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Old 12-09-2008
 
#1
Canada DarkOMEN
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Default Cerebrate/Lair Upgrade System

This idea came to me through the map To Chain The Beast, the final mission in the Brood War Terran campaign. In it, there were three Zerg AI players each with a Cerebrate in their base. As long as the Cerebrates were alive, the Zerg players were empowered with a unique trait.

The unique advantages provided by each Cerebrate were as follows:
  • One made all sunken colonies owned by that player invulnerable.
  • One produced a Torrasque at it's location periodically (though only one could exist at any time).
  • One was supposedly the reason why that same player had Infested Command Centers in their base.
Now for StarCraft 2, I think it would be pretty cool if the player could create Cerebrates as an ultimate, Hive-level tech building. Like a Battlecruiser, each could be given a unique upgrade (perhaps one of three?) that unlocked a new, global enhancement/ability for the Zerg. Once the upgrade is made, that Cerebrate becomes dedicated to providing that enhancement, and no other Cerebrate may pick the same upgrade as long as the first one lives. Cerebrates would have to be distinguishable somehow as so other players can tell which Cerebrate provides which ability.

The upgrades would have to be pretty powerful to merit the investment, possibly game-ending in the right circumstances. Some possible effects of building a Cerebrate could be:
  • Instant passive upgrade to one or many stats to every unit across the map, such as attack damage/speed or movement speed.
  • Insanely fast regeneration for all Zerg structures.
  • Unlock some cooldown-based ability on the Zerg HUD like an AoE equivalent to WC3's Bloodlust or so.
  • Reduced build times for all Zerg units and buildings.
As we know, Cerebrates were removed from the lore and have been replaced by Queens. In this concept, I am thinking that the Cerebrates could return as (mindless?) slaves to the player. Ultimately, they would represent lesser beings to what the original SC1 Cerebrates were.

The purpose of this system is to give the Zerg a powerful weapon, such as the Terran's nukes or the (old) Protoss Mothership that requires enemies to respond to hastily whenever it comes into play.

I had thought about giving these unique upgrades to the Lair as to encourage Zerg players to use them as more than just stepping stones to get a Hive. While it could work, the example upgrades that I listed above would either have to be applied with a grain of salt or axed in favour of enhancements appropriate for Lair-level tech. Naturally, a Hive could also select an upgrade if it hadn't inherited anything from the Lair that morphed it.

Just a thought.
 
 

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Old 12-09-2008
 
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While the idea is interesting, I highly dislike any power or ability that is game-ending all by itself. Plus, it would be very hard to balance between being too strong and too weak, as this would be a very late game structure/ability. Still, maybe for single player something like this could be considered, but I don't see it flying for multiplayer. Just my $0.02.
 
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Old 12-09-2008
 
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The thing is Terran Nuke is never a super-weapon. It's rather at the core, similar to a suicide unit. One can stop it and punish the terran. On the other hand -- kabooom!

The proposal sounds like RA's abilities, like iron curtain of the sort.

Unless there is a fast way to stop it, equal to how fast and/or how "safe" one can execute it, then it can work. Otherwise, it'll be imba.

Ergo, super-weapons are imba.
 
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Old 12-09-2008
 
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Originally Posted by UED Special Ops View Post
While the idea is interesting, I highly dislike any power or ability that is game-ending all by itself. Plus, it would be very hard to balance between being too strong and too weak, as this would be a very late game structure/ability. Still, maybe for single player something like this could be considered, but I don't see it flying for multiplayer. Just my $0.02.
Completely agreed. I do like the idea of allowing an expensive fourth level upgrade to the hatchery that grants global enhancements to the race, or creation of a new unit. But game ending units or abilities should be shunned. That's why the Black Hole was so controversial.
 
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Old 12-09-2008
 
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Right. When I described it as potentially game-ending, I meant that with respect to the Zerg player's position prior to getting the tech. Much like how Ultralisks can be game-ending when they pop in time to lead the final push on a base, where an army already exists to follow behind. As such, a stat boost or temporary buff might be what makes a difference. I don't at all consider Nukes to be a super weapon as per the C&C definition, but they definitely demand attention from the opponent when their appearance is made. I guess I'm calling it a strategic equivalent.... for the Zerg.

It should be fairly easy to counter, as this idea rides on Cerebrates or Lairs being easy to spot.
 
 

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Old 12-09-2008
 
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The only thing interesting here is your mind for making up such ridiculous ideas!
 
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Old 12-09-2008
 
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Very cool for campaign.

Very iffy for multiplayer. If you could balance it and the other races had similar tech levels, then sure. And by similar tech I don't mean the same, just on the same level of power and development. We want the races parallel, not copies, blah blah blah.
 

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Old 12-09-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkOMEN View Post
Right. When I described it as potentially game-ending, I meant that with respect to the Zerg player's position prior to getting the tech. Much like how Ultralisks can be game-ending when they pop in time to lead the final push on a base, where an army already exists to follow behind. As such, a stat boost or temporary buff might be what makes a difference. I don't at all consider Nukes to be a super weapon as per the C&C definition, but they definitely demand attention from the opponent when their appearance is made. I guess I'm calling it a strategic equivalent.... for the Zerg.

It should be fairly easy to counter, as this idea rides on Cerebrates or Lairs being easy to spot.
Gotcha.

Just ponying off this idea, what if a Cerebrate presence allowed for macro programming of your broods? Think of it as an acting commander on the battlefield, allowing complicated strikes such as pincer attacks, feints or back-door traps.

