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January hasn’t featured any significant official update from Blizzard (yet),  but a few pieces of information have surfaced through the constantly-growing RTS community team. Here’s a quick run down of the recent updates to the StarCraft 2 Universe.

The role and functionality of the Changeling, a shape-shifting spy unit that can be spawned by Overseers for an energy cost, has been clarified by Avarius.

The changeling’s transformation is permanent. Once it is within range of opposing forces, it will transform to that race’s basic tier 1 unit (marine, zealot, or zergling) and remain so for its duration. In the case of a team game or FFA where there are multiple races, the changeling will transform to the race it encounters first and not change again.

When questioned about the viability of the ability in high-level 1 on 1 matches, Avarius made it clear that he considers the Changeling a worthy addition to the Zerg unit roster.

I definitely think you will see them used effectively, even in high level 1v1 play. Who wouldn’t want an essentially free scout (only costs energy) to use to gather intel on their opponent? With the potential that you opponent might not kill it immediately, it can provide you with a sustained scouting advantage. Even high level players can get caught up in harassment, or base management and may miss this little guy sneaking into their base.

The next blue posts were translated by a SC:L staff member, and come from the Korean side of the Battle.net forums:

When more supply is required, and when I have to quickly build three Supply Depots at the same time, this is usually the method that I use.

1) I select some mining SCVs by drag selection or Ctrl + Left Click. It’s good to select at least three.

2) After pressing ‘B’ (building hotkey) then ‘S’ (Supply Depot hotkey), while holding Shift, consecutively left click at the locations you want to build at before right clicking a mineral patch.
3) Out of the selected SCVs, only three of them go to the selected locations and each build a Supply Depot, and once construction is complete they return to mining minerals.

That’s how automated things have become in StarCraft 2: building multiple supply depots and sending the workers back to harvest minerals is easily achieved by issuing one concentrated and short batch of commands, eliminating many of the repetitive actions otherwise required in the original game.

Building entire Tech Tree via a Single Queue Achievement ?

Another bit of info from Korea details the unit classification system, which has received a major overhaul in StarCraft 2. The new system is much more streamlined and simple, following clear rules that make hard unit counters very apparent.

Light armor, heavy armor, biological, mechanical, giant, psionic, etc. are some attributes that units can have.

For example, the Ultralisk has heavy armor biological giant attributes, whereas the Archon has the psionic attribute. You can probably tell from looking at the Archon, but not all units are divided into [light armor/heavy armor]. Damage calculation is also different from the previous game. Units attacks always do at least 100% of the damage value shown on the screen. And then, depending on the attacks property, additional damage may be dealt when attacking units with specific attributes.

For example the Archons base damage is 25, and deals an additional 10 damage against biological targets. Therefore, Zerg units (which are usually biological) take 35 damage when attacked by Archons. And in the case of the Siege Tank, its Siege Mode deals 60 damage, so it deals 60 damage to all ground units. If the old system of explosive, concussive and small, medium, large was used, then Marines would take reduced damage from a Siege Tank.

On the topic of friendly damage, Zhydaris explains which explosion is ally-friendly and which should be more carefully handled:

… exploding Banelings do not damage allied units: both your units and those of your allies are not affected at all by the acid explosion.


Reaper’s explosive charge does actually damage allies, as well as your own units and buildings, so be careful when playing with those flashing packages.

The official StarCraft 2 website has been updated with a brand new 6-page Mothership story, including a short, action packed clip of a Mothership-backed Protoss force decimating a Zerg army. The Mothership sports a slightly altered design and a new attack animation.

Ain't no ship like a Mothership

StarCraft 2’s community team has also revealed a new doodad screenshot via Twitter. The art is high-detail and worth a closer look – make sure you click on the image for the full-size screenshot.

StarCraft 2 Doodad - Tude Debris

The following concrete and un-speculative bit of info is bound to make quite a few people happy, as it serves as real evidence that StarCraft 2 is indeed being tested live on Battle.net or, at least, that it is about to be in the immediate future. The Blizzard official support page now includes lengthy support articles for StarCraft 2!

Starcraft 2 Support Pages

The guide gets quite specific and even includes a detailed StarCraft 2 Mac Version Video troubleshooting article!

There’s also some hype about the the recently announced Activision-Blizzard public conference call that will be broadcast on the internet, as it might include a clear plan of action for the upcoming months.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its fourth quarter and calendar year 2009 results after the close of the market on Wednesday, February 10, 2010. In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
1:30 pm Pacific Time (4:30 pm Eastern Time)

To listen to the call, please log onto:
http://investor.activision.com/events.cfm

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