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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm exansion out 03/12/2013 (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm exansion out 03/12/2013
Sa'eed
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I became interested in Starcraft when I saw a thread in this forum back in the summer of 2010 about the game. I ended up buying it in the fall of that year and, with a few exceptions (like LoL and Deus Ex: Human Revolution) I've played nothing else since. It's the greatest RTS of all time.

Heart of the Swarm expansion comes on the 12th of this month. Anybody else interested?

The single player offering is 20 missions and there are all sorts of new units for multiplayer.

Trailer.

Opening cinematic.

[ March 08, 2013, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: Sa'eed ]

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Vadon
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I pre-ordered a while back to get into the beta. I played a little bit, but work has taken up enough of my time that I didn't give the beta as much love as I'd have liked.

Still, I plan on jumping back into the game when it's released. At least a little bit.

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BlackBlade
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I have gift cards, and I plan on using them. I remember Blizzard saying Blizzard DOTA would be a part of that expansion, seems like that game is vaporware at this point.

Makes me kinda sad. But I definitely want to play the campaign, and maybe get a bit back into multiplayer. I just don't think I'll ever be at the level of play necessary to get beyond bronze or silver.

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Juxtapose
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I've been playing WoL semi-regularly for a while now, and played the beta a bit.

The expansion is actually out 3/12. I got all excited for a second after I saw this thread.

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Sa'eed
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quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
.The expansion is actually out 3/12. I got all excited for a second after I saw this thread.

Doh.
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The Black Pearl
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My desktop monitor doesn't mix with the game right. I'll be arriving to this party late.
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Boris
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I completely spaced out the fact that Heart of the Swarm was released. This is probably a good indicator of my diminishing faith in Actiblizzard to release good games. (Diablo III was garbage on release and the economy was obviously meant to encourage P2W with the in game AH).
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Sa'eed
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Heart of the Swarm is awesome and weird.

The weirdness comes from the fact that no one has figured the game out yet, it's really scary laddering.

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Samprimary
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That was maybe the dumbest story since Diablo III
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Destineer
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Yeah, I watched the cutscenes for that game on youtube. What happened, exactly?
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Samprimary
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blizzard is just getting worse and worse at putting in a fully crafted narrative that isn't just horridly terrible. also, the same chucklefarts of olde are still there recycling the same old narratives. You know how Metzen was notorious for belching story into repetitious ad infinitum stuff like CORRUPTION CORRUPTION CORRUPTION CORRUPT CORRUPTION? we get the same thing here with ESSENCE CORRUPTION ESSENCE ESSENCE POWER POWER ESSENCE POWER ESSENCE PRIMAL ESSENCE POWER ESSENCE ESSENCE ESSENCE.
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Destineer
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I feel like the only game studio that's consistently any good at story is Bioware. And they don't always get the other stuff right (but when they do...).
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Samprimary
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~spoiler alert~ and everything, but I think this sums it up well for me:

quote:
I don't understand the tone the campaign is trying to convey. Am I supposed to be cheering for Kerrigan? Is she supposed to be relatable/likeable in any way? Is she supposed to be a straight up villain or antihero? The game can't seem to decide. If the former, then wow did they **** up because she's pretty much just a hugely arrogant self-important child who throws psychic temper tantrums whenever anyone attempts to use logic or reason or forethought(see: Hyperion Bridge/Warfield cutscene). If the latter, they failed both because she comes off as too petulant and whiny to be a good villain/antihero and if this was the aim then I doubt they'd keep giving her doe-eyed JIMMY-CHAAAAN UGUU cutscenes or brief moments of humanity/mercy.

The Warfield cutscene in general is an example of how thoroughly unlikeable she is. She busts into the base of an honest dude who risked his life to save hers, murders/maims/kills all of his soldiers(many of whom likely participated in the mission to save her life, actually). His only concern during the entire defense has been how to save the lives of civilians and wounded caught in the crossfire, to the point when he's lying there bleeding his guts out around a girder and Kerrigan corners him the first thing he says is "Do what you want with me but let the wounded go". She tries to smugly taunt him, he responds with a completely logical "Do you think Raynor, the guy whose name you're doing all of this in, would like to see you as a mutated genocidal murderer?" and her response is to crush his body like a tin can. Okay, fine, she's an emotional villain. Wait, she's letting all the wounded go. Okay, maybe she's not a villain. But she just murdered a good person because he said something she didn't want to hear and made her mad. But the entire story is about her quest for justice/vengeance and to save her lost love.

