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Anybody know Starcraft?


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I’m with ya. They are about blowing stuff up and killing demons.
Wait, what? I thought they were about solving alien puzzles with cartoon vikings :p
I envy you so much.

I'm an analytical person. I play RTS for the single player campaigns because esports aren't my thing. It's pretty easy for me to notice the flaws in Blizzard storytelling when I put my mind to it. The problem is that Blizzard fans who invest in the story are somehow able to ignore the flaws that I notice. Indeed, they put the story on a pedestal that I don't think it deserves (see the playlist I linked earlier for a detailed analysis of the flawed writing). Naturally, this means that whenever I try to discuss these flaws with the fans and provide my constructive criticism it always degenerates into flame wars. I'm so sick of that happening.

Normally, I'd be able to put this stuff behind me by finding a different game to focus on. The problem is that there isn't any other game with the same premise as Starcraft but without the storytelling I dislike. Dawn of War II's tyranid campaign is horribly boring compared to the zerg. I liked the idea Blizzard had to introduce brain bugs and give the zerg personality when normally alien swarms lack those... at least until they killed off the bugs and replaced their leader with psychotic bug girl succubus.

It's absolutely maddening for me.
 


Kaodi

Adventurer
I do not quite get the anger. I mostly play single player in WarCraft and StarCraft too. The stories are... passable? They are good setup for the mission gameplay for the most part. The writing is hardly going to win a Nobel prize for literature, but they do have their moments. The confrontation between Artanis and Zeratul was amazing. The idea of the Lich King needing a servant like Arthas was good, though the execution may have been off.

These games are old though by now. Like, I imagine the plot of the SC II Trilogy was roughed out by the the time Wings of Liberty came out in 2010. The Frozen Throne came out in, what, 2003? I think it has only been more recently that people have expected non-RPGs to be storytelling masterpieces.
 

I do not quite get the anger. I mostly play single player in WarCraft and StarCraft too. The stories are... passable? They are good setup for the mission gameplay for the most part. The writing is hardly going to win a Nobel prize for literature, but they do have their moments. The confrontation between Artanis and Zeratul was amazing. The idea of the Lich King needing a servant like Arthas was good, though the execution may have been off.

These games are old though by now. Like, I imagine the plot of the SC II Trilogy was roughed out by the the time Wings of Liberty came out in 2010. The Frozen Throne came out in, what, 2003? I think it has only been more recently that people have expected non-RPGs to be storytelling masterpieces.
The stories are well below passable. They get a free pass due to nostalgia. The youtube playlist by Pr0nogo is the only critical review that seems to have been made in the last twenty years, and it is not kind.

I'm not expecting a great story. I just expect one that doesn't aggravate me so much the moment I tried to think critically about it. I dislike the story because it focuses on interpersonal drama and superheroes instead of the actual war which is supposed to be going on.

