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Stormgate - sci-fi/fantasy RTS from ex-Blizzard devs

RaggleFraggle

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I hope the story isn’t gonna be more “I bring tidings of DOOM!” idiocy but I’m not holding my breath. The entire media landscape has been idiocy for over a decade now. I’ve got a few other RTS picked out in case it does go that way. Gates of Pyre and Silica look nice.
 

Lyric Suite

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I skipped the middle of the video, saw the pastel mobile color scheme, and shut it down.

Thanks, but no thanks.

[EDIT] Just checked the art in the previous pages lmao. Why, just why.
 

RaggleFraggle

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the story is meh on its own and plain bad put in relation to starcraft before and after
SC has never had strong writing.

Compared to Starcraft 2, it's literally Citizen Kane and Shakespeare rolled into one.
I don't think so. It's more obvious in SC2 because it has much higher more modern production values due being released a decade afterward, and because the audience grew up while the story didn't, but the script is of similar quality. The writers admit in interviews to making shit up as they went without regard for consistency or making sure there's enough solid material left for sequels, and it shows. To blame SC2 for being obviously bad just because you grew up while the story didn't is intellectually dishonest. If you didn't have childhood nostalgia for SC1, then would you still say it's better written and presented than SC2? SC1's writing is just as incoherent and poorly constructed as SC2, it's just less obvious because of nostalgia and the lower production values forcing you to use your imagination to fill the gaps and make it seem better than it actually is.

SC1 is interesting as a pitch, but the execution leaves much to be desired. This can be said for whole swathes of fiction. Interesting ideas, crap execution. I'm not going to excuse the crap execution just because of potentially good ideas. That sort of toxically positive stupidity already poisons fandom enough.

Kerry Sue is just as stupid a villain as Amon is, we just give her a pass because of childhood nostalgia. Her entire motivation is to torture humanity because she was experimented on as a child and the rebellion betrayed her. Amon's motivation is to kill everyone and remake the universe in his image because becoming xel'naga wasn't good enough for him. They both suck ass compared to the Overmind, whose motivation was to eat the universe so the zerg can become perfect. It's a vague and alien motivation that's equally apocalyptic, but it doesn't stem from hamfisted childhood trauma trying to force sympathy from the player. The Overmind is only vaguely sympathetic to zerg players because 1) it didn't genocide all those worlds out of simple sadism or emo, but because it's just that alien, 2) it praises the player character for a job well done like a father figure, and 3) playing as the zerg gives a healthy outlet for one's inner destructive impulses while layering on a thin veneer of pseudo-philosophy to their villainy.

Only a complete fucking idiot would think it's a good idea to replace Overmind with Kerry Sue, or even introduce the latter in the first place. Kerry Sue's entire characterization and aesthetic just doesn't make sense for the zerg at all and was only added because of sexism (cf. the Blizzard sex abuse scandals) and to force an unnecessary connection to the prior episode at the expense of the zerg. It makes no sense for the zerg to preserve her personality in any capacity, make her look sexy, treat her as an individual, nor give her a rank in their hierarchy. What makes sense for the zerg would be to dissect her, clone her for experimentation, and breed new castes of zerg incorporating whatever was supposed to be useful about her psychic powers. Basically everything the Ghost Program did to her but a million times worse. The zerg are only interested in her genes and their potential to make better killing machines. Her body and soul are just detritus to be discarded.

The original human Kerry was vastly more interesting, if tropey as hell with the "getting revenge on the evil empire who abused her and countless others, but it's personal for her because she was experimented on as if we needed more reasons to oppose the evil empire" backstory, and it's a pity that the sexist devs fridged her and replaced her with an evil succubus rather than exploring her with any level of depth. And this may sound like a contradiction, sorry, but I don't like the generic evil empire plot that starcraft went with. We already had the zerg as the galactic space monster, and we had the protoss as the questionably evil empire. We didn't need a human evil empire, and quite frankly making the human evil empire the focus sapped away resources from the aliens and resulted in their subsequent writing decay.

Arguing that "SC1 is less garbage than SC2 because muh nostalgia" misses the forest for the leaves. Both scripts suck ass, sabotaged what few good ideas they had, don't deserve to be remembered except as textbook examples of what to avoid, and took away attention and resources from potentially good uses of the IP for storytelling. Now the IP is irrevocably fucked, everyone with taste has left the fandom years ago, and the remaining toxically positive sycophants are just more of everything wrong with modern media and fandom.

