Continued work on SotX: Chapter 3

Summer is almost over an I barely spent any time on the third Chapter of my StarCraft 2 campaign "Shadow of the Xel'Naga". But the recent mapper meeting with Blizzard has motivated me over the past week to put some effort into the map. The last time I had worked on the map was in April. Back then I updated my blog to inform people of the features of this map. Here's the short list:

- Tug-of-War-gameplay
- Two very different heroes.
- Experience points to level heroes and abilites.
- an inventory and usable items.

Over the past week I spent most of my time on balancing the map for fun combat. Since the heroes the player(s) can control are so different I've been trying create areas that promote their abilities.

The Dark Templar Xerana is very similar to Zeratul in the Protoss mini-campaign. She relies mostly on stealth and melee combat. She uses a Void Prison to effectively eliminate single targets. In emergency situations she can cast a Psionic Storm to get rid of multiple enemies. She can also teleport to otherwise unreachable space. She has an ultimate ability that allows her to duplicate herself so she can deal twice the amount of damage. Xerana should be used to find weak spots in the enemies defences.

Imagine a situation with her standing where the enemy has a Missile Turret and a Siege Tank on high ground. She can quickly teleport to that spot, use Void Prison to block the Missile Turret's ability to scan invisible units, then use her Cloak to dispose of the Tank and when the Missile Turret gets back in action and enemy forces come to help she can teleport back to the low ground, awaiting her allied forces to support them with her Psionic Storm.

The Star Relic, on the other hand, is a massive combat unit. It can use a Pulse Cannon which is similar to the Battlecruiser's Yamato Gun to dispose of enemy Tanks or Spore Colonies. Its Matrix Shield allows it to take additional damage and its healing capabilities can support allied forces. Its ultimate ability is massive shockwave that damages enemies and stuns all enemies that survive the shockwave. The Star Relic should be used to fight enemy waves and crack their defense line with brute force.

Both heroes can use a variety of items:
- Portals allow them to teleport back to the last check point.
- Medkits heal and replenish shields.
- Energy Kits restore energy.
- Enemies can be lured into Spider mines.
- Single targets can be eliminated with a Vortex Bomb.
- Grenades can be used to kill groups of weak enemies.

The gameplay is about 40% complete, including AI, level design and balancing. Level art, audio and cinematics will be started after that. No screenshots until then (I guess). No ETA. This post is just here to let you know the project is not dead.

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