Imagine this: When a Cerebrate is constructed, an alert is sent to the other player warning them of the threat it presents. The Cerebrate could even show itself to the other players. Once constructed, this new building has one ability with a cooldown titled Brood Command. When activated, the player is given let's say 10 action commands which are recorded yet not executed. When all action commands are expelled, you re-activate the ability which commands your units to carry out their actions, allowing for strategic battle maneuvers.

Example: Order your group of banelings to attack-move into the front line of cannons (1 action), lurkers follow a set of 4 waypoints into the back of the base and then burrow near the peon line (5 actions), an overlord flies over the boundaries of the base (1 action) and then commands a Nydus worm to punch through the ground here (1 action), while at the same time you command a group of zerglings and hydras to attack-move behind the banelings (1 action).

NOW SC2 becomes a game of actual strategy and tactics, instead of APM and quick fingers. This has endless potential for advanced players to benefit from and could lead to tons of exciting replays. Plus the idea, AFAIK, is quite revolutionary to a RTS game and could set SC2 apart from the others.

In terms of balancing, this new ability has several drawbacks:
- Morphing a Hive into a Cerebrate (or constructing this building) is quite expensive.
- Doing so could reveal its position to its enemies, or alert them with an audio cue and map ping.
- The Brood Command ability has a long cooldown, or could be made to cost resources.
- During the process of assigning action your attention is occupied, meanwhile all your units you've given commands to are immobile and defenseless to attack as they await their marching orders.

The idea presents a challenge to the developers both in execution and balance, but with at least a year between the Terran and Zerg game this is something they could consider if it interests them.
 

Last edited by Blazur; 12-09-2008 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 12-09-2008
 
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Originally Posted by DarkOMEN View Post
Right. When I described it as potentially game-ending, I meant that with respect to the Zerg player's position prior to getting the tech. Much like how Ultralisks can be game-ending when they pop in time to lead the final push on a base, where an army already exists to follow behind. As such, a stat boost or temporary buff might be what makes a difference. I don't at all consider Nukes to be a super weapon as per the C&C definition, but they definitely demand attention from the opponent when their appearance is made. I guess I'm calling it a strategic equivalent.... for the Zerg.

It should be fairly easy to counter, as this idea rides on Cerebrates or Lairs being easy to spot.

Not a bad idea, but i'd rather have it as a mission for the singleplayer, it will be very cool really.


As for the zerg having an equivalent to Nuke, their equivalent in my opinion is their ability to easily mass units ... late game this ability is emphasized and becomes dangerous specially when damage soaking units like the Ultralisk appear, in the hands of a good player a late game large zerg attack is very devastating.
 

Last edited by KnightWolf; 12-09-2008 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 12-09-2008
 
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I really like the idea of temporary buffs and playing style customization, especially for zerg. Your post reminds me of the original starcraft manual that described how different zerg broods exhibited different characteristics: one had particularly fast units, one was known for brutality, etc. Since cerebrates are gone, this would be better suited to queens, who are supposedly pretty highly sentient anyways (not as much as cerebrates but still capable of working with this idea). This could also bring back the unique queen. Say we keep the current queen which is a standard support unit. But now, you can also morph a Hive Matriarch or Hive Mother or whatever, and it is like the old unique queen except you can choose global (or targeted), temporary buffs that it can activate. When morphed, you can no longer build the other queens.You are limited in how many of these abilities it can activate so once you've customized/researched what it can do, you are stuck with that. Now you can use this queen (if you want to) like the cerebrates you mention. It can activate any number of abilities but those abilities must be player chosen when the Hive Matriarch is first created and it can't have all the abilities possible. You have to choose and you are stuck with that choice. So like you said, either (temporary) fast regeneration or increased speed or increased sunken colony attack rate or Brood Command like Blazur says.

One way to balance this would be that an ability like Blazur's Brood Command requires some number of free supply slots to use (since zerg supply is really zerg psi control). Say it takes 25 free slots to use (100/125). THis means you would need to have some excess of overlords to use it, which makes sense lorewise and is another cost of the ability. It also means that you could never use this ability with the max number of units, so it would be a trade off between increased control and mass numbers (and the attention needed to simultaneously coordinate all those units)
 

Last edited by Engage; 12-09-2008 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 12-09-2008
 
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This sounds a lot like the old 'factions' idea. One big issue here is that Kerrigan has killed off most of the cerebrates.
 
 

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Old 12-09-2008
 
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This sounds a lot like the old 'factions' idea. One big issue here is that Kerrigan has killed off most of the cerebrates.
If not all of them.

IIRC cerebrates cannot survive without the Overmind and well... we all know what happened to the Overmind.
 
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Old 12-09-2008
 
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Not including the fact that a lot of cerebrates went into the new overmind, which was subsequently destroyed.
 
 

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Old 12-09-2008
 
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If not all of them.

IIRC cerebrates cannot survive without the Overmind and well... we all know what happened to the Overmind.
Yeah, Blizzard explicitly said that they're all dead, with the amendium "as far as we know". Obviously, they wanted to leave a loophole in case they changed their minds later.

Who knows? Maybe the Confederate Remnants found one and are pumping it full of drugs to keep it alive.
 

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Old 12-09-2008
 
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Or a Cerebrate could have began evolving something that can help to sustain its essence, like those who tried to merge as a new overmind.

As far as we do not know...
 
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