Like, here are some quotes from the official website advertising the game before release:
https://web.archive.org/web/20001109045800/http://blizzard.com/starcraft/ said:
A Galaxy In Chaos...
In the distant future a small group of human exiles have been doomed to fight for survival on the edge of the galaxy. Through military strength, espionage and deceit, a unified Terran government has maintained an uneasy peace. As resources run short, however, these Confederate nations find themselves looking towards the rich worlds of their alien neighbors, the enigmatic Protoss. To further complicate matters, it seems that a previously unknown and deadly species known only as the Zerg has entered Protoss space and is destroying everything in its path. The time for war has come...
https://web.archive.org/web/19970704233746/http://www.blizzard.com:80/star/terran.htm said:
The Terrans are a small group of humans exiled from Earth generations ago for long-forgotten crimes. They have desecrated and pillaged the barren worlds they inhabit on the galactic rim in their struggle for survival. Their search for resources and fuel leads to constant fighting with each other over territorial disputes and technology, and the violence has began to spill over into the region claimed by the neighboring Protoss. As the Terrans' mobile industrial bases encroach on the Protoss, conflict between the two species is inevitable. Although the Protoss possess superior technology, Terran tenacity and ingenuity may close the gap.
Each major planet within the Terran Confederacy maintains its own military, and rampant espionage and outright theft of equipment has left most worlds with a fairly equal level of technology. The backbone of any militia is the lowly foot soldier. Men are cheaper than machines, and thanks to neural resocialization and drug therapy, they can be made just as reliable. Richer governments are rumoured to genetically "grow" elite soldiers for espionage and assassination, but most armies are made up of conscripted criminals and outcasts. Expensive vehicles, like the Wraith attack fighter and the powerful Battlecruiser, are piloted by only the best personnel available.
https://web.archive.org/web/19970403201709/http://www.blizzard.com/star/protoss.htm said:
The most ancient and powerful race in the galaxy (or so they believe), the Protoss possess a highly structured society based on the preservation of their way of thinking. Highly intelligent and gifted with great psionic powers, they nevertheless suffer from an inflexibility of thinking which hampers their relations with their more volatile neighbors. They have attempted to remain distanced from their Terran neighbors, but as the Confederacy expands conflict is inevitable.
The Protoss appear to be deeply religious, although the details of their beliefs are not known. What is known is that all Protoss share a special psychic connection to each other and their homeworld, Aiur. With training, a single Protoss can learn to tap into this mental gestalt and use its power to enact a variety of physical effects, including the manipulation of space-time itself. The military caste of the Protoss, the Templar, can mentally form weapons and shields without a physical power source. The Protoss refuse to confirm or deny the rumors that they are capable of reading and manipulating the human mind.
In order to access the collective consciousness, the Protoss must construct great crystal nexus points that act as focii for mental energy and links to their homeworld. Although present Terran technology cannot detect or access the Protoss gestalt, it is theorized that the Zerg may not only be aware of it, but have been drawn to it from across the galaxy.
http://classic.battle.net/scc/protoss/ said:
In stark contrast to the adaptive Terrans and feral Zerg are the stolid, conservative Protoss. With their highly advanced technology and potent psionic abilities, the Protoss have long considered themselves the most powerful species in the known galaxy. Although they are not a prolific people, they have learned to bolster the ranks of their military with robotic war machines and to combine their intrinsic psionic ability with technology, thus producing some of the most effective warriors ever known. If the Protoss have a weakness, though, it is their refusal to accept change. The tenets of their major religion, known as the Khala, form a rigid path and the Protoss are loathe to deviate from it for fear of once again falling into civil strife.
Although the Protoss were originally divided into several warring tribes, they were united by a single scholar/philosopher known as Khas, or "he who brings order". Having studied the archaic, forbidden teachings of his ancestors, this mystic unearthed ancient, monolithic artifacts known as the Khaydarin Crystals. The power contained within these crystals -- along with his teachings -- are apparently responsible for the strengthening of the primordial, psychic link that all Protoss share. Khas also developed a strict religious, philosophical, and social structure christened the Khala. Under the Khala -- which translates roughly to Path of Ascension -- the Protoss have abandoned the crude tribal factions that led them into generations of vicious blood feuds and have instead created three castes: The Khalai (artisans and inventors), The Templar, (warriors and explorers) and The Judicator (administrators and leaders).
Terran dealings with the Protoss have been limited, restricting our knowledge of their language, abilities and equipment. What we do know is that they possess extremely advanced technology, including warp-gate manipulation, energy shield generation and the ability to power their buildings and units with a Psionic Matrix. It is only recently that significant progress has been made in learning more of their secretive society and science, and this has come at the cost of hundreds of Terran lives.
https://web.archive.org/web/19970704233805/http://www.blizzard.com/star/zerg.htm said:
What little is known about these biological terrors has been pieced together from log entries, sensor records, and debris. It is clear that they have little or no use for technology as we know it, but whether the living ships and weapons they deploy are biological constructs or indeed merely alternate forms of the central species itself has yet to be determined. Few signs of intelligence have been observed other than a marked propensity for cruelty, but this evidence is far from conclusive. As yet, all attempts at non-military contact have been entirely futile.
Terran scientists theorize that the Zerg (Protoss: "Consuming, unstoppable") are bioengineered weapons. Their natural defenses are simply too powerful to have evolved normally, even on the most hostile of planets. Forensic evidence shows that the large blade-like claws on one species (hydralisk) have a razor-sharp edge and a toughness matched only by modern composite materials. This brings up the question of who created the Zerg, and whether they are being controlled by another race.
Locations that the Zerg have inhabited become infested by a thick, living substance dubbed "the Creep". Sources have hinted that evidence of Zerg "nests" or "hives" within the Creep have also been found, and it is hoped that the examination of an intact hive might reveal more about their origin and purpose.
http://classic.battle.net/scc/zerg/ said:
The Zerg are composed of several different types of creatures that have been integrated into the Swarm by the Overmind. These creatures, or breeds, have been selectively evolved to become efficient killers and to assist the Zerg in their quest for ultimate power. The Zerg do not utilize technology in the common sense, but their natural weaponry and armor is comparable to the most advanced gadgetry employed by any other species. This biological evolution, combined with an unmatched savagery and their blind devotion to the Overmind, make the Zerg an extremely formidable and deadly foe.
The Zerg have been found in all types of environments, including deep space. They have adapted themselves to the rigors of space travel, although it is not exactly understood how they are able to do so. The center of a Zerg habitation is the Hatchery. Their nests are composed of a thick organic matter, nicknamed the Creep, which provides nourishment for the Zerg and provides organic mass for Zerg Larvae and Drones to facilitate their transformation into larger forms. The Creep expands and covers the area around the Zerg hive, and is very difficult to eradicate.

