@Xayj(OD) Think I'll own the record for longest post and do you think it'd make Terra blush?
With the advent of Patch 4.0, Wings of Liberty is now free to play. What that means is that anyone looking to try Starcraft 2 out can play the first Campaign involving the Terran faction at no cost. Zerg and Protoss Campaigns(Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void respectively) unfortunately cost money so if you wish to see how the story unfolds, you'll have to pony up(well worth it imo). There are guides posted online for you to peruse but to my surprise, no one has bothered to post one here for OD members to utilize. So I thought, why not make one? Anyways, those new and experienced to Starcraft 2 will find within this thread tips and tricks for how to successfully complete this Campaign(on any Difficulty). Unlike past Campaigns from Starcraft 1, Starcraft 2 gives you, the player, the freedom to pick and choose where to go. Therefore each playthrough on Wings of Liberty can be different, although some missions won't unlock until its prerequisite has been met. Each planet you visit in Wings of Liberty will grant access to a particular unit in the Terran arsenal. Some of the units are new to the Starcraft Universe, such as the Marauder or Hellion while classic Terran units such as the Firebat, Medic, Vulture and Wraith make a reappearance at some point during the campaign. The first 3 missions of Wings of Liberty are chosen for you as they take place on the Planet Mar Sara(a planet Starcraft veterans should be familiar with. For those who are new, its where Starcraft 1 starts). Below you will find descriptions of each mission. After that, you have the freedom to pick and choose where to go. The first 3 Missions, along with every mission in the Campaign you will find below in Spoilers. Within each Spoiler I describe the mission, its objective and give tricks and tips on how to complete it with the current technology and upgrades chosen at the time for this guide.
As you will witness in the Episode 3 Victory cutscene, you are picked up by Matt Horner aboard the Battlecruiser Hyperion(Raynor's Flagship). At this point in the game, you will have the freedom to pick and choose where to go and this will be the first opportunity in which you can upgrade your existing forces. Upgrading your Forces is HIGHLY recommended as it gives you an edge that can't be beat and makes missions on harder difficulties much easier. To do so, you merely head to the Armory. You have 100k Credits to work with and several upgrades to choose from. You have 2 Bunker upgrades, 2 Marine upgrades and 2 Medic Upgrades to start off. As units are added to your arsenal, upgrades for that particular unit will be added to the Armory console(in addition to extra Base upgrades). At this point in the game, I recommend buying 2 upgrades and both will be towards your Bunkers. Projectile Accelerators buff garrisoned units by increasing their attack range by 1 while Neosteel Bunker upgrade allows you to garrison up to 6 supply of units instead of 4. Both Bunker upgrades will cost 90k Credits, leaving you with 10k. You don't have to follow my recommendation on what upgrades to get but I do recommend you leave at least 5k for an upgrade prior to mission#5. You have two missions to choose from at this point in the game. Monlyth and the next Artifact mission wherein you gain Marauders or Agria and the first Dr.Hanson mission wherein you gain Firebats. Depending upon what upgrades you purchased will determine what mission to do first but seeing as I recommended buying both Bunker upgrades, we shall do Agria first.
With the Agria mission now complete, you're 100k Credits richer and Dr.Hanson joins your crew. In addition, the Cantina is unlocked wherein Mercenary contracts can be purchased. Mercenaries are basically Elite versions of Terran units wherein they have greater hitpoints and do more damage. As a consequence, Mercenaries cost more than their basic unit but they're oh so worth the cost. Unlike regular units that are produced from a Barracks or other Terran structure, Mercenaries are instantly recruited from a Mercenary Compound that you will have access to in every mission from mission 5 onward. War Pigs or the Elite Marine version are granted to you for free but other Mercenaries must be purchased if you wish to utilize them in future missions. Since I love using Mercenaries, I buy every Mercenary contract the Campaign gives me. Even if I don't use the Mercenaries every mission, just having them at my disposal is worth the credits. However, seeing as this is a guide, I recommend avoid purchasing Firebat Merc's unless you like the Firebat unit. Firebats have a tendency to run ahead of your Bio force, often taking lots of damage in the process and pulling your valuable Medics ahead of your Marines.
