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YMMV / StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Does Matt Horner represent Incorruptible Pure Pureness in the crew and the best hope for a better future in the sector, or is he a laughably naive Wide-Eyed Idealist who only manages to survive the Crapsack World he lives in by pure luck?
    • Was Ariel Hanson truly an innocent, honest and altruistic woman, or a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Mad Scientist who shows her true colours at the end of Haven's Fall?
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    • Donny Vermillion: is he a Dominion stooge, or a jaded news anchor covering for his recklessly idealistic younger co-worker, Kate Lockwell? Either way, the fact that he suffers a nervous breakdown after learning that Mengsk was behind the invasion of Tarsonis and is thus indirectly responsible for the death of his brother (who was living/working there at the time), as well as dropping his praise of the Emperor if "Media Blitz" is completed before other missions, such as the Colonist missions, shows he's more than just a mindless supporter of the establishment.
    • Horace Warfield: while Warfield is seen by many as a decent man and officer, it contrasts greatly with his decision to serve Arcturus, especially following the revelation that Arcturus lured the zerg to Tarsonis. Was he a good man who served an evil master, or is he hiding greater and darker secrets?
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  • Annoying Video-Game Helper: Egon Stetmann keeps giving advice in "Belly of the Beast" that you really should know by now, considering it's the second to last mission (Don't let Banelings get too close. Their acid splash is really nasty). It's even annoying to the characters in-universe; Tychus promptly tells him to shut up.
  • Anvilicious: The UNN clips are very un-subtle Take Thats against certain TV news organizations and personalities.
    • The game script contains this line, said by a freed Dark Templar in "Maw of the Void":
    "Truly you bring freedom to all, friend Ray-nor"
  • Ass Pull: A portion of the fanbase finds the Dominion's return to power as the ultimate ruler of the Terrans to be this as it doesn't line up with the horrible state that the UED and Kerrigan left them in by the end of Brood War. That 4 years of off-screen rebuilding wasn't enough to justify the Dominion suddenly having total control again.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Terran Up the Night by Lvl800 Elite Tauren Chieftain, played in the end credits, and as an unlockable track on the jukebox in the cantina after beating campaign mode once.
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    • The main theme.
    • Not precisely music, but the metal riff that plays when things get serious (the beginning of the The Dig campaign, when Tosh's Specters are released from New Folsom) is pretty dang awesome.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Laser Drill from "The Dig" is this. Like it's name suggests, it's a massive stationary drill-like weapon that fires a giant laser beam at whatever it's targeting. In the mission, it's used to open up the door of a Tal'darim temple in order to steal away one of the Artifact fragements. However, the player is also able to operate it manually to fire upon any enemy unit or structure. Even melting high-health units and structures within seconds. Why is it a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment? Because it's the only time the Laser Drill ever appears. A weapon this powerful would surely be useful in any battle throughout the Starcraft II story campaigns, and yet no one seems to realize just how powerful this one-off drill actually is.
  • Breather Level:
    • The Zeratul side missions come in about halfway through the campaign, and the first three are pretty simple since the developers go easy on you in the name of letting new players adjust from Terran to Protoss mechanics.
    • "Cutthroat." The first objective is to collect 6,000 minerals before your opponent, and while your opponent starts with four mining bases, the defenses around the outlying bases are very light, so a small force can steamroll them and grind his mining to a crawl. When it comes to meeting the quota yourself, the map is full of scrap collectibles that grant minerals, so you can just send out your army to scavenge and rake in hundreds of minerals with ease. Once you hit the quota you then need to take out the enemy's main base, and for it you're given a second base fully built-up with most every structure you need and a large force of mercenary units with increased stats — you can pretty much just select the entire army and attack-move toward the objective to win.
    • "The Moebius Factor" gives you a base on high ground with a narrow ramp to easily hold off enemy attacks, and you can regularly find mercenary units around the map to reinforce you. The map is very inhospitable to ground armies, but the unit for the mission is the Medivac, which can ferry units around the map no problem, and let them take advantage of high ground to attack enemies from out of vision. If you have unlocked the Hercules Dropship in the Hyperion Lab, then 2-3 dropships will easily hold your army and any reinforcements, making the mission even easier. The resistance around the three objectives you need to destroy is also pretty light and all three have a convenient spot nearby free of enemies to make drops at, so you can just build up an army, transport them to the attack site, and ram your deathball into the enemy to crush them.
    • "Media Blitz" gives you five minutes to get in an edge on three enemy bases, and then when the mission proper starts you need to hold objective points at those bases for a minute or two. Your hero unit for the mission is one of the most powerful in the entire franchise, with enough HP and firepower to wipe out two of the three bases by itself before the opening attack ends, and then you can repair it and send it out again and basically scour out the entire map. The map also has two expansion spots fairly close to your starting position and easily cleared of enemies.