What do you want me to feel here, Blizzard?


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Marlozhan
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I like Gamespot's assessment of the writing:
quote:
Absurd story makes the original Starcraft seem like Shakespeare

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Jeff C.
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I refuse to buy this game on principle. The required internet connection is a terrible idea and prevents me from playing the game on the go (I'm in the military and I travel a lot). The new Sim City proved that always on DRM is a stupid idea. Hopefully other companies don't follow suit.

The rumor about the next X-Box requiring an internet connection is also troubling to me. We'll see if that one proves to be true.

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Vadon
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Yes, the writing is terrible. It is awful. It is some of the most painful writing since, well, yeah. Diablo III.

I was talking with my brother about it and we decided that's just a part of Blizzard's identity now. They have a certain art style, they make games with solid mechanics, the pre-rendered cut scenes are the best visually in the market, the games have an excruciating focus on balance, the music is wonderful, the sound's great, and they throw in a Wilhelm scream every now and then.

...But the writing is Tommy Wisseau level bad without the charm.

So, for me, finishing the campaign will be an exercise of endurance. My father would have described it as a character building experience. But ultimately, I didnt get the game for the campaign.

I got it for the multiplayer. And it's awesome. Zerg is (finally) the weakest in the metagame again so I don't get BMed for just picking my favorite race to play.

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Sa'eed
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I have no opinion on the writing/story. I only play multiplayer. Haven't even played WOL's campaign!

Though judging from Diablo 3 I'm not surprised Chris Metzen has produced more crappy writing.

There's this obnoxiously stilted and cartoonish manner of speaking he gives his characters and it made Diablo 3 almost unplayable.

[ March 23, 2013, 01:04 AM: Message edited by: Sa'eed ]

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Rakeesh
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I don't remember much about the plot of WoL beyond thinking repeatedly that man it was stupid. Which is saying something, usually I have a pretty decent memory for stories.

It's funny, isn't it? Blizzard should be able to afford the very best in the business on all fronts when it comes to making a game, and in terms of gameplay I think it can be fairly said that it shows. So who do they have and how badly are they screwing up that they continually miss (apparently, I never played Diablo III) the story turd sandwich they keep shelling out? Did this Metzen guy get a lifetime contract back when Blizzard was small potatoes or something? I remember his name from way back in sketches in the Warcraft manual, I think.

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BlackBlade
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I thought the original story for Starcraft was fantastic.

I think people are being a bit hyperbolic about how bad the story in HOTS was. It's serviceable, and even has some interesting bits, for example, I liked that moment between Kerrigan and Raynor and the "just like riding a bike" bit.

If anything, it was too rushed. Big spoilers if you keep reading.


They had her go back to the swarm way too easily. It's fine they had her go back to the swarm so as to finish Mensk because she believed Jim was dead, but it would have been way more convincing if instead of being all Super Saiyan about it, and throwing herself into the swarm, instead she actually mourns the death of Jim, and goes her own way. There's no way she'd embrace the swarm again when Jim "moved heaven and earth" to bring her back.

You have her work with Jim's old crew, maybe have them fall into a Protoss or Zerg trap, create a scenario where their only out is for her to take command of the swarm.

Or fine, she wants revenge, Mensk's son wants his father gone too. So they continue to fight the terrans, but they're outmatched, so they beg her to take control of the Zerg for humanity's sake. She finds out she can't possibly command the swarm anymore, as they are too fractured and the brood mothers won't submit to her. Not only that the swarm, now feral, is heading for the Terran homeworld, and looks unstoppable.

She learns about the primal Zerg, and realizes she could utilize their separate evolutionary paths to force the swarm into submission, refocus their attack to simply dethrone Mensk, and spare the rest of humanity. She willingly takes the risk, and becomes the Queen of Blades again. When she finds out Jim is alive, she busts him out, and he spits in her face for once again embracing the Zerg, and killing their chance for a life together. Let everything else as is, except for Mensk's death scene. Seriously, what did she do to him? I don't even understand what happened. That's not a good thing.

Also, they should have brought the Protoss in, or at least truly lead things into the return of the Xel'Naga, and show the shape of the threat we'd be facing in the concluding chapter.

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Rakeesh
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Spoilers to about 1/3 the way through the SP Campaign:

What, Kerrigan believes that Raynor is dead...because she sees it reported on the news? A news outlet that operates under Mengsk's government? C'mon. It's not like we would believe that Raynor had been scragged anyway, in a meta sense, but they at least didn't need to make it very implausible that Kerrigan would disbelieve it too.

