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Updated Mar 14, 2015 at 07:19AM EDT by Twenty-One.

Added Aug 26, 2011 at 02:26AM EDT by Ryan Lee.

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StarCraft is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that revolves around three warring races: Terrans, the political castoffs and malcontents of humanity; Zerg, beast-like and savage creatures hailing from the planet Char; and the Protoss, the highly advanced bipedal aliens from the planet Aiur.[1] The game’s canonical settings take place in the distant future in a sector of the Galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector, where each player must build offensive and defensive units to fight for the control of natural resources.


StarCraft was released on March 31st, 1998 by American video game developer Blizzard Entertainment, known for a number of hit titles including the role-playing game Diablo in 1996 and fantasy setting real-time game Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness in 1997. StarCraft was introduced as Blizzards’ fourth real-time strategy game. [1]

On November 30th, 1998, Blizzard released the Brood War expansion pack for StarCraft, which added new units to all three races. The Terrans received the Medic support unit and the Valkyrie anti-air Frigate. The Zerg received the Lurker, a mutation of the Zerg Hydralisk that attacks while borrowed, and the Devourer anti-air mutation for the Zerg Mutalisk. The Protoss received the Dark Templar, a permanently cloaked assassin unit, the Dark Archon spell-caster and the Corsair anti-air fighter. The expansion also introduced three new tile sets for maps: Snow, Desert, and Twilight, as well as continuing the saga through three new Campaign chapters. [2]

On July 27th, 2010, Blizzard released the long awaited Sequel, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. Starcraft II is anticipated to be a trilogy, with Wings of Liberty focused on the Terran Story, Heart of the Swarm on the Zerg story and Legacy of the Void on Protoss.[3]



StarCraft game play focuses on economy, base, and army building and management. The ultimate goal is to wipe the opposing army off the face of the map. Since the game takes place in real time, the length of matches is dependent on the skill of the players, with lopsided matches lasting only a few minutes while slugfests between skilled players going beyond the hour mark.

Starcraft II

StarCraft II introduced several new modes like Leagues and Rankings based on player skill. At the time of this writing, August 26th, 2011, the current Leagues are: Training, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster. Grandmaster League comprises of the top 200 players in the region.

At the BlizzCon 2011 on October 21st, 2011, the second installment of Starcraft II was introduced as well as a number of additional units for each of three races. For Zerg, a flying unit with support abilities known as the Viper, a concealable portal unit known as the Swarm Host and a third unknown unit will be added; For Terrans, three mechanical units Warhound, Battle Hellion, and Shredder were introduced and for the Protoss, a sorceress unit known as the Replicator that fuses itself to copy the abilities of a target unit, the Oracle which has the ability of temporarily disrupting building construction and resource harvesting and the Tempest, a flying unit that can attack both airborne and ground targets.


StarCraft is often considered the game that redefined the real-time strategy (RTS) genre and what all RTS aspire to be. Before StarCraft, RTS games, including Warcraft 2 and the Command and Conquer series, limited players to two nearly identical factions with minor differences between them. Starcrafts’ three races all played very differently from each other, which greatly influenced the future of the genre.

StarCraft has sold over 9.5 million copies worldwide and has received numerous awards, from Game of the year when it released in 1998 to being recognized as one of the greatest games of all time. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty also met with critical acclaim when it was released, becoming the best selling game in July. [1][3] In addition to critical acclaim, StarCraft spawned a devout following and professional gaming league, most famously in South Korea, which became the subject of multiple web shows and YouTube broadcasts.

Starcraft Universe

In January 2011, a group of StarCraft mod developers led by Ryan Winzen began working on a fan-made massively multiplayer online game project, tentatively titled “The World of Starcraft.” Although Blizzard initially took down Winzen’s promotional videos on the grounds of copyright infringement, when Winzen replied that he would comply with what the company wanted, Blizzard eventually gave the project a green light and invited him to the company’s campus to meet the team. On February 18th, 2013, Winzen and his team, now known as Upheaval Arts, released StarCraft Universe Beta Prologue: Chronicles of Fate, the first custom map in the proposed series (shown below).