    • "Maw of the Void" actually encourages you to take your time building up a huge force of Battlecruisers and then steamroll the opponents from one side of the map to the other one checkpoint at a time. The fact that your base is on an island also ensures that the only assaults you'll face are from enemy air units and transports.
    • "Shatter The Sky", the exclusive alternative to "Belly of the Beast" is relatively straightforward. Your starting area is easy to defend with narrow choke points and the expansions are generous with providing extra resources. All you need to do is rupture the platform reactor in each Zerg base, and a meltdown will take wipe the base out with an explosion. Just have a strong Anti-Air force ready for the surprise Leviathan that shows up and the rest is smooth sailing as you smash your death-ball army into each base. Additionally, this mission eliminates the Zerg air force in the next and final mission which means you don't need to worry as much about anti-air strategy.
    • Downplayed with the air version of "All In". While it's still hardly a cakewalk, some players might find relief in having less pressure on the ground assault waves and can handle Anti-Air patrol just fine. You also don't need to hunt down Nydus Worms. Some fully equipped Vikings and/or Goliaths can handle the air attack waves like champs.
  • Broken Base:
    • You have the Dominion returning at the start of Wings of Liberty as the ruling Terran faction of the sector...despite their numerous defeats that were handed to them throughout episodes V and VI of Brood War. Was it justified that the Dominion was given four years to rebuild? Or was their faction steamrolled too far to a point that they should have been gone for good, or at least reduced to a much smaller faction, and have someone such as the Kel-Morian-Combine, or the Umojans, come in and take over as the Terran rulers? The latter is more plausible, as it was stated in-game the Zerg remained quiet up until this installment, while Raynor has lost hope of ever defeating the Dominion to be a threat to them.
    • The penultimate mission in the game, which is chosen between "Shatter the Sky" and "Belly of the Beast". The broken base comes from the part the creativity and fun of each mission is opposite to the tactical benefits they give to "All In", making picking a mission difficult. "Shatter the Sky" gives the greatest gain as the Zerg won't use air units in "All In", letting the player mass static defenses, but it's a generic mission in which you have to attack multiple bases. "Belly of the Beast" (considered by Word of God to be the canon choice) involves Raynor, Tychus, Swann and Stegmann trying to drown the Zerg nydus network in lava with pure Rule of Cool, while providing many funny conversations between characters that otherwise don't interact with each other, but the gain it provides to "All In" is minimal at best (the already fragile Nydus Worms won't appear) while making defending much more difficult with the presence of Mutalisks, Brood Lords and a Leviathan.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Matt and the Hyperion—specifically His Bridge, which he is very protective of.
    • Tychus really likes the Odin, declaring it "the single greatest invention in the history of mankind," apparently so awesome it almost brought a tear to his eye.
    • Raynor is very attached to his jukebox, the novel "Devils' Due" covering how he risked a train robbery to get it off the train with their booty, and was enraptured by it the second he saw it.
  • Cliché Storm:
    • All of the game. The ability of the characters to endlessly spout clichés in practically every line of dialogue is quite staggering.
    Jim Raynor: Tell me why I shouldn't kill you right now.
    Valerian Mengsk: Because I can offer you... what you've always wanted.

    Jim Raynor: We are who we choose to be, Matt.

    Zeratul: There is always hope.
    • The last few lines of the entire campaign are, to paraphrase, "You have your orders, carry them out," "What have you done," "I made a deal with the devil", "we all got our choices to make," and Say My Name.
  • Crazy Awesome: Tychus Findlay and Gabriel Tosh, brother.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Donny Vermillion is a complete Jerkass; "Up next, a Vermillion commentary: refugees, are they really our responsibility?" However, he's such a complete jerkass that he loops back around to being funny for it, the parody elements notwithstanding.
  • Designated Villain: The Tal'darim. They accuse Raynor of invading planets sacred to them and defiling ancient shrines and temples to steal their holy relics, and he is, and is doing so pretty much just to make money selling those relics to the Moebius Foundation. "Maw of the Void" reveals they've been kidnapping and imprisoning Dark Templar, but this comes long after the campaign has decided the Tal'darim are evil. The next two games reveal more of their backstory and motivation that establishes they really are evil, but none of that information comes up in this game.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • There's a significant spike in difficulty just going from "Normal" to "Hard." On Hard, the A.I. changes its tactics completely and often has unfair advantages. The first two missions are pretty much the same, but "Zero Hour" ups the ante to prepare you for what the rest of the campaign is like. On Normal it's pretty simple, but on Hard, the Zerg get orbital drop pods to spread creep on the outskirts of your base, Mutalisks attack in greater numbers, the Zerg kill the neutral structures on the map to deny you vision and foresight of their attacks, and said attacks are larger and more often.
