StarCraft II's release wasn't without fanfare. But while most people are focusing on the big things like the intricacies of the storyline and the pros and cons of Battle.net 2.0, they're also missing out on a lot of goodies hidden in the margins. These aren't Easter eggs or anything that's meant to be hidden, they are very easy to overlook. Come along, and check out some small things that really tie the whole experience together.
Please note that there are some spoilers, so if you haven't played the game yet, bear in mind that you may be fed some tidbits of the story that you haven’t had a chance to find on your own. (Also, Snape kills Dumbledore.)
Sure, we can watch all the pro StarCraft players battle each other tooth and nail, and we can get up-to-date information on all the greatest build orders, but if we don't know what any of the buildings or units actually do, it doesn't mean squat. Tutorials in StarCraft II provide you with a useful tidbit of information about a point of curiosity and show you a movie teaching you the basics. While we consider ourselves pretty experienced StarCrafter, there’s still a lot to learn from these.
Units are the bread and butter of StarCraft II. And while their diminutive stature on the battlefield allows us to overlook them, stop and take a gander at all the little intricacies. The run of the mill units have muzzle flashes, moving scales and pulsating blades. This really helps bring the battles to life (that, and the Protoss constantly whining about how they ‘CANNOT HOLD!’).
Something that started with the original StarCraft (and carried over well into Warcraft III) were the unconventional missions. Instead of building up a force that's bigger than my opponent’s and steamrolling them in order to complete my objective, there are other obstacles for me to overcome, such as only having a set number of units.
StarCraft II took this idea and absolutely ran with it. Whether you're sneaking around as the Dark Templar Zeratul while you uncover prophecies or retreating to high ground because a map periodically floods with lava, there's a lot of unusual fun to be had.
After each mission you'll be able to conduct some limited exploration of your current quest hub. Whether you're in Joeyray's Bar or aboard the Hyperion, you can navigate between a few different areas. Most notably, on the Hyperion there's an armory (which lets you upgrade your units and buildings), the bridge (which will let you see available missions), the cantina (a great place to gossip and hire some mercenaries) and the laboratory (where you can research new tech). It may not seem like much, but it's a fantastic tool which allows you to really immerse yourself in the story.
As we mentioned just earlier, there's an armory and a laboratory where you can upgrade your units and buildings, giving you an advantage in battle. Each mission will earn you money and research points, which can be spent on upgrades and new technology respectively. The advantages aren't game breaking, but when you can get a Bunker with a turret built into the roof and a Refinery that harvests vespene gas on its own, it makes hunting down relics far more rewarding!
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