Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: The Evacuation of Agria

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Articles

THE EVACUATION OF AGRIA
Agria (Fringe world colony)


In Mar Sara, the dropship lands to unload the Raynor’s Raiders to liberate the local folks from the Dominion military rule.

Founded by renowned Terra-former Dr. Bernand Hanson, the Agria Colony has been one of the Dominion’s principal botanical and wildlife preserves.

Mission Objectives: Evacuate the Agria Colony

Bonus Objectives: Harvest chrysalis DNA

Reward: $60,000

New Tech: Firebat – Specialized anti-infantry attacker equipped with flame throwers

New Upgrades
Firebat Bearclaw Nozzles

  • Attack area: +40 %

Firebat Viral Plasma

  • Damage +2, Duration 4 sec.

This is a fun mission to tackle.  You should start pumping out as many marines, medics and firebats as you can. Man those two bunkers along the road and bring an SCV to each bunker for repair when you have a time. These bunkers will keep the zerglings at bay.  However, on the other side of the road, Nydus worms will loose hydralisks and zerglings often.  It would be a good idea to build bunkers on the eastern side of the road if at all possible.

The mechanic of this mission is that approximately every 5 minutes Dr. Hanson will inform a batch of civilians are ready for escort.  You will see a cargo truck transporting civilians.  You must rally your three firebats, marines and medics to escort the truck slowly throughout the long road until you reach the extraction site where three massive Hercules carriers await to evacuate the Agria colony. These carriers are huge, and have the same function of old-school dropships, except they load more units.

It’s a good idea to pump units and spread them along the road to take care of any zerg so that you can focus on other stuff instead of escorting all along the road.  There’s a reason for this self-defensive tactic. This mission has a very important bonus mission: The Chrysalis DNA research.


This is the evacuation hangar with three Hercules carriers to extract the Agria colony before the zerg overruns the planet.

Main Objectives

  • Reach Dr. Hanson’s Settlement

  • Escort colonists to the evacuation ships

Bonus Objectives

  • Harvest Chrysalis DNA [0/3]

You must be very careful with these chrysalises.  I left my marines unchecked getting rid of some zerg, and when I watched the chrysalis was gone.  Your marines will destroy it. Just make sure there are no Zerg left alive in the area, and bring in an SCV to collect the Chrysalis. This bonus objective is part of the Xeno Research Project found in the computer console at the Hyperion’s Lab Room.

Basically if you complete this side mission, you can get a nice boost to your weapon damage throughout the entire single player. Say whoa?  Yea, the Zerg Evolution Research, found in the Lab Room’s computer says:

Studying Zerg rapid evolution could lead to a new understanding of zerg weaknesses.

Find 4 Zerg Chrysalis.

White Napalm: All infantry gain +1 weapon damage.

In short, keep the road full of firebats, marines and medics in certain points where you know zerg will usually come out of nowhere to raid the escort to keep the road self-defended, while you are busy engaging the zerg bases in search of the chrysalis.  There is one just by the entrance to the Escort ships hangar.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Agria Evacuated
Complete “The Evacuation of Agria”

Man of science
Complete all objectives for “The Evacuation of Agria”

Safe Evacuation
Complete “The Evacuation of Agria” on normal difficulty without letting any escorted colonist to die

One way of doing it
Kill all Zerg bases on “The Evacuation of Agria” on hard difficulty

STATISTICS

Colonists killed by the zerg: 1
Convoys sent: 5
Firebats trained: 0

The survivors from Agria have joined the growing exodus of refugees fleeing the zerg.  Grateful for Jim’s help, Dr. Ariel Hansom has come aboard the Hyperion to discuss the future …

Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Tooth and Nail

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Articles


Marauders can range pylons and other units from afar in this Monlyth mission.

Monlyth was abandoned centuries ago – and little is known about the few protoss who chose to remain there.  These Tal’darim and their ancient shrines still remain a mystery to Terran researchers.

Mission Objectives: Seize the alien artifact

Bonus Objectives: Find protoss relics

Reward: $80,000

New Tech: Marauder – Heavy infantry.  Slows down targets that are hit.


One of the protoss relics for the Xeno Research Project

This map is really awesome for reasons I will explain shortly.  The immediate geographical view of the map shows it is U-turn shaped.  On the upper row you can see the Zerg advancing against the Tal’drim protoss.  On the bottom row, your units must advance through the Tal’drim’s defenses.  Your goal is to reach the alien artifact before the Zerg does.

