What StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void Will Bring to The Protoss Campaign - Update

What StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void Will Bring to The Protoss Campaign - Update

Blizzard has kept pretty mum about Legacy of the Void, the final installment in the StarCraft 2 saga. But plenty of new details have come out of BlizzCon 2014 on the new campaign.

Update: We had the opportunity to sit down with David Sum, Senior Game Designer on Legacy of the Void and run through a few of the new features and additions in more detail. The most notable feature that isn't covered in the original post is Archon Mode. This is a 2v2 multiplayer mode, where you and your partner are cooperatively controlling the same base, units, and resources.

Archon Mode allows you to really play to your talents, so base builders can focus on shoring up the defenses back at your base, while the more combat-oriented player can bring your forces to bear in battle. We even got to take it out for a spin in a couple of matches, and will admit that it feels like a wholly different experience. Coordination is key, as it is entirely too easy to divert a unit that your partner has issued orders to, or spend resources they were trying to utilize elsewhere. When you do cooperate well, though, it gets serious fast. Sum joked that they designed this mode so we can feel like pro players, who seem to effortlessly manage both base management and warfare simultaneously.

Outside of Archon Mode, Sum mentioned some of the changes to multiplayer that we can expect. The team decided that matches took a little too long to really get started, and it was too easy and effective to simply turtle up in your first or second base. To combat this, you'll eventually be starting with a full 12 worker units at the beginning of a MP match, instead of the current six. Additionally, the resources at each base location will be significantly reduced, so the nodes are exhausted more quickly, preventing too much turtling, and forcing faster and more aggressive expansion. The number of nodes will remain the same, but the resources per node will be cut drastically.

You can expect a multiplayer beta for Legacy of the Void sometime in 2015. In true Blizzard fashion, you can expect to get your hands on it when it's ready, and not a moment sooner.

Original story: Whether you like their stories or not, Blizzard has always put a lot of effort into the narrative for its games. The thought process for Legacy of the Void is no different, as the team tries to bring a compelling Protoss story to the final installment of StarCraft 2.

"There are a lot of story lines to wrap up," said James Waugh, lead writer for Legacy of the Void. "The Protoss need to reclaim their lost home world and we wanted to create an epic 'end times' scenario for players to stand against."

Waugh said several factors went into creating the story campaign for the Protoss. The race's key traits are that they are an ancient, noble psionic race, that are relatively small in number. But they have incredibly advanced technology and The Khala to sustain them. "We look at them as space samurai or space paladins," he said. "They have a deep sense of honor and a strict code of justice, right and wrong and a desire to enforce them."

The Khala, a sacred and mystical energy field that unifies the Protoss' every thought and emotion, has allowed Blizzard to play with themes like collectivism vs. individuality and trying to find a balance between the two. Those themes will certainly surface again in the game. The Protoss population has also been thinned considerably through eons of war. Unlike the Zerg, each Protoss is designed to be an army of one. So the idea was to give the player a small band of Protoss warriors to go out with their superior advanced technology against seemingly endless numbers in a bout of survival. "That's what we felt playing the Protoss was all about," Waugh said.

spear of adun cutscene 2

The campaign relies heavily on the behind-the-scenes story from Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm. The Protoss home world of Aiur has been destroyed by the Zerg, and the Templars became refugess among their Dark Templar brothers. Both factions have come together as the Daelaam on the Dark Templar world of Shakuras, but old tensions surface and unity became difficult. Artanis, the Protoss hero from Brood War, becomes the leader of the Daelaam, and is the focal point and player-driven hero in Legacy of the Void. Artanis plans to unite the factions by rallying them to rebuild Aiur.

Zeratul is back again, still raving about ancient prophecies and the return of an old evil known as Amon. He has been right all along and Artanis is forced to listen to him when Amon, the fallen xel'naga, returns to destroy the galaxy and remake it his way. Legacy of the Void tells the story of what happens when Amon's plan collides with Artanis' return to Aiur.

