5 Facts About StarCraft

  • StarCraft was initially meant to be a Warhammer 40K game. However, due to licensing issues, the game had to be remade into a unique intellectual property.
  • The game was initially ridiculed as “WarCraft in space” when it first debuted.
  • The South Korean Air Force has turned many Top Gun soldiers into professional StarCraft players.
  • StarCraft was almost a game about Space Vampires, but the idea was scrapped for the story that we have today.
  • Sarah Kerrigan is named after Nancy Kerrigan, an Olympic figure skater. The leg of the latter was broken by her rival, Tonya Harding’s husband preceding a significant competition.

What Is StarCraft?

front cover of Starcraft Game
The game was first released on March 31, 1998, for Windows and Mac version a year later.

StarCraft is a real-time strategy game aimed at amassing an army using the natural resources available on the map and defeating your opponents’ armies.

The game’s mechanics are based on the typical real-time strategy game systems used by games like Age of Empires, Warcraft, and other army management games. Players are given a base with minerals and Vespene Gas that they collect using worker units. These resources will then be spent on army units they will use to face off their enemy.

Quick Facts

Creator (person)
Chris Metzen, James Phinney
Release Date
31/03/1998
Original Price
N/A
Units sold
11000000
Operating System
Microsoft Windows
Developed By (company)
Blizzard Entertainment

Each StarCraft game follows along with the overarching storyline, telling a bit of the future. The player takes the position of a military commander in charge of a platoon that they personally build out and command through the battles.

What Is the Story of StarCraft?

The story starts several millennia before the advent of human achievements in space. At this time, the Xel’naga, a super-intelligent alien race, is performing experiments to engineer a genetically perfect race. The result of these experiments yields the introduction of two new races to the Milky Way: the Protoss and the Zerg Swarm.

Both the Protoss and Zerg Swarm are hiveminds. The Protoss use a nerve connection to the Khala, uniting their every thought and emotion. The Zerg are a more traditional hivemind, controlled by a creature known as the Overmind who psionically gives orders to the swarm.

While the Zerg may initially seem rather primitive, they’re actually quite intelligent. For example, they can sense psionic energy in other creatures. The Protoss have a more traditionally advanced society with technology but have abandoned the Xel’naga goal of achieving genetic perfection. Conversely, the Zerg swarm’s primary goal is to assimilate other races to improve the genetic pool of the swarm.

As we approach the beginning of StarCraft’s story, Earth is under the control of a unified international government known as the Unified Earth Directorate. The UED began a space colonization program to abate the effects of overpopulation on Earth, sending fleets of spaceships filled with colonists into the Milky Way.

Unknowingly, the UED sends their space fleets into the Korpulu Sector of the Milky Way, home to both the Protoss and the Zerg. So naturally, the Protoss are fascinated by these strange creatures and begin to observe them from a distance.

Without alerting the Terrans to their presence, the Protoss began protecting them from the Zerg and other environmental threats they were unprepared for due to a lack of knowledge regarding the Korpulu Sector.

The Zerg sense the immense psionic potential in the Terran race, especially as evidenced by psionic soldiers such as Sarah Kerrigan, and target the Terrans for assimilation to increase the psionic potential of the Zerg.

Zerg attacks on Terran colonies left the colonies infested with Zerg influence. As a result, the Protoss are forced to identify and destroy infested colonies to stem the infestation.

StarCraft

StarCraft begins days after the first few attacks on Terran colonies. The Terran colonies are under the control of the Terran Confederacy, the primary government of the colonies. However, the Confederacy is in mass panic as the colonies are under attack by both the Zerg, who want to assimilate them, and the Protoss, who are trying to destroy infested colonies to prevent the spread of the  Zerg infestation.

To make matters worse, rebel activity led by Arcturus Mengsk leaves the Confederacy’s military force stretched thinner than a piece of tissue paper. Eventually, Mengsk topples the Confederacy and takes control of the Terran government by using Confederate technology to lead the Zerg into an attack on Tarsonis, the Confederate capital.

