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StarCraft 2 Battle Report 2 – Review and Analysis

The second installment of the StarCraft 2 Battle Report series delivered. With both players being “StarCraft II team’s associate game balance designers“, there was little time wasted on figuring things out and both proceeded to pound each other aggressively throughout the game.

Battle Report 2

Just like the first Battle Report, the map chosen for this match also includes plenty of novelties which weren’t part of StarCraft I’s terrain:

The brand new Brush terrain acts as a line-of-sight barrier; an artificial cliff on plain ground. There are a few obvious usages for it:

  • Retreating units to find cover from ranged pursuers.
  • Approaching long-range heavy hitters without taking damage.
  • Ambushing with either Melee or Ranged units – without scouting, units can easily wander into a close range trap.

Blistering Sands StarCrarft 2 Map

*Green – Brush. *Yellow Squares = Starting Spots. *Yellow Circles = Natural Expansions. *Red = High Yield

Blistering Sands includes Brush on top of the second access ramp to the players’ bases, providing a secondary line of defense in case the ramp gets overtaken. Next to each ramp there is another Brush, which is used as a retreating path for attackers. The Zerg player puts it to good use at [8:41] to lose the pursuing Terran Reapers.

The game includes active use of the recently introduced Macro “Buffs” – and indeed, these are no longer chores but decisions made by players to alter their production and resource gathering rates. The Zerg Queens spawns additional larva at [5:13] to initiate a counter attack against the early Terran offensive, and the Terran puts the Mules to good use in his new expansion at [19:50].

StarCraft 2 Mules

The Battle includes several interesting battles, which shed a lot of light on the Terran’s new best friend – Splash Damage. We’ve mentioned before how the Terran appear to have a lot of Area of Effect attacks “on paper” … well, this match showcases this nicely, without even featuring any ground vehicles.

The Reaper’s Detonation Charges coupled with Banelings cause a mutual annihilation of armies at [10:25], a Nighthawk self-destructs on Banelings in what was confirmed to be a Hunter Seeker Missile mishap at [14:50], and Zerg dancing ensues when the Terran goes missile-happy at [18:30].

Mutual Destruction - Zerg and Terran in their natural enviroment

The Zerg got a chance to showcase many of their new abilities, with Banelings receiving plenty of air time throughout the whole game. With infantry receiving NO HEALING, the Banelings’ splash and the regenerating Roaches usually had the upper hand on the Terran M&M (that’s Marauders and Marines now), which later managed to push the Zerg back only with the help of some Aerial support.

Notable features, changes and abilities in this Battle Report include:

  • Infestors can spawn Infested Terrans (ranged Infantry unit), no infestation needed. Appear to pop out in groups of five.
  • Burrowing does not save you from Hunter-Seeker Missiles.
  • Each Marauder takes up two out of four slots when placed inside a bunker. [13:31]
  • Zerg Banelings don’t roll, but walk into targets.
  • The Zerg’s defensive structure, the Spine Crawler, has relatively fast movement speed, but long burrow-setup time [7:15]
  • Terran Mules insta-mine crystals, and emerge from drop-pods ralatively quickly when called for.
  • The Zerg Hydralisk appears to have a Melee attack now, and one is clearly seen here clawing away at a Terran Auto-Turret.

The map’s new qualities play an important and integral role throughout the match. Many battles are waged around the Xel’Naga watch towers as units tend to gravitate towards it to receive the benefit of its sight range. The Zerg player put constant pressure on the Terran’s secondary choke point in order to take out the barrier blocking the path leading directly into his base. The Brush was used effectively as a cut off point on open terrain and created another position of interest on the map that a skillful player could exploit.

Collectively, the new terrain features have a great impact on the way the game is played. Every map now comes with a well defined selection of key points which grant certain units and races an advantage by default. It will be interesting to see if Blizzard decides to introduce additional terrain features in the future, to take the game even further in this direction.

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29 Comments to “StarCraft 2 Battle Report 2 – Review and Analysis”


  1. Dan — April 18, 2009 @ 11:25 am

    Does anyone know if they plan on de-syncng movement animations somehow? For instance I feel like a swarm of zerglings would look much cooler if they weren’t hopping up and down at exactly the same time. Same goes for the other ground units actually.

  2. SikTh — April 18, 2009 @ 11:49 am

    Yeah, that did look very unnatural.

    Man, I hoped to see more units. 22 minutes into a game and no tier 3 or at least a full roster of tier 2 units?
    Ahh well.

  3. kmh — April 18, 2009 @ 11:58 am

    Brush was in the first Battle Report.

  4. James — April 18, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

    This was a good battle report

  5. AnnihilatorX — April 18, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

    Kmh, Kulas Ravine doesn’t even -have- brush… I think. It’s not on the map. Just looked at it
    On the whole (KR) map, the only thing that resembles brush (in teh pic) are the half-circles, and no way is that brush. Don’t remember what it was…

  6. Kalleren — April 18, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

    What’s up with the Zerg player getting infestor tech just for one infestor?
    The new unit design is cool…… hoped to see more of it.

  7. Sun — April 18, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

    This looks more like a noob game more than expert game… they should post some “expert” game (I hope there are experts on the development team) to let ppl see how cool it REALLY is… this is more of a show for hunter seeker missile.. at least they show this much… but this report also shows that there has to be a replacement to the scourge for anti-air… having hydras only does not really help… feels like the zerg is being nerfed in sc2…

  8. THE_BANANA_REPUBLIC — April 18, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

    What I find part particularly interesting is the Hyrdalisk ‘melee’ attack. Does the damage differ for the hyrdalisk when using melee attacks? Or the attack rate?

