[Update] LotV: Dragoon – a good idea for Protoss? | dragoon starcraft – Vietnamnhanvan

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dreign

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Joined June 2011

5 Posts

Last Edited: 2015-05-11 20:50:21

#1

I would like to discuss about a “revival of the dragoon”.
This was already posted by myself in the battle.net forum:
Feel free to participate with direct balance discussion there (:

Any attendance is highly appriciated

Original petition text:

+ Show

Spoiler

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I think there is no need to say that Protoss is considered the weakest race in LotV at the moment. I would call it imbalance, because of my insufficient competence in StarCraft (currently diamond, ex-mid-master player), but – however – to my way of thinking it is obvious that “something is wrong”.

PvZ:
At normal macro games, away from cheese/all-ins (which, in my opinion, should not be the only alternative with a balanced winrate to come on in the game), Zerg always was dominant, e.g. with Roach/Hydra play in the early/mid game. Only wall-ins, forcefields and tactical, defensive styles were able to succeed with 3base macro attempts of the Protoss in PvZ.
Now Lurkers and Ravagers negate forcefields, render wall-ins weaker and the Zerg is stronger in dictating the game (speed, expansions, …) than ever before.
Inversely the Protoss barely has a chance to punish a fast expanding Zerg because the strong Roach/Hydra styles and the Lurker (if All-Ins are excluded).

PvT:
In my view the defensive role of the Protoss is even more distinct in the PvT compared to the PvZ.
Early Stim-bio + Cyclone pushes are so strong…in an interview with Desrow Huk said he is not seeing a way (even with a “perfect” hold) to trade positive against such pushes, especially considering a macro style opener, much a less 3 base styles.
At the late game the situation is not much different. At least in the PvT the disruptor is more or less useless. 300 gas are huge investment and terrans are used to snipe colossi, a unit that stays defensive (at range) in the Protoss army. There is no need to explain that an aggressive unit like the disruptor, which needs to go into the enemies army, would never have a chance for activating it twice…a good terran will never miss to focus such a unit.
Additionally terrans are used to micro and split a lot because of the way how this race works. It is not much of a problem for terrans to split stimmed bio and render the disruptor even more useless in PvT.

According to my opinion Protoss lacks of a unit that is more than a “meatshield” (like zealots) or “dead supply” (stalker, because the only reason for them is sniping medivacs/vikings…against stimmed bio they trade heavily negative) in a mid/late game army composition.
In LotV Protoss has even less of a chance to play safe and macro heavy. Protoss needs a good way, if microed and executed well enough, to stabilize a game in the early/mid and play safe / macro heavy…and even in the lategame it would be nice to have a unit where you can rely on and not always hope, that storm and colossi “would be enough to stay alive”.

So, I think Protoss needs a unit with enough damage and hp to be a useful, sensible supplement to the Protoss army for defensive and expanding purposes.
One unit which is not “nearly useless” in the late game like current gateway units.

At the good old BroodWar times this role was gloriously fulfilled by the dragoon.
I would really like to see the dragoon back in LotV!

A dragoon has high damage and hp but the most important: a slow rate of fire and a range upgrade…meaning one is forced to play a nice, exciting micro/focus fire style with dragoons to achieve its potential and it is not imbalanced at the early/mid game, because it would fail in aggressive plays because it would be outranged by, e.g. tanks, lurkers, …

So Blizzard, please give us back the dragoon!

Hello Community,I would like to discuss about a “revival of the dragoon”.This was already posted by myself in the battle.net forum: Battle.net-Thread: Petition: Blizzard, give us back the dragoon Feel free to participate with direct balance discussion there (:Any attendance is highly appriciated

ZenithM

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Joined February 2011

France

15951 Posts

Last Edited: 2015-05-11 21:00:12

#2

I don’t know what’s the deal with the dragoon. The unit design is really bland: it’s a unit that shoots everything… Unless you want to introduce bad pathing which is what made the micro interesting in BW, it’s essentially a stalker without blink and better raw stats.