Waugh said the game starts with "an epic D-day invasion with the full might of the Golden Armada bearing down on the Zerg." But Amon corrupts the Protoss through the one thing that defines their culture the most, The Khala. From there, he launches his galactic assault with legions of hybrids. "Artanis and his small band of Protoss followers have to do the unthinkable and sever their nerve cords, cutting themselves off from The Khala's light," Waugh said. "They flee aboard an ancient ark vessel known as the Spear of Adun. The game will force the Protoss to abandon everything they know in order to preserve their civilization."

spear of adun

Jason Huck, lead level designer, went into a few of the missions that players will see. After the first few on Aiur, Artanis will move on to Korhal, where the Terrans are under attack by a new group called the Shadow Corps, under Amon's control. First mission is called Sky Shield, and it is aboard a space platform taken over by Shadow Corps and plummeting toward the surface of Korhal. It is a timed mission for the player to secure the platform to stabilize it for Raynor and the Terrans.

He also said the team is working on some new mechanics for a few missions, including the concept of moving your whole base to new resources instead of bringing the resources back to you. In a mission called Unleashed, players will be able to drive their base across the map using sliding platforms controllable through an interface at the top of the map. The mission takes place late in the game when the Protoss have unlocked their mightiest technologies, and are trying to find the Shadow Corps home world.

Allen Dilling, lead 3D artist on the game, also took time to discuss the aesthetics of how the maps were designed, showing several worlds that the player will visit throughout the campaign. In the first few missions on Aiur, the art team tried to give some of the majesty of the ancient culture. "It is the first time seeing players get to see a Protoss city and we wanted to make it majestic, while also showing the destruction brought by the Zerg," Dilling said.

augustgrad starport

Another mission is in the city of Augustgrad, which is slowly being rebuilt after the Zerg tore through it in Heart of the Swarm to get to Arcturus Mengsk. "It's been through hell," Dilling said, but added that the city has more character now, including a starport -- that will eventually be blown apart. "Anything they can do to make players relate more to the map is a win for us," he said.

He also showed the worlds of several of the Protoss factions. Shakuras, home of the Dark Templar, has sharper edges and a darker color palette than on Aiur. One map in particular shows a Shakuras temple with a much larger xel'naga temple at the center. It is designed as "holdout" map where the player must hold the center against a swarming enemy.

Slayn is the home world of the Tal'darim, the faction that worships Amon. Dilling showed one map complete with sacrificial pit, where the mission calls for the player to confront the leader of the Tal'darim and drive him back into the pit before he does the same to you. The colors are much darker and malevolent than Shakuras, with harsh and jagged aspects.

Artanis model

Finally, he showed off Cybros, the home space station for the Purifiers, an ancient robotic race created by the Protoss eons ago. The Purifiers had been forgotten, but Artanis will come to reactivate them so they will fight for the Protoss. The station has a cold, robotic look, with a more metallic color palette fitting the faction aboard it.

Justin Thavirat, lead 3D artist in charge of many of the Legacy of the Void cutscenes and character models, showed off some of the old and new characters. In the Spear of Adun introduction cutscene where the arkship is fleeing from Aiur, players see Artanis talking with Karax, a phasesmith in charge of many of the systems aboard the Spear of Adun. Thaviat also showed off Vorazun, matriarch of the Dark Templars who joins Artanis' cause, and Rohana, a female Protoss Preserver, who is so in tune with The Khala, she floats off the ground.

Finally, lead campaign designer Matt Morris talked about the philosophy behind the unit customization for the Protoss. "When creating customization, we ask ourselves 'What is the Fantasy?'" he said. In Wings of Liberty, the Terran fantasy was building a bigger, stronger army by choosing mission to earn credits. So that was Terran army customization. The Zerg fantasy was all about adapting to hostile environments, while picking mutations and evolutions to become a more efficient killing race. That became the Zerg army customization.

"For the Protoss fantasy, we asked ourselves 'How do you make the most technologically advanced race in the universe more powerful?' How do we customize these guys?" Morris said.

The answer was through Artanis' effort to find and unite these various Protoss factions, so for customization the player will be able to create units in one of three ways, based on the faction the unit came from. None will be more powerful than the other, but more a matter of how they engage the enemy on the battlefield. "So there will be three different types of Zealots, three different types of Stalkers and so on," he said. "You are choosing the best an most powerful attributes of the various factions to augment your new army."

Remember that when the Terrans first met the Protoss, the Protoss glassed the Chau Sara from orbit, killing everyone. It showed how strong and powerful the Protoss were. "We wanted to give the player that power in the campaign, and this is where the Spear of Adun arkship comes in," Morris said. "It is not just a ship where you just launch missions. It is a weapon you will be able to customize."