    • While on "Normal" difficulty you can select any game speed you want, on "Hard" you cannot go below "Fast". On Brutal difficulty the game speed is locked at "Faster", the highest setting. Unless you're used to competitive Starcraft at that speed, it's easy to get overwhelmed as suddenly everything moves faster and you begin to fall behind. Thus, if building up your skill for Brutal mode, it is prudent to max out the game speed anyway to ease into this mode more smoothly.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Karass. Generally considered to be "like Zeratul, but as a High Templar", making him highly memorable even though he was only around for part of one mission.
    • Gabriel Tosh doesn't really do much other than offer an optional mission chain and serve as someone to talk to aboard the Hyperion, but he's well-liked by fans simply because he just oozes cool (not to mention his unique voice). Calls for him to reappear in some way, shape, or form have been endless as a result.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Similarities in name and nature lead to speculation that the Dark Voice was the same being as "The Voice in the Darkness" in the graphic novels. Blizzard has shot this theory down.
    • Because of Matt Horner's close relationship with Raynor and the fact that they were both part of the Sons of Korhal only to leave following the fall of Tarsonis many have erroneously drawn the conclusion that Horner is the Magistrate from "Rebel Yell." His official backstory, however, contradicts this, though the Magistrate did exist according to The Queen of Blades, where it's stated that he joined the Sons of Korhal prior to the infestation of Mar Sara. Furthermore, Raynor briefly mentions the magistrate in conversation. Apparently, they parted ways after the events of Brood War and Jim hasn't heard from them since.
  • Foe Yay: Between Tosh and Nova. According to the graphic novels, she and Tosh shared their first kiss with each other, and both of them enjoyed it. In StarCraft II, Tosh has slid down the cynicism side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism while Nova completed her Ghost training and was resocialized.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • This 2008 video and its derivatives splice the Marine suit construction sequence from the teaser with the mundane outer workings of the barracks before showing the Marine being rapidly slaughtered by zerg. Funny in its execution, but come retail release, it turns out Tychus, the Marine from the cutscene, does get killed, except by Raynor's hands.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Biological armies in the campaign are borderline overpowered. With good micromanaging, it's very possible to play much of the campaign focusing upon upgrading your Barracks army at the Hyperion armory. The orbital strike research is very good for these builds, letting you engage in Sequence Breaking to complete certain mission objectives very quickly. It helps that Bio armies are very effective against the Final Boss of the last mission, as your basic Marines aren't affected by a particular ability that lowers all attacks to 10 damage.
    • Although you'll need such upgrades for the final missions of the campaign on the harder difficulties, it isn't hard to see why some of the campaign upgrades and abilities are exclusive to the campaign, and why some of them used to be in the multiplayer but were scrapped.
      • Firebats can be upgraded with Juggernaut Plating, a permanent buff that gives them +2 armor. In tandem with normal upgrades and Medic support, not to mention their HP has been doubled since the original game, and Firebats can hold off an almost infinite number of Zerg. Add in the other upgrade, which boosts the area of effect of their attack, and they become Zergling mulchers that are nearly impossible to kill. The amount of Game-Breaker inherent in this is best summed up by the fact that a handful of Firebats, with one or two Medics per squad and perhaps a single Siege Tank or Bunker as backup, can hold the line against a numberless horde of Zerg units indefinitely during the "Outbreak" campaign mission, to the point where even attacking during the Night phases of the mission, which provokes even larger hordes to spawn, cannot break the line.
      • One of the Terran upgrades gives all units with energy +100 max energy and +100 starting energy. Battlecruisers now spawn with Yamato Cannon fully charged, at max energy can fire two blasts without waiting, Banshees and Wraiths can go on cloaking missions right away, and Medics, Medivacs & Science Vessels can heal troops & vehicles for extended periods right out the door.

        Alternatively, if you're not going to use spell casters extensively and/or want a more Stone Wall army, then Regenerative Biosteel is helpful from a research-and-forget perspective as you can pull wounded vehicles or ships to the back of your death-ball army and they'll heal up over time. The true benefit of this Regenerating Health is your vehicles may be able to survive an extra hit and live to fight another day if they get pulled back in time as the regeneration works in combat. Vehicle durability is bumped up further with the health boost from Vanadium Plating.
      • Science Vessels. You have to give up the Raven to unlock it from the Laboratory terminal, but it's not really a hard decision — after all, what's the loss of micro-heavy shuttles suffering from AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle which rely on auto-turrets to fight for them when you can mass-produce shuttles which can repair mechanical units and structures using nano-technology as if they were medivacs healing marines, removing the cost of resources for repair work?