On August 11th, 2013, the StarCraft Universe team launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its development with a goal of $80,000. Accompanied by a detailed outline of the game’s main features and rewards for early backers, the proposal also revealed that the final product will be a free-to-play, standalone MMORPG hosted via In less than 72 hours, the campaign reached the first quarter mark.

Online Presence

On March 2nd, 1998, the website was launched, which featured news, a web forum and notable works of fanfiction related to the games. On September 24th, 2002, the StarCraft pro gaming community website Team Liquid[16] was launched. On November 21st, 2005, the StarCraft Wiki[15] was launched, which accumulated over 4,600 articles within seven years. On December 10th, 2008, the /r/starcraft[13] subreddit was created, which featured posts highlighting images, video and news related to the video game series. On July 17th, 2010, the blog Science of Starcraft[17] was launched, which featured posts exploring the hypothetical scientific explanations for the various science fiction creations in the StarCraft series. As of August 15th, 2012, the @StarCraft Twitter[12] account has received over 120,000 followers and the official StarCraft Facebook[11] page has received over 2 million likes.

PETA Pro-Zerg Campaign

On March 11th, 2013, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a campaign called “Zerglings Have Feelings Too” under the fitting pseudonym Terrans for the Ethical Treatment of Zerglings. Coinciding with Blizzard’s midnight launch of the Zerg expansion StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the animal rights group’s media event was picked up by several gaming blogs and news sites.[18][19]

A Simulation Study of StarCraft II

On March 5th, 2013, The Royal Observatory of Edinburgh researchers Thomas Targett and Duncan Forgan published a paper titled “A citizen science colonisation model for the Koprulu Sector in StarCraft 2, micro Terran to defeat Protoss and Zerg?”[22] Undertaken as part of a public outreach project to raise awareness of the scientific method and statistical sciences, the paper detailed a simulation study to determine which race would win the war if given enough time. Based on their observational data collected from 500 professional StarCraft II matches, Targett and Forgan logged the outcome of the match when players relied on a "macro strategy (long-term, resource management) versus micro game skills (quick, rush assault), which were then plugged into a simulation model of a sample portion of the Milky Way.

A snapshot of the simulation. The colours represent the space colonised by each race.

According to their introductory blog post[23], the test found that “the Terran inhabitants of the fictitious Koprulu sector, pursuing a strategy of early pressure against their opponents, would eventually conquer their Zerg and Protoss adversaries.” On the following day, the report was picked up by Wired.[20]

Professional Tournaments

StarCraft has had a profound influence on Electronic Sports, most notably in South Korea. Professional Gamers have dedicated their free time to perfecting the art of playing the game, and many compete in the tournaments as their primary source of income. The game’s influence in South Korea has lead it to be jokingly referred to as the “National Pastime of South Korea”, similar to how Baseball is called the National Pastime of the U.S.A.

Major League Gaming

The Major League Gaming (MLG) hosts many tournaments in which professional players compete for cash in prizes in a variety of games, including StarCraft, Counterstrike, Call of Duty, and Halo.

Korea e-Sports Association

Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA) is Koreas’ homegrown gaming league that broadcasts tournaments of StarCraft games, which has been mired in controversy over the years. In KeSPA, the only characters that can be typed are PPP (a request to pause) and GG (Good Game), and players have been disqualified from matches for incorrectly typing the abbreviations. Also, due to Blizzards StarCraft II “End User Licensee Agreement” in Starcaft II, KeSPA is unable to broadcast tournaments of the game and has banned contracted players from playing the sequel.

Global Starcraft League

Global Starcraft League (GSL) is the partnership of GOMTV and Blizzard, it is currently the only South Korean tournament that is licensed to broadcast Starcraft II matches.

