Starcraft 2 Beta Preview: Terran
Starcraft 2 is now in beta, and boasts a number of exciting new changes to the existing races, including (but not limited to) new mechanics, new units and new spells for existing units. The Terran army bears a resemblance to its Starcraft days, but with some great new additions.
Starcraft 2 Preview: New Terran Mechanics
The Terran playstyle is similar to the way they were in Starcraft, but with some changes that streamline some of the things that made playing Terran difficult in Starcraft. Instead of building add-ons for your Command Center to gain the utility of a Com-Sat, the Command Center can be upgraded into two new buildings - a Orbital Command, and a Planetary Fortress. The Orbital Command has several powerful spells, a scanner sweep (much like Starcraft's Com-Sat), a Supply Calldown, which can boost the effectiveness of a Supply Depot in times of need, and the ability to summon M.U.L.E.s, a new resource gathering unit which can radically improve the rate at which minerals are gathered - a huge economic advantage. The Planetary Fortress, on the other hand, comes with no abilities but boasts increased armor and a powerful cannon that makes assaulting Terran resource lines dangerous if not suicidal.
Building add-ons still exist, but have become standardized, opening up new strategies and allowing for quicker production of high-tech units. A tech lab may be built on a Barracks and a Factory can use it without having to build one of its own. There is also a new add-on, the reactor, which locks the higher tech units but allows double the production of tier one units for each bulding - Marines for a Barracks, Hellions for a Factory, and VIkings and Med-Evacs for the Starport.
A new utility building, the Sensor Tower, provides a long range early-warning system, warning of the approach of enemy units even in the fog of war.
New Terran Units - Ground
Many of the Terran army's core units remain unchanged - the Marine is still the backbone of the Terran ground army, and the Siege Tank remains a powerful and devastatingly effective defense and assault vehicle - but there are many that have been changed or completely removed. The Ghost is still a deadly specialist unit, but instead of Lockdown, the Ghost now has Snipe, a low-energy attack that is effective against weak units and excellent for killing off workers, and EMP (which was part of the Science Vessel's armament in Starcraft) which is extremely effective against casters and Protoss shields
There are many new units as well. Gone is the Firebat, replaced with a similarly well-armored infantry unit, the Marauder, which are tough soldiers with a high-damage missile attack, and the ability to upgrade that attack into a slow. The Reaper is another new unit that bears two pistols and is very dangerous against light units and buildings - and has the unique ability to use rocketpacks to jump up and down cliffs, making them devastatingly effective in early-game harassment.
The Hellion, a light assault buggy, has replaced the Vulture, and possesses a line attack that is deadly to workers and light units - together with the Reaper they can shut down an enemies economy entirely, though they are very fragile. There is also the mighty Thor, a huge mech with two hand cannons ground-to-air missiles with splash, extremely deadly weapons when facing massed air units.
New Terran Units - Air
Like the Protoss fleet, Terran air capability has been changed entirely. The Battlecruiser remains, powerful and imposing as ever, but the Science Vessel and Wraith are gone. In their place is the Viking, a versatile air-to-air fighter than can transform into a ground-to-ground mech, the Banshee, a very powerful assault craft that can cloak but only attacks ground units and buildings (but is very effective at both), and the Med-Evac, which combines the Dropship of Starcraft with the Medic - the Med-Evac can transport units and heal infantry, providing a useful function to a simple transport unit.
Replacing the Science Vessel is a powerful new support craft - the Raven. Instead of Irradiate or Defensive Matrix, the Raven can now drop turrets that attack both air and ground, excellent for support and harassment. They can also produce a Point Defense Drone, which defends against missile attacks, even the biological strikes of Hydralisks and Roaches. Finally, the Raven can release a Hunter-Seeker Missile, a slow but immensely powerful explosive that costs a great deal of energy but can destroy entire armies in sufficient quantities.
Terrans in Starcraft 2 - Impressions
Though many favorites from Starcraft are still in the Terran army, it is very clearly not the same game. Most noticeable is the fact that the Siege Tank is not as powerful as before - it will no longer be able to carry an army by itself. Still useful as an element of a Terran ground army, the Siege Tank now needs to be backed up by a greater diversity of units, and the loss of the Goliath makes this all the more important (since Thors are too expensive to be massed in the same way).
This being said, Terran still possess their greatest strength from Starcraft - versatility. With the ability to modify your Command Centers to fit the situation, to being able to transform Vikings as the battle calls for it, Terrans are able to adapt to changing situations quickly and decisively, allowing for a broad range of strategies and tactics.