Inside the ship is the Solar Core, the heart and soul of the ship, which contains a synthetic star that has been dormant for some time. As the campaign progresses, many new systems will be brought online through the power of this synthetic star. Secondary mission objectives will award energy resources that will help power the star quicker. However, doing all secondary objectives and getting max energy still will not be enough to activate all of the Spear of Adun's weapons systems, so as Artanis, you will need to be selective on what you choose and how you use your energy in support of your troops.

To highlight that, Morris showed off the ship's Time Stop ability, which allowed a small group of Protoss zealots to wipe out a huge group of Terran Shadow Corps without taking a hit.

As the panel concluded, Morris teased a new game mode called Allied Commanders, which is an objective based co-op experience where players can pick a commander from their favorite race and unlock units and abilities in an "open-ended" progression system vs. the AI. He didn't offer any more details, but said more info would be coming in the near future.

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You know what would be really nice for blizzard to announce? A release date... Granted all of this looks pretty cool and as a starcraft fan i am excited but still...

John Keefer:

Whether you like their stories or not, Blizzard has always put a lot of effort into the narrative for its games.

Like copy & pasting from previous games? Like stealing scenes out of popular films? Like having unrepresented levels of melodrama? Whatever happened to Blizzard's narrative died with WoW.

As the panel concluded, Morris teased a new game mode called Allied Commanders, which is an objective based co-op experience where players can pick a commander from their favorite race and unlock units and abilities in an "open-ended" progression system vs. the AI. He didn't offer any more details, but said more info would be coming in the near future.

This. I want to know more about this.
It sort of sounds like scenarios, but hopefully it's at least partway a campaign. We need more co-op games!

mad825:

John Keefer:

Whether you like their stories or not, Blizzard has always put a lot of effort into the narrative for its games.

Like copy & pasting from previous games? Like stealing scenes out of popular films? Like having unrepresented levels of melodrama? Whatever happened to Blizzard's narrative died with WoW.

So. Let me guess.

The entire realm is in danger from the army of what is obviously an analog for middle-ages Christianity inspired satan figure. All the races that have been fighting must form a grand alliance, only to have thing complicated by past sins and promises for power.

When all seems lost, some sort of immortal or powerful race will sacrifice their their immortality with the understanding that the younger races take more control of the universe. Also at the end the ham-fisted romance everyone wishes Blizzard would forget comes up again.

But in order to understand who half the characters are, you'd have to have read some genuinely awful companion novels that make Driz'zt *retch* books seem like Shakespeare

Activision folks, where writing goes to die. That wizard came from the moon.

I think I prefer loincloth Artanis to the Draenei armor version.

I'm heavily confused where Selendis is in all this. The Legacy of the Void site lists a bunch of main characters, yet she isn't listed at all which is strange considerin she's the Executor of the Protoss.

I think it's a bit of a stretch to claim the Protoss are the most advanced race in the universe, since all of StarCraft only takes place in a small part of one galaxy out of untold billions. The universe is pretty goddamn big.

Denamic:
I think it's a bit of a stretch to claim the Protoss are the most advanced race in the universe, since all of StarCraft only takes place in a small part of one galaxy out of untold billions. The universe is pretty goddamn big.

I think the Protoss would like to believe that, though. ;)

As a general rule in such things the word Universe should have a mental asterisk next to it, appending a 'Known' to the word.

i think the biggest story question i have about the protoss is still the talda'rim they apparently separated from the aiur protoss before broodwar but they have stalkers and voidrays along with all the other tech used by the main faction including collossus that were supposedly sealed away on aiur

ulrezaj seemed to know of them since he named his faction of pseudo dark Templar after them

that archon mode had something similar in broodwar but i think you could have up to 4 people per side and all 3 races

DeepReaver:
You know what would be really nice for blizzard to announce? A release date... Granted all of this looks pretty cool and as a starcraft fan i am excited but still...

I'm glad Blizzard has the policy of "We'll set a date when it's done." That way their shit doesn't come out like Bethesda's with bugs errywhere.

Sweet, the Protoss were always my favourite race. Aesthetically and gameplay wise I found them the most appealing.

Rawbeard:
I think I prefer loincloth Artanis to the Draenei armor version.

