hello, I'm Zorine Te. I work hard to quietly deliver the best content in video games.

So I playtested Starcraft 2 – Wings of Liberty Beta. Unfortunately, the NDA prevents me from posting any screenshots or media from the game. Fair enough – I shall rely on my great descriptive powers to convey to you, the reader, how absolutely awesome, drool-inducing and downright fun this game is.

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First thing I noticed that yes, the core things about Starcraft remain (thankfully) unchanged. The three playable races still feature the Zerg, Protoss and Terran. The core mechanic is still the same. You start off with some gathering units and a primary base structure, you gather resources, you build up your base, you amass an army and you kick some ass.

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There were two main things that excited me:

1) The graphics

2) The return of old units/buildings

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My first match I played my favourite race, the Zerg, against Terran. I carried across my old strategies from the first Starcraft and their basis seemed to work well. A few hotkeys here and there have been changed, but for the most part the game is still Starcraft. Albeit with updated graphics, some altered/new units and gameplay improvements. And as incredibly stupid as that sounds, I cannot convey it in better way then that.

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It’s pretty much the same game except prettier, and with some game play improvements.  The little things you discover here and there, such as ‘Oh, now when I select the larvae to evolve it doesn’t automatically evolve all of them into the same unit’ and ‘Cool, when I hover my cursor over a unit creation button it lists the amount of time it’ll take to create it’.

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However, from what I can gather from the Beta version (and I doubt this is going to change in the final product) is that the game places even more emphasis on the ability to micro* then ever before. You thought the amount of micro required in Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne was a lot?

Prepare for SCII. You won’t even see the screen, your fingers will be bashing away at the keyboard as your mind blows into overdrive. Hotkeys will be your bible. Your eyes will only see the minimap.

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I can’t wait.

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* For those unaware, the term micro is used in this context to describe multitasking and directing several different units to execute different actions in a small amount of time. For example, I could direct a group of zerglings and hydralisks to surround and take out a group of marines. Using my grouped hotkeys, I direct half of the zerglings to target a ghost whilst the other half take down a marine who has separated slightly from the rest of the group, giving a better waypoint path. The hydralisks I then direct to mow down the rest of the marines, and burrow some to prevent blocking the zerglings’ assault. This all happens in less then 5 seconds. Sound complicated? It is.

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Comments on: "Starcraft 2 (Beta) – First Impressions Playtesting" (2)

  1. Hello Asslover, (an interesting handle by the way)

    Whilst I agree with all the points you’ve listed here, it still doesn’t change the fact that they are additions to the core game. The only thing that could possibly change that is the alteration of old units with new abilities, and even then (as far as I can tell with BETA) things don’t stray too far from the original.

    Core gameplay has remained unchanged, which is what has prompted me to make that comment.

  2. Asslover said:

    “It’s pretty much the same game except prettier, and with some game play improvements”

    LIES !

    After all the things that blizzard has implemented in SC2, it does still involve the massive battles with intense micro BUT! How the player approaches that sort of situation in SC2 is different because of all the new stuff and I think thats where SC2 truly shows how different it is from its predecessor.

    New units – This obviously changes the play style already e.g. counter, defending etc.

    Terrain – Watch towers on maps can provide a big advantage as it reveals a large proportion of the map (mainly for more map control). New goldish looking minerals; harvesting these mid/late game will provide HEAPS to get those extra units and upgrades later on giving you the advantage over your opponent economy wise. Some units can use the high ground to there advantage in many ways e.g. Stalkers with the blink ability and the Reapers with there jetpacks giving them the ability to jump back n forth off the ground to high ground instantly.

    Old/New units with abilities – This also has a great impact on the game play as well as strats. You’ll need to see which unit will be better for a counter/defend with these new abilities. Got heavy micro? 😛

    Theres obviously more but thats just some of the key points in SC2 which “I” think makes it a whole new game.

    😀

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