I fully expect Stormgate to continue this trend of stupid writing made by hacks for toxically positive sycophants. I would be pleasantly surprised if it wasn't, but after all the burnout I've suffered so far I'm not giving ex-Blizz devs the benefit of the doubt. I'm going to invest my limited time into ventures that actually look like they might respect my intelligence. Gates of Pyre has publicly released a few chapters of its lorebook, which is a huge point in favor so I'm watchlisting it. Silica doesn't have much lore to give any sense of what the storymode would do, but it has obvious influences from Dune and Command & Conquer which I loved so I'm watchlisting it.

I would prefer if video games didn't bother with story because they suck at it. Story in video games is about as important as story in porn, and just as badly written. I think it's a nice bonus to have basically competent writing that didn't give me a headache and would inspire fruitful discussions with other fans, but that's a luxury that very few games can afford. But if it has an actively bad story that only attracts toxically positive sycophants, then I'm not going to waste my time. I'm one of those 80 percenter weirdos who only plays PvE and if the story isn't at least basically competent and knowledgable about tropes then I'm not wasting my time. I'm already inundated with crappy stories in media, even in genres that have the space to focus on storytelling.

And before you tell me to go play 40k, I was a big fan of that in the 00s but lost interest because of all the ultrasmurf wank. Overmind's presentation spoiled me on aliens. I tried the tyranid campaigns in Dawn of War 2, Battlefleet Gothic Armada, and Gladius, and they bore me to death. "Om nom nom" just isn't interesting compared to infinitely quotable lines like "Awaken my child and embrace the glory that is your birthright." Overmind solved one of the omnipresent present problems with ravenous hive aliens in scifi: it made them more interesting and easier to use as a writing tool by giving them proximate objectives and so on, but without turning them into friendly formics like everywhere else. The zerg were aliens with alien morality that drove them to do stuff horrific and terrifying from a human perspective, but which made sense for them because it helped them. The faux old timey speechifying might come across as silly or corny, but would you ever argue that the "Om nom nom" briefings or David Attenborough pastiches in DoW2, BGA and Gladius are any improvement or remotely interesting by comparison?
 

Venser

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Speaking of her aesthetics, I always thought it was fucking stupid that she has biological high heels

artwork-sarah-kerrigan-portrait-women-wallpaper-preview.jpg
 

Lyric Suite

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BTW, aside for the utter retardation of believing Kerrigan was born out of "sexism" (rather than being spired by, i don't know, the Borg Queen, Spieces, or the myriad of similar female characters that appeared in media around that era), i'll just leave this to show that your entire screed was complete, total and utter bullshit:



Meanwhile the absolute utter, irredimable embarassing filth that was Starcraft 2:



The problem with the plot in Starcraft 1, as i remember it, was that it felt a bit generic, but it was still pretty good for what it was and the cinematics were top notch, even bordering on the great like in the Brood War intro i just posted above.

By contrast, Starcraft 2 literally murdered my brain cells every step of the way:



I can't even force myself to rewatch this. The cringe is too much for me to handle. Starcraft 2 had literally some of the worst writing in any game i've ever played, and this is not hyperbole in the slightest. It was literally that bad. Which was a massive shame because as someone else pointed out here, mechancially the single player was actually pretty damn good. If this was any other game i'd probably would have already replayed the campaign a bunch of times but just the thought of hearing Tychus say "sweet mother of God" again makes me feel like putting a bullet in my head to spare me that torture.
 
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Dayyālu

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While I can agree that SC1 does not have good writing (it has good ambience, but its writing is improvised and enslaved to gameplay and to the limits of having just three factions to use for the campaigns) it still kinda sorta work. Kerrigan in Brood War is annoying, but just annoying. The Blizzard Athmosphere (TM) was there, even if the cinematics sometimes barely interacted with the game (particularly in baseline SC1) and some of the banter is fun. The Overmind, for example, has some quotable stuff and it's a good Evil Enemy.

Also, SC1&Brood War were kinda smart in giving you entire campaigns were you played as the Bad Guy (both Zerg Campaigns, the baseline Human campaign) and some where you played as the Good Guy (Protoss, the United Earth Directorate campaign). It's similar to Warcraft 3, you can get some depth and time for the villains and get where they're coming from, also, more gameplay options. WC3 did sadly start the trend of "make the evil race GOOD" with the orcs that ended up poisoning the well, but we didn't know at the time.

