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StarCraft 2 August Discussion Topic: Gas Mechanics

Four months have passed since the last discussion topic, which focused on the Baneling. This month’s topic moves the spotlight from the single unit to a core gameplay mechanic which will affect every aspect of StarCraft 2.

At the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, we had the opportunity to show you a new StarCraft II client. With this client we introduced a new idea on how our Gas Mechanics work. This would give the player more options and more economy choices. In the following days, Dustin Browder went more into detail on how these new mechanics can affect the game-play and we were able to get even more questions answered in the following Batch of the StarCraft II Q&A. Now we would like you to give us your feedback on the way Gas collection works now.

For more information about the new Vespene Gas mechanics, make sure to read our earlier posts on the subject. First, the original post with Dustin Browder’s introduction of the changes, and second, the Chat with Devs part of Q&A 41, which contained a detailed explanation with updated numbers.

To recap (current numbers, subject to balance changes, in parenthesis):

Each resource location now has two Vespene Geysers. These start with a relatively low amount of gas (600), which allow workers to carry a full load in each trip (6). When the geyser is depleted, this number is reduced (2), and the player is offered a choice to replenish the geyser for a mineral cost (100).

The repleneshing process requires the player to select the geyser and hit a button (or shortcut key), which takes the geyser offline for a short period (45 seconds), during which workers can not extract gas at all. This pumps gas back into the geyser (600), allowing workers to resume Vespene Gas extraction at full efficiency.

Vespene Gas Refinery

Our thoughts on this matter remain unchanged from previous discussions:

All these major changes have been implemented to StarCraft 2 for one purpose: complicate the “macro” portion of the game, which has been downsized severely with the introduction of new and improved user interface aspects, and mainly, Multiple Building Selection (MBS).

 

These changes will steal some of the added focus to the micromanagement portion of StarCraft 2, which pro-gamers, who’ve had a chance to play the game extensively, have reported about, and divert it back to base and economy management.

The monthly discussion topic is an excellent opportunity for StarCraft 2’s fans, be they pro gamers or causal RTS players, to voice their opinion about this change to the resource system – a central part of StarCraft 2.

As always, Blizzard has three specific questions they wish to receive answers for:

* What new strategies and choices do you think the player would have and have to make with the new Gas Mechanics?

 

* How do you think this change will effect Zerg, Protoss and Terran?

 
* Do you like or dislike the change? Why?

 

* Additional feedback you might have

Additionally, the SC2 Blog’s questions are:

1) Do you think the need to “babysit” the Vespene Geysers adds to the depth of the game, allowing players to put more thought into the resource management process, or is it going to become a dull, mindless chore?

 

2) Resource collection in StarCraft 1 has always been very straightforward. With the introduction of Yellow Minerals and the complication of the Vespene Gas collection process, this aspect of StarCraft 2 has been expanded. Would you like to see StarCraft 2’s economy simplified, or perhaps complicated further?

 

3) Unlike in StarCraft 1, Workers can now be automatically ordered to start harvesting resources as soon as they are produced, using a rally point, without requiring further action from the player.

Should it be possible for “Replenish Gas” to be set on Auto-Cast, making this process automatic as well?

The new Vespene Gas mechanics are likely to become an important and significant part of every StarCraft 2 game, regardless of race or skill level. Blizzard has proven time and time again that they listen closely to fan feedback – this is your chance to leave your lasting impression on StarCraft 2.

Yellow Minerals(?)

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58 Comments to “StarCraft 2 August Discussion Topic: Gas Mechanics”


  1. sgtslappy — August 2, 2008 @ 11:40 am

    I’m not sure if I like it.. *shrug* what do I know about that stuff anyway.

    http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3169099

    Apparently starcraft is going to have achievements? D:

  2. hotclaw — August 2, 2008 @ 11:51 am

    Blizzard questions:

    1. Temporarily removing workers from gas would give players 3/4 extra workers to divert to minerals and work back all or part of the 100 minerals, or they can be used to build/repair structures and expansions until they can harvest gas again.

    This change is a good way for all the races, but especially Zerg, to retain the usefulness of (Zerg’s often numerous) expansions. It’s also an incentive to capture enemy expansions without any minerals left, since the gas geysers are now more useful.

    2. Zerg can choose to turn their gas workers into structures/expansions while they wait for gas to come back into operation. Since they require a lot of gas, and have a lot of expansions by default, Zerg can definitely use this mechanic.

