StarCraft® II

Why was the HoTS campaign so underwhelming?

Posts: 23
I'm legitimately asking. I seriously can't pinpoint what made me feel so "meh" about it. I mean none of it was outrageously terrible.. I just don't feel satisfied with it. The whole thing felt like it was on a diet.

The only specific thing that bothered me in the entire campaign was that Narud never took on his Duran form during their confrontation. Honestly I think it would have worked fine, after she does her whole "...wait, you're not Jim!" thing he could have morphed his !@# into Duran then spat out some quick line about how he used Kerrigan before and how the work he was doing was above her tentacly head. Hell, didn't he have a line in the actual mission relating to the zerg being a tool? Coulda been clever to pull some Fight Club-esque quick flicker of Duran's face then. Oh well, just feels like an opportunity wasted. Duran was, in my opinion, one of the most interesting characters of SC1. Was waiting this whole campaign for some reference to/reappearance of him.

On a different note, I started replaying through the SC1/BW campaign after completing the HoTS campaign and good god damn, it really seems like Kerrigan dropped a few IQ points between then and now. The mission briefing for the mission "The Amerigo" from the original Zerg campaign is what really made me notice this.

"Cerebrate, you watched over my during my incubation, and I am grateful to you. It is my wish that you continue your vigil, so that I might strengthen my powers to better aid the Swarm. I have been unable to access the totality of my latent powers, and as such, I would like to infiltrate a Terran science vessel and uncover the secrets of their abandoned Ghost projects. If I can learn more about their mental conditioning, I can undo the damage their tinkering scientists have done to my mind."

She must have fallen on her head after getting her $%^ kicked by that Xel'naga artifact.. not that I remember a lot of eloquence from her at any point prior to that in WoL. rahh.

Forgive my tangent. Anywho, despite the length of my complaints those weren't serious issues for me, just slightly annoying. So help me, where was the ball dropped?

I'm not saying I did not enjoy the game. I did, it was fun. It was just lacking something large and that's what this thread is about. The question isn't "Why was the HotS campaign so terrible?". I am not asking that, I do not believe that it was terrible. Irrelevent to thread. Ineffecient.
Edited by Mora on 3/20/2013 12:12 AM PDT
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Posts: 19
IMO you can't pinpoint it because it was many disappointments all at once:

    Dialogue/Characters: Pretty much all the nonhuman characters were crap, and those are the ones you interact with all game. You can actually notice a difference with the small segment with Mira Han and the other human characters, where their dialogue is actually good.

    Game mechanics: It was similar to WoL, despite Blizzard stating it would be different. WoL had mercs, research, and monetary upgrades. HotS has Evolution, one upgrade per unit, and Kerrigan. It ended up inferior to WoL because:
    - WoL allowed more specialization, here you're limited to one upgrade per unit
    - WoL had more units to pick from, whereas here you lose a few (brood lord or viper, no corrupter, no other campaign only units aside from aberration)
    - Part of Kerrigan's passives were the equivalent of WoL research. In fact the whole Kerrigan leveling mechanic was disappointing since she
    - Disconnect between Kerrigan's cutscene strength and ingame strength
    - Game too easy

    Plot/story: Instead of building it up, the central antagonist was instantly revealed. In Brood War, it was hinted that there is trouble brewing and it had something to do with the Xel naga, and Duran turned out to be a mysterious creepy dude who manipulated way too many aspects of the plot to be taken lightly. You never actually saw the hybrids, and it was a fun mystery.
    In SC2, Zeratul gives you the entire plot in 4 episodes, the hybrids are revealed, the antagonist is revealed, sc1 backstories retconned, etc. There is nothing to look forward to or discover. HotS made this even worse, and now the plot is simplified to elementary school level. Also Amon looks like a protoss.
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Posts: 1,584
Maybe because you only beat it on casual?
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Posts: 2,537
Maybe because you only beat it on casual?


There's a lot of hand-holding and casual-ness on Normal mode too. Way more so than WoL normal.

I pretty much agree with everything SpacemanNik said. I would also say it's because of the lesser amount of full, pre-rendered cinematics, the lesser amount of actual missions (those evolution missions were really only like a half of a normal mission each, so in truth there is really only like 23 full missions, not 27) and how short the final mission was. In WoL, the final mission was a big ramp-up in difficulty and felt climactic and epic. In HotS, the final mission felt like just another mission and wasn't really all that epic. A lot this can be attributed to how easy it was, how short it was, and how often the game kept playing that annoying reminder that Raynor was building up for an attack and to keep protecting him.