SC2 Wings of Liberty/Heart of the Swarm is instead aggressively retarded. Aggressively. You will find even amongst the most rabid Blizzard fanboys few defenders, because it's that bad. SC1 had mediocre to bad writing, but you didn't get entire cutscenes and melodramatic narratives where the limits of the writing team were completely exposed for all to see and cringe at, repeatedly. I guess years of WoW had some impact, but .... seriously..... japanese games have less cringe writing. STOP SIMPING RAYNOR

I've heard that Legacy of the Void is less massively retarded in its basic writing (bar the ending where Kerrigan becomes God or something) but I never had the strength to play it.


Also, good fucking luck, Stormgate. MP RTS in 2023, you'd be better developing porn games.
 

Lyric Suite

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I wish them luck but that art style is simply an instant turn off for me.

Reminds me when i played Torchlight and i grinded my teeth all the way through. The game wasn't even that bad, kinda of simplistic but not terrible either, but the artstyle just put me off completely and i never got used to it. I played it once and never touched it again. I then tried Torchlight 2 and quit half-way through. Maybe if i didn't have Diablo in the back of my head the whole time i was playing both games it wouldn't have bothered me as much, though i am averse to cartoony graphics in general.

The 90s were really a kinda of golden age in more ways than one, not just in terms of gameplay and innovation but also atmosphere.
 
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RaggleFraggle

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BTW, aside for the utter retardation of believing Kerrigan was born out of "sexism" (rather than being spired by, i don't know, the Borg Queen, Spieces, or the myriad of similar female characters that appeared in media around that era),
I'll put it another way: The writers were idiots who thought with their dicks, and the writing suffered for it.

The Borg Queen was a stupid idea that Trekkies generally agree was stupid, and Kerry Sue is more of the same stupid. Sil makes sense because the goal is to seduce and reproduce with humanity, but that's not what either the Borg or Zerg were trying to do, so adding a succubus is pointless. They were clearly added solely for the sexual titillation value, not because they make any fucking sense. Which I consider to be a symptom of sexist attitudes, but if that alienates you due to politics then okay I'll drop the sexism accusation.

but it was still pretty good for what it was
Questionable, but I won't push it. It certainly doesn't deserve to be held up on a pedestal now. I wish I had some other better examples to compare it against, because without that these arguments are doomed to go in pointless circles.

it has good ambience,
This. The one thing it has going for it (besides working gameplay for the time) is that gritty 90s ambience. That's it. There's barely any substance or competence in the writing, but the art team did a good job. I genuinely believe that if they didn't do what they did then even the sycophants wouldn't give a flying fuck about the story.

SC1 had mediocre to bad writing, but you didn't get entire cutscenes and melodramatic narratives where the limits of the writing team were completely exposed for all to see and cringe at, repeatedly.
What was anyone expecting to happen? "SC1 had mediocre to bad writing." How do you improve upon that for the sequel, especially when your writers are hacks and you have zero economic incentive to do better?

The IP was irrevocably fucked from the beginning. The writers made it up as they went and sabotaged themselves repeatedly. The writing in a sequel was never going to be decent without wholesale reboot by competent writers with a clear creative vision. No matter how necessary that would've been, it would alienate the fanboys who were obsessed with fundamentally stupid ideas like Kerry Sue.

The Overmind, for example, has some quotable stuff and it's a good Evil Enemy.
This is pretty much the baseline for basically competent villain writing. Maybe it's not the best, but it could've been so much worse. I'm still astounded that they even came up with Overmind because it's heads above everything else they wrote. Of course these idiots had to kill it for the sake of an epic climax because God forbid we have any foresight.

Kerrigan in Brood War is annoying, but just annoying.
I would say that's putting it mildly. She's basically Catra except written by a man. IIRC the writer once said she was based on his junkie ex. He handed the other characters the idiot ball so she could take over, which makes her look like an idiot who only succeeded because of author fiat. Her introduction in SC1, as I said, was entirely pointless and permanently ruined the zerg's characterization just like that stupid Borg Queen did.

Also, SC1&Brood War were kinda smart in giving you entire campaigns were you played as the Bad Guy (both Zerg Campaigns, the baseline Human campaign) and some where you played as the Good Guy (Protoss, the United Earth Directorate campaign). It's similar to Warcraft 3, you can get some depth and time for the villains and get where they're coming from, also, more gameplay options. WC3 did sadly start the trend of "make the evil race GOOD" with the orcs that ended up poisoning the well, but we didn't know at the time.