    I wonder if the starcraft developers considered an ‘alt attack’ option when controlling units. I’m not talking about casting spells, but rather a different kind of continuous attack.
    I suppose the closest thing we saw to this was the flame-arrow/dark-arrow attack in wc3.

  9. Elokane — April 18, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

    Units in the Dawn of War games have different attacks for ranged and melee ranges. It adds a lot of depth to unit combat and micro. Is Blizzard experimenting this late into development?

  10. Lonia — April 18, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

    I disagree having different mode of attack for each characters.
    First reason, The game becomes hard to balance.
    Secondly, unit’s charactersitcs dies. Dragoon was only successful because it was decent range unit. And I don’t carriers or battlecruisers will have any close combat. It just doesn’t make sense and this kind of consistency is important, I think.

  11. Lonia — April 18, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

    One more thing to add: I don’t like zerg logo. It looks too cartoony and weak!

  12. Elokane — April 19, 2009 @ 9:12 am

    I don’t think you get the point. Units have a ranged attack and a melee attack. If you attack a ranged specialist (lets say, a Dragoon) in melee range, you force him to attack you back with his weaker melee weapon.

    Units may also choose to move in closer and use their melee attack if it does more damage to certain things (Missile Turrets?) or if they want to force the other unit to melee combat despite it being their weaker attack as well.

  13. James — April 19, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

    maybe you’re missing the point…

    in sc1 hydras do 10 ‘explosive’ damage (‘explosive’ meaning it does 50% damage to small units, 75% to medium…)

    i.e. so if a small unit attacks the hydra it would only do 5 damage

    so it could be that the melee attack does maybe 6 damage in sc2, meaning it’s actually stronger in melee for small units (of course you also have to factor in the attack speed)

  14. redrach — April 19, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

    @Sun:
    Even though Scourge are no longer in the game, the Zerg now have Corruptors, which the Zerg player didn’t make for some reason. For that matter, he didn’t even build a Spire! Can you imagine something like that in a SC1 ZvT matchup? Tsk tsk…
    Also, he didn’t use Fungal Infestation (Infestor’s AoE spell) at all. I’m sure that would have been very useful against those clumps of Terran infantry.
    I get the feeling that it’s not so much that the Zerg have been nerfed, it’s more that the guy playing Zerg wasn’t very good.

    Things I would have liked to see:
    – Mutalisks
    – Corruptors
    – Fungal Infestation
    – Ultralisks

  15. Death Dragon — April 20, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

    Is Fungal Infestation stil in the game?

  16. redrach — April 20, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

    Well, the wiki still mentions it:
    http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Infestor
    Although it seems to be called “Fungal Scourge” there, the name Karune used to refer to it in Q&A Batch 49.

  17. Anonymous — April 20, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

    Woah I totally missed that Hydra melee attack when watching the Battle Report. I wonder why Karune never told us this before.

  18. Chronos — April 21, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

    THere’s a Nighthawk who gets killed by its own Missile when he kills the banelings

  19. Battlarmd — April 22, 2009 @ 9:09 am

    From the battle report.. I do wonder why tier the medivac dropship is at. I do feel it would have changed the pace of the game a lot. The Banelings were trouble, but again, the terran could have just place 1 seige tank on the cliff, and everything would have changed… guess we are newbie still.

    zerg wise, nothing was too creatively done. I find it disappointing. In fact, the units in the battle report was almost ALL SC1 units.. except for Queen/Banshee/Marauders which did almost nothing. The roaches and reapers both did something, worth mentioning.

    The mule drop was interesting, made the expansion start really quickly, that was something. The queen’s spawn of larva was also interesting, though it you have to keep pressing spawn .. it will be annoying… I wonder can blizzard make the queen ‘crouch-on-top’ of the hatchery, making it seemingly a part of the building until either the hatchery gets destroyed, the queen moves, or the queen dies.. a hatchery with a queen on it wll spawn larva at the blizz proposed rate… that will be interesting..

  20. Chronos — April 22, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

    It Looks that every zerg unit exept the overlord is missing it’s death animation.

  21. Unregistered — April 23, 2009 @ 3:15 am

    Oh man. Not another newbie battle report.

  22. Chronos — April 23, 2009 @ 8:20 am

    The angry man !

    http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/6098/angryman.jpg

    Baneling shaped brownies please ^^

  23. James — April 23, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

    lol i didn’t notice that, that’s the graphic for infested terran

  24. George — April 24, 2009 @ 4:52 am

    Bwahahaha, probably a picture of one of the developers.

  25. Introspective — August 23, 2009 @ 12:15 am

    The trailers shows that sequel will be at least as good as original was. But this delaying of game launch seems more matter of monetization strategy, not development issues.

  26. Arthur — September 21, 2009 @ 7:14 am

    I’m kind of disappointed with SC2, the graphics look very nice and sh*t, but I see to big changes from SC1, there’s nothing revolutionary about it and I do think the Zerg were nerfed and the protoss were overpowered (immortals aginst some units, mothership, etc), while the terran remains kind of the same.

    I guess if units had different attacks, as ranged and melee atack as the Hydra does now, it would be cool, Hydra’s not melee atacking doesn’t make sense at all, since they have blade shaped arms.

  27. Arthur — September 21, 2009 @ 7:18 am

    If the LAN is really disabled as I heard, I’ll never buy this game, Blizzard is too much of a f*ck*ng mercenary whore, they just care about money.

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