I'm a fan of the sadly defunct Red Alert 3: Paradox mod, which adds a ton of zany, flavorful factions to the existing three factions of the Red Alert universe. I was thinking about how one would go about giving the "Paradox" treatment to the most popular RTS in the world: Starcraft. Here are my faction ideas:
United Earth Directorate: I understand why Blizzard decided to make the UED the same as the regular Terrans: it would be a bitch to balance Brood War by adding an entirely new faction. But I still think that having the UED as a distinct faction is a missed opportunity, and frankly it would make more sense if they used different equipment and combat doctrines than the Terrans. How would the UED play in this hypothetical Starcraft mod? I originally thought of turning them into an expy of 40K's Imperial Guard via Verhoeven's Starship Troopers: hordes of disposable infantry backed up with tanks. Then I realized that the disposable infantry schtick is already present with Terran Marines. And it wouldn't really reflect the UED's fluff: that of a high-tech army that's very, very far from home.
So, here's my idea: elite infantry backed up by hard-hitting armor and aircraft. UED tech is more advanced than that of the Terrans, and tech like plasma cannons and energy shields are widespread in their army. This makes them somewhat like the Protoss, but unlike the Protoss the UED excel in ranged warfare. The UED's basic infantry has more firepower and range than its counterparts, but if those zerglings or zealots get in up close, it's game over. They're a bit like Terran Ghosts, only they don't have anything by way of special abilities, can take more hits, and are cheaper. But the fact remains that you'll always be outnumbered. Armor and aircraft are what the UED really excel in. Unlike the siege tank, the UED's main battle tank is actually something you can drive into combat and soak up enemy fire. Their aircraft are also good, and I see them having something akin to SC2's Banshees or the A10 Warthog as their main flyer. As for the energy shields, they're more limited in use than those of the Protoss, being present on only the heavy units and main structures and are weaker than their Protoss counterparts.
Xel'Naga/Hybrids: Oh yes, the "fourth faction." People have been wondering if the Xel'Naga would be playable, and if they have something to do with Protoss/Zerg hybrids, for over a decade. Well, it's a yes for the latter, and I don't see why not to adopt this idea. My concept for the Xel'Naga is that they're an almost-extinct species that wakes up and sees a bunch of morons ruining the sector, so they step in and clean up the mess. By killing everyone, of course. They operate through their hybrid minions. Outside of unit portraits, you don't actually see any Xel'Naga; they're all hiding in their ships. An almost-extinct species wouldn't send its last remaining members to the front lines, after all.
But how do the Xel'Naga play? In SC2 the hybrids don't have a playstyle because they're not playable (and are made up of only two units), so no help there. We could make them play like the "ultimate universe-changing weapon" that they are in SC2's fluff, but "overpowered" isn't a very good playstyle to have in a game. And the Protoss already have the general "elite" schtick. Honestly, I'm lost with this one. Any ideas?
"Space Orcs": Artanis said "this is not Warcraft in space," and the last thing Starcraft needs is another glaring similarity to Warhammer 40K, but I think an analogue to Warcraft's Orcs are fertile ground for another faction. Terrans are humans, Zerg are undead, Protoss are elves. Why not some love for the green guys?
In actuality, my idea for "space orcs" is a misnomer. Just as the Zerg aren't spooky skeletons in space, these "orcs" aren't green-skinned humanoids. Instead, they're a nomadic species of aliens (I honestly haven't come up with how they'd look) that show up in the Koprulu Sector and get sucked into the constant wars there. They're on the low-tech side, with rusty, ramshackle weapons that wouldn't look out of place in a post-Soviet boneyard. They're a bit like the anti-Protoss or anti-UED. However, like Warcraft's orcs, they're proud and noble warriors, and not psychopathic madmen who just want anudda foight like 40K's Orks. Maybe there's a subplot about them being a failed Xel'Naga experiment before they moved on to the Protoss and Zerg, and now they want to take them down for being dicks that mess with the natural development of the galaxy.
Gameplay-wise, these "orcs" would be on the choppy end of the shooty-choppy dichotomy. They're middle of the road with regard to numbers and base stats: they shouldn't be able to field the same masses of bodies as the Zerg, and they should lose one-to-one with the Protoss. In a way, they're a bit like the Terrans, but they're on the other end of choppy vs. shooty. While the Terrans have one melee unit (the firebat), all of the orc's infantry are melee save for one. To facilitate this, the orcs are pretty sturdy. Their units generally take a lot of damage before going down, but they can't actually hurt you until they're in melee range.
[NEW] Confederate Resistance Force: Conceptually similar to the Confederates in RA3 Paradox, these are the collected anti-Dominion forces active during the Brood War and the Second Great War. Ironically enough, they're similar to the former Sons of Korhal: a faction relying on terror attacks, encouraging uprisings and with the aid of Duran actually having some success in manipulating all of the players.
The Confederates are a legacy faction: a lot of old units from the original Starcraft, and quite a few cancelled ones from SC2's development, are found in their arsenal. Aging Vultures, Wraiths, Goliaths, Arclite Siege Tanks are found in their arsenal. But they don't play like the old Starcraft Terrans or the current Terrans. They're a guerrilla faction, their infantry weak and cheap but are very fast. They have a lot of stealthy tricks, too, such as minefields and other booby traps.
So, what does everyone think of my ideas? Do you have a suggestion for a faction? Did I fuck up big time on one or two aspects? Are they the worst thing ever proposed and I should die in a fire? Tell me what you think in the comments!
Oh, and I'm not taking requests at the moment.