Amid the attack on Tarsonis, the Zerg are faced with Sarah Kerrigan, Mengsk’s second-in-command and one of the most powerful psionic soldiers in the Terran army. They immediately attack her platoon seeking to assimilate her for her massive psionic potential.

Mengsk abandons Kerrigan to be assimilated by the Zerg, prompting the defection of Mengsk’s other right-hand man, Jim Raynor. Raynor defects from Megnsk’s army, taking with him a spaceship known as the Hyperion and a small army of rebel forces loyal to him.

The Zerg retreat to their hives with Kerrigan to assimilate her. However, they are pursued by Protoss commander Tassadar and Protoss Dark Templar Zeratul. Zeratul accidentally reveals the location of the Protoss homeworld of Aiur to the Zerg Overmind.

The Overmind immediately launches an assault on Aiur to assimilate the Protoss. However, the Protoss are overwhelmed by the swarm and are forced to flee from Aiur for their lives, allowing the planet to be razed and destroyed behind them.

Tassadar is branded a heretic by the rest of the Protoss for siding with the Dark Templar. Tassadar allies with Jim Raynor and Fenix, a Protoss Templar, to launch an attack on the Overmind. Ultimately, Tassadar lays down his life to kill the Overmind.

StarCraft: Brood War

Brood War begins with the Protoss evacuating the remaining Protoss population to Shakuras, the home of the Dark Templar. The two factions of the Protoss form a shaky, tenuous alliance under their unified desire to destroy the Zerg swarm.

Terran fleets in the Korpulu Sector are wearing thin. Rebel forces and Zerg infestation constantly threaten the Terran government under Mengsk. Meanwhile, Kerrigan, now assimilated to the Zerg swarm, has begun planning to take over the swarm from the Overmind.

Kerrigan misleads the Protoss forces on Shakuras to attack the Overmind, unintentionally granting her control over the Zerg swarm. To this end, she reveals that a new Overmind is in incubation. The Protoss forces attack the swam to prevent a new Overmind from incubating, leaving the “hivemind leader” position open for Kerrigan to take with her psionic powers.

The UED sends a fleet to take over the Korpulu Sector from the Terran Dominion and capture the new Overmind. Kerrigan allies with Mengsk, Raynor, and Fenix against the UED but betrays them at the last moment, killing Fenix and another soldier named Duke. Kerrigan then extorts Zeratul and forces him to kill the Overmind, giving her complete control over the Zerg swarm.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Wings of Liberty focuses on the Terran campaign and features the Zerg and Protoss as side characters to the Terrans. The story starts with Raynor taking his army and forming an official rebellion militia known as Raynor’s Raiders (a totally lame name, we know.)

The Raiders liberate a Terran colony on Mar Sara and find a piece of an ancient Xel’naga artifact. Empowered by their discovery, the Raiders begin to move to undermine Mengsk’s rule. Their goals are simple, to topple Mengsk and finish the Xel’naga artifact.

To fund their army, the Raiders sell the piece of the Xel’naga artifact they’ve found to a shadow benefactor representing the Moebius Foundation. With this funding, they move through the galaxy, looking for more pieces of the Xel’naga artifact and keeping tabs on Mengsk’s activity throughout the Dominion.

Zeratul gifts Raynor a crystal that can allow him to see and share psychic visions. Upon taking the crystal, Raynor sees a vision of the ultimate destruction of all life in the Korpulu Sector. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see much of the circumstances surrounding the event. Still, he sees that Kerrigan can avert the eradication of the Terran and Protoss races in the Korpulu Sector.

After finding more pieces of the Xel’naga artifact, it becomes clear Raiders’ shadow benefactor from the Moebius Foundation is Arcturus Mengsk’s son, Valerian. Valerian allies with Raynor and the Raiders after they find the last piece of the Xel’naga artifact.

Valerian and Raynor invade the Zerg homeworld, Char. The conflict sacrifices much of the Dominion fleet, but they can bring down the swarm. When the Raiders find Kerrigan, one of Mengsk’s men attempts to assassinate her for his freedom. However, Raynor kills him before carrying Kerrigan into the sunset while the Mutalisks fly ahead.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Kerrigan is brought into the Terran Dominion’s medical bay for treatment to de-infest her. Raynor and Kerrigan are hiding from Arcturus’ men as they crawl the Korpulu Sector looking for them as deserters.

