When StarCraft II hit the market back in 2010, it became the fastest-selling RTS (Real-Time Strategy) title ever, racking up more than three million sales across the globe within its first month on the shelves. Fans and critics alike lapped the game up, praising the immersive gameplay, strong multiplayer capabilities, and the narrative depth. The story continued in the first expansion pack, Heart of the Swarm, which was also a hit with fans.
Now, to complete the StarCraft II trilogy, Blizzard Entertainment is set to release Legacy of the Void, which introduces multiple new features and missions. Building on, and concluding, the story established in the previous two parts of the overall game, this expansion sees the focus shift to a new main character – and a different race altogether.
So, what can we expect?
Once More into the Breach!
Not only is Legacy of the Void ending the story of StarCraft II, it’s also wrapping-up everything that began with 1998’s original (though Blizzard has been quick to point out that the world of StarCraft will live on, albeit with different characters and regions of the galaxy). Legacy of the Void will follow the Protoss (the previous two instalments focused on the Terrans and the Zerg respectively), and takes place directly from Heart of the Swarm‘s ending, providing a nice, clean continuity sure to keep fans happy; players will be able to play from the beginning of the story to the end seamlessly.
Playing as Hierarch Artanis – leader of the Protoss – players will follow a storyline that sees an ancient evil (known only as Amon) arrive, threatening the whole galaxy. With Artanis as leader of the entire Protoss race and their Golden Armada of warships, he now needs to reunite the splintered Protoss factions to stop it.
While the units’ attack speed has been dropped by 40% from that in Heart of the Swarm, they can now cause more damage; scanning range has also been boosted to help increase the effectiveness of units when fighting. This may cause concern for some players, who might now expect a much slower, less exciting experience, but time will only tell how much of a change this will make to the gameplay.
While StarCraft has been known for its strong multiplayer, Legacy of the Void is mainly focused on singleplayer, with its campaign (around 20 missions) revolving Artanis’ diplomatic attempts to reunite the Protoss. To do this, the player will become involved with various tribes and groups, assisting their leaders to build bridges (though helping one can make others angry, and leave the player unable to experience certain parts of the campaign – just providing more incentive to play through again and make different choices).
As the player bonds with other Protoss groups, they’ll be able to use a range of new techniques and technology, which can then be incorporated into the army’s customisable equipment. By the end of the game, the player will have built the Protoss factions into one huge army, strong enough to take on Amon and save the galaxy. It all seems to be a fittingly huge conclusion to the StarCraft saga as we know it, and Blizzard has promised to give all of the main characters satisfying resolutions.
What about Multiplayer?
Blizzard announced two new modes for Legacy of the Void‘s multiplayer: Allied Commanders (seeing players take command of various commanders from the StarCraft universe) and Archon Mode (which gives two players control over one army, against another under dual-control). As well as this, the game will also include automated tournaments, and plenty of the new maps will be themed around the Protoss; this is set to bring greater diversity in playing environments than the previous games offered.
Various gameplay changes have been made, too: the amount of vespene gas and minerals has been reduced, and the number of workers at the start of each battle has been boosted to 12 from 6; as well as this, starting buildings – such as hatcheries and command centres – can generate additional control, psi, and supply to help produce new workers.
While the game is currently in beta-testing (which started on March 31), a lot of changes may still take place, depending on player feedback and performance success. Still, regardless of when the finished expansion is released, StarCraft fans are sure to get the exciting conclusion to the story they’ve been waiting for.