Pontius Pirate

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Joined August 2013

United States

1556 Posts

#3

I liked the blue blood and the voice acting. I liked how it looked like a spider. It would be neat if Immortals had more prominent legs, and maybe deeper, hollow-sounding voice clips. But from a gameplay perspective, I find the Dragoon to be thoroughly inferior to having Stalkers and Immortals in the game on a very basic level.

Now the numbers involved in the unit design and the tech tree are a different story. I’d prefer slightly lower damage Immortals that are warped in from a Gateway, and of course, the Stalker could use a buff to its vs everything attack. But splitting one unit up into two units with differing roles, one with a very interesting, well-designed ability, and the other with an alright ability (I guess), feels like distinctly superior design.

“I had to close the door so my parents wouldn’t judge me.” – ZombieGrub during the ShitfaceTradeTV stream

AmicusVenti

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Joined July 2013

United States

61 Posts

#4

The Stalker and the Dragoon are incredibly similar. Have you compared their stats? Compared to the Stalker, the Dragoon has:

-20 more HP
-6 more damage against armored
-lower firing rate (17% longer firing period)
-no blink
-2 less starting range (catches up to Stalker once Singularity Charge is researched. Yes, a Dragoon initially has the same range as a Roach.)
-Their speed is the same (using standard speed and worker speed as a reference point between the two games, which is pretty solid.)

As a result it does:
-15% less dps against Light
-22% more dps against Armored

Given that Dragoons do less damage against Light, they’re not going to be the bio/ling slayers you’re looking for. The extra HP will help to an extent, but at the end of the day they’re very similar.

If you keep both the Stalker and the Dragoon, they Protoss has two units that are so similar it’s just silly. If you get rid of the Stalker in favor of the Dragoon, you get rid of one of Protoss’ most unique and skill-oriented micro abilities for relatively tiny gain.

Some might say ‘well that’s not fair, you can’t just compare values between games.’ That may be true up to an extent, but all I’m doing is following the trends that Blizz uses when bringing a unit from SC1 to SC2. Many values are the same, or fairly simple to convert. In order to make the Dragoon vastly different from the Stalker, you’d need to change it so much that it’s barely a Dragoon anymore.

It seems you’re more concerned with bringing back a unit you think is ‘cool,’ and are grasping for reasons to bring it back. If so, to a degree, I understand where you’re coming from. The Dragoon feels a lot more Protoss. It would be satisfying in its own right to watch these pure gold Protoss armies striding across the battlefield, but none of this is worth removing Blink.

I think a reasonable compromise would be keep the Stalker, but give a Dragoon skin. They even already have the assets with Legacy of the Void. (Though one problem I could see here is that turning rate is an important factor in gameplay, and Dragoons aren’t supposed to need to turn.)

On a different note, has anyone noticed in the LotV Dragoon footage Dragoons feel very slow i.e. 2.25 or lower? That would kind of sadden me as it’s so different than the SC1 Dragoon………

BaronVonOwn

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Joined April 2011

299 Posts

#5

Honestly, there’s not such a big difference between dragoons and stalkers. Stalkers are a bit weaker but some of that can be blamed on combat shields, 45 hp marines, marauders being in the game, etc.

If the community was going to make a stand for one Brood War unit it should be the reaver. 95% of protoss’s gameplay problems can be blamed on the colossus and the way it forces you to play deathball style. Colossus deathballs are to SC2 what carrier+arbiter deathballs were to BW – a cheesy, cancerous style.

Lexender

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Joined September 2013

Mexico

2592 Posts

#6

I thinkbthe adept fills the gaps, if blizzard finally gets what they actually want with the unit.

aka_star

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Joined July 2007

United Kingdom

1543 Posts

#7

The number of players that want BW back should be a metrics Blizzards is using to rate its success on SC2.

I want BW back too…

FlashDave.999 aka Star

covetousrat

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Joined October 2010

2099 Posts

#8

Dragoon and Reaverrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Who needs the trashy Disruptor.

Ej_

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Joined January 2013

47288 Posts

#9

On May 12 2015 05:59 ZenithM wrote:
I don’t know what’s the deal with the dragoon. The unit design is really bland: it’s a unit that shoots everything… Unless you want to introduce bad pathing which is what made the micro interesting in BW, it’s essentially a stalker without blink and better raw stats.