    In Starcraft, Terrans tended to become boxed in by the other races while they built up a sufficient force to break out and siege their opponents. This mechanic allows them to get more use out of the few expansions that they do have, especially later in the game when their higher tier units, that require more gas, come into play. Terran’s SCV’s are also more useful than the other two races’ workers, since they can repair mechanical units and can (could) be used in bunker rushes, so temporarily pulling them off gas is less of a waste.

    Protoss have less difficulty harvesting a lot of minerals, so they can more easily cover the cost of replenishing, allowing them access to higher tier units quicker.

    3. I used to dislike the change out of principle, because it felt like an unnecessary gimmick only added to complicate the game due to user interface improvements (which is absurd). It seemed that this change was only to complicate the part of macro that is basically just an extension of micro, in that it only increases the amount of twitching needed to play the game. Having thought about it, I can see more strategic options (the other side of macro) being opened up by this change. It’s really too early to tell whether my list even mentions some of those strategies, though.

    SC2Blog questions:

    1. It could become a mindless chore, or as I have mentioned, it could give players more choices regarding their expansions and worker use.

    2. I think this should be the final change to resource-gathering. It has been simplified via smart and extra (Zerg) rally points, and complicated via this change to gas. I feel that is complex enough. I hate Age of Empires’ 5+ resources, but have always preferred Starcraft’s resource model to Warcraft III’s practically non-existent one (although you could argue that the need for skilful and efficient creeping to gain gold/xp/items makes up for that, although the game’s macro strategy has still been dumbed down severely).

    3. It could be useful, especially at your main/natural during the late game, and it would still require some management; you won’t always have the minerals to spare and the idle workers will have to be issued new orders.

  3. Gyan — August 2, 2008 @ 11:55 am

    This mechanic appears to be a massive failure, not simply in its relatively worthless affect on gameplay, but in what it says about the attitude of blizzard’s game developers.

    The desire to “complicate” gameplay, just for the sake of complication itself, is a narrow minded and uncreative approach to game design. They are approaching the problem completely backwards. Interesting games are not made so simply by nature of complex gameplay mechanics. They are interesting because of what players can DO with the relatively simple systems they are given. Intelligent players will always develop ways to complicate gameplay by creating advanced strategies and exploiting the mechanics of the world they are operating in. It is the job of the game not to provide those avenues for exploitation, but rather to make the gameplay as seamless, fluid, and realistic as possible. Intentionally and artificially increasing the amount of needless micromanagement works exactly counter to this objective.
    I believe the development team has lost sight of this due to the extremely refined level of play that developed around starcraft. They are attempting to reverse engineer what happened in the first game, and it is leading them down some wrong lines of thinking. Pro players will FIND ways to be better, in macro and micro, because that is their nature. They excel at maximizing the efficiency of systems. Instead of trying to predict how they will play and build a system that you think models it, work on making the most cohesive, balanced world that you can, and allow them the freedom of playing in it.

    To answer your specific questions: this mechanic would have no positive effect on race balance, fun, or strategic complexity.
    If anything, it will reduce the strategic value of expansion and controlling resourcing, as you will have an unlimited supply of vespine so long as you have minerals. This makes the possible map designs that much simpler and duller. Fighting for vespine expansions was a key part of star craft strategy. This change destroys that valuable strategic element while introducing needless and boring micromanagement.

  4. OrangeKing — August 2, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

    I think they should just have an option for say 1 expansion resource location for each at the begining and dozens of other places on the map where resources can “grow”.

    For instance when you make the map you designate a lot a spots for resources and also the the main bases and 1st expansion sites. Once you start playing the map the computer starts a few of the sites with more expansions. Then as the game goes on others will reveal their resources at other designated spots chosen at randon.

    If someone notices the resources and builds near them they stay there and can be depleted like any othe site. But if no one sees fo say 10 or 15 minutes they will disappear.

    This way the players have to be constanly scouting and paying atantion to areas that aren’t strategicly important.

    Maybe include a “New Resource Site Discovered” anouncement whenever a unit finds one.

  5. BarGamer — August 2, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

    I agree, putting speed bumps like this in the way of pro players is just gonna frustrate casual players. 600 Gas per Geyser is not going to last long at all. By the late game, you’re just barely limping along, scraping for gas or minerals, which makes it obvious why the Mothership has almost never seen play.

