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"The StarCraft universe was our take on the classic space opera, delivering a cosmic-scale story fraught with war and deception—and hell, there was even a love story somewhere amid all the carnage."

The StarCraft universe refers to the fictional universe created by Blizzard Entertainment. It began with the release of the game StarCraft in 1998, the franchise having since expanded across various forms of media (referred to as the "StarCraft expanded universe").[1] The setting is classified as military sci-fi, horror sci-fi, and space opera.[2]


Main article: StarCraft storyline
Main article: Koprulu sector

Set approximately 500 years in the future, the StarCraft universe includes three main races; terrans, a group of humans exiled to the Koprulu sector 200 years ago, the protoss, a race of humanoid religious warriors with advanced technology, and the zerg, vile insect-like aliens who share a hive mind.[3] A war between the latter two led to massive destruction amongst all three races.[4]



Main article: Terran Organizations
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The supercarriers leave Earth.

The humans of Earth fell under the control of the United Powers League in 2229. The new government believed in the "divinity of mankind" and worked to eliminate anyone who had undergone genetic engineering or used non-essential cybernetic equipment. Government forces also cracked down on criminals, religious people, political activists and other "dissidents."

About forty years later, scientist Doran Routhe collected thousands of such prisoners onto four supercarriers as part of a colonization project. The prisoners were cryogenically frozen and supplied with materials needed to found colonies, including ATLAS, a revolutionary new AI. However, the AI malfunctioned at some point and the ships flew past their target planet.

During the journey, ATLAS detected a relatively high rate of mutations that would lead to psionic powers in the prisoners in few generations, ATLAS sent the information back to Routhe.

The lost ships ended up in the Koprulu sector after three decades of travel, approximately two hundred years before the Great War. The new terran colonists settled the worlds of Tarsonis, Moria and Umoja. The colonists of Tarsonis had access to ATLAS and would form the most powerful of the three civilizations — the Terran Confederacy.[3]

Major Factions[]
Terran Confederacy[]
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Main article: Terran Confederacy

The largest and strongest of the three terran factions in the Koprulu sector, the Confederacy, based on Tarsonis, included several core worlds and numerous fringe colonies.[3]

The Confederacy, equipped with the most advanced military technology, maintained economic domination over its chief rival, the Kel-Morian Combine, based on Moria, by continually stealing their mining claims, usually through creating pretexts for invasion. The Confederacy also oppressed its own people, especially in the downtrodden fringe worlds, leading many to join numerous anti-Confederate rebel groups. The most important was the secret Rebellion of Korhal based on the "crown jewel" colony world of Korhal and led by Angus Mengsk; it had formed an alliance with Umoja.

In 2485 the Guild Wars broke out between the Confederacy and the Combine. It took the Confederacy four years to achieve victory. Immediately afterward, Angus Mengsk declared the independence of Korhal but was swiftly assassinated by ghosts, the Confederacy's corps of psychic special forces. This in turn caused formerly loyal Confederate military officer Arcturus Mengsk, a genius, to take over the leadership of the Rebellion of Korhal and prompted Umoja to found a defensive military, the Umojan Protectorate. Two years later, the Confederacy destroyed the colony of Korhal with massive nuclear weapons, which severely damaged but failed to destroy the rebels. Naming the remnants the Sons of Korhal, Arcturus Mengsk would continue to fight the Confederacy for eight years.[5]

By the outbreak of the Great War, heralded by the protoss purifying the colony of Chau Sara, the Confederacy consisted of thirteen primary worlds and numerous fringe colonies.[6]

During the Great War the Confederacy was invaded by the zerg. The Sons of Korhal took advantage, luring the zerg to Tarsonis with the Confederacy's own psi emitter technology.[7] Mengsk would later form a new government, the Terran Dominion, upon the ashes of the Confederacy.[8]

Remnants of the Confederacy still existed, even after the Brood War. One such group struck an alliance with the United Earth Directorate.[9]

Terran Dominion[]
TerranDominion Logo2
Main article: Terran Dominion

The roots of the Terran Dominion lay in the economic oppression of the colonists of Korhal by the Terran Confederacy. Twenty-one years before the Great War, Angus Mengsk, a senator of Korhal, created a secret revolutionary movement which allied with Umoja in order to attack the Confederacy. However, he could not gain the cooperation of his son, Arcturus Mengsk, who would join the Confederate Marine Corps.[5]

When the Confederacy achieved victory in the Guild Wars, Angus Mengsk declared the independence of Korhal. The Confederacy assassinated him with ghosts, and an angry Arcturus became the new leader. The Umojans created a new military body, the Umojan Protectorate, to protect themselves from the Confederacy and continued to cooperate with the rebel movement. Arcturus Mengsk was a more effective leader than his father, and two years after the elder's death, the Confederacy retaliated by destroying Korhal with nuclear weapons.[5] Arcturus Mengsk was at Umoja at the time and so survived. Calling the remnants of the group the Sons of Korhal, he immediately recruited troops at Umoja and soon struck back against the Confederacy. In his first such mission, he recruited former ghost Sarah Kerrigan.[10]

After eight years of hit-and-run attacks,[5] the Great War broke out. The Sons fought on the behalf of fringe world colonists against the zerg invaders, gaining the support of colonists such as Jim Raynor. Mengsk eventually co-opted Confederate general Edmund Duke and stole the psi emitter technology, using it to lure massive waves of zerg to the Confederate home planet of Tarsonis. While sealing victory, Mengsk lost the support of both Kerrigan and Raynor. The former he abandoned to the zerg, and the latter became his foe.[8]

The Terran Dominion, the successor to the Sons of Korhal, lead by Emperor Arcturus Mengsk I and his heir, Valerian,[11] became the most powerful terran government in the Koprulu sector when it was founded over the ashes of the Confederacy in 2500.[8][11] It advanced rapidly in technology, both as a safeguard against alien threats, and against domestic unrest caused by Mengsk's iron fisted rule.[12]

In the Second Great War, the balance of power shifted as the zerg invaded once again. Though the Dominion was initially successful at repelling the zerg,[13] a combined front of the Swarm under Sarah Kerrigan, Raynor's Raiders, and even Valerian Mengsk was able to kill Arcturus and dethrone him.[14] In the ashes of Arcturus's defeat, Valerian Mengsk has promised a new, fairer government for the Dominion. Though his rule survived the mass slaughter of the End War, threats both from within and beyond are still poised to tear apart this new regime.[15]

Raynor's Raiders[]
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Main article: Raynor's Raiders

The roots of Raynor's Raiders lay with Jim Raynor, a marshal of Mar Sara, a Confederate fringe world. During the zerg invasion early in the Great War, Raynor became disgusted with Confederate disregard for the civilian population and their politics (including arresting him). Raynor joined the rebel Sons of Korhal movement when they rescued civilians and freed him from Confederate imprisonment.