      • Reapers are hilariously broken against the Zerg, thanks to their very high mobility and high damage against small units and buildings. Using Reapers to out-Zerg Rush the Zerg is intensely satisfying. Oh yes, and one of their campaign-exclusive upgrades gives them a damage and range bonus.
      • Goliaths start out Overshadowed by Awesome when you first get them, only being useful for Anti-Air, which is still a niche use. However, their campaign upgrades not only boost the range of their Anti-Air attacks, but allow them to attack ground and air units at the same time. Combine this with boosts to their attack and armor from the Armory and a small army of goliaths can wade into mixed-unit enemy war-parties and usually come out on top, though especially if they have SCVs on hand to repair the damage. Once you unlock their mercenary counterparts, Spartan Company, there's little reason on lower difficulties not to just amass an army of goliaths and send them into the fray.
      • For a less obvious, yet still massive Game-Breaker, there's Tech Reactors. Combine the mass-production of reactors with the unlocks of Tech Labs in one addon. This lets you churn out 2 of any unit at a time, allowing you to mass-produce top-end units like Thors and Battlecruisers at the same rate as marines.

        While not as obviously powerful, once you realize the Sequence Breaking potential, the Orbital Strike opens ways to easily complete some missions. The most common usage is the first endgame mission on Char. Normally, it requires you to amass an army and steamroll your way to General Warfield's crash site, but if you insert Ghosts/Spectres through Orbital Strike (you always have vision of Warfield's camp), then you can drop a few Nukes on the Nydus Worms to end the mission once you're satisfied enough with completing optional goals. Another sequence-breaker is "Maw of the Void" due to one specific spot behind enemy lines where Protoss detection doesn't reach. You're expected to slowly push across the map with mass Battlecruisers, yet it's very possible to end the map a lot quicker by, once again, dropping some Ghosts/Spectres near the Xel'Naga vault, and destroying it with a couple Nukes. It's even helpful on the final mission "All In", letting you keep the Artifact well protected by rallying multiple Barracks onto the plateau, raining down reinforcements and providing a nice distraction for the Final Boss so they don't go after your more valuable Factory/Starport units.
      • As for mercenaries, the Siege Breakers. When compared to regular siege tanks, they have 33% more hp and 66% more damage. This translates to doing 100 damage per shot unupgraded. The only other mercenaries that come close to this level of improvement are the War Pigs, who are still a very limited number of Marines. They even come at a gas discount along with the mineral penalty compared to simply building regular siege tanks.
      • The Hive Mind Emulator can turn the dreaded air-version of the final mission of the campaign into an easy breeze by building enough of the structure around your base in order to take control of every Mutalisk and Brood Lord that the enemy sends towards ya.
      • Auto Refineries let you set-and-forget your gas mining operations, by eliminating the need for SCVs. Set up a few at remote sites to help with your gas deficiency easily, even without a Command Center present at said sites, albeit the computer opponent is more likely to hunt stray buildings on higher difficulties, but the extra gas may pay off. Financially, it is usually considered better than the Com. Center Reactor, since it saves on building extra workers, and you can use the extra supply for an even stronger army.
      • Maelstrom Rounds for Siege Tanks are ludicrous. Normally, the fully-upgraded damage they can deal in Siege Mode is 75 and this is against any target (just subtract target's armor points for the final damage value). However, Maelstrom Rounds add 40 additional damage against the primary target for up to 115 which turns Siege Tanks into slaughter machines. Because the extra damage only applies to the primary target, your troops won't suffer any additional damage and the existing friendly fire can be reduced by 75% with the Shaped Blast from the Hyperion Armory. Not only that, but Siege Breakers also benefit from the upgrade as if they weren't deadly enough already!
      • Counter-intuitively, the Planetary Fortress is better suited to being used as a huge wall with a BFG on top than a defense at your mineral fields. Place one of these steel castles at a contested choke point with some repairing workers, Missile Turrets and Siege Tanks, and you have an impressive bulwark. Artificial Stupidity means the enemy is way too over confident when attacking this setup. In multiplayer, its balanced just fine since players can exploit its slow firing and static nature.

        The alternative, Perdition Turrets are no slouch either and they burrow when inactive too. You can spam them at busy choke points and stall the enemy with annoying flame jets while Siege Tanks and Bunkers wail on what the turrets are less efficient against.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Brood Lords, period. They can spam broodlings while remaining outside of turret and goliath coverage. If you go into a mission where they're present, better amass a group of vikings as soon as you can- they're the only counter cheap enough to mass build on a short notice (and take out brood lords should the other player position the unit over terrains not reachable by land units).
    • The Scourges in the Lost Viking arcade game.
    • The Tal'darim to Raynor. In a couple of the artifact missions, the starting dialogue has the Tal'darim making flowery, over the top threats to Raynor, followed by Raynor being merely annoyed at having to fight them yet another time.
