StarCraft

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search


"This is not Warcraft in space! I-it's much more sophisticated!"
Artanis

A Real Time Strategy franchise by Blizzard Entertainment. It's composed of two games...

...and several tie-in novels and books. There's also a board game, which was released October 2007.

Set in the "Koprulu Sector" of space, tens of thousands of light years distant from Earth, the story unfolds between three playable races. The Terrans, human beings descended from outcasts, criminals and political dissidents who were exiled from the Sol system centuries earlier, boast a Used Future society with a military based around cybernetics, heavy artillery, and "Ghosts" - covert operatives with latent psychic abilities. Their principal adversaries are the Zerg, an insectoid race with the ability to "infest" creatures of other species and assimilate their genetic properties for their own benefit. The majority of the Zerg are drones lacking free will, controlled by Hive Minds called Cerebrates which in turn are controlled by an entity called the Overmind, which sees its sole raison d'etre as the assumption of all life into the Zerg swarm. In between the two are the Protoss, a race of warrior philosophers whose advanced psionic capabilities are as important on the battlefield as their advanced weaponry or robots.

StarCraft was one of the first games to become popularly used in professional gaming competitions, particularly in South Korea, where StarCraft matches are played out in sports arenas (occasionally jumbo jet hangers), with giant televisions displaying the action and simulcast on nationwide networks!

There was also StarCraft: Ghost, a Third-Person Shooter set a few years after Brood War (but some before StarCraft II) and announced in 2001. After five years in development and several postponed releases, it was put on hold indefinitely in 2006.

Also, sheer awesomeness demands that we mention here two fan animations of very high quality: StarCraft: First Contact, released in 2009, and StarCraft: Final Metamorphosis, released in 2011.