Now before doing mission#5, head to the Armory as you'll have 110k Credits. You will be buying 1 upgrade and its arguably the best upgrade in the entire Campaign: Stabilizer Medpacks for Medics. This upgrade noticeably improves the healing ability of Medics and since you didn't have the cash to buy it after Zero Hour, I chose Agria because it's more of a Defense mission wherein Bunkers can absorb most of the damage(and why I chose 2 Bunker upgrades). Now for Mission#5 you have three options: Monlyth(which I already discussed), Meinhoff(2nd Dr.Hanson Mission wherein you gain access to the Factory and Hellion unit) or Redstone(first Covert Mission involving Gabriel Tosh. Gain access to the Reaper unit). I recommend avoiding Meinhoff for now, hence its between Redstone or Monlyth. Regardless of what you pick, the other one will be Mission#6 but for practical purposes and considering this is a guide, I'll recommend doing Redstone first.
Having completed Redstone, you now have access to the Laboratory. Here you can access the Research console wherein you can choose unique upgrades for your Army. Having acquired 6 Zerg Research points in the past two missions, you'll have a choice between 2 Bunker upgrades: Shrike Turret or Fortified Bunker. Shrike Turret adds a Turret on top of your Bunkers, allowing them to attack nearby enemies, regardless if the Bunker is garrisoned with units. Fortified Bunker, on the other hand, yields an additional 150 hitpoints to your Bunkers, hence an impressive 550 hitpoint Defensive structure. Over the course of the Campaign, the Fortified Bunker upgrade will do more than the Shrike Turret. As you collect Bonus Research, you will unlock additional upgrades that you can access from the Laboratory panel. Should you exceed the cap of 25 Research points, you will gain 10k Credits per surplus point. Therefore doing bonus objectives will go a long way in acquiring the Armory upgrades and Mercenary contracts you'll need to complete the Campaign.
Also by doing Redstone, you gain another 110k Credits for a total of 115k at your disposal. You will want to buy the Marine Combat Shield upgrade(60k Credits), boosting their Life(and War Pigs) by 10. That will leave you with 55k. You can then buy Titanium Housing for your Missile Turrets(which will boost their life by 75), get Stimpacks for your Marines(allowing them to move and attack faster) or nothing at all. If you do buy an upgrade, I recommend Stimpacks since they make your Marines even more deadly since they can use this ability even when inside a Bunker. If a Medic is present inside the Bunker, it will heal the Marines inside the Bunker after Stimpack is used, making holding an area with Bunkers incredibly easy to do. Now with Redstone done, Monlyth is up next, although Bel Shir is an option if you want to continue the Covert Line.
With Monlyth now behind us, we now have 165k Credits(or 115k if you bought a 2nd upgrade prior to the last mission). I recommend buying the Marauder Concussive Shell upgrade(adds a snare or slow effect to their attacks) and purchasing Hammer Security Mercenaries(Marauder Merc's). Both will cost a total of 100k Credits, leaving you with 65k or 15k depending on what avenue you took with upgrades. If you haven't bought Marine Stimpacks by now, I would do so, hence that will leave you with 15k Credits. As to where to go next, we have the following options: Meinhoff, Bel Shir and now Tarsonis or the first Rebellion mission that will grant you access to the Diamondback. Of the three available missions and based on the upgrades we have secured so far, I recommend Meinhoff next.
Meinhoff will definitely leave a mark but its a really fun mission, particularly on harder difficulties. Meinhoff will reward you with 2 more Zerg Research(putting you at 8) and another 110k Credits to work with(for a total of 125k). You will want to buy a Missile Turret upgrade for the upcoming mission and unfortunately, we only have enough Credits for one at this time. Of the two, I recommend choosing the cheaper cousin in the form of Titanium Housing. The extra 75 life for Missile Turrets will help immensely in the following mission. The upgrade costs 50k Credits, leaving you with 75k. As for what mission to choose next, we have two options: Bel Shir(2nd Tosh mission) or Tarsonis(first Rebellion mission). We don't have the upgrades or units that I would like to successfully complete Tarsonis so that pretty much picks Bel Shir by default.