You will encounter some plasma cannons along your way.  These can be easily destroyed by attacking the pylons first.  Suddenly you will see what looks like protoss stalkers approaching.  The Armory Room’s Chief Engineer Swann will show up onscreen to let you know he has created a new batch of units based on fallen Firebat salvaged equipment: The Marauder.  You are given a few of them to help you combat the protoss stalkers. They are very effective.

Once you reach the alien artifact, I suggest you start building many units before entering this area, and rallying them to a nearby spot.  When you reach the alien artifact, a defensive mechanism is triggered.  The artifact is surrounded by walls that emerge from the ground, and the four gargantuan zealot statues located in each corner of this plaza will come to life.  You have to fight four massive Zealot statues !!!!!  They have the Colossus lasers.  If you aren’t careful or do not have enough units to counter them, you will be overrun and decimated until you get more units out.

It would be a good idea to move all your troops to the north side of the plaza, rather than on the center of the plaza.  That way you fight only two at a time, while the other two statues slowly walk toward your units. They need to be at a certain distance to be able to laser you.  Since they are slow-walkers, veteran Starcraft players could probably micro and kite them, while other marines and marauders hit them from behind. Their lasers seem to do splash damage, which means your medics won’t last long.

Once you have secured the crystal for a short time, the campaign ends.  However, you should consider the bonus objective, which is to find protoss relics.  That probably means skipping the alien artifact for a while and to engage the Tal’drim and the zerg to explore the map in search of these relics.



The Xel’Naga artifact at the Monlyth shrine world is heavily protected by four giant zealot statues.

LORE FLASHBACK

Now that this is out of the way, I want to highlight something about this map.  As explained earlier, Blizzard is implementing a lot of lore from the manga, pocket books and comic book licensed products based on the Starcraft universe.  They are integrating it smoothly, and you can see that effort right away in these initial missions.

The Tal’drim is the protoss tribe mentioned in Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Shadow Hunters by Christie Golden.  This tribe is among those that were stranded and left behind when the Protoss escaped Aiur through the warp gate in that mission where Raynor and Fenix defended it long enough.  That warp gate was shut down to prevent any further Zerg invasion to Shakuras.

The Tal’drim tribe felt the horror … the feeling of being left behind.  These protoss devolved to a mental state similar to that of the time before the Aeon of Strife after the Xel’Naga abandoned them.  They departed the other protoss that continued to find strength in the Khala to continue fighting the Zerg in Aiur, and who continue to survive.

The Tal’drim of Aiur are now known as “The Forged”—they use a drug named Sundrop.  It makes them individual by severing their psi-connection to the Khala without mutilating their head-appendages. These Tal’drim (The Forged) have a secret patron who has helped them keep the Zerg at bay in Aiur … Dark Archon Ulrezaj (the one and only you met in the Enslavers: Dark Vengeance bonus campaign in the original Starcraft: Brood War).

I asked Chris Metzen during our interview if these Tal’drim in the planet Monlyth also serve Ulrezaj.  It is unclear at this point, so we have to wait and see how this story evolves and plays out throughout the three episodes.

Nevertheless, I’m very intrigued. If Blizzard didn’t want to spoil this, they made a mistake inviting me.  Aiur Protoss use Immortals or older-Dragoon survivors right?  My sharp-eye inquires … Why do these Tal’drim Protoss, who are not dark templars, have access to … dark templar Stalker technology? Hmm … did I just answer my Ulrezaj question? (grins)

Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Zero Hour

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Articles

ZERO HOUR


The base of the Raynor’s Raiders is under siege by the zerg and must hold out 20 minutes for extraction.

Mar Sara Dominion Salvage Planet

With the alien artifact secured Jim and Tychus need to get it offworld. Dominion control on Mar Sara is in ruins so getting a ship through should be easy enough …

With the resurgence of Mar Sara’s once lucrative mining industry, the Dominion was quick to swoop in and establish military control over the growing colony.

Mission Objectives: Hold until extraction

Reward: $70,000

New Tech: Bunker – Defensive structure able to protect infantry units.