Based on those, I would expect that the franchise would be about the Confederate nations vs the Overmind swarm vs the Protoss gestalt. You know, something analogous to how Command & Conquer is always about the wars between its signature armies. I don't expect nor do I have any interest in badly written interpersonal drama that runs roughshod over all that.

Normally I'd just find a different game to focus my mental energy on, but there isn't one and that makes me sad. Starcraft has tons of elements I like, but everybody else seems to only like the stuff that I actively dislike. Trying to engage with fanboys is like bashing my head against cinderblocks because they refuse to believe the story is anything less than perfect. They put it on a pedestal because they loved it when they were five or ten and lacking in critical thinking skills. These same fanboys then think that SC2 is awful and a betrayal of SC1.

From my POV, SC1 wasn't a good story in the first place. So obviously SC2 couldn't ever hope to match up to the maturing standards of grown-up players of the original.

What I wouldn't give for a community of like-minded people that I could talk to and not feel completely alone in the universe.
 

Gradine

Final Form
I mean, I grew up with an NES. I don't need much of an excuse to beat a video game.

That's not to say I don't appreciate a good story. Some of my favorite video games are ones with great story but are more shaky on the gameplay front (PS:T, Silent Hill 2, Vagrant Story). But generally speaking, if game fun, game good.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
How could you not feel alone? You are aggressively denigrating people for enjoying a game the wrong way? If the Terrans were still "Confederates" I do not think the lore of the game would be doing too hot in the current environment regardless. Like, why did you need the plot of StarCraft II to be "good" ? If you want a gritty tale of interspecies warfare why not read a book? When did StarCraft not feature interpersonal drama? Like, the opening cinematic for StarCraft was incredibly tongue-in-cheek and featured a (short) interpersonal relationship between the two characters, "I love you, Sarge."
 

