RJ 17 said:
I agree with everything for the most part, except with your thoughts on HotS. The biggest issue that I have with this one is the retcon in the form of Zerus...but still, I can see why they did it. The Primal Zerg - in my opinion - supports the underlying them of the Zerg, that being assimilation to gain strength. Kerrigan's purpose for revenge remains constant, and considering the turn in the story of Kerrigan being purged of all outside influence by the Keystone, I feel her actions make sense. She is now an independent mind with the full might of the Zerg at her command...of course she's going to use it as a weapon against the person she hates most. With that in mind, it makes sense to me that half the missions would be reasserting her dominance over the shattered Zerg Swarm while the other half would be striking out against the target of her vengeance.
Zerus is a mixed bag for me. The basic question that anyone who read the manual of SC1 would ask would be:
1) Why is Zerus a jungle planet?
2) How did Kerrigan get to Zerus and back so quickly, when it took the zerg ages to get to the K-sector under the Overmind?
Question 1 was answered outside the game (planet re-vegetated...okay, fine, weirder things have happened), question 2 hasn't, but it's bizzare that Zerus's status is never even questioned by anyone. What's more is that it would be easy to give an excuse to get to Zerus and back (e.g. a xel'naga warp gate), but nup, it's never addressed.
Still, that said, I actually like the primal zerg, and the reason is that it's a great form of exposition without actually resorting to written dialogue. As in, the primal zerg are a microcosm of the Swarm zerg - survival of the fittest, assimilation of genetic traits from defeated species, an amoral approach to the world, etc. The primals are bereft of the hivemind that links the Swarm, but otherwise, they're the same. I also like the style of characterization they receive - primals like Brakk are beasts, brutes, barely able to string a coherent sentence together. Dehaka can converse more fluently, and is smart enough to join the winning side, but is still animalistic. Zurvan is old and wise, and speaks perfectly. It's a great example of "show, don't tell," of the idea that as a primal gains more essence and experience, they appear to gain wisdom as well.
Kerrigan is also iffy in the story. The thing is, looking at its structure, HotS knows what it's doing. The dream she has at the start is almost certainly precognative, showing her invade Augustgrad from the air, whereas in reality, she lands outside the walls. "Dream Kerrigan" is an engine of destruction, while Kerrigan, by the end of the campaign, has developed more as a character. Yet this is still a character who slaughtered the protoss on Kaldir (and other worlds), and while Mengsk's death is good for humanity in the long run, how many people died for that to happen? LotV addresses this somewhat, but I feel HotS is stuck between keeping the zerg savage, while also making Kerrigan somewhat sympathetic. Thing is, HotS is a story with a person doing horrible things against a man who's done horrible things, and neither are willing to give ground in that area. It's understandable why this puts people off. I never felt SC2 "ruined" Kerrigan's character from Brood War, but Kerrigan there was unapologetic for her actions, and we loved her for it.
RJ 17 said:
My main issue with WoL is that...I just don't like Terran.
In terms of units, there's nothing wrong with them. I do agree that it's nuts how they've become the slowest race. Zerg is...well...Zerg...they've always been the fastest of the races, to the point that "Zerging" an opponent is now short-hand for rushing with large numbers in numerous other games. But Protoss used to be the slowest...now they get to warp in units nearly instantly. Terran can build two at a time...but they have to pick between doing that and being able to build/upgrade certain units. Suddenly Terran - which had previously been the middle ground between speed and strength - are straight-up the slowest/most cumbersome race in the game.
Kind of. It sort of makes sense though. Zerg have always been fast, and if you cover the map in creep, they get REALLY fast. The protoss warping in is something I can get behind - it matches their high-tech feel, and also harkens back to the idea that the protoss use small groups of really powerful units, so a small strike force would be viable in-universe. It's especially satisfying when I establish a beachhead with a warp prism and send a stream of units into an enemy base.
As for the terrans, well, have they ever been fast? True, they had the Vulture, but the terrans have always been the race with the best defensive and turtling options, with bunkers and siege tanks. Now we have stuff like the planetary fortress, and a lot of macro focus (e.g. MULEs). It makes it difficult to play them at times, but I think it does fit their overall theme - clunky, bogged down, but able to wield large amounts of firepower. It does make it problematic in a sense though, as LotV's design is meant to encourage quick expansion. The terrans have the hardest time moving units around the map, whereas the zerg have their speed, and the protoss have warp-in and recall.