Yeah. What little has been leaked about Stormgate's setting doesn't impress me either. The demons are an obvious cliché unoriginal uninspired ripoff of both the Burning Legion and the Zerg, and the previews say they're trying to save the universe. I predict that they'll be revealed as misunderstood good guys and teamup with human against the real villains: angels.

I'm really sick of this. After BW and WC3 did it, every single RTS since has had every side team up against an NPC-only villain. Blizz's execution of villain campaigns was fairly crappy, but inspiring RTS devs to focus on writing playable villains would've been preferable to this shit. (I checked out Age of Darkness' campaign, which depicts the human nations as universally villainous, but unfortunately it walks into every grimderp cartoony cliché in the book to the point that I gave up after a handful of missions.)

Whenever I bother to look in on them (which isn't often), I always get toxically positive media illiterate sycophants saying they prefer teamups over wars because it's less tropey or whatever. Both approaches are tropey, but only one of them is currently overused.

I keep asking myself why I'm supposed to care about SC1 beyond childhood nostalgia for the ambience. It has that gritty 90s ambience, sure. There are interesting stylistic choices here and there. But ambience is no substitute for basically competent writing and coherent cohesive creative visions.

The episode 1 terrans campaign doesn't fit all with the aliens, like they were written separately then shoehorned into one later. There's an apocalypse going on where two alien fleets are sterilizing planets, the humans respond by fighting each other, and don't suffer any meaningful consequences for anything? The evil empire is always evil regardless of who's in charge (but we're expected to actually care about Mengsk because he has a face, unlike the forgettable faceless confederacy), they always have manpower to spare, etc. Even Sony's bastardization of Starship Troopers is not this stupid and illogical.

The zerg campaigns were only interesting in terms of OM's speechifying, but otherwise were obsessed with praising Kerry Sue rather than advancing the zerg's actual motivations. They were introduced as a galactic space monster and then immediately get downgraded into pets for a psychotic succubus.

The protoss are worthless space elves who never accomplished anything under their own power. They needed deus ex machinas to save their worthless asses. They spend most of their time going on meandering uninteresting quests for the latest MacGuffin or Plot Coupon. I wish they were written more like the covenant and actually posed a fucking threat to anyone anywhere. They're fucking perfect as a morally ambiguous imperialist empire, but instead they contribute nothing of value. Fuck these writers.

The UED was a blatant retcon who were so poorly shoved into this shitty script that the script couldn't even agree whether they were good or evil. I would say they're only so fondly remembered because they're the only characters who act remotely sane, aside from DuGalle taking the idiot ball once Duran shows up because the writer was too stupid to write a plot that made sense. Raynor and co works against them when he really should be their ally. I can only imagine that the reason for this is because if Raynor acted like a sane person, or even just acted consistently with regard to his motivations even if he'd make strategically bad choices for emotional reasons, then it would break the Kerry Sue Wins Ending that the idiot writer contrived beforehand.

This foundation is garbage. It's all style and zero substance. The writers just throw in ideas willy-nilly and then discard those ideas immediately once their ADHD-addled minds lose interest after five minutes. The plot has never been coherent or cohesive. The universe doesn't make sense. The characters don't have arcs but just get reassigned as the writer requires. There are no meaningful consequences or reasons to invest in anything.

I wish them luck but that art style is simply an instant turn off for me.
I can agree with that. It looks very generic and cartoony.
 

Jaedar

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Did you even read this? It literally ends with
I don’t dislike the Starcraft 2 story. But now I retroactively enjoy the Starcraft 1 story a little less.
Sure seems like high praise!
similar quality + makes the original worse sure sounds like a longer way to say decline to me.

Her entire motivation is to torture humanity because she was experimented on as a child and the rebellion betrayed her.
No, her motivation is to acquire ultimate power so she won't ever be abused again, which is a reasonable motivation considering her history. After she has thoroughly cemented herself as unchallenged ruler of the sector she lets mengsk leave and live. She does kill the UED remnants, but that could be argued to be a kindness for the humans in the sector. I can't think of a single time she actually goes out of her way to torture someone? She does take various unkind snipes at people in passing. And mass murder people, but it's hard to make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

The rest of your post just strikes me as tl;dr that I don't feel like engaging with, sorry.
mechancially the single player was actually pretty damn good.
WoL is the best RTS singleplayer of all time for me. I have a really hard time enjoying other RTS campaigns afterwards. The unit and mission variety is just off the walls, while also having several satisfying difficulties with optional bonus challenges, and the upgrade system even adds some replayability. I don't care that much for the hero focus of hots, and the mission and challenge variety takes a massive hit in lotv, but they are still really solid rts campaigns.

