On November the 10th, StarCraft II fans worldwide will finally get their hands on the last part of the sci-fi RTS trilogy – Legacy of the Void. Apart from the single player campaign, brutal multiplayer, and Archon Mode, the final expansion is also shipping with brand new mode called Co-Op Missions. I got to try give it a bash at BlizzCon 2015, and it proved to be just as fun as I hoped it would be.
To bring you up to speed quickly: Co-Op Missions is exactly what the name implies – two teamies join forces to take on missions styled after those found in the main StarCraft II campaign. The twist however, is that players can choose to play as 1 of 6 commanders, and each plays differently to the others.
These commanders are iconic characters from the franchise, and include the likes of Raynor, Kerrigan, Artanis, Swann, Zagara, and Vorazun. They won’t be the only playable characters either – Blizzard plan on expanding this part of Legacy of the Void. For example, they’ve already announced that Karax will be joining the roster sometime in 2016.
Anyways, back to BlizzCon 2015. I sat at a station, and read up on some of the abilities while I waited for a partner to join me. Each character only has access to a specific set of units and buildings . They also have access to five abilities/perks/buffs from the get go. As games are played, experience is earned, and new skills are unlocked. There are 15 in total, and are varied to a certain degree.
Raynor for example, has a focus on infantry units. Choosing him allows a player to build the traditional marines, marauders, and medics combination. All infantry units train 20% faster, and barracks are built in 50% of their usual time. Swann on the other hand, is more focused on vehicles. His vehicles build 20% faster too, and his factories have no vespene cost when building them.
That’s just a general way to seperate the two commanders. They each also have their own unique abilities, which I would’ve loved to read up more on, except a random person sat next to me and asked if I was ready to play.
The first thought I had was that I was way out of my depth. Having not played StarCraft II properly since Heart of the Swarm way back when (and a few games during the Legacy of the Void beta), my fingers were sluggish on the keyboard. My neighbour, meanwhile, could be heard slapping keys at the speed of light. He sounded like he knew exactly what he was doing, and I was surely going to let him down.
And then I remembered that Blizzard had thought of this scenario, and had an answer to it too. The whole point of a new mode like co-op missions is that it’s meant to make StarCraft II more accessible to everybody. Even though I had chosen normal difficulty, and my new friend had chosen the hardest (by the sound of it), this would all be taken into account, and the game would be balanced accordingly.
Based on how the game went, I’d say the balancing was quite fair. Having chosen Zagara, I was playing Zerg, and due to my slowness, and the fact that Zerg require some pretty intense micro, I was essentially doing nothing useful for the first few minutes. My partner, thankfully, seemed to be holding his own without me. He had chosen Swann, who just so happens to come equipped with a giant laser to help mow down the mobs of enemies.
Zagara meanwhile, has all the abilities you’d expect her to have. By default, she comes equipped with the potential to spawn banelings, hunter killers, and even roaches – though for a limited time. Spawning roaches reminded me very much of an ultimate ability from a MOBA. When I used it, Zagara rained down hell from the heavens – pods filled with those armoured critters. It did a lot of damage, but also had a long cooldown. It was something I saved for the most dire of situations.
Zagara’s other talents included an activated spell which improved the attack speed of all zerg units on the map, and a unique building that only she could build, which had the ability to attack both ground and air. Seeing as this particular map required my friend and I to push out and destroy objectives, I hardly used the latter.
Despite our best efforts, we ended up not fulfilling the map’s objectives before the timer ran out. I expected my friend to turn to me and politely tell me that I was literally the worst StarCraft II player in existence. Instead, he laughed and told me we tried our best. Truth be told, even though I don’t think I did too much myself, I had an absolute blast, and judging by his reaction, he did too.
Granted, this was a friendly environment, and people online may not be as forgiving, but I tell you what – playing co-op missions with mates is going to be an absolute blast! It’s not too far off either. Legacy of the Void will be out in a measly three days time, and I’m more excited than I’ve ever been to dive back into Blizzard’s RTS.
Last Updated: November 7, 2015