He became a valuable officer in the Sons of Korhal and eventually formed a strong relationship with the second-in-command, Sarah Kerrigan. Raynor severed his relations with the Sons when Arcturus Mengsk used unethical tactics to destroy Tarsonis, homeworld of the Confederacy, and abandoned Kerrigan to the zerg.[16]

Raynor's Raiders became a small anti-Dominion rebel movement.[17] In addition, it has undertaken numerous operations to rescue terrans from zerg forces.[18]

The Raiders are unique among the terran factions for having made long-term peaceful contact with the protoss, even fighting beside them on their homeworld.[8]

During the Second Great War, Raynor's Raiders stepped up their operations, gathering support against the Dominion, aiding abandoned colonies caught in the wake of the zerg invasion,[19] and striking a blow against Mengsk by broadcasting his part in the Fall of Tarsonis.[20] However, Raynor discovered that the artifacts he was collecting to earn money for his revolution were actually a key to deinfest Sarah Kerrigan. An offer was made from Mengsk's son Valerian Mengsk to aid him in the operation. Much to the outrage of much of his crew, Raynor allied with part of the Dominion to assault Char,[21] and used the relic to purify Kerrigan.[13]

However, Mengsk pursued Raynor's Raiders in an attempt to end them once and for all, and eventually Raynor was captured.[22] However, under a newly infested Sarah Kerrigan the Raiders helped rescue Raynor, then aided Kerrigan in an assault on Korhal, evacuating the population of Augustgrad and aiding in the final assault on Mengsk's palace. The battle was a victory for the Raiders,[23] and Valerian was established as Emperor. Many Raiders took up positions in this new Terran Dominion, hoping to build the better future they had started their revolution for.[24]

United Earth Directorate[]
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The UED are the descendants of the United Powers League government of Earth, which banished the terran colonists two hundred years ago. They secretly watched the Koprulu sector for two centuries, making no attempt to interfere until the Confederacy made disastrous first contact with the protoss.[4]

The UED dispatched a fleet to the sector, led by its most decorated officer, Gerard DuGalle, with orders to conquer the Terran Dominion, take control of the zerg Overmind and conquer the protoss.[4] However, they failed to maintain control over the terrans and zerg. The UED fleet was weakened by Kerrigan's clever manipulations and finally defeated in a massive battle over her home planet, Char.[25]

Since then, the UED has lost interest in the Koprulu sector, leaving the scattered remnants of their forces in the sector to themselves.[26]

Minor Factions[]
Kel-Morian Combine[]
Main article: Kel-Morian Combine

The Kel-Morian Combine are a nation formed from the descendants of the crashed supercarrier Argo, landing on mineral rich Moria. Eventually, the business conglomerate of the Kelanis Shipping Guild and the Morian Mining Guild annexed the nation, forming a government ruled by the guilds. Their armed forces were largely bandits, mercenaries and pirates on their payroll.

Eventually, pushes by the Terran Confederacy and the forced annexation of Morian mining sites lead to the outbreak of the Guild Wars. Through a brutal four year conflict, the Kel-Morian Combine was forced to capitulate, turning over most of their guilds and prospects over to the Confederacy.[3] With the fall of the Confederacy and the rise of the Terran Dominion, the Kel-Morian Combine threw themselves under the banner of Arcturus Mengsk,[4] but after the United Earth Directorate invasion the Combine returned to its own sovereign nation.[27]

Though it continues to operate, the Kel-Morian Combine remains in dire straights due to their territory and resources lost in the Guild Wars.[28]

Umojan Protectorate[]
Main article: Umojan Protectorate

The Umojan Protectorate were formed from the survivors of the supercarrier Reagan that crashed on Umoja. A science based society, Umoja focused on cultural and scientific progress, favoring a democratic society. However, with aggression from the Terran Confederacy threatening their sovereignty, the Umojans began to fund a number of proxy wars against the Confederacy, including the Rebellion of Korhal, and eventually the Sons of Korhal. However, when the Sons of Korhal won over the Confederacy and proved that their new Terran Dominion was just as cruel as the Confederacy ever was, efforts were made to subvert their control, causing a Umojan-Dominion Cold War.[5]

While peace talks have been made since the death of Arcturus Mengsk and the rise of Valerian Mengsk, tensions between the two people are strained, the Umojans still view the Dominion as a threat, remaining largely isolated.[15]

Moebius Foundation[]
Main article: Moebius Foundation

The Moebius Foundation were a science conglomerate formed by Crown Prince Valerian Mengsk to research alien life and see how it could be used to better the terrans of the sector, gaining some of the sector's brightest minds behind it.[11] Unbeknownst to Valerian, the foundation was headed by a being known as Doctor Emil Narud, who was secretly a xel'naga. Working with Arcturus Mengsk, Narud used the foundation to aid in the breeding of protoss/zerg hybrids in the service of his master Amon.[29]

Using the Foundation's resources, Narud had Raynor's Raiders collect pieces of a xel'naga relic named the Keystone, which he modified to absorb zerg energies. After it was used on Kerrigan, Narud betrayed Raynor and Valerian to Arcturus Mengsk and took the Keystone to bring Amon back into the universe.[29] However, his operations were halted when his physical body was later slain by Kerrigan.[30]

