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Starcraft 2 Vs Starcraft 1 – What’s Different?
Starcraft 1.5, or Starcraft 2?
There have been many jaded forum users claiming that Starcraft 2 is really just Starcraft 1.5. This will be the topic of this article. I’ll start by listing all the new changes for Starcraft 2 and Battle.net 2.0.
The units were removed
He took down Goliath
The science vessel was removed
That’s quite a large chunk of units from the Terran arsenal that have been removed. Note that this is still beta, so this is all subject to change.
That means 62% of Terran units are brand new.
Terran Macro Mechanics
Terran has a unique macro mechanic that is used after upgrading the Command Center to an Orbital Command Center. What it does is collect 30 ore every load, but takes about 3 times as long as one SCV per load. Basically, this means it independently assembles about twice as fast as an SCV.
The downside of using MULE though is that a player has to sacrifice the use of a scanner sweep; both abilities take your Orbital Command Energy. This has been the cause of several lost matches. Terran players must be careful not to become greedy.
Now we’ll take a look at the Protoss.
The units were removed
The Dragon was removed
Referee Removed (Controversial)
Removed Dark Archon
The shuttle was removed
There weren’t that many units removed from the Protoss arsenal, let’s take a look at the added units though.
The distorted prism
Not bad, just one less unit than the Terran side.
54% of Protoss units are brand new. The Mothership is almost exactly like the Arbiter, however there is room for debate there.
Protoss Macro Mechanics
The Protoss have an ability called Chronos that is available directly from the Nexus. Costs 25 energy and speeds up all construction production by 30% for a period of time. This is an extremely powerful macro mechanic because it can be used to build quick probes in the early game, it can be used to get a very early game that bothers Zealot, or it can be used to get some very quick upgrades .
The only downside to the Protoss macro mechanic is that you don’t use it. If you decide to churn out a large amount of units, your economics will most likely fall behind your competition’s economics. It might put you in a position to make a push, but if the push fails, you’ll probably be in trouble.
Now my personal favorite: Zerg.
The units were removed
The guardian was removed
Removed Lurker (This has caused some controversy)
The Queen was removed
Not bad… not bad. I might be a little picky about adding the Queen to this list, but I think it’s pretty obvious that Starcraft 2’s Queen isn’t even close to the original.
The Zerg got most of the new units. Infestor is kind of like Defiler, and of course it’s meant to be its replacement. However, at the moment I question its durability.
Overlord* – No more detection ability. This was replaced by the Supervisor.
56% of Zerg units are brand new.
Zerg Macro Mechanics
If you were to compare the new Zerg macro mechanics to other macro mechanics, I think you’d find that there’s less room for debate as to which Queen option is the most effective. The queen has three macro abilities: Spawn Creep Tumor, which extends the creep radius in a spiral outside the tumor. This can be used to connect bases or perhaps for detection. One of the most important advantages of this is creep which allows for faster sighting and movement for your units.
The other ability is to restore the health of a unit or a building. This can be used in defensive structures. However, I think the downside to this is that any player of mediocre skill will attack the Queen relatively quickly. And to save the best for last, the Queen also has spawning larvae. For 25 energy (like her other abilities), the Queen injects larvae into your nurseries and after a period of time, the nurseries will spit out 4 additional larvae. This can be pretty devastating early game, and the only reason I can see players using the other options is if the game goes past the early game. This is by far the most effective option for your war camp. More units = more power, more economy or whatever you want.
Some of the biggest changes in Starcraft 2 don’t come with new units. They come in the form of new mechanics. Starcraft 2 is now an actual 3-dimensional game. What this means is that Terrain levels are about more than just looks now. Units like Reaper and Colossus can actually transition to higher level terrains.
Now this may not seem like much, but it completely changes the effect of ramps in the game. In Starcraft 1, you absolutely had to go through static defenses to attack a base that stops Nydus drops and channels. This made the ramp an extremely powerful (and sometimes irritating) feature of the map. Economy teasing can now be done much earlier in the game if your opponent decides to mass photo balls off his ramp.
