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Unique Motherships and the State of StarCraft 2 Development

The StarCraft 2 news world has slowed down lately, with Blizzard focusing intensely on development and not revealing much to the hungry public. The only new information comes from Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, and his trusty sidekick, Cydra, who, in their infinite benevolence, bestow StarCraft 2 tidbits upon the Battle.net forums from time to time. We’ve rounded up the interesting, notable communications from the past week:

First, Cydra reveals that the Protoss Mothership’s status has been changed again:

Only one Mothership can be warped in per a player.

You can have multiple Queens with your Hatchery and Spawning pool, and Queen is very useful unit for both offensive and defensive strategies. Currently Queen has Creep Tumor building ability and Mutant Larva spawning ability. And one more skill can be researched at the Lair, which is very powerful for the defense and offense as well.

The Mothership first appeared in the StarCraft 2 video introduction last year in Korea and was heralded as a unique unit that represents the epitome of Protoss technological and psychic progress. Since then, it has been transformed into a normal unit with a very undefined role, taking on and shedding off various attributes and abilities. It seems that even a month of discussion did no good, though, hopefully, our poll on the subject will help Blizzard decide what to do with this unit, which, while having a very interesting concept, has a hard time when it comes to gameplay.


Next, Cydra answers a few specific questions about upgrades and the buildings they require:

1) Is the observatory back in the game?
2) Which buildings are the warp prism, observer and phoenix speed and sight upgrades at?
3) Is the nullifier’s black beam its regular attack, or a special ability like molecular disruption?
4) What hellion statistic can be upgraded at the tech lab?

1) There is no observatory back in the game. You can warp in Observers at your Robotics Facility.
2) Observer’s movement speed and Warp Prism’s movement speed can be reserached at Null Circuit. Phoenix has no upgrades for the movement speed and range at the current development stage.
3) Nullfier’s Force Beam is its regular attack.
4) Hellion’s upgrade can be researched at Armory.

nullfier force beam

Finally, a good question about combining the power of multiple building selection (MBS) and focus firing using base defenses elicits this response:

You can do focused-fire on a specific enemy unit with your Photon Cannons, Bunkers, Missile Turrets and Spine Crawlers, etc. This would give you more strategical options when you defense your base from the enemy units.

An interesting “side effect” of MBS. In StarCraft 1, such a feat would require intense clicking and would likely not be worth the time investment in most situations. With this advancement in user interface, making efficient use of base defenses by focusing their fire would be much more prevalent.

Over the course of the week, Karune also revealed that the primary focus of development is currently the single player campaign.

Most of the development on the game is currently on single player, so getting new information for you guys in regards to multiplayer gameplay related changes has been more scarce.

That is a good indication that the mechanics, look and feel of the game are almost ready for the beta, which Karune has mentioned just a few days ago

StarCraft II is planned to have a beta 😉

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16 Comments to “Unique Motherships and the State of StarCraft 2 Development”

  1. LK — December 13, 2008 @ 8:55 am

    They keep saying that a BETA will be up soon!!!! But WHEN???!!! I’ve been watching the gameplay videos since MAY LAST YEAR!!! Come on, I’m ALMOST tired of waiting, haha, but I’ll still wait, I love this game…

  2. 4poolfastexpand — December 13, 2008 @ 9:04 am

    yessssss beta!

  3. SikTh — December 13, 2008 @ 9:26 am

    So what does the Mothership actually do now, Blizzard?

  4. kent — December 13, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

    With no upgrades planned for the phoenix, I bet that they are about to replace it. Which is a good call, that unit needs to go.

    The nullifier still doesn’t sit well with me, somehow a mechanical caster from the protoss feels weird. If the nullifer is like a dragoon for nearly dead templars, then I can still accept, but right now… it feels out of place.

    ‘anti-gravity’ is also very unprotoss, with all their technology, trans dimension… yet they choose to … LIFT YOU IN THE AIR? how about change that spell to “transphase”? and have the unit drop off the 3th dimension for a while, you see the outline, but you can walk through it? makes more sense to me.

