already the unit with the greatest weapon range in the game, has now had its range increased further. Blizzard is obviously trying to differentiate the Thor from the Siege Tank, making sure they have different-enough roles.

The last line, regarding the range increase, has mysteriously been deleted from the original post, without explanation from Karune. We are left to wonder what prompted this stealthy deletion.

5. How do the Yamato and Plasma Torpedo upgrade work? Do you have to research these things only once or will you have to pay for each battle cruiser?

 

Battlecruisers can be upgraded individually with either a Yamato Gun or Plasma Torpedoes, but not both. After the Battlecruiser is upgraded, it can then use that particular special ability as long as it has enough energy to do so.

Can an upgraded Battlecruiser replace its weapon with the other?

plasmathumb.jpg

6. “With MBS (Multiple Building Selection) and automine in the game, what macro-specific features are going to be added to make sure that the player always has as much to do on the macro side as he does micro? Will a player still be able to favor macro or micro according to his own style?”

 

It is our goal to allow players to micro more vs. macro more. This is something that was great about the original StarCraft and it is something we want to maintain while we add new mechanics as well as interface features. We are still evaluating such features as automine as well as MBS. We don’t have an answer for this at the moment, but we are working on it.

Please don’t backtrack on this, Blizzard. A game should be fun first, and having to manually direct each worker to the mineral line is anything but fun.

Goodbye, Tempest; You’ve been officially replaced with the Carrier.

Following last week’s update featuring the Terran’s capital ship – the mighty Battlecruiser, Blizzard has now created an official page for the Protoss capital ship.

<a href="http://starcraft2.com/flash/global/unitsplayer_protoss_carrier.swf" target="_blank">http://starcraft2.com/flash/global/unitsplayer_protoss_carrier.swf</a>

Builds From: Stargate
Armament: Interceptors
Role: Capital Ship

The massive carriers serve as operations centers for leaders of the protoss fleets. Heavily armored and shielded, carriers can punch their way through enemy blockades by unleashing flights of robotic interceptors at vital enemy targets. These maneuverable, computer-guided craft tear through enemy flight formations and relentlessly strafe slower ground targets with potent plasma charges.

Returning unchanged from StarCraft 1, this is one of the strongest units available in the game – despite having no attack of its own. The mighty Carrier relies on a swarm of robotic interceptors to destroy the Protoss’ foes, staying away from the fight itself.

carrier-thumb1.jpg

* Click for big

The Carrier can even repair the interceptors inside the safety of its hull, making attacks on them almost useless – unless they are heavy and concentrated enough to destroy them quickly. Since each interceptor costs resources to produce, this can actually put a drain on the Protoss economy. For the most part, though, a group of Carriers can face many threats without taking any losses, and completely negate any form of static defense.

 

carrier-thumb2.jpg

* Click for big

Most carriers have no weapon batteries of any kind, but their deployment of interceptor flights makes them devastating in a ship-to-ship battle. However, a handful of heavily armed “super carriers” exist, most famously the Gantrithor. This was the flagship of Executor Tassadar when he led a protoss expeditionary force in its attempts to eradicate the zerg in terran space. The Gantrithor was powerful enough that it single-handedly defeated an entire terran battlecruiser squadron under the command of General Edmund Duke. Tassadar later sacrificed himself and his ship to destroy the zerg Overmind when it manifested on Aiur.

 

Update: The action shot of the 3 Carriers fighting a single Battlecruiser, posted on the Carrier’s page, brought concerns about its performance. The Carriers took a long while to take down the Battlecruiser, which managed to destroy the shields and damage one carrier heavily in the process. Karune, Blizzard’s official RTS community manger, has posted some calming words for Protoss fans:

The Carrier is not at all balanced in that video. The video is more showing off the animations involved in the Carrier’s attack, so no need to worry about it being completely ‘nerfed.’

 

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