Goons were actually quite interesting overall with their big delay before actual attack (that could be cancelled), big range and overall clunkyness.
Having said that, I don’t think you could just put them into a game with better pathing, army clumping and stalkers and immortals being a thing.

Goons were actually quite interesting overall with their big delay before actual attack (that could be cancelled), big range and overall clunkyness.Having said that, I don’t think you could just put them into a game with better pathing, army clumping and stalkers and immortals being a thing.

“Technically the dictionary has zero authority on the meaning or words” – Rodya

Ramiz1989

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Joined July 2012

7627 Posts

#10

On May 23 2015 01:18 aka_star wrote:
The number of players that want BW back should be a metrics Blizzards is using to rate its success on SC2.

I want BW back too…

BW didn’t go anywhere, you can still play it if you want. But you really won’t get BW2 by adding BW units to SC2.

BW didn’t go anywhere, you can still play it if you want. But you really won’t get BW2 by adding BW units to SC2.

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“I’ve been to hell and back, and back to hell…and back. This time, I’ve brought Hell back with me.”

KeksX

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Joined November 2010

Germany

3634 Posts

Last Edited: 2015-05-22 16:28:27

#11

On May 23 2015 01:18 aka_star wrote:
The number of players that want BW back should be a metrics Blizzards is using to rate its success on SC2.

I want BW back too…

Then go play it, it’s not dead.

Not ranting, just want to point out that if you want to play BW, you can just do that.

Then go play it, it’s not dead.Not ranting, just want to point out that if you want to play BW, you can just do that.

IAmJuice

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Joined May 2015

13 Posts

#12

I don’t understand the need of making sc2 (and/or lotv) like bw.

Sc2 is a “different” game. If you really want to play with the bw units, then just go play broodwar 🙂
I do that aswell from time to time, just to hear the awesome unit voices and all ^^

hangarninetysix

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Joined August 2010

263 Posts

Last Edited: 2015-05-22 18:13:04

#13

On May 23 2015 01:51 IAmJuice wrote:
I don’t understand the need of making sc2 (and/or lotv) like bw.

Sc2 is a “different” game. If you really want to play with the bw units, then just go play broodwar 🙂
I do that aswell from time to time, just to hear the awesome unit voices and all ^^

I think the issue is that alot of people aren’t happy with the ‘different’ game that SC2 is. Speaking for myself, I was willing to give it leniency until the LotV details came out. At that point I was just irritated. I don’t think that means adding in BW units will fix it though. The dragoon wouldn’t be at all the same if you plopped it into the SC2 environment. Too many gimmicks for a unit like that to be good.

I think the issue is that alot of people aren’t happy with the ‘different’ game that SC2 is. Speaking for myself, I was willing to give it leniency until the LotV details came out. At that point I was just irritated. I don’t think that means adding in BW units will fix it though. The dragoon wouldn’t be at all the same if you plopped it into the SC2 environment. Too many gimmicks for a unit like that to be good.

BaronVonOwn

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Joined April 2011

299 Posts

#14

On May 23 2015 01:51 IAmJuice wrote:
I don’t understand the need of making sc2 (and/or lotv) like bw.

Sc2 is a “different” game. If you really want to play with the bw units, then just go play broodwar 🙂
I do that aswell from time to time, just to hear the awesome unit voices and all ^^

I really think people who want BW2 either ought to get behind an SC2 mod that effect, or hop on the actual BW bandwagon. There are already mods out there like SC2BW, Starbow, Mass Recall etc. I feel like at this point SC2’s best hope is the modding community – just look at what GameHeart did.

I really think people who want BW2 either ought to get behind an SC2 mod that effect, or hop on the actual BW bandwagon. There are already mods out there like SC2BW, Starbow, Mass Recall etc. I feel like at this point SC2’s best hope is the modding community – just look at what GameHeart did.

KingAlphard

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Joined August 2012

Italy

1704 Posts

#15

I wish TL made a rule against threads like these. It’s probably the 100th thread I’ve seen asking for Bw units back without any real argument to back it up. Just play BW if you want those units for the sake of it.

