BlizzCon 2014 – StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Overview Panel Transcript

Army Customization

Morris: Hello everyone, my name is Matt Morris and I’m the lead campaign designer on StarCraft.

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Today I want to talk about a very important design value we have at Blizzard; we call it “what is the fantasy?” More importantly I want to talk about how this design value really impacted army customization on all of StarCraft II.

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If you remember the Terran fantasy was about building a bigger stronger army by choosing missions to earn credits. That was the Terran fantasy. That was Terran army customization.

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The Zerg fantasy was about adapting to hostile environments, picking mutations and evolutions to become a more efficient killing race. That is the Zerg army customization.

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When we started talking about Legacy of the Void we asked ourselves, how do you make the most technological advanced race in the universe more powerful, how are we going to customize these guys? What is their fantasy?

If you remember what James had said about this game, this is about Artanis going out into the stars, finding these different Protoss factions and uniting them so that they can stand together against Amon; so how does that translate into army customization?

When you play the game you are going to encounter these various Protoss factions; sometimes you’ll encounter ancient technology and when you encounter this ancient technology or when these factions begin to follow Artanis’ leadership something different happens.

In the past, these races/tribes have worked really well side by side but they’ve never worked as one. These Protoss factions are bringing over their most mightiest warriors, their most advanced technology and they are going to give Artanis the tools that he could fight against Amon.

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Inside the War Council room Artanis is going to make some executive decisions about his army. He is going to choose between three entirely different units based on the Protoss faction from which they came from; not any one of these units is better than the other one but what’s different is how this unit engages the enemy on the battlefield so there are three different types of zealots, three different types of stalkers.

I have a video that kind of illustrate the differences of how these units engage the enemy; so this is the Aiur zealot. This is a guy you’ve remembered since StarCraft I, he is a guy that you fought against in Heart of the Swarm, he is a powerful warrior, fearless, charges into battle. Let’s see how this guy does against this new Terran threat.

Those guys didn’t do too well. So here is the new Aiur zealot, this zealot is actually going to replace the one you just saw; as you saw in the video these Protoss warriors are coming out of stasis and they are equipped with this ancient blade that they found the Spear of Adun.

This unit isn’t necessarily better than the one you just saw but because of this weapon that they are carrying now they engage the enemy much differently so let’s take a look at how this new Aiur zealot handles that same situation.

(Video above)

That one turned out much different. That’s the protoss fantasy; it’s selecting these powerful warriors, this powerful technology from these various factions that you encounter and this is how you are going to customize your army and form a new Protoss army. You are going to help Artanis form the Daelam so that you guys can stand together against Amon.

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I want to switch gears real quick and I want to talk about how the Terran first introduced themselves in StarCraft. You guys remember there was a Terran colony called Chau Sara; the Terrans didn’t even know about the Protoss yet they just encountered the Zerg.

So the Protoss hear about this and they send a fleet to this planet and they blast it from orbit, they killed everything and everyone on this planet. This was an incredibly powerful moment in the game, it also shows how strong and powerful the Protoss are and this is the kind of power that we wanted to give you guys a chance to play in the campaign so that’s what we’ve done with the Spear of Adun.

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The ship is just not a ship that you launch missions and it’s not just a vessel to talk to the characters or customize your army; it is a weapon that you are going to get a chance to customize.

How this works? Inside the Spear of Adun is a room called the Solar Core, the Solar Core is like the heart and soul of the ship and inside this room is a synthetic star.

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The synthetic star has been lying dormant for a very long time so it doesn’t have all the energy to power up the weapons systems and the defense systems; but Karax (your Phasesmith), he’ll be in here getting very familiar with the technology and he’ll start bringing these things online; but more importantly this star still does not have enough energy so when you start playing the missions you are going to encounter secondary objectives and these objectives are going to reward an energy resource so that you can get some more energy from this star.

I do have a video I want to show you of the very first time we introduced a weapons system in the game. This is something you guys could check out over the demo floor, I hope you guys have checked it out, if not probably now is the time to go do it, here’s the video.

This is how we expect the player to engage in the system and what you see before you is just a mock up and I imagine that this screen will go through thousands of iterations before we actually get it to the end-game; but it does explain a little bit about what I’m trying to talk about today.

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You’ll notice that we have the Spear of Adun at the top of the screen and this is something we felt very important to remind the player that you have this vessel in orbit supporting your troops on the battlefield.

Each of these columns represents a different weapons system or a defense system and within each of these columns is different Spear of Adun abilities; now the more powerful the ability is the more energy it requires from that star to have that system activated.

One of the many interesting things about this system is that even if you were to do all the secondary objectives and have all maximum amount of energy coming from the star you’ll still not be able to activate all the most powerful abilities. So as Artanis it’s up to you to figure out how you want to support your troops on the battlefield.

I have one last video I want to show you and this is a little taste of what we want to do for you guys as far as how much power we want to put into this system. The ability is called Time Stop because only the Protoss are advanced enough to suspend time for a short duration.

So that’s it for the Legacy of the Void campaign overview. Before we do get to questions I have one last thing to show you guys; we’ve been working on a new game-mode and this is not campaign, and this is not PVP multiplayer and this is not the Archon Mode that Dustin Browder had talked about earlier in the opening ceremony.

This is a new game mode we are calling Allied Commanders and what Allied Commanders is, it’s an objective based cooperative experience for you and your friend where each of you get to pick a powerful commander from your favorite race and you unlock new units and new abilities with this commander and an open end progression system versus the AI.

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I really wish I had more things to show you with this, I wish I had more details to talk about this but I guarantee that in the future we’ll tell you more, thank you. Guys line up if you have any questions.

 

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