Update: First of all, thanks for all the suggestions and requests and general attention this thread received. I'm glad this guide helped so many people with their campaign :)
A lot of you asked me to post tips on missions not included here or suggested alternative strategies. I did my best, but unfortunately I can't add much because each post has a 5000 character limit :( Also, the posts don't seem to display properly for me. The [list] tags are gone and some other stuff. Sorry! It's not me, it's the forums being buggy. I tried to make this as readable as possible.
I'm not including any tips for achievements or bonus objectives. Some of them are pretty easy to get and need no explanation, and for the hard ones you can just replay the mission on hard/normal and get all the achievements and bonuses if you care. If you're looking for a specific mission, just Ctrl+F the name.
These choices are the most useful IMO. Most of them I took specifically to complement my mech strategy, and the guide in general is focused on mech. MMM isn't really my cup of tea.
- Attack Speed vs Extra Health: this choice depends on whether you prefer upgrading weapons or armor in the game first. Just take the corresponding research.
- Orbital Depots: I hate building damn depots, so I took this. +Gas looked tempting though.
- Automated Refineries: Frees up SCVs, frees up micro time, you can also build a refinery on a geyser away from your base and pump gas (occasionally useful)
- Science Vessel: Mech heal ability is AMAZING. Irradiate is also a pretty cool thing to spam vs zerg.
- Tech Reactor: Again, amazing. One factory and one starport will be enough in most missions.
- Planetary Fortress: I actually took the flame turrets and never used them once. This seems more useful.
- Biosteel: a no-brainer for mech.
- Snare tower vs Mind Control: I went for the snare because it's build-and-forget, whereas mind control requires additional micro when you already have a lot on your hands during last mission
- (That dropship is pretty useless, but firebat 2.0 seems lackluster as well. Bunker HP vs damage doesn't seem to have much impact either.)
During the early missions I took firebat range, stimpacks, and concussive shells and tried to save up some credits for later mech units. In retrospect, this would be a good time to take bunker upgrades, since you'll need them for "All In" and possibly "The Dig". I went whole game without them and ended up buying them at the end.
Otherwise, I upgraded:
- Vikings: range especially is great. With it vikings outrange every air unit in the game and can snipe warp prisms powering cannons in a couple missions.
- Siege Tanks: extra damage and reduced friendly fire. Duh.
- Thor: both abilities are great.
- Orbital Command: since your CC starts as an Orbital Command (no need to pay for upgrade during missions) it's basically free mules, which adds up to a lot of free minerals.
- Fire Suppression: anything that adds to the durability of your defenses is good.
- Turret upgrades: if you choose to get rid of nudus worms for "All In", you'll need to spam turrets, so these upgrades are great
Tips on individual missions:
These are the missions I either found most difficult myself or saw a lot of people complaining about on these forums. I'm not covering every mission, only the ones that seem to be problematic. Again, this is really long, so if you're looking for just one mission, ctrl+F the name.
- Firebats are your best friends. During the first two minutes of daytime you get, set up your defenses with a bunker on each entrance, a couple firebats flanking it on hold position, and medics behind them.
- During subsequent nights, plant your mobile force behind the firebats and use them to focus fire abominations. Bats roast everything else easily
- Plan ahead which compounds you're going to take out. Send Helions to ones farther away since they're faster and use infantry to take out closer ones. You can pretty much attack-move during the day, forget about your army, and concentrate on your base.
Smash and Grab
- Start attacking early. Pylons are placed in such a way that you can kill them with marauders to disable all cannons on your way to the main toss base.
- The only problem part is the two sentries and a templar on the bridge. Just bait the templar with a single marauder/firebat. Run in range, get stormed, run out, heal up, repeat. You can do this even before you have a sizeable force, so by the time you DO have a sizeable force the templar is out of energy and you can just walk over everything.
(Continued in the next post)
The Great Train Robbery
Update: a lot of people are suggesting to skip this mission until you get air units. That's a good idea if you're finding it too hard because beating it just leads to another difficult mission (Engine of Destruction) and you don't really get anything immediately useful out of this one.
- You need to act very quickly at the start. Grab all diamondbacks with your starting marines, then use those to grab resources. You probably won't get this mission on your first try, so remember where all the starting resources are and be ready to send your units to pick them up in the first seconds of the game. This will give your economy a nice boost.
- Start pumping diamondbacks fast. They are the key unit, since they're the only unit that can catch the fast trains. Everything else is support.
- Memorize when the enemy will attack your base. You can't afford to have a defense and an offense, so load the game and pull back your diamondbacks to defend if needed.
- Again, more save/load... memorize the positions where SCVs will construct bunkers along train tracks and intercept as many as you can.
- You will most likely need to kill one of the patrolling marauder squads, so plan for it. It was way to hard for me when I attempted to take down trains while dodging both of the squads. So just pick your fight and get a good surround on them, instead of having them run into you while you're trying to take down a train.