  • Goddamned Boss: No matter how many times you kill Maar, he will always come back (and each time stronger). He's fairly manageable in spite of this because a single High Templar can neuter him by burning all his energy, but it's still annoying to have to deal with him every few minutes.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • If you're having trouble deciding what to spend credits on in the Armory (because you're right—even if you get every research point and complete every mission in the game, you will not get enough credits to buy everything), then once you've gotten your protoss and zerg research maxed out, go redo any previous mission that gave you zerg or protoss research samples, and then check the research console in the lab. You'll gain extra monetary credit for the surplus samples you've collected so far, including the ones you've already cashed in. Fixed a few months after release as an Obvious Rule Patch, since the intent of limited credits was to force players to pick and choose on upgrades.
    • There's also one in "All In," the Nintendo Hard final mission. Every so often during the mission, Kerrigan will attack your base and is almost guaranteed to do terrible, terrible damage when she does. However, there is a glitch that sometimes occurs (still not sure how it's triggered) that results in her approaching the base halfway and then turning back. If this glitch is triggered she'll do this over and over again for the rest of the mission, thereby making it a lot easier. Other times (if the player chose to do the mission "Shatter the Sky" instead of "Belly of the Beast") Kerrigan will find herself trapped by two or more Nydus Worms and will remain trapped so long as the player refrains from using the artifact to sweep the board. The dark side is that which of the two paths to your base Kerrigan takes doesn't seem to be properly randomized.
    • In the protoss mini-campaign, it is possible for the endlessly-respawning hybrid (Maar) to attack once, then stand harmlessly outside the player's base doing nothing unless attacked. This frees the player to focus on freeing the prisoners in Maar's base without having to worry about protecting his/her own base—even on the highest difficulty level (glitch noted in January 2013).
      • In addition, it's possible to abuse Maar's teleport ability by getting him stuck behind world doodads if he jumps to a unit that is behind the doodad wall. Once he's trapped, he's forever stuck there unless you bring a unit close to Maar again.
    • In The Devil's Playground, there is a glitch with the brutalisk that gives the player twice as many research point than normal when the player kills it and doesn't already have any Zerg research points.
    • Patch 4.4 resulted in messing up the Ultra Capacitors upgrade for the Protoss Research where it increases 50% attack speed instead of the normal 5% for each attack upgrade. For a brief time before it was patched, players could steamroll through bases with a bio-ball that attacked at 150% faster speed instead of what's supposed to be a 15% increase at level 3.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Tosh at the end of "Breakout" dismisses the notion that overthrowing Mengsk would do any good stating there would be a "new Mengsk." His remark likely hits closer than he imagined by the Nova Covert Ops when the Defenders of Man attempt to overthrow Valerian, and they use the same trick Mengsk did to bring down the Confederacy by using Psi-emitters to cause Zerg invasions.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • As of the mid- to late-New Tens, many commenters on these Youtube clips have begun comparing the UNN broadcasts with the increased media bias of that decade and especially during the controversial 2016 Election where there were many suspicious "signal losses" while reporters and debaters were talking.
    • In the flavor text for the Siege Tank aboard the Hyperion, it lampshades the Tank's infamous tendency to cause friendly fire causing animosity among Marines. However, in the Meta Game for StarCraft I, Marines were rarely employed in the manner suggested precisely because it's wasteful to throw away units like this. Also Marines were too fragile to employ against any race beside the Zerg, and were usually ordered to huddle around the tanks because Tanks can use Anti-Air support and this largely keeps Marines out of the blast zones. If Marines are taking friendly fire anyway, then this attack force is probably over-run and done.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: In the ending cutscene, Tychus is ordered by Mengsk to kill the newly-deinfested Kerrigan. We all know it isn't going to work (particularly since he'd have to go through Raynor to do it), but besides that it would also make about half the campaign missions a complete waste of time. And, not to put too fine a point on it, give away the ending of the game as a whole...
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Just looking at This Wiki shows how popular General Warfield is, even though his one appearance in the story essentially amounts to getting his ass kicked, although in an admittedly stylish way.
    • Very strangely, the Terran MULE mining robot.
  • Memetic Molester: The censored-out-of-context Ghost that Kate is interviewing.
    Ghost: We expect to (Bleep) them... very soon.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Bros before hoes" and the reverse has been used to refer to siding with Tosh or Nova at the end of their mission chain. It also pops up due to the campaign ending where Raynor shoots Tychus to protect Kerrigan from him.
    • Tychus being designated Convict no. 626 in the Wings of Liberty cinematic has led to a lot of joking comparisons to Stitch.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • That guitar riff that plays whenever Swann announces a new unit for you, usually with a few free samples. For that matter, the "schwoom!" sound of getting a new Achievement.
