Sunday, May 20, 2012

StarCraft 2 101: The Zerg

Greetings, Internet! This is Drai-Gon typing. We are here today to talk Starcraft. My good friend LawGambit started a small series on his blog covering the basics of StarCraft II, which takes a look at each race individually, and gives some information behind some of the simple mechanics behind each one. LawGambit has already done one on Terran, which can be found here, and Protoss, which can be found here. We thought it would be a good idea for me to handle the Zerg, as it is the race I play. Because this follows the same format and is basically just the continuation of LawGambit's series, I highly recommend reading them first. The first installment was the Terran, and the second was the Protoss. Now for the third.

The Zerg are entirely organic in nature. They're basically giant bugs, and can be produced about as quickly. Each individual unit is rarely the most powerful unit on the field, but what they lack in sheer power, they more than make up for in numbers and speed. Also, with the Burrow upgrade researched, nearly all Zerg ground units have a "stealth mode" they can activate by burrowing into the ground, though this generally leaves them unable to move.

Zerg Starting Equipment

This is a Hatchery. It is the core building in any Zerg base; the equivalent to the Command Center (Terran) or the Nexus (Protoss). It comes with six Drones, which are the builder/gatherer units of the Zerg army. There are a few things to take note of right off the bat. One is the purple goo that surrounds the Zerg base. This is called Creep. All Zerg structures must be built on the Creep, except the Hatchery and a few other exceptions which will be noted later. The Creep also allows certain units to move faster while they're on it. Also notice the little centipede-like things underneath the Hatchery. Those are larva, and are used to make units. Larva are generated by the Hatchery, which will generate up to three larva. The Hatchery is the only structure that generates larva, making it the building from which all Zerg units come from. The greatest benefit from this system is that multiple units can be created simultaneously from a single building, whereas Terran and Protoss must queue up units and build them one at a time.
Flying Food!

This is an Overlord, the Zerg version of a Supply Depot/Pylon. Unlike the other two races, this is a unit that can be moved and issued commands. With the right upgrades, it can even act as the Zerg's transport unit.
From a Drone into a pimple

Zerg build structures differently than other races. Their Drones actually morph into the structures they construct, meaning you lose a drone in the process. However, Zerg structures are generally cheaper in cost to make up for the loss.

Extractors are the gas factories of the Zerg race. They operate just like other gas factories.

Pictured above is a Spawning Pool. Though all units come from the hatchery, this structure is required for the Zerg's first combat unit. It is also required for other structures that unlock more advanced units and tech.
"I think you hit someone's dog, sir." - Random Terran

These are Zerglings, the smallest and fastest of the Zerg combat units. They are the cheapest combat unit, and you get two of them for every one larva you morph, making it very easy and quick to produce a swarm of them. Singly, they are the weakest combat unit in the game. In a swarm, they are nightmarishly frightening.

The unit pictured above is the Queen. The Queen is absolutely essential for Zerg production. She has several abilities, including the ability to expand the Creep, heal structures, and allow a Hatchery to have more than three larva, and is a decent combat unit with the ability to attack both ground and air targets. Her main drawback is that she is slow, even on Creep. Most of the time, she is used for her Inject ability, which gives the Hatchery more larva, and as a last line of defense for the base.

The Roach Warren allows for the production of Roaches, one of which is pictured next to the Warren. Roaches are generally the first ranged units Zerg players have access to. With the right upgrades, they are also capable of moving while burrowed, allowing them to sneak into enemy territory, emerging only for the attack. By then, it's usually too late, especially since their acid attacks tend to eat through armor.

The Evolution Chamber is the structure used to research ground unit upgrades, making them tougher and more powerful.

The Baneling Nest allows Zerglings to morph into the dreaded Banelings, as shown above. Banelings are kamazazi units that explode on impact, dealing massive amounts of damage. A swarm of them can melt entire armies, and ravage entire bases.

This is the Hydralisk Den. It allows for the production of the second tier unit, the Hydralisk (pictured next to the Hydralisk Den). Hydralisks are slow moving when not on Creep, but are decently armored, have ranged attacks, and can attack both ground and air units. They are also the most iconic of the Zerg units. If you've only seen one Zerg before, it was probably a Hydralisk.

The Spire allows production of Zerg air units, and also has the upgrades for them. It can be upgraded to a Greater Spire to allow access to the Zerg's third tier air unit.

These second tier air units are, from left to right, the Corruptor and the Mutalisk. The Mutalisk is fairly weak, but it's fast, can attack both ground and air targets, and its attacks hit multiple targets. The Corruptor is much more powerful, but can only attack other air units.

This is an Infestation Pit next to the Infestor unit that it allows to be created. The Infestor is the spellcaster unit of the Zerg army, and is the only other unit besides the Roach that can move while burrowed. It can immobilize and damage units, create Infested Terrans, and even take control of enemy units.

The Nydus Network is a fairly unique building. Not counting Terran add-ons, it is the only structure in the game that creates other structures. Namely, these:
Horry Shite! Wut iz dis?!?!?

Nydus Worms. Ground units go in, and can come out at any other Nydus Worm or the Nydus Network on the map.

And here, standing side by side, it the Ultralisk Cavern and the Ultralisk it allows to be produced. The Ultralisk is the toughest and most powerful Zerg ground unit. It can only attack other ground units, but it will tear them to shreds. But which is which? The unit is bigger that the structure!!! (HINT: The unit is the one on the left)

The almighty Brood Lord. Morphed from the Corruptor, it is the greatest of the Zerg units. It can only attack ground units, so should always be supported with Corruptors. However, only a handful can level armies and wipe enemy bases off the face of existence.

And that's the Zerg race, in a nutshell. They're fast and numerous, and that is their greatest advantage. Used correctly, they can out produce any opponent. I wuffles them!!! ^____^

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