Protoss just got a really strong early game unit which is the adept (it seems even op to me but maybe it’s too early) so claiming that toss needs a new gateway unit makes me feel like you haven’t been following the beta that much.

hots/lotv gm protoss – tesgaming.com

Foxxan

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Joined October 2004

Sweden

3427 Posts

Last Edited: 2015-05-22 18:33:03

#16

Obviously if the dragoon is introduced into sc2, its going to be tweaked to fit better in it.
If we take a look at some other sc2-bw units; Marine, zergling, hydralisk and now mutalisk.
They are all tweaked into sc2.

Ramiz1989

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Joined July 2012

7627 Posts

#17

On May 23 2015 03:26 Foxxan wrote:
Obviously if the dragoon is introduced into sc2, its going to be tweaked to fit better in it

And we will end up with Immortal 2.0 or something between Immortal and Stalker. I really don’t see the reason why it should be in the game, it won’t bring anything to the table that Protoss doesn’t have already.

And we will end up with Immortal 2.0 or something between Immortal and Stalker. I really don’t see the reason why it should be in the game, it won’t bring anything to the table that Protoss doesn’t have already.

“I’ve been to hell and back, and back to hell…and back. This time, I’ve brought Hell back with me.”

Clear World

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Joined April 2015

123 Posts

Last Edited: 2015-05-22 19:15:00

#18

The description:

Okay, so I just read the infromation the liquipedia has for the Dragoon, and all I can say is, “Everything I read about the Dragoon sounds exactly like the Stalker”. I’m going to post what Liquipedia has written down, and everything bolded is what I’m just saying.The description:

The Dragoon is a ranged ground unit that can be warped in at the Protoss Gateway if a Cybernetics Core has been warped in. They are one of the most versatile units in the game, with high health and pushing power, and with proper micro, have the ability to deal high amounts of damage without having to risk any in return due to their high speed and range. If you replace the wording of ‘Dragoon’ to ‘Stalker’, this would literaly be a perfect description of the Stalker.

When used with Zealots, the strength of the Dragoon truly shines. Having Zealots fight in close combat, Dragoons can score uncontested hits against enemy units. Dragoons are especially strong at kiting Terran infantry despite their explosive weapon type and Terran’s infantry small size (which is what usually forces Terrans into mech against Protoss, on top of that Siege Tanks are quite cost-effective against them). Once again, everything written here more or less still applies to the Stalker. The Stalker can do all of this. The real problem I see is that the Zealot in SC2 isn’t contrubting like they did in BW.

The Dragoon is the ranged army unit for Protoss, the only one that can really contest other large ground armies (since melee armies find it harder to all attack at once) until Reavers are available with a Robotics Support Bay and then still quite useful and often necessary due to their high burst damage upon being massed and ability to attack air, at least as supplemental defenders. Protoss don’t have Reavers now, but the the issues the Dragoon face are still roughly the same issues Stalkers have. I still don’t see how Dragoon would be fixing these issues.

Dragoon unit AI is, quite famously, amongst the worst of all StarCraft units. Dragoons will sometimes glitch such that they will not move until the player presses Hold Position or Stop three times. Like many units Dragoons will also stop unnecessarily close to their targets to attack at less than maximum range disconviencing pure-attack-move micro. When their range is upgraded at the Cybernetics Core, Dragoon AI seems to improve slightly. For example, non range-upgraded Dragoons will often run into Spider Mines even when they have vision of them, but range-upgraded Dragoons usually will not. First major difference. Is this part of the reason why People even want the Dragoon? For their louzy AI.

Now for their competivie Usage against Zerg:

Now for their competivie Usage against Zerg:

Protoss units tend to suffer against Zerg units that are potentially much more damaging for cost. Unlike Terran, no early Protoss composition is quite able to fend off Zerg attacks completely at range while in the open. Hydralisk speed and high explosive damage deal major damage against Dragoons, as well. For this reason primarily Zealot compositions are more popular against Zerg in the early game. To summarize in my own words, Dragoons were poor against Zerg first tier units. Doesn’t sound much different with the Stalker right now.

