StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A - Part 7 Blizzard Entertainment|3 December 2012

In part seven of our continuing series, Brian Kindregan, co-lead writer of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and lead writer of Heart of the Swarm, answers more of the community’s most burning lore questions.

Question: Are the Protoss and Zerg aware of the Earth Terrans and their location?

Answer: Really good question. The Protoss are certainly aware that there is a Terran birth-world out there somewhere, but they're not interested in finding it. They hold themselves above all others and really don't want to get involved. If they ever set out to find the world that spawned the Terrans, I'm sure it would be easy for them… but their minds simply don't work that way.

I'd say the Zerg must be aware. A fair number of UED brains were exposed to the Swarm, not the least of which was Stukov when he was infested. However, the Swarm has more than enough going on in the Koprulu sector. I'm sure they've marked the location for future growth… but that's about it for now.

Question: Are Tassadar and the Overmind one now?

Answer: Not now, no. But something like the Overmind does not die instantly. Some synapses may fire for a time as it fades away. And at the moment of impact for both of these organisms, they were one, for a brief instant. Their bodies certainly collided, but their higher-level functions, on a psionic scale, also merged. There is precedent for this: recall that Zeratul's mind touched the Overmind briefly when he killed Zasz.

Was Zeratul seeing Tassadar? Or a memory of Tassadar? Or the Overmind seeking to communicate as Tassadar? Or some melding of the two? Lots of possibilities – what do you all think?

Question: Why did the Queen of Blades make broodmothers (the ones that will appear in HotS)? If she earlier destroyed a ton of cerebrates so she could have unquestioned control of the Swarm, why did she make highly intelligent individuals to rule with her? Was controlling the entire Swarm so much work that she needed help? Do the Zerg wire information from one planet to another? Did she need generals who could make decisions for her when she was busy someplace else? Or was she planning to have someone take over after her if she died? And if so, why did she make multiple broodmothers and not just one? Any ideas?

Answer: Quite a few ideas, yes. The Queen of Blades, with her demigoddess levels of psionic power, was capable of controlling literally billions of organisms in multiple locations at once. But having sapient lieutenants extended her control even further. Additionally, she had learned the inherent flaw in the Zerg hivemind when the Overmind was destroyed. For the Swarm to thrive, it needed a fallback if its leader was killed. In BW, the Queen of Blades used the Zerg as a tool and didn't really care what would happen to them if she fell. But in the intervening years, she began to build a Swarm that would outlast her. Was it a change of heart? A change of tactics? What do all of you think?

She killed all the cerebrates because they would have inevitably tried to form a new Overmind if no Overmind existed. So she could never trust them. Broodmothers, on the other hand, were designed from the ground up by the Queen of Blades.

She made broodmothers powerful and independent because she had also seen that the Zerg were strongest when they continually strove against something, when they had to adapt and change and grow. And she made multiples for the same reason. She wasn't grooming a successor that she would deem worthy. She was creating many cunning, vicious beings, knowing that only one could claw her way to the top if the Queen disappeared.

Question: I've been wondering about the Protoss' mental status. According to what I've seen so far, the Protoss are mentally advanced, meaning they have psionic powers. That could also mean they are unintellectual, as mental advancement is not always logical advancement. (Even though both reference the mind, one is a physical manifestation, such as psionic links, while the other is purely thought capacity/development, etc.) It seems to me that the Protoss are actually less mentally developed for logic than humans are. From what I've seen, the crystals that the Protoss use create all their technology for them. They seem to commit acts of "honor" and "heroism" that are reminiscent of the Dark Ages, and the values of that era came from an incredibly limited knowledge of the world.

Answer: Another great question. The Protoss are devastatingly intelligent. Their crystals are incredible, as are their motherships and colossi. The Protoss developed these technologies. They maintain them, and they can create even greater technology if they wish.

The fact is the Protoss are not developed for human logic at all. They think very differently than we do. They have very different priorities and reasoning protocols. And there is no way around it: many of the things they do seem strange and wrong to Terrans. Guess how the Protoss view Terran actions? As silly and wrong. Their shared consciousness, their long memories, and the age of their race all combine to make them a prouder, more cautious, and fundamentally more mysterious race than Terrans.

Question: Why do the Zerg have so few planets under their control? For this very expansionist race, you'd think their empire would be greater. Zerg and Protoss airspaces are also seemingly distant enough for the Zerg to expand without much Protoss interference. Same question for Protoss. At least the Protoss have a lot more planets mentioned in books than Aiur and Shakuras, yet only Aiur is listed on the Protoss game guide. Also, why are Char and Aiur owned by two races? Especially Char. I imagine the Terrans would not want to occupy the volatile planet for long.

Answer: The Queen of Blades pulled the Swarm back to Char and held it there. No one knows why… yet. ;) But if she had continued to expand, there is little doubt that the Zerg would have carved out a huge swath of planets. However, there is a limit to how far the Swarm can expand; the Zerg are well suited for storming planets, but not as good at keeping planets.

The Protoss do indeed have more planets than just Aiur and Shakuras. As to why the Terrans would want to own Char… well, why do those greedy Terrans do anything? There are some super-rich mineral resources in those lava flows!

If you’re looking for more lore, here’s part 1 of our StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6. We’ll have many more answers to your burning questions in the weeks to come.