Starcraft II Catch-All

Okay, I finally "finished" the campaign, but I'm confused and a little pissed off.

The post-campaign Mission Select screen says MISSIONS COMPLETED: 25/26

When I count the number of missions in the list, there are 28. And I read here that there is a "hidden mission" somewhere.

What is this BS? I just want to play the single player game I paid for. I don't want to go on some goddamn easter egg hunt to find the missing missions. I went to the StarCraft II Wiki at wikia.com, and it didn't have a complete list of missions, I went to the IGN Strategy guide, and it didn't have a complete list of missions. WTF?

Can someone please point me at a complete list of missions so that I can finish this goddamn game?

EDIT:

Nevermind, I found a complete list of missions. Google was singularly unhelpful, since the first thing that showed up on most of my searches was a bunch of prerelease partial mission lists.

I was able to figure out from that what I was missing, and find the hoops I had to jump through to unlock the secret mission.

Can you tell I'm not a big fan of secret missions? I'm doubly frustrated because it took me two weeks to slog through this game and it wasn't much fun for me until the last few missions. I'm trying to see what everyone loves in this game, but I'm really not seeing it.

BadKen:

It's not so bad as all that. You're missing a secret mission that's triggered by

Spoiler:

destroying a certain building in the Media Blitz mission the first time you play it in a campaign.

It's not really that big a deal. You're not missing much. There won't be another mission with more plot points after the ending one.

You do realize that Brood War had a secret mission as well, right?

The saddest thing about making the secret mission a secret is that it is a pretty nice mission. People shouldn't miss it.
There have been secret missions in a lot of RTS campaigns though. Like Warcraft 3, most C&C games, apparently Brood Wars.

Man, that last level on Brutal is kicking my butt. Anyone have tips? I took out air, so I'm fighting Nydus Worms.

I have a decent save at 77%, but the last 20% just destroys me. Should I just pull back to the artifact hill?

BadKen wrote:

Can someone please point me at a complete list of missions so that I can finish this goddamn game?

You did finish the game. Doing the rest of the missions or the secret mission is completely optional.

Yeah, and Diablo had a secret cow level. That doesn't mean I gotta like 'em.

Actually I think I have more of a problem with SC2 because of the copious record keeping. It tracks all these stats, and all these achievements, but there's no road map of how to complete them or even what they all are. If you miss something, it doesn't tell you, you just miss out.

Maybe I just hate achievements.

I think my reaction is partly colored by my reaction to the game as a whole. I'm not happy with it. The gameplay is too fiddly. It feels like something is missing. The writing is awful. At least the voice acting is decent, but the lines they're given... ick. I don't really care about anything that's going on in the campaign (contrast with Dawn of War or Company of Heroes campaigns).

The static between-mission areas seem rushed or incomplete somehow. The canned interactions between characters are wooden and poorly animated. It reminds me of 1980's era cartoons that were nothing more than merchandising vehicles for cheap plastic toys. Static backgrounds, maybe with a couple of animated bits, unnatural character motions... it's almost as if they're standing still with their jaws flapping. It's not quite that bad, but it's close.

About the only thing I really appreciate in the game is the mission design. There's some real variety and interesting goals within each mission. I'm just not very fond of all the fiddling you have to do to achieve those goals, and when the mission is over, I have the oddly unreal Canteen and Bridge to look forward to.

Given my general dissatisfaction with the game, I guess I'm just easily frustrated by what might otherwise be minor annoyances. Like secret cow levels.

BadKen wrote:

The static between-mission areas seem rushed or incomplete somehow. The canned interactions between characters are wooden and poorly animated. It reminds me of 1980's era cartoons that were nothing more than merchandising vehicles for cheap plastic toys. Static backgrounds, maybe with a couple of animated bits, unnatural character motions... it's almost as if they're standing still with their jaws flapping. It's not quite that bad, but it's close.

Out of curiosity, what settings are you at, graphically? I played through the campaign on Ultra settings with my 3 year old system, and the in-between mission animation quality is about as good as ME2's. It actually looks better at those settings than most of the Unreal 3 games, which is quite a feat, considering that the engine is probably optimized for a camera 500 feet in the air, pointing down.

scribble wrote:

Man, that last level on Brutal is kicking my butt. Anyone have tips? I took out air, so I'm fighting Nydus Worms.

I have a decent save at 77%, but the last 20% just destroys me. Should I just pull back to the artifact hill?

Just finished this the other day.

