Starcraft 2 Vs Starcraft 1 – What’s Different?

Starcraft 1.5, or Starcraft 2?

There’s been a lot of weary forum users making the claim that Starcraft 2 is really just Starcraft 1.5. This will be the topic of this article. I’ll start out by listing all the new changes for Starcraft 2 and Battle.net 2.0.

Changes:

Terran:

Units Removed

Removed Vulture

Removed Firebat

Removed Goliath

Removed Wraith

Removed Medic

Removed Science canal

Removed Valkyrie

That’s a pretty hefty chunk of units from the Terran arsenal that have been removed. Mind you this is nevertheless beta so this is all unprotected to change.

Units additional

Banshee

Hellion

Marauder

Reaper

Medivac

Raven

Thor

Viking

Units Kept

SCV

Marine

Siege Tank

Ghost

Battlecruiser

That method that 62% of the the Terran units are brand new.

Terran Macro Mechanics

The Terran has a rare macro mechanic that is used after upgrading the Command Center to an Orbital Command center. What it does is collect 30 minerals every load, but takes about 3 times longer than an SCV per load. Basically that would average it independently collects about twice as fast as an SCV does.

The downside to using the MULE however is that a player must sacrifice the usage of a scanner sweep; both abilities take your Orbital Command’s Energy. This has been the cause of some lost games. Terran players must be careful not to get greedy.

Now we’ll take a look at the Protoss.

Changes:

Protoss:

Units Removed

Removed Dragoon

Removed Arbiter (debatable)

Removed Corsair

Removed Dark Archon

Removed Reaver

Removed Shuttle

There weren’t as many units removed from the Protoss arsenal, let’s take a look at the units additional though.

Units additional

Colossus

Immortal

Mothership

Phoenix

Void Ray

Warp Prism

Sentry

Not bad, only one less unit than the Terran side.

Units Kept

Probe

Zealot

Dark Templar

High Templar

Carrier

Observer

Archon

54% of the Protoss units are brand new. The Mothership is almost exactly like the Arbiter however so there is room for argue there.

Protoss Macro Mechanics

The Protoss have an ability called Chronos that is obtainable directly from the Nexus. It costs 25 energy, and speed up any building production by 30% for a period of time. This is an extremely powerful macro mechanic because it can be used to build fast probes in the early game, it can be used to get a Zealot harassing very early game, or it can be used to get some very fast upgrades.

The only downside to the Protoss macro mechanic is what you don’t use it on. If you decide to pump out a heavy amount of units, your economy will most likely fall behind your competition’s economy. It could put you in a position to make a push but if the push fails you’ll probably be in trouble.

Now my personal favorite: the Zerg.

Changes:

Zerg:

Units Removed

Removed Guardian

Removed Lurker (This has been causing some controversy)

Removed Scourge

Removed Defiler

Removed Queen

Removed Devourer

Not bad… not bad. I may catch some flak for adding the Queen to this list, but I think it’s pretty apparent that Starcraft 2’s Queen isn’t already close to the original.

Units additional

Roach (woot!)

Queen

Baneling

Changeling

Infestor

Corrupter

Overseer

Brood Lord

Infested Terran

Zerg got the most new units. The Infestor is kind of like the Defiler, and is certainly meant to be it’s substitute. Right now I question the viability of it however.

Units Kept

Drone

Zergling

Hydralisk

Overlord* – No longer has detection capabilities. This was replaced by the Overseer.

Ultralisk

Broodling

56% of the Zerg units are brand new.

Zerg Macro Mechanics

If you compared the new Zerg macro mechanic to the other Macro mechanics, I think you’d find that there’s less room for argue on which Queen option is the most effective. The Queen has three macro abilities: create crawl Tumor, which extends crawl radius in a spiral outward from the tumor. This can be used to connect bases or perhaps for scouting. One of the most important upsides to this is crawl allows vision, and faster movement for your units.

The other ability is to restore a units health or a building’s health. This can be used on defensive structures. I think the downside to this though is that any average skilled player will attack the Queen comparatively quickly. And to save the best for last, the Queen also has create larvae. For 25 energy (like her other abilities), the Queen injects larva into your hatcheries and after a period of time, the hatchery will spit out 4 additional larva. This can be quite devastating early game, and the only reason I can see players using the other options is if the game gets past early game. This is by far the most effective option for your war camp. More units = more strength, more economy, or at all event you want.