SC1 had mediocre to bad writing
This feels kinda like an afterconstruction to me, or at least a shift in public opinion (but perhaps not yours in particular). I remember seeing SC1 story praised quite a bit on the codex in terms of RTS campaigns. I guess the bar was never that high...
I've heard that Legacy of the Void is less massively retarded in its basic writing (bar the ending where Kerrigan becomes God or something) but I never had the strength to play it.
There's nowhere to go but up! They mostly fucked up the various human characters when making sc2, so the protoss survive mostly unscathed from the fallout, and alarak is legitimately an entertaining character. The true ending is retarded, but it's technically not in the lotv campaign, it's in the epilogue campaign :M

Also, good fucking luck, Stormgate. MP RTS in 2023, you'd be better developing porn games.
SC2 still has pretty high daily player counts afaik, and printed a lot of money in its time from the coop mtx factions. Since these guys are ex-blizzard devs, I really wouldn't put it past them to replicate the success. It's not like there's a lot of competition.
If the beta is free and public, there's almost no way I won't at least try it.
 

Cross

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I don't think so. It's more obvious in SC2 because it has much higher more modern production values due being released a decade afterward, and because the audience grew up while the story didn't, but the script is of similar quality. The writers admit in interviews to making shit up as they went without regard for consistency or making sure there's enough solid material left for sequels, and it shows. To blame SC2 for being obviously bad just because you grew up while the story didn't is intellectually dishonest. If you didn't have childhood nostalgia for SC1, then would you still say it's better written and presented than SC2? SC1's writing is just as incoherent and poorly constructed as SC2, it's just less obvious because of nostalgia and the lower production values forcing you to use your imagination to fill the gaps and make it seem better than it actually is.

SC1 is interesting as a pitch, but the execution leaves much to be desired. This can be said for whole swathes of fiction. Interesting ideas, crap execution. I'm not going to excuse the crap execution just because of potentially good ideas. That sort of toxically positive stupidity already poisons fandom enough.
StarCraft 1 is notable not for its story, but for its method of storytelling. Prior to StarCraft, strategy games didn't really let the story intrude on the gameplay. If the single-player campaign had a story, it would typically be restricted to the briefings or cutscenes in between missions.

In StarCraft, the characters central to the story are also controllable in the single-player campaign as special hero units, who must survive as part of the mission objectives, as well as having story-related events during the missions themselves, giving the player a more direct engagement with the story. While this is obviously nothing special now, it was fairly novel at the time for strategy games (Blizzard had technically already introduced this concept in the expansion for Warcraft II, but it was in a very basic form).

In hindsight StarCraft's story probably wasn't very good, but it's been so long that I'd have to replay it to recall specifics. What I do distinctly remember is Brood War going full retard with the constant convoluted twists and turns that made no sense.
 

Lyric Suite

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Thinking with their dicks is par per course for nerds but calling it "sexist" is an absurdity. Blizzard then were also not as pathetic as they became later on in that respect (muh Sylvanas).

I also despised the Borg Queen but it was normal for games in the 90s to just be a reflection of other media. I didn't like Kerrigan either (for the same reason i didn't like the Borg Queen) but the comparison here was between SC1 and SC2 and i just don't remember anything from SC1 that was even remotely close to that atrocity and crime against humanity.

Blizzard for me were always weak when it came to writing but up to SC1 they were more than tolerable. I started getting annoyed at how mediocre their writing was with the NPCs in Diablo 2 but it wasn't until Warcraft 3 that it became a big turn off for me. Like, Arthas was a whiny retarded bitch, Tyrande was just a obnoxious nagging harpy for no reason and the encounter between Arthas and Illidan with the animu writing is one of the most cringe inducing shit i had ever seen in a game at that point.

That said, even Warcraft 3 is a narrative masterpiece compared to Starcraft 2 or some of the more offending WoW expansions.

For me, Blizzard story telling (at least in terms of tone) peaked with Warcraft 2, Diablo 1 and that Broodwar Intro.
 