All in all, this didn't really feel like a full campaign unto itself. It felt like an expansion campaign that was meant to be shorter/quicker than the first installment. I seriously hope that LotV doesn't get the same treatment.
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Posts: 3,881
Well I agree mostly with SpacemanNik as well, but I want to also say; A lot and I mean a lot of Narrative Dissonance. RTS games have this problem pretty badly anyway, but it was way more noticeable then WOL.
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Posts: 10
where was the ball dropped?


Activision. New people in charge meant that now every Blizzard release exploits the franchise title while min/maxing to make sure the game is marketed perfectly, while writing, innovation, and artistic value is ignored because it is financially irrelevant.
Nowadays, game design isn't based on someone's creative vision. Instead, it is forced to pander to a demographic based on marketing data.

Blizzards old "Midas touch" is gone. Through merging with Activision, they have excelled in turning gold into lead.
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Posts: 661
03/17/2013 04:28 AMPosted by Mora
"Cerebrate, you watched over my during my incubation, and I am grateful to you. It is my wish that you continue your vigil, so that I might strengthen my powers to better aid the Swarm. I have been unable to access the totality of my latent powers, and as such, I would like to infiltrate a Terran science vessel and uncover the secrets of their abandoned Ghost projects. If I can learn more about their mental conditioning, I can undo the damage their tinkering scientists have done to my mind."


... I'm not saying you're wrong to feel the way you do about this game, but damn, people do not talk like that. That sounds far too archaic and stilted for it to be real.
Edited by Joshua on 3/17/2013 8:54 PM PDT
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Posts: 111
Zerg infest kerrigan isn't exactly common folk.
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Posts: 111
For me the campaign started off great and quickly went straight to hell. The campaign didn't even feel like starcraft, what were they thinking?

Basically a very well polished turd.

Multiplayer is still awesome at least.
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Posts: 1,584
Personally, I think it is because they decided to make the plot revolve around the individuals instead of the individuals revolving around the plot. For some reason, SC2 doesn't focus on the races or even on key events. It focuses on two people. Whatever happened to the days when the campaign told the story of races striving to overcome some obstacle? It was in those stories that multiple heroes were born and backstory was given to everything. You can see this in the older Blizzard games. The events are the central message conveyed and multiple individuals step in to play a part in the story (for good or ill).

I still have no idea what the protoss are up to. (Except for colonizing frozen planets that no one should want). I don't really know what the terran are up to. We actually leave the Terran in a very interesting place at the end of this campaign. Yet, we know that the next game won't be focused on them. So, we'll actually lose a pivotal point for the terran story. We do have some idea about the zerg, but only because Kerrigan happens to be their ruler and none of them think for themselves. We don't hear of new people because the story is so focused on the two primary characters.

The story is so focused on Kerrigan and Jim that it excludes everything else. It also introduces a massive source of Ludonarrative dissonance (as popeman mentioned) because it focuses so heavily on the individuals, that the gameplay events will clash with what the character claims. We see mention of the hybrids, yet again. I'm still not certain what that story is all about. All I know is that we commit genocide on hybrids that supposedly will destory everything, but we only see them in stasis in labs. The story needed to move past the individuals in it.
Edited by Dos on 3/17/2013 10:47 PM PDT
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Posts: 1,092
Wow, nostalgia lens affecting WoL too now? Lol, too bad bliz cant release a game before they release it so people will be nostaligic while they play it instead of complaining immediately upon release that their most recent title is worse than Hitler :\
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Posts: 15
It was underwhelming because there was never any real threat. It could have been called "Kerrigan curb-stomps everyone and becomes queen of the universe, again."

Not to mention to whole "I'll do anything to save Jim and get my revenge" bit just came off as boring, especially when while doing that, she had moments where she tried to be nice and spare people. The evolution mechanic was alright, but tbh the focus of the zerg units was lost because you used kerrigan so much every mission.
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Posts: 23
Maybe because you only beat it on casual?


When did I complain about difficulty? I'm a Bronze, I played it on normal. No real reason for me to be ashamed of that. I played it for the story. Not relevant, sorry. :P

03/17/2013 08:54 PMPosted by Joshua
"Cerebrate, you watched over my during my incubation, and I am grateful to you. It is my wish that you continue your vigil, so that I might strengthen my powers to better aid the Swarm. I have been unable to access the totality of my latent powers, and as such, I would like to infiltrate a Terran science vessel and uncover the secrets of their abandoned Ghost projects. If I can learn more about their mental conditioning, I can undo the damage their tinkering scientists have done to my mind."


... I'm not saying you're wrong to feel the way you do about this game, but damn, people do not talk like that. That sounds far too archaic and stilted for it to be real.