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BlackBlade
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More Spoilers*

Rakeesh: I *think* she said she could no longer sense him either.

Not that it really matters, at the end he blows in to help her on his battlecruiser and she can't quite make out who he is until he announces himself through the communicator (which by the way, we don't know how on earth she communicates with him through that, do they have computer monitors in the hatcheries? Does she have an iphone somewhere on her?)

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twinky
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I'm maybe midway through the campaign now. Just left Zeras. And yeah, the story is awful. WoL's story was really cheesy, but it at least held together. Here, even though Kerrigan is the entire focus of the story, the characterization of her is a confusing mess.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Vadon:
So, for me, finishing the campaign will be an exercise of endurance.

The singleplayer campaign is hilariously simple, so it won't be much of an exercise of endurance. the pattern for most levels is:

make a bunch of vile roaches and some hydras

a-click the enemy base

go have a drink

come back, click the button to go to the next level

make a bunch of vile roaches and some hydras

a-click the enemy base

go have a drink

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
I'm maybe midway through the campaign now. Just left Zeras. And yeah, the story is awful. WoL's story was really cheesy, but it at least held together. Here, even though Kerrigan is the entire focus of the story, the characterization of her is a confusing mess.

Which is sad because the engine they are using for the mission cut-scenes is so awesome even ignoring how incredible the cinematics can be.

Also, more spoilers*****


What was up with Nova? She's actually given a name, and cuts off Jim Raynor and he just lets her cuff him? Or what? We aren't even shown, and she never shows up again. Why name a character who is never going to be seen again?

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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

What was up with Nova? She's actually given a name, and cuts off Jim Raynor and he just lets her cuff him? Or what? We aren't even shown, and she never shows up again. Why name a character who is never going to be seen again?

Wasn't she supposed to be the main character of Starcraft:Ghost, back before it was canned?
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Blayne Bradley
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Anyone else was cheering for Mengsk in Starcraft I got kinda annoyed with how they seem to derail his character in Starcraft II?
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TomDavidson
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Why on God's green Earth would anyone cheer for Mengsk?
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Blayne Bradley
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His motivations were reasonable, the Confederacy was a stagnant degenerate rotten structure and Humanity was beset on all sides by existential alien threats that it was incapable of meeting. Only Mengsk was presented in Starcraft I as possessing the willpower and military skill to unite Humanity to face this thread, I found him in someway comparable to Liu Bang and other rebels in Chinese history who unified China and proclaimed an imperial dynasty to fend off the hordes.

Not only that, but we must consider the bigger picture, the humans of the Koprulu Sector are essentially an outpost of Humanity, if they fell to the zerg nothing stops them from eventually making their way to Earth and wiping all of us out.

That and if you look at Mengsk's backstory that came in the little book with the treasure box edition of Starcraft it explained how the Confederacy murdered his entire family and glassed Korhal, and eventually we know they allowed for the Protoss to vaporize the Human colonies of Mara Sara they got what they deserved on Tarsonis as well as being a strategic necessity for the military campaign to overthrow them and unite humanity behind a renewed strength.

Also the Inaugoration speech was awesome

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Why on God's green Earth would anyone cheer for Mengsk?

It helps to have a thing for ruthlessly ambitious bloody-handed leaders.
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Blayne Bradley
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But at least there is symmetry.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Only Mengsk was presented in Starcraft I as possessing the willpower and military skill to unite Humanity to face this thread

I know I sometimes lack the willpower to read some posts on Hatrack [Wink]
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
His motivations were reasonable, the Confederacy was a stagnant degenerate rotten structure and Humanity was beset on all sides by existential alien threats that it was incapable of meeting.

Ergo, needlessly abandon your men to Zerg forces, thus creating the Queen of Blades, then instead of admitting your mistakes, double down and call all of those who disagree with you traitors."

