Friday, December 9, 2011

Starcraft Adventures Vol. 3 - We Got A Convoy Coming!

I played a couple more missions in the campaign last evening, and they were quite a contrast in styles. The first mission was a race to grab an artifact from the Protoss before the Zerg overwhelmed the Protoss on the other side of the map. Once again, it took a couple of tries to work a build order that was fast and effective enough to put enough force over at the artifact to clear out the Protoss while leaving enough troops back to guard the base against rare Zerg attacks. It appeared the right mix was to pump out a lot of minerals and supply depots since there was no early pressure from the Zerg, and then pump out troops quickly with three barracks. I also locked down the base easily with barracks, so the strength of those is proving itself quickly.

There are a bunch of side missions in these campaign missions that seem impossible initially, although the way the switch turned on the third try of this mission made me see that these are possible once you figure out the tricks of the trade. I could not come up with nearly enough firepower to take down the three stone guardians at the artifact on the first two tries, as I was lucky to drop one before my army was decimated. But then on that third try, my army was so overwhelming that the final fight was a joke. Plus I was at the artifact a good 3-4 minutes before the Zerg, so I had time to spare to use some of that army for side missions.

The Protoss are an interesting contrast to the Zerg. With the Zerg, you get overwhelmed by these little packs of weaklings that surround you and do a lot of spray damage.  With the Protoss, at least in the first mission, you are taking on more powerful units called Zealots and a bunch of defensive pylon structures. You do not want to get in range of too many of these structures, as their combined firepower will tear an army up. Strategic attacking of these Protoss strategies appears to be key to success, while the Zerg is all about quick survival and burn.  So far I have no preference for which race I will take into multiplayer, but I do like the Protoss style so far.

The first mission hooked me so I stayed up late and tried another mission. This was a rescue mission where you escort convoy trucks of civilians along a road to airships on the other side of the map. The Zerg presence along the road gets stronger and stronger, but I put together a solid army for the first convoy run and never looked back. I actually let the second convoy truck get destroyed because I misclicked and did not have the army defending the truck. By the time we got to about the fourth truck, the ridiculous swarm of marines, flamethrowing units, and medics surrounding the convoy truck was overpowered and ridiculous looking. These convoy trucks had more security than the United States president.

Perhaps this is just a function of being an early mission, but from a game design standpoint, I think the Zerg should attack or disrupt the base more to make this mission a challenge. Remember, I'm playing on hard as a complete new RTS player, so I do not expect to pass any of these missions on the first try. Once I realized I did not have to leave basically any units at the base, the mission was easy as could be. Anybody who has watched that great movie Convoy or has played World of Warcraft for longer than 24 hours knows how to run an escort or convoy mission.

The options for upgrades are becoming quite varied just five missions in, so I hope these upgrade choices are not terribly important. If they are, I'm probably not doing it right. The flamethrower guys are fun, I look forward to using them with medics more as the combo seems delicious.

Alright that's enough for now. More coming on the weekend I'm sure. Perhaps I'll test a single player match against the computer 1v1 as well. Might as well introduce myself to the chess game that is real starcraft.

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