Yup, and the Terrans did not speak like that. Kerrigan didn't when she was a human, but once she was infested her speech patterns changed entirely. The Overmind is supposed to be an ancient and incredibly intelligent creature. That was reflected in its speech as well as the speech of those under his influence. It gave the zerg more of their own vibe. Most of the terrans spoke straight to the point with little decoration in their speech, with the exception of a few of those who considered themselves a league above the masses (Mengsk, DuGalle perhaps). The point is, I guess, that Zerg aren't people. They're Zerg, and they have their own recognizable mode of communication.

Personally, I think it is because they decided to make the plot revolve around the individuals instead of the individuals revolving around the plot. For some reason, SC2 doesn't focus on the races or even on key events. It focuses on two people. Whatever happened to the days when the campaign told the story of races striving to overcome some obstacle? It was in those stories that multiple heroes were born and backstory was given to everything. You can see this in the older Blizzard games. The events are the central message conveyed and multiple individuals step in to play a part in the story (for good or ill).

I still have no idea what the protoss are up to. (Except for colonizing frozen planets that no one should want). I don't really know what the terran are up to. We actually leave the Terran in a very interesting place at the end of this campaign. Yet, we know that the next game won't be focused on them. So, we'll actually lose a pivotal point for the terran story. We do have some idea about the zerg, but only because Kerrigan happens to be their ruler and none of them think for themselves. We don't hear of new people because the story is so focused on the two primary characters.

The story is so focused on Kerrigan and Jim that it excludes everything else. It also introduces a massive source of Ludonarrative dissonance (as popeman mentioned) because it focuses so heavily on the individuals, that the gameplay events will clash with what the character claims. We see mention of the hybrids, yet again. I'm still not certain what that story is all about. All I know is that we commit genocide on hybrids that supposedly will destory everything, but we only see them in stasis in labs. The story needed to move past the individuals in it.


I said nearly the exact same thing in another thread, hahaha.

"I've noticed Starcraft gradually shifting from telling an overarching story in which certain individuals in positions of power would make repeated appearances to telling the story of an individual in which an overarching story would make repeated appearances.."

Yes.. I agree with that very strongly. It does feel like you're wandering blindly through the storyline following whatever impulses the lead character has. There's no hint of what the rest of the world is doing while we're collecting terrazine for a psionic Jamaican or while we're scaring Valerian Mengsk by zerg rushing his terrible security. We also have the aforementioned looming threat of the hybrid/Amon menace, which we learn is totally ready to go to town on us but is just sitting by idly while we play tag with marines. Shouldn't more be happening? If more is happening, why aren't we being told about it? Raynor and Kerrigan have god damned tunnel vision.
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Posts: 661
Zerg infest kerrigan isn't exactly common folk.


I'm not going to argue that, but does infestation turn a person's language all stilted and archaic like that? As popcorny as Starship Troopers was, they did something with language that I thought was really impressive. A question commonly asked by sergeants and officers, "Is that understood," was replaced by "Do you get me?"

This shows the natural evolution of language, slang being adopted as normal dialect, and more economical language comes to replace what was once verbose. Kerrigan talking like that always weirded me out.

I'm just saying, in a futuristic science fiction setting, with a character's higher reasoning abilities are biologically subverted by base instincts, you would think you'd see both a decrease in command of the language, (Admittedly there is a case for this first point not affecting Kerrigan based on what the overmind said.) and at the very least a continued use of that more economical language typical of the setting's period and tone.

When Kerrigan was uninfested, she said things like, "You pig," instead of, "You unrefined misogynistic buffoon!" I get that they were trying to show a change in character, but having her revert to a borderline Victorian-style middle-English dialect simply because she got infested makes zero sense.

03/19/2013 05:51 PMPosted by Mora
Yup, and the Terrans did not speak like that. Kerrigan didn't when she was a human, but once she was infested her speech patterns changed entirely. The Overmind is supposed to be an ancient and incredibly intelligent creature. That was reflected in its speech as well as the speech of those under his influence.


I don't doubt that that was their goal, but intelligent people do not talk like that. That sounds like what an average person might think an eloquent person sounds like, but it isn't actually the case. Good/well-trained speakers try to avoid that kind of archaic and stilted language as much as possible. Minimalism in speech is to be prized over verbosity. Kerrigan sounded smarter when she was uninfested.

03/19/2013 05:51 PMPosted by Mora
It gave the zerg more of their own vibe. Most of the terrans spoke straight to the point with little decoration in their speech, with the exception of a few of those who considered themselves a league above the masses (Mengsk, DuGalle perhaps). The point is, I guess, that Zerg aren't people. They're Zerg, and they have their own recognizable mode of communication.


Now, I'm not going too harp to hard on Blizzard here, because it is generally a lot easier to just have the aliens speak in an Earth language (Whichever one your region knows.) and come up with a thin justification for it after the fact. Starcraft isn't supposed to be hard SF anyway.