    I’m not a pro player, my APM probably is dismal, and it didn’t take me 5 minutes and I’ve already thought of “geyser-cycling.” Trigger one to be “replenished,” and 45 seconds before it’s “depleted” again, trigger the other one. Wash, rinse, repeat. However, to this this right, I’d need a stopwatch or plenty of Minerals. I don’t want to bother playing a game where I need a freaking stopwatch just to handle my gas, that’s what subordinate officers are for!

    It’s no wonder that so few people don’t tech up enough to get to the Mothership. Pretty much you’re splitting up the hardcore Multi-players up into two groups: Those who can Rush, and employ hit and run tactics indefinitely, and those who can micro their Geysers. Your attempts to clutter up the macro part of the game is just going to end up adding one-two more steps to the Masters of the Micro, and driving off everyone else. It’s unrealistic to expect lots of players to field huge armies against huge armies when every puff of gas is precious.

    @hotclaw: Rebuttal to Point 2: If you’re out of gas, you can’t build, repair, expand, or even effectively defend yourself. Eventually, you’re either going to run out of minerals, or your opponent with a billion APM is gonna swarm you.

    @OrangeKing: Your suggestion, or regenerating minerals via C&C, would probably result in more hit and run tactics, except those scouts double as expansion-finders. While novel, I’d much rather they scrap this whole Vespene-macro idea altogether.

  6. virLudens — August 2, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

    I like the idea of starting with two geysers, but the refilling seems a bit gimmicky. It would really be just babysitting. It complicates the simple rescource system that I love

    simplicity is key

    @OrangeKing – that’s an awful idea. people would just put a single unit on all of those spots, and also, it would involve a lot of luck

    @Gyan – stop trying to hide simplicity of mind with complex language – noone’s impressed

  7. MondSemmel — August 2, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

    Making gas mechanics more interesting is a worthy goal (after all, managing gas, while important, isn’t nowhere near as difficult as managing minerals in SC 1), but making them more complicated for the sake of being complicated is definitely not the way to go. Non pro players wouldn’t even be able to climb the tech tree anymore due to economy problems…
    Besides, this sounds annoying enough with one base, but if it becomes later in the game, the problems with the geysirs would increase even more (because once you get a geysir at an expansion, for full efficiency you’ll have to manage it for the rest of the game or until you lose the expansion)…

    I see this as an interesting idea in principle, but the execution is horrible. Besides, it misses the point – it’s still not as appealing as the mineral mechanics (i.e. even now, you’ll still have to build scvs all the time for maximum efficiency while geysirs require your attention every x seconds, which sucks – if I have to lose, I’d rather lose against my opponent(s) than against the gameplay mechanics)…

  8. Marticus — August 2, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

    1. I don’t think of it as babysitting, heck I already have to manage workers on the mineral lines and do transfers, and the like. Checking my gas refineries every 2 minutes isn’t bad.

    2. Well I don’t want it simplified more, and I think any more changes adding complications would be a hard sell considering how many people don’t like this current mechanic. I say keep it right where it is.

    3. The idea of autocast is not a good idea.

    My personal comments:

    I like the new mechanic because it will allow very sharp build orders. Also allowing for mass high gas units at the cost of minerals and some micro. Multiple building selection makes building 6 dragons much easier, not to mention setting all their rally points with one click as well. I think the added features of the game make it easier to play as well a wide selection of strategies.

    However, 600 gas, at 6 gas per trip, 3 to 4 workers. Now lets estimate 3 seconds between gas drop offs. That’s 120 gas a minute, so 5 minutes before it’s depleted. 45 second refresh time, and another 5 minutes of full gas. This could be a pain when dealing with 4 or 5 refineries across the map each on different timers.

  9. BallistaMan — August 2, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

    1) I wouldn’t call it a mindless chore, but boring, annoying, and unnecessary do seem to fit. If the geyser had 1500-2000 gas I think I’d actually like recharging it, because that way if end up being pinned down late game I’m not crippled in terms of gas. With only 600 gas, it just disrupts everything. I don’t want to just forget my economy, but like others have said – complexity for the sake of complexity is bad. Period.

    2) I’m perfectly happy with the yellow minerals, because they do add in a useful complexity to economy management. They have a purpose – clicking on a refinery every 2 minutes to recharge it, moving the workers away, then having them go back, etc. has minimal, if any. My stance is, feel free to make economics deeper – including vespene management, but don’t make me have to micro to such an extreme extent. I guarantee that it’ll drive everybody but the most hardcore nuts and detract more than it adds.