How could you not feel alone? You are aggressively denigrating people for enjoying a game the wrong way? If the Terrans were still "Confederates" I do not think the lore of the game would be doing too hot in the current environment regardless. Like, why did you need the plot of StarCraft II to be "good" ? If you want a gritty tale of interspecies warfare why not read a book? When did StarCraft not feature interpersonal drama? Like, the opening cinematic for StarCraft was incredibly tongue-in-cheek and featured a (short) interpersonal relationship between the two characters, "I love you, Sarge."
I don’t need the plot to be good. I just wish it was about bugs invading humanity, not the personal vendettas of space cowboy and his psychotic bug girlfriend. I despised the interpersonal drama because it distracted from the war part.

There’s no other fiction in the entire universe that scratches my itch, that’s the problem. Starcraft introduced a bunch of interesting ideas and doesn’t do anything with them. Potentially interesting plots, like exploring the zerg culture and their motivation for invading terran space, is discarded in favor of following bug girl’s personal vendettas. I don’t like bug girl, I like giant talky eyeball monster.

I just wish there was a game with a story that explored the ideas I liked and that I could discuss with like-minded people. Starcraft is a huge letdown for me and I would love nothing more than to forget about it, but I can’t find anything to move to.

40k is a letdown because the tyranids are hella boring. The Overmind and brain bugs were novel and interesting.
 

Sadras

Hero
I don’t like bug girl, I like giant talky eyeball monster.

Bug girl is not really the issue. Bug girl would have been find if they had a collective of eyeball monsters play a larger role, expanded on the Terran and Protoss factions. The concept was thin off the ground and with SC2 they nose-dived it into a dead-end.
 

Bug girl is not really the issue. Bug girl would have been find if they had a collective of eyeball monsters play a larger role, expanded on the Terran and Protoss factions. The concept was thin off the ground and with SC2 they nose-dived it into a dead-end.
I don't see how Blizzard could have done that when they bulldozed the civilizations in the first game and setup bug girl and her ex-boyfriends as the main characters of the entire universe. The game script was an interpersonal drama/space opera first and the war story part played second fiddle at best. The first game relied on several blatant plot contrivances including the psi-emitter, dark templar magic, and zerg-killing temple.

I don't think that's a solid foundation.
 

Sadras

Hero
I don't see how Blizzard could have done that when they bulldozed the civilizations in the first game and setup bug girl and her ex-boyfriends as the main characters of the entire universe. The game script was an interpersonal drama/space opera first and the war story part played second fiddle at best. The first game relied on several blatant plot contrivances including the psi-emitter, dark templar magic, and zerg-killing temple.

I don't think that's a solid foundation.

I'm saying the creation of bug girl is not the issue. Raynor is not the issue. You have to have protagonists in a story.
The issue was making too few protagonists and making the central theme bug girl and raynor's interpersonal drama.
And as I said, thin concept off the ground.

EDIT: For me SC2 was much more disappointing - because they had time to evolve/fix the story. They did not.
 


I'm saying the creation of bug girl is not the issue. Raynor is not the issue. You have to have protagonists in a story.
The issue was making too few protagonists and making the central theme bug girl and raynor's interpersonal drama.
And as I said, thin concept off the ground.
Yeah, I can totally agree with that.

I often come across as abrasive because of my analytical and sometimes dogmatic way of thinking, and for that I apologize.

I think the plot of Episode 1 would have worked fine if it was self-contained and didn't redraw the political map of the entire setting without even giving us a reason to invest in the factions involved. We didn't learn anything about Tarsonis or Korhal enough to get invested in them or understand how they worked. If the Tarsonis/Korhal war was this small-scale self-contained story and there were plenty of other Confederate nations to get invested in, then I probably wouldn't have cared as much even if the psi-emitter is a blatant plot contrivance that I don't think should be able to work as advertised.
 

How could you not feel alone? You are aggressively denigrating people for enjoying a game the wrong way? If the Terrans were still "Confederates" I do not think the lore of the game would be doing too hot in the current environment regardless. Like, why did you need the plot of StarCraft II to be "good" ? If you want a gritty tale of interspecies warfare why not read a book? When did StarCraft not feature interpersonal drama? Like, the opening cinematic for StarCraft was incredibly tongue-in-cheek and featured a (short) interpersonal relationship between the two characters, "I love you, Sarge."
Also, I'm sorry for being abrasive. I am an analytical thinker by nature and I can all too easily become dogmatic. For that I appologize.

