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Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty

Introduction

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is a science fiction real-time strategy (RTS) game developed by Blizzard and released July 27th, 2010. It is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Starcraft: Brood War. Starcraft 2 is split into three sections: “Wings of Liberty”, an expansion pack titled “Heart of the Swarm”, and an upcoming expansion pack entitled “Legacy of the Void.”

Starcraft 2 revolves around three races, the Terran, Zerg, and Protoss. Terrans are an advanced human race exiled from earth, Zerg are a super-species of assimilated life-forms, and Protoss are a significantly more advanced alien species with vast mental powers. Wings of Liberty focuses on the Terran race, whereas Heart of the Swarm focuses on Zerg and Legacy of the Void focuses on Protoss. The story of Wings of Liberty takes place four years after the events of Brood War and follows outcast and former marine Jim Raynor and his cast of outlaws in their fight against the autocratic Terran Dominion.

The game scored very high on many review sites including a holistic 93% from Metacritic. It received praise for its engaging gameplay as well as its cast of new features and improved storytelling. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty was the fastest selling RTS game of all time, selling more than three million copies in the first month of release.

Gameplay

StarCraft II features the return of the three species from the original game: Protoss, Terran, and Zerg. The Wings of Liberty campaign is mainly focused on the Terran race, but all three races have come with additions and modifications over their Brood War counterparts.

Starcraft 2 is based around economy (the player's mineral and gas supply as well as his unit count). With minerals and gas, the player can create units from unit producing structures, and, in turn, kill their enemy. If the player does not have a good economy and cannot collect as may resources as his opponent, he will not be able to produce enough units to fend off his opponent.

Starcraft 2 is a real-time strategy game, and the strategy part comes in with the different unit abilities and types. There are counters for each type of unit and structure in Starcraft 2, and knowing what unit an opponent is getting and then getting the proper counter is a very big part of the game.

Campaign

In the Wings of Liberty campaign, the player is in control of Jim Raynor and his crew of outlaws trying to overthrow the Terran Dominion. The player starts out in control of small amounts of marines as the game slowly adds in complexity by adding more and more types of units and structures that need to be controlled. Many of the units seen in Brood War return, with some new ones as well. The Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty campaign is the first non-linear campaign created by Blizzard, with player choice affecting the way the campaign is played.

Multiplayer

Overview

Starcraft 2, and other RTS games, are, at their most basic level, about creating an army to destroy an opponent, and then doing so. In Starcraft 2, this is done by producing army units. Army units are produced in different ways specific to each race. Terrans and Protoss both have several “unit producing structures” which produce different types of units. For example, a Terran barracks can produce marines, marauders, reapers, and ghosts, which are all biological (bio) units. Factories can produce Hellions, Tanks, Thors, and Widow Mines, which are all mechanical (mech) units. Protoss are very similar. They can train Zealots, Stalkers, Dark Templar, High Templar, and Sentries from Gateways, much like Terran barracks. Zerg produce their units from larvae, which spawn at each hatchery, the main Zerg unit producing structure. The Zerg can morph any type of unit from larvae as long as they have the corresponding tech structure. For example, Zerg can produce Zerglings (lings) once they have a Spawning Pool, Roaches once they have a Roach Warren, and Hydralisks (hydras) when they have a Hydralisk den.

In order to build any type of unit, however, it is required for the player to have the needed resources for that unit. There are two types of resources in Starcraft 2, minerals and vespene gas. Both are collected by the race-specific worker unit. For Terran, this is the SCV, for Zerg it is the Drone, and for Protoss it is the Probe. Minerals can be collected by rallying a worker to a mineral patch. The worker will automatically collect some minerals and take it to the nearest base for collection. In order to collect Vespene gas, a structure needs to be placed over a Vespene geyser. Once this structure has been built, workers can collect gas from it and deliver it to the nearest base. This part of the game, producing units, building structures, and collecting resources, is called macro or macro-management.