NOTE: I found "Save Haven" to be much easier, so if you want the easy route, pick that one and overpower Haven's Fall with all the endgame tech after you complete the campaign
- You absolutely have to stay on top of things on this one. On my first try, I let two extra settlements get infested and other four fell pretty quick. After that I couldn't push out of my base at all. When I actually completed the mission, I got all the achievements as well.
- You have to stop infestations before the spore thing pops and starts spawning infested terrans.
- Take out the one right next to your base with your starting vikings and immediately begin pumping more vikings. They're going to be the key unit in this mission.
- As soon as you hear the warning that a village is getting infested, drop whatever you are doing and send your vikings there. Pick off the mutalisks and brood lords, then land and take out the central structure.
- In addition to infested settlements, there are three actual zerg bases on the map. You'll need ground forces to take out those, but they're not a priority. You can take your time, as long as you keep new infestations under control.
- If a new infestation starts while you're attacking a zerg base, pull back your vikings. If you don't think your remaining ground troops can clean up, it's better to retreat and try later than keeping the vikings busy.
- Set up your defenses at the start in front of the expansion on the low ground. You'll want to take that when you have a chance. Standard bunker + tank + optional depot wall works well.
- Focus fire immortals and templars with the laser. Other units are pretty much harmless against a few tanks.
- You'll be attacked by air units a couple times. Build some vikings against that (viking mercs help a lot in a pinch).
- Keep the vikings around to kill incoming colossi. You can just float over the central lake and snipe the colossi as they walk towards your base without any units being able to attack back (except templars, so again... lasering them is important.
A Sinister Turn
- Ma'ar is the only problem here and he gets very fat and moderately powerful as the game goes on, so the key here is to finish fast. I got the speed achieve first time I beat it.
- Take the robofac and dark shrine fast. They're only guarded by a couple of units, so 2-3 zealots can take it with no casualties and that immortal is really nice against the first Ma'ar attack. Don't bother with templar archives - way too much work.
- Macro up a standard toss ground army and push out. Kill Ma'ar on the way to the enemy base. If your base gets attacked, reload a save and time your push better. When Ma'ar respawns, wait off to the side of the bridge and let him pass. He will be busy destroying your base while you take out all the protoss forces.
- When you get to the prisons, he will teleport back. Do not fight him as he will respawn immediately on top of you and just destroy the prisons.
(Continued in the next post)
In Utter Darkness
- A really fun mission IMO. Also really hard at the first glance, but not so much with the right strat.
- Ignore the gold expansion, it's too far to the side for your ground forces to defend.
- The only units you will need are colossi, cannons, phoenixes and void rays (later). Start building a field of cannons around the archive and start pumping colossi. Don't worry about other ground units. Keep everything in a clump.
- Upgrade ground weapons and armor and air weapons. A second forge right off the start is a good idea.
- Watch which entrance zerg are massing at and move your colossi towards it. They will pretty much melt everything except for hybrids.
- Spam phoenixes' graviton beam on as many hybrid units as you can. If your phoenixes die, replenish them. You need to have about 6-8 at all times.
- Zeratul can freeze ultralisks (which phonixes can't) so you might want to hotkey him seperately, although this is not a major issue. Hybrids are a priority.
- If you're getting a lot of extra minerals, build cannons on the high ground and completely block off both ramps. You'll retreat there when your first line of defense gets overrun. (If you do it right, you will get the archive bonus before you have to retreat)
- When you get void rays, start pumping those in addition to colossi.
- After your entire ground army goes down, you can take all your air units off to the side of the platform and hold out there against zerg air for a couple hundred more kills.
Update: A lot of people suggested an alternative strategy of "walling off" your entrances with DTs. Most of enemy waves don't have detectors and when they do appear later in the mission, you just have to quickly snipe them. Here is a youtube video of this strategy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2QbrWT90jY (not mine of course; mass colossi worked well enough for me :P)
Engine of Destuction
- This mission gave me A LOT of trouble, to the point where I couldn't complete it when I first tried and had to go back and get all available units and techs. I suggest you do the same, because wraths are flat out garbage. You want siege tanks and science vessels.
- After I got the above, the mission was actually pretty easy. Immediately after you get wraiths, send them against the first base. Focus the medivacs and then leave them to pewpew everything. This will soften it up for Tychus and you won't even have to repair him. Use the time to tech instead.
- Block off the right entrance to your base during the time with some buildings (depots) and two bunkers. You can hold off on filling them until the last second, spend the minerals on some tanks right now and a vessel. Then just spawn merc marines to fill up the bunker.
- Against the second base, you'll want at least 2-3 tanks, a vessel (or two if you already have tech reactor) and you can use those wraiths to help out against the battlecruiser there.
- For the rest of the game, just keep building up your mech army and it's pretty much a walk in the park. If your wraiths die (and they most probably will, since they're trash), spawn a squad of merc vikings to help against air.