StarCraft is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in the Starcraft series include:
  • Aliens Speaking English:
    • The Protoss are telepaths, presumably the listener hears in whatever language they know.
      • Note, however, that they do have a language of sorts, that can be both written and vocalized. The latter is puzzling, since Protoss have no vocal cords.
    • The Zerg, being a hive-mind, has no need for language.
      • Only the rare sentient Infested Terrans have been known to occasionally communicate with other species.
  • American Accents
  • Anyone Can Die: Several major characters bite the dust over the series.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • Protoss do Class 6 type to get rid of the Zerg. The planet is covered with plasma and magma when they're done. Nothing gonna be living in that mess.
    • Terrans also demonstrated a capacity to do this, by launching numerous nukes from orbit and reducing the surface of the planet to a black glassy substance. This led to the outlawing the manufacturing of full-size nukes to prevent such an event occurring again, leading to the multi-player usage of "mini-nukes" that inflict underwhelming damage at relatively cheap cost.
  • Ascended to A Higher Plane of Existence: The Protoss often believe that they ascend into the Khala when they die.
    • Executor Tassadar may have actually done this after destroying the Zerg overmind in a void-channeled/infused kamikaze attack, quoted stating that "I have not tasted death, nor shall I".
  • The Bad Guy Wins: It happens quite often in the Starcraft universe, mainly because they represent the vast majority of characters and because "the bad guy" is usually playable in that race's campaign, so the bad guy wins because the player wins.
  • Base on Wheels: One of the major Terran advantages. Their command base and primary production facilities are all capable of being lifted up off the ground and moved to other locations, either if there's an imminent enemy attack or if they just need to move to an area with better resources. Technically they don't roll on the ground as per standard for this trope, but they're not able to be used as bases until they touch down, and their movement speed is pretty slow.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Protoss and Zerg can survive in hard vacuum unprotected, apparently.
    • According to the second book in The Dark Templar Trilogy, Protoss are photosynthetic.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending of the original Starcraft I. Brood War on the other hand, is a Downer Ending.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Zerg were forcibly changed from a race of peaceful worms low on their world's food chain to the Assimilation Plot driven Horde of Alien Locusts with Psychic Powers we all know and love by the Xel'naga and the Dark Voice.
    • Note that some strains of Zerg are actually derived from various species that the Swarm encountered and consumed throughout the Galaxy. The Hydralisks were once the herbivorous Slothien herd animals, the Mutalisks were Mantis Screamers, and the Leviathans used to be peaceful Space Whales.
  • Bug War
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Magma tiles in the Ashworld tileset (e.g. Char) act exactly like water tiles on any other tileset, and no units take damage from being nearby. This may be justified though: the Terrans are all either in vehicles or wearing Powered Armor (which we know can survive hard vacuum, so being heat-resistant isn't much of a stretch), the Protoss have shields and probably other applicable phlebotinum, and the Zerg originally evolved on a similar planet.
  • Crapsack Universe: The individual factions all suck one way or the other, the only genuinely nice, trustworthy people are the individuals with no real power.
    • Terrans act somewhat like locusts, moving from world to world to drain the resources and most of their standing military consists of mind-controlled convicts. Of their governments, the Confederacy was corrupt to its core, the Dominion is slightly better but compensates with its Emperor's extreme narcissism, and the UED are Space Nazis.
      • The lesser governments are the Kel-Morian Combine and the Umojan Protectorate. The Kel-Morian Combine has been compared to massive criminal organization, and is said to practice slavery. The Umojan Protecorate is apparently the only good government, but it is undeveloped and supposedly has a large spy network.
    • The Protoss are fairly nice, but they're Scary Dogmatic Aliens and have enough trouble keeping peace among their own tribes without involving the other races. And Lord help you if the Zerg have seeded your planet.
    • The Zerg want to achieve perfection... by absorbing every other being they encounter, until they're the only race left.
  • Critical Existence Failure
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Protoss are a near-literal example. Khaydarin crystals are featured heavily in their architecture due to them acting as a conduit for psionic energy, and out of battle the Protoss wear simple cloth garments like loincloths, cloaks and capes.
  • Cutscene: of the Blizzard cinematic variety. They've only gotten better and better over the years.
    • Starcraft II also uses the game engine for some pretty high-end cutscenes, that are only inches below the actual cinematics.
  • Damage Is Fire: Terran and Protoss buildings burn. Zerg buildings bleed. Terran buildings on fire take further damage from it until it's destroyed or sufficiently repaired. The heaviest the damage, the more widespread the fire/blood.
  • Data Crystal: The Protoss use these.
  • Deflector Shields: Personal type. Every Protoss unit has them. In some of the games, some Terran units can create a Defensive Matrix for friendly units or create their own.
  • Doomed by Canon: One of the novels "I, Mengsk," goes into the details of Arcturus Mengsk's past, including his homeworld of Korhal and his family. People who are familiar with the story of the games know what happens to Korhal and the Mengsk clan.
  • During the War
  • Earthshattering Kaboom: The Protoss doctrine for dealing with a Zerg-infested world goes something like "burn it from orbit until everything on the surface is dead." This is how the Terrans first found out that aliens existed: a Protoss fleet appeared near the planet Chau Sara and blasted it without warning or explanation.
  • Easy Communication
  • Eldritch Abomination: If Zamara is right, Duran's hybrids are these.
    • Also, Ulrezaj in his archon form and their boss, The Dark Voice.
  • Energy Ball: Numerous units can fire these out.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Zerg were deliberately engineered by the Xel'Naga to be an opposite of the Protoss as part of their experiments. The Protoss have "purity of form" while the Zerg have "purity of essence." The Protoss use a telepathic link that connects all of them, the Zerg are a Hive Mind. The Protoss are graceful and intelligent, the Zerg are bestial and driven by instinct. Even in battle they use opposite techniques, the Protoss army consisting of singular elite soldiers who have spent years training for war, against the Zerg army consisting of lots and lots of expendable units evolved to be killing machines.
Of course, this is only a superficial interpretation. The Dark Templar novels reveal that the "Turned Against Their Masters" gig is a Protoss fabrication. The Zerg and Protoss were created in order to unite with each other and create a new iteration of the Xel'Naga (it's just how those guys worked) as part of their life-cycle. The Zerg got corrupted by an Eldritch Abomination before that could happen, however, and were made to attack their makers and the Protoss.
  • Evil Is Visceral: Aspects of the Zerg that do not fit neatly into other tropes: the way that buildings pulsate when they are being constructed, their sound effects (especially if liquids are involved), the Overmind's influence is represented by a big eye. Then there's the growing tissue sample in StarCraft II...
  • Expanded Universe: In the form of paperback novels and graphic novels.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Zerg seems to be this.