This was not the end for Moebius however, as their members would fall under the control of the hybrid they created. The security wing of Moebius Corps swelled with the many terrans they controlled, and the hybrid used them as an army in an attempt to purify the universe for Amon.[31] This was ended with Artanis and the Daelaam assaulted their main base at Revanscar, removing Moebius as a threat and ending their hybrid breeding operations.[32] Even after their defeat, the scars of Moebius were well remembered by the terrans of the sector.[33]


Main article: Zerg Organizations
The Swarm[]
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The zerg

Main article: Zerg Swarm

The zerg have been described as a "genetic whirlwind," traveling the galaxy and absorbing dangerous strains into itself, transforming them into combat breeds. The zerg can regenerate their health quickly. The zerg do not use technology, instead growing what they need. Entire colonies consist of living structures which grow upon a living carpet called the creep.

The zerg are a biologically engineered species and the second (after the protoss) to be created by a renegade group of xel'naga under Amon. Possessing a purity of essence, the zerg were originally a race of worm-like parasites which over time could "absorb" the genetics of their victims. They were controlled by the Overmind, which broke contact with the xel'naga and eventually spurred the Swarm into destroying its creators, stealing their knowledge. The Overmind was given one overriding directive by Amon: perfect the Swarm, and could not stray from that directive. The Zerg Swarm took on a hierarchy, led by the immortal Overmind, the immortal cerebrates underneath it, and the overlords. The modern Zerg Swarm emerged as a collection of breeds, capable of living in harsh conditions and most were adapted for combat.

The Overmind became aware of the protoss and determined to assimilate them into its own species. Though the Overmind knew that such an assault played into Amon's plans, it could not deviate from its path.[34] Upon discovering the terrans, it intended to assimilate their psionic potential to help it in its conquest of the protoss. When the zerg overwhelmed Chau Sara, the protoss responded by destroying all life on the planet's surface.[3]

A three-sided war broke out amongst the zerg, protoss and terrans. The zerg finally gained what they wanted at Tarsonis in the midst of a terran civil war — Sarah Kerrigan, the powerful psychic who would become the Queen of Blades.[8]

After the death of the Overmind Kerrigan fought in the Brood War broke out between the factions, with Kerrigan and her pawn Samir Duran manipulating the protoss and other factions in order to give her the edge, but the plans were hampered by the arrival of the United Earth Directorate. Kerrigan defeated all her opponents in a massive battle over her home base of Char, but Duran meanwhile disappeared.[25]

The Zerg Swarm had been "too quiet" for four years, silently building its broods for a conflict yet to come.[25] Out of the blue, the Swarm struck the Terran Dominion, heralding the Second Great War. Kerrigan sought pieces of an ancient xel'naga artifact, the Keystone, tied to the return of a powerful xel'naga named Amon.[35] Yet an alliance of Jim Raynor and Valerian Mengsk assembled the artifact first, and used it on Char to revert Kerrigan back into a terran. The broods were shattered without their leader.[13]

However, Arcturus Mengsk still sought the death of Kerrigan, and after he captured and reported Raynor as dead, Kerrigan returned to the Swarm, seeking to get revenge on Mengsk. She reclaimed Char from the Dominion, and reclaimed a number of her broods. Zeratul meanwhile came to her and lead her to the zerg birthworld of Zerus, where she was remade into a primal zerg queen.[36] After subjugating the primals under her rule, she returned to the sector, disrupting Emil Narud's hybrid breeding operations in service of Amon,[37] and rescuing Raynor. The group assaulted Korhal, killing Mengsk and ending him as a threat.[14]

With Mengsk dead, the Swarm sought out Amon, who had been resurrected and now began his crusade against the universe, seizing control of a number of feral zerg. However, the Swarms were worn down during their assault on Ulnar, and though aided by Artanis, needed time to rebuild.[38] Two years later, a united force of zerg, terran and protoss finished Amon off in the Void, with Kerrigan ascending to a xel'naga to stop him. Kerrigan gave control of the swarm to her second-in-command, Zagara.[39]

Zagara seized the systems around Char, but maintained her space, even making peace overtures to the protoss and terran powers. However, threats of feral broods, renegade broodmothers,[40] the scars of old conflict, and even remnants of the old all-consuming Swarm philosophy among her command strains threatens to respark war in the sector.[15]

The Primals[]
Main article: Primal zerg

Unbeknownst to the Overmind, some zerg on Zerus were able to hide from the manipulation of Amon and his xel'naga and were not bound to the hive mind. These zerg evolved along a natural evolutionary course, assimilating traits into themselves as individuals rather than for a collective whole. In time, these zerg spread across Zerus, and the volcanic wasteland became a jungle world over the course of a centuries. Pack leaders rose to command bands of these primal zerg in hopes of gaining more essence, which would allow them to evolve.[34]

During the Second Great War, the Zerg Swarm under Sarah Kerrigan returned to Zerus, seeking to gain the power there to kill Arcturus Mengsk. Kerrigan used the power of the first spawning pool to be remade into a primal zerg, then subjugated and killed many of the primal zerg pack leaders, slaying the most ancient of them, Zurvan. One pack leader, Dehaka volunteered to join her Swarm in pursuit of essence, and the primal zerg came under the command of the Swarm, serving voluntarily and remaining unconnected to their hive mind.[41] This would aid them during the Battle of Korhal, when a the primal zerg were unaffected by a device named the psi destroyer, allowing them to disable its power couplings.[42]


Main article: Protoss Organizations
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The protoss

Main article: Protoss

The protoss, a race of powerful long-lived psychics originally found on Aiur, were the first successful uplifted race of a renegade group of xel'naga under one named Amon. They possess purity of form and are larger, stronger and tougher than terrans. They also have more advanced technology partially powered by psionics.

Main article: Khalai

The protoss of Aiur, called the Khalai, are linked by a psychic bond now called the Khala.