Dragoons are the opening Protoss anti-air, able to stop a single Overlord from scouting reliably, and is commonly created after the first Zealot in the event of the Protoss fast expand. Dragoons in the Zerg matchup have no special utility except being relatively strong at countering Lurkers and fighting off low masses of Mutalisk. Most the same, in utility provided except that Stalkers don’t deal with Lurkers well, but then again, Lurkers in SC2 are like seriously buffed in comparison to their BW counterpart (more health, more range, more damage).

Especially in the Zerg matchup, Dragoons suffer at anti-air as compared against other units. Archons, High Templars with Psionic Storm, and Corsairs are much more effective responses to counter Zerg air. Sounds almost like the Stalker and their situation right now.

Several PvZ strategies rely on an early timing attack using Dragoons – for example, the rare Goon-Reaver build and the build used by Bisu against Hyvaa in this game: 15th MBC Survivor on Athena. Dragoons are important in the later game for being effective for preventing Hydralisks from taking free shots at High Templar and Reavers opening with a Gateway-focused army. (Zealots perform this function poorly because they have no ranged attack.) Timing attack like Immortal/Sentry/Stalker push, or Blink-Stalker Push. And also, Stalkers can also prevent Hydralisk from taking free shouts at High Templar and other slow late game units. They too have range.

So far, not much difference yet. What about competivie usage against Terran:

So far, not much difference yet. What about competivie usage against Terran:

Dragoons are the backbone of the Protoss army in early-game PvT, and remain so until Zealot Speed has been researched. Range-upgraded Dragoons outrange Marines and are all but able to ignore Vultures. Therefore, a common micromanagement technique used by Protoss players against an early Terran rush like the FD build is pulling range-upgraded Dragoons barely outside of Marine range, pressing Hold Position to give them a free shot at the outranged Marines, and cycling this manuvuer. This micromanagement technique is known as Dragoon dancing. A Dragoon with the range upgrade can even hit a Bunker without being hit itself by unupgraded Marines, if a player inches the Dragoon to the end of its range. A stimmed Marine dies in three Dragoon shots, although it is rare to see Terran not teching straight to Siege Tanks. Hey, this sounds almost like how Stalkers are commonly used against Terran, poking early and harassing them. Able to deal damage to bunkers with good mirco without a lost of a unit. Stopping Hellions harass. Omg, it almost sounds like the Stalker can almost do everything the Dragoon. Actually, I lied. It takes Stalker 4 or 5 shots to kill a Marine that used Stim. THat might make a world’s difference in viablity. Another thing, part of me knows that when the UI was improved, the Marine was greatly improved due to their ease of useage compared to the BW counterpart, even though much of their increase did not come from stat buffs.

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While in the early game Dragoons are entirely sufficient for holding off smaller pushes, but later need to be supported by Zealots. (For the precise technique, see Push Breaking.) Early Dragoons often take advantage of Terran not having yet produced sufficient mech. So beyond the very early game, they need support to fight them off. So is this really a Stalker issue that requires the Dragoon to be put back in the game or that the support that is supposed to help the Stalker fight them off needed in being good, (a.k.a Zealot, Sentry, Adept).

Dragoons fare poorly against Siege Tanks sieged up, dying in three hits, far before they are able to get shots in on a siege line built at the same use of the economy but are still useful for keeping them from pushing out directly due to their speed. Even against superior ground-based armies Dragoons are often used in an army for this purpose, although Zealots are the ones that more often than not dish out the majority of punishment toward sieging and unsieging tanks, if the Protoss chooses to go on the offensive. They also can kite Goliaths in a pinch, although the units they would be defending in such a manuever (Corsairs and Carriers) are easy prey for Goliaths and they probably would have to fight directly.
They serve this function until the late-game until Arbiters and other utility units allow Protoss to bypass or destroy defensive lines and raid bases more directly. Once again, almost everything the Dragoon provided can be done with the Stalker and is Done by the stalker now. What is this magical thing that Dragoon provide that makes them so wanted back?

And lastly, their usage in PvP:

And lastly, their usage in PvP:

Dragoons compose the majority of early-game armies in PvP because they are ranged and faster than Zealots (before the Zealot’s Speed Upgrade is researched), with proper micromanagement Dragoons can kite Zealots indefinitely. In late-game PvP, Dragoons can support armies based on the engaging power of Speedlots, High Templar, and Archons.Almost word for word, you could replace the word ‘Dragoon’ with Stalker, and all of this would still be correct.

So finally, I just end with, You have the Dragoon. IT’s call a Stalker. It litterally does everything the Dragoon did, except in one thing. It takes 1 extra hit to kill a Marine. In truth, that’s the result of the Stalker dealing a bit less damage in comparison of being way more mobile and able to bypass terrain. Almost every issue the Dragoon would sloved is sloved by the Stalker, and many issues that presist now isn’t really due to the fact that Protoss doesn’t have a ‘Dragoon’ like unit anymore. It’s usually due to the other units that supports the Stalker or how the enemy units AI improved (like the Marine).

So finally, I just end with, You have the Dragoon. IT’s call a Stalker. It litterally does everything the Dragoon did, except in one thing. It takes 1 extra hit to kill a Marine. In truth, that’s the result of the Stalker dealing a bit less damage in comparison of being way more mobile and able to bypass terrain. Almost every issue the Dragoon would sloved is sloved by the Stalker, and many issues that presist now isn’t really due to the fact that Protoss doesn’t have a ‘Dragoon’ like unit anymore. It’s usually due to the other units that supports the Stalker or how the enemy units AI improved (like the Marine).

:p <– this is my sarcasm face

FueledUpAndReadyToGo

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Joined March 2013

Netherlands

25997 Posts

#19

It’s not going to happen. It fits no role in the protoss army. Go play broodwar if you want dragoons. Or Starbow.

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okto

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Joined April 2013

United States

20 Posts

#20

I miss the old pure gold Protoss army, but other than that I don’t see what the issue is with the Bluegoon. The reason why Protoss is weak early game is because Terran has marauders w/ conc shells and Zerg has roaches.

You can lead a man to water, but you can’t make him become water. Nor can you make him drink gasoline, unless he’s really stupid. Lastly, try offering your thirsty enemies glasses of vinegar.

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[Update] Evolution Complete: Reimagining Classic StarCraft Units for StarCraft II | dragoon starcraft – Vietnamnhanvan

When a small team of 20 or so developers at Blizzard set out to conceptualize the original StarCraft, they didn’t face many limits beyond their own imagination—and a tight timeline. Really, their main goal was just to try their hand at making a cool science-fiction game.

“We’d done high fantasy twice already by then,” recalls Bob Fitch, lead engineer for the original StarCraft. “And we all really loved sci-fi. We’d watched Starship Troopers, we’d watched Aliens, we’d watched Star Trek. We wanted to leave the earth and go out into space.”

When the original StarCraft team started designing the three races at the game’s core—and the units that populate their armies—it was all about throwing anything and everything at the wall and seeing what stuck. The team behind StarCraft II, on the other hand, had a weighty legacy to contend with. They knew they had to create new units and buildings, as well as introduce new approaches to gameplay for each race, but they also had to stay mindful of what made StarCraft StarCraft.

The Battlecruiser, for example, is present in the original StarCraft for an understandable reason: space opera demands massive, lumbering battleships that equal the scale of their epic stories. The Battlecruiser was a relatively rare sight in competitive StarCraft or Brood War, however, so when Dustin Browder, StarCraft II’s game director, and David Kim, its lead multiplayer game designer, started working on the sequel in earnest—and with the explicit goal of designing it for intense, skill-based esports—they couldn’t help but wonder whether, or how, they could replace it.

It was a futile endeavor.

“It’s so iconic to the universe that we ultimately said, ‘It’s staying,’” Browder says. Making the unit smaller or faster would change its identity entirely—which would go against the whole point of keeping it in. “So it’s on us to make it work in the game.”

Creating StarCraft II’s units was a series of negotiations just like this—figuring out how many new things they could add, what they could cut out to keep each race’s unit count manageable, and what they had to change to make it all work together.

Medic and Dropship: The Merging Is Complete

The Medic, an iconic Terran unit introduced in StarCraft’s expansion Brood War, was initially meant to be part of the original game. Bob Fitch says that they simply didn’t have enough time to put her in.

“In a lot of ways, Brood War was like the first official update, the first real balance patch for StarCraft,” Fitch says. The team started to design and build units to specifically serve as counters, or to simply shore up specific race’s weakness. Adding a healing unit made a lot of sense for the Terran, the race that leaned toward more defensive play styles.

But for StarCraft II, Browder and Kim wanted to go somewhere else with the healing role.

“Medics were very powerful, but there wasn’t an enormous amount of counterplay for the unit,” Browder says. “Especially through the moderate skill levels, going in and picking off a single Medic was very difficult for some players.”

In the original StarCraft, the Medic’s utility often ended up encouraging passive play for the Terran, a race already known for its ability to quickly set up a solid defensive line anchored around Bunkers and Siege Tanks.

There was also the matter of trying to keep each race’s unit count from getting too big for its own good in StarCraft II, which Browder says would have just “gummed up the game.” So how do you keep the unit count reasonable, introduce an appropriate number of all-new units, and hold onto all the original ones people know and love?

“Eventually, we decided that if we do bring something back, we’ll have to cut something else,” Kim says. “So what can we cut?’”

Kim remembers another developer in the room saying that the Medic doesn’t do anything but heal Marines. Someone else followed up with, “Dropships are the same thing; all they do is transport units.”

It was a eureka moment for Kim. “I thought to myself, ‘you always use Dropships to drop and harass as Terran,’” he says. “Can we make that a bigger thing? And at the same time, when do you ever not use Medics when you’re using Marines and Dropships? Can we combine the two?”

Turning the Terran healer from a small infantry unit into a mid-sized ship helped opponents more effectively “read” them on the battlefield, which was Browder’s primary concern. Just as importantly, Kim says that the new unit gave Terran players a strong incentive to get out of their defensive shell and play more aggressively.

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“Medivacs are balanced in a way that it’s advantageous to go for these frequent drops—the speed boosts they grant and the healing they provide, combined with the Marine DPS . . . it’s a powerful combination,” Kim says.

Dragoon and Stalker: Emerging from the Shadows

Terran units like Marines and Medics in power armor are no-brainers as grunt forces for the human race in a sci-fi epic. But for the enigmatic Protoss, the team creating the original StarCraft had to cast a wider net.

In the space opera the StarCraft team was constructing, the terran represented the familiar, while the zerg provided the monsters. “We needed a ‘grey alien’–type race,” Fitch says—a race driven by mysterious motives and possessed of advanced technology. “So we invented the Protoss.”

The faction’s primary infantry unit is the Zealot, and it’s essentially a non-wimpy grey alien wearing ornate power armor and wielding a wicked set of blades. But for units farther up the tech tree, it was basically anything goes.

“The Dragoon came out of a drawing that Sammy did one day,” Fitch says, referring to Samwise Didier, Blizzard veteran and StarCraft art director. “He drew this cool quadrupedal tank thing, and we thought: why don’t we make it shoot energy balls? And everyone was like, ‘Sure!’”

The Dragoon eventually became the backbone of many a Protoss player’s army in the original StarCraft. When it came time to decide on Protoss units for StarCraft II, however, Kim felt that the Dragoon would be too widely used. “It was too good at too many things,” he says.

The thematic spirit of the Dragoon was reincarnated in the Immortal, a heavy-duty artillery unit they’d first come up with as a way to help the Protoss counter Terran Siege Tanks; but there was also a spot earlier on in the Protoss tech tree for a more dynamic, less expensive unit than the Immortal.

“We’d thought at one point, ‘Why don’t we make a Dark Dragoon?’” says Browder. They’d already made “dark” versions of other Protoss units, after all. So Didier came up with a concept of what a Dark Dragoon might look like.

Browder recalls that as development went on, they were trying to find more ways to add precision “micro” mechanics to Protoss gameplay. The Dragoons, as Kim notes, were a sort of all-purpose menace that just walked up and fired at enemies. The Protoss, meanwhile, were the enlightened, super high-tech alien race—the one that would most make sense to have teleportation abilities. Expanding on this idea, they tried making the Dragoon faster, smaller, and more agile, and gave it a short-range blink ability. Thus StarCraft II’s Stalker was born.

Not only did this make Protoss gameplay more micro-intensive and dynamic, but in doing so, it gave the race a higher skill ceiling, which was a priority for the team.

“You can do some really crazy stuff with Stalkers, if you’re good enough,” Browder chuckles.

“We started to really see a difference between, say, a Bronze-level Protoss player and a Diamond one,” Kim says, “just based on how well they could maneuver their Stalkers.”

In the Genes: Infested Terrans Spawn Banelings

If the Protoss were the hyperadvanced aliens of StarCraft and Terran were its rough-and-tumble space cowboys, the Zerg were the savage monsters of the universe—the bugs and beasts that existed only to kill or spread their infestation. The zombie-like Infested Terran seemed like an obvious and great fit for the Zerg fantasy.

However, in the original StarCraft, the unit never found a place in the Zerg’s multiplayer arsenal. This might be due to its origins.

“We made the Infested Terran for a specific part of the campaign,” Fitch says, “and we weren’t going to leave something out of the multiplayer even if we hadn’t designed it specifically for multiplayer.”

The problem was that it was simply too hard to justify the substantial investment required to start producing them in the first place.

“You need to have a Queen, you need to have enough energy saved up, you need to be playing against the Terran, you have to hurt the enemy Command Center a certain amount but not destroy it, and then you have to spend money to actually build the Infested Terran,” Kim says. “And you do all of that to get a unit that, if it blows up before it reaches the enemy, it just deals zero damage, so you’ve wasted all this time and effort.”

That said, the team really liked the idea of an explosive suicide unit, but it had to deal more area damage and be easier to produce in the early game. “We eventually landed at a small bug that blows up, spreads goo onto everyone in its blast range, and infects those people, too,” says Browder. And that’s how we got the Baneling. To hear Browder tell it, the team “struggled for years” to get those little rolling balls of doom right.

Banelings were designed to punish opponents foolish or careless enough to leave their forces clustered in large bunches—prime targets to receive the most damage from a bunch of exploding bugs. The developers expected players to struggle with spacing out their units against Banelings.

Then came the pro player MarineKing, renowned for—as his name suggests—his strong micro game with Terran units like Marines. “He wasn’t necessarily known for having the most innovative strategies in every game,” Kim said, “But because of his micro, he stood out.”

MarineKing quickly began to make a name for himself with his superhuman anti-Baneling tactics. He’d split his forces in a seemingly impossible number of directions, baiting his opponent to overextend their Banelings and ultimately waste much of their explosive potential. His technique became known as the “Marine Split,” and it took off as his fans tried to recreate it in their own games. “We didn’t intend for this to happen,” Kim said of MarineKing’s innovation. “But when it did happen, we were like, ‘How awesome is that?’”

As the Marine Split became more popular and Terran players got better at it, Kim expected that the balance team would ultimately have to continue buffing the Banelings. But something else happened: the Zerg players got better, too. The best of them found new ways to spread the Zerg creep farther and farther out on the map so they could give their Banelings an extra speed boost, even when they were using the explosive grubs for offensive maneuvers miles away from their central base.

“Suddenly we saw this whole new positional element come into Terran vs. Zerg games,” Kim recalled. “Both sides ended up stepping it up, and it made things really exciting.”

Looking back at the game and where it’s come 13 years after they first started working on it, Kim, Browder, and Fitch all muse about how things could have ended up differently, had they decided to take the game in a completely different direction.

“Some people simply wanted Brood War II,” Browder says. Others were upset that their favorite unit had been dropped. Some Protoss players really missed the Dragoon. But Kim and Browder didn’t see a way they could keep both the original Dragoon and the Stalker in the game without ultimately spoiling things for both units.

“You don’t want a ‘Marine 1’ and ‘Marine 2’ scenario,” Browder said, “That would just be a waste, because you’d just end up picking the ‘best’ one. That was our mentality, at least. I guess I could imagine a world where StarCraft II ended up with 100 units per race, but that wasn’t in line with our values when we started the game in 2005.”

“You could go back and say, ‘What if we started from scratch?’” Browder concludes. “And, yeah, what if? I have no idea. That would change the whole paradigm of how we made the game.”


Starcraft Dragoon Quotes


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Starcraft Dragoon Quotes

THE TANK -starcraft siege tank animation


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THE TANK -starcraft siege tank animation

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