Philosophical Question: Are the Xel'Naga Good or Bad?
Before you read any further, heed this warning. If you are not familiar with the computer game StarCraft and its sequel BroodWar, some terms may be confusing.
I will provide some very brief information on the most important terms here, though I highly suggested that you read the actual nodes assigned to them.
(StarCraft Veterans skip this.)
Evolution - Theory of Natural Selection. Term coined by Charles Darwin who believed nature intended only the strongest creatures to survive.
Genetic Engineering - Intervention in evolution by an unnatural outside force. The modification of genetic material in something to change it.
Psi - A unit of psychic energy (in StarCraft).
Protoss - A very old and wise race of bipedal aliens, standing approximately three meters tall and who possess potent psionic abilities. One of the early, failed creations of the Xel'Naga.
Xel'Naga - An ancient race of aliens who simply cannot resist playing God with lesser species. They do not hail from the same galaxy as the Protoss, Zerg, or Terrans.
Zerg - A savage race of former insectoids engineered by the Xel'Naga after the Protoss disaster. They were organized to form a collective mind, governed by an ultra-powerful and intelligent "brain" known as the Overmind. They assimilate entire species and absorb their genes to improve the Zerg strains. In effect, they have managed to supercharge their own evolution faster than even the Xel'Naga expected. They later betrayed the Xel'Naga and destroyed over half of their fleet.
Aiur - The Protoss Homeplanet. Forest world with abundant vegetation.
Zerus - The Zerg Homeplanet. Barren ash world with frequent volcanic disruptions.
In ancient Protoss texts, the Xel'Naga were said to be a wise, powerful, and benevolent group. Those who furthered evolution, powered by the desire to create a perfect species. Powerful? Sure they were. Wise? I guess so, until they were so wrapped up in their experiments that they failed to detect obvious betrayal. Benevolent? There is the question. Are the Xel'Naga a truly great and good race who wanted to bring perfection to the universe? Or were they like little children* who abused their knowledge to further their own selfish desires? I think much of the evidence supports the latter.
From what we know, the Xel'Naga are a peaceful race who do not have advanced weapons or ingenious methods of warfare (otherwise they wouldn't have lost to the Zerg). So, we know they are not bloodthirsty freaks. That may be the only thing that helps their case as responsible Genetic Engineers. Apart from that, they have shown nothing but selfishness and an unhealthy obsession with feeding their egos (which eventually led to their downfall).
The Xel'Naga find an advanced race on the planet of Aiur and decide to manually evolve it to the state of perfection. The end product is the Protoss, a powerful group of warriors, and formidable psychics who are wise, generous, and valiant.
Pretty impressive. This accomplishment certainly looks good on their list of qualifications, but was their motive good? Did they create the Protoss because they wanted to make the world a better place? Or did they want someone to worship them as Gods. Perhaps they did it only to satisfy their lust for power. Their ability to tamper with nature makes them feel powerful. Did they alter the course of nature and play with fate in order to satisfy their selfish wants? It seems so, because as far as the Xel'Naga were concerned, if a creation lost purity then it was no longer worthy of anything. The Xel'Naga packed their bags and left an entire race lost and confused. Did it matter to anyone? Not the Xel'Naga, they were busy with a new experiment. Aiur could go to Hell for all they cared.
The Xel'Naga labor to advance the most insignificant lifeform on Zerus, a race of miniature insectoids known as the Zerg. They succeed beyond their wildest dreams and create a super-race, possibly the most powerful and efficient race to exist in the Galaxy.
This accomplishment too, looks great. But again, did the Xel'Naga mean well? Do the Xel'Naga really care about what happens to the Galaxy? No, the Xel'Naga only care about their own creation, and to make it more perfect. Sympathy and compassion are certainly not traits of the Xel'Naga as they watched their beloved children obliterate every other species it encountered towards perfection. They did not alter the Zerg in hopes that it would have a better life or save it from extinction, they advanced it out of pride and for the challenge. It is little use to inform the Xel'Naga that their efforts were damaging everything else and upsetting the balance of the Universe. The only thing they cared about was: Perfection. Perhaps the Xel'Naga should perfect themselves before they move on to other species.
The Xel'Naga may have been a great race; it may have been a powerful race who altered whole Galaxies and the fates of millions, but it has been determined that their actions were unwarranted, irresponsible, and had a general lack good intentions. While they may be efficient, they lack morals and rules. Are the Xel'Naga good or bad? I can only say they were bad under the guise of good. While they tried to perfect one thing, they knowingly hurt greater things.
StarCraft, Protoss, Zerg, Xel
Naga, Aiur, and Zerus are property of Blizzard Entertainment.
*Children? Well, I couldn't think of a better word and I know it does children everywhere a great injustice to use this word in that context. Heck sometimes adult politicians act like this, so my apologies.