If anybody is enjoying a game the wrong way, then it is clearly myself.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
Apparently StarCraft II is getting a 10th anniversary update - including making it easier to have custom campaigns. So maybe someone will make the bug-on-everything story you want. I am not sure we will ever see a StarCraft III at the current rate though unless RTS sees a major resurgence. I mean, it is not quite the same situation as WarCraft IV, because there is no World of StarCraft, but who knows...

Maybe once I get a new laptop StarCraft II will be one of the games I get back into at some point. They are actually adding a new campaign achievement for each mission.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Also, I'm sorry for being abrasive. I am an analytical thinker by nature and I can all too easily become dogmatic. For that I appologize.

If anybody is enjoying a game the wrong way, then it is clearly myself.
To be honest, if you enjoy fiction that focuses on systems, worldbuilding, and large-scale faction decisions over interpersonal conflict, you're probably not going to find a lot of material that's available for general consumption. That sounds more like a preference for rationalist-style fanfics.
 

I mean, it is not quite the same situation as WarCraft IV, because there is no World of StarCraft, but who knows...
I shudder to think of it. Would every expansion be about some new evil Xel’Naga coming out of the woodwork that the three races have to team up against, or would the three races be in perpetual war for absurd reasons?


To be honest, if you enjoy fiction that focuses on systems, worldbuilding, and large-scale faction decisions over interpersonal conflict, you're probably not going to find a lot of material that's available for general consumption. That sounds more like a preference for rationalist-style fanfics.
Rationalist? I’m describing the military science fiction genre (e.g. Starship Troopers the novel, the Confederation series, etc), or even a history book. You need characters to convey the story to the reader, yes, but that’s no excuse for the world to feel like a theme park. I haven’t a clue what “rationalist” is supposed to mean, I’m just talking about how good fiction is normally written.

I don’t know how else to describe it, but Starcraft doesn’t feel “realistic” even accounting for scifi elements like psychic powers. It feels like a theme park for the main characters to play around in, not a real setting of its own.

If I summarize the major plot beats of Starcraft, then they should sound pretty ridiculous. In episode 1 a horde of space bugs mindlessly follows a beacon and then leave when they’re no longer convenient. In episode 2 a million year old alien hive mind that has consumed countless worlds says that some random twenty something is the messiah. In episode 3, another messiah uses a magic spell to save the universe by crashing a ship into a giant bug.

I know space bugs and space elves are pretty unrealistic, but I’m suspending my disbelief. Otherwise I expect the setting to behave realistically and not rely on lazy plot contrivances and other such things that make no sense from a realistic perspective. Or if the jargon makes more sense to you, “rationalist.”

Am I getting my point across accurately?
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I know space bugs and space elves are pretty unrealistic, but I’m suspending my disbelief. Otherwise I expect the setting to behave realistically and not rely on lazy plot contrivances and other such things that make no sense from a realistic perspective. Or if the jargon makes more sense to you, “rationalist.”

Am I getting my point across accurately?
Yep, you're pretty much the target audience for rationalist fanfiction. (If you're unfamiliar with the term, a dive into the rabbit hole that is TVTropes.org may help.)
 

Yep, you're pretty much the target audience for rationalist fanfiction. (If you're unfamiliar with the term, a dive into the rabbit hole that is TVTropes.org may help.)
Tvtropes says that it's fiction which tries to teach the reader logic, not simply all fiction where characters act in a "rational" fashion. The way it uses "rational" describes what I would consider any good fiction period. It overlaps with what the showrunner of nuBSG called "naturalistic science fiction."

I think I realized a simple explanation of what I don't like about Starcraft. I don't like the "space opera" elements, but prefer straight military scifi. I don't know why I didn't figure that out earlier.
 

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