    3) Making it auto-casting is a very good step in the right direction. If I don’t manage my resources, then I’ll pay later on when I have too many live geysers and 0 minerals, but I don’t have to sit on continually. So it keeps the micro side alive, but doesn’t overplay it. I still think boosting the amount of vespene units per geyser a bit would help too.

  10. kyrth — August 2, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

    I don’t mind having more options in the economy, but babysitting multiple geysers just to get gas only sounds annoying. Actually, BallistaMan (the post above) has summed up my thoughts perfectly so I’ll just refer you to his comment :)

  11. Objectory_55 — August 3, 2008 @ 2:06 am

    Imagine trying to harvest minerals fast in the heat of a battle…how is one going to look two or three places at a time?? looking at the battlefield…the vespene gas and also constucting units…(maybe not for the rest) but it WILL make me go bonkers even before a few months. (to pros..maybe this aint a problem but for me it is)..we are not AI doing so many things at once..i’ve seen AI move a marine and changing the seige tank to tank mode at the same time…if anyone can do this then i have no objection to this feature

  12. Raylen — August 3, 2008 @ 2:20 am

    1)I totally agree with Marticus that 600 gas is far too little. Blizzard’s move adds micro to the game but this is way overboard. The old linear system was simple but thats whats nice about it.

    2)The inclusion of yellow minerals is really interesting as it will introduce additional challenging but refreshing gameplay styles found previously only in other games like C&C. Thats one good move by blizzard. The new vespene mechanic, on the other hand, seems to serve no purpose whatsoever, other then to induce headaches in the late game.

    3)If blizzard wants complication then don’t bother adding a method to resimplify gameplay again. Whats the whole point of the new mechanic then?

    Just one suggestion: Why not keep the single 5000(maybe a lil less) vespene geyser of the old days but include the gas replenishing as another option for the late game? This way we can all have the best of both worlds.

  13. Patrick — August 3, 2008 @ 3:45 am

    On Blizzard’s own questions, I second what hotclaw said.

    As regards SC2Blog’s questions:

    1. Dull chore vs. valuable depth mechanic?

    Well, many are justifiably concerned about wasting battle-time APMs on gas replenishment. However, there could be a hotkey or a small clickable icon for “Replenish Geysers” that would allow you to replenish all or X number of geysers — perhaps only those geysers you toggle on/off as mass-replenishable at the geysers themselves. That would go a long way towards solving the problem. (Auto-replenish would do a similar thing, but could get seriously out of hand, resulting in lots of gas and very few minerals.)

    Therefore, I think it’s easy to avoid this becoming a dull chore. I think it will be a valuable addition to the game.

    2. More / less / same resource complexity?

    I think things sound about right on the complexity front.

    3. Auto-replenish gas?

    I answered this above. I think autoreplenishment could get very out of hand. I think a mass-replenish button or hotkey, which replenishes only those geysers you’ve toggled to be mass-replenishable, is a better idea.

  14. Dill — August 3, 2008 @ 7:01 am

    What new strategies and choices do you think the player would have and have to make with the new Gas Mechanics?

    -The player has to plan out more/be more careful with how they use gas.

    How do you think this change will effect Zerg, Protoss and Terran?

    -Without having actually played the game, I can’t really say.

    Do you like or dislike the change? Why?

    -I dislike it overall. It is nice that they’re trying to throw in more wrinkles to resource management, but these changes seem kind of tacked on and forced. Perhaps, as others have said, using the replenish mechanics with a large amount of gas per geyser would work better, or some addition like the yellow minerals.

    Additional feedback you might have

    -As said above, it is nice that some resource changes are being tried out, but these changes together don’t seem useful.

    Do you think the need to “babysit” the Vespene Geysers adds to the depth of the game, allowing players to put more thought into the resource management process, or is it going to become a dull, mindless chore?

    -It seems more like a mindless chore. It seems likely that p-layers would fall into either using low gas units, or just mindlessly clicking the gas geyser to keep their gas flowing.

    Resource collection in StarCraft 1 has always been very straightforward. With the introduction of Yellow Minerals and the complication of the Vespene Gas collection process, this aspect of StarCraft 2 has been expanded. Would you like to see StarCraft 2’s economy simplified, or perhaps complicated further?

    -I don’t really care either way, as long as its fun.

    Unlike in StarCraft 1, Workers can now be automatically ordered to start harvesting resources as soon as they are produced, using a rally point, without requiring further action from the player.