Another new game mechanic that Starcraft 2 has added is in the form of destructible rocks. These are generally back doors to your opponents base and if they are not alert, you may have a 1-way ticket straight to the main. Or those for yours. These new mechanics have seriously hampered the turtle effect, meaning you wall up in your base (generally a Terran favorite with siege tanks). I consider this a very good thing because the turtle is a very bad strategy due to the fact that it allows your opponents free reign all over the map. You might be able to hold them off for a few minutes, but they’ll eventually get enough minerals, gas, and units to hit any sort of defense you can put up on a base.
The economy in Starcraft 1 is generally very confusing. It’s an almost organic system that scales disproportionately with the number of workers you’ve gathered. While the law of diminishing returns was very much in effect (each worker past a certain point was less effective than the previous one) [especially due to the bad pathing in Starcraft 1], he allowed a consistent strategy called Maynarding. Maynarding is entrusted to a certain player of the same name, where while building an expansion, you can make all the additional workers you need for the expansion, effectively saturating the minerals once the expansion was built.
In Starcraft 2, the worker route and the path in general has been greatly improved. Workers don’t fly around trying to find an available nugget of ore. In fact, they will patiently wait the few milliseconds it takes for another worker to finish mining. What this means though, is that there is almost a limit to how many workers per base is effective. It’s generally thought to be 2 workers per patch in Starcraft 2. This is a great thing, but it greatly hinders the benefits of Maynarding. While those workers you were making in Starcraft 1 would still help your economy while you waited for your expansion, the benefit is significantly reduced in Starcraft 2. What this effectively means is that each expansion takes much longer to saturate to be efficient. This also means that losing an expansion early on is devastating because you won’t recoup the cost quickly.
Unit selection cap and multi-building selection
Another hotly debated topic among die-hard fans is the new unit selection cap. Starcraft had a cap of 12 units that could be solved immediately due to old UI issues. However, the new game, Starcraft 2, allows up to 255 units to be selected at once. This is a huge game changer! Instead of 1a2a3a (Hotkey, attack, etc.) is click and drag the mouse, a. I actually really like this new mechanic, since it doesn’t take 150 APM to just attack a base. I think it allows for more strategy as a younger player and I welcome it.
Professional players may have an aversion to it because they may assume that it lowers the skill line between professional players and mediocre players. I kind of disagree, because just sending all your units into an attack can also be a very bad thing; it can cause you to lose your entire army if you don’t pay attention. Pros will continue to use key groups and try to attack from multiple locations at the same time.
Multiple building selection is another thing that can be seen as lowering the game’s overall skill ceiling. That’s another thing I don’t agree with. MBS allows you to select multiple gates, nurseries or any other production building at the same time. What I think this really means is less key switches to worry about. Macro has certainly gotten easier (especially with the new rally attack), but it’s not something that I feel has lowered the skill ceiling. If a player makes 400 Zergling, but your opponent has a good mix of colossi, zealots, or carriers, the player with the Zergling army will be destroyed barring a Nydus channel (with a similar unit cap). And the fact still remains that you should never let your opponent make 200 out of nothing!
You can produce units in a more efficient way, but the whole strategy is still there. If a player forgets to use the previously mentioned macro mechanics, he/she will also be at a very strong disadvantage.
I think the game deserves the title Starcraft 2. Many of the bad choke points of the original interface have been fixed, making it a bit easier for new players to get into the series. Blizzard however has also kept eSports a very important priority, and has maintained a level of multitasking that is certainly not easy to master. I think we will see a lot of exciting games from many Starcraft pros like Jaedong, Flash, Bisu, etc. if they choose to pass. This game is new, great, has great music, and certainly has a competitive edge to it. There are more -difficult- counters than the original, so the way strategies should be implemented is different.
Here are some videos and reviews of Starcraft 2 in 1080p! I hope you enjoy!
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