RaggleFraggle

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similar quality + makes the original worse sure sounds like a longer way to say decline to me.
After becoming so exasperated arguing with toxically positive sycophants who went through ridiculous mental gymnastics to try convincing me a nonsensical plot makes sense and then calling me an idiot for failing to see the Emperor's clothes, I have great difficulty discussing this subject without my negative emotional response affecting my judgment. Even if the people I'm talking to here don't think highly of it either.

The rest of your post just strikes me as tl;dr that I don't feel like engaging with, sorry.
Okay. I admit my emotions cloud my judgment.

While this is obviously nothing special now, it was fairly novel at the time for strategy games
I'll give it credit.

I also despised the Borg Queen but it was normal for games in the 90s to just be a reflection of other media. I didn't like Kerrigan either (for the same reason i didn't like the Borg Queen) but the comparison here was between SC1 and SC2 and i just don't remember anything from SC1 that was even remotely close to that atrocity and crime against humanity.

Blizzard for me were always weak when it came to writing but up to SC1 they were more than tolerable. I started getting annoyed at how mediocre their writing was with the NPCs in Diablo 2 but it wasn't until Warcraft 3 that it became a big turn off for me. Like, Arthas was a whiny retarded bitch, Tyrande was just a obnoxious nagging harpy for no reason and the encounter between Arthas and Illidan with the animu writing is one of the most cringe inducing shit i had ever seen in a game at that point.

That said, even Warcraft 3 is a narrative masterpiece compary to Starcraft 2 or some of the more offending WoW expansions.

For me, Blizzard story telling (at least in terms of tone) peaked with Warcraft 2, Diablo 1 and that Broodwar Intro.
Again, as the late Shamus Young said in his blog, that's probably due to lack of budget to show everything the devs imagined and thus players had to imagine their own answers which met expectations. The shift in ambience is probably a big part of it too. SC1 had a consistently gritty 90s ambience, whereas SC2 is... cartoonish. SC1 had few fantasy cliches initially, but as time went on these got bigger and excluded anything else. It didn't grow up with the returning audience at all. The writers learned absolutely nothing from experience.

With WC3 it's very obvious that the writers wrote backwards from their preplanned cliched ending and forced everything to fit even if it didn't feel organic. The opening cinematic consists of Medivh barging into the king's court, ranting and raving about evacuating the continent without offering any evidence, then acting surprised and offended that nobody takes him seriously. It's cliched and, from a character standpoint, idiotic. Medivh should be giving them a powerpoint presentation explaining his intel and then deciding on a course of action to stop the Legion. Instead he acts mysterious for the audience's sake rather than because it makes sense to behave that way.

Ultimately this goodwill is founded on ideas and aesthetics. It doesn't substitute for substance. Blizz stories have never had much substance. Sure, you had manuals with limited lore but it wasn't anything you couldn't find in tabletop games or novels at the time and probably much better executed. It's not a good foundation for the future. There are very few RTS I'm interested in for the story potential, and mostly just for the aesthetics and nostalgic influences. The big three I'm looking forward to are Gates of Pyre, Silica, and Tempest Rising. Of those, only IGP is the one I'm interested in playing the story for and that's only because the writers clearly know their shit.

Do I have ridiculously high standards? Define your standards first and then I can answer that question.
 

Lacrymas

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Pathfinder: Wrath
SC1's story only made sense during the first Terran campaign. The moment they introduced Zerg Kerrigan, everything came crashing down.
 

Lyric Suite

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Protoss weren't bad. I liked Tassadar and some of the others. Protoss were cliche but not really cringe.
 

None

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Blizzard's repeated mistake is their over-indulgence in their simplistic, two dimensional characters. Jim Raynor the renegade space marshal is cool. Jim Raynor the love-sick drunk on a quest to find and redeem his OC zerg-ghost gf is nauseatingly lame and uninteresting. The same issue arises in the other franchises. The characters should be set-dressing, not the main attraction, something which leads to players feeling more like they're observing a story rather than actually partaking in it.
 

RaggleFraggle

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SC1's story only made sense during the first Terran campaign. The moment they introduced Zerg Kerrigan, everything came crashing down.
You should play Five Nations.

It starts with Earthlings hunting Martian rebels. Then some aliens show up and go about relentlessly exterminating humanity. In a shocking twist of defying our expectations, the Martian leader proposes an alliance, helps evacuate Earth, and eventually repels the aliens.