The xel'naga modified the protoss for thousands of years before they descended to the surface. The protoss worshiped them as gods and learned much from them. However, as individual psionic and scientific achievements became more important, the protoss tribes began to separate themselves from each other as the protoss psychic bond vanished. The renegade xel'naga now felt they had pushed the evolution of the protoss too quickly and prepared to abandon their first creation, taking with them only the most loyal stewards.

The protoss tribes, feeling betrayed by their gods, attacked them as they left, and fell into a massive civil war called the Aeon of Strife which lasted countless protoss generations, causing their technology to fall to a Stone Age level. The Strife finally ended when the mystic Khas recreated the bond, calling it the Khala, pacifying the tribes and teaching them some of what he learned from the xel'naga.

The protoss religion centers around the Khala, and it is the center of all their psionic power. In order to maintain its purity, protoss culture, led by the Conclave following the Aeon of Strife, became very conservative, leading to philosophical differences between the Khalai and the Dark Templar — the latter being a group who refused to join the Khala.[3]

The Dark Templar were exiled a thousand years ago, and the Khalai watched over much of the universe, establishing colonies, engaging in wars with some of the alien races and avoiding contact with the lesser species. They did not interfere when the terrans arrived in the Koprulu sector, virtually in their shadow, until the zerg entered the sector and began attacking the terrans. In an effort to stem the infestation, the Conclave ordered the executor, Tassadar, to destroy the tainted worlds, starting with Chau Sara.[3]

Tassadar eventually failed to save heavily populated Tarsonis from the zerg, and then did the unthinkable — striking an alliance with the Dark Templar prelate, Zeratul, to fight the zerg. The two had to defeat the Conclave in a civil war before they could destroy the zerg Overmind. Even then, the Khalai were forced to flee to the Dark Templar world of Shakuras and live in unease amongst their new hosts.[8]

The protoss suffered heavy losses during the Brood War and are being forced to rebuild their civilization, but are protected from the zerg by a xel'naga temple on Shakuras.[25]

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The Dark Templar

Main article: Nerazim

The Nerazim, also known as the Dark Templar are a group of protoss who existed on Aiur after the Aeon of Strife. Their presence was hidden from the other protoss by the Conclave, which monitored their location.

About one thousand years ago, the Conclave leader, Kortanul asked executor Adun to locate and execute them, for fear their "irrational" desire to avoid entering the Khala could create a new Aeon of Strife. Adun was not convinced of their willful hatred, however, and decided to spare them by faking the executions and teaching them how to hide themselves. The Dark Templar could not always control their new powers, causing psionic storms to spiral out of control over Aiur, revealing Adun's deception.

Adun and the Conclave eventually agreed to exile the dissidents. They were forced onto a xel'naga vessel, but not before last minute squabbling almost sparked a new war. Adun, using his powers to protect the Dark Templar, vanished into mist as the Dark Templar flew away.[43]

The Dark Templar, traveling through space, began to expand their powers. They settled a moon, Ehlna, for hundreds of years due to the legacies of the xel'naga they found upon it, as well as its properties for storing memories in specially modified khaydarin crystals.

Eventually most of the Dark Templar settled upon the twilight world of Shakuras, due to its xel'naga legacies, and made Raszagal their leader.[44]

Dark Templar roamed the galaxy, looking for xel'naga relics. During the Great War, bands traveled to Char, home of the zerg, testing themselves in combat.[45] One such band, led by Zeratul, even made (eventually) friendly contact with Khalai forces led by former executor Tassadar and discovered their unique powers made potent anti-zerg weapons.[46]

Main article: Tal'darim

As the xel'naga under Amon departed Aiur, they took with them their most loyal protoss stewards. Leaving them in a corner of space,[47] Amon gifted them a set of rules named the Chain of Ascension, which would serve as their government, with everyone a link leading to Amon. Those below could usurp those above them through a ritual battle named Rak'shir, ensuring only the strongest ruled Tal'darim society.[48]

The Tal'darim mostly remained contained to the Sigma quadrant, until the Second Great War,[47] when they began to fortify the locations of the pieces of a relic named the Keystone. Their Executor Nyon was eventually defeated by Raynor's Raiders.[49] The Tal'darim also came to the aid of Amon's servant, the xel'naga Emil Narud when he was breeding hybrid.[30]

Eventually, Amon would return to the universe, heralding the End War. The Tal'darim under Ma'lash rallied to destroy Amon's enemies.[50] However, First Ascendant Alarak had discovered that Amon did not wish to keep the Tal'darim, and would discard them after his crusade was done. Alarak allied with the Daelaam under Artanis,[38] and through Rak'Shir killed Ma'lash, turning the Tal'darim against Amon.[51] Together, they drove him to the Void and slew the fallen xel'naga.[52]

Now free of their connection to Amon, Alarak refused Artanis's offer to join the Daelaam. They set out in search of a new homeworld,[53] briefly coming into conflict with the Terran Dominion and the terran separatist group the Defenders of Man.[54]

Main article: Purifiers

The Purifiers were an ancient artificial intelligence created by the Conclave of the Protoss Empire, modeled after the personalities and brain scans of past protoss heroes in order to better defend the empire. However, these constructs were treated as tools instead of full protoss warriors. They rebelled against their masters, instigating the Purifier Rebellion. However, the Purifiers were pacified, and sealed in stasis on the space station Cybros orbiting the moon of Endion.[47]

In secret however, the Khalai Caste researched starting a new Purifier program in a research base on Glacius. With the outbreak of the End War, their research was salvaged, including a prototype Purifier made from the brainscans of the fallen protoss hero Fenix.[55] The Purifier would convince Artanis to release the Purifiers within Cybros in order to better fight the forces of Amon. The unsealing was successful,[56] and the Purifiers stood by their Daelaam brothers as they reclaimed their homeworld of Aiur, with the promise they would be fully functional members of their society.[57]


Main article: Xel'naga
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Legacies of the xel'naga