In this map you receive a new tech: The Bunker.  You are at the bottom center of the map and your base has two exits on the left and right.  These exits are bridges, which makes it easier to defend with one bunker already built for you.  Man them asap with marines.  You only have enough space to build a second bunker on each exit.  You can’t build on roads.  The whole map is infested by Zerg. You will get raided very often by zerglings and hydralisks.  Start pumping out marines to rally point near the bunkers for extra support.  Eventually you will get Mutalisks hitting your base.

There is a Bonus Objective that you should complete.  In three different areas, there are rebels.  Every few minutes one of these locations will send out a mayday call to the Raynor’s Raiders.  You will be ordered to rescue them.  The two sets of rebels on the right side of the map are quite easy to get to if you have two or three medics and a good amount of marines with you.  However, the one in the left side is a bit harder as you need to walk near a Zerg base that will no doubt send reinforcements once you have aggroed and engaged the mobs in its perimeter.  You can hold position with a good amount of medics, and move one unit toward the rebels. Once you have secured them, retreat if you haven’t lost your units by then.

The mission is completed when you have hold out for extraction for 20 minutes.  Once the timer is off, an in-game cinematic using the game engine will play out. You will see the Hyperion battlecruiser approaching and laying siege to any zerg on its path toward the Raynor’s Raiders base.  Captain Matt Horner will appear onscreen through the commlink UI and say: “Calvary’s arrived. Anyone alive down there?”

Jim Raynor responds: “Good to see you man. Welcome to the party!

Matt Horner: “Glad we made it in time, sir. I’ll get you boys out of there.”

The mission ends, and a short Blizzard cinematic team baby plays onscreen: We see a closeup on the frontal helm of the Hyperion battlecruiser with many cannons firing at Mutalisks on its way to orbit.

Achievements

Up and away
Complete “Zero Hour”

Zero Hour
Complete all objectives for “Zero Hour”

Hold the Line
Complete “Zero Hour” on normal difficulty without loosing a building

The Best Defense
Kill all enemy buildings on Zero Hour on hard difficulty

STATISTICS

Marines trained: 48
Zerglings killed: 571
Bunkers constructed: 2
Creep tumors dropped on base: 17
Peak units owned: 80
Enemy units killed: 794
Units lost: 54
Workers trained: 22
Average minerals stockpiled: 5486

Jim has escaped Mar Sara only to find a wider, more terrible conflict ravaging Dominion space.  The ferocious alien zerg have returned and now everything is in chaos …

Starcraft II - Protoss Units

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Articles

The original Starcraft: Brood War expansion game had eleven units per race. With the exclusive info released by PCGamer (August 2007 edition), Blizzard Entertainment revealed at least 16 units should be expected per race.  Below you can take a look at the description of each Protoss Unit.

Zealot

Zealots are the standard infantry unit of the Protoss. Equipped with psionic blades for melee combat, zealots may confront zerglings and marines in battle with ease, unless outnumbered. In Starcraft II, Zealots have a new ability named Charge with which they can close in on enemy ranged units such as Terran Tanks.

Stalker

Stalkers are an enhanced type of dragoons operated by fallen dark templars. The Stalker may be used as an anti-air and anti-infantry unit. Stalkers also have the blink ability to teleport and close in on fleeing enemies.

Immortal

Immortals are effective against Terran tanks and heavy ranged units. Their enhanced shields will deflect most of the damage against enemy units with powerful ranged attacks. However, Immortals are vulnerable to light weapon units such as Terran Reapers and Zerglings.

Observer

Confirmed to return in Starcraft II, but details of enhancements or new abilities are not yet revealed

Colossus

Colossus are four-legged mechanical units equipped with two beam guns that sweep through enemy units one at a time., destroying marines and zerglings. They are effective assisting packs of Zealots. Keep them in the back and protect them. Colossus are vulnerable to Banelings and reapers. With their long legs, Colossus units can walk through obstacles and hills with ease.

Phoenix

The Phoenix are anti-air flying fighters with a fearsome ability. When the enemy brings in multiple air-units, the Phoenix can be used to destroy them by activating its overload ability. A net of beams successfuly wipes anything caught in its perimeter. A vulnerability to using this ability is that the Phoenix remains offline for some seconds not able to move or attack. Enemy units still in the area could take advantage of this weakness to destroy the Phoenix.