    Should it be possible for “Replenish Gas” to be set on Auto-Cast, making this process automatic as well?

    -I could see this going either way. Putting it on auto-cast does seem to go against the point of adding it in the first place, but if it did make it to release it would remove the “babysitting” annoyance with this mechanics.

  15. Anonymous — August 3, 2008 @ 8:51 am

    The mechanic is an interesting one, and I agree that it will definitely spice up build orders, but 600 is FAR too little. It will drive everyone crazy. Regarding auto-cast – that would be nice, but would probably take away some of the point of the mechanic in the first place.

  16. dab — August 3, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

    *1. The gas mechanic’s ability to diversify gameplay will ultimately depend on the exact differences of gas production per minute. If a 1:2.5 ratio is an accurate description of the different amounts of gas harvested (less than 1:3 because of replenishing delay), then it probably won’t be worth it to not replenish. A player that can build more than twice as many gas units as the other is going to win over time. HOWEVER, there may be a small possible timeframe for a struggling player who decides not to replenish to come back against a player who does, but the current setup is going to make this opportunity very short and hard to predict. Additionally, this timeframe will likely only happen once in the early game, when a difference of 150 gas may indeed be important.

    *2. It will likely affect all the race’s strategies equally in the beginning. Late game Zerg may struggle more, if it is still true that they must stay one expansion ahead of the other races (like in SC)

    *3. The concept is great because it introduces another pivotal economic decision in the early game. It parallels with the decision about expanding or rushing: “If I expand now, I may have some trouble temporarily but soon I will outperform my opponent.” In this case it is “If I replenish now, I may struggle with 1-2 less gas units temporarily, but if successful I will outnumber/out-tech my opponent.”

    The gas mechanic effectively adds another key early-game decision, alongside the rush/expand standard growth decision. Now it’s rush/expand deplete/replenish. This means you have a super-fast rush model (rush and deplete), a delayed rush model (rush and replenish), a slow expand model (expand and deplete), and a super economic model (expand and replenish), varying the possibilities of early game.

    The conclusion, however, is that there is no need to make the gas mechanic a player task. You get the same features if the gas mechanic is simply an “on/off” automation. Once the first decision has been made to replenish gas, it is highly unlikely one would wish to stop replenishing, since more bases with geysers will normalize the flow of gas in favor of the higher ratio (1:2.5). My suggestion is that if the gas mechanic was implemented, the only time one should have to choose to replenish should be the first time. After that, a player will likely always want to have the geyser replenishing itself, and it would be annoying to have to keep doing this manually. There is still a macro complexity added even if you make replenishing automatic though: when a geyser goes offline for 45 seconds, you still have idle drones sitting around. It would be a less annoying task to use these drones to some advantage since they can be used for many different things (make buildings, mine, scout, repair, etc.).

  17. Danger Man — August 3, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

    I think it would be more interesting if it yielded diminishing returns for each time you used the mechanic. Like each time you use it, each SCV spends more time in the refinery for the same amount of gas, whether it’s depleted or not. Maybe even have it explode if you over-use it.

    This way you can decide to use it a lot on all expansions if you need lots of gas right now or you can go for a more long-term strategy.

    It would also mean that pressing the button would in no way be a no-brainer, and it’s easier for casual players to simply ignore it, especially in single-player missions.

  18. meo123 — August 3, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

    In my opinion, the problem can be fixed this way: since Gas Refinery doesn’t have any other function than makeing workers able to collect gas, we can put a lot more control buttons in it. So it is possible to have multiple selection to replenish gas with different mineral cost and downtime. Higher amount to replenish will have discount for cumulative of mineral cost and time. Eg: 100 mineral for 600 gas in 45 sec; 180 mineral for 1200 gas in 80 sec; 250 mineral for 1800 gas in 105 sec; etc. This way, people can choose to spend a lot of mineral and time to replenish much more gas with some discount if they have more time and mineral on hand, or choose to purchase less gas quicklier in urgent situations.

  19. deadpool — August 3, 2008 @ 10:18 pm

    * What new strategies and choices do you think the player would have and have to make with the new Gas Mechanics?

    I don’t really see how this mechanic really will affect strategy. A player will either want to trade the minerals for gas to get units they want, or they won’t. At such a low gas count though, I don’t really see how anyone could have a real choice to not replenish their geysers.

    * How do you think this change will effect Zerg, Protoss and Terran?