The xel'naga were an ancient race with a complex life cycle that existed in the dimension of the Void. Possessing purity of form and purity of essence, they were extremely long-lived but did not reproduce as other species. From the Void they would germinate a universe with life, allowing species within to naturally grow with the two purities, with the xel'naga never directly involving themselves. Relics in their universe would guide sufficiently evolved creatures to their resting place, which would awaken them, allowing the elders among the xel'naga to give their essence to the creatures who obtained both purities. This was their Infinite Cycle.[58]

However, some among the xel'naga saw creating universe rife with strife and conflict for the benefit of the xel'naga's reproduction as barbaric, and sought to end it. These xel'naga rallied under one named Amon, who awoke early and interfered with the evolution of the protoss and zerg to make an army of hybrid to end the Infinite Cycle. However, the xel'naga loyal to the cycle awoke, and a War Among the Gods erupted, ending with the zerg turning on the xel'naga and consuming them. Yet this merely forced them back into the Void, and one xel'naga who would take the name Samir Duran survived to push Amon's work into fruition.[47]

As the zerg drove themselves into the protoss, sparking the Great War, Duran began his work creating the hybrid and laying the groundwork for Amon's return. Through manipulation of the terrans and the Keystone, Narud created a device to bring Amon from the Void, back into the material universe. Yet Zeratul, searching for the meaning behind the xel'naga's return, obtained a vision from the xel'naga Ouros, and was given instructions on how to prevent Amon's victory.[59]

Eventually, Zeratul would lay the groundwork for the survival of Sarah Kerrigan. The forces of the Koprulu sector would drive him from the universe back into the Void, and Ouros in an effort to end Amon's reign of terror uplifted Kerrigan into a xel'naga.[39] With her new form, Kerrigan slew Amon, and ended the xel'naga's Infinite Cycle.[52] The remains of the xel'naga and their essence would be used to both the benefit, and detriment, of the sector for years to come.[15]

History of the Koprulu Sector[]

Main articles: Timeline and Koprulu sector

The history of StarCraft is covered in a variety of media including games, books, comics, and web stories.


Main article: StarCraft

Episode I: Rebel Yell[]

Main article: StarCraft Episode I

The story of StarCraft begins with the arrival of the protoss and the zerg in terran space. Caught in the middle of the conflict, in the first campaign, the player takes the role of a magistrate caught in the middle[60] and forced to ally with the revolutionary Arcturus Mengsk and his Sons of Korhal against the Terran Confederacy who were using the conflict to strengthen their own position, luring the zerg to rebellious worlds.[61] However, as the Confederacy is destroyed, Arcturus uses the zerg himself to wipe out their capital of Tarsonis, proving himself as evil as the Confederacy ever was. He abandons his second-in-command Sarah Kerrigan to the zerg for voicing doubts of his orders, promoting the magistrate and Jim Raynor to rebel from him, and Mengsk establishes his own empire named the Terran Dominion.[62]

Episode II: Overmind[]

Main article: StarCraft Episode II

In Episode II, the player takes the role of a zerg cerebrate assigned to watch over the captured Sarah Kerrigan. The zerg retreat to Char, but Kerrigan's psionic call draws the Khalai protoss under Tassadar, the Nerazim under Zeratul, Raynor's Raiders, and a Terran Dominion fleet under Edmund Duke attacked.[63] Yet Kerrigan was infested, and an accidental touching of minds with Zeratul allowed the Overmind to find the location of the protoss homeworld of Aiur.[64] The Overmind launched his invasion and embedded himself in the crust of their world.[65]

Episode III: The Fall[]

Main article: StarCraft Episode III

In Episode III, the player takes the role of the new protoss executor, assigned after Tassadar defied Conclave's orders of burning the terran worlds.[66] Alongside Judicator Aldaris' counsel and aid of Praetor Fenix, the Executor tries to defend Aiur, but loses Fenix in the process.[67] In spite of the loss, the Conclave, convinced that its stratagems are winning the war against the zerg, have let down their guard and turned their attention to personal matters. The executor is assigned to hunt Tassadar on Char, who convinces him that only the banished Nerazim can defeat the Overmind.[68] In spite of this being heresy, the executor sides with Tassadar and rescues Zeratul.[69] Returning to Aiur, Tassadar's betrayal sparks a conflict between those loyal to the Conclave and those loyal to Tassadar, which eventually ends in the Conclave allowing Tassadar to strike the Overmind.[70] He does so successfully, giving his life to destroy the creature and shatter the Swarm.[71]

StarCraft: Brood War[]

Main article: StarCraft: Brood War

Episode IV: The Stand[]

Main article: StarCraft Episode IV

Though the Overmind was killed, Aiur was in ruins and the zerg rampaged across its surface. Artanis, Zeratul, Aldaris and the new executor rally the survivors and retreat to the Nerazim world of Shakuras,[72] but they were followed by the zerg. After their encounter with Nerazim Matriarch Raszagal, they discover that the xel'naga temple there could wipe the zerg off of the planet, but they needed two crystals, the Uraj and Khalis.[73] Artanis and Zeratul allied with a freed Kerrigan to retrieve the two crystals,[74] but on Shakuras Aldaris discovered the Nerazim Matriarch Raszagal was under Kerrigan's control, and rebelled. When Artanis and Zeratul returned, they were forced to pacify him, but Kerrigan killed Aldaris before he could reveal her plans.[75] Kerrigan was banished, and the protoss used the crystals to purge their world of zerg.[76]

Episode V: The Iron Fist[]

Main article: StarCraft Episode V

Unbeknownst to the powers of the sector, the government of Earth, the United Earth Directorate, launched an invasion of the sector to pacify the colonies and alien powers there. Lead by Gerard DuGalle and Alexei Stukov, they allied the Confederate Resistance Forces of Samir Duran,[9] and smashed into the Terran Dominion, deposing Arcturus Mengsk, though the intervention of Fenix and Jim Raynor saved his life.[77] However, Duran convinced DuGalle that Stukov's refusal to destroy an anti-zerg device named psi disruptor was him betraying the UED, and DuGalle sent Duran to kill him. In his last moments, Stukov told DuGalle that Duran was working for the zerg, and DuGalle managed to save the disruptor,[78] and use it to capture the Second Overmind, giving the UED control over the majority of the zerg.[79]

