A long long time ago in a galaxy not too far away, there was a little video games company that had not yet been touched by the greedy taint of the MMORPG, that company was Blizzard. Blizzard made its mark by making games for Apple computers back when PC/Windows dominated the market. Their first game was a fantasy RTS(Real Time Strategy) pitting Humans against Orcs called Warcraft. They followed up their success by vastly improving the game with new features and multiplayer creating the battle network, and making a great game even better.
The one day one intrepid employee suggested that instead of just cranking out a sequel that they try something a little different and change things up.(This employee along with all the other decent employees are believed to have been cannibalized during the rise of the evil WoW) So they changed the setting to a sci-fi RTS allowing you to play between THREE different races as opposed to the standard two, each with their own unique play styles. Along with the Battle Network, Starcraft surpassed all previous expectations and became one of the biggest competition games, and also was the only Blizzard game to be ported over to the N64 console.
The story behind Starcraft is fairly uninteresting as mostly it’s told in long texts in between missions. Here is the skinny; the Terrans(humans) left a destroyed and over populated earth to branch out and colonize new worlds. There is a whole civil war thing going on but I never really paid attention to it, they do this running theme with using American Civil war names and places for the new human worlds and cities etc etc. The Terrans encounter a race of Psionic aliens called the Protoss who were created by an ancient race of aliens as guardians of the galaxy against another race, also created by the ancient aliens, called the Zerg. The Zerg are an unstoppable Swarm of destruction that assimilate or destroy any race they come across inorder to become stronger. Led by the Overmind, a sort of hive mind for the Zerg, they see the new humans with their own awakening psionic power as a possible weapon to even the fight against the powerful Protoss, and that is the story in a nut shell.
Each of the three races has their own strengths and weaknesses, all with their own play styles.
The Terrans play as your typical military units and while they are strong on both offence and defense, when properly set up a Terran base is nearly impenetrable. With bunkers that allow you to place and shield basic soldier units who target both ground and air troops, coupled with long range siege tanks capable of smashing most enemies before they get close, and supported with Missile turrets that can detect invisible or hidden units while attack air attackers, a well-defended Terran player can just sit back and let his opponents waste units and resources while trying to break through. If that is too slow paced you can always just roll out a hand full of tanks to wipe out the enemy in a single wave. Terran’s have their issues with resource management but are a good well rounded race.
Probably my favorite race to play as, with the Terran running second, the Zerg plays as an unstoppable force of sheer numbers. Zerg players for the most part just create more and more units to send at opponents in wave after wave of destruction. The Zerg’s real advantage is in out numbering and swarming opponents with their never ending forces. Their base units cost very little and the Zergling unit hatches two for the cost of one. Plus it’s just so much fun to send and pack Ultralisk juggernauts into an opponent’s base and watch them decimate your enemies. Zerg are also sneaky as opposed to just being fast. They have the ability to burrow into the ground and hide. The Zerg are the perfect race to play if you just want to harass other players.
The Protoss is an odd case and I personally found them hard to play. While they are a good mix of power and defense. Each unit is equipped with an energy shield in addition to their health/armor. This armor boost comes at a bit of a cost in the old resource cost department, making it difficult to build up your starting forces fast enough to deal with early attackers. They come with really strong defenses and unlike the Zerg and Terrans which are limited in due to supply depots and Overloards, the protoss use Shield batteries to power their buildings and are more cost effective than the other two races, while giving troop boosts to nearby forces.
No matter what race you select or play style you favor there are a wide variety of maps and worlds to play on as well as a wonderfully crafted Level Editor that allows players to create their maps and missions where you will collect resources, set up bases and tacticalize your battle plans.
Blizzard released one expansion for StarCraft called Brood War, which takes place after the main game and deals with the fall out of the actions taken. This introduces new factions and units to the races. Such as the Dark Protoss; an alternative to the Protoss Templar, the Zerg gain a new hero; The Queen of Blades; and the Terran get a few new vehicles and units to boost their armies.
This led to some new balancing issues as well and a drastic change in online play and the new units could drastically turn the tide of battle or make a difficult opponent even harder. The online community grew so expansive that it covered nearly every country on the globe especially in Asia, with Korea having the biggest fan base. So big in fact that when Blizzard finally released its alpha/beta’s of Starcraft ; Korea was the only country to reactive testing, and for over two years of stalled development only Korea was able see what the next generation would be like
At this time Blizzard also began work on their new Warcraft III and the last title of the Warcraft RTS realm before converting over all its programmers and forces to creating the MMORPG that nearly destroyed Blizzard and their fan base completely.
Starcraft the original is still widely available and the BattleNet still supports online play. So check it out if you get the chance.