Protoss weren't bad. I liked Tassadar and some of the others. Protoss were cliche but not really cringe.
I think, like the rest of the IP, they suffer immensely from a lack of coherence. In the games they’re just bland dying space elves chasing plot devices, but the original manual described them as a huge empire that ruled an eighth of the galaxy. They were basically a mix of Eldar, Tau and Imperium. The entire reason the zerg invaded Earth (or wherever, at this point I don’t give a fuck because neither did the writers) was because humans were the only species they found who might remotely rival the protoss in the future and the zerg thought eating humanity would give them a determinant in the inevitable war between them. Of course the game script forgot all this.

The protoss are bland, generic, and the writers didn’t know what to do with them. They’d be perfect as antagonists with understandable motives that naturally bring them into conflict with humanity, as was implied in promo materials. They’re environmentalists and protect the galaxy against “xenomorphic threats,” so the greedy strip-mining human colonies would pose a threat to their worlds. In some really early promos they were actually at war with humanity.

And the dark templar were originally not Gary Stus being unfairly persecuted. In the manual they cause an apocalypse due to reckless use of magic that makes the rest of the protoss think they’re at war. The game script ignores this and Zeratul is written as a Marty Stu who everyone listens to while he spouts flowery gibberish.

It’s so frustrating. I’m not expecting great writing from video games, but this is actively sabotaging itself and discarding obvious potential.



Blizzard's repeated mistake is their over-indulgence in their simplistic, two dimensional characters. Jim Raynor the renegade space marshal is cool. Jim Raynor the love-sick drunk on a quest to find and redeem his OC zerg-ghost gf is nauseatingly lame and uninteresting. The same issue arises in the other franchises. The characters should be set-dressing, not the main attraction, something which leads to players feeling more like they're observing a story rather than actually partaking in it.
The problems with RTS storytelling in a nutshell. Most devs are not good writers, much less suited for such an unconventional format, and those who excel are those who realize this and focus on making a fun experience for the player. Treating the player as a character and the rest of the cast as set dressing avoids a ton of the problems caused by writer ambition outstripping actual writing skill.

That’s why I still love C&C when I’ll be the first to admit that the writing is not great. But it’s entertaining, and it knows what it is, and that’s enough. Does a lot of stuff not make sense? Yeah, but there’s no recurring characters beside Kane so their nonsensical arcs don’t mess up anything else. It would be nice if it was better, but at least it’s not Blizz.
 

Cyberarmy

Love fool
Patron
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
8,319
Location
Smyrna - Scalanouva
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Ex-Blizzard devs means nothing nowadays.
WTF is this WoW- LoL graphics fetish? I hate WC3 more and more after seeing how wide spread this cancer of a graphics style is.
Fucking Armies of Exigo, Battle for Middle Earth games looks better than this despite their age.

Ohhhh and its F2P........................
 

Dayyālu

Arcane
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Messages
4,428
Location
Shaper Crypt
Ohhhh and its F2P........................

To be honest, it's the only way they can hope to get something out of this. If we do a thought exercise, how the hell do you market a MP RTS in 2023?

- Simple graphics, to guarantee the widest possible starting players (we need third worlders)
- F2P, because no one is going to pay for a MP RTS in 2023
- Incredibly robust matchmaking system, because you don't want your playerbase to be decimated by the no-lifers
- Incredibly robust tutorial/SP campaign, because you need people to understand the basics

Even Relic is getting his bones crushed with stuff like CoH3 (not that Relic deserves any mercy after DoW3). What's left bar Starcraft2? AoEII and its endless remasters? Eugen?
 

RaggleFraggle

Ask me about VTM
Joined
Mar 23, 2022
Messages
983
Yeah, even that IGP game I mentioned is releasing MP as F2P. Campaigns will still cost money, so for 80 percenters like me it's not gonna be different from the Golden Age of RTS.

But microtransactions aren't really gonna fly with the RTS crowd due to a lot of players being long timer players of the genre and being resistant to microtransactions. Tempest Rising devs said this in an interview, so I know they're not gonna focus on microtransactions.

RTS devs are stuck between a rock and a hard place. MP just isn't a good revenue stream compared to PvE (it's been known for years that 80% of customers don't move past PvE), but developing RTS with decent PvE content is prohibitively expensive due to its low RoI from being a niche genre. Blizz could just throw money at the problem, but others devs cannot. It's left many RTS gamers with too high expectations since most RTS devs simply cannot afford to add what are considered basic QoL features.

