What if we just...weren't mean about it? I've got my share of qualms about the storytelling in SC2 to date, but beyond some catharsis, being mean doesn't really help anything, and is a sure fire way not to be taken seriously, especially by Blizzard.
While we could be lenient on Wings of Liberty, after all, it was all new and we felt at least Blizzard was attempting something and we had to account all new faces which didn't even play Brood War, Heart of the Swarm just can't be forgiven for a too high number of reasons. The campaign, at least, as multiplayer and UI changes were virtually fine. Just so to prove, here's a small list of critical things wrong with HotS campaign.
- The story run, meant to give a 'girl power' Kerrigan, all the time, only made her a schizophrenic psychopathic and, as someone on Gamespot once noted, 'too vengeful', when non-infested Kerrigan had great empathy and compassion, being not only shown in vanilla SC, but also the 'Uprising' novel. It focused too much on the mythic element of the Queen of Blades, greatly dehumanizing her to the point she does non-sense like sparing Dominion soldiers even she deliberately massacred a whole garrison, as well as sending a Protoss as a time-bomb.
- There was a lack of Shakuras Protoss response to the Kaldir arc. Not even a small force was sent to investigate and thus warn them. The Kaldir arc itself ends up as a loose end.
- Zeratul appears and vanishes and his presence isn't noteworthy. It was like if that was only done because it was mandatory. As well as informing on the Hybrids, which was forcefully done through Stukov when it could've been more organic.
- The entire Raynor/Kerrigan romance arc got in the way and wasn't even well developed - Since when you first dump her because she's back as a monster and then, right at the next arc, you see him fighting alongside you against Mengsk? Also, as IskatuMesk pointed out, she fell to the oldest trick in the book, which could've been fixed if she was in line with him and he heard him scream, which I did in my Fanfic. It isn't this much, but the power of suggestion makes it much more stronger than what we were offered when the Umoja arc ended.
- Kerrigan goes on her own to the Zerg, for vengeance reasons, when this could've been an out-of-option thing and Kerrigan realizes, with time, she can work with the Zerg. While vengeance is valid, I'd like to believe she'd try to resist using Zerg and try fighting with the Raiders for a bit. But that'd delay the ridiculous 27-mission limit as well as make it linear, which I think wouldn't hurt that much. Really, who's that excited about going where ever we want in the Koprulu Sector again.
- The whole Zerus arc was a waste - When it could've been heavily story-related and Kerrigan could be re-infested, though not by option, instead we have a safari run, a Deus Ex Machina Zerg species which isn't even that elaborated and feels shoehorned, and any mythos we could explore on the Xel'Naga, how she'd find out about Amon and the Zerg connection, is merely non-existant. The whole arc is nothing more but an excuse to get her old QoB look, but with purple glitter, now, and introduce WoW Zerg in the form of Dehaka.
- Mengsk does very little besides capturing Raynor and making weapons so out-of-place just to justify us needing Primal Zerg. The defenses fall too easily, Mengsk doesn't have any tricks up his sleeve but the Skygeirr lab and his shouting around and bossing just nullifies everything we learned of him on SC vanilla. The same is true of Narud, whom doesn't even run and tries fighting her in a non-sense beam fight.
- Stukov was shoehorned out of nowhere and with no explanation, only depending on a separate StarCraft map which wasn't even canon to begin with.
- Characters just weren't this well developed or interesting beyond their look, and old ones suffer as well, like Valerian, whom is too supportive of killing his own father, when he could resist until evidence was presented to him that he was unredeemable.
ON MISSIONS' GAMEPLAY:
- The missions are merely a re-skin of WoL missions all over again. While different ideas could've been explored as Zerg, instead we were left with glorified tug-of-wars, boss fights, stop-those-units and 'kill that structure'. Even the said 'newer' missions, like Za'gara's egg poaching, ultimately fall into this category.
- The gameplay Kerrigan was just too unbalanced, making it the 'Arkham Knight Batmobile' before Arkham Knight was ever announced - If you used it, it was a cheesy play, if you didn't, it was just too difficult. And many of the powers aren't as different or appealing as the usual MOBA abilities you'd see in LoL.