  • Faction Calculus: One of the most famous examples (as measured in "games that copy it"), providing a huge amount of depth to the game.
  • Fantastic Rank System: The Protoss have a different rank structure, though only three ranks are ever mentioned in the original game:
    • Praetor: Probably close to an Army Captain, Fenix held this rank.
    • Executor: Probably close to a Brigadier (1-star) General; Tassadar, Artanis, and Selendis held this rank.
    • Judicator: A high-ranking government official, Aldaris held this rank.
    • Prelate: The Dark Templar equivalent of either Praetor or Executor. Zeratul was addressed as such in Brood War.
    • StarCraft II introduces cosmetic ranks for any standard unit based on number of kills. For Protoss, 0-4 kills is a Disciple, 5-9 is a Mentor, 10-14 an Instructor, 15-19 a Master, and 20+ an Executor. Zerg equivalents are Predator, Slayer, Ravager Assassin and Metamorph, and while hardly fantastic, for the sake of completion, Terran get Recruit, Corporal, Sergeant, Captain, Commander.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel:
    • The Protoss and Terrans have FTL Warp drives, while the Zerg Overmind can use its massive Psychic Powers to tear warp rifts in spacetime.
    • Protoss have near-instantaneous precision warps, to the point that their buildings, infantry and ships are not "built" but are warped in from their homeworld or automated factories. Protoss soldiers even have armor that teleports them out when they are gravely wounded in battle.
    • The arrival of the Terrans in Koprulu was actually a navigational accident. The flight computers on their sleeper FTL ships malfunctioned, and overshot their destination, traveling at FTL speeds for about 30 years (adding up to some 60,000 light-years from Earth)
      • Over time, the Earth Directorate has managed to advance FTL technology to allow them to get to the Koprulu Sector from Earth in a matter of months.
  • Fog of War
  • From A Single HP: All Zerg units and buildings will recover, if not killed, eventually.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: From the Confederacy to the Dominion...
  • Future Slang: The novels introduce "fekk" as a curse word.
    • Of course, 'feck' is contemporary British slang.
  • Gambit Pileup: The entire storyline. Every major character in this game, human or otherwise, seems to have some sort of hidden agenda and it's nigh-impossible to tell who's getting the upper hand. Mostly, it doesn't work out well for anybody.
  • Garrisonable Structure: Terran Bunkers.
  • Genocide Backfire: The Terrans in the Koprulu sector were descendants of unwanted people on Earth who were sent on hardly inhabitable places to test if they could survive. They can.
    • It should be noted that the genocide might not have backfired if the sleeper ships hadn't missed their destinations.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: All Protoss and some Zerg have them.
  • Gunship Rescue: Subverted in the opening cinematic to Brood War, wherein the UED flagship is seen hovering overhead... and then leaves without firing a shot, abandoning the marines below to the fury of the Zerg Swarm.
  • Hammerspace: Terrans have building components appear and snap themselves together out of thin air.
  • Hive Mind: The Zerg Swarm, obviously. The Khala of the Protoss is also somewhat like this, only the Protoss in the Khala retain their individuality and free will, and can choose not to share all of their thoughts and feelings with others.
  • Hollywood Acid: Often used as a weapon by the Zerg.
  • Homing Boulders
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: Zerg
  • Humans Are Special: Deconstructed. The Terrans of the Koprulu Sector are only a few generations away from becoming a psionic species. Instead of indicating that humanity is on the verge of becoming something greater, this just means they drew the attention of the Zerg, who view their psionic potential as the key to fighting their real target, the Protoss, on equal grounds.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: For all intents and purposes the term "Terran" is used as a substitute, both by humans and by non-humans, for the word human. This is particularly odd since Earth (except for in the expansion) is practically a non-factor and the word Protoss has nothing at all to do with the name of the Protoss homeworld (Aiur). As for the Zerg, it's unclear if they're named after Zerus (given the unusual spelling) or whether Zerus is named after them.
  • Hufflepuff House: Both the Kel-Morian Combine and the Umojan Protectorate get no screentime in the original game, beyond a blurb in the manual. The Combine was later elaborated on in Brood War, but Umoja still has yet to make an appearance.
  • Instant Win Condition: In the multi-player; you win the game if you destroy every building the enemy player controls, even if your own base is in shambles and you're on your last unit. There is a reason for this: During the beta for the first game, a very common dirty trick was for a losing player to hide a very difficult to spot unit such as a burrowed Zergling in an obscure part of the map in hopes that the opponent would give up and cede the game in frustration.
  • Instrumentality: The Khala can be seen as a form of this.
  • ISO Standard Human Spaceship: The whole Terran Navy.
  • It Got Worse: Repeatedly in the original. It never gets better in Brood War.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Protoss burn Zerg from orbit.
  • Lego Genetics: The Hand Wave for how the Zerg can have unit upgrades.
  • Magitek: Protoss vehicles and structures, as well as Ghost cloaking devices, are powered by psychic energy.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Psionics.
  • Mana Meter: Energy is used for both technological and psi abilities, and also for units with a limited lifespan such as Hallucinations.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Planet "Char" didn't earn its name by being a planet of rainforests and crystal blue oceans.
    • Protoss means "first born" in the language of the Xel'naga, and is derived from the Greek word πρωτος, which is pronounced the same way and means "first".
  • Meat Moss: Zerg Creep.
  • Messianic Archetype: Khas, Adun, and Tassadar.
  • Mohs Scale of Sci Fi Hardness: The psi blades, psychic powers, and Lego Genetics push it toward the softer end of the scale.
  • Monster Protection Racket: The main reason the Confederacy was experimenting on the Zerg.
  • Mordor: Char.
  • Neglectful Precursor: Early on, it's revealed that the Xel'Naga were trying to create a perfect race: The Protoss were a failed experiment, but they succeeded with the Zerg, up until the point where they got eaten.
In the Dark Templar novels, however, it's revealed that the Xel'Naga were done with the Protoss; they had completed their work and left to create the Zerg as a complementary species, which would have, in time, joined with the Protoss to create the Xel'Naga's descendants. Someone screwed that gig up, though.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Repeatedly. To their credit though, they are usually aware of it and are appropriately horrified.
    • Raynor, and the Player Character, help Mengsk defeat the Confederacy; only for Mengsk to prove himself to be just as bad as the Confederacy and proclaim himself Emperor.
    • In the end of the Protoss campaign in Brood War, the Protoss acknowledge that by using that Xel'Naga temple to destroy the Zerg on Shakuras they will greatly weaken Daggoth's forces, which in turn will help Kerrigan. They also state though that doing so is the only way that they will survive.
    • Zeratul's killing of Zasz was the first time a Cerebrate actually died, but it also linked his mind with the Overmind and revealed the location of Auir. Zeratul later killed the second Overmind ending the UED's control of the Zerg, which meant that Kerrigan then had complete control of all the Zerg.
    • The UED just made everything worse.
  • No Mouth: The Protoss.
  • Not Playing Fair with Resources: The AI, on harder difficulty levels.
  • Old School Dogfighting: Happens during some cutscenes in space.
  • Organic Technology: Zerg buildings are grown out of a certain kind of Zerg.
  • Orphaned Punchline:

"Answer that and stay fashionable!"

  • Planet Terra: Humans are called Terrans, but strangely, the planet is still called Earth every single time it's mentioned.
  • Power Echoes: The Protoss units have this in varying degrees.
  • Power Glows: Anything, unit or building, built by the Protoss.
  • Precursor Killers: The Zerg
  • Precursors: The Xel'naga.
  • Psychic Powers: The Protoss have them, and the potential for them is why the Zerg are interested in humanity.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Zerg.
  • Putting on the Reich:
    • The uniforms worn by United Earth Directorate officers resemble Nazi uniforms, right down to the grey overcoats and hats. Oddly, their bosses are a Frenchman and a Russian.
    • The UED gets bonus points for using the same interior decorators as Nazi Germany. Both have red flags with similar symbolism; the UED shows an eagle atop the Earth, echoing the Third Reich's eagle atop the swastika.
    • How about their predecessor, the United Powers League, who rounded up all cyborgs, mutants, punks and "undesirables" from Earth and either killed them of shot them off into space?
  • Recycled in Space: Many of the elements were reused in Warcraft III and then re-used in StarCraft II. This is lampshaded by Artanis's "annoyed" dialog in Brood War.

Artanis: This is not Warcraft in space!
Artanis: It is, much more sophisticated!
Artanis: I KNOW it's not 3-d!
Artanis: What do I look like, an orc?

