Starcraft 1.5 or Starcraft 2?
There have been many weary forum users claiming that Starcraft 2 is actually just Starcraft 1.5. This will be the subject of this article. I’ll start by listing all the new changes for Starcraft 2 and Battle.net 2.0.
Scientific vessel removed
That’s a lot of units from the ground arsenal that have been eliminated. Please note this is still beta so everything is subject to change.
That means 62% of the Terran units are new.
The Terran has a unique macro mechanic that is used after upgrading the Command Center to an Orbital Command Center. What it does is collect 30 minerals in each charge, but it takes about 3 times longer than one SCV per charge. Basically that would mean that it collects independently about twice as fast as an MCS.
However, the downside to using MULE is that a player must sacrifice the use of a scanner sweep; both abilities take the energy from your orbital command. This has been the cause of some lost games. Ground players must be careful not to get greedy.
Now we will take a look at the Protoss.
Referee eliminated (debatable)
Dark Archon removed
Not that many units were removed from the Protoss arsenal, however, let’s take a look at the units added.
Not bad, just one unit less than the ground side.
54% of Protoss units are new. However, the mothership is almost exactly like the referee, so there is room for debate there.
Protoss macro mechanics
The Protoss have an ability called Chronos that is available directly from the Nexus. It costs 25 energy and speeds up the production of any building by 30% over a period of time. This is an extremely powerful macro mechanic because it can be used to build quick probes early in the game, it can be used to make a fan stalk early in the game, or it can be used to get some very quick upgrades.
The only downside to the Protoss macro mechanic is that you don’t use it. If you decide to pump a large number of units, your economy will most likely lag behind your competitor’s economy. It could put you in position to do a push, but if the push fails, you will probably have trouble.
Now my personal favorite: the Zerg.
Lurker removed (this has been causing some controversy)
Not bad, not bad. I may get some criticism for adding the Queen to this list, but I think it’s pretty apparent that the Queen from Starcraft 2 isn’t even close to the original.
Lord of the brood
Zerg got the most new units. The Infestor is something like the Defiler, and he is certainly destined to be his replacement. However, right now I question the viability of it.
Overlord *: no longer has detection capabilities. This was replaced by the supervisor.
56% of Zerg units are new.
Zerg Macro mechanics
If you compare the new Zerg macro mechanics to the other macro mechanics, I think you will find that there is less room for debate as to which Queen’s option is the most effective. The queen has three macro abilities: Spawn Creep Tumor, which spreads the creep radius outward from the tumor. This can be used to connect bases or perhaps to perform scans. One of the biggest benefits of this is that creep allows for faster vision and movement for your units.
The other ability is to restore the health of a unit or the health of a building. This can be used in defensive structures. However, I think the downside to this is that any mediocre skilled player will attack the Queen relatively quickly. And to save the best for last, the Queen has also spawned larvae. For 25 energy (like her other abilities), the Queen injects larvae into her hatcheries and after a period of time, the hatchery will spit out 4 additional larvae. This can be quite devastating early in the game, and the only reason I can see players using the other options is if the game goes out of the game early. This is by far the most effective option for your war camp. More units = more power, more economy or whatever you want.
Some of the biggest changes in Starcraft 2 don’t come with the new units. They come in the form of new mechanics. Starcraft 2 is now a real 3D game. What this means is that Terrain levels are for more than just looks now. Units like Reaper and Colossus can traverse higher-level terrain.
Now this may not sound like much, but this completely changes the effect of ramps in the game. In Starcraft 1, you absolutely had to break through static defenses to storm a base save for the Nydus falls and canals. This made the ramp an extremely powerful (and sometimes irritating) map feature. Economic harassment can now be accomplished much earlier in the game if your opponent decides to mass photon cannons off his ramp.
Another new game mechanic that Starcraft 2 has added is in the form of destructible rocks. These are usually back doors to your opponents’ base, and if they’re not vigilant, you could have a one-way ticket straight to their main. Or they to yours. These new mechanics have seriously hampered the effect of the Turtles, meaning it is walled in at its base (usually a Terran favorite with siege tanks). I consider this to be a very good thing, because the turtle is a very bad strategy in the fact that it allows your opponents to freely reign over the entire map. You might be able to hold them back for a few minutes, but eventually they’ll get enough minerals, gas, and units to hit any kind of defense you can build on a base.
The economy in Starcraft 1 is generally very confusing. It is an almost organic system that scales out of proportion to the number of workers it has assembled. Although the law of diminishing returns was very much in force (each worker who passed a certain point was less effective than the previous one) [especially due to the bad pathing in Starcraft 1], allowed for a viable strategy called Maynarding. Maynarding is credited to a certain player with the same name, where while building an expansion, you can make all the additional workers you need for the expansion, effectively saturating the minerals as soon as the expansion is built.
In Starcraft 2, worker routes and routes in general have been greatly improved. Workers don’t fly around trying to find an available mineral patch. In fact, they will wait patiently for the few milliseconds it takes for another worker to finish mining. However, what this means is that there is almost a limit to the number of workers per base that is effective. This is generally thought to be 2 workers per patch in Starcraft 2. This is a great thing, but it seriously hampers Maynarding’s benefits. While the workers you were making on Starcraft 1 would still help your economy while you wait for your expansion, the profit drops dramatically on Starcraft 2. What this effectively means is that each expansion takes much longer to saturate to be efficient. This also means that losing an expansion early is devastating because you won’t recoup the cost quickly.
Unit selection limit and multiple building selection
Another widely debated topic among hardcore fans is the selection limit for new units. Starcraft had a limit of 12 units that could be selected at a time due to old user interface issues. However, the new game, Starcraft 2, allows you to select up to 255 units at a time. This changes the gameplay so much! Instead of 1a2a3a (hotkey, attack, etc.) is clicking and dragging the mouse, a. In fact, I really like this new mechanic, as it doesn’t take 150 APM to just raid a base. I think it allows for more strategy as a new player, and I welcome it.
Professional players may find it distasteful, because they may assume that it lowers the skill limit between professional players and mediocre players. I somewhat disagree, because sending all your units to an attack can also be a very bad thing; It can cause you to lose your entire army if you don’t pay attention. Professionals will continue to use hotkey groups and will attempt to attack from multiple locations at once.
Selecting multiple buildings is another thing that can be seen as lowering the overall skill ceiling of the game. It’s another thing that I don’t agree with. MBS allows you to select multiple gateways, hatcheries, or any other production building at once. What I think this really means is that there are fewer hotkeys to worry about. Macro has certainly gotten easier (especially with the new rally attack), but it’s not something I find that has lowered the skill ceiling. If a player makes 400 Zerglings, but your opponent has a good mix of Colossi, Zealots, or Carriers, the player with the Zergling army will be destroyed except for one Nydus channel (with a similar unit limit). And the fact is, you should never let your opponent make 200 of anything!
You can produce units more efficiently, but the whole strategy is still there. If a player forgets to use the macro mechanics mentioned above, they will also be at a great disadvantage.
I think the game deserves the title Starcraft 2. Many of the original bad interface choke points have been fixed, making it a bit easier for new players to join the series. However, Blizzard also kept esports a very high priority and has maintained a level of multitasking that is certainly not easy to master. I think we will see many exciting games from many Starcraft professionals like Jaedong, Flash, Bisu, etc. if they decide to change. This game is new, beautiful, has great music, and certainly has a competitive edge. There are more counterattacks than the original, so the way the strategies should be implemented is different.
Here are some videos and replays of Starcraft 2 in 1080p! I hope you enjoy it!