Episode VI: The Queen of Blades[]

Main article: StarCraft Episode VI

Kerrigan, allying with Raynor, Fenix and Mengsk, struck back against the UED, destroying the psi disruptor.[80] They retook the planet of Korhal from the UED,[81] but after their victory Kerrigan turned on her allies killing Fenix and Edmund Duke.[82] She then used the mind controlled Raszagal to convince Zeratul to aid her in killing the Second Overmind. In a final assault on Char, Kerrigan's zerg and the Nerazim broke through the defenses of the UED and slew the Overmind, but she revealed Raszagal was under her control.[83] In a last ditch effort to save her, Zeratul slew Raszagal, and Kerrigan let him go to live in his guilt.[84] Char was then assaulted by the Terran Dominion forces under Mengsk, the protoss under Artanis and the UED remnants under DuGalle, seeking revenge, but Kerrigan repelled them all. She set her broods to destroy the UED fleet, but allowed the other powers a repreive, letting them rebuild while she kept her forces on Char, waiting for a future conflict.[85]

Meanwhile on a dark moon, Zeratul uncovered a group of terrans breeding hybrids of protoss and zerg. The one behind it revealed himself to be Samir Duran, serving a far greater power than any in the sector, and stating that when the hybrid awakens their universe would be changed forever.[86]

StarCraft II[]

Wings of Liberty[]

Wings of Liberty sees the return of Jim Raynor four years after the Brood War, during which he has been fighting a losing war against Arcturus Mengsk and his Terran Dominion. However, Raynor has a chance encounter with his old comrade Tychus Findlay to recover xel'naga relics, when the zerg strike the sector.[87] Raynor has to gain funds, find supporters for his revolution,[88] protect innocents from the zerg invasion,[19] and strike against the Dominion,[20] all while helping collect these relics to fund his war effort.[89] Along the way, Zeratul grants him a vision of the end times, where if Kerrigan dies, the fallen xel'naga Amon will return and consume the universe.[59] As he gathers the artifacts, it is revealed that Mengsk's son Valerian Mengsk was the one who asked Raynor to collect these pieces, and that they could purge Sarah Kerrigan.[90] The two ally and take the relic to Char, where after a grueling battle they unleash it, purifying Kerrigan and reverting her to human.[91]

Heart of the Swarm[]

Heart of the Swarm takes place weeks after Kerrigan's purification, where after fleeing the Dominion, Raynor and Kerrigan are taken to a secret Umojan Protectorate facility, when it's raided by the Dominion.[22] Kerrigan escapes, but Raynor is captured and reported dead by Mengsk.[92] In response, Kerrigan returns to the Swarm, rallying her broods and retaking Char.[93] She is confronted by Zeratul, who leads her to Zerus to remake her into a primal zerg.[94] Kerrigan is remade into the Primal Queen of Blades, and subjugates the primal zerg of Zerus.[41] She then returns to the sector to rescue Raynor[95] and destroy the hybrid breeding operations of Samir Duran.[30] With those down, she besieges Korhal with the aid of Raynor and Valerian, and slays Mengsk. With her revenge complete, she drives her forces to her true enemy: Amon.[23]

Legacy of the Void[]

Legacy of the Void begins with Zeratul seeking the final piece to the xel'naga prophecy, eventually hunting down the Temple of Erris where Amon was remade. There, he finds that the key to defeating Amon is a relic named the Keystone.[50] He moves to tell this to Artanis, but he is caught in the middle of the Reclamation of Aiur, and refuses to stop for Zeratul. However, the appearance of the hybrid catches him off guard,[96] and before he can react the Khala is seized by Amon, and all protoss connected to it are put under his control. Zeratul gives his life to free Artanis from Amon's control, and Artanis vows to defeat Amon, free his people, and defeat Amon.[97] He liberates the arkship Spear of Adun, and takes his surviving forces off Aiur.[98]

Artanis retrieves the Keystone from Korhal[32] and rescues the survivors of Shakuras from an invasion of Amon's forces,[99] as well as rescuing research from Glacius that would lead to a revived Purifier program.[55] The Keystone leads the protoss to the resting place of the xel'naga, Ulnar, but Artanis finds that the xel'naga within are dead, and that Amon laid a trap for him.[58] However, the betrayal of Alarak allowed Artanis time to escape.[38]

With the xel'naga themselves dead, Artanis pushes to hurt Amon before using the Keystone to drive him from the Khala. He aids in installing Alarak as highlord of the Tal'darim,[51] and revives the ancient Purifiers sealed in Cybros.[56] He also ends Amon's hybrid breeding operations and destroys his terran thralls, Moebius Corps.[32] With his forces cut off, the Daelaam return to Aiur, setting up the keystone just as the possessed Golden Armada arrives. The Keystone activates, and pushes Amon from the Khala, driving him back to the Void.[57]

Two years later, the forces of the Daelaam, Terran Dominion and Zerg Swarm rally to push into the Void to slay Amon once and for all. They kill Samir Duran for a final time,[100] freeing the xel'naga Ouros, who uplifts Kerrigan into a xel'naga.[39] The combined forces then drove into Amon and slew him, ending his mad schemes once and for all.[52]

Nova Covert Ops[]

Years after the End War, feral zerg attacks begin across the Terran Dominion, with a new paramilitary group, the Defenders of Man rising to combat the threat as they see the Dominion too slow to respond. Nova Terra is sent to investigate the group but her team goes missing, and she's reported as having allied with them. Months later, Nova escapes from one of their facilities with no memory of her past few months,[101] and is ordered by Emperor Valerian Mengsk to investigate them further and uncover her lost memories. The trail leads her to discover that the Defenders of Man are behind the feral zerg attacks, and are preparing to unleash them on Tyrador IX.[102]

