Today, I’ll be looking at the game Starcraft, or, more accurately, one of its three factions. Me and Wynn have been playing it quite a lot recently, and finally beat the Terran campaign mode. So, now that we’ve played enough to get a good grasp of their capabilities, why not talk a bit about what their side has to offer?
        Firstly, the Terrans, or humans, start out with a Command Center. This is where resources are taken to when obtained, and they produce SCVs. SCVs are floating robotic suits of sorts that are used for mining, so they are your main source of Minerals and Gas needed to produce anything. In addition, they are also the only unit that can create buildings, and in fact must do so for you to make anything else.
        They can fight if they are attacked, but they really aren’t suited for it. They cost 50 Minerals to make, but you always start with enough to make a couple, and from there you can use them to obtain more. In addition, they can repair any buildings that are damaged, and any mechanical units- which Terrans have in abundance once you can start making them.
        One of the first things you should have them make is the Refinery, which is built on top of a Vespene Geyser, allowing you to harvest gas from it. Vespene Gas isn’t too important to start off, but many of the more advanced units need it to be built, along with the usual minerals. Also, each faction uses different buildings to get gas- this means that if a Zerg player sends their drones to take your gas, they will have to destroy the Refinery and build their own Extractor in its place, and vice versa. Refineries cost 100 Minerals to make.
        They can also create Supply Depots for 100 Minerals. These do not do anything once made, but they allow you to have 8 more units than you did previously- if you make a lot of units, you’ll need to create more of these routinely.Another building they can make early on is the Engineering Bay, which lets you upgrade your infantry’s weapons and armor up to three times, though each time is more expensive, and only the first can be done without additional buildings.
        Further, making the Engineering Bay lets your SCVs make something new- the Missile Turret. These buildings fire at flying enemies automatically as they come into range, and will detect anything invisible that comes in their line of vision- more on invisible stuff later. Suffice it to say, you’ll want quite a few of these more than likely.
        In any case, once the supplies are established and you have a good flow of SCVs getting you your resources, the next thing to do would be to start making actual soldiers to fight with. To that end, one of the SCVs should make you a Barracks. This will cost 150 Minerals, and once it is done, the Barracks can start producing Marines and other infantry for you, much as the Command Center makes SCVs.
        Marines are your most basic warrior- they cost 50 Minerals, and are fairly weak on their own, but in groups they can take out otherwise greater threats. They use machine guns to attack, giving them the ability to hit foes at a range, as well as those in the air. At 40 health, they do not last long, but are inexpensive to make and easily replaced.
        In addition, making the Barracks allows you create more structures that couldn’t be made before, such as the Bunker. These 100 Mineral buildings are made to hold Marines and their cohorts inside them, up to four. This lets them be protected as they attack, stopping them from being picked off. This also lets them focus their fire on one target, doing much more damage. In addition, Bunkers, unlike Marines, can be repaired by an SCV, allowing the troops inside to serve as a great and long lasting defense. If a Bunker is destroyed, all the units inside will be perfectly fine, but exposed, and will continue attacking whatever they were attacking.
        Next is the Academy, which does not produce any units, but allows you to upgrade your Marines. It costs 150 Minerals, and after it is made you can pay another 150 Minerals and 150 Gas to increase the range of your Marines, and once more to get the Stim Pack upgrade. These allow you to sacrifice a bit of a Marine’s health to power up their speed and rate of fire.
        Academies also give your Barracks the power to create Firebats. They cost 50 Minerals and 25 Gas, and act as close range fighters. They use flamethrowers to attack, doing more damage than a Marine as well as splash damage, hurting everything in their line of fire. They also have ten more health, but still tend not to last long. They explode when killed, but I’m not sure if this is just cosmetic or if it actually damages anything.
        Academies also let your produce a Comsat Station, an Add-On that appears on the side of your Command Center. Comsat Stations charge up energy, up to 200, and can use 50 of it to scan a spot on the map of your choosing. This lets you know what is there, such as enemy buildings and the like without physically sending something to check. It can also reveal invisible units.
        Lastly, making Barracks allows you to construct Factories. These cost 200/100, but allow you to start making mechanical units. At first you can only create Vultures- these are basically soldiers on flying motorcycles of sorts that fire off grenades at enemies. They are very quick and more durable than the infantry.
        They can be made stronger still with the help of the Machine Shop, an Add-On that attaches to the Factory. It costs 50/50, and can be used to speed up Vultures, as well as give them the ability to produce Spider Mines. Spider Mines are placed by Vultures, and when enemies draw near they activate and come out of the ground, running straight at them to explode. They also give you visibility around them when placed. Vultures cost 75 Minerals
        Siege Tanks, costing 150/100, can also be made once the Machine Shop is added. They are tougher than Vultures but slower, as one may expect from tanks, but the thing that truly makes them shine is their Siege Mode. After that is researched in the Machine Shop, the tanks can transform, clamps holding them to the ground as a much larger cannon appears on top of them. This does more than double their usual damage, and has a much larger line of sight, allowing Siege Tanks to effectively serve as turrets, or, when moves into an enemy base, invaluable attackers that will blast anything in sight. In addition, these shots do splash damage as well, making them ideal for wiping out large groups of enemies. The only hiccup is that these attacks will hurt your units as well if they’re in range of the blast, so be careful.
        Finally there are the Goliaths, costing 100/50. Unlike the tanks, these can attack enemies on land and in the air- but they excel at fighting aerial foes, shooting off powerful missiles at them, while they use bullets on land targets. I generally use them to defend against air enemies, while leaving land defense to my Siege Tanks. They are somewhat cumbersome in movement and slow, so I generally use them as better attacking Missile Turrets myself. You also need to make an Armory to create Goliaths- the Armory works like the Engineering Bay, except for your ships and vehicles.
