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TerranVespene SCR HeadAnim

Terran-stored vespene

Vespene gas (or "gas" or "vespene" for short) is one of the two main resources of StarCraft and StarCraft II, the other being minerals. It is a hydrocarbon compound, and is the most plentiful high-performance fuel in the galaxy.[1]


ZergVespene SCR HeadAnim

Zerg-stored vespene

According to Doran Routhe, a famous United Powers League scientist, planetary systems beyond the Solar System could contain new resources that could benefit a resource-depleted Earth. Although the terran colonists went beyond their intended destination, Routhe's theories were proven correct, the Koprulu sector featuring resources not found on Earth, including vespene gas.[2]

Vespene gas has a variety of applications.[3] It is usually green in color,[2] though the color may change through contamination;[4] silver vespene deposits have been observed.[5] It is highly prized by terrans due to its unusually high potential energy rating and as such, is used as a fuel in high-performance engines, energy reactors[2] and simple vehicles in a manner similar to Earth's fossil fuels.[5] Often found in geysers, deposits of vespene can be found on many planets along the galactic rim and in asteroid fields, a number of space platforms having been built to harvest the resource. In addition, vespene can be extracted directly from a planet's crust, albeit with more difficulty.[6] Deposits can be found via geo-survey units, courtesy of the gas's electromagnetic returns.[4] Crystallized vespene can also be found alongside mineral fragments inside asteroids.[7]

ProtossVespene SCR HeadAnim

Protoss-stored vespene

The purity of the vespene is highly valued.[8] Hydrogen sulfide is one such impurity, causing the gas mixture to become explosive. Contaminated vespene has a yellowish tinge.[4] Liquid vespene is also usable.[9]

Vespene gas is also used by other races. The zerg have adapted themselves to use raw vespene as a source of nourishment to drive their greatly accelerated metabolisms due to the gas's high-caloric capacity,[2] raw vespene exposure resulting in enhancement of the ultralisk's physical capabilities,[10] and increasing the aggressiveness of the roach.[3] In contrast, the protoss use vespene as a catalyst for their psi-driven machines.[2]

Vespene formations slowly regrow over time on planets such as Antiga Prime, contributing greatly to the ability of terrans to survive in the Koprulu Sector.[11] However, while vespene geysers effectively have an unlimited amount of gas within them, after a certain point, the geyser "collapses", with only trace amounts of vespene able to be found.[2] Later reports by Universal News Network stated that vespene was non-renewable, and questioned what would happen when the last geyser was exhausted.[12]

Vespene gas is somewhat flammable if fire of a high enough temperature is applied[5] and explosive with sufficient firepower.[9]

During the era of the Terran Dominion, the Geological Procurement Services division was assigned with finding and exploiting vespene geysers for the Dominion war effort.[1]

Game Effect[]

In order to transport and store vespene gas, it must first be sealed in a container, either a tank, box or sac depending on the race. Each race has a type of structure for performing this conversion: the terran refinery, the zerg extractor, and the protoss assimilator. Only one worker unit can be inside the building collecting at any one time, but multiple workers can be queued up to mine from it. Depending on the exact distance from the nearest base, the optimal number of units to be sent to mine a geyser is three or four. Generally speaking, the more advanced a unit or structure is, the more vespene gas it requires to produce. Flying units and spellcasters require large amounts of vespene to create.


Vespene SC1 Game1

A vespene gas geyser

Typically, a standard mineral patch comes with a lone vespene geyser with five thousand units of gas. Units collect the gas at a rate of eight units per trip until the geyser is depleted. When a geyser is depleted, the workers will continue to mine but will only produce two units of gas per trip.


During development, gas was stockpiled outside the refinery/extractor/assimilator. Enemy units were able to steal them. Furthermore, if a worker was killed while transferring gas, the gas would remain where the worker was destroyed.[13]

StarCraft: Ghost[]

In early builds of StarCraft: Ghost, barrels of pressurized vespene gas would serve as objects Nova could shoot to cause an explosion.[14]

StarCraft II[]

VespeneGeyser SC2 Game1

Vespene gas geyser in StarCraft II

Compared to the first game, the harvesting of vespene gas is radically different. A standard geyser only has 2250 units of gas, but each mineral patch comes with two geysers. Gas is mined in units of four rather than eight, and the cost of gas-extracting buildings for each race is decreased by 25 minerals. Thus, while overall collection of gas is equal to the original game, two workers collectively mining 8 units a second, gas is a more costly investment due to the need for twice as many workers and two gas-extracting buildings instead of one. A depleted geyser can no longer continue to be mined once depleted: the building acquires a reddish tint and the workers harvesting from it cease their work until given new orders.

As with the original, the appearance of vespene geysers in StarCraft II changes in accordance with their tileset.

RichVespene Coop Art1

Rich vespene geyser

Vespene geysers have a rich variant. These geysers are colored purple and give 8 vespene per trip as opposed to the usual 4.

Vespene resource pallets may be found in campaigns. All the automated gas extraction in the campaign and Co-op Missions are collected at a rate of 2 seconds.