Zerg Rush

Rushing is a strategy employed in RTS, the idea behind it is to sacrifice economic power for an early attack and end the match quickly. The Zerg race was very well suited to this due to their basic infantry, the Zergling, for the cost of 50 minerals, the Zerg player gets two Zerglings, both of which are ready at the same time. This was also known as 4pool and 6pool in StarCraft and Starcraft II, that is, getting no more worker units before getting the Spawning Pool building required for training Zerglings.

Construct Additional Pylons

Each race has a voice-over that tells the player when it’s under attack, does not have enough resources to buy a unit or an upgrade, or as reached their food limit. The Protoss voice-over, known as the Judicator, gives the player the warning You must construct additional pylons! when they try to train a unit that would exceed their food limit. Give the urgency in his voice compared to the Terran Adjutant and Zerg Overmind (Queen in Starcraft II), and the mundane task of building food structures, this phrase was a one-two punch of lulz.

In Ur Base, Killing Your D00dz

In ur base, killing ur d00dz is a memorable quote by an anonymous StarCraft player that has been used to boast one’s complete dominance over another player in a multiplayer match, similar to the usage of pwn. The phrase has since become part of the standard lexicon of real-time strategy games and it has been even featured as an audio taunt in Age of Empires III, an RTS set in Colonial times. The phrase has since evolved into a snowclone, i.e., “I’m in your fridge, eating your foodz.”

Notable People

Sean Day9 Plott

An American former professional player and respected Caster, Seans’ Youtube channel currently has over 200k subscribers.

Greg “IDrA” Fields

An American Zerg professional player who, while greatly respected by his fans, has developed infamy due to this poor etiquette and sportsmanship. Known for trash talking, raging about what he sees as game imbalances, and rage quitting. Despite his infamy, Greg is regarded as one of the best North American players. Greg is also known as Grack, which he earned in a match against famous Korean player BoxeR, in which the latter, in an example of Engrish, called the former Grack when trying to spell his first name. The name stuck and Gregs’ fans cheer him on by shouting “Release the Gracken!” a play on “Release the Kraken!” from the movie Clash of the Titans. [5]

Mike “Husky” Lamond

An American caster, Mike Lamond is one of the most recognizable faces in the StarCraft subculture. Like Sean Plott, Mike has a Youtube channel. However, Mikes’ Youtube channel far surpasses Seans in subscribers, with Mike having over half a million subscribers. Along with casting games, He hosted the HDH Invitational during Starcraft II Beta, Along side fellow Caster Alex “HDStarcraft” Do. Most notable about the tournament was the third place prize: A high five and $450, awarded to Protoss Player
NonY. It was also notable for being one of the few tournaments which pitted Brothers Sean and Nick “Tasteless” Plott against one another. [8][9]

Lim “BoxeR” Yo-Hawn

A Korean Terran player, the oldest player at 32 in the Global Starcraft League (GSL). Known as the “Emperor of Terran” for his effective use of the race. In South Korea, there is a draft that requires citizens to join the military. When Lin received his draft orders, he joined the South Korean Air Force. Many thought he would be absent from the professional scene during his two year tenure with the Air Force, but Lin used his influence and natural charisma to convince the Air Force to create the first military StarCraft Professional Team, which allowed him to pursue his passion and his civic service at the same time.[4]

Lee “MarineKing” Jung Hoon

Another Korean Terran Player, went by “BoxeR” early in his career, as a tribute to his hero. This lead many of his fans outside of Korea to call him “FoxeR” or Fake Boxer. He is one of the best Terran Players in Starcraft II, and in contrast to his hero, he is the youngest player at 18. [6]

Kim “FruitDealer” Won Ki

A Korean Zerg player who won the first GSL tournament for Starcraft II. He received fan art from Blizzard entertainment for this achievement, and was parodied in Blizzards’ 2011 April fools joke, a commercial for the fictional Starcraft II Motion, where two American Protoss players face off against one Korean Zerg player dubbed “Veggie Smuggler”. Although widely recognized for his victory, his career has since stalled. [7]

Search Interest

Search query volume for StarCraft and Starcraft II rose significantly when the original title was announced in 2007 and again when Starcraft II was released in 2010.


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