SC2 Week: First hands-on preview

PC Gamer at

Marine Art

As part of our ongoing celebration of all things StarCraft, we're hosting a Starcraft smörgåsbord, with a different theme for each of the days leading up to and the week following SC2's release. This article is a part of the "Everything We Know About StarCraft Day", the first of the bunch, and is an online release of our first Hands-on with the game way back in our November 2007 issue.

StarCraft II: The first battle of the new war begins

Ever since our exclusive first-look-but-don’t-touch StarCraft II story, everyone in the office has been dying for the chance to play it. How did I, the lowly intern, end up being the first? A sudden epidemic of coffee poisoning at Blizzcon 2007 rendered the rest of the staff unable to leave the bathroom long enough to play. (The culprit remains at large.)

Marine Art

Blizzard made a four-player forest map available for attendees to test out the Terran and Protoss races. Being a Terran player from way back, I chose the home team; my teammate and two opponents played as Protoss. Sticking with my old strategies, I built up a strong economy and concentrated on building up as much vespene gas as possible, using supply depots to block off vulnerable areas, and pumping out Marines—a process that was drastically sped up by a reactor add-on that allowed my barracks to build two units at once. I had eight Marines before my teammate could produce three Zealots.

Scouting revealed that the nearest enemy had two gateways up and running, warping in a small group of Zealots and a healthy number of Immortals that stood guard around his base. He was playing it safe, waiting for me to come to him. Even with my superior numbers, a frontal attack could go either way against the powerful Protoss units. I took a new approach by building a Merc Haven, which allowed me to start making Reapers—dual-pistol-wielding badasses with jetpacks that can boost themselves over nearly any obstacle for a surprise attack.

I took a squad of eight Reapers around to the side of his base, which he thought was safely backed up against a cliff, and jumped in behind his defensive line. I threw down a string of timed mines where Probes were mining crystal, then turned my attention to doing as much damage as possible. Ten seconds later, the mines blew—taking out just about every probe there and crippling my enemy’s economy.

Terran Banshees

I’d weakened one enemy, but the other was still going strong, and he hit my base with a large, homogeneous group of Zealots, trying to knock me out of the game before I pulled the same trick on him. My Marines and Medics fought like hell, but they were quickly overwhelmed. Just in time, my teammate (who had been quietly climbing the tech tree) arrived with backup in the form of a huge Protoss Colossus and a squad of Stalkers. Our attackers found their assumed victory rapidly turning into an overwhelming defeat.

We readied our counter-attack, adding Terran Siege Tanks, Wraith fighters, Protoss Immortals, Warp Rays, High Templars, and Typhoon carriers to our forces. We moved into position, and just as we were about to engage and destroy an enemy base…the timer expired. Blizzard had limited games at Blizzcon to 20 minutes in order to keep us from hogging the fun, thus ruining my climactic battle and totally harshing my buzz! There will be other battles, though, and next time, my enemies won’t have a timer to save their butts.

[Boxout] Vital Stats
genre Real-Time Strategy
developer Blizzard Entertainment
publisher Vivendi
URL www.starcraftII.com
Release date When it’s done (2008?)