Starcraft is one of the longest-standing video game intellectual properties ever despite the fact that it only technically has two actual games to its name. While those two games have a significantly wide gap between the release (12 years), the core real-time strategy (RTS) formula and gameplay remain the same: build a base, build an army, destroy the enemy with lots of major details in-between.
Most players and fans will simply dismiss the logic and the intricacies in the lore and the game world. However, as you repeatedly replay the Starcraft games due to a lack of Starcraft 3, you begin to notice some glaring things that don't make much sense when compared to our real-world grasp of economy. Such arbitrary design and gameplay choices have often made for hilarious banter or nitpicking. Here are 10 of those things.
10 MAGIC MINERALS
Minerals are one of the two resources you need to mine in all Starcraft games. As it turns out, their importance to the games' universe is unparalleled-- Terrans use them to mold into armor or metal, Protoss use them as conduits, and Zerg, uh, eat them. In short, they're the Mary sue of all RTS resources, able to do anything and everything without much explanation. Heck, it's even generically called just "minerals."
To make it questionable, apparently, these "minerals" are an infinitely renewable natural product of nature that can pretty much be turned into anything. It basically ends half the reason why living things need to wage war against each other; Terrans and Protoss get unlimited materials for tech and the Zerg get unlimited food... why are they all fighting again?
9 EVERYONE NEEDS VESPENE GAS
Unlike "minerals" Vespene gas is finite and pretty much functions like the fossil fuels we are so fond of right now. Terrans use it to fuel their vehicles, Protoss use it as a catalyst, and the Zerg... well, they eat it, as always. As you can imagine, all the races need the Vespene gas but since it's finite, it can be a cause of conflict.
The problem with the Vespene gas, particularly for the Terrans is that they actually sought it out because their resources were dwindling-- meaning they basically replaced their finite resource with another equally finite non-renewable resource. Sounds familiar, right? Anyway, it's hard to imagine huge hulking space vessels still relying on fossil fuel; such a backward technology would have hindered space travel due to weight.
8 WHERE DO THE UNITS COME FROM?
This is where the gameplay starts to make some questionable compromises on logic. In all Starcraft games, you command armies; yet in every new game (skirmish, at least) you only start out with a handful of workers and a measly command center. Most competent militaristic factions usually send out whole army detachments to build a satellite base or make camp.
Starting from scratch is not exactly the most strategic way to colonize an alien-infested country. Besides, where do all the Terran units come from? Protoss use warp technology to portal their armies while the Zerg grow them like bacteria, Terrans, on the other hand, have a questionable method of bringing in troops and we're not even referring to the penal colony marines.
7 EFFICIENCY RATIO OF INFANTRY
In a world where walking mech-robots and space fortresses reign supreme, infantry usually becomes an afterthought especially if one doesn't really need to assimilate a city or settlement. That's why using infantry for both the Terran and Protoss is a questionable economic choice. They have all these robotics along with the renewable means of making them (minerals) and yet they still choose frail grunts to do half the work.
While both races could easily come up with cloning technology to ensure a steady pool of soldiers, that still pales in comparison to the efficiency and savings of fully mechanized armies or large ships with only a few human personnel. Not to mention the firepower is also greater than anything ground troops could deal. They really need to rethink their armies.
Speaking of rethinking their armies, both the Protoss and Terran might also want to take advantage of their cloaking abilities more. Of course, the developers had to balance out stealth unit capabilities for gameplay reasons but when you think about it, not utilizing stealth technologies against usually-dumb enemies like the Zerg ground troops is just puzzling on their part.
Then there's also some of the Protoss flyers that turn everything invisible around them except them. It completely defeats the purpose from a real-life functional standpoint and looks like the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, ironic. Military vehicles like those are simply a waste of funds and resources.
5 PROTOSS' WARP TECHNOLOGY
Among all the three races of Starcraft games, the Protoss are the most advanced and wisest. They have existed for eons and developed their own technology far better than humans have; suffice to say, they are the polar opposite of the Zerg. Still, the application for their technology, particularly for warp portals leaves a lot to be desired.
Some of their units seem to use it liberally which makes it questionable why their drones still mine minerals and Vespene the traditional way. Given their bleeding-edge technology, they could have simply warped the resources back to wherever for a faster supply line. It's like having the ability to teleport but only using it for showing off.
4 TERRAN NUKES
Having a superweapon is more than just an achievement, it's also a huge responsibility, more so if it's a nuclear weapon you have. Apart from needing the proper resources to manage it, one also has to come up with a delivery system that ensures the nuke lands where it should... so far the Terrans came up with a sneaky man wielding a laser pointer.
Again we have here another balancing issue but nevertheless, needing a Ghost to spot your supposed nuke ground zero is just cumbersome and would never work both strategically and economically. Why spend tons of resources and research for something that can and will go wrong because of human error?
3 RESTARTING THE RESEARCH EVERY GAME
The tech tree is a staple in every RTS or even strategy games and it's done a lot more rapidly in Starcraft games. Even so, it's quite tedious since you have to manage your minerals and Vespene well and research is just another expense, after all.
It does help in the long term but if you're placed in the shoes of a Terran marine, you might be perplexed by you're given the most basic weapons and armor after having deployed in your previous campaign with the leveled-up stuff. From a gameplay perspective, it makes sense, but it's a huge waste of time and resources having to do it over and over again for each new colony.
2 MELEE WEAPONS
Once guns started becoming more practical in our human history, swords quickly became obsolete. So how and why the Protoss are still keeping melee weapons is a huge militaristic oversight. For the Zerg, it's pretty well-excused since their just bugs mostly.
Having religion or tradition as a reason for having melee weapons still is just a lame excuse especially when you already have one of the best teleportation technologies in the universe. The preservation of your troops by giving them all ranged weapons is a lot smarter especially since most Zerg swarms are melee. It's no wonder the Protoss lost their homeworld.
1 FRONTLINE MANUFACTURING/TRAINING
When it comes to warfare, modern or ancient, putting the backbone of your army in the frontlines is sure way to lose. This backbone consists of factories, arms manufacturers, training grounds, and other military and technological facilities. Factions or nations usually leave it at the heart of their country because that's the intelligent way to do it.
You don't put a marine academy, or a refinery, or a tank/space ship production facility in a frontline camp. Not only would that be exponentially expensive, but it would also easily cripple your army. All three factions in Starcraft games do it anyway. It's what makes RTS games fun in the first place, though arguably, it also shows Starcraft's age and outdated mechanics.