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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void hands-on: End of the world (as we know it)

Hayden Dingman | Nov. 12, 2014
The epic three-part story of StarCraft II comes to a close with Legacy of the Void.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

Protoss heirarch Artanis is sounding pretty desperate. He and the last of the remaining Protoss race float through space aboard the ship Shield of Aiur. The Fallen One, Amon, has taken what made the Protoss strong and corrupted it--the Khala, a religion/psychic connection that unified the Protoss into a single force, is now too dangerous to use.

The remaining Protoss had to sever their connection to the Khala. For the first time in forever, the Protoss can't communicate psychically. They can't share their minds with the rest of the Protoss.

Artanis doesn't just sound desperate. He sounds resigned. Lonely. This is the end of StarCraft II, and it's the end of a story arc born five years ago. The Protoss will, as Blizzard put it, "have their day in the sun." And then, as far as I can tell, the sun will consume them.

It ain't broke
It's difficult to write an article about Legacy of the Void without saying, "It's more StarCraft II." The game's the third part of a trilogy that's been dribbling out over the last five years, and the changes here are more "refinement" than "revolutionary."

On the multiplayer side you have (of course) new units, including the return of the fabled Zerg Lurker, and a host of balance changes. There's also the new Archon mode, which forces two players to control a single base and army cooperatively. I can already hear the sound of friendships breaking, people screaming "What are you doing? You idiot!" over headset microphones. Oh, it's glorious.

And in hopes of recapturing its former esports glory, Blizzard is adding automated daily tournaments to StarCraft II multiplayer. Get people hooked on competition early and perhaps the game can recapture some of its notoriety from the hands of League of Legends/Dota 2.

I'm not here to give you a play-by-play of Legacy of the Void's multiplayer though, primarily because the changes made are so high-level that I'm not adequately equipped to discuss them. Outside of the new units, these are tweaks that professional players will notice but will hardly register with your average player (me)--like the fact that there's less vespene gas in each deposit, forcing you to expand faster. Suffice it to say, it feels likeStarCraft II but faster and more aggressive--and thus more interesting to watch others play. In other words, Blizzard is now directly catering StarCraft II to esports.

Grand finale
This is also the conclusion of Blizzard's StarCraft II story, though--an enormous space opera spanning three games. Legacy of the Void is being sold as a standalone product instead of an expansion, which leaves Blizzard with the unenviable task of trying to explain two games of content to newcomers. I asked Blizzard how it plans to do that, but nobody is sure yet (or they aren't talking).

 

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