Of the three universes that Blizzard walks in, the StarCraft franchise is technically the least developed; Warcraft now spans four games, five expansions, fifteen novels (Rise of the Horde, The Last Guardian, Tides of Darkness, Beyond the Dark Portal, Day of the Dragon, Lord of the Clans, Of Blood and Honor, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, the War of the Ancients trilogy, Cycle of Hatred, Night of the Dragon, Stormrage and The Shattering), 3 manga series (Legends, Sunwell Trilogy and Mage), 2 comic series (Ashbringer and the monthly comic) and a pen-and-paper RPG. Diablo encompasses two games, two expansions, an RPG, four novels, and an upcoming third game. Starcraft has two games, two expansions, and novels. This is changing as StarCraft II is slated to have new books are in the works.
Parallels to WarCraft III
Several gaming elements first introduced in StarCraft were later adapted for use in Warcraft: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft: The Frozen Throne.
Previous Warcraft games offered two campaigns, Orc and Human, which essentially dealt with the same events through different eyes. With three races, Blizzard decided to stack the campaigns to deal with different events, told in chronological order in one combined story arc. Essentially, you were dissuaded from playing the Zerg or the Protoss, because you didn't learn the plot details of the Terrans. This was adapted for Warcraft III with a minor difference: you no longer had option to defy the chronology. Additionally, the campaigns for both games proceeded similarly (For the original game, the Human campaign went first, then the Evil campaign second, and finally, the "Neutral" party third. For their expansions, the "Neutral" party went first, then the Human campaign second, and the Evil force third).
In the final mission of the game, the player commanded two armies, one Protoss and one Terran, in a last-ditch effort to save the universe by defeating the insidious Overmind of the Zerg, which was hell-bent on assimilating the Protoss and Terrans as the next step in the Zerg's unnatural evolution. Similarly, in the final mission of WCIII, the user commands a Night Elf army reinforced by Orcs, Humans, Trolls, Furbolgs, Tauren, High Elves, and Dwarves to stop Archimonde from ascending Mount Hyjal. The two Antagonist/Anti-Hero characters, Arthas Menethil and Sarah Kerrigan, are similar to one another. Kerrigan's transformation from human to Zerg, and her subsequent embracing of the darkness, also closely parallels the tale of Sylvanas Windrunner.
Warcraft I and Warcraft II were completely balanced: for each human unit or building, there was a corresponding orc unit or building with similar damage, armor, and requirements. The only differences occurred with spells. In StarCraft, no such perfect equality existed.
The four races have different advantages, most of them similar to the racial attributes of the Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss from StarCraft. The different strategically significant traits of the races in StarCraft have been combined in new ways to form the Warcraft III races. The Warcraft III night elves, for instance, resemble the Terrans in that their buildings can move and their base fighting unit has a missile attack, but like the Zerg, their worker units are consumed when they create most buildings. The Undead have the Protoss's ability to summon buildings rather than constructing them, so a worker unit is not tied up in construction; also like the Protoss, they have a dedicated invisible spy unit, but their buildings have to be constructed upon dedicated infested terrain called Blight (like the Zerg Creep), and their army line-up is strategically similar to that of the Zerg.
The basic Terran combat unit, the Marine, is a fairly durable ranged unit, capable of attacking both ground and space units. By contrast, the first fighter unit available to the Zerg was the tiny, brittle Zergling who could only attack ground units and whose usefulness came mostly from its low cost, speed, and that two spawned from one larva. Finally, the Protoss Zealot, though only attacking ground units, is extremely durable, in addition to shields. Similarly, the central Zerg building, the Hatchery, evolves into a Lair and later into a Hive, while the Terran Command Center and Protoss Nexus do not evolve.
In Warcraft III, the races are balanced from the perspective that they all have infantry, ranged, cavalry and spellcasters, with similar-type production facilities, but feature different specific abilities and traits.
References to Warcraft
- In World of Warcraft, zerging is a term that now means attacking a player or mob (or a group composed of them) with a far bigger group. The word is derived from the "zergling rush" strategy in StarCraft.
- Zerg Drones mutate into structures, the player using the Drone unit. In Warcraft III, night elf wisps morph into structures, the wisp likewise being lost.
- All Zerg structures must be built on creep. The undead in Warcraft III must build all their structures on a substance known as blight, which possesses similar properties.
- The Protoss summon their structures onto the battlefield. The undead do so likewise in Warcraft III.
- Many Terran structures are mobile. The same applies for many night elf structures in Warcraft III, which are able to "uproot" themselves.
- The Protoss Stalker possesses an ability known as "Blink". An identical ability is possessed by the night elf warden in Warcraft III and the Mage character class in World of Warcraft (although the latter can only teleport a short distance in front of them).
- Marine, Zergling, Hydralisk and Space Fel Orc (based on the Firebat unit) models can be found in Warcraft III.
- Zerglings can be summoned as non-combat pets in the World of Warcraft Collector's Edition.
- If you zoom in very close and stand under a Goblin Shredder in World of Warcraft, you will see that there is a miniature duplicate of the Brood War box art (the picture of Kerrigan as the "Queen of Blades") on the monitor.
- Lord Marshal Raynor is found during the portal event in World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade. His name is a reference to the Terran hero, Jim Raynor.
- Zhar'doom, Greatstaff of the Devourer is an epic DPS-caster staff that drops from Illidan Stormrage in the Black Temple. The staff looks like a Zergling. Alternatively, this may be a reference to a Devouring One (an upgraded Zergling NPC unit).
- On top of the Merc Haven in StarCraft II, a holographic woman can be seen doing the night elf dance (each gender of each race having their own dance in World of Warcraft).
- The Alliance is one of the two main factions in Warcraft, having been created in response to the threat of the Horde in the Second War. The Alliance in StarCraft parallels this, the Protoss and Terrans facing the universal threat of the Zerg.
- StarCraft possess the Argus Stone, Argus crystals, Argus talismans, etc. The homeworld of the draenei is a world called Argus.
- The capital of the island nation of Kul Tiras in Warcraft is Boralus. In StarCraft, the capital of the planet of Braxis is Boralis.
- Demon fel hunters in Warcraft bear great similarity to Zerglings.
- The titans, a race of supreme beings which seed life on various worlds in the Warcraft universe, could be taken from the Xel'Naga, a similar god-like race in StarCraft.
- Two StarCraft Dropship callsigns, Doomhammer and Lightbringer, are taken from Warcraft characters Orgrim Doomhammer and Uther Lightbringer respectively.
- Acolyte: My life for Aiur...er I mean Ner'zhul! (a quote of the Zealot taking precedence over an Acolyte's worship of the Lich King)
- Artanis: This is not Warcraft in space! (a reference to the phrase used to coin the StarCraft alpha, which bore great resemblance to Warcraft II)
- Artanis: What do I look like, an orc? (Warcraft orcs, if clicked on enough times, will exclaim "stop poking me!")
- Mortar Team: Tassadar has failed us. You must not. (a gag quote in Warcraft III and a repeat of Aldaris in the first mission briefing of Episode III)
- Fan fiction involving Warcraft and Starcraft