Can't see those sexy hips through all that steel. ;-)

DeepReaver:
You know what would be really nice for blizzard to announce? A release date... Granted all of this looks pretty cool and as a starcraft fan i am excited but still...

Blizzard release dates (or even release years) have historically been meaningless.

shintakie10:
I'm heavily confused where Selendis is in all this. The Legacy of the Void site lists a bunch of main characters, yet she isn't listed at all which is strange considerin she's the Executor of the Protoss.

Dead most likely. Saw her in the trailer when they are invading Auir. Can't wait to get this. The spear of Adun looks great. Also I love the idea of how to upgrade your army by choosing from the protoss armies. Also allied commanders looks like fun.

Starcraft 2, like Diablo 3, was lacking something.
I played sc2 and reached platinum in single, and got all the brutal single player achievements.

the single player was lacking something. unpredictability, characters who weren't so black and white, compelling stories that didnt end after 2 missions, in terms of the story.

even tho everything was polished and looked great, it lacked the a great story. not some derivative story that they just made because they think it will be popular.

in the terran campaign, what if the people were infected, but still human, and raynor had the option to kill them before they turned, or try to help them and risk them turning into zerg later, both with their own consequences, instead of, dr becomes potential love, or dr becomes zerg. bland

the black guy with dreads (tosh?), what happens if you rescue him, he helps you in a mission but comes back to betray you. that would have taken things to the next level.

instead of feeling like you were constantly fighting the "IM THE GOOD GUY! LETS KILL THE BAD GUY" fight.

also, there were so many missed opportunities with dr narud and samir duran from the first game

the single player gameplay itself, altho i love having gimmicky missions, was lacking all the sc1 type missions (here's your little base, with some nearby threat, and a massive enemy base scattered somewhere throughout). it was lacking the "multiplayer"ish feel where the obj is just destroy all enemy bases. they could have easily created those missions with minimal effort and the gameplay would haev been so much more diverse.

heart of teh swarm altho it had very cool missions, didnt feel like you could ever use your armies, until the very end. huge missed opportunities. there should have been more missions like the last one. and of course, the cheesy predictable storyline.

what if kerrigan instead infested mengsk just like he did to her, what if as you kept evolving kerrigan, there was a point of no return where the game forces you to play a mission where you have to massacre a bunch of terran and infest them to "grow your swarm" since you're already on that directive and kerrigan is losing her humanity.

that would have been good storytelling

not sure why the writer's at blizzard have lost their flare, but it's just so bland

As much as I love Starcraft.....I'm not good enough at it to get full enjoyment out of it. But will still be getting this when it comes out.

NOW LET ME INTO THE HEROES ALPHA ALREADY!

Splitting the campaigns into different extensions was a terrible idea.
Waiting 4+ years to play the campaign of your favourite race is just cruel.

After the long wait i was let down to find out they were going to split campaigns but at least it would be expansion packs like broodwar how wrong i was 3 full price games yay and to make the it better its been how many more years now waiting.

I'm glad to see that the story is coming to an end after all these years (though not turning out how I expected it to turn after the events of BW, since some things didn't make any sense and I disliked how the mood had changed)

I hope that this last chapter will give the story a fitting end (hopefully a better one that it currently deserves) and after reading what's supposed to happen, I can only have wishfull thinking that they don't make it a happy ending for all of them (though that's probably where the choices you've made through-out the game comes into play, though that's pretty much impossible, because those choices felt to be pretty minor, in my opinion, compared to the scale of the whole story)

So, if I knew how to make those spoiler-clicky things, that you make inorder to hid something underneath it, then this would be where I'd put (perhaps someone could tell me how it's done??), because I'm going to write some things about SC1 & BW that I think are poorly or not taken into account in SC2 (but they might have been dealt with in some book or something, but I've not read any books/novels of the SC universe).
Also mind the dots for the links (didn't want those big videos to appear and make the post be bigger than need be)

Back before Kerrigan was infested by the Zerg, they were expanding across the Galaxy, without the other two races knowing why. This was also the case after the Queen of Blades took the reigns of the Zerg. The purpose of the Zerg was hinted at during the bonus/secret missions at the end of BW (if memory doesn't fail, they didn't hint at it earlier) with how Samir Duran was conducting these experiments of his inorder to create those so called Hybrids (https://www.youtube dot com/watch?v=5Rn7tjUTqTI pretty much whole video, but 4:30-> is where Duran explains stuff).