Honestly Blayne, sometimes I feel like you are trolling me.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
His motivations were reasonable, the Confederacy was a stagnant degenerate rotten structure and Humanity was beset on all sides by existential alien threats that it was incapable of meeting. Only Mengsk was presented in Starcraft I as possessing the willpower and military skill to unite Humanity to face this thread, I found him in someway comparable to Liu Bang and other rebels in Chinese history who unified China and proclaimed an imperial dynasty to fend off the hordes.

did someone figure out blayne's password and they're having a laugh posting as blayne playing up blayne's blayneness to the point of parody
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Samprimary
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This unambiguously evil tyrant? I find him someway comparable to china stuff I commit to tyrranical fascist apologia in so I was rooting for him because his death squads and brutal subjugation were like how china did all this stuff to be strong, ergo he was really the good guy
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Samprimary
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Humanity was beset on all sides by existential alien threats: The mysterious Kierkegaards of Camus IV had recently invaded several colonies while the imperial navy was still holding off the savage Heideggrons
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
His motivations were reasonable, the Confederacy was a stagnant degenerate rotten structure and Humanity was beset on all sides by existential alien threats that it was incapable of meeting.

Ergo, needlessly abandon your men to Zerg forces, thus creating the Queen of Blades, then instead of admitting your mistakes, double down and call all of those who disagree with you traitors."

Honestly Blayne, sometimes I feel like you are trolling me.

He did try to rescue her from the Overmind later on, the problem with the sequence though is that we really do have no idea why he made those orders, Kerrigan was a valuable operative easily worth the effort to rescue her; we don't have the information to explain why he did so. I'm given to understand it is a purely military decision, either risk losing more valuable assets like Raynor to rescue her or maybe get caught up in the Zerg swarm heading for Tarsonis, who could know until we know?

Also how could he have known if she would've become the Queen of Blades? Hindsight is 20/20. If we're going to play the hindsight game, remember that the United Earth Directorate would've crushed the Confederacy far more thoroughly and no one would have been able to to defeat them, and they were explicitly described as being genocidal totalitarians, while Mengsk is merely Authoritarian. There *is* a degree of freedom of the press in StarCraft II afterall.

Again, the "doubling down" is my precise gripe. Mengsk is a talented man who led the Sons of Korhal successfully for quite sometime and had a good skill in choosing subordinates and getting them to follow him, such as the Player-Magistrate and Raynor and General Duke. His personality in SC2 clashes with his SC1 personality; and again this is not without precedent, Ilidan in World of Warcraft is a mere shadow of his character in Warcraft III/Frozen Throne from a tragic anti hero to just another raid boss.

quote:

Humanity was beset on all sides by existential alien threats: The mysterious Kierkegaards of Camus IV had recently invaded several colonies while the imperial navy was still holding off the savage Heideggrons

You and I both know that Humanity quite literally faces extinction if ANY of the non-Imperium factions were to "win" in War40k, the Eldar would gladly feed us to the Nids', the Tau would sterilize us and work us to death in death camps and the orcs would simply butcher all of us.

The Xeno threat needs to be exterminated, at best maybe the Eldar could be sufficiently pacified once their last forge worlds are destroyed and the Tau could be subjugated if the Etherals are wiped out; all in the name of the God Emperor if Humanity is to survive.

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Raymond Arnold
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I actually don't think Blayne is being especially unreasonable here.

Mengsk in SC1 was a powergrabbing dictator, yes, but he clearly had, at least originally, some genuine motivation to do good. (I mean, he began his life as a fairly wealthy dude living a comfortable life, and willingly decided to become a rebel/terrorist after his home planet got nuked. At the time, this was a not a decision that had an obvious path leading towards 'Become Emperor of the Universe.'

"He used to be a complex character, and now is a one-dimensional-villain" seems like a fair characterization (and one pretty typical of how old-school Blizzard characters end up evolving)

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Blayne Bradley
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:High five: This dude understands!
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Rakeesh
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If by 'understands' you mean 'said something quite different and more palatable than what I did', absolutely!
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Blayne Bradley
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Okay that is honestly dumb Rakeesh if you actually remember this is what I literally said:

quote:

Anyone else was cheering for Mengsk in Starcraft I got kinda annoyed with how they seem to derail his character in Starcraft II?

And is perfectly consistent with Raymond's post.

But I mean keep beating on those strawmen, the Crow Federation shall prevail!

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Kwea
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looked like "I got kinda annoyed", not like Starcraft 1, Blayne.
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Blayne Bradley
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I have no idea what you are trying to say.
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Juxtapose
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Medivac speed boost needs to die a violent death.

Just sayin'.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
Medivac speed boost needs to die a violent death.

Just sayin'.

No way, expect drops, it's what Terrans have to employ so that they can survive late game protoss/zerg.

If you scout out a Terran with a starport, then start putting anti-air up at your base, or at points of entry.