In addition to macro, there is an aspect of the game called micro or micro-management. As the name suggests, micro is the act of micro-managing your units where as macro is the act of controlling many of your units and structures at a time. Micro is mostly used when interacting with army units when in battle, and good micro can turn the tide of a battle from one player to another. One basic example of micro is the stutter-step. The stutter-step is the act of having a unit or group of units move as well as fire at their normal speed. This is accomplished by alternating the move and attack commands so that the units will move a small amount, stop, attack, then move again. If done correctly, this can be accomplished without the unit losing any attack speed, or damage per second (DPS).

Strategy

A good resource for finding up-to-date Starcraft 2 strategy is the TeamLiquid wiki (also known as the Liquipedia) which can be found here http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Main_Page

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

Introduction

Gameplay

Campaign

In the Heart of the Swarm campaign, the player is in control of Sarah Kerrigan and, in turn, the Zerg. Kerrigan is on a mission to avenge her lover's death (Jim Raynor). The player starts out in control of a swarm hive in a “controlled test facility” and is slowly taught the ins and outs of playing with Zerg. The game slowly adds in complexity by adding more and more types of units and structures that need to be controlled.

Multiplayer

Overview

Starcraft 2, and other RTS games, are, at their most basic level, about creating an army to destroy an opponent, and then doing so. In Starcraft 2, this is done by producing army units. Army units are produced in different ways specific to each race. Terrans and Protoss both have several “unit producing structures” which produce different types of units. For example, a Terran barracks can produce marines, marauders, reapers, and ghosts, which are all biological (bio) units. Factories can produce Hellions, Tanks, Thors, and Widow Mines, which are all mechanical (mech) units. Protoss are very similar. They can train Zealots, Stalkers, Dark Templar, High Templar, and Sentries from Gateways, much like Terran barracks. Zerg produce their units from larvae, which spawn at each hatchery, the main Zerg unit producing structure. The Zerg can morph any type of unit from larvae as long as they have the corresponding tech structure. For example, Zerg can produce Zerglings (lings) once they have a Spawning Pool, Roaches once they have a Roach Warren, and Hydralisks (hydras) when they have a Hydralisk den.

In order to build any type of unit, however, it is required for the player to have the needed resources for that unit. There are two types of resources in Starcraft 2, minerals and vespene gas. Both are collected by the race-specific worker unit. For Terran, this is the SCV, for Zerg it is the Drone, and for Protoss it is the Probe. Minerals can be collected by rallying a worker to a mineral patch. The worker will automatically collect some minerals and take it to the nearest base for collection. In order to collect Vespene gas, a structure needs to be placed over a Vespene geyser. Once this structure has been built, workers can collect gas from it and deliver it to the nearest base. This part of the game, producing units, building structures, and collecting resources, is called macro or macro-management.

In addition to macro, there is an aspect of the game called micro or micro-management. As the name suggests, micro is the act of micro-managing your units where as macro is the act of controlling many of your units and structures at a time. Micro is mostly used when interacting with army units when in battle, and good micro can turn the tide of a battle from one player to another. One basic example of micro is the stutter-step. The stutter-step is the act of having a unit or group of units move as well as fire at their normal speed. This is accomplished by alternating the move and attack commands so that the units will move a small amount, stop, attack, then move again. If done correctly, this can be accomplished without the unit losing any attack speed, or damage per second (DPS).

Strategy

A good resource for finding up-to-date Starcraft 2 strategy is the TeamLiquid wiki (also known as the Liquipedia) which can be found here http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Main_Page

Terran

Terrans have one new unit in Heart of the Swarm, the Widow Mine, and the Hellion is now able to transform into the Hellbat. Widow mines are small spider mines that can burrow into the ground and become invisible to an army without detection. They lock on and fire a targeted missile at units when they come within its range. There is a 40-second cool-down timer on the Widow Mine's missile ability.

Zerg

Zerg have two new units, the Swarm Host and Viper, as well as having the added ability for overlords to morph into overseers to provide detection. Swarm Hosts are burrowing, area control units that create locusts, a heavily armored, ranged unit, every twenty seconds. The locusts can last up to 20 seconds if they are not killed before the timer runs out.

Video Games


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