Legacy of The Void, the final StarCraft 2 expansion, is due for release sometime this year. Despite dwindling interest in the esports side of the title, the game itself remains one of the most hotly anticipated releases and, from what we’ve seen of the beta version, is likely to garner Blizzard further critical acclaim.
Even with gaming exhibition Gamescom, the largest of its kind in Europe, currently underway, details about the upcoming title have been sparse. Blizzard wants to retain an air of mystery about the release. Earlier today, however, one of the campaign’s few beta testers contacted the Daily Dot with specific details about what the anxious fans can expect. Included in the details were screenshots that verified the information, but we were asked not to publish in order to protect the source.
It goes without saying: This story contains spoilers.
First, Legacy of the Void will features a new campaign selection screen that will be a nostalgic throwback for players that played the original StarCraft. Upon selecting campaign mode players are presented with a model for all three races that is highly reminiscent of the campaign selection screen of the first game.
The Protoss campaign will center around Artanis, who commands the Golden Armada from his flagship, The Spear of Adun. The ship will function as the player’s base of operations between missions, much like the Hyperion and Leviathan did in Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm respectively.
Players will have the chance to explore the Protoss tech tree as they advance through the campaign, and Blizzard has introduced a system that gives players more flexibility in their compositions from mission to mission. Unlike Heart of the Swarm and Wings of Liberty, which forced players to permanently choose between unit variations and upgrades, Legacy of the Void allows players to change their unit upgrades between missions.
Much like in other StarCraft 2 campaigns, players will have access to a wide variety of unique and incredibly powerful campaign-exclusive units. Highlights include Dark Templar variants that can either use Omnislash, an incredibly powerful burst damage spell that debuted in the Whispers of Oblivion preview campaign, or can use blink to increase their mobility and survivability.
Broodwar fans will be happy to see the return of several of their favorite units that did not survive the transition to StarCraft 2. The Arbiter, a spell-casting ship piloted by High Templar returns as a variant of the Void Ray. Legacy of the Void will also feature Protoss’s signature area of effect damage dealer, the Reaver. As a final bit of nostalgia, players will also be able to use the corsair to gain air superiority and dominate the skies.
(This is your final plot spoiler warning.)
As for the plot, it’s been known for some time that Legacy of the Void will center around confronting the fallen Xel’Naga Amon. In Wings of Liberty is was revealed that Amon had exerted his control over the Zerg Swarm by poisoning the Overmind and implanting within it an overriding directive to destroy the Protoss.
Legacy of the Void will unveil the fact that both children of the Xel’Naga were corrupted by Amon’s dark influence. Although the Protoss lack the hive mind of the Zerg, the vast majority of Protoss warriors are connected via a communal psionic link known as the Khala, and this is the well that Amon has chosen to poison. When the corruption of the Khala is discovered, the Protoss are forced to do the unthinkable, and intentionally sever their bond to the Khala, and become like their Nerazim (Dark Templar) brethren. The Khala has long served as the bedrock for Protoss society, and the severing of this connection throws the Protoss into chaos.
Players will spend the campaign uniting the fractured Protoss, and eventually the Terran and Zerg as well into a single cohesive fighting force. The unified forces of the Korpulu sector will be forced to face Amon and his Protoss/Zerg hybrid in a final showdown that will determine the fate of the galaxy as a whole.
According to our source, the campaign is reportedly significantly harder than Heart of the Swarm, which many gamers criticized for being far too easy even on Brutal difficulty. Improved AI will “stress players multitasking to the limit with high levels of aggression, back-stabs, and counter attacks designed to catch players off guard and decimate poorly defending mineral lines.”
The evidence provided suggests that the campaign is essentially finished, but is still not ready for retail. Many elements in both the UI and the campaign itself are very obviously placeholders and will need to be fleshed out or replaced before the game is available for purchase.
That said, all the indications are that Blizzard has taken on player feedback and made significant improvements that should appease anyone disappointed with Heart of The Swarm.