If you watch some of the Korean players do it, they put spore colonies at some weird locations, until you see a medivac drive through.

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Blayne Bradley
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I just wish medivacs moved slower than my bioblob.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
I just wish medivacs moved slower than my bioblob.

They move faster specifically so they can't be targeted down when retreating.

I'll grant the cooldown may be just too brutal, but you can get mutas and phoenixes at the same time the Terrans can get medivacs usually, either of those will stop any drops, if you leave some at base.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Why on God's green Earth would anyone cheer for Mengsk?

It helps to have a thing for ruthlessly ambitious bloody-handed leaders.
Why on God's green Earth would anyone cheer for Stalin?

Why on God's green Earth would anyone cheer for Hitler?

Why on God's green Earth would anyone cheer for Mao?

Why on God's green Earth would anyone cheer for Dear Leader of North Korea?

You know...just pointing out the obvious...

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Samprimary
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here have some wordspam before we move on to mp discussion

quote:
I finished the singleplayer campaign of Heart of the Swarm and immediately thought "I want nachos."

Maybe I was supposed to feel something different.

Well, okay. I'm not being entirely truthful. I was thinking I wanted good nachos, specifically. I wanted to go out of my way to find a restaurant that served nachos that were not going to disappoint me.

I desired this, because the entirety of my experience sitting through Heart of the Swarm made me baffled and irked in the same way I am baffled and irked when I go and pay money to a place that is entirely in the industry of producing food you want to go out to pay and eat — because, seriously? Nachos are a pretty low bar. You have to be dysfunctional in a special way to end up unable to produce nachos.

But they manage to do it anyway. What. How. They yet again serve me shitty ****ing nachos and I poke at my terrible nachos for a while and try to get them to sort of work and it doesn't work and I'm peeved and I pout and moan about it a bit and say I'm through with them, but none of it is true because they're the only place near my work and I'll be back again soon even though I could eat at home. I'm a terrible hypocrite and i'll still buy their terrible food and I'm why they exist. Damnit.

I mean, what's going on here? Why is it so hard for them to make nachos? They are a restaurant, so they make sure to address appearances: the nachos are usually really garnished with a lot of stuff that makes it look prettier, and it has an elegant 'surface composition' — I went out to an upscale place recently and got a perfect example of this. All style. Perfect display, with chives and artistic zig-zags of sour cream, but it was all garbage, with a quarter of the cheese it needed, all lumped up on five or six chips, with the rest completely dry and useless. Undercooked beans would simply fall off of any chip you tried to pick up. I wrestled with the few cheese-soaked, soggy chips before I had exhausted the entire plate's potential, and was just left staring at a pile of dry unseasoned why the hell am I talking about nachos.

Oh, right. Because it's all the same question. Nachos, or game plots. An upscale eatery is an organization I should reasonably anticipate to be able to not suck at making one of the simplest college slumfoods in the history of the universe. Blizzard Entertainment is an organization I should reasonably anticipate to be able to not suck at making a decent, workable storyline for an over-the-top and venerable franchise and space opera, for us to play around with in a singleplayer campaign. Especially when this is the second in the series and they've had the opportunity to work out the kinks beforehand.

What's going on here is that way too many game studios, even large and well-funded ones with plenty of industry experience, are really seriously starting to suck at something that should be really hard to suck at, and they are not sucking at it for virtue of lack of time and resources. Years go into making these games. The number of game studios which should be producing plots like Heart of the Swarm is approximately zero, but then again the number of restaurants that should be failing at nachos is also approximately zero. Damnit. I want some really good nachos right now. Like with carnitas and refried beans and pepper jack and small cuts of hatch green chile, and a tub of sour cream next to it. I want to talk about nachos so that I keep myself from complaining about a video game.

I keep going over things that happened in HotS and I openly wonder how you can end up with such a concertedly bad product, at the end of what I can only assume to be a process full of gobs of meetings, the production of plentiful product by dedicated writers and gameologists, the talents of multiple fully employed individuals, focus groups, etc.

Blizzard, in particular, seems to have ingrained, corporate-culture-legacy-level issues with writing stories and has degenerated to the point where the people in charge cannot release a game with a good story.

Actually, wait — I need to stress that it's actually worse than that. It's not that they just can't manage a good story, it's that they cannot even manage one which isn't so painfully bad that it manages to intrude on and actively harm the quality of a game which isn't even really big on narrative and story elements to begin with. They cannot even get to the point where the storyline isn't intrusively bad even for games which are hardly reliant on story at all.