Now, if this was supposed to be hard science fiction, each species would have a drastically different method of communication, just like supposed "real aliens" would, and merely figuring it all out would be a massive undertaking. But you can't spend half the game on delving into minutia like that when you have a story to tell. You want to get to the story, not get bogged down in details.

Anyway, the point is, if they're going to use standard language as a means for alien communication, it still has to follow convention where appropriate.
Edited by Joshua on 3/19/2013 9:46 PM PDT
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Posts: 109
The game was to easy in my opinion, playing on Brutal was a breeze.
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Posts: 3,986
"Activision. New people in charge meant that now every Blizzard release exploits the franchise title while min/maxing to make sure the game is marketed perfectly, while writing, innovation, and artistic value is ignored because it is financially irrelevant.
Nowadays, game design isn't based on someone's creative vision. Instead, it is forced to pander to a demographic based on marketing data. "

Activision IS NOT in charge of StarCraft.
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Posts: 62
Personally, I think it is because they decided to make the plot revolve around the individuals instead of the individuals revolving around the plot. For some reason, SC2 doesn't focus on the races or even on key events. It focuses on two people. Whatever happened to the days when the campaign told the story of races striving to overcome some obstacle? It was in those stories that multiple heroes were born and backstory was given to everything. You can see this in the older Blizzard games. The events are the central message conveyed and multiple individuals step in to play a part in the story (for good or ill).

I still have no idea what the protoss are up to. (Except for colonizing frozen planets that no one should want). I don't really know what the terran are up to. We actually leave the Terran in a very interesting place at the end of this campaign. Yet, we know that the next game won't be focused on them. So, we'll actually lose a pivotal point for the terran story. We do have some idea about the zerg, but only because Kerrigan happens to be their ruler and none of them think for themselves. We don't hear of new people because the story is so focused on the two primary characters.

The story is so focused on Kerrigan and Jim that it excludes everything else. It also introduces a massive source of Ludonarrative dissonance (as popeman mentioned) because it focuses so heavily on the individuals, that the gameplay events will clash with what the character claims. We see mention of the hybrids, yet again. I'm still not certain what that story is all about. All I know is that we commit genocide on hybrids that supposedly will destory everything, but we only see them in stasis in labs. The story needed to move past the individuals in it.


This guy got it right. When I try summarize the SC1 campaign, it's very difficult for me to do so because it was complex and more engaging. For SC2 though, i can pretty much summarize the story in a few sentences. Jim wants to kill/rescue Sarah in WoL, Sarah wants Jim's D in HotS. Also, the storyline for HotS was so predictable. If Jim Raynor died in SC1, I might'ved believed it. But I know he didn't die in HotS because he had the power of being a main character.

Seriously ask yourself, who was the main character in SC1? Who are the main character in SC2? The answers to the latter question is much easier to answer than the former.
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Posts: 262
This guy got it right. When I try summarize the SC1 campaign, it's very difficult for me to do so because it was complex and more engaging. For SC2 though, i can pretty much summarize the story in a few sentences. Jim wants to kill/rescue Sarah in WoL, Sarah wants Jim's D in HotS. Also, the storyline for HotS was so predictable. If Jim Raynor died in SC1, I might'ved believed it. But I know he didn't die in HotS because he had the power of being a main character.

Seriously ask yourself, who was the main character in SC1? Who are the main character in SC2? The answers to the latter question is much easier to answer than the former.


Yes, exactly. When Mensk said Raynor was dead, I facepalmed, laughed, and said "no he's not, it's so obvious he's not."

I wish Blizzard would make a story where I can't predict half of it.
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Posts: 114
dissident
jeopardize
renegade
substantial
cache
brimming
commence
snide
uncannily
eradicated
liberated
Praetor
epitaph
wearied
vicinity
perimeter
adjected
impunity
punctual
vile
remnants
adversary
debark
extreme prejudice
prelate
emanating
The vocabulary of Kerrigan in Brood Wars was at a college level vs Kerrigan in Heart Of the Swarm where the vocabulary is at the level between Middle school and High school.
Also the grammar seems broken English. There were much fragments. For example, sentence without the subject was left out. In brood wars, every sentence was complete sentence.
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Posts: 280
Two things made me uncomfortable:

1. Tearing down Warfield's base when you had just gone to all of that trouble to get it built, and re-infesting Kerrigan when you had just gone to all of that trouble to de-infest her. I can understand that doing all of this contributes to the progress of the story, but it still feels like regressing.

2. Narud and Mengsk's cheap deaths. They were too easy to kill and we didn't get to hear about their evil plans before they died. They just died without saying anything. I had a lot of questions about Mengsk in particular: How much did he know? Why did he want to kill Kerrigan? These are pretty basic questions that went unanswered.
Edited by Torloch on 3/19/2013 9:48 PM PDT
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