Phase Prism

Phase Prisms replace the Scout transporting vessel. They are used to warp-in up to sixteen protoss units anywhere on the battlefield. Phase Prisms also serve as a mobile pylon to power up protoss buildings when enemy units have destroyed pylons. Phase Prism is useful to build a quick defense at a new Nexus for expansion of your mineral and vespene gas resources. Phase Prisms could be used to power phase cannons strategically placed to surprise enemies in unsuspecting areas.

Warp Ray

Warp Rays are anti-air and anti-infantry units with additional damage the longer they fire a single target. Warp Rays can destroy Terran Battlecruisers and Heavy Zerg flyers more efficiently than Phoenix units. Warp Rays can be used to destroy enemy buildings within seconds. Warp Rays are vulnerable to swarms of marines and hydras.

Mothership

The Mothership is at the top of the Protoss tech tree. Only one Mothership can be built at a time. Among its abilities are the Time Bomb which distorts time around a radius, slowing down enemy missiles and projectiles in mid-air. After the field shuts off, all projectiles fall harmlessly to the ground. The planet cracker is a series of energy streams devastating anything it encounters on the ground including ground units and structures. The Mothership has a ultimate ability named Black Hole. It may be used against large amounts of anti-air enemy flyers such as Battlecruisers, and Mutalisks. The Black Hole sucks in all enemy units within its radius.

High Templar

The High Templar still creates Psionic Storms, but has gained a new ability similar to Arbiter’s Stasis Field. The High Templar can effectively neutralize enemy units temporarily, while your forces take advantage. The High Templar ability allows Protoss players to create blockades as a strategic bottleneck or barriers to stop advancing enemy units.

Dark Templar

The stealthed melee units from the original Brood War are back. Enemies without detection units will be vulnerable to these expert ground assassins. New abilities have not yet been revealed.

Twilight Archon

They are the Protoss tank unit wreaking havoc through enemy defenses. Blizzard is still tinkering new abilities for this powerhouse. For now they are as Archons from the original StarCraft.

Tempest

They replace the old Carriers, equipped with an enhanced shield that activates when its attacked by ground units and defense structures. Tempest is vulnerable against air attacks. They unleash disc fighters against enemies.

Soul Hunter

Soul Hunters are robotic units that hover above the ground. They are anti-infantry units that suck the souls of enemies. The more souls they consume, the more powerful they get. They fire a single beam at first, and as they consume more souls it powers up to three beams, increasing its damage output. Soul Hunters are effective against small enemy units. Thirteen Soul Hunters can destroy a Command Center within 10 seconds.

Reaver

The old robotic-slug Reaver unit is back. With the use of a Phase Prism, the reavers are devastating against enemy SCVs and Drones. Upgrade abilities are still unknown.

Phase Cannon

Phase Cannons can now phase and shift into an energy form, similar to Warcraft III wisps, and move around freely to another location where it can materialize again to unleash its energy blasts. A Pylon or Phase Prism must be within range to become functional. However, if the Pylon or Phase Prism is destroyed before the Phase Cannon materializes, they are lost.

Star Relic

The Star Relic is a dangerous unit. It can create a cloak field to make ground and air units invisible, and even structures. Star Relic has a fusion beam ability against a single unit. It slowly causes damage until the unit dies. However, the danger comes after … the enemy unit becomes a living bomb, exploding and damaging everything around its perimeter. The bigger the unit, the bigger the damage radius when it goes boom.


Starcraft 2 - Gameplay Video Transcript - Gallery

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Videos

Blizzard Entertainment unveiled Starcraft 2 at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Seoul, South Korea on May 19.  It is not an MMORPG a la World of Warcraft like many fans feared.  The Real-Time Strategy sequel has been in development since 2003 according to developers, shortly after the release of Warcraft III: Frozen Throne—whose release date was July 1, 2003.

Blizzard deployed a 21-minutes gameplay video narrated by a developer, giving fans a walkthrough of what they have been working on, and a glimpse to the abilities of each Protoss unit, the strategies you can use to counter Terran and Zerg units, and opposite faction units that may counter the Protoss units.

The developer narrating the gameplay video said this is simply a demo, and there is no guarantee everything will stay as it is.  Now that the game has been unveiled, Starcraft 2 will go into unit balance stage.  Knowing Blizzard, this means Closed Beta is not too far away.  Players will help test and give feedback to balance each race units and abilities: Terran, Protoss, and Zerg.