At each side, where your tanks start, I had three bunkers, one facing the path towards the top of the map, one facing the path towards the side of the map, and one inbetween. Behind them I put tanks. Lots of tanks. I think I ended up with six or so on the ground on each side. On the artifact ridge, on the cliffs overlooking the paths to the top of the map, I put another two or so tanks on each side.

I don't know what your research path looked like, but I had two Psi Disruptors on each side, one down just behind the bunkers and another one up on the cliff near the tanks. This generally sufficed to slow everything so that the tanks have a chance to beat them down before they can cause too much damage. A Tech Reactor on the Factory and Starport helps crank out units faster without having to worry about making another building.

Aside from Tanks, and Marines to fill the bunkers, and SCVs to keep repairing things despite always getting targetted and killed, I concentrated on making Banshees, to kill Nydus Worms, and Battlecruisers, to Yamato the heck out of any level 12 Psionic Threats that might appear. Do not be afraid to use the Artifact when you get into trouble! Good times to use it are when the Overlord Swarm comes and attacks you, because since you're dealing with Worms your air defense will be a bit lacking, and if one side of your defenses is getting destroyed and you need some breathing room to build it back up.

scribble wrote:

Man, that last level on Brutal is kicking my butt. Anyone have tips? I took out air, so I'm fighting Nydus Worms.

I have a decent save at 77%, but the last 20% just destroys me. Should I just pull back to the artifact hill?

Banshees, tons and tons of banshees. Since you don't have to worry about air and the only real anti-air they have are some hydralisks your banshees can run roughshod over the zerg.

cube wrote:

Out of curiosity, what settings are you at, graphically? I played through the campaign on Ultra settings with my 3 year old system, and the in-between mission animation quality is about as good as ME2's. It actually looks better at those settings than most of the Unreal 3 games, which is quite a feat, considering that the engine is probably optimized for a camera 500 feet in the air, pointing down.

I'm at 1920x1080 Ultra, with reasonable framerates. My beef isn't with the way things look or the graphical detail. Everything is very pretty standing still. To me most of the animation just seems unnatural--much worse than Mass Effect 2. The facial animation in particular looks off somehow. Everybody has botox face. The body animations are stiff, too. Some of the idle body animations in WoW look better than the way the bodies move in SC2.

Is it really the same engine rendering the static scenes? That might explain the lack of subtle motion, but it still looks... off.

cube wrote:
BadKen wrote:

The static between-mission areas seem rushed or incomplete somehow. The canned interactions between characters are wooden and poorly animated. It reminds me of 1980's era cartoons that were nothing more than merchandising vehicles for cheap plastic toys. Static backgrounds, maybe with a couple of animated bits, unnatural character motions... it's almost as if they're standing still with their jaws flapping. It's not quite that bad, but it's close.

Out of curiosity, what settings are you at, graphically? I played through the campaign on Ultra settings with my 3 year old system, and the in-between mission animation quality is about as good as ME2's. It actually looks better at those settings than most of the Unreal 3 games, which is quite a feat, considering that the engine is probably optimized for a camera 500 feet in the air, pointing down.

Yeah, that surprises me a bit. I replayed the end of ME2 this weekend and I thought the animations looked significantly jankier than SC2. And I run everything on Medium.

Last mission for nydus worms isn't that bad. The key is to have a lot of siege tanks. Have a line of bunkers with a line of flame turrets in front. Add a couple psi disruptors too. I had 6 bunkers on each side and I tended to lose 1 or 2 whenever the boss arrived. 3 marauders spread between the front 3, the rest of the bunker slots were marines and a single medic. Having a medic in each bunker is very important because it allows you to spam stim packs. Behind that, tanks. I had 6 on each side, I could have used more. The rest of my strategy was just banshee spam. Keep them by the artifact until the nydus worms pop up. Have them dice up any worms that spawn in your base that the tanks can't reach. Then send them out to destroy the other worms.

I never used any battlecruisers. The boss would instakill them and the expense seemed like a waste when I could just make more banshees. To counter air attacks I ringed my entire base with a solid wall of missile turrets. Costly, but once I hit the unit cap I was swimming in minerals anyway.

I've got Planetary Fortresses, and so far, I've been using them in my wall off at each entrance. It's easier than filling up bunkers every time Kerrigan comes, but it's also a pain to rebuild. I was keeping backup CCs around my base, so I could just lift off and morph them, but even that takes too long near the end.

One person said to just use two Planetaries at each entrance, with lots of tanks to back them up and a gap between them for a big medic/marine kill squad to fit through. They'd use the MM ball to kill Kerrigan before she made it to the Planetaries.