On the planet, Nova helps stop the feral zerg attacks, only to have the planet attacked by the Tal'darim. Nova deflects them, but the Defenders look like heroes for saving the civilians.[103] Nova then meets with Alarak, who wants revenge on the Defenders for attacking his forces, and guides her to terrazine to undo her memory wipes.[104] This leads her to discover the true leader of the Defenders, General Carolina Davis.[105] Nova is ordered to bring her in alive during a fake resignation speech by Valerian Mengsk, and she successfully captures Davis.[106] However, the Tal'darim attacks, killing all terrans they encounter. Nova, the Dominion and the Defenders rally to defeat them, driving them off the planet, but in the chaos Davis escapes.[54] Nova tracks Davis down, but against Valerian's direct orders kills Davis. She and her crew of the Griffin then decide to break from the Dominion chain of command and defend the Dominion their own way.[107]

Science and Technology[]

Main article: Technology


HighTemplar SC-FL3 Art1

The protoss are masters of psionics

Main article: Psionics

Psionics are mysterious powers which can be utilized by the primary three races in varying ways.

The terrans of the Koprulu sector are more likely than those of Earth to have psionic potential, and are mere generations from expressing it.[3] However, most terrans presently have no powers. Most psychic terrans can sense the use of psionics around them, and those of middling power are usually telepaths.[108] These psychics are usually conscripted into the Ghost Program as children or teenagers and controlled through the use of cybernetics or memory wiping. More powerful psychics are extremely rare, and may have access to telekinesis.[108]

All protoss have psionic powers. Those from Aiur are connected by a psychic bond, the Khala, which forms the basis of their powers. The most powerful Khalai are high templar, who can wield abilities such as the powerful psionic storm which can devastate their enemies. Another branch of the protoss, the Dark Templar, cut themselves off from the Khala and access the power of the Void instead. This gave them access to powers such as cloaking.[3]

The zerg are sensitive to the use of psionic powers, and are connected by a pseudopsionic bond, but individually seem to possess little if any power.[3] Some breeds, such as the Overmind and its cerebrates possessed unique and powerful abilities,[79] but they are all now dead. They are currently led by the Queen of Blades, formerly a powerful terran psychic.[109]

Faster than Light Travel[]

Warp space SC2 cineWingsofLiberty

Hyperion leaps into warp space

Warp SC1 CineTheWarp1

Zerg warp rift

Main article: Warp space

Warp space is used by the terrans, protoss and zerg as the primary method of faster than light travel.

The humans of Earth developed faster-than-light travel and cryogenic freezing techniques, which they used to exile the ancestors of the Koprulu sector terrans. The colonists of Tarsonis redeveloped the technology, which they called subwarp, and used it to discover the inhabitants of Moria and Umoja.[3] Ships "skip" through warp space[43] although interaction is still possible.[10] Warp jumps take time to plan, but the calculations can be skipped (although doing so is generally regarded as suicide).[46]

Through tapping in to the psionic matrix provided by a nexus, protoss are able to warp structures, constructs, warships and even infantry onto a planetary body[3][110][111] and can even transport bases through dimensional recall.[84]

The Dark Templar are an exception to the majority of protoss in that they rely on travel through the void for FTL travel rather than warp space.[112]

The zerg are able to open rifts into warp space through which minions travel.[113][114][112] Large numbers of zerg, including their overlord transports, can be carried by behemoths.[112]

Protoss Technology[]

Main article: Protoss Technology

Protoss technology blends psionic and technological aspects.[115] Some technology requires vespene gas as a catalyst.[3]

Protoss armor contains teleportation technology which whisks the warrior away to safety when they are injured to the point of death.[115] Injured and crippled protoss can be transformed into cybernetic warriors.[3]

Due to their low population, the protoss frequently use robots in their military.[3]

Protoss pilots are an integral part of their ship, and using it drains their energies.[44]

Terran Technology[]

Main article: Terran Technology

The terrans have greatly advanced their technology since the 21st century. The descendants of the Long Sleep have the ability to create space stations,[116] teleportation technology]],[117] embark on faster than light travel[3] and transmit communication holograms.[16] They have developed the art of faster-than-light communications, but this is generally considered too expensive to use frivolously; instead, messages are generally sent at such distances.[5]

Terrans have developed advanced weapons of war, such as powered armor, the battlecruiser, siege tank, nuclear weapons,[3] Ion Cannons,[62] effective spacecraft, such as the Wraith,[3] the Viking[118] and the science vessel,[3] and recently the powerful Thor.[119] Some of their combat ships and even troops have access to cloaking devices.[3]

Militarily, terrans have developed the ability to quickly repair their vehicles and structures in the field. The key in terran warfare is their flexibility. Their primary structures are equipped with jet engines which enable flight to other places.[3]

The terrans have developed a number of psychological modification tools, such as neural resocialization (a technique reshaping the victim's memories, transforming them into obedient warriors),[3][120][11] ghost conditioning (which limits psychic power),[121] neural inhibitors (which weaken psychic power and act like resocialization),[43] memory reassignment protocols (which change a ghost's memories and enforce loyalty),[122] and neural interface mnemo-tutors (which teach skills).[5]

Going with some of these tools are the technology used to control and support ghosts, psychic commandos. Ghosts can enhance their natural strength using psi-sensitive artificial muscle fiber in their hostile environment suits.[123] The device is also partially responsible for their cloaking ability.[46]

The psi-screen is a device used to protect against telepaths, but has a downside of inflicting brain damage or insanity if used too long.[108][11][43] The device is extremely expensive.[124]

A particularly devastating psionic device is the psi emitter, whose emanations attract zerg to its location.[120][125][16] It was used as a weapon in the Great War.[8]

In Our Universe[]


Games authorized but not directly created by Blizzard include StarCraft: Insurrection, StarCraft: Retribution, StarCraft Adventures and StarCraft the Board Game.

