Starcraft 2 Vs Starcraft 1 – What is different?
Starcraft 1.5 or Starcraft 2?
There have been many tired forum users claiming that Starcraft 2 is really just Starcraft 1.5. This will be the subject of this article. I’ll start by listing all the new changes for Starcraft 2 and Battle.net 2.0.
Fire Bat removed
science vessel removed
That’s a lot of units from the terran arsenal that have been removed. Please note this is still beta so everything is subject to change.
That means 62% of Terran units are brand new.
Terran Macro Mechanics
The Terran has a unique macromechanic that is used after upgrading the Command Center to an Orbital Command center. What it does is collect 30 minerals in each charge, but takes about 3 times as much as an SCV per charge. Basically that would mean it independently harvests about twice as fast as an SCV.
However, the downside to using MULE is that a player must sacrifice the use of a scanner sweep; both abilities take Energy from your Orbital Command. This has been the cause of some lost games. Terran players must be careful not to get greedy.
Now let’s take a look at the Protoss.
Eliminated referee (debatable)
Dark Archon removed
Not as many units were removed from the Protoss arsenal, however, let’s take a look at the units added.
Not bad, just one unit less than the Terran side.
54% of Protoss units are brand new. However, the mothership is almost exactly like the Arbiter, so there is room for debate.
Protoss Macro Mechanics
The Protoss have an ability called Chronos that is available directly from the Nexus. It costs 25 energy and speeds up the production of any building by 30% over a period of time. This is an extremely powerful macro because it can be used to build quick probes early in the game, it can be used to harass a fan early in the game, or it can be used to get some very quick upgrades.
The only downside to Protoss’s macromechanics is what you don’t use it on. If you decide to pump a large number of units, your economics will most likely fall behind the economics of your competition. I could put him in a position to do a push, but if the push fails, he’ll probably be in trouble.
Now my personal favorite: the Zerg.
Lurker removed (this has been causing some controversy)
Not bad, not bad. I may get flak for adding the Queen to this list, but I think it’s pretty apparent that the Queen from Starcraft 2 isn’t even close to the original.
Zerg got the most new units. The Infestor is kind of like the Corruptor, and is certainly meant to be its replacement. However, at this point I question the feasibility of it.
Overlord* – No longer has detection capabilities. This was replaced by the Overseer.
56% of Zerg units are brand new.
zerg macro mechanics
If you were to compare the new Zerg macro to the other macros, I think you’d find that there’s less room for debate about which Queen option is more effective. The Queen has three macro abilities: Spawn Creep Tumor, which spreads the creep radius in a spiral out of the tumor. This can be used to connect bases or maybe scouting. One of the biggest benefits of this is that creep allows faster movement and vision for your units.
The other ability is to restore a unit’s health or a building’s health. This can be used in defensive structures. However, I think the downside to this is that any mediocre skilled player will attack the Queen relatively quickly. And to save the best for last, the queen also has spawning larvae. For 25 energy (just like her other abilities), the Queen injects larvae into her hatchery and after a period of time, the hatchery will spit out 4 additional larvae. This can be pretty devastating early in the game, and the only reason I can see players using the other options is if the game goes past the beginning of the game. This is by far the most effective option for her war camp. More units = more power, more economy, or whatever you want.
Some of the biggest changes in Starcraft 2 don’t come with the new units. They come in the form of new mechanics. Starcraft 2 is now a real game in 3 dimensions. What this means is that Terrain levels are for more than just looks now. Units like the Reaper and Colossus can actually traverse higher level terrain.
Now this may not sound like much, but it completely changes the effect of ramps on the game. In Starcraft 1, you absolutely had to go through static defenses to storm a base which excludes falls and Nydus channels. This made ramping an extremely powerful (and sometimes irritating) map feature. Economic harass can now be achieved much earlier in the game if your opponent decides to launch photon cannons off of his ramp.
Another new gameplay mechanic that Starcraft 2 has added comes in the form of breakable rocks. These are usually backdoors into your opponents’ base, and if they’re not vigilant, you could have a one-way ticket right in their hand. Or they to yours. These new mechanics have seriously hampered the effect of turtles, meaning you wall off your base (usually a Terran favorite with siege tanks). I find this to be a very good thing, because turtles are a very bad strategy in that it allows your opponents to freely reign over the entire map. You might be able to hold them off for a few minutes, but eventually they’ll get enough minerals, gas, and units to crush any kind of defense you can build on a base.
The economy in Starcraft 1 is generally very confusing. It’s an almost organic system that scales non-proportionally to the number of workers you’ve gathered. Although the law of diminishing returns was very much in force (every worker past a certain point was less effective than the previous one) [especially due to the bad pathing in Starcraft 1], allowed for a viable strategy called Maynarding. Maynarding is credited to a certain player of the same name, where while building an expansion, you could make all the extra workers you needed for the expansion, effectively saturating the ores as soon as the expansion was built.
In Starcraft 2, the worker path and the path in general have been greatly improved. Workers don’t fly around trying to find an available mineral patch. In fact, they will patiently wait the few milliseconds it takes for another worker to finish the extraction. What this means, however, is that there is almost a limit to the effective number of workers per base. It is generally believed that there are 2 workers per patch in Starcraft 2. This is a great thing, but it severely hampers the benefits of Maynarding. While the workers you were making in Starcraft 1 would still help your economy while you waited for your expansion, the benefit is severely reduced in Starcraft 2. What this effectively means is that each expansion takes much longer to saturate in order to be efficient. This also means that losing an expansion early on is devastating because you won’t quickly recoup the cost.
Unit selection limit and multiple building selection
Another widely discussed topic among hardcore fans is the new unit selection limit. Starcraft had a limit of 12 units that could be selected at a time due to old UI issues. However, the new game, Starcraft 2, allows you to select up to 255 units at a time. This is a game changer! Instead of 1a2a3a (hotkey, attack, etc) it’s mouse click and drag, a. I actually really like this new mechanic as you don’t need 150 APM to just storm a base. I think it allows for more strategy as a new player, and I welcome it.
Professional players may find a distance to it, because they may assume that it lowers the skill limit between professional players and mediocre players. I disagree, because 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 still use groups of hotkeys and try to attack from multiple places at once.
Multiple building selection is another thing that can be seen as reducing the game’s overall skill cap. It’s another thing I don’t agree with. MBS allows you to select multiple gateways, hatcheries, or any other production buildings at once. What I think this really means is fewer hotkeys to worry about. Macro has certainly been made 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 Zerglings, but their opponent has a good mix of colossi, zealots, or carriers, the player with the Zergling army will be destroyed except for a Nydus canal (with a similar unit cap). And the fact is, you should never let your opponent do 200 of anything!
You can produce units more efficiently, but the whole strategy is still there. If a player forgets to use the macro mechanics mentioned above, he too will be at a huge disadvantage.
I think the game deserves the title Starcraft 2. Many of the original interface bottlenecks have been ironed out, making it a bit easier for players new to the series to jump in. However, Blizzard has also kept esports a very high priority and has maintained a level of multitasking that is certainly not easy to master. I think we will see many exciting games from many Starcraft pros like Jaedong, Flash, Bisu, etc. in case they decide to change. This game is new, beautiful, has great music, and certainly has a competitive edge. There are more hard counters than the original, so the way strategies need to be implemented is different.
Here are some videos and replays of Starcraft 2 in 1080p! I hope you enjoy it!