Did you do it on Brutal, Tamren?

scribble wrote:

Man, that last level on Brutal is kicking my butt. Anyone have tips? I took out air, so I'm fighting Nydus Worms.

I have a decent save at 77%, but the last 20% just destroys me. Should I just pull back to the artifact hill?

You want 3 factories and 2 barracks (assuming you have the TechLab/Reactor research). Build a ton of tanks from the factories and you want a total of about 40 marines/medics from the barracks. Upgrade both the infantry and ground vehicle weapons and then armor. Move ALL of your tanks to just south east of the hill that has the artifact on it. Siege up all your tanks. This will allow them to hit all the units that try to make it up the hill to the artifact. If you have PSI Disruptors, put them up to slow the Zerg. Keep a couple SCVs around the tank to auto repair when needed. Keep your marines and medics by your command center. When Kerrigan shows up, trigger the artifact just before she reaches you tanks and have your marines and medics ready to attack her. Make sure it's far enough away from your tanks that she won't attack them. They will take her out extremely quickly. Rinse and repeat for the entire map.

Here is the strategy in video format.

BadKen wrote:

The facial animation in particular looks off somehow. Everybody has botox face.

How is that any different from most other games. So many end up just having that platic/putty look and it's always bugged me.

I can tell what you mean now by botox faces, but it didn't bother me at all. The look of the characters is very stylized so that covers it up a bit. But some characters suffer it worse that others, Stettmann and Mira for instance.

Gotta love the little details though. Like how Stettmann cut himself shaving. Or that his "rank" in-game is PhD.

Wow, OK, I might just switch to my Hard campaign where I picked flame turrets so I can follow that video.

scribble wrote:

Wow, OK, I might just switch to my Hard campaign where I picked flame turrets so I can follow that video.

You don't need flame turrets to be able to get through it. I was able to do it without flame turrets. I just built bunkers with turrets on them when I had extra cash.

BadKen wrote:

Maybe I just hate achievements.

Pistols at dawn, sirrah.

IMAGE(http://achievements.schrankmonster.de/Achievement.aspx?text=Challenge%20someone%20to%20a%20duel)

Last time I did it was on hard. When I did it the first time I was on normal diff but that was against air attack. This time I picked ground and I'm going to do it on brutal difficulty. I'm still quite a few missions away though.

I found that giving kerrigan a lot of little units to munch on was important. Large targets get psi-blasted. So bunkers filled with infantry were more effective that say, battlecruisers. You must space the siege tanks far out of reach to protect them. I arranged things so that the bunkers had a disposable line of flame turrets out front. The siege tanks were set up to hit the enemy as soon as they got into melee with these turrets. I would just replace them after each wave, queueing up work with multiple SCVs. Repairing just took too long. Combined with the marauder slow and the psi towers, this generally kept the bunkers safe.

I kept one medivac at each bunker line. This was to heal the SCVs that would repair after each wave. But also if it looked like one of the bunkers was going to fall I moved the medivac in and scooped up the infantry as soon as the bunker popped.

EDIT: Like Tkyl says the other good tactic is to just bunker down on top of the hill. I might try that if my strategy doesn't work the second time. Bunkers might get a little micro heavy. But I always get afraid that the zerg will turn past the hill and run all over my base >_>

BadKen wrote:

The writing is awful. At least the voice acting is decent, but the lines they're given... ick. I don't really care about anything that's going on in the campaign (contrast with Dawn of War or Company of Heroes campaigns).

Uh, I'm sorry, but isn't Dawn of War the franchise that is literally just about Space Marines fighting aliens? I thought even Gears of War had better writing than Dawn of War 2. Also from what I remember of Company of Heroes the exposition was very minimal there and it's only interesting because it's based on history.

Sure the writing in Starcraft 2 is pure cheeseball as well, and I can see why people don't like it, but I find there's enough humor and emotion there to actually start caring about the space marines fighting aliens.

Tamren wrote:

I can tell what you mean now by botox faces, but it didn't bother me at all. The look of the characters is very stylized so that covers it up a bit. But some characters suffer it worse that others, Stettmann and Mira for instance.

Gotta love the little details though. Like how Stettmann cut himself shaving. Or that his "rank" in-game is PhD. :P

I feel the same way. I actually like Tychus the most, maybe because he's the most over-the-top character of them all. Sadly, I am not feeling Raynor at all. Not even sure if it's because of his anti-hero appeal or him just being the most boring protagonist ever.