Updated Mechanics

Some of the largest changes in Starcraft 2 do not come with the new units. They come in the form of new mechanics. Starcraft 2 is now an actual 3-dimensional game. What this method is the ground levels are for more than just looks now. Units like the Reaper and Colossus can truly go over higher level ground.

Now this might not seem like much, but this changes thoroughly the effect of ramps in the game. In Starcraft 1, you absolutely had to go by static defenses to assault a base barring drops and Nydus canals. This made the ramp an extremely powerful (and sometimes irritating) map characterize. Economy harass can now be achieved much earlier in the game should your opponent decide to mass photon cannons outside his ramp.

Another new gameplay mechanic that Starcraft 2 has additional is in the form of destructible rocks. These are generally back-doors into your opponents base, and if they aren’t watchful you could have a 1-way ticket straight to their main. Or they to yours. These new mechanics have seriously hindered the effect of turtling, which method you wall up in your base (generally a Terran favorite with siege tanks). I consider this a very good thing, because turtling is a very bad strategy in the fact that it allows your opponents free reign over the complete map. You may be able to keep up them off for a few minutes, but they’ll ultimately get enough minerals, gas, and units to pummel any sort of defenses you may be able to build on one base.

Maynarding

The economy in Starcraft 1 is generally very confusing. It’s an almost organic system that scales un-proportionally to how many workers you have gathering. While the law of diminishing returns was very much in effect (each worker past a certain point was less effective than the past) [especially due to the bad pathing in Starcraft 1], it did allow 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 additional workers you needed for the expansion, effectively saturating the minerals as soon as the expansion was built.

In Starcraft 2, worker pathing and pathing in general is very much improved. Workers don’t fly around trying to find an obtainable mineral patch. In fact, they’ll patiently wait the few milliseconds it takes for another worker to finish mining. What this method though, is there is nearly a cap on how many workers per base is effective. It’s generally thought to be 2 workers per patch in Starcraft 2. This is a great thing, but it does severely hinder the benefits of Maynarding. While those workers you were making in Starcraft 1 would nevertheless help your economy while you waited for your expansion, the assistance is severely reduced in Starcraft 2. What this effectively method is that every expansion takes much longer to truly saturate to be efficient. This also method that losing an expansion early on is devastating because you won’t earn back the cost quickly.

Unit selection cap, and multiple building select

Another widely debated topic amongst hardcore fans is the new unit selection cap. Starcraft had a cap of 12 units that could be chosen at once due to old user-interface problems. The new game though, Starcraft 2, allows for up to 255 units to be chosen at once. This changes gameplay so much! Instead of 1a2a3a (Hotkey, attack, etc.) it’s click and drag mouse, a. I truly really like this new mechanic, as it doesn’t take 150 APM to simply assault a base. I think it allows for more strategy as a newer player, and welcome it.

Pro players may find a distaste for it, because they may assume it lowers the skill cap between pro players and average players. I slightly disagree, because just sending all your units into an attack can be a very bad thing in addition; it can cause you to lose your complete army if you don’t pay attention. Pros will nevertheless use hotkey groups and try to attack from multiple places at once.

Multiple building select is another thing that may be seen as lowering the overall skill ceiling of the game. It’s in addition another thing I disagree with. MBS lets you select multiple gateways, hatcheries, or any other production buildings at once. What I think this really method is less hotkeys to worry about. Macro certainly has been made easier (especially with the new rally attack), but it isn’t something I find has lowered the skill ceiling. If a player makes 400 Zerglings, but your opponent has a good mix of colossus, zealots, or carriers, the player with the Zergling army will be destroyed barring a Nydus canal (at a similar unit cap). And the fact nevertheless remains that you should never let your opponent make 200 of anything!

You can produce units in a more efficient manner, but all the strategy is nevertheless there. If a player forgets to use the before mentioned macro mechanics, he/she will also be at a very strong disadvantage.

Conclusion

I think the game is deserving of the title Starcraft 2. Many of the originals bad interface chokepoints have been fixed, consequently making it a bit easier for players new to the series to jump in. Blizzard however also kept E-sports a very important priority, and has maintained a level of multi-tasking that certainly is not easy to master. I think we’ll be seeing plenty of exciting games from lots of Starcraft pros like Jaedong, Flash, Bisu, etc. should they choose to switch over. This game is new, gorgeous, has excellent music, and certainly has a competitive edge to it. There are more -hard- counters than the original, so the way the strategies need to be implemented are different.

Here are some Starcraft 2 Videos and Replays in 1080p! Hope you enjoy!

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