Wings of Liberty[]

In the Wings of Liberty campaign, vespene harvesting benefits from two upgrades. At ten protoss research points, the player has the option to increase harvest rates by twenty-five percent, resulting in 5 gas being mined per SCV trip. At fifteen points, refineries become automated and no longer need SCVs to mine, automatically producing vespene for the player every few seconds. Automated refineries also benefit from the twenty-five percent bonus production rate.[15]

SC2 Lab MicroFilter Icon
Micro Filtering

Increases the rate SCVs and Automated Refinery harvest vespene gas from refineries by 25% (to 5).

Combining terran and protoss filtering technologies allows our refineries and automated refineries to reclaim a higher amount of vespene gas in its purest form.[16]

Campaign Acquisition
Acquired from Hyperion laboratory for 15 protoss research points
SC2 Lab Auto Refinery Icon
Automated Refinery

Refineries do not need SCVs to operate.[16]

We have adapted protoss warp technology to transport gas canisters straight from the refinery to the command center, eliminating the need for SCVs to carry them back. Why the protoss have never thought to transport vespene in this fashion is a mystery. Perhaps they lack terran creativity and pragmatism, or possibly their primitive superstitions forbid the practice.

Campaign Acquisition
Acquired from Hyperion laboratory for 15 protoss research points

Heart of the Swarm[]

In the Heart of the Swarm campaign, the zerg have also gained and receive the same vespene harvesting benefits from two upgrades which are similar to the terran campaign mechanics when Sarah Kerrigan reach a certain level with the Supreme mission completed. At level ten, the player has the option of selecting the automated extractor upgrade which no longer need Drones to mine, automatically producing vespene for the player every few seconds. At level thirty-five, the player has the option of selecting the vespene efficiency upgrade which increase harvest rates by twenty-five percent, resulting in five gas being mined per Drone trip. Automated extractors also benefit from the twenty-five percent bonus production rate.

SC2 KerrAutomatedExtractors Icon
Automated Extractors

Extractors mine vespene gas automatically without drones.

Campaign Acquisition
Acquired from Complete Supreme.
SC2 KerrVespeneEfficiency Icon
Vespene Efficiency

Extractors and automated extractors return 5 vespene gas a trip instead of 4.

Campaign Acquisition
Acquired from Kerrigan reaches Level 35

Legacy of the Void[]

In Legacy of the Void, gas comes to a total of 2250 per geyser.[17]

In the game's campaign, once the Spear of Adun collects 75 solarite, the protoss can collect gas without using probes.

Co-op Missions[]

In Co-Op missions Vorazun, Nova and Zeratul can harvest vespene gas without workers once they have reached a certain level (Vorazun 2, Nova 7) while Zeratul can immediately construct assimilator as soon as the mission begins with no cost from the ancient nexus. At level 5, Swann can call in harvesting drones on refineries to harvest additional gas for himself and his ally.

SC2 Swann AC - VespeneHarvester
Vespene Harvester

Calls down an automated harvester that gathers extra vespene for you and your ally from any friendly vespene gathering structure.

Cost 100 Minerals
Mastery: -3 Minerals per Vespene Drone Cost mastery point. Down to a minimum 10 Minerals
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Swann Level 5.
SC2 Vorazun AC - Orbital Assimilators
Orbital Assimilators

The Spear of Adun harvests vespene gas from orbit without the need for Probes.

Passive ability.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Vorazun Level 2
SC2 Nova AC - AutomatedRefineries
Automated Refineries

Nova's refineries upgrade to automated refineries.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Nova Level 7


The following section contains information from a previous version of StarCraft II which is no longer valid.

Geysers had their values reduced from 5000 units of gas to 2500 during development of StarCraft II, as bases now had two of them. In Legacy of the Void, Blizzard planned to reduce the amount of gas produced by a geyser from 2500 to 1700 in order to encourage more expansions.[18] This change was brought forth in patch 2.5, before being increased to 2000 in 2.5.2. Patch 4.0 increased the final amount to 2250.

The process for building alternate art for vespene geysers in StarCraft II was limited by time, which led to a limit of the number of types being present at the game's release. Both natural and artificial geysers had to have the same rough form and their openings in exactly the same locations, since terran and zerg gas harvesting buildings cap the holes during their construction animations.[19]

Rich gas
VespeneGeyserRich SC2 Game1

A rich vespene geyser on the map Atlantis Spaceship

Rich vespene geysers have very rarely been used in official maps, but can be found in the StarCraft II Map Editor. They were included in "Terminus RE" and the IGN Pro League (IPL) 4 map "Atlantis Spaceship", where they returned 6 gas per trip. In the latter map, they were distinguished from normal geysers by the small storage tank-looking object on the side.[20]

Restore Gas

In June 2008, a worker would collect six vespene gas per trip and the geyser had an initial supply of one thousand units of vespene gas; once depleted, the amount harvested per trip was reduced down to two. Vespene collectors had an ability to "Restore Gas" in which the player would pay one hundred minerals and the collector would temporarily shut down for forty-five seconds. Once the shut-down period was finished, four hundred vespene gas would become available to be harvested at six vespene gas per trip until this supply was depleted again.[21] By October, the process was automatic and took sixty seconds.[22]


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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
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  12. Kate Lockwell Twitter. Kate Lockwell's Twitter, accessed on 2016-03-22
  13. Hidden Pics, Angelfire. Accessed on 2018-06-06
  14. 2014-18-12, StarCraft: Ghost Demo Build., accessed on 2020-02-16
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  16. 16.0 16.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Protoss research (in English). 2010.
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