    • The sound that plays whenever you complete a mission objective in the campaign or challenge modes, especially if it was in one of the harder levels.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • High Templar Karass; He has glowing orange eyes that no other protoss has, he has his own speech set even though he's never playable, his only role in the campaign is to lead a charge of Zealots through a Zerg barricade so that Zeratul can get the last piece of the Prophecy, and then pulls a Heroic Sacrifice by duelling with the Queen of Blades so that Zeratul can escape with the prophecy. He is seen in only one sixth of one mission in the campaign, but his actions may have saved the Universe.
    • Urun and Mohandar who make no other appearances in-game outside "In Utter Darkness." They are even absent when the Protoss campaign, Legacy of the Void, was finally released. Mohandar at least appeared in a short story leading up to Legacy. His death there is the reason why Vorazun is on the Twilight Council.
  • Padding: Much of the campaign, especially the missions between the Mar Sara introduction and the Char finale, could be classified as this.
    • Hanson's and Tosh's storylines come off feeling like Filler arcs, and nothing about Matt's rebellion arc starting up the Korhal revolts makes any real impact in the later expansion games. All of these missions could be cut out, and nothing would feel out of place. Hanson's mission in particular take a long time to complete by default.
    • Unlike Char's choice mission that was connected to how the final battle would play out, the two choice missions for the Hanson and Tosh arcs existed only to to add a couple what-if scenarios that didn't leave much impact on the later expansions. They were, for the most part, pointless. This is made worse by the fact that the stories' choices have no real teeth even within their own campaign. Regardless of which decision the player makes, the universe rewrites itself to be the "correct" one in a sort of reverse-But Thou Must!
      • Choose to trust Dr. Hanson? Turns out she was right, and a cure was possible. Side with Selendis instead? The cure fails, and you were right not to take Hanson at her word.
      • If you trust Tosh, it turns out he was on the level the whole time, and his biggest crime was being too cagey with his information. If you back out of the deal, suddenly he and his men are the unhinged maniacs Nova told you they were.
    • The Artifact search as a whole, which followed the same basic formula that rinse and repeated five times. 1) Go to a planet with an Artifact fragment. 2) Grab Artifact fragment from the enemy. 3) Leave planet with the Artifact fragment.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Between Duran, Raszagal, and that one short story about the zerg changelings, you'd be justified in going into the game suspecting everyone and anyone of being a sleeper agent for the Swarm. Just about the only people not worthy of freaking out over are Tychus because it's obvious who he's going to betray you to and Hanson. ...Oops.
  • Scrappy Level:
    • "Maw of the Void," which is a map that offers very little replay value after beating it the first time around with mass Battlecruisers. It becomes quite clear soon after that there is little that can endure the Rip-Field Generators besides Thors or Hercules Dropships. This can result in the same old stale experience every time this level comes around during a Wings of Liberty play-through. If you didn't opt for Regenerative Biosteel, then it's even more of drag since health regeration helps blunt the damage.
    • The Prophecy missions. Sure, you get to play as Protoss for a bit, but the levels are incredibly long, there's a very limited roster of units you can build, your Terran upgrades and Research give no benefit, and the music is austere and stale. The final level, "In Utter Darkness", is an extreme case, where the level lasts well over 30 minutes by default, and only ends when all of your units and structures are destroyed, which takes a long time.

      The self-contained nature of these missions also may encourage players to complete them consecutively due how fast they can level up both Research trees for the rest of the game.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • The Tal'darim are presented as fanatics attacking Raynor the moment he sets foot on their world. The game glosses over the fact, however, that Raynor is invading their colony worlds to steal artifacts of their faith, often desecrating sacred ground to do so, and sells those artifacts for money. Turns out the relics combine into a valuable Phlebotinum Bomb, but Raynor doesn't know at the time; he's initially Only in It for the Money to fund his Raiders.
    • Donny Vermilion may be a Dominion stooge (at least at first) but he presents a compelling argument when calling Raynor out for continuing his revolution during a massive Zerg invasion. Mengsk may be a brutal tyrant, but the Dominion military is the only Terran presence in the sector with the strength and leadership to oppose the Zerg; by constantly attacking their troops and inciting rebellion, Raynor is hindering their war effort against a genocidal foe.
    • He also doesn't get enough credit for cutting off Kate. While we're supposed to root for Kate for doing her job as a reporter right, the UNN is still the propaganda piece for Mengsk who will likely not tolerate dissenting views within the Dominion. Donnie have probably saved Kate multiple times by cutting her off before she can reveal too much.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: An almost note-for-note rendition of a common Firefly theme appears as Raynor stands victorious over Tychus after their bar-fight.
