Starcraft Co-op: Valerian Mengsk

The name “Mengsk” belonged to so many different people in Koprulu sector within a few decades. A leader. The establishment. A rebel. An emperor. A prince. A tyrant. Whatever meaning the name Mengsk was associated with, one thing has never changed: It’s been influential.

Valerian Mengsk is one of my favourite Starcraft and gaming characters. He started as sort of a supporting character in Arcturus’ book, “I, Mengsk”, and was portrayed brilliantly in terms of visual design, character and voice acting in Starcraft II. As one of the most influential leaders of his time, I thought Valerian should exist as a Co-op commander. I was working on this pre-BlizzCon, I guess I picked the wrong Mengsk! Regardless, let me give you some details.

Junior, as Raynor calls him. Warcraft players may immediately think of Anduin, but let me assure you, Valerian is not as naive.

Valerian isn’t a soldier by trade, nor has the expertise to tackle war like Raynor, Horner or his old man. However, Valerian is a strategist who has the vision to drive the future and a smart leader who worked with the best people he found. I envisioned Valerian to represent that. As the Emperor of the Terran Dominion, he doesn’t make end-decisions. He focuses on managing the strategy and the leaders that realize his vision.

Valerian will start with a special building called the Imperial Command in addition to his Command Center. Here he will have two main functions: Resource management and strategy setting.

Resource Management will make Valerian choose priorities between Industry, Research and Military. Each aspect will come with some stats. For example, Industry affects SCV movement and mining speed and the amount they carry, Research affects the update and “tier cooldowns”, Military affects unit production speed, and slightly, the combat stats. Once Priorities are changed, they can’t be re-changed for a while, so Valerian needs to be careful with the choices.

Strategy setting is another core mechanic. Valerian will choose Industrial Strategies have several strategies to choose over the course of the game, which will have certain effects. Each strategy will basically be choosing between multiple choices to answer a question, such as “Should Military focus on Quantity or Quality?” Or “Which technology should SCVs be adorned with?” Once a strategy is chosen, the cooldown for the next “tier” will start, sort of similar to how Zeratul moves between tiers, albeit at a faster rate as there are are more choces/tiers. The first Industrial Strategy decision will be present at the very start of the game (which is always the same: Should SCVs focus on Minerals or Vespene?) and the second one will come rather soon. As soon as the first Industrial Strategy is decided, an add-on to the Imperial Command will be constructed: The Military Command, which will unlock Military Strategies and Military Deployments to be selected in future tiers.

Excuse my terrible writing, but I wanted to share something geniune. Take that, draw.io! Left hand side shows the state machine for the Imperial Command while the right hand illustrates a sample strategy

One of the choices about Valerian will be about picking Strategies vs Deployments, and Industrial Strategies vs Military Strategies. While choosing all military deployments and strategies consecutively may place too much for strain on the economy, delaying them too much may leave Valerian weak against early attacks.

For each tier of Military Deployment, Valerian will choose a type of unit: Infantry, Vehicle and Flyer and the building for that type will be constructed. Once that’s done, Valerian will pick a General for the troops of that kind. There will be a different range of Generals for each type of unit. As soon as a general is summoned, troops production for that type will start.

Generals will be the only units that Valerian commands and upgrades directly. What unit is produced and what upgrades are completed first are the choice of the general. Typically the units of that type will follow the general, but some generals will leave units in the base for defense or even send some to other Generals as escorts!

Valerian’s main Industrial Strategies in order are as follows:

  1. Vespene Focus vs Mineral Focus: This choice exists at the very start of the game and will decide how soon refineries are built and how much are either resource populated. This choice affects all future expansions as well. The commander will start with two choices that focus on either resource more, and unlock a balanced option and a stronger focus option for either resource later. e.g. if the focus is on Vespene, the refineries will be built sooner and will be fully populated asap. If there is a “stronger mineral” focus, refineries will only be built around saturating all crystals.
  2. Industrial Tech: This will affect buildings and SCVs. For example, one tech might add a truck-like trailer to SCVs, increasing their carry capacity. A rigged Protoss-tech might provide teleportation and faster gathering, but make SCVs so volatile, they have half hitpoints and explode when killed. Protoss-tech will also add an energy shield to buildings, but they’ll require a command center or another building to be around for the Rigged Pylon Network to work.
  3. Secret Tech: The final tier unlocks a secret tech as a very long cooldown ability. Dominion Nuclear Strike will unleash a Korhal-esque nuclear bombardment to an area that destroys every non-boss unit and building. Satellite Overdrive will reveal the whole map and blind all enemies for a decent duration. Wrath of Gods will deploy Odin MKII on the field, an unrepairable mech with incredible attack power.

Samples to Valerian’s Military-focused Industrial Strategies are as follows:

  1. Deployment Strategy: Choosing Army Forces will produce a higher quantity of units, while Special Forces will produce much fewer units that are pretty strong (Nova-esque.) Unlockable BlackOp Forces will produce one of each type with really high stats.
  2. Research Strategy: Choosing between Offense, Defense and Utility, this will define which research is completed first: Armor, Weapon or others.
  3. Military Tech: Similar to industrial tech, this will grant certain abilities or features to the whole army. Focus on biotech might mean stimpacks for all units and regenerative steel for vehicles, while Full-Mobilization will grant stat bonuses to units for each ally unit around them.

Some sample Leaders for Valerian:

Warfield appears as an Infantry Leader that boosts the stats of ANY unit around him. He focuses on the more classical Terran units.

Tosh is an Infantry Leader with several abilities. If recruited, he will replace Ghosts with Spectres.

Sgt. Brax is a Vehicle leader that rides a siege tank. He generates a command aura when he’s deployed and has research and abilities that allow him the boost the offensive power of his troops in the command field. He likes building a lot of Siege tanks and support them with a small group of Vulture Spider Mines and/or Goliaths.

Alex Baymourne is a mercenary that leads Flying units. He rides a custom wraith that can temporarily generate a field that makes nearby units invisible. If they are already invisible, they’ll become undetectable. While he does build wraiths, he usually chooses another unit as the focus for wraiths to become a support force.

With the combination of all the leaders and strategies, Valerian can create a different experience in each game. I’ll be creating a more detailed documentation on him and will share it soon.

Gamer, gaming industry wanderer, development and design enthusiast. Current WIP: TBD

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