- The Warfield Fortress mission was just so ridiculously undefended a force of Zerglings could run wild and crush half the defenses. A force of Zerglings.
- The Hybrids, which could've been interesting, say, being first invulnerable to normal attacks until the Zerg could adapt something to counter them, are reduced to High Templar which can clone and split in half, and don't even present that a threat we were led to believe in WoL's Zeratul arc. There's not even variations beyond the two models from HotS.
- The evolution missions alone COULD discard the whole Primal Zerg thing, as the alternative proves Kerrigan wouldn't even need them, at all, but instead are left as a side feature so we can get units with different cosmetic and unique traits. And some old iconic references like the Hunter-Killer and Kukulza were left aside, as well as old units like the Devourer, Defiler, Guardian and BW Queen.
- There's just no AI or B&D missions, at all, all relying on gimmicks just so we can get the mission going. Even the Kaldir Shuttle thing, that could be as non-intrusive as the Tosh jungle mission (Meaning you could proceed any time you wanted), feels forced into a time schedule just so we won't try and play some vintage B&D mission. The only exception would be the final one, but the damage was just so done it didn't matter, anymore.
Well, with all that listed, if by being mean you mean using curse words, being too negative and stuff, I agree with you. You must also point out that there's some positive stuff, as well as you must bring evidence of the bad stuff and you must explain it well, though without spoiling it too much, like I did with EivindL's campaign. And even if I spoiled a bit, at least I warned but I was also as vague as possible on the details, I just warned 'There's that cliche used, like a character you think was dead is now back' and 'That thing you saw on a TV show? Well they repeat it, here'.
And even then, Blizzard wouldn't take it seriously, but could if it's fan-base was more united and vocal, beyond wishing for more zany stuff, references and new game modes. If it was more serious about a good story, good character development and good gameplay to accompany it, they would listen, which demonstrates in LotV's gameplay bits.
But the problem is that, while many companies and industries are trying to evolve and adapt with the times, HotS demonstrates how much Blizzard is disinterested in evolving and upping it's game, while it's old audience is growing up. But HotS at least delivered a better Arcade and online additions, as well as new balanced units being offset now by LotV and new Terrain and doodad variations which aren't so bad. My greatest grudge is as how the campaign played out, because there's virtually nothing salvageable in gameplay or lore, at all.
Even Diablo III, which wasn't this much, at least offered new things with it's story, like betrayal, manipulation, ignorance of 'good' forces. The final Act is cliched, but at least it was in a WoL level.
For HotS, well... In my fanfic I shamelessly shoved in a 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' quote, but the more and more I look at it, I realize the story is virtually 'X-Men Origins' in StarCraft, the only thing missing is a sewed-shut Deadpool!
Well, for all I know, even old campaigns like LotC and VotF in the past used video-game/movies/anime soundtracks and there was never much lawsuit, so I wouldn't expect much of a reaction from official people. But, for courtesy (and if we want to research), it's nice to credit the music used by it's name, the source and the author. Something like this (For example purposes): Boss Battle Music - The Kyln Escape - Tyler Bates, Guardians of the Galaxy OST
Royalty Free music is the way to go. In the old LotC, please remember that I was given a cease and desist by Blizzard (when Havas owned it) because I advertised LotC as a 'campaign' instead of a 'mod' and they felt that would confuse players into thinking it was a Blizzard produced product. They also didn't like that I had a Paypal link for donations. In the end they let me keep the 'campaign' designation but I had to dump the paypal thing. I bring this up only to illustrate that these single player campaigns do get attention from those you may not think give a crap. I imagine that could include the music industry.
The fact that these single player custom campaigns are released with $0 profit for the mapmaker offers some protection and reduces the likelihood of a true law suit since there's no profit involved. At most they'd probably do a cease and desist and say 'remove this music.' But, there's always a risk they'll use you as an example. So, to be on the safe side, if you can use royalty free music, use that. Just read the terms of the license to make sure it's open-ended for non-profit ventures.
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-Single Player Campaign Author and Map Maker for StarCraft II