  • That One Achievement:
    • "Aces High". All In the final mission is made much more bearable by the fact that every so often you can just use a superweapon to take out all the zerg either attacking your base, or on the way to attack your base. Except that to get this award you need to beat it while only using that item once. Furthermore, it conflicts with the other achievement in this mission, "Burn and Turn", which requires killing 150 enemies with the Artifact, making it almost impossible to get both achievements in the same run. To make things more difficult, Patch 5.0 introduced the "Antiquitious Artifact" achievement where you have to finish All In without using the Artifact at all (although it's compensated by the fact the achievement can be completed in Normal difficulty).
    • The high-score achievements for the Lost Viking mini-game are this if the player is not familiar with its game genre.
  • That One Level:
    • In Utter Darkness. You must kill a certain number of enemies to win, and have bonus objectives that require defending a key building for 25 minutes. Not too bad on Normal, but the Difficulty Spike is more noticeable in this mission on Hard and Brutal; not only are your enemies much stronger as you would expect, but the number of kills for the main objective increases, effectively making the mission last longer. There's a gold expansion in the north-west that helps boost your income, but holding it until it's mined out can be a lot of busy work plus you need to reposition the observer parked east of it or the expansion will be attacked by the second attack wave. The developers even seem somewhat aware of its difficulty: it's the only mission where all three Achievements for it can be earned playing on Normal difficulty, every other mission has an Achievement that can only be eared on Hard.
    • All In pits you against waves of Zerg on two choke points, you have to defend the MacGuffin for the entirety of the mission, and you have to deal with regular attacks by either swarms of mutalisks or nydus worms. By far the worst part though is the Goddamned Boss that attacks every few minutes, and uses a One-Hit Kill ability and a Herd-Hitting Attack as spells in addition to a powerful normal attack. You can put four bunkers, three siege tanks and perdition turrets at a choke, and the boss will still break down the door. Once you chase it off for a few minutes, you then have to rebuild your defenses because the normal Zerg are still coming.
    • Special mention goes to Engine of Destruction which really pushes your limits (especially on higher difficulty) as to how fast you can manage up your base-building to have a large enough army that can protect/repair the Odin during its rampage around the map.
    • Another honorable mention is the higher difficulties for The Great Train Robbery, which offers the player very little time to build up a large enough army that can destroy each train that the Dominion sends out. It also doesn't help that resources are pretty limited on this map. The Marauder Kill Teams that patrol the map don't help either, as they have a good chance to bumping into your army while you're fighting a train escort, throwing your attack into disarray.
    • The higher difficulties for Welcome to the Jungle is said to cause some people a bit of trouble. One of the primary reasons being that the enemy Tal'darim faction will have a good portion of its entire Protoss tech-tree available to it despite the possibility of the player choosing to play this map quite early in the campaign. As a result, the player may end up with a major disadvantage having a shallow Terran tech-tree against almost the full-might of the Protoss. Another issue that makes this mission difficult for some people is the amount of stuff people have to pay attention to. At first, it's clearing out the map to reach the gas canister locations. Next, it's fighting through the map to reach the gas canister locations that the Tal'darim are trying to close off. Soon enough, it will be time to clear out the Tal'darim expansion so that the player can get their own second base. Oh wait, your base is now being attacked by the Tal'darim, but while that's going on, I need to protect the gas canisters I'm collecting since they're about to be hit by Tal'darim counterattacks trying to stop the gas from being stolen. Oh damn, I still need to grab the Protoss Research as well!
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Outside their 3-mission Filler Arcs, Tosh and Hanson serve no real purpose to the overall story. Even in the following sequels, they remain complete no-shows with the exception of a brief Tosh cameo in Heart of the Swarm if you chose to keep him alive. This is intentional because depending on the player's actions, the two may leave the Hyperion after their mission chains, so the developers didn't want to design missions and story around characters that may no longer be present. But surely something could have been done with them in the earlier missions when the player is unable to complete their chains yet.
    • Karass. It would have been interesting to see Zeratul having a buddy follow along on his journey rather than being a loner the whole time outside of his basic soldier followers. Plus, it's pretty much a general consensus that Karass had the most badass voice introduced amongst the Protoss during the Wings of Liberty days, yet because he only lives for a single mission, you never get to hear it again.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • It's hinted at (and blatantly obvious early on) that Tychus is being threatened by Mengsk into eventually betraying Raynor. When he finally does, it occurs during the last cutscene of the game and the only thing it changes is that Tychus is now dead.
      • With all the obvious hints going on throughout the game that something was amiss regarding Tychus, you'd think that Raynor, or even his crewmates that kept warning him that something was off, would take the necessary steps to make sure that this doesn't come back to bite them in the ass. Instead, they just let it all play out as if this wasn't a problem worth checking out.