Update: a few people posted that they beat supernova by making a fleet of banshees and vikings and hiding them in the bottom-right corner of the map until fire destroys most of the protoss base, then rushing for the temple and destroying it. I haven't tried it myself, but I'm sure it works well if multiple people are suggesting it.
- The other mission I got stuck on without all the tech, but again, was pretty easy with a mech ball.
- At the start, use the banshees to clear out the first two relics, the expansion towards the bottom, and the area next to it. Build a refinery on that expansion immediately if you have Automated Refineries. You'll need the gas.
- Make a bunker for immediate defense and put your starting marines in it, you can salvage it later.
- Start with a tech reactor on your factory and starport and immediately start pumping tanks, vessels, and a thor or two. When mercs become available, spawn merc tanks and vikings.
- Migrate the base to the spot at the bottom (where you built a refinery) when your main is either mined out or about to be destroyed by fire. Keep building up your mech.
- Once you have 6+ tanks, 2-3 thors, 4+ vessels, merc vikings and leftover banshees, roll over the rest of the protoss on the map. Basically, you're just bulding your mech for half of the mission and trying to suffer as few casualties as possible, then owning the second half. Way easier than whatever crap with banshees blizzard expected you to pull off.
(Continued in the next post)
Maw of the Void
- I can't imagine how people are having problems with this after having gotten so far, but... just make about 10 cruisers and kill stuff.
- Send only cruisers into ripfields. You can scan the enemies beforehand with your orbital command and biosteel helps negate the damage, but they do pretty well on their own. You can destroy the first ripfield immediately at the start.
- Take the expansion on the closest island after you destroy the ripfield there.
- For the fields after the first, heal them up with vessels and you're ready to go again. Basically the only units you want for the whole mission are cruisers, vessels, and maybe some vikings for mobility.
- All attacks against you come by air basically from the same vector. Ground units are warped in. So if you put your fleet of cruisers and vikings in their path, they will never reach your base.
- When fighting the mothership at the end, send the remainder of your army into the vortex after it's cast. If you just wait and don't engage it with half of your forces, it's pretty easy to take down.
I chose to destroy the air units for this mission, so my suggestions include nydus worms. You'll need to modify the strategy against air if you chose to destroy the worms.
- This is probably the hardest mission in the game simply because you can't overpower it with more advanced tech, since it's balanced around having ALL the tech. The two major problems are Kerrigan and Nydus worms. The rest of the zerg aren't a concern unless you fail on either of the above, in which case you'll collapse under the constant pressure. So, essentially, it's all about executing each defense perfectly until the final one.
- The artifact is tricky to use. I had to fire it a couple times on Kerrigan and another couple times on nydus worms. The best way is to save the game when you hear Kerrigan's attack warning and try to defend without the artifact. See how well you do. If your defenses took too much damage, load, fire the artifact, and hope you can do better on the next wave.
- Nydus worms are the biggest concern and destroying them fast is the key to winning. You will need to use banshees and you will need to maintain a sizeable force (around 6-12). Either learn the spawns or save the game when you hear each Nydus warning, see where it spawns, load, and have your banshees waiting for the worm when it pops up. That way you can kill it before it spawns any units (and possibly even kill the next one) and stay ahead of the game. This tactic isn't necessary for the first couple waves, when 2-3 worms spawn, but when you get to 5 at a time, you pretty much have to do this.
- For static defense, I used about 5 bunkers on each entrance, with a wall of depots in front (depots are easy to replace if you have Orbital Depot tech) and tanks, thors, and science vessels behind. Also keep a few SCVs around on auto repair and keep training SCVs because they'll often get killed. Somehow. So you'll need to keep sending new ones to the front lines and you don't want to end up with an empty mineral line.
- If you have psi emitter towers, place one on each side of the high ground where the artifact is, as far ahead as possible, and place two more on the opposite side of each bunker line to ensure maximum coverage.
- Thors have two neat tricks: first one is bombarding an area in front of the bunkers to stun units (really good vs ultralisks) and second is to plug a hole in a wall. If your wall gets breached, put a thor there and it will soak up a ton of damage. And you can even rebuild it with immortality protocol!
- To deal with Kerrigan, bring your banshee squadron back to the base. Obviously, it's extra damage (actually, a lot of extra damage since she has an immortal-like ability and tanks don't do much to her) and second, you can use them to draw away her insect swarm thing. She will often cast it on the banshees, so just be ready to move them out of it quickly and heal them up with vessels. A bunch of yellow/orange banshees is much better than a breached defense line.
- When overlords come, don't panic. They only drop infested terrans. You can spawn merc vikings and mop them up at your leisure. They're a low priority and you shouldn't waste much time or resources on that.
...and that's it! About three times longer than I expected it to be.
If you found this guide helpful, a bump to the thread would be appreciated, so it stays on the front page and more people can benefit from it. If you're having problems with a mission not posted here, ask away and I will try to respond! (Or someone else will).
P.S. 5000 character limit per post sucks >.>