  • Real Time Strategy
  • Regenerating Shield Static Health: The Protoss faction. The Zerg and Terrans operate on different principles.
  • The Remnant: The Confederacy just won't seem to go away after being defeated by Mengsk. The UED still has pockets of forces left behind in the sector. Groups of both go to work as mercenaries. The novels also mention other rebel groups that fought the Confederacy separately...and then went right on to fight the Dominion, since it wasn't any improvement.
  • The Republic: The Umojan Protectorate, which of all the major Terran states seems to be the only one that's consistently "good".
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction:
    • Justified for the Protoss, who warp in their structures and units already constructed from somewhere else.
    • Justified for the Terrans; all their buildings are prefabricated, and Starcraft II's better animations show that the SCV is operating an assembly armature that is included in the building kit, rather than welding the whole thing together by hand.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: When the Terrans first arrived to the Koprulu sector, they only numbered approximately 32,000. According to Blizzard's website, there are at least twelve billion Terrans in the Koprulu sector at the beginning of Starcraft II, and Raynor mentions Kerrigan killing eight billion people during the first game. He might have been including the Protoss but that still means you're looking at more than twelve billion humans living in the sector. As mentioned here, to have this many people after only 240 years would require the population to at least double every decade, for 24 decades, not taking into account the deaths that occur from any number of natural and unnatural causes, because the Terrans have a history of civil wars.
  • Sequel Hook: Dark Origin. Which is notable due to the level being a unlockable secret. Unless you finished the previous mission within a certain amount of time, the player would never learn about the plot.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story: By the end of Brood War, the Confederacy was replaced by the equally rotten Terran Dominion, which was then devastated by the UED and the Kerrigan. The Zerg invaded Auir, were stopped, but killed virtually the whole population first. The Protoss evacuated to Shakuras, but were still devastated and lost their leaders. The UED conquered the sector, but were defeated and wiped out by Kerrigan. The Zerg created a second Overmind (virtually undoing Tassadar's sacrifice), which was then killed. In the end, Kerrigan is the ruler of the sector, and the heroes have been defeated in virtually every way.
  • Shout-Out: With its own page
  • Shows Damage: Type 2 example to buildings.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Quickly veers to the cynical side and keeps going until it becomes downright depressing.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: The Protoss shields are invisible until struck forcibly.
  • Space Cossacks
  • Space Western: The general feel of the story from the Terran point of view.
  • Standard Sci Fi Setting
  • Status Buff
  • Stay Frosty
  • Stop Poking Me
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Everything explodes. This is most obvious with the Zerg, in that killing their living buildings results in the building splattering spectacularly in a shower of blood.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Xel'Naga in the Backstory. Also, the Protoss appear to be this at first.
  • Surprisingly-Sudden Death: The Zerg. 5 out of 13 unit types can invoke this at will.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: Rampant, in quite a few missions your enemies have very small armies, or at least small armies that you see. The later missions have larger bases with more troops, but you're still not going to be seeing enemy forces number in the thousands like you would expect from an actual army.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: The Terrans. To the point where a cover of said song appears in StarCraft II.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Exaggerated. In addition to some units only being able to hit airborne or ground-going enemies, attack damage gets boosted or blunted depending on the opposing unit's physical size (small vs large); the sequel also added bonuses against unit composition (biological vs armored); and, always, lots of small cheap units can easily gang up on a large expensive one. The end result is a tangled web of counters, with each unit being specifically strong against several others and being weak to several more.
  • Themed Cursor: A sonar-like thing whose color changes depending on the alignment of whatever you're hovering it over. Green, yellow and red are friendly, neutral and enemies.
  • They Look Like Us Now
  • Touched By Xel'naga: The Protoss and Zerg have been this.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Both the Protoss and the Zerg, against the Xel'Naga; the Protoss merely shooed them away from their world, while the Zerg killed most of them. The Protoss rebellion was just as violent as the Zerg's was. The only difference is the Zerg were all working towards assimilation of the Xel'Naga, and the Protoss were just killing anything that moved, including themselves. A good number of Xel'Naga were killed during the Protoss uprising.
  • Unobtainium: Neosteel, Khaydarin crystals and both Vespene Gas and "minerals".
  • Used Future
  • Vestigial Empire: The Protoss empire, apparently even before the invasion of Aiur. It's implied this is because they've been fighting the Zerg for many years and are losing.
  • A Villain Named Zrg: To quote that page, "What four tropers out of five thought when seeing the title."
  • Walk It Off: Any Zerg unit or building slowly regenerates health. Protoss also slowly recharge their shields over time, which can make up between half to about ninty percent of their total effective health.
  • Weak Turret Gun: Encountered frequently in installation missions.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Tends to happen to humans with high psi levels if not restrained quickly. The novels also provide this in device form, which blocks any attempts at mind reading at the cost of the user going slowly mental if it's used for more than a couple of hours. Which happens to both characters that had been using them for selfish reasons.
  1. The other two races can only build one unit at a time from their production facilities, and each facility is limited to a single style of unit: barracks can't make airplanes, for instance, and airports can't make soldiers. The Zerg have only one facility that can build any type of unit currently available, three at a time
  2. 40 in SC1, 45 in SC2 with an upgrade to give them 10 more
  3. with 35 HP each, for a total of 70
  4. 100 HP, 50 shields