    • Every mission except for the Tychus ones which involve the artifact pieces is optional, which means that any story impact they might have had on other missions, or the rest of the Starcraft II trilogy, is nil.
      • Finishing up Tosh's missions by siding with him have the Raiders bust open New Folsom Prison, releasing tons of political dissidents who were jailed for speaking against Mengsk. On top of that, Tosh and his band of Spectres join Raynor permanently to help destroy Mengsk. Aside from giving Spectres as a new unit, neither of these plot points comes up again. A real wasted potential considering a later Horner mission involves the Raiders infiltrating Korhal to strike a powerful victory against Mengsk, a plotline that Tosh and his crew fit into perfectly.note 
      • Completing Horner's missions causes citizen uprisings against Mengsk and ruins his media reputation. Come Heart of the Swarm Mengsk is still secure in his power and no fallout or consequences from the Horner missions has had any long-term impact.
      • Additionally, the end of the game has Valerian team up with Raynor to de-infest Kerrigan as what is essentially a publicity stunt to prove he can be a better Emperor than Arcturus. This turns out to be a "Shaggy Dog" Story: according to the interquel novel Flashpoint, Arcturus stamps out Valerian's half of the Dominion fleet with his own half, so come Heart of the Swarm Valerian spends the entire campaign in hiding on the Hyperion and Kerrigan invades Korhal and kills Arcturus, so Valerian's reputation is a moot point.
      • The Zeratul missions reveal to Raynor that if Kerrigan dies it will mean the end of the universe. The final missions have everyone angry at Raynor that he sold them out to the Dominion and led them to a suicide mission on Char just to "get his girlfriend back". Except if the player has done the Zeratul missions, they know Raynor has a very good reason to give up his goal of killing Kerrigan, that no one, not even Raynor himself, brings up.
    • When the developers discussed content that was axed from the campaign, one of the possible story-lines included a "crew mutiny" plot where some of Raynor's crew members aboard the Hyperion turn on him due to being underpaid, and have had enough of working under harsh conditions. Some remnants of this storyline still exists in the officially released game, such as Tosh's Redstone mission being what would have provided the funds for Raynor's disgruntled crewmates, or Milo Kachinsky suddenly going off on a rant about Raynor selling them out to the Dominion so that he can team up with Valerian Mengsk. If the plot was implemented further, it would have been the perfect opportunity to provide some much needed character depth for those working under Raynor's Raiders, as well as explain why people would continue to follow Raynor when it's quite clear to the player that the war against the Dominion has taken a toll on him.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • The Wraith in the campaign has a steep cost of 150/150 minerals and gas respectively, but has lackluster performance for its intended role of countering armored air units. Their air-to-ground laser is also very weak. The Viking (costs 150/75) has much better air-to-air missiles, while the Banshee (costs 150/100) has superior air-to-ground missiles. Their main redeeming quality is their Cloaking Device, so they can theoretically tag along with Banshees for anti-air support.
    • The Predator is a beginner's trap on the Zerg Research tree, supposedly offering anti-infantry support. However, their cost is an iffy 100/100, and their niche role can be handled fine with Hellions &/or Firebats, and Perdition Turrets if you opted to research them.
    • The Diamondback is supposedly handy when you need to fire at targets while on the move, but they also cost a hefty 150/150 and their anti-armor role can be replaced Siege Tanks (if unlocked), even on their mission where they're introduced.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Mira Han. That larger red right eye of her's alone makes her into Nightmare Fuel, inspite of her amusing personality.
    • Portraits in conversations are advanced anough to look angry, sad, etc. However, they have an annoying tendency to "reset" to the default face for just a second after they finish their lines, leading to it looking like a bunch of robots simulating emotion.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • Downplayed in regards to the mercenary unit feature. You can hire mercenary versions of the units most likely to be used regularly and there is a good selection, but it was an opportunity to have even more guns-for-hire like independent Reapers, Ghosts/Spectres, Wraiths, and so on.
    • The ability to have support from the Hyperion, even if Raynor's protecting a mission-critical asset. It's odd that the Hyperion doesn't have risk-free actions like proving "Scanner Sweep" like an Orbital Command (they're in orbit!), or deploying limited reinforcements from the hangar. The Hyperion does arrive to save the day in the mission "Zero Hour", but never shows up like that again, even in lower-risk missions where the chances of losing the Hyperion are much lower.
  • The Un-Twist: Tychus is working for Arcturus and betrays Raynor. The hints begin as soon as you start the campaign, with Tychus being suited up as Arcturus monologues that his freedom will come with a cost, and his sealed combat suit will be his new prison cell. The other hints that he's up to something behind Raynor's back are very obvious and fairly frequent, and Tosh, who is psychic, warns Raynor that he's conflicted and not to trust him. They seem so obvious that you may think this is all a Red Herring, but it isn't.


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