That's harder to do. It takes an extra level of complicated dysfunction where you actually end up worse at story than most small scrappy indie companies could ever manage, much like how I already know I can make better nachos at home than the ones I had at TGI Friday, and I am not a restaurant chain, I'm a mook who can hardly make pasta.

They even managed to create an intrusively, painfully bad story for their latest and most impressively funded Diablo. We're talking about a franchise which essentially started with "there is a bad dude in that hole, go kill him" and never needed much more in terms of narrative. But in this iteration, they cram it with so much ambitious, tiresome, eye-rolling bullshit that it constantly busts in and punches the game right in the Fun. By the time I was doing my Nightmare difficulty run, I was skipping literally every conversation in the game, then also ended up muting the volume slider for all voices in the entire game. I did this for two reasons:

1. if I heard the word "Nephalem" one more time, I was going to vomit, and
2. it is the only way just to escape Maghda, Azmodan, Diablo, et. al., as they ceaselessly grind your ears raw with terrible B-movie villain mockery where you, foolish Nephalem, cannot ever possibly beat the next boss, ever, it's impossible, enjoy your death, arrogant Nephalem. Oh you survived? Irrelevant, he was just a useless tool anyway who cares if he even died I certainly don't, no ****s given here, but WATCH OUT you'll never possibly ever beat the next boss, ever, it's impossible. Nephalem. Nephalem nephalem? Nephalem.

How do you do it? Diablo is mindless hack-and-slash. How do you make it so bad that it actively intrudes on and reduces most people's enjoyment of mindless hack and slash? An even mediocre story wouldn't get in the way of that. Why is it so hard, if you are a huge multi-spazillion dollar company in a multi-spazillion dollar industry working with one of the most venerated and well-known franchises of all time, to not produce such a completely dogshit story? How can you fail at nachos goddamnit.

More importantly, how do you go from the insane drubbing you took over Diablo III and then turn right around and release Heart of the Swarm? What is happening in the game developer culture — or the work pipeline — that prevents any of the feedback from DIII apparently being able to impact and positively shape your next release so that it is not equally bad or worse, in terms of plot and writing?

Instead of making your next game a much-needed redemption of the quality of your plot and writing, you enhance its badness fivefold. The tiresome, bludgeoning repetition of certain key concepts — as "Nephalem" was in Diablo 3, or "Corruption" in Warcraft — Got enhanced to parody levels. The dialogue in Heart of the Swarm is drowned in words like Primal and Purity, but most importantly, ESSENCE. Yes. Everyone who has been through what I went through just cringed at that word. And yes, if you haven't played the game yet and care about spoilers, you should stop reading now. But, realistically, you should care about as much as me spoiling the plot to Twilight to someone who hasn't read the whole series (baby eat way out of now vampire mommy. doggie pledges to love baby as mate forever because that how doggies fall in love).

Anyway. Essence! Essence essence essence essence essence. The game sure does like to club you to death with that word. Over the background noise of the constant, childlike simplicity of the Essence refrain, every overarching part of the story sucks. The game goes to ridiculous lengths to make people feel as if the whole of Wings of Liberty storyline was reversed or trivialized, as if the progress in this game is a mind-numbing erasure of the player's prior deeds.

The characters suck. Some hiss at you about essence essencing all the essences until you wish you could tear their faces off. There were plenty of directions the game could have taken to make Kerrigan interesting, but instead they only managed to make her a shallow, ethically drifty "Protagonist?" whose revenge goals make her increasingly more unlikeable and harder for the player to really empathize with or enjoy directing through the story. This is only made even worse by how a love story is idly wedged in the side of her effort to exude arrogant untouchability. Said love story devolves Raynor conspicuously into a two-dimensional, lovelorn puppy. Nothing really adds much depth to her character, and many of the things that do sabotage her status as a protagonist, like conversations with a Protoss prisoner (that she will later murder) about how nobody can claim the moral high ground because the Protoss have killed millions of Zerg too; I guess the idea that these Zerg are mindless weaponized tools that are 100% likely to have been trying to kill and eat them and absorb their entire planet by force all the time always provides a level of moral complexity that I guess we have to think Kerrigan just can't grasp. Everything about the characters and the setting was degenerating into a terrifyingly obtuse, Metzonian megamyth that effectively told me that the game is driving me to the inevitable conclusion of "Like in all my other games, the factions must band together because there's a big ol' megabadguy over there!"