Welcome to the Jungle is arguably the second hardest mission you will have done to this point(with Zero Hour easily #1 if you played it on Brutal). However, if you were successful in getting the Protoss Research in addition to 7 Terrazine Cannisters, you will now have 7 Protoss Research points(enough for your first Protoss upgrade!!). The first Protoss upgrade is an extremely difficult choice as either one will serve you well. Your first option is Ultra-Capacitors. These take your Weapon upgrades and adds a 5% Increased Attack speed buff for each upgrade you do. In other words, as you upgrade the damage output of your units, their attack speed also increases. For units such as the Marauder, Goliath or units that don't fire that fast, its a huge boost to DPS(Damage per second). The other upgrade is Vanadium Plating wherein for each Armor upgrade you do increases the Life of your units by 5%. Hence as you upgrade unit Armor during a mission, their life gets boosted as well. For Marines, its a particularly helpful upgrade as it allows them to absorb more punishment. The life boost is more noticeable on higher hitpoint units like Terran Vehicles and Air units. Even War Pigs(which sit at 85 Life after Combat Shield Upgrade) reach 97 life after 3 Armor upgrades. For a Marine that is A LOT. Of the two upgrades, I find Ultra-Capacitors to be the more shrewd choice as it works in 100% of situations. Terran Infantry are typically garrisoned inside Bunkers, hence the life boost from Vanadium plating does them no good when Bunkers are absorbing all their damage, but the Ultra-Capacitor upgrade DOES affect them at all times(even when they're inside a Bunker). The Attack speed boost is particularly helpful for units we've yet to acquire so I recommend going with Ultra-Capacitors.
In addition to gaining a nice Research upgrade to our units, we also acquired another 120k Credits, giving us 195k! Prior to the next mission, I advise purchasing the other Missile Turret upgrade in Hellstorm Batteries(80k) and Ares-Class Targeting System for Goliaths(80k). Hellstorm Battery upgrade gives an AoE attack to Missile Turrets. Against Zerg Mutalisks, its very effective. The Ares Targeting System upgrades the Attack Range of the Goliath. I love using Goliaths and they were my favorite unit in Starcraft 1 and in future missions, you will need their range to deal with the threats to come. Their other upgrade also makes them an ideal compliment to your Bio-Ball but unfortunately we can't afford it just yet as these 2 upgrades leave us with 35k Credits. As to where to go next, we have four options: Tarsonis(where we'd get the Diamondback but would have a difficult time completing it with the arsenal and upgrades at our disposal), Haven(access to the Viking air unit and Starport Structure), New Folsom(unit we get is by choice) or Xil(third Artifact mission wherein we get the Siege Tank(a signature Terran unit)). Of the four, I recommend New Folsom.
New Folsom is the first opportunity in the Campaign where you have two options. The first option is to side with Gabriel Tosh in breaking out his Spectre compatriots(wherein you'll gain access to the Spectre unit and the mission Breakout) or siding with Terra Nova in stopping Tosh from reactivating his Spectre force(wherein you'll gain access to Ghosts and the mission Ghost of a Chance). There is no right or wrong choice here since either unit is effective at what it does but of the two units, I prefer Ghosts for the simple fact they get the Ocular Implant upgrade. For those who haven't played Starcraft 1 before, Ocular Implants was an upgrade for Ghosts that increased their vision and notably attack range. Being able to attack from a greater distance makes Ghosts better at dropping Nukes and a very effective unit(especially against Zerg). I will discuss Ghost of a Chance first and then Breakout.