    If the cost is the same, I don’t really see how this gas mechanic will have that big of an effect on the races separately. Now, if gas replenishing cost unit slots for Protoss, and a number of drones for Zerg, then we might have something to talk about.

    * Do you like or dislike the change? Why?

    While this new mechanic could be perceived as creative, I’m going to have to side with the “complexity for the sake of complexity is wrong” perspective. I don’t like it. The new gas mechanic is clearly tacked on to try and make money management harder. Personally, I don’t think that the resource management from SC1 is broken and in need of fixing.

    * Additional feedback you might have

    If you, Blizzard, and the “pros” like the mechanic so much, why can’t you make it toggle-able? If anything, the entirety of the Starcraft community benefits from more options, not less. These community feedback topics seem rather disingenuous, especially when the subject of the discussion is a mechanic that plays to one or two niche groups of players. While I can understand that SC2 is your game, why can’t it be one that everyone can play in a fashion that they wish to play? Assuming that the philosophy behind the single-player campaign is currently unchanged, I don’t see why the openness of the campaign options can’t translate to the rules of the gameplay itself. Instead of making one group happy, there can be the potential to make everyone happy.

    1) Do you think the need to “babysit” the Vespene Geysers adds to the depth of the game, allowing players to put more thought into the resource management process, or is it going to become a dull, mindless chore?

    Babysitting is an interesting term to use, and given how dull babysitting really is, I find it to be quite applicable.

    2) Resource collection in StarCraft 1 has always been very straightforward. With the introduction of Yellow Minerals and the complication of the Vespene Gas collection process, this aspect of StarCraft 2 has been expanded. Would you like to see StarCraft 2’s economy simplified, or perhaps complicated further?

    I really like the introduction of yellow minerals: it’s basically a high-risk expansion that could potentially be worth fighting for, if I understand the concept correctly. Will yellow minerals have a place on every map though, or on specific ones? As such, I’m not sure that the yellow minerals complicate the economy in the same way that the gas does. But, I’d like to have the option to make the economy as complicated or simple as I’d like.

    3) Unlike in StarCraft 1, Workers can now be automatically ordered to start harvesting resources as soon as they are produced, using a rally point, without requiring further action from the player.

    Should it be possible for “Replenish Gas” to be set on Auto-Cast, making this process automatic as well?

    Yes.

  20. dan — August 4, 2008 @ 1:22 am

    the shutdown on gas production is significant enough that it would be clumsy to auto cast it. Usually abilities that are short in duration / interruptible are good candidates for autocasting, This ability is neither.

    Why not give the option to ‘replensih’ a geyser at any time, that way players can stockpile gas ahead of the depletion, as gas only becomes REALLY useful later on in the game.

    I can see this working out better, as i’d keep on geyser open and refresh the other, garanteeing a steady source of gas without hiccups later on.

    tl:dr- Offer the replenishing ability right off the bat so I can stockpile gas.

  21. Firehero28 — August 4, 2008 @ 3:28 am

    I prefer the Starcraft I mechanics:

    The yellow resources make things interesting and it will be tempting for players to go for it for resource boost. However, a refillable gas geyser would defeat a purpose. Isn’t that almost the same as a money map where everyone do not expand because they have virtually unlimited gas as long as they have mionerals(which in a typically map, it can last rather long)

    In addition, it will just make things boring: Harvest, check, refill, wait, harvest , repeat cycle. It makes us players like a mundane robots trying to get out of this vicious cycle.

    I would suggest the scrapping of this idea. If the dev team really want a new mechanics for gas, I would recommend a mechanics such that the normal gas chamber would deplete, un-refillable. And there will be special gas geyser that can slowly regenerate gas by itself over a very long period of time; slow but have benefits in the long run[Much like the yellow resources, but better]

  22. Kent — August 4, 2008 @ 4:04 am

    the new gas ‘replenish’ feature feels like a chore.
    It doesn’t add Micro/Macro, it just adds a button that everyone have to click once a while, I find it retarded.

    absolutely retarded.

    If they want more ‘thinking’ on resources, they could just do it like WC3, have some research. Like

    Upgrade to Gas Pipes: then Gas comes in at 6 minerals a min, and enemies will likely target gas pipes as they are probably very easily destroyed. Then you can upgrade to Larger pipelines too, but how much you invest might result it in being a bigger target for the enemy.

    That is enough for macro-ing, no one likes the ‘replenish’ idea so far from what I read.