The central core of the story progression is terrible and delegitimizing. Kerrigan must get revenge on Mengsk for turning her into a Zerg. So she'll turn herself back into a Zerg. For revenge! We're sure glad the first game happened, guys. Also the Zerg recover their primal roots and have traded their hivemind structure up to incorporate Primal Zerg mentality, which is effectively about them being Sith that kill to grow. Essence.

The pacing is similarly horrid. You eventually start to almost hear Kerrigan say "Okay, entire swarm. Go ahead and stay here and let me go forth solo, because a cutscene is about to happen. And none of you are in it. And, yanno, I need to get put at risk for the sake of dramatic tension by being completely alone in there without support." Argh.

Tone — one of the absolutely most important part of a story across any medium — is especially butchered. You never know what you're supposed to feel about Kerrigan. Are you supposed to like her? Is she supposed to be a badguy or a goodguy? Is she trying for being good, or did that lose her when she lost her Jimmykins (or rather, when she gormlessly accepted the death of Jim as fact from the news service of a person she knows has lied about pretty much everything ever) and are we supposed to think she's a give-no-****s type? What's going on? If she's supposed to be a hero, why does she act like a tantrum-throwing angry mess at so many parts of the story? Why does she react so poorly to logical arguments or foresight on the part of others? Why does she straight up stone-cold murder Warfield dead for making a good point? Why is she okay with turning Lasarra into a larval suicide bomber so that it can be ensured that an entire colony of Protoss do not escape alive? Why would she taunt Warfield? Am I supposed to like her and the fact that I don't is an accident, or am I supposed to not like her and the doe-eyed Jimmykins love angle just makes her fail as a badass? What is going on here, seriously. How can you not make nachos, this is like the simplest shit in the history of forever. I am pretty sure nachos were well in use by protohumans before we even saw flint arrowheads, okay.

I think the most important part here — or, at least, the reasoning I'm using to justify how much energy I just put into whinging this noisomely about a computer game I'm certainly not obligated to play — is that these things are Big Deals and games take a long time to come about and there's generally no takebacks or reboots on them; if it's a franchise you care about, then it's a really sucky thing to have it continued in such a disappointing way. Especially when it seems like it so easily avoided. Individually, most writers in the industry can write a better story. What's confounding that? Is there some sort of pressure being exerted to fulfill certain plot points in a weird way? Are these games originally being written much better, but then they get cudgeled into their present state by some consequence of design by committee and focus group? Do they simply get corrupted (Metzen power word!) by repeated testing with groups to ensure that they are comprehensible by any idiot gamer?

Well, some hours had passed, and I was watching the final cutscene. It was a culmination of all the dumb in the entire game, compressed into extra-special form. The entire game has been about Kerrigan's rise to unfathomable power, and at the end of it she walks in (solo, of course, presumably just telling the entire Swarm to just chill outside, maybe have a brewski) to confront her nemesis alone. She could explode him in the blink of an eye, but lets this man — standing right in range of her — taunt her casually about how she is a fool if she thinks she's won (ha ha, arrogant Nephalem). She just kind of stands there and goes "Durr?" through his entire convoluted evil mocking speech, then just lets him slowly and deliberately use a thing she knows he has in his hands that he is obviously going to press, which he presses, and it elevates a relic macguffin out of the floor, that she stands in front of so that it can totally disable her, so that Kerrigan could legitimately fulfill the most epic path to being a Damsel in Distress that any character in the history of gaming has ever gone through. All of that, just to end up helpless before a gloating Mengsk, so that her big strong man can done come in and save her. Oh my god. She flies off with her Wings of Visual Analogy +2. Oh my god.

Please stop reading this. I have to stop. I can't .. what am I doing to myself. Stop reading me whinging about a crappy computer game. I want nachos. Post good pictures of awesome nachos.


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Sa'eed
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Blizzard's April Fool's joke was pretty good.

They replaced all workers with a mini-Warhound (A HOTS beta Terran multiplayer unit that wasn't included in the final release.)

http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/blog/9369235/April_Fools_Situation_Report_--_April_1_2013-4_1_2013

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Nick
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Oh how StarCraft has fallen so far. I wasn't thrilled with Wings of Liberty and reading this makes me just want to quit playing it entirely. If this is what Activision did to Blizzard with StarCraft, what will Activision do to Bungie with Destiny?
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