It’s been 7 months after its release, multiple changes and patches have been made and applied, the outcome, a mixture of key elements that combine to make multiplayer perfection. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is an action Sci-Fi real time strategy game for the PC (and recently the MAC).
The story is a tale woven around multiple people, their quest to save, and conquer the mysteries of the galaxy. This review however, is based solely on the award wining, multiplayer of the series.
There are three factions you can play as, each having their own unique play and style to "Get the job done."
First we've got the rough and tough Terran who are generally a mix between lower resource requiring units and hulking juggernauts like the new to the series, Thor, which has put a nice dent in your mineral and vespane gas count.
In multiplayer for Starcraft 2 timing is everything. Plain and simple you want to have more units that are better equipped to do as much killing damage as possible before the other does and the Terran walk that fine line between "Squishy Units" (Units that don’t cost many minerals or time to produce and wont be missed if some "unfortunate events" occur in the rage of battle), and resource eating monsters that will carve chunks out of your enemies forces and take a lot to bring to the ground. The draw back to these units naturally being their slow production time, moving speed, and how expensive they are in a game where resource management is key in keeping your war machine running at optimal performance.
Another factor comes when using the biggest, most bad units of the Terran is to use them both logically and wisely. Even the awesome might of a Thor can be reduced to a smoldering pile of slag and fire if not properly supported by air units of other units like the marines or siege tanks so use your heavy hitters wisely.
Other factors include, playing the Terran with upgrades. These investments will determine whether your units are victorious heroes or heaps of bloodied machine and meat underneath the feet of the enemy. Then again this pulls into the whole timing element. Learning when to upgrade or save for something better is critical in larger matches when mineral deposits are low and everybody’s on their 3rd expansion (which will be covered later).
Terrans and upgrades go hand in hand with almost every unit being able to be refitted with the best better, battle enhancement supplements (stim packs), or abilities; like the ever useful cloak on the ghost unit or the deadly wailing banshee . . .
One of the most enjoyable fundamentals of the Terran is the personalities that Blizzard Entertainment established with each of the Terran units, it doesn’t effect the game in the slightest but its adds a nice touch of realism that your units aren’t just nameless lambs your sending into the fray.
Then there are the most wretched and hated creatures in the entire Koprulu sector, the nightmarish bug-like Zerg are the arch enemy of the Terran and the Protoss. The horrid creatures were supposedly the 2nd born of the Xel'Naga, and are claimed to be "The Perfect Race." These soulless blood-hunting creatures were bred for one purpose and one purpose alone; to take over the galaxy at the hand of their master, The Queen of Blades, Sarah Kerrigan.
The Zerg take a huge step away from the play style of the Terrans, opting to be more about speed and numbers rather then heavy hitters and expensive units. This is the race that spawned the famous "Zerg Rush" from the first game where players would be attacked by 6 of the Zergs infantry units, known as Zerglings, and would be given as much mercy as a slug covered in salt.
The victims of the Zerg rush had little or no defense because of how quickly the Zerglings could spawn and how heavily the Zerg race relies on speed as there weapon of choice.
Due to the massive changes Blizzard has instated the classic 6 pooling is dampered down and now able to deal with. Yet, this does not make the Zerg any less deadly. From the puny dog sized Zerglings to the hulking monstrosities that are Ultralisks the Zerg are the class for you if you want to turn your enemies units into a fine ground mixture of blood, organs, and mush, all you need it fast.
The Zergs bases have a lot to do with the speed of their units and how they operate for once a base is laid down (know as a hatchery) purplish-gray matter starts to spread around known as Creep.
Creep is a living mixture of tendons and flesh that spreads farther and farther as more buildings are placed down on it. This is helpful for the Zerg because any Zerg unit moves significantly faster when on Creep as apposed to the Terran on the map, this would help any Zerg response groups if one of their bases came under attack. As if a faster unit isn’t good enough for you Blizzard has implemented another way for the Zerg to travel around. If a portion of a map is exposed (which is made easy from the flying supply units the Zerg have, known as overlords) it is fair game for the terrifying Nydus worm to emerge from beneath the ground and start spewing out Zerg units.
Think of it as an organic subway system that can pop up anywhere and drop off the one thing you don’t need most in your life. As the match progresses upgrades are available to make your units make your enemy into a crimson stain on the ground faster and more efficient. Building order of units and upgrades can make or break a Zerg player especially in team games where one person may only focus on building air units while the others focus on ground or mechanical units.
One of the most useful and well-known upgrades of the Zerg is the "burrow" ability. This ability enables most of units of the Zerg race to burrow beneath the ground and be undetectable (except if a detector unit or scanning sweep is near) by enemy units. This is why the Zerg are notorious for ambushes, making them a feared force to be reckoned with. One minute you have a good sized squad of marines, ready to shoot everything that moves that doesn’t have their flag on it, the next they are torn to screaming pieces because a detachment of Zerglings popped up from beneath the ground unxpectedly.
The solemn, revered race of the Protoss is the final piece of the multiplayer puzzle. The high and exulted "first born" were an experiment of the Xel'naga in their quest to create the perfect race. Determined to not let the universe sink into the growing darkness that is the Zerg swarm, the Protoss take it as their personal responsibility to wipe out and eradicate every single last Zerg, no matter who stands in the way. This hatred for the Zerg transcends into the multiplayer as well for the Protoss are the exact opposite of the Zerg in play style. The Protoss relied on slower more expensive units that can take more damage and dish out more pain. The human like Protoss are well known in this game to have 2 rushes of their own. 1 would be the bane of every players existence, the cannon rush, where a Protoss player would build cannons in a section of your base that you cant see in the hope that when you start expanding your base that way your works atoms are obliterated by its particle disrupters.
The void rush in where players would skip right over other units to build the flying unit know as the void ray, get enough of these units early on in the game and your enemies will be pulling out their hair in fury that they didn’t have anything to defend themselves with. But other then that their are multiple, more respectable ways to dish out the pain to all your fellow players when your playing as the Protoss.
As for the Protoss when it comes to technology they are centuries ahead of both the Zerg and the Terrans, with their Colossi mechanical units that can step over mountains and can Kentucky fry a battalion of marines with one blast of its lasers, to the tank unit that has a special shield that reduces damage done to it known as the Immortal.
The tricky part about playing as the Protoss is managing your time and optimizing your build order to where theres no snowballs chance in Hades that they could be produced anytime faster.
The finer points though about playing as the telepathic race is when you get a decent sized force, there’s not a lot that can stop it short of a nuke. But expensive units require more resources so this causes players to have to expand their bases faster and earlier then a player using a different race.
The expansion is the new base that is created around the many mineral and vespane gas deposits strewn around the map. The extra minerals pulled from these expansions are crucial if you want to bring out Colossi or Carriers, which are massive flagships warped in from the Protoss Starfleet that spit out tinier starships to swarm and attack an enemy from all angles.
There are many modes and custom games to explore in this vast online community that Blizzard entertainment has created, many offering a new style or way to play the game, it is your job however to explore and figure out what you like best in playing. All the basics have been stated above so get out there and show no mercy. Oh, and welcome back Commander.