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SC2 blog Exclusive: Terran Harvesting Machines spotted.

During the very first seconds of the initially released StarCraft 2 gameplay video, the flying Protoss formation of multiple Phase Prisms and Phoenixes grab the attention. However, it’s what lies beneath the Protoss armada you should be looking at.

Hidden in plain sight, below the flying units, are several very awkwardly placed crystal patches, with two distinct units, of what looks to be Terran design.

Terran Harvester

The unit appears to be of sturdy mechanical construction, not unlike the Harvester in Westwood’s series of RTS games (Dune, Command and Conquer), and apparently harvests crystals by firing a short-ranged energy beam at them for long periods of time. Unlike the Yellow Crystals, that were spotted in such formation and placement that didn’t leave any doubts for the Crystals’ purpose, these Harvesters do appear to be placed near crystals not in the proximity of Vespene Geysers, and in quite unreachable surroundings – which might indicate that the unit is just a well designed doodad.

Harvester in actionMoreover – a somewhat similar, if not identical unit, makes an appearance at 0:50 into the gameplay video, and can be spotted in the top right corner of the screen prior to the Terran base landing sequence. The unit appears to be firing at nothing, just passing its laser over the barren ground.

None of the Harvester units have moved around, and are only seen turning the energy beams on and off, or moving the beam around while firing. This introduces another option – that the Harvester is a stationary building or unit, somewhat similar to the Colony of Civilization games – an outpost dedicated to collecting resources, which is later picked up and “unloaded” by SCVs.


Small Terran Harvester

Either way, it’s the first time that Blizzard introduces an alternative crystal harvesting method, or a mechanical laser-shooting doodad.



Additional theories explaning the strange Terran Harvester.


Karune, Blizzard’s Official RTS Community Manager, has released a third batch of answers, giving rest to a few myths and answering other interesting questions:

1)What is the role of heroes in StarCraft II? Will they be the same as in StarCraft?


StarCraft II campaign heroes will fulfill roles similar to what appeared in the original StarCraft single player experience, but they will have even more unique abilities from standard units, and will be more innovatively integrated into the story campaign. Heroes will not be buildable in multiplayer.


Heroes drastically change the balance of a multiplayer match, and can interfere with the core StarCraft gameplay that SC players have come to expect from StarCraft 2. For many, this confirmation brings a sigh of relief.


2)What is the max unit count population for each faction?


Unit population count for each faction will be very similar to the original StarCraft.

This echoes what Chris Sigaty, Lead Designer for SC2, has said in the leaked GFW interview.


3)Will there be an in-game option to change hotkeys around?


Currently it is planned to have this feature, though much testing has yet to be done on it. We are looking into several innovative ways to make the UI customizable to players, to allow flexibility in their style of game play.

Good news, no doubt. StarCraft’s hectic pace requires expert players to become intimately familiar with the keyboard shortcuts. This will allow all players to have a greater degree of control over the game.


4)Is Karunes Battle.net Forum Avatar a Protoss High Templar?


Yes it is.


5)Will the Robotics Facility have a similar upgrade to the Warp Gate allowing it to warp units in?


There are no plans for this at the moment. Currently Warping technology is limited to the Warp Gate. Of course, we are still testing and balancing this, and nothing is set in stone.


The Reavers will have to get to the field the old fashioned way, it seems.


These Q&A updates are now appearing weekly. The Official Unofficial Starcraft 2 Blog has sent its own questions, regarding the Yellow Crystals (a sc2blog exclusive find!), to Karune. We hope to bring you Karune’s official answers by next week!


Blizzard has released information about a new Protoss production building, the StarGate.


The warships of the Protoss fleet require a much stronger warp link in order to materialize than a standard gateway can provide. The immense stargate is capable of calling ships from high orbit or across immense distances to appear on a planet surface. The construction of one or more stargates at a Protoss base is a sure sign that it has become a major staging point for an offensive.

Currently, the only officially confirmed unit that the StarGate can call from orbit is the Phoenix, but considering the variety of Air Units (Protoss Mothership, Tempest, Warp Ray) that were present in both official gameplay videos and the information leaked to to the net, additional units will be available via the StarGate, if not all of the mentioned above.
Stargate with pylons

* The fact the multiple pylons accompany the Stargates might indicate that Blizzard are considering an alternative to the classic Protoss building powering scheme, and bringing buildings’ power consumption into play…

The magnificent StarCraft 2 gameplay preview video and the released screenshots left behind a strong impression and numerous unanswered questions concerning the many aspects of StarCraft 2 that have been so briefly covered in Blizzard’s preview. Slowly but steadily, both speculative and official information has started surfacing around the net, and here is a brief coverage of the official responses to some of the questions :

Q) A recently released gameplay screenshot features a strange vehicle-resembling Terran unit. What is it ?
Terran Addon
A) According to Karun, an official Blizzard poster on the Battle.net forums:

The unit seen is a building add-on, and well be revealing more on the Terran building upgrades in the future.

Well, now it’s official : both Terran Building Addons and Protoss Pylons are making a comeback, at least at this very early stage of development.

Q) During the final Nuke Launch sequence of the Gameplay preview video, the almost-unnoticeable dot of StarCraft was replaced by a clearly noticeable massive red animated crosshair, was it done in order to ease the spotting of launched Nukes ?
Starcraft nukes

A) Quoting Karun’s clarifications as posted on Battle.net:


In the announcement gameplay video the incoming nuke marker was shown as if launched by the player. To other players it will still be shown as a smaller dot very similar to the classic StarCraft nuke.

This actually goes hand-in-hand with the gameplay preview- the player was notified by the “Nuclear missile ready” sound before missiles were launched, even though the player was controlling Protoss units prior to the Nuclear launch and the final battle sequence(notice how the control interface vanishes before it begins, around 17:28 into the video)

One of the preview video’s key sequences is the Protoss Mothership ability showcase, which has generated plenty of speculation about how such a unit fits into the fragile gameplay balance and what will be the final nature of it’s abilities. Here’s a brief clarification of the nature of the time distortion ability, caused by what was called the time bomb …
mothership time bomb
Q) What exactly does the Mothership time distortion ability protect against ?
A) Karun answers this questions in the same post:

The Mothership time-slowing ability is intended to deal with all types of incoming attacks, although only incoming missiles were shown prominently in the announcement gameplay video.

For more information, you are welcome to
visit the brand new Official StarCraft 2 FAQ.
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