  23. Ged — August 4, 2008 @ 4:17 am

    My own opinion is that I like the two gases, as it gives more options: do you harvest zero, one or two. Having only one geyser that you pump up to the double rate than you could in SC1 provided you dedicate twice the workers is also a simpler alternative.

    And I definitely don’t like the replenish thing *with the values currently proposed* (assuming the unit cost is roughly the same as in SC1) as you’d have to babysit the geysers way too often. I do find the mechanic interesting, but the amount of gas that a geyser starts with should be roughly equivalent to what you have in SC1. Maybe a little less, but definitely not the silly 600 value.

  24. hotclaw — August 4, 2008 @ 6:49 am

    Something I considered after my first post: having two geysers at your main opens up an opportunity to rush with more gas-heavy units, or to tech to a desired unit/upgrade in that short burst of plentiful gas.

    I also like Patrick’s idea of having a button to mass-replenish geysers, with a toggle on each geyser, as an alternative to auto-cast.

    I don’t like complication for complication’s sake either, and actually agree with Gyan about allowing players to develop their own complexity. However, if this is properly implemented, and that depends on whether Blizzard don’t see it as just a macro band-aid like we suspect, I think it can be quite interesting.

  25. captnawful — August 4, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

    Comment Moderated.

    Anderson
    SC2Blog

  26. Patrick — August 5, 2008 @ 6:18 am

    Many eople seem to think that a limit of 600g per geyser will have little or no effect on strategy. I disagree. I don’t think these people are visualising the scenario in which their initial gas ceiling is low, and the effects of that restriction on their tech and production choices in-game.

    Imagine having only 600g per geyser initially. To get 1200g available in total, you need to build an additional refinery and three more harvesting units: an investment of 250m, which is large in the early game. (You could build the second one halfway through the depletion of the first one to partially compensate for future delays during replenishment.)

    Even then, an initial ceiling of 1200g forces you into hard decisions about which tech branches to follow and how many gas-heavy units to produce, offset against what your opponent seems to be doing. In brief, your tech strategy becomes less flexible, your decisions less reversible, and your strategy choices become more weighty. This restriction is not a bad thing; it makes things much more interesting. As Zerg, you probably can’t build a hydra den, roach warren AND a baneling nest: you’d have to choose one or two only. This is a strategy game, after all.

    You also have to take better care of gas-heavy units, as they’re harder to produce. Micromanagement of gas-heavy units becomes more important. Use them more wisely, try not to get them killed. That’s an important dynamic.

    You still have the ability to produce lots of units in the medium-term, which is an important characteristic of StarCraft. But the limit of 600 gas per geyser means that you’ll be stuck with whatever tech choices you make for a good few minutes after making them. I think that’s great.

  27. Firehero28 — August 6, 2008 @ 3:33 am

    I disagree to what # Patrick had said in his comment

    First, most units now require gas[MOST] and with gas so limited, the game will reach a stage whereby the player cannot produce a single unit.

    It will extreme easy, for terran train reapers and kill all their resource harvestors and that’s it for that guy. He’s finished.

    What I’m saying is that, it promotes rushing which defeats the point of having late game units[And you can’t build them anyway, way too little reosurces]

  28. Patrick — August 6, 2008 @ 8:19 am

    @ Firehero28

    I think you’ve got it wrong. Gas output may be capped initially, but it *never* runs out completely: it just depletes to 2g per carrier. Even then, you can get another 600g at 6g per carrier anytime by replenishing at a cost of 100m. So the game will never reach a stage where you can’t produce a unit, unless you run out of minerals. I’m afraid your first criticism is simply mistaken.

    Reapers… well yes, that is their primary use. But there’s nothing wrong with that, and it should be possible to counter it. Also, they too will cost gas.

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  30. martix — August 9, 2008 @ 9:46 am

    Yup, Cyan has the situation down pat… Anyone who didn’t understand is their problem.
    Artificial restrictions are a BIG TIME no-no!
    The developers need to come up with something new – less complexity for its own sake and more on the lines of finding a way to put more thought in resource operations.

  31. Cokesi — August 11, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

    Anyone who prefers base management to combat micromanagement should play a game like Simcity instead of a war simulator. I’m for even further automation: let players save order-patterns for units to be set to. Then players could choose from lists of customized behaviors on-the-fly and have each unit act as they wish. One pattern could even have switching to a different pattern be one of its’ reactions. Allowing players to automate the minute decisions/actions of units leaves focus on overall strategy: what’s being built to fight what, where’s it being moved, what’s it doing (attacking, harassing, expanding, etc.)? Isn’t victory depending on the better warplan preferable to a race of clicks? An option could be included to turn off automating parts of the UI so players who wanted to even click buildings individually could have fun w/tedium.