Eventually, Megnsk finds their location and invades their headquarters. Kerrigan and Raynor flee but are separated, and Kerrigan hears news of Raynor’s capture and execution. In her grief, she returns to Char to reassume control over the swarm and exact her revenge against Mengsk.

She encounters Zeratul, who encourages her to go back to the original world of the Zerg, Zerus. There she awakens her power as the Queen of Blades and returns to the battlefield with the swarm. However, she also learns of a Xel’naga named Amon, who is responsible for turning the swarm into the conquest-hungry war machine that it is today. Amon intends to reincarnate on Aiur and assert control of Protoss and Zerg.

Arcturus then reveals to Kerrigan that Raynor is still alive and uses his imprisoned location as leverage against Kerrigan. Kerrigan finds and joins forces with the members of the Hyperion, Raynor’s old warship, and the fleet departs to search for him.

When Raynor sees that Kerrigan has forfeited her humanity—something he worked hard to return to her—in exchange for the power to exact her revenge against Mengsk, he rejects her. Instead, Kerrigan bids him farewell and leaves to complete her mission against Mengsk.

Mengsk uses the Xel’naga artifact to impede Kerrigan’s advance and immobilize her. However, before he can strike her down, Raynor appears to defend her. Ultimately, Kerrigan successfully assassinates Mengsk, and his son Valerian takes over the Dominion as its leader.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

Zeratul invades a Terran colony under the control of Amon. Doing this allows him to learn the exact location of Amon’s resurrection to relay it to his allies. Zeratul then departs for a Xel’naga temple, where he has a vision of Tassadar, who urges him to take control of the Xel’naga artifact.

Zeratul returns to Shakuras to warn the new commander of the Khalai Protoss, Artanis, of Amon’s impending resurrection and what it means for the Khalai Protoss. Unfortunately, Artanis doesn’t heed Zeratul’s warning and launches an attack to take back the Khalai Protoss homeworld, Aiur.

During the attack on Aiur, Amon is reborn and begins asserting control over the Zerg and the Protoss. Back on Shakuras, the Nezarim begin severing the Khalai Protoss’ nerve cords to prevent them from Amon’s control.

Ultimately, Zeratul sacrifices himself to protect Artanis, who takes control of the Xel’naga artifact. Doing so impedes Amon’s control over the Protoss and Zerg, giving the remaining Khalai Protoss enough time to sever their nerve cords and, thus, their connection to Amon. With the Protoss no longer under his control, Amon gets banished to the Void.

Epilogue

Upon completing the Legacy of the Void campaign, the player gets a short epilogue that wraps up all three storylines neatly. First, Kerrigan calls for Artanis and Raynor to help her defeat Amon once and for all in the Void.

However, before confronting Amon, they meet one of the remaining Xel’naga, Ouros. Unfortunately, Ouros is growing old and will soon wither away. Still, he imparts wisdom to the crew, telling them that Kerrigan must inherit his essence and become a Xel’naga for them to confront Amon on equal terms.

Kerrigan inherits Ouros’ essence, and the crew is victorious in defeating Amon once and for all. Kerrigan then disappears for two years before reappearing as a human and leaves with Raynor. Neither of them is ever heard from again.

How to Use StarCraft

screenshot of starcraft gameplay
creating supply depots in Starcraft

StarCraft is a real-time-strategy game where the player builds an army using resources farmed from the map and engages with their enemy. Players make units using Minerals and Vepene Gas which they farm using worker units.

They then have to lead the units they’ve created to engage with the enemy until the enemy has no bases left or quits of their own accord. Strategy is critical in StarCraft, and many resources online help you build out your army in the best way possible while providing you with comprehensive options to deal with your opponent’s units.

StarCraft has two control modes that change the hotkeys’ location to build and control units. In the legacy mode, also known as grid mode, the keys used to create and control units are centralized and easier to reach but may not make much sense. In the newer control mode, the keys are more spread out but are more intuitive, such as pressing “m” to build Marines.