Mengsk was rebelling against the current Terran Dominion/Federation (which it was called) and rallying like-minded people/factions to his side inorder to create his own "Empire" (which at the time sounded like it was more liberal compared to the Dominion) and the sacrifice of Kerrigan, was probably a calculation of her worth, compared to the limited amount of resources he had at his disposal (one ghost compared to alot of marines and dropships+escort ships, pretty clear what to do, don't you think?) and the infestation of Terrans was pretty much unheard of at that time, yet alone the redesigning of a Ghost into a weapon of the Zerg. (After having watched both https://www.youtube dot com/watch?v=JPgTBWVhoA4 and https://www.youtube dot com/watch?v=RmjGdRRsGSM ... it would seem that Mengsk indeed sacrificed Kerrigan because he wanted to (but we didn't know that during SC1))

When Kerrigan was a pawn of the Zerg, she had no free will and only regained it (though twisted) after the Protos managed to destroy the Overmind at the end of SC1. During this time she had already done alot of atrocities, which didn't fit to well with how Raynor liked it.
Kerrigan continued doing what she was supposed to after she regained her will and decided to get revenge and embrace her role as the new Queen (of the Swarm) of Blades, by taking control of the swarm and using doing as she pleased. She also appealed to the other two races when the Terran Expedition Force (not sure if this was their real name, but if you've played the game, you should know who I'm talking about) came to retake what Mengsk had liberated.
She managed to get the help of Fenix (of the Protos) and Raynor&Duke (of the Terran, with Mengsk being forced to help, if I recall correctly). During this time Kerrigan did stuff that Raynor didn't like doing and after they had beaten the TEF, Kerrigan proceeded to backstab her Allies, by killing both Fenix & Duke (after which Raynor swore to Kerrigan that he'd kill her one day... No clue how the managed to turn all that hate into love in SC2
(https://www.youtube dot com/watch?v=KjWRSv8AD9w pretty much the whole video))
and proceeding on getting her revenge on Mengsk, by destroying his "Empire" and then imprisoning him on a planet (probably the one which somehow ended up being his capital-planet in SC2, which is something that I can't understand how it happened, because Kerrigan was pretty much in control of everything in that sector of space at the end of BW, with pretty much only Raynor and Zerathul roaming around)

Also the sudden appearance of Alexei Stukov in SC2 not expected, because he wasn't known to be a Ghost or have Psi-ablities and it was clear that he was killed by Samir Duran (Stukov seems to appear as a Ghost unit https://www.youtube dot com/watch?v=vGnCgF7sNSM at 4:50->)

I can't recall anymore things that bothered me, but there are some gnawing at the back of my head, but I can't seem to reach them.
But yes... if I knew how to make those spoiler-clickety thing, then this would've been underneath one.

AstaresPanda:
After the long wait i was let down to find out they were going to split campaigns but at least it would be expansion packs like broodwar how wrong i was 3 full price games yay and to make the it better its been how many more years now waiting.

Except the bit where Heart of the Swarm cost as much as a normal expansion and that each campaign has delivered as many missions as the originals with a whole lot more work put into them in terms of fidelity. The wait is shitty, but that's... about it.

OMG the sexualisation of these protoss is unacceptable, Selendris' Khalarian glands are engorged to totally unrealistic proportions.

Anyway I look forward to the new chapter even if I think starcraft 2 ruined the feel of the lore. Starcraft shouldn't have prophecies and the Xel'naga shouldn't be ancient evil gods.

Ferisar:

AstaresPanda:
After the long wait i was let down to find out they were going to split campaigns but at least it would be expansion packs like broodwar how wrong i was 3 full price games yay and to make the it better its been how many more years now waiting.

Except the bit where Heart of the Swarm cost as much as a normal expansion and that each campaign has delivered as many missions as the originals with a whole lot more work put into them in terms of fidelity. The wait is shitty, but that's... about it.

matter of taste i guess but lol no in england SC2 came out abit pricey for a PC game of £39.99 and heart of the swarm pretty much the same. They are both now dirt cheap.

and a projected release date is???

C'mon man, I need to get my Vespine fix!

 

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