Strangely, "survival RTS" like They Are Billions and Age of Darkness do cater exclusively to the PvE crowd but that subgenre doesn't seem to have caught on. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it may have something to do with their lack of diversity in terms of playable sides? You have one playable side, and an NPC-only side with only one type of unit that sends wave after wave until your base dies. They did eventually add campaign modes with more variety in missions, but still hasn't caught on or fixed the lack of playable sides' diversity.

Then we have games like Silica trying to create a hybrid of FPS and RTS, mooching off the FPS market to get that RoI. That subgenre hasn't worked out in the past, but even in Early Access Silica has received a surprisingly positive reception.

RTS is just really hard to develop (you need pathfinding, AI, networking code, etc that isn't found in other genres and you have to reinvent the wheel with every game rather than piggybacking off Unity or Unreal) and the current market is not kind. RTS is one of the few situations where I think advances in AI generation of content would help indie devs more than it would make the cyberpunk dystopia worse.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
1,779
Yeah, even that IGP game I mentioned is releasing MP as F2P. Campaigns will still cost money, so for 80 percenters like me it's not gonna be different from the Golden Age of RTS.

But microtransactions aren't really gonna fly with the RTS crowd due to a lot of players being long timer players of the genre and being resistant to microtransactions. Tempest Rising devs said this in an interview, so I know they're not gonna focus on microtransactions.

RTS devs are stuck between a rock and a hard place. MP just isn't a good revenue stream compared to PvE (it's been known for years that 80% of customers don't move past PvE), but developing RTS with decent PvE content is prohibitively expensive due to its low RoI from being a niche genre. Blizz could just throw money at the problem, but others devs cannot. It's left many RTS gamers with too high expectations since most RTS devs simply cannot afford to add what are considered basic QoL features.

Strangely, "survival RTS" like They Are Billions and Age of Darkness do cater exclusively to the PvE crowd but that subgenre doesn't seem to have caught on. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it may have something to do with their lack of diversity in terms of playable sides? You have one playable side, and an NPC-only side with only one type of unit that sends wave after wave until your base dies. They did eventually add campaign modes with more variety in missions, but still hasn't caught on or fixed the lack of playable sides' diversity.

Then we have games like Silica trying to create a hybrid of FPS and RTS, mooching off the FPS market to get that RoI. That subgenre hasn't worked out in the past, but even in Early Access Silica has received a surprisingly positive reception.

RTS is just really hard to develop (you need pathfinding, AI, networking code, etc that isn't found in other genres and you have to reinvent the wheel with every game rather than piggybacking off Unity or Unreal) and the current market is not kind. RTS is one of the few situations where I think advances in AI generation of content would help indie devs more than it would make the cyberpunk dystopia worse.
I think the reason survival RTS haven't caught on is simply that the PvE crowd in RTS (already a niche genre) is just too small. I don't have any stats to back this up, so I'm going by a mixture of gut instinct and anecdotal experience here (see below), but my impression from playing RTS in the past is that the majority of the community does tend to gravitate towards PvP. Not necessarily "competitive PvP", meaning - it's not all 1v1 small map rush games, in fact I think the bulk of an RTS community will gravitate towards more casual PvP - big maps, team games, where a lot of the time there's not as much early game skirmishing and if a player is having trouble their team will often help them out. But PvP nonetheless. If not PvP, then a comp stomp game, but I don't think solo skirmish was ever something really popular.

As to why that is, I think it's a mixture of factors - AI not being very engaging to play against (because it's fucking hard to do well), and perhaps an out of context skirmish just not having much appeal. Anyways, I think people who are going to play some strategy game solo will tend to gravitate more towards games that provide a richer solo experience - Total War type games, 4X, grand strat. RTS is fundamentally a multiplayer-oriented genre, and it's always kind of sucked at working outside that domain.

Agree 100% on development difficulty, by the way. I think it's probably up there with MMOs as one of the most difficult genres to make. In particular, because, despite people not really playing RTS in general, you're usually sort of expected to have a solo campaign just to introduce your setting and get players somewhat invested in the world, at least long enough to build up a community that they can get invested in instead. So on top of all the technical requirements you're forced to dump a lot of time and energy into making a campaign that most players will play once or twice and then never touch again as they spend hundreds of hours online.

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