  32. Gyan — August 12, 2008 @ 12:06 am

    Hello again.
    For the record, I’d just like to say I’m not attacking the devs for trying to think outside the box; I’m glad they are questioning things that were taken for granted. Also, sorry if my diction was too wordy, I’ll try to tone it down.

    Just a quick suggestion, I’m surprised no one mentioned it so far:
    How about just a few special geysers that are renewable? Like orange minerals, these wouldn’t usually be placed at start locations. They would be a special objective scattered through the middle of a map at key expansions. This would ensure that players wouldn’t become vespine starved in the endgame and might encourage more teching and aggressive expansion, both of which seem to be dev goals. You could even have them start with significantly more than 600 and reset to a lower count on renewal.
    Any thoughts?

  33. Gyan — August 12, 2008 @ 8:49 am

    “the limit of 600 gas per geyser means that you’ll be stuck with whatever tech choices you make for a good few minutes after making them. I think that’s great.”

    I think that’s great too. It is a very interesting and
    desirable gameplay element, that I do not think is really achieved by this mechanic. I would really like to see tech choices be limited this way, but the refreshable 600 geyser has too many negative side effects.

    SC1 did some limiting of branching out in tech by requiring expensive, semi useless stepping stone buildings to advance. This was somewhat artificial, and I think playing with the way gas works would be a better alternative.

    It seems what we want is a way to make quick bursts of gas output that allow short term tech advancement, but then limits your collection for a short time.

    How about this:
    Geysers still have a similar max capacity to sc1, and can be mined normally like SC1 until they are depleted.

    However, there is also an option to go into a “super refining” mode, at the cost of a few minerals. This makes each worker mine twice the normal ammount for X minutes.

    When the timer ends, the geyser goes into a temporary depletion mode for, say, your 45 seconds, at which point it returns to normal refining mode.

    What this does to gameplay: It allows tech oriented players to trade some minerals now and gas later for a huge burst of gas now, letting them tech rapidly at the risk of slowing future expansion.

    Advantages it has over the 600 renewable system:

    -It does not force players to micro vespine if they dont want to(a major objection)

    -It does not reduce the strategic value of acquiring vespine expansions in the mid and late game. (all geysers still have a hard cap at which point they are permenantly depleted)

    -It complicates macro proactively by allowing players to make a strategic decision based on what they value, rather than simply forcing them to click more buttons to engage in normal ply.

    -It makes more sense from a game world standpoint.

    I think this would be a fun and strategically potent mechanic, allowing for new “vaspine rush” build orders and interesting resource management. I’d love to hear what other players or the devs might think of it.

  34. Gyan — August 12, 2008 @ 8:58 am

    edit: burst mining time should probably be shorter than the temporary depletion time. This would have to be balanced through gametesting.

  35. The Lost Firebat — August 12, 2008 @ 2:53 pm

    The last few comments are really creative and great. I hope Blizzard reads all of these…

    Good job, guys!

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  39. az1353 — January 23, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

    What do you think of the idea of earning the repenishment ability. All gysers start off regular but can be replenished later in the game after building and/or researching something. Also gysers should have more than 600 gas to start. maybe 2500 or 3000.

  40. Gabe — February 25, 2009 @ 9:29 pm

    I’ll admit I’m pretty split on this resource issue, I prefer the game to be as simple as possible so that nothing can get too complicated. The game doesn’t need this extra feature to be great, but I still trust Blizzard to do what they do best and make a great game. Though I love being able to do well against others, if going pro requires one to sacrifice the entertainment of the game, then there’s no point.
    As for all those who are saying it takes too much micro management to ‘babysit’ the geyser, it’s only one button. You go to your geyser when a booming voice says, “Vespene geyser depleted” and you hit one button. Select the workers there and send them to minerals until its done. Go focus on something else while protecting the base as usual throughout, and send the workers back. It won’t necessarily complicate the game more, my concern is that it would defeat the fun that comes with mineral conservation and expansion.
    Starcraft 1 required heavy resource management along with quick base expansions because of a constant need for resources. Adding this feature would remove the gas portion of that. Blizzard is god of starcraft in all its awesomeness, but if they screw it up I will never forgive them.

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