The video gameplay is massive.  It is available in two sizes: 1280×720 (449MB) and 720×404 (268MB).  This transcript has been created for those who do not have a fast internet connection or do not have time to download the video. Below is a transcript of the Blizzard Developer’s narration shown in the Gameplay Video.  You can download the video at the official Starcraft 2 Website.


Ladies and gentlemen, we’re now going to show you a demo of Starcraft II.  Before we begin today, I’d like to remind everyobody, this is a demo.  This is still work-in-progress, we’ve got a lot of balance work ahead of us.  Nothing you’re going to see here today is final.

We’re going to begin today with these Protoss Zealots.  This is a classic unit from the original Starcraft.  You can see they’re still armed with their powerful psi-blades and they’re still protected by a very tough personal body shield.

In Starcraft II, the Zealots also have a special Charge ability.  This allows the Zealot to close quickly with his enemies.  The Zealot’s Charge makes him extremely dangerous against ranged defenders like these Marines.

Terrans are bringing in their Siege Tanks.  This is a classic unit from the orginal Starcraft, and they’re in a classic Terran position using that high ground against us.  They’re shelling our Zealots from range, forcing our Zealots to go the long way around, and you can see our infantry are just taking a pounding as they try to approach this Terran position.  They just can’t withstand all of that heavy Terran firepower.

In order to attack a Terran position like this, that’s so well-defended, we’re going to bring in another new Protoss weapon of war.  After the destruction of Aiur and the events of Brood War, the Protoss have been forced to adapt.  They created these.  These are the Immortals, and they have a special type of Protoss shield.  It’s a hardened shield that activates only when the Immortal is struck by a very powerful attack.

You can see the hardened shields are activating now and they’re absorbing most of this Terran fire.  This makes the Immortal the perfect choice to assault this kind of defended Terran position.

The Terrans are sending in their Reapers.  This infantry unit is armed with two pistols and uses a jumppack to avoid different types of terrain.  Their small pistols don’t activate the hardened shields of the Immortals.  This makes the Reaper the perfect choice for countering these powerful Protoss troops.

This kind of fast, bloody raid is something the Reapers really excel at.  You can see how powerful they can be, hunting down slow-moving units on the field of battle.  In addition, the Reapers can use their jumppacks to be very effective base-raiders.  Once enemy forces are inside a Protoss base, one of the first things that they often go for is our pylons.  And with our pylon down, our Photon Cannons go offline, making us vulnerable to continued attack.  Fortunately, we have some new weapons.

The Protoss can use the Phase Prism to create a power field anywhere they wish.  And you can seed with our Photon Cannons back online, the Reapers have no choice but to run for cover.

In addition to a number of new units, the Protoss also have access to some new mechanics.  Protoss can use Warp In to teleport units anywhere they want into pylon power.  You can see here we’ve created some Stalkers.  This is a new type of specialist Protoss Dark Dragoon.  It’s not very tough, but it does have a powerful weapon.  In addition, it has a special Blink ability that allows it to teleport a short distance anywhere it can see.

This allows the Stalker to avoid certain types of obstacles.  And it also makes the Stalker very potent at chasing down fleeing enemy forces.


A Nydus Worm pushes its way through the surface, opening its mouth to unleash many Zerglings upon the Stalkers, surrounding them.  The Zerg have arrived sooner than we expected.  You can see they’re using their Nydus Worms here to create a breachhead, sending Zerglings against us.  You’ll also notice that we’re using our Stalkers here to Blink away from these Zerglings.  This is an example of how a skilled player can use the Stalkers’ Blink ability to great advantage.  Unfortunately, there’s simply too many Zerglings for our Stalkers to survive.

In order to deal with a Zerg infestation of this magnitude, we’re going to need to bring in some additional reinforcements.  Now we’ve shown you how you can use the Phase Prisms to create a power field anywhere you wish as well as Warp In.  These two mechanics can be used together to create a large army anywhere on the battlefield.

As you can see, Starcraft is still a game where large armies battle against large armies.  Now our upgraded Zealots can hold the line here for a short time, but in order to really survive against this many Zerglings, we’re going to need to bring in some additional firepower.


These are the Colossus.  They’re powerful robotic units that can use their long legs to step up and down cliffs.  In addition, they have a powerful beam that sweeps backwards and forwards, able to do large amounts of damage to small, swarming units like these Zerglings.  This makes the Colossus the ideal support unit for this group of Zealots. —Read More

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