Sunday, May 20, 2007



StarCraft II retains some units from the original game, although some of these units have been given new abilities. Due to story events from the previous game, some units have been phased out or replaced. For example, the conquest of the Protoss homeworld of Aiur has prevented the creation of more Dragoons - the transplanted souls of Protoss warriors in exoskeletons - resulting in the remaining Dragoons to be redesigned with different weaponry and a shield that absorbs heavy damage and renamed to "Immortals".

gameplay screenshot
Screenshot of StarCraft II gameplay

The demo reveals new abilities that involve more complex interaction with the game environment than StarCraft. Terran units known as Reapers can swiftly leap over cliffs, and Protoss Stalkers are capable of short-range teleportation to pursue fleeing enemies. Additionally, new abilities have been extended to structures. The Protoss are able to warp prefabricated units within range of their Pylons, and also possess the Phase Prism, a unit that acts as a mobile Pylon, providing power to Protoss buildings in the absence of conventionally built Pylons.

The number of units in the game will not change. For every new unit added, one "underused" unit has been removed.


Several interesting things are seen briefly in the recently released gameplay video. In the beginning of the video, what appears to be a new Terran structure can be seen mining minerals with a laser-like beam and extracting them without the involvement of SCV's or similar mining units. Also interesting is that no Command Centers are seen in the vicinity, indicating that these structures are independent and self sufficient. The use of an advanced shadowing engine is also apparent, allowing shadows to behave realistically and stretch or compress according to the curvature of the texture they are falling upon. Debris and doodads also appear to cast their own dynamic shadows.

It is also interesting to note that a sign doodad seen partway through the video advertises the name Mengsk, feasibly in reference to Arcturus Mengsk whose inclusion in the plot of StarCraft II is the subject of much speculation.

The sequel introduces no new playable races and keeps the three original races Protoss, Terran, and Zerg.

New units

  • Reaper: Uses dual pistols, can jet pack across terrain.

  • Colossus: A large quad-legged vehicle that fires strong dual lasers in a "wave-like" pattern well-suited to destroying swarms of weaker units. Shown in the video destroying a large wave of Zerglings. This unit can also traverse differences in terrain height due to its long legs. The Colossus has no anti-air weapons.

  • Immortal: Replaces the Dragoon. Strong defense against powerful attacks, but vulnerable to weaker attacks.

  • Mothership: A powerful flying unit which consumes an extreme amount of resources to produce, but is a unique unit (1 at a time). Has the Timebomb ability, which slows all enemy missile attacks, and the Earth Cracker, a large laser that obliterates anything in its path, in the style of Independence Day. Also has an ability to create a black hole that can suck in ships as large as Battlecruisers. Looks like a floating sand dollar.

  • Phase Prism: A dual-purpose unit, able to transport units or act as a mobile Pylon.

  • Phoenix: This anti-air unit can overcharge its guns for a multiple projectile blast, but after the blast the ship is rendered inert for a short period. The Phoenix is very weak versus large enemy air units such as a Battlecruiser, but is powerful versus small and medium air units.

  • Stalker: A Dragoon-like unit of the Dark Templar, able to blink (short-range teleport) and deliver ranged attacks against air and ground units.

  • Warp Ray: Flying unit that deals damage with a blue laser that does more damage as it focuses on the same target. Good versus heavily armored targets like Battlecruisers and buildings, weak against small arms fire.

  • Nydus Worm: Can be used to transport small units such as Zerglings underground.

  • Succubus: Special ground unit. "Infect" ability allows takeover of hostile organics for a limited amount of time, ending in the target unit exploding and damaging everyone around it.

Updated units

  • Zealot: Will have a new charge ability, allowing a zealot unit to quickly close the distance between itself and an enemy unit.

  • Gateway: Has the ability to turn into a Warp Gate that can transport troops around the map.

  • Zergling: New ability to mutate into suicidal "Banelings", that can roll across the terrain.

New racial abilities
  • Protoss: will be able to warp prefabricated units close to any Pylons or deployed Phase Prisms, possibly due to upgrading the Gateway to a Warp Gate.

The Hybrid does not appear to be available as a playable race in StarCraft II, but a strange creature which may be a Hybrid is portrayed in a StarCraft II trailer. The Hybrid may appear in the single-player storyline.