How to Learn StarCraft

Learning StarCraft is kind of like bashing your head against the keyboard until you’ve learned the same building blocks of the army you want to build. Players can play any of the three primary races: Protoss, Zerg, and Terran. The units available and their abilities vary between races. For instance, the Protoss have Stalkers which can blink from one position to another, bypassing terrain and walls.

Most people, us included, recommend looking at a build path when you first start playing StarCraft. Build paths will have comprehensive information and timings that you’ll want to hit while making your units (for instance, getting your first Zergling at five minutes into the game would be too late if you’re trying to do the ever-classic Zerg Rush strategy.)

StarCraft Release History

StarCraft

It was first released in 1998 by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows. A macOS port of the game would be released in 1999.

StarCraft: Insurrection

Insurrection was an expansion pack released in 1998 for the original StarCraft that featured new maps and single-player campaigns.

StarCraft: Brood War

Brood War is another expansion pack for StarCraft, released in 1999 for Windows and macOS. It featured new map tilesets, maps, units, and single-player campaigns.

StarCraft: Retribution

StarCraft: Retribution is an authorized add-on for StarCraft. It wasn’t received well by reviewers who regarded it as “average” but admitted it was “challenging.” The add-on does not feature any new gameplay mechanics. Still, it does come with new single-player campaigns and multiplayer maps.

StarCraft 64

This is a port of StarCraft designed for the Nintendo 64. It featured all the campaigns and maps from StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War, some extra campaigns, and a secret mission called Resurrection IV.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was the first StarCraft II game and made up the base game for the rest of the expansions to add onto. It is a direct sequel to StarCraft and StarCraft: Broo War. It has been free-to-play since 2017.

Wings of Liberty focuses on the Terran campaign, and while the other races are present in the story, it doesn’t reveal as much about their lore. The remaining two races were intended to be focused on the two expansions that make up the trilogy of StarCraft II.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Heart of the Swarm is the Zerg expansion that brings new gameplay mechanics, units, maps, and campaigns to StarCraft II. Heart of the Swarm’s campaign focuses on the story of the Zerg and their activities in the Korpulu Sector under Kerrigan’s rule.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

Legacy of the Void is the last expansion in the main StarCraft II trilogy. It follows the story of the Protoss as they fight to reclaim their homeworld from the Zerg and later from Amon. It features new gameplay mechanics, units, maps, and campaigns that the player can enjoy while learning the final lore for the StarCraft story.

StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops

Nova Covert Ops is a downloadable content pack that features several new missions for StarCraft II.

StarCraft: Remastered

This is a remastered version of the original StarCraft game that allows it to be played on modern computers with updated graphics and gameplay fixes.

Initial Release DateMarch 31, 1998
Most Recent Release DateAugust 14, 2017
Initial ReleaseStarCraft
Most Recent ReleaseStarCraft: Remastered
Initial MSRPUnlisted
Most Recent MSRP$15

Final Thoughts

StarCraft is a significant cornerstone of PC gaming, and learning about it is a great way to understand it. Unfortunately, with the main story of StarCraft finished, it’s unclear if we’ll ever get another StarCraft game. However, with StarCraft Remastered released and StarCraft II going free-to-play, there are plenty of ways for fans to get their next hit off the StarCraft pipe.

A Complete Guide To Starcraft: History, Growth, User Base, and More FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Who is the protagonist of StarCraft?

The protagonist of StarCraft changes with each expansion, especially with StarCraft II’s choice to focus on three different stories relevant to the three different races.

When did StarCraft first launch?

StarCraft was first released on March 31, 1998.

Is StarCraft hard to learn?

Many people find real-time-strategy games unwieldy and hard to learn. But the basic mechanics of StarCraft are relatively simple, and the different races appeal to different playstyles, allowing players to mix and match units to suit how they want to play.

Is StarCraft free-to-play?

StarCraft II is officially free-to-play and has been since November 2017.

What is Starcraft?

Starcraft is a real-time strategy game developed by Blizzard Entertainment.

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