XENO RESEARCH PROJECT
Once you leave Mar Sara and come aboard the Hyperion, you will have access to the Lab Room. Simply click on the exit door. A drop-down menu pops with the name of each room. Choose the Lab Room to enter it. A young scientist by the name Stetman will talk to Jim Raynor to inform him of the latest research discoveries.
Click on the Xeno Research Project console. Three options will be available in the first missions of the single player, but it is likely more will be added as you progress through the missions. Dustin Browder said what we saw at this hands-on event, will be overhauled. They are still experimenting with the UI and the possible researches and side-quests involved with this new concept. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty will have approximately 30-35 Terran missions.
The Xeno Research Project allows you to gain bonus upgrades (in the single player only) in addition to those you already get through the Armory Room. The Lab room offers optional upgrades that you can obtain if you decide to engage certain special bonus objectives in any of the missions you choose to play in.
Zerg Evolution Research
Studying zerg rapid evolution could lead to a new understanding of zerg weakness.
Find 4 zerg chrysalis – complete 0/4
White Napalm: All infantry gain +1 weapon damage
SHIELD PROTOSS RESEARCH
A study of Protoss energy fields could lead to improved Terran defenses.
Find 12 Protoss relics: Complete 0/12
Kinetic Fields: All vehicles gain + 1 armor.
ZERG MUTATION RESEARCH
The bizarre and rare zerg “super-mutants” warrant additional study.
Kill 2 Brutalisks: Complete 0/2
Viral munitions: All vehicles gain bonus weapon damage.
As you can see from the first three optional Xeno Research missions, these upgrades could be very useful in the middle and final maps of the Wings of Liberty campaign. They become a serious challenge to hardcore players who decide to replay the single player in hard mode and insane mode. Or to those who wish to earn one of the tough achievement system’s challenges.
The Brutalisks are very hard to kill. You may need to pump out a lot of marines, and medics in addition to any unit you may have unlocked. Gameplay will vary depending on which units you have unlocked by choosing any of the missions. You see, in contrast with the original Starcraft where the story was linear, in Wings of Liberty you decide which mission to play. The beginning and end of the entire campaign are set in stone, but all the other maps in between are yours to decide which order they are played through.
Would you want Firebats to tackle the Brutalisk? You go for the Excavation of Aria to unlock Firebats to be trained in your barracks. Do you want Marauders to safely range your attacks on the Brutalisk while your marines are used as meat-shield? Do the Tooth and Nail mission to unlock them. And so on.
Dustin Browder wants the Xeno Research upgrade options to be more rewarding. More unique. Not just give you + 1 damage. Sure, that’s cool, but there’s not much of a perceived reward for all the trouble you might be facing to obtain those. We will probably see various incarnations of the Xeno Research feature as the Starcraft II team overhauls and polishes the interface, the rewards and the quests. What we played on July 20 is not set in stone. Keep an eye on any updates at Blizzcon, future Starcraft II Q&A, Blizzcasts and interviews.