Luggage wrote:

or him just being the most boring protagonist ever.

It's this one.

However, I still enjoyed the story (bad writing and all) because Blizzard is just so good at creating interesting and detailed worlds. I really liked the DoWII campaign (because the gameplay was a blast), but I can't fathom how anyone could find that story and presentation more interesting than SC2.

Dyni wrote:

I really liked the DoWII campaign (because the gameplay was a blast), but I can't fathom how anyone could find that story and presentation more interesting than SC2.

Okay, let's not get hung up on the Dawn of War II campaign... I was actually referring to the original Dawn of War, which I thought had a very interesting story, told via interesting in-game scenes and gameplay. I also mentioned Company of Heroes, but what makes its story interesting is more presentation than narrative.

At any rate, I've found myself enjoying the game more when I focus on the stuff I do like, namely the mission design. Trying to do the achievements lets me focus on the flow of the maps and ignore the flow of the story.

I really, really want to love this game, but I'm just not getting that game of the decade feeling that a lot of people seem to have.

BadKen wrote:

Okay, let's not get hung up on the Dawn of War II campaign... I was actually referring to the original Dawn of War, which I thought had a very interesting story, told via interesting in-game scenes and gameplay. I also mentioned Company of Heroes, but what makes its story interesting is more presentation than narrative.

At any rate, I've found myself enjoying the game more when I focus on the stuff I do like, namely the mission design. Trying to do the achievements lets me focus on the flow of the maps and ignore the flow of the story.

I really, really want to love this game, but I'm just not getting that game of the decade feeling that a lot of people seem to have.

My mistake. I liked the original DoW story quite a bit as well. It seems you haven't been impressed by the millions of dollars Blizzard has thrown at the presentation of this game, which is certainly fair. If that stuff doesn't tickle your fancy, then you are left with the bare bones writing and story, which certainly aren't anything spectacular.

Didn't you like the mercenary, upgrade, and research options between the missions? I thought these aspects were done well enough to offer something interesting to those turned off by the bad writing, and they were seamlessly integrated into the mission structure and achievement systems.

Dyni wrote:

Didn't you like the mercenary, upgrade, and research options between the missions? I thought these aspects were done well enough to offer something interesting to those turned off by the bad writing, and they were seamlessly integrated into the mission structure and achievement systems.

Yes, actually the stuff added just for the campaign was nice. I especially liked that mercenary units actually used different skins and models, and I also liked that they did NOT have extra abilities. I think maybe there are actually too many choices between mercenaries, armory upgrades and research upgrades. I didn't really feel the impact of many of the upgrades I chose. I generally stuck to upgrades I was familiar with from beta gameplay. I did get a lot of use from the merc units I chose, though, because they gave me souped up versions of my favorite units. The tech upgrades seemed more generally useful.

A problem I have with the upgrades is that many of the upgrades add micromanagement to an already micro-heavy game. Out of the box it's already a bit too clicky for me. Adding more abilities I need to activate just makes it harder for me to make the most of my units. Armory and research do include several very useful passive upgrades, so I gravitated toward those.

It's hard to fault a game for having too many options, especially when they might make the game more replayable. Some of the choices in the Wings of Liberty campaign are interesting enough to revisit, some are just minor tweaks to minor units. Of course, one person's minor unit may be another person's favorite, so more options might mean broader appeal.

BadKen wrote:

I really, really want to love this game, but I'm just not getting that game of the decade feeling that a lot of people seem to have.

I think some games just aren't meant to be. It seems that you have a healthy set of valid criticisms of the game, and there's nothing wrong with that. My thinking is that there are plenty of fun games out there, so if I come across one that rubs me in the wrong way after giving it a fair shot, then its usually best to just move on rather than try to force it.

Assuming you still want to try to appreciate/see why others appreciate SC2, have you tried multiplayer or skirmishes against the AI? Seems like they might be right up your alley if the story and external trappings of the campaign are irking you.

And now for something completely different...

At the University of Florida, StarCraft is an honors course.

"My problem solving skills in StarCraft are the same problem solving skills learned in school or the real world," declares Nate Poling, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida and the instructor behind EME2040: 21st Century Skills in StarCraft.
BadKen wrote:

And now for something completely different...

At the University of Florida, StarCraft is an honors course.

"My problem solving skills in StarCraft are the same problem solving skills learned in school or the real world," declares Nate Poling, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida and the instructor behind EME2040: 21st Century Skills in StarCraft.

UC Berkeley had a similar program in 2009. A part of the lectures can be found online.