With your Covert missions out of the way, you now have access to specialist units. Depending on which one you chose will determine what abilities and upgrades will be at your disposal but I recommended that you side with Nova to get Ghosts. Ghosts have two unique upgrades: Ocular Implants(that increase their sight by 3 and attack range by 2) and Crius Suit(that makes Cloak cost no Energy). Crius Suit in particular is why I had you do New Folsom because permanently cloaked Ghosts can have a huge impact on the missions ahead. Doing Ghost of a Chance(or Breakout) nets you an additional 175k Credits for a total of 210k. You will then want to buy Crius Suit for 125k or Nyx Suit for Spectres if you opted to side with Tosh. This leaves you with 85k and hence have two options. You can either buy Ocular Implants for Ghosts(85k) or Multi-Lock Weapon System for Goliaths(50k). I'd get Ocular Implants so that Ghosts are maximized for the missions ahead(an attack range of 8(9 inside a Bunker!) is insane). Psionic Lash or the other Spectre upgrade takes 100k, hence why I opted for Ghosts(their upgrades are cheaper).
Now you can go do Haven(Viking mission), Tarsonis(Diamondback mission) or Xil(Artifact mission). I recommend doing Xil(and I'll explain why after).
The reason I chose Xil or The Dig mission is because it unlocks the Prophecy Arc of missions. A cutscene will show Zeratul giving Raynor a Protoss Ihan Crystal. From this Crystal(which you can access in the Laboratory), you can do all the Prophecy missions. These Prophecy missions will give a substantial boost to your Research(+13 to Zerg, +11 to Protoss), hence giving you gobs of useful upgrades that will go a long way towards completing future missions. You will want to do ALL 4 Prophecy missions in order and these Prophecy missions differentiate from the Campaign in that you get to control and utilize Protoss units. Before we get to the Prophecy Missions, completing The Dig Mission netted you another 120k Credits and +3 to Protoss Research(putting you at level 10 overall). At 10 you will have the option of choosing between Orbtial Depots(allowing you to build Supply Depots almost instantly) or Micro-Filtering(producing 25% more Vespene Gas). Orbital Depots are nice but the extra Vespene will pay HUGE dividends in later missions as you will be able to mine Vespene Gas that much faster. Of the two, I'd choose Micro-Filtering. As for what to spend our credits on, we will wait until after the Prophecy Missions.
Having completed the Prophecy missions, your research now stands at 21 on both. For the Protoss tree, the level 15 upgrade grants Automated Refineries or Command Center Reactor(allowing you to train 2 SCV's at once). This choice is frankly a no brainer: Automated Refineries. Although the cost of building Refineries goes up to 100 Minerals, you save 150 minerals from having to send 3 SCV's to mine the Gas. Furthermore, Gas is automatically mined from any starting Refinery, hence giving you a quick early mission push for more advanced units(like Ghosts). If you need more SCV production, build more Command Centers. The level 20 upgrade is a choice of Detector units: Raven or Science Vessel. Again the choice is rather lopsided in the Science Vessel. Its Nano-Repair ability is invaluable and its Irradiate spell is actually extremely useful. The ability to repair Mech allows it to accompany your forces, granting them invaluable detection and allowing Goliaths and other mechanical units(including Air Units) to supplement your Infantry. This creates an effective combat force.
For Zerg, you've unlocked level 10, 15 and 20 upgrades. For level 10, its a choice between Planetary Fortress or Perdition Turret. Some will instantly want that Tank of a Planetary Fortress but I recommend Perdition Turrets and here is why: They're basically a structure version of Firebats, making Firebats and even Hellions redundant when it comes to base defense. Perdition Turrets shred Zerglings and burrow when not in use, allowing you to move over them(something you cant do with Planetary Fortresses). Also a Base upgrade that you will eventually get is more valuable than any Planetary Fortress, hence by default(at least to me) is Perdition Turret. For level 15, its a choice between Predator or Hercules. Honestly, the choice here frankly sucks but the Hercules is the better of the two thanks to their ability to load gobs of units inside and quickly deploy all of them to the battlefield. If only they had the Co-Op ability to Tactical Jump... *cries*. Even though level 15 sucked, level 20 Zerg upgrade is rather powerful and a no brainer. The choice is between Cellular Reactor or Regenerative Biosteel. Having chosen Science Vessels, there is no need for Regenerative Biosteel. Furthermore, the heal rate on this upgrade is 36 hitpoints/minute. In RTS terms, that is an eternity, particularly when Sci Vessels and SCVs can repair that damage in a fraction of the time. Cellular Reactors, on the other hand, grant Medics, Sci Vessels, Ghosts and any unit with Energy a boost to starting Energy and overall Maximum Energy. This makes your units even better than before and therefore is the must have option.
Now having finished the Prophecy missions, we will now spend that 120k Credits we had from doing The Dig. Numerous Base upgrades should be available by now and the one we will be targeting will be the Dual Fusion Worker upgrade for SCV's. This essentially doubles the repair rate for SCV's, allowing 1-2 SCV's to effectively repair a Bunker taking enormous amounts of damage. This will cost 80k Credits, leaving 40k. We will leave that 40k for now to focus on the next mission. As for what mission to do next, we have the following: Haven(Viking), Tarsonis(Diamondback) and Tyrador(unlocks Medevacs). Now that we have sufficient Technology and units, its time to do Tarsonis.
With Tarsonis now done, we're 110k Credits richer and Zerg Research stands at 24. With 150k Credits, we're going to buy the most expensive base upgrade we can get in the Orbital Command upgrade. This upgrades your Command Centers into Orbital Commands. This grants you the ability to comsat or scan an area for cloaked/burrowed units and to call down MULES. MULES are temporary robotic mining units that excel at Mining minerals(30 minerals per load compared to an SCV's 5. They bring in 270 minerals over the life they're active). Combined with Automated Refineries, MULES boost Mineral production even further and will make future missions a whole lot easier. This upgrade costs 125k so we're left with 25k. Our mission choices at this point are Haven(Viking), Tyrador(Medevac) or Dead Man's Port(Vulture). Seeing as we've been neglecting the Rebellion arc, its time we do another one so off to Dead Man's Port we go.
With Dead Man's Port now finished, our Credit reserve now stands at 145k(+120k) and our Protoss Research now stands at 24(just like our Zerg). Meaning as soon as we get 1 more point on either tree will unlock the level 25 upgrade for either. Furthermore, every surplus point is 10k Credits. As for what to buy, we will buy the Fire Supression system(90k Credits) and Spartan Mercenaries(40k). That leaves us with 15k prior to the next mission. Our options are Haven(Viking), Tyrador(Medevac) or Valhala(Wraith).
Haven has been an option for some time now and its time we choose it. Haven is the second time this Campaign where we have two mission variants. Option A is to side with Dr.Hanson wherein the bonus is +3 to Zerg Research while option B is to side with the Protoss to get +3 to Protoss Research. I've done both missions but due to what upgrade is available on the Protoss side, we will choose to side with the Protoss. If you choose to side with Dr.Hanson, I'll list what to do afterwards.
Depending upon your choice will determine what Research power you will have unlocked. If you chose Safe Haven route, you will have unlocked Hive Emulator and Psi Disruptor. Either one will work but I like Psi Disruptors simply because they drastically slow down the movement and attack rate of nearby Zerg units. Hive Emulator has its perks too as you can amass a huge Zerg Army. If you chose Haven's Fall route(which is what I advocated), you will have unlocked Orbital Strike(units arrive by Drop-Pod) or Tech Reactor(Takes Tech Labs and Reactors and combines them into one Add-On). Tech Reactors, without even thinking, should be the choice here. In addition to unlocking the best Add-On, you gain 125k + 20k for surplus Research.
To spend that cash I recommend Phobos Class Weapon Systems(increases attack range for Vikings) for 90k and hiring Hel's Angels(Mercenary Vikings) for 45k. That will leave you with 10k Credits going into the next mission. Of our available options, we have Valhala(Wraith) and Tyrador(Medevac). Considering the amount of upgrades we've acquired and having Tech Reactors at our disposal, it really doesn't matter which mission you choose. For the sake of this guide, however, we will do Valhala.
With the Odin now in our possession, it screams doing Korhal(wherein we get Thors) next but the results of our previous mission have yielded 120k +20k from Research(and the level 25 Zerg upgrade if we haven't already done so. Else add another 10k). As I noted prior to this mission, I advocate choosing Psi Disruptors for the level 25 Zerg upgrade. With 150k Credits at our disposal, we can spend it all on the following: Maelstrom Rounds(+40 Damage to primary target for Siege Tanks in Siege Mode) costing 105k and hiring Siege Breakers(Mercenary Siege Tank) for 45k. Up next is Korhal and the mission Media Blitz.
With Media Blitz complete, you gain 120k Credits and unlock the Secret Mission. Since we're doing the Secret Mission next, we'll hold off on any upgrades for now.
Should you successfully complete Piercing the Shroud, you'll earn another 125k + 70k from Research for a total of 195k. Combined from what you have from Media Blitz means you have 315k Credits. You'll want to buy the final Base upgrade in Advanced Construction(this allows you to build ANY structure with multiple SCV's. This makes building Supply Depots and notably Command Centers a really quick operation, hence why we chose Micro-Filtering over Orbital Depots) that costs 60k. You'll then want Kinetic Foam(+25 Life for Marauders) that costs 90k. Finally Shaped Blast upgrade for Siege Tanks(reduces Friendly Fire damage by 75%) that costs 140k. All told that's 290k, leaving you with 25k. With Rebellion line now finished, all that is left to do is Tyrador.
Completing the previous mission nets you 150k Credits. You'll want to purchase Ripwave Missiles(grants a Splash effect to Viking AA Missiles) for 75k, leaving you with 100k. Up next is Typhon and the mission Supernova.
After having finished Supernova, you should be 160k Credits richer(totaling 260k). You will want to buy both Banshee upgrades. The first one is Shockwave Missile Battery(costs 110k and allows your Banshee attacks to hit units behind the primary target. Against clumps of enemies, particularly Zerg, its INVALUABLE). The other upgrade is Cross-Spectrum Dampeners(costs 80k and halves the Energy drain of the Banshee Cloak). At 190k Credits, these two upgrades will serve you well in the remaining missions. With 70k Credits left, you'll plop 60k into buying Dusk Wings(Mercenary Banshees), leaving you with 10k. You will be using these at some point so best to get them now. Up next is the final Artifact Mission and to where you FINALLY get to use the Terran Faction's greatest Weapon: The Battlecruiser.
With the Artifact completed, its time to head to Char. Maw of the Void netted you another 165k Credits(175k Total) so put that towards whatever you want. I typically like to get all Mercenaries, but its not needed to complete the rest of the Campaign. What upgrades you pick are up to you but I'd consider Thermite Filaments for Hellions, and both Spider Mine upgrades for the Vulture. You'd be surprised just how effective the Spider Mine can be on Defense.
Upon completing Gates of Hell, you'll witness arguably the best cutscene in the entire Campaign. Seeing as we don't have any more Credits to work with, there isn't anything we can do but go to the next mission. The next mission happens to be the third and final "Option" mission of the Campaign. You have to decide what you want to remove from the Final Mission. You can either side with Tychus and remove their Nydus Worms(thereby starting the mission Belly of the Beast) or siding with Warfield to remove their Flyers(Mutalisks and Brood Lords, hence starting the mission Shatter the Sky). I've done both missions but I've found the better option is to remove their flying units. If you want a challenge for the final mission, go with the Nydus Worm option. Its FAR easier to deal with their Nydus Worms in the final mission than it is to dealing with swarms of Mutalisks and Brood Lords assaulting your base. I will do Shatter the Sky first and then Belly of the Beast.
Now depending on what you chose will determine what you'll face in the final mission. If you followed my recommendation, the final mission will be a cake walk, even on Brutal because if you opted to remove Nydus Worms from play, you'll have to deal with not only Mutalisks and Brood Lords but also a Leviathan. Now its not to say it isn't doable but I find not having to deal with Flyers leaves the chess match as a Ground vs Ground affair and with Terran Defenses being exceptional as they are, you only have two problems to deal with(one being the Nydus Worms). Below is the final walkthrough for the Mission All In.
*Wipes brow* After completing All In, you'll witness the dramatic conclusion to a fun Campaign.