  5. NX — December 16, 2008 @ 2:17 am

    Mothership doesnt do much, at the DreamHack build it was one mothership per player requiring both Templar Archives and “the building i cannot remember the name, but its required for Collosi” – it means it was very late tech. And the one you wont get to in most games. And then the mothership was more or less useless – cloacking unit beneath, with i think time bomb and black hole. Its attack was looking cool, but only looking.

    I’ve found no use for mothership and people i spoke to about it agree.

  6. no — December 17, 2008 @ 10:31 am

    to Nx: Yes you are correct, but I think Mothership is some capital ship, this is leader-ship other protoss it is something like leader

  7. sal — December 17, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

    Maybe some alternate mothership production methods are in order;

    – you could upgrade a lesser ship INTO a mothership

    – or have three ships combine to form a mother ship

    – or give a pre-exsisting building the ability to transform into a mothership (nexus or that building required for colossi)

    Also, multiple versions of a mothership could add some variety and fill in some roles/support other playstyles, but i’d limit it to 3-5 types, and a limit of one for each type might be interesting to try as well. I think the following combinations would work well (has some copy/paste for refrence):

    – capital ship/disruption & damage: massive shields/armor, high damage output/AoE damage, has some combat abilites as well as black hole and planet cracker.

    – base breaker/Annihilator: significant damage to buildings, locks down production / buildings / ground units, disables defenses and paves a way for attackers. Has an ability with a 5-minute recharge timer that acts as a nuke in terms of damage output. Once charged, the UNLEASH ability becomes available. An unleashed mothership deals massive damage to all air and ground units around it for 15 seconds. (ground-only attacks aside from annihilator?)

    – mega battery / support fortress: Ultimate support unit, a flying castle with an array of battle control and support abilities that can protect/recharge/hide friendly units, as well as abilities to disable/slow/lockdown enemy units. Feeds mana and shield to your units, and can absorb a lot of damage / regenerates quickly. (possibly doesn’t have any way to attack)

    – Air domination station/super troop carrier: A flying AA fortress of damage and disruption. Highly armored and with multiple defensive abilites and teleportation. Has anti-air AoE damage, forcefield and lockdown type abilites, a disease-like aura that causes AA damage. Is able to transport entire fleets and armies across the battlefield. (Air-only attacks, other units attack ground foes)

    – flying factory/power plant: The mothership has a wide radius aura, which:
    powers buildings,
    accelerates production by 15%,
    adds 40 points ot shields,
    doubles regeneration rates,
    and stops all enemy regeneration/healing abilites.
    It can also produce ANY protoss unit and warp it to it’s location at a 110% production cost.

  8. NX — December 18, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

    i think what would help mothership is to change its availability to be more like basic Tier2 than “the most late tech available” as in 90% you wont even get to that tech.

    And secondary something more useful – like being able to warp-in units in mothership range in like 1-2 secs? or ability to regenerate shields for units in range? or the old recall ability?

    But its not even Beta yet and remember that many units got its final role in beta for W3, there were a lot of units without a clear role, like Thor.

  9. asd — December 19, 2008 @ 5:38 am

    @ sal:
    am i not mistaken that you just presented ideas for different mother ship roles (base breaker etc) that were made up by sc2blog.com?
    If so, get your own ideas, if not, nevermind 😛

  10. asd — December 19, 2008 @ 5:39 am

    anyway, sal, i do like the idea transforming a nexus to a mothership.. this must be looking really cool

  11. sal — December 19, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

    asd: you missed this:

    (has some copy/paste for refrence)

    I used the mothership types from the poll, why wouldn’t I use those?

    anyway the mothership definately needs to be in tier 2 or somewhere near it like NX posted.

  12. THE_BANANA_REPUBLIC — December 20, 2008 @ 2:09 am

    What does the SC2 Blog think of the SC2 Battle reports?

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    Конкурс для блоггеров от DRUGREVENUE с призовым фондом в 3000 долларов, спешите

  14. Starcraft 2 — December 27, 2008 @ 8:11 pm

    turning a nexus into a mothership would be interesting, it would make it really expensive and hard to attain, it should prob be unique in that case too

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