As of January, 2015, the StarCraft games have sold a combined total of 15 million copies.[126]

Official Fiction[]

Main article: StarCraft official fiction

StarCraft has resulted in numerous Blizzard authorized spin-off novels, ebooks, graphic novels and comics, as well as two short stories in Amazing Stories magazine, entitled StarCraft: Hybrid and StarCraft: Revelations. The first four novels are compiled in the StarCraft Archive.


Blizzard has stated that the overall StarCraft storyline that began with the original game will conclude with Legacy of the Void. However, they have stated that some other aspects of the universe will be explored.[127]

In October 2020, it was announced that development for StarCraft II had ceased. In the announcement post, it was stated that this would allow Blizzard to "think about what's next, not just with regard to StarCraft II, but for the StarCraft universe as a whole."[128] In the same month, games journalist Jason Schreier reported that Blizzard would no longer be producing RTS games, that while various pitches had been made, they had been rejected. He attributed this to a (perceived) lack of profitability within the genre.[129] When interviewed on the subject in 2023, Tim Morten stated that there was no specific product pitched, but did not elaborate beyond stating that conditions at Blizzard weren't right at the time to pitch an RTS.[130]

As of November 2020, StarCraft is not among Activision-Blizzard's main six franchises.[131] In the same month, it was announced that Activision-Blizzard wanted to bring all of its franchises to mobile.[132]

In 2021, a Blizzard employee listed an unannounced StarCraft project in their work history.[133]

In November 2022, Phil Spencer of Microsoft expressed interest in reviving the IP, per Microsoft's intended purchase of Activision-Blizzard.[134] Previously in the year, he stated that Microsoft intends to talk to the Activision-Blizzard studios it would acquire as part of the deal about reviving their old franchises.[135] Blizzard president Mike Ybarra has expressed support for the IP at various points.[136][137]

In July, 2023, Jez Corden (managing editor at Windows Central) claimed that StarCraft III was in development. This was part of an interaction on Twitter, where in regards to Microsoft's intended purchase of Activision Blizzard, he stated that "[Microsoft] won’t need to revive StarCraft." When asked by another user if StarCraft III was in development, Corden simply responded "yep."[138] When asked if he knew anything else, Corden again responded "yep."[139] After his comments were reported by various outlets, Corden stated "I'm walking that [earlier comments] back a bit. Don't use drunk sources!!! Lmao. But, the franchise isn't dead, put it that way."[140]

In an interview in September, 2023, Sarah Bond (corporate VP of Xbox) stated that in the context of Microsoft's intended purchase of Activision-Blizzard, StarCraft was among the most requested IPs for Microsoft to revive. She stated "It will be fun to see if we can do something with that in the future."[141] In a November 2023 interview, on the subject of the IP being revived, Mike Ybarra stated "it's not me saying, 'Go make a StarCraft game.' I need to have someone who has the vision and passion that comes with the idea, and I'll bet on that team."[142] He further stated that StarCraft was not counted among Activision-Blizzard's larger franchises, but was open to a possible return to the IP. He hinted that the next iteration of the IP could be in a different genre from real-time strategy. as many Blizzard staff members with RTS experience left under Bobby Kotick's time as CEO.[143] It was stated that Blizzard's larger development teams would remain focused on Diablo, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft, but the company was open to work on "less mainstream projects."[144]

In November 2023, Leana Hafer of IGN commented that it was unlikely that StarCraft III would ever be made, and that Stormgate (made by ex-Team 1 developers) would be the closest thing to it.[145] Other games cited as (potential) spiritual successors to StarCraft II include ZeroSpace,[146] Immortal: Gates of Pyre,[147] and Battle Aces.[148]

In December of the same year, Phil Spencer was interviewed by Windows Central. During the interview, the prospect of Microsoft reviving Activision-Blizzard IPs was raised. He responded, "In the case of Blizzard games specifically, really what I'd want to do is work with Blizzard's leadership to see where they have passion. I say all this, but I'm not at all suggesting that Blizzard doesn't have passion for reviving franchises too, I know that from my visits to the team. They absolutely have the passion in this area. There's a lot of excitement for possibilities that we can all do together. But also, I want our fans and customers to know that I don't bring up games just to tease to no end...if people have watched how we've teased things in the past. There's usually some kind of reconciliation of those hints later on...I'm not one to try and lead people on. It might not happen on the timeline that people would love, but usually when I tease, there's something there."[149]

In May of 2024, in an interview, Arthur Bruno was interviewed on the state of the RTS genre. He noted the difficulties of an RTS title going mainstream, given that RTS games are typically limited to the PC, and that only a niche of the general population plays them. He noted that for a company like Crate Entertainment, selling a million copies of a game would make "an okay return," but suggested that such sales figures were no longer sufficient for Blizzard, which would explain, in his opinion, why Blizzard had apparently ceased to develop for the RTS genre.[150]

Stylistic Inspiration[]

At least for its three playable races, StarCraft has taken inspiration from tropes common in the sci-fi genre, namely "spidery aliens" (the zerg) and "psychic brain aliens" (the protoss).[151] The Alien series has been cited as a source of inspiration for the zerg,[152] and elements from the movie Aliens can be seen in the terrans. Elements from Starship Troopers, both Heinlein's novel and the movie by the same name, and the miniatures war game Warhammer 40,000 may also be found. Blizzard member Jeff Kapan has described the setting as being "high science fiction" (analogous to the concept of high fantasy.[153]

Cultural Significance[]

StarCraft's influence in the computer and video gaming fields was a direct result of its immense popularity. It became one of the measuring benchmarks upon which new real-time strategy games were measured; example, gaming news site described StarCraft in 2003 as "The Standard by Which All Real-Time Strategy Games Are Judged". The game also introduced or popularized some current gaming terms, such as zerg rush and actions per minute.

The game's popularity also resulted in professional competition circuits.

Several StarCraft quotations (eg. "My life for Aiur!") have become catchphrases and found uses elsewhere in Internet culture.


The series has its "C" capitalized because the Starcraft RV and bus company had already trademarked the name prior to the first game. The use of a capital c was to get around the issue.[154]


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