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Micro-Updates: Queued Construction, Unit Types, Mothership

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:

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10 Comments to “Micro-Updates: Queued Construction, Unit Types, Mothership”

  1. Jacob Lunde — January 26, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

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

    I dont know if I like this, I think that maybe there own zerg are immune to it, or all zerg are (which would make playing zvz different if you are used to using the banelings in a manner to take out lots of ground troops) but to make it well you are ok if you are on the same team, kinda seems cheap to me, I know they go for balance but I also kinda like when they make sense about it.

  2. Motherpuncher — January 27, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

    It’s Starcraft.. a lot of things don’t make sense. Thus is video games. If everything were more realistic it’d be a pretty boring, frusterating game.

    My question is: can Changelings attack when either transformed or in their natural state? Or are they purely scouts, regardless of their state?

  3. Gladiator — January 28, 2010 @ 3:19 am

    i think the changeling (and its ability) is more of a port from sc1’s templar hallucination, but the spell was never used for covert scouting, rather more as a distraction to get those arbiters past the defence line

  4. Letalis — January 28, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    I didn’t like the macro part and the fact that you can build supplies or whatever that easily. I guess they don’t want to make the game as hard as the original one was – a fact I’ll need some time to get used to…

    Changelings look pretty useful to me but the idea of a transforming zerg is just ridiculous. This has to be a protoss ability and a protoss ability only. How can an all bio race do that? I just don’t get it ^_^

  5. George — January 29, 2010 @ 3:52 am

    You need time to get used to this? I think you’ll find it comes quite naturally. What’s better than stretching a box over everything and controlling it together?

  6. Letalis — January 29, 2010 @ 6:01 am

    It just makes the game a little less competitive. In the original game you have to be fast and precise in your clicks while in StarCraft2 you’ll be able to macro as easily as players that are better in this than you. Just saying 😉

  7. Karl — January 29, 2010 @ 11:54 am

    Minimum Recommended
    Operating System Windows XP / XP64 (Service Pack 3)
    Windows Vista / Vista64 (service Pack 1)
    Windows 7 Home Premium –
    Processor Intel Pentium IV 1.3GHz
    AMD XP 1500+ Intel Pentium D
    AMD 64 X2
    Memory (Windows XP) 512mb
    (Windows Vista) 1024mb
    (Windows 7) 1024mb (Windows XP) 1024mb
    (Windows Vista) 2048mb
    (Windows 7) 2048mb
    Graphics 3D graphics processor with Hardware Transform and Lighting with 32 MB VRAM
    such as an ATI Radeon 7200 or NVIDