StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
|StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void|
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void cover artwork, depicting protagonist Artanis
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is a standalone expansion pack to the military science fiction real-time strategy game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, and the third part of the StarCraft II trilogy developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game was released on November 10, 2015.
The expansion includes additional units and multiplayer changes from Heart of The Swarm, as well as a continuing campaign focusing on the Protoss race. The campaign concludes the Starcraft II trilogy and focuses on Artanis as its protagonist. Blizzard launched its invite-only beta testing of the game on March 31, 2015. The beta testing closed on November 2, 2015, a week before the November 10th release date.
The pre-order of the game was announced and made available for purchase on Battle.net and major game retailers on July 15, 2015. Pre-ordering the game granted immediate access to the multiplayer beta and a set of 3 prologue missions titled Whispers of Oblivion, which was made available to all players following the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm 3.0 update at October 6, 2015.
The single-player campaign will feature an even amount of missions similar to Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm and will center around the Protoss character Artanis, hierarch of the Khalai Protoss and the Nerazim (Dark Templar). The campaign in Legacy of the Void will focus on the Protoss and conclude the events of the Starcraft II trilogy. Like the two predeceding games, the briefing room will feature interactive exploration but this time on board a Protoss Arcship known as the Spear Of Adun. On board of the ship there's locations that can be explored such as the Bridge, War Council, and Solar Core. Missions are accessed through a Protoss version of Hyperions 'Star Map' known as the Celestial Array. Artanis' goal is to unify the Protoss and stand against Amon, a fallen Xel'Naga who wishes to reshape the universe in his image. Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan will play smaller parts in the story as well. Chris Metzen has likened the story to that of the film 300, with a small force engaging a much more powerful one in a desperate last stand.
As it was done in previous Startcraft II games, new units are added for multiplayer gaming, as well as changes to existing units that were carried over from the previous game in order to accommodate for the new additions. However, Legacy of the Void is the first, among all StarCraft games, which makes major alterations to its economic system - Players now start with 12 workers instead of the usual 6 from Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, as well as half the mineral fields, both in main bases and expansions, have their value reduced, requiring players to have to expand much more frequently and 'become more aggressive', according to lead developer David Kim.
The Protoss receive alterations to the Nexus' Photon Overcharge, which can now be only cast on Pylons and no more on Nexii, but the availability and low costs of a Pylon compared to a Nexus allows for multiple Photon Overcharges for defensive or offensive purposes. Also, the Chrono Boost ability can no longer be cast on multiple structures, but instead focuses on a single structure infinitely, though it's limited to one per Nexus. The Oracle from Heart of the Swarm now has its Revelation and Envision abilities combined in one. As replacement for the Revelation ability, it receives the Stasis Ward ability, a mine-like ability that, when detonated, traps all units in stasis, much alike the Stasis Prison ability from the Arbiter of StarCraft: Brood War. The Tempest loses its ability to deal damage to 'massive' targets like Ultralisks or Battlecruisers, but gains a 'Disintegrate' ability, which fires a shot that leeches to its target and drains its health until the target dies or the effect wears off. The Warp Prism, the trademark Protoss air transport, now has the ability to pick up units at a longer, safe range, but still must get on point to unload any cargo or deploy its psionic field utilized to warp-in Protoss units. The Carrier now has the ability of launching interceptors at a longer range and safer distance. The Immortal loses its trademark Hardened Shields from HotS/WoL and instead receives the 'Barrier' ability, which mitigates damage temporarily and must be activated manually. As for new units, the Protoss receive the Adept, a Gateway/Warp Gate unit which excels against units like the Terran Marine or Zerg Hydralisk and can use 'Psionic Transfer', creating a psionic copy of the unit and move it anywhere and the Adept teleports to the copy's location when it wears out, favoring hit-and-run tactics. Another new unit is the Disruptor, built from the Robotics Facility and requiring the Robotics Bay. It attacks by discharging a ball of energy which can be player-controlled and directed at the opponent, dealing massive damage. The Disruptor is reminiscent of the Protoss Reaver from Brood War in that precise micromanagement is required to deliver greater damage.
The Terrans virtually remain unaltered of their macro mechanics inherited from Wings of Liberty (Meaning they can still deploy MULEs and Extra Supplies en masse), though alterations were done to their Factory/Starport units. Terran Medivacs can now pick up Siege Tanks in Siege Mode and deploy them instantly, favoring harassment tactics, while the Terran Banshee receives a speed upgrade which can be researched at a Fusion Core. The Terran Battlecruiser can now warp instantly to any location, much like the Protoss Stalker's 'Blink' ability. The Reaper from Heart of the Swarm, gains a grenade-like ability that deals minimal damage, but knocks back and temporarily stuns enemy units. The Widow Mine remains unaltered, except it now has a targeting beam when it fires, which is a further warning to opponents, as well. For new units, the Terrans receive the Cyclone, a Factory-built unit that uses its missile launcher system to lock on targets and can fire at both ground and air targets while moving, similar to the Protoss Phoenix. Another new Terran unit is the Liberator which can engage aircraft with its normal area-of-effect attack, but can also deploy a powerful cannon to attack ground targets. The area for the Anti-ground weapon however, must be manually designated, requiring more micromanagement skills out of the Terran player.
The Zerg's only alteration to its macro mechanics is the reduction of extra Larvae produced by Queens per Hatchery, to 3 out of 4 from HotS/WoL. For units, the Swarm Host, to accommodate for the returning Brood War Lurker, no longer burrows and has its role altered to a 'siege assault' unit, able to spawn its Locust while moving and unburrowed. Also, with proper upgrading, Locusts can be altered to fly, favoring alternative assault tactics. The Corruptor has its 'Corruption' ability removed and replaced with 'Caustic Spray', which it can target ground units endlessly until they're destroyed. The Nydus Worm is altered so that it remains invulnerable while being constructed, removing the opponent's capacity of destroying them before completion with workers. Infestors gain 'Aggressive Mutation', a toned-down version of Kerrigan's 'Wild Mutation' ability from the Heart of the Swarm campaign. For new units, the Zerg receive the Ravager, an evolution from Roaches (Akin to Lurkers from Hydralisks and Banelings from Zerglings) and can use a 'Corrosive Bile' special ability that acts like 'focused artillery', focusing a specific location and dealing damage to anything it hits, including air units. The Corrosive Bile can also be used to destroy Protoss Force Fields cast by Sentries, removing early/middle game advantage. Also, while the Lurker makes a return, it can also gain a range upgrade researched from the Lurker Den, an evolution of the Hydralisk Den.
Prologue: Whispers of Oblivion
Some time after the events of Heart of the Swarm, Zeratul searches to unravel the final piece of the Xel'Naga prophecy. To find the last remaining piece of information Zeratul needs to find the place of Amon's resurrection. To uncover this, Zeratul travels to a Terran installation where he is contacted by Praetor Talis, one of Artanis' commanders. Talis explains that Protoss are captured and experimented upon by the Terrans and requests Zeratul's help. When arriving on the Terran controlled station, Zeratul encounters Kerrigan and her Swarm, who seek to destroy the facility. Zeratul must race Kerrigan to free the captured Protoss and acquire the location of Amon's resurrection.
After completing his task Zeratul and Talis set off to the planet Atrias, where a Xel'Naga Temple is situated. Before Zeratul can enter the temple however, he must fight off a force of Tal'Darim Protoss, a faction fanatically loyal to Amon. They are led by Highlord Ma'lash who communes with Amon to receive instructions. Zeratul is successful in defeating the Tal'Darim and enters the temple.
Inside he must again fight his way through Tal'Darim forces and destroy a structure known as the 'Void Catalyst'. This structure appears to allow the Tal'Darim to contact Amon and use its energies to empower them. After the Void Catalyst is destroyed by Zeratul, he is contacted by what appears to be Tassadar in spirit form, who instructs Zeratul to find the keystone. Shortly after this, Amon himself uses special shadowy versions of Tal'Darim units to stop Zeratul. Talis grants Zeratul just enough time to escape Amon's grip, but at the cost of herself and her forces.
With the last fragment of the prophecy fulfilled, Zeratul sets off to warn Artanis about his findings.
Legacy of the Void Campaign
Artanis leads the Protoss armada in an invasion of their Zerg-infested homeworld of Aiur, abandoned since the Brood War six years earlier; Zeratul arrives to warn Artanis of Amon's return, but the invasion proceeds regardless. Amon awakens on Aiur and takes control of the majority of the Protoss race through the Khala, the telepathic bond that unites all emotions for the Khalai and Templar factions of the Protoss. Only Zeratul and the Nerazim, the Dark Templar, remain unaffected as a result of their ritualistic cutting of their nerve cords, which severs their connection to the Khala. Zeratul and the Nerazim scramble to save as many of the Aiur Protoss as they can by severing their nerve cords while fending off Amon's Zerg broods and possessed Protoss. Artanis succumbs to Amon's control, and attacks Zeratul, who tries to cut off Artanis's nerve cords without harming him. In his final strike, Zeratul severs Artanis's nerve cords, releasing him from Amon's mind-control, but suffers a mortal wound. As Zeratul dies from Artanis's strike, he urges the Hierarch to combat Amon by going to the planet Korhal to recover the Xel'Naga Keystone - the artifact used to deinfest Sarah Kerrigan and free her from Amon's control. With the Protoss Golden Armada now under Amon's control, Artanis activates the last remaining Protoss Arkship, the Spear of Adun, to serve as his command ship while evacuating the Protoss who have escaped Amon's control.
In the meantime, Amon's forces within all three races, along with hybrids and beings from the Void, begin to wage war in order to extinguish all life from the Koprulu Sector. On Korhal, Artanis arrives in the middle of a Terran battle between Dominion forces and the rogue Moebius Foundation, now under the control of Amon. The Protoss intervene by aiding Jim Raynor and Emperor Valerian Mengsk in defending the planet from the Moebius Foundation before retrieving the artifact.
On the Dark Templar homeworld of Shakuras, the warpgate connecting the planet to Aiur has been reactivated and Amon's forces overwhelmed the planet. Upon arrival, Artanis helps Matriarch Vorazun, Raszagal's daughter, evacuate the rest of the Dark Templar before obliterating the planet to deny Amon control of it. With the Keystone secured, Artanis undertakes numerous missions to rebuild the Protoss forces. Artanis travels to the planet Glacius, a research facility involved in developing advanced Protoss weaponry. The Protoss discover and reawaken an experimental Purifier in stasis, only for Artanis to discover Fenix's consciousness in the Purifier's machine body.
Utilizing data from the keystone, Artanis is directed to the Xel'Naga homeworld of Ulnar, a planetary-sized temple-like structure hidden within a rift which the Protoss believed could not sustain life. Upon reaching the inner temple grounds, Artanis comes upon Kerrigan battling Amon's hybrid. Artanis enters into a reluctant alliance with Kerrigan after learning that she also fights against Amon. During their investigation, Artanis and Kerrigan learn of the Xel'Naga's origins. Seeking their help in the war, Artanis and Kerrigan find the Xel'Naga dead, slain by Amon and his forces. Amon opens a gateway to the void, and Kerrigan and Artanis are ambushed by hybrid and spectral forces from the void. Meanwhile, the Spear of Adun is infiltrated by Alarak, First Ascendant of the Tal'darim. Vorazun briefly clashes with Alarak, who claims they have a common enemy and that the Protoss Hierarch is in grave danger. Reluctantly, Vorazun sends Protoss forces to coordinates provided by Alarak. Artanis and Kerrigan are rescued by the timely arrival of their forces.
Alarak reveals Amon as a false prophet; the Tal'darim believe their faith in Amon would be rewarded through their transformation into hybrid, a belief revealed by Alarak as a lie. Alarak, seeking vengeance for Amon's betrayal, proposes a bargain to Artanis: Artanis would help Alarak overthrow the Tal'Darim Highlord Malash as leader of the Tal'darim, and Alarak would remove the Tal'darim from the conflict, depleting Amon's ranks. Artanis reluctantly agrees and helps Alarak complete the Tal'darim tradition of Rak'shir combat to overthrow Ma'lash. Alarak declares the Tal'darim free from Amon's control, and declares vengeance against his former god.
At the behest of Fenix, Artanis seeks the help of the ancient Purifiers despite the misgivings of his advisers. At Cybros, a facility orbiting the forest world of Endion, Artanis fights through waves of Amon's Zerg to awaken the ancient Purifiers, mechanical soldiers programmed with the preserved minds of legendary Protoss warriors. Created by the now-defunct Protoss Conclave, Purifiers were treated as weapons instead of as fellow templar. This resentment came to a head when the Purifiers rebelled, and the Purifier program was shut down. With the help of Fenix, Artanis is able to placate their bitterness and convince them to join his forces while standing together as equals.
With the newly united Protoss forces, Artanis stages another invasion of Aiur while the Golden Armada wreak destruction in other parts of the sector. After destroying Amon's host body, Artanis is successful in temporarily trapping Amon's consciousness in the Keystone. With the brainwashed Khalai Protoss temporarily freed from Amon's mind control, Artanis urges them to sever their nerve cords to disconnect themselves from the Khala and deny Amon's consciousness an anchor in real space. The Aiur Protoss sever their nerve cords and Amon is banished into the Void. With Aiur reclaimed and the Protoss unified under the Daelaam, the Protoss begin to rebuild, ushering a new age of prosperity and peace on their home planet.
Epilogue: Into the Void
Some time after Amon's defeat on Aiur, Kerrigan sends a psionic call to Raynor and Artanis, directing them back to Ulnar as a staging ground for an invasion of the Void as well as permanently ending Amon's threat. The combined Terran/Zerg/Protoss armada successfully breaches Amon's first line of defense, and Alexei Stukov, the Zerg-infested former vice admiral of the UED, kills a resurrected Duran/Narud, revealed to be a Xel'Naga himself, in retaliation for Duran killing Stukov on Braxis during the Brood War. Along the way, they release an imprisoned Xel'Naga being named Ouros. Upon Ouros' release, the three heroes learn he was the one who was using Tassadar's visage to guide them and that that in order to maintain the Infinite Cycle, a fellow Xel'Naga has to kill Amon. Only Kerrigan at that point has the capability of surviving such an ascension. After merging with Ouros' essence, Kerrigan becomes a Xel'Naga. With the aid of the joint armada, Kerrigan kills Amon, ordering the remaining armies to flee as her final attack creates a psychic backlash in the Void.
Two years after Kerrigan's victory over Amon, Emperor Valerian Mengsk and Admiral Matthew Horner have ushered the Terran Dominion into an age of peace and prosperity. Negotiations with the unified Protoss are making progress and the two races are at peace. Raynor reunites and leaves Mar Sara with Kerrigan, who has been restored to her human form. He leaves behind his badge, setting aside the final piece of his troubled past, and is never seen again. Meanwhile, Alarak has declined to accept a permanent alliance with the Daelaam, but allows any Tal'Darim a single chance to join them before leaving to find a new homeworld. The Zerg, now under their new queen Zagara, have aggressively reclaimed Char and the surrounding systems as their new homeworld. As peace gradually settles, life unexpectedly blooms on previously barren and ravaged worlds in the sector.
Post-Legacy of the Void
At BlizzCon 2015 during the "Future of Starcraft 2" presentation it was revealed that Blizzard will release additional mission packs to keep players engaged with Starcraft 2. The first pack to be released is called Nova Covert Ops. It will center around the character Nova. The mission pack has a target release for June 2016.
The development of StarCraft II was announced on May 19, 2007, at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, South Korea. At the June 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, Blizzard Executive Vice President Rob Pardo said that StarCraft II was to be released as a trilogy of games, starting with Wings of Liberty, focused on the Terrans, followed by Heart of the Swarm, revolving around the Zerg, and finally Legacy of the Void, devoted to the Protoss. Blizzard's storyboard team was already working on Heart of the Swarm in early 2010 while Wings of Liberty 's game play was refined.
Little to no development was going into Legacy of the Void as of 2008. Work had started on Legacy of the Void story, scripts and missions by March 2013, as Heart of the Swarm neared release. Dustin Browder, the game director of StarCraft II, stated that "we will certainly do our best to reduce the time between expansions", while noting that "efficient and quick game development is not something we have traditionally been great at." As of February 2013, James Waugh is serving as lead writer on Legacy of the Void.
By August 2013, the story for Legacy of the Void was written, much of the cinematics were completed, and voice actors were in the studio recording dialogue for the game. Dustin Browder announced in November 2013 he was satisfied with the game's story, but felt the missions and campaign mechanics needed more work, to make them "feel" like Protoss missions.
In November 2014, Blizzard released additional information for the game. As opposed to earlier information, the expansion won't require the original game, and will be released as a stand-alone expansion. Blizzard also announced the new cooperative game play modes Archon Mode, and Allied Commander. Additionally, new units and unit redesigns for the multiplayer part of the game were showcased. The beta testing started on March 31, 2015 and ended on November 2, 2015. On September 13, 2015 at the WCS Season 3 finals in Kraków, Blizzard announced that the release date will be November 10, 2015.
On June 16, 2015 at E3, Blizzard announced the upcoming release of a prologue to Legacy of the Void titled Whispers of Oblivion consisting of 3 missions. The prologue is available to anyone who pre-purchases the game. After the October 6, 2015 update to Heart of the Swarm, it was made available to all players. The mini-series is intended to bridge the storyline between Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void.
On October 13, 2015, Blizzard announced a free digital prequel comic book with Artanis being the protagonist. Titled Artanis: Sacrifice, the comic was written by Matt Burns and James Waugh and illustrated by Edouard Guiton and Emanuele Tenderini. It was released on October 20, 2015.
Softpedia concluded that "Starcraft II deserves its place as one of the most influential releases of the past five years, and this Protoss-focused chapter manages to deliver a fitting end to its core narrative while opening up the multiplayer in some interesting ways."
According to Blizzard Entertainment, Legacy of the Void has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide within its first 24 hours of being on sale. This does not include the pre-order sales.
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