        Next, there is the Starport, unlocked for construction along for the Armory when you make a Factory. Much like the Barracks makes infantry and the Factory makes mechanical units, the Starport creates all of your air units. From the onset you can produce Wraiths(150/100) with it, which are fast and small craft that can fly about very quickly. Like Goliaths, they are better at shooting other air units than ground ones, but have the advantages that many ground units cannot shoot back.
        In addition, you can make a Control Tower as an Add-On for your Starport, costing 50/50. These let you upgrade the Wraiths in two ways- giving them a Cloaking ability, rendering them invisible while energy lasts, and an energy upgrade so they can stay invisible even longer. Invisible units, unless they pass by something that can detect them like the Missile Turrets, will not noticed and can attack with impunity- unless the enemy has Comsat Station, but its detection does not render you visible forever. Cloaking is very useful for exploration, spying, and attacking.
        The Control Tower also lets you create Dropships(100/100). These cannot attack, but they can be used to carry your ground units to other locations more quickly, and through obstacles they could not get over themselves. They can carry eight infantry units, four larger units like the Vulture or Goliath, and two Siege Tanks.
        Once you have a Starport you can go on to make a Science Facility(100/225), which when made lets the Starport create a Science Vessel, while the actual facility upgrades it. The Science Vessel can detect invisible units, and cast various ‘spells’ on your units, like Defensive Matrix, which grants them a temporary shield. Its other abilities have to be researched at the Science Facility, which can also give them additional energy to use.
        Irradiate blasts an enemy with radioactive energy, damaging anything biological in a certain radius of the target. This will not work on mechanical units like SCVs- there are people inside them, but the machine they are piloting protects them. Ironically, bunkers do not protect your units since there are holes in them for said units to fire out of.
        Lastly the Science Vessel can use a EMP Shockwave. This fires off a missile that lets out an EMP pulse. The pulse will not actually deactivate machines or anything like that, but it will drain units of their energy, stopping them from using various abilities that require it. It also works on the energy shields the Protoss have on all their units, making it potentially useful useful in that regard.
        The Science Facility can also have one of two Add-Ons. First, the Physics Lab. This allows your Starport to start manufacturing Battlecrusiers(400/300). These are the slowest, but also the most powerful air units, with far more health and firepower than anything else in the Terran arsenal. Their cost is extreme, as you can see, but they certainly have their uses.
        The Physics Lab can increase the ship’s energy, and grant it a special weapon to use it all on- the Yamato Cannon. Their normal attack is a powerful laser than can wipe out most any other unit in a straight up fight, but due to their slowness, Battlecrusiers can be easily surrounded. While their basic laser can wipe out plenty of enemies, the Yamato Cannon is considerably stronger and great for a stealthy strike. The range on it is actually great than a Missile Turret or similar defense, meaning you can use it to obliterate a Missile Turret before it even spots the Battlecrusier. Thus, it can be used to punch a hole in an enemy’s defense for an air assault.
        The other add on is the Covert Ops. Making it lets your Barracks produce Ghosts(25/75), which use a very long ranged gun that does more damage than a Marines, but their true use is in their ‘spells’, unlocked through the Covert Ops. Firstly, they can cloak like Wraiths do. Second, they can use Lockdown, which shuts down a mechanical unit they aim it at for a while, effectively making them useless and defenseless until they are set free. This can work on everything from Vultures to Battlecrusiers. Their sight range and energy can also be increased, which is very important for their last and more powerful ability.
        The Covert Ops also lets you add a new Add-On to your Command Center, the Nuclear Silo. This device allows you to craft a Nuke, which costs 100/100, and takes up eight of your supply, or an entire Supply Depot. Once they are made, the Ghost has the option to launch it. Since they can cloak themselves, this allows them to go into your enemy’s territory and then drop it on key locations. Normally the Ghost would also be in the blast radius, but with their sight enhanced they can launch it from outside that, sparing them.
        The Nuke itself takes around 17 seconds to fall, and until it actually lands, it can be stopped by killing the Ghost ordering the launch, which is why cloaking is so important. However, there are a couple of tells you can watch for if you are being targeted yourself- when it is launched, all players will receive a warning that a launch has occurred. Secondly, the ghost projects a red dot to show where he is targeting. If you can spot that, he must be nearby.
        If the Nuke lands, it will inflict 500 damage on everything in the considerable blast radius- enough to wipe out pretty much anything short of buildings, and even those will be heavily damaged. Provided the player can pull it off, it is the perfect way to obliterate defensive positions, Supply Depots, and so on.
        And that covers just about everything! Well, except one detail- the other two factions are limited in where they can place their buildings. Zerg must put it on their Creep land, which they must expand if they want more space, and the Protoss have to build Pylons to place their buildings around. Terrans have no such needs, and can have their SCVs place their buildings literally anywhere. Further, several of their buildings can move- they can lift off the ground and land elsewhere if needed. The only real issue with this is that they are very slow fliers, and that the Add-Ons would have to be rebuilt in the new location, as they deactivate when not attached to anything, and cannot come with you.
        This mobility means Terrans can set up their base wherever needed to take advantage of resources, or move their stuff if a spot is not as useful as it was, or even just move a Barracks elsewhere to churn out units closer to the enemy. In general, Terrans are better against air targets than the others- their basic attackers, Marines, can shoot air units while the Zergs and Protoss have nothing like that. They are also the only faction to have cloaking abilities. There is also nothing that quite matches Nukes or Battlecrusiers, but don’t let that think that the Zerg and Protoss do not have their own advantages. They do indeed… but we’ll have to talk about that another time. I hope you enjoyed this, dear readers, and I will see you next time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s