- Mode summary(src)
In Co-op Missions, players take on the role of various commanders from the StarCraft universe, each of them possessing unique abilities and upgrades and bestows special bonuses on their armies. Players are able to battle through a series of special scenarios together, leveling up their commanders’ capabilities as they progress. New abilities and units are unlocked as one progresses through the mode, along with gaining experience. Which missions are played can be chosen or randomly determined for bonus experience, and the computer opponent will utilize different strategies in each mission. Each race is available for each mission. Commanders will be able to be selected randomly, but with no experience boost for doing so.
Difficulty can be adjusted in the mode, and a matchmaking system is utilized.
Each commander gains experience independently. Upon completion of a mission, a commander will gain experience—the harder the difficulty setting, the greater the level of experience gained. As each commander levels, they will unlock additional units to call forth into battle as well as upgrades to existing abilities or traits. Each day you can earn 10000 bonus experience with the first victory of the day for one commander. With the implementation of StarCraft II's free to play system, each commander will be free up until level 5, at which point players must purchase the commander to keep playing them. Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis are free regardless of level.
The events of the missions in Co-op Missions take place during the End War. Specifically, after the second mission of the Legacy of the Void campaign, and before the epilogue missions. However, Blizzard officially considers the game mode and events that take place in its missions non-canon, which grants them more freedom in gameplay design.
Mutators are a Co-op Missions feature that were introduced in Patch 3.3. They are special conditions designed to add variety to missions, and vary on a weekly basis.
Any experience a player earns on a maxed out level 15 commander will go towards earning Mastery Levels, up to a maximum of 90. Each level grants the player a point that they can spend on each of their level 15 commanders to increase their power. This includes spending points to increase attack damage, reducing deployment time of abilities, buffing health of structures, and so on. With up to 90 points available, the number of options can't be filled out for every command, but the points can be reset and re-applied at any time prior to starting a match.
Ascension levels give players no in-game strength or bonuses, but allow players who have hit mastery levels to also level for cosmetics, including emoticons and sprays. There are a total of 1000 ascension levels, each requiring 200,000 experience.
List of Commanders
List of Missions
The following is a list of missions within the mode. Maps marked with (#) have expansions where players must fight through enemy units. They have been sub-divided for ease of reference:
These missions place emphasis on assaulting numerous fortified enemy strongholds.
These missions place emphasis on teamwork, multi-tasking, map control and escorting.
- Chain of Ascension(#)
- Lock & Load
- Mist Opportunities
- Void Launch
- The Vermillion Problem(#)
These missions place emphasis on defending fixed points from relentless onslaught.
List of Amon's Forces
This is a list of known AI units composition in Co-op Missions.
- If the player has access to any Hallucinated, Cloaked or Burrowed units (or a Commander capable of having them), the enemy will add detectors (Observers, Ravens, Overseers, Etc.) to all of their Compositions/Waves.
- Hybrid Waves and Escort Waves (Train, Shuttle, Etc.) are Map-Specific Compositions.
- Protoss Legion: Masters and Machines: Zealots, Stalkers, High Templar, Immortals, Archons, Colossi
- Protoss Legion: Shadow Disruption: Adepts, Stalkers, Sentries, Phoenixes, Disruptors, Dark Templars
- Protoss Legion: Vanguard of Aiur: Zealots, Dragoons, High Templar, Archons, Reavers, Arbiters
- Protoss Legion: Towering Walkers: Zealots, Sentries, Immortals, Scouts, Colossi
- Protoss Legion: Disruptive Artillery: Adepts, Sentries, Immortals, Scouts, Disruptors, Reavers
- Protoss Armada: Hope of the Khalai: Zealots, Scouts, Stalkers, Void Rays, Oracles, Carriers
- Protoss Armada: Siege of Storms: Adepts, Phoenixes, Oracles, Void Rays, Tempests
- Protoss Armada: Fleet of the Matriarch: Zealots, Scouts, Corsairs, Carriers, Arbiters
- Terran Combined Forces: Raiding Party: Marines, Medics, Marauders, Firebats, Ghosts, Siege Tanks, Medivacs, Science Vessels, Battlecruisers.
- Terran Combined Forces: Shadow Tech: Reapers, Marauders, Cyclones, Liberators, Ravens, Battlecruisers.
- Terran Ground Forces: Machines of War: Hellions, Goliaths, Warhounds, Widow Mines, Siege Tanks, Hellbats, Widow Mines, Science Vessels, Thors.
- Terran Squadron: Dominion Battlegroup: Marines, Vikings, Banshees, Ravens, Liberators, Battlecruisers.
- Terran Battalion: Classic Infantry: Marines, Firebats, Medics, Siege Tanks, Ghosts, Science Vessels
- Terran Battalion: Classic Mech: Vultures, Goliaths, Siege Tanks, Wraiths, Battlecruisers, Science Vessels
- Zerg Nydus Brood: Ravaging Infestation: Zerglings, Roaches, Ravagers, Hydralisks, Lurkers, Infestors, Ultralisks.
- Zerg Nydus Brood: Invasionary Swarm: Zergling, Hydralisk, Lurker, Brood Queen, Ultralisk
- Zerg Winged Brood: Broodling Corruption: Zerglings, Banelings, Infestors, Mutalisks, Corruptors, Brood Lords.
- Zerg Winged Brood: Devouring Scourge: Zergling, Mutalisk, Scourge, Guardian (Normal and Abathur variant), Devourer, Brood Queen
- Zerg Combined Brood: Explosive Threats: Zerglings, Banelings, Aberrations, Scourges, Vipers, Swarm Hosts.
The mode was originally called "Allied Commanders." It was changed to "Co-op Missions" in order "to better communicate the design intent." Blizzard staff later explained the name was causing confusion with Archon Mode, where two players work together commanding one force in melee gameplay; the name change to "Co-op Missions" was simpler and better conveyed to players the type of gameplay they can expect.
The mode was created to provide a more accessible multiplayer mode for StarCraft II, as the developers believe that the standard multiplayer has a reputation for being inaccessible and time consuming. It is intended for players mainly interested in singleplayer, but provides a more open-ended and social experience than a standard campaign.
When designing a mission in the mode, map layout is the first issue addressed. As two players are involved in a mission, the map size must reflect this. Adapting a mission from the game's singleplayer, base size is increased, expansions added, and the paths of choke points are generally widened. Once the layout has been solidified, enemy unit placement and composition are looked at. The main issue is making sure the enemies are strong enough to deal with the power of combined player armies and commander abilities. Finally, the developers spend a ton of time implementing and tuning the main and bonus map objectives as well as the attack waves. When choosing which maps to import from the game's campaign, the mechanics that would be well suited to the mode are looked at first.
When choosing a commander for implementation, a variety of factors are considered. These include the popularity of the character, and ensuring a relatively equal distribution between the number of commanders available to the three races. Each commander, even of the same race, is designed to look artistically unique. The amount of time spent on designing each commander varies, but the pace has slowed in recent times as the developers get more experimental with commander design, such as adding new units and adding extra details. When designing a commander, the lore and feeling of their character is first considered, then how their gameplay was reflected in the campaign. Art, tooltips, and actual gameplay design are then worked on by different teams. Multiple commanders are developed at the same time. Racial distribution of commanders is considered, but not a primary factor when considering what commanders to release.
The design team is looking into ways increase the difficulty of Co-op Missions, but feel that adding another difficulty above brutal is not the correct way to implement this.
More maps and commanders will be added to the mode post-launch. Karax was released for free December 15, 2015, but future commanders will require purchase. As of "Miner Evacuation," it is intended that newer maps have elements of randomness (e.g. objectives spawning at random locations), helping in replayability.
Leaderboards will be added at some point in the future. Each time a player completes a mission, they'll get a score that reflects how efficiently they completed that mission. Once they've completed all the missions, a score on the leaderboard will be assigned. Separate scores will be given for mutators. The leaderboards will reflect the choice of commander and the difficulty on which the map was played. They were expected to be implemented in mid-2017; at GamesCom 2018, it was stated that leaderboard were still being worked on, but that there were challenges in implementing their design, such as cheating or abusing bugs.
As of BlizzCon 2017, the mode will receive the lion's share of development time in StarCraft II.
A focus has been made on reworking commanders in order to make all of their strategies more viable, and prevent single builds from dominating the playstyle of that build. While this redesign does not seek to remove "optimal" builds, the design team seeks to make more fun builds and unit compositions viable to play.
The following data (unless otherwise noted) comes from interaction files in the Galaxy Map Editor, where commanders would have specific quotes depending on their partner. Much of this data has existed since very early in the lifespan of Co-op Missions.
The following commanders have been discussed by the Co-op Missions development team, but lack any data in the editor.
- According to a poll conducted by Blizzard, 16% of StarCraft II players' primary interest in the game is in Co-op Missions (as of January, 2017).
- In the 2013–2018 period, the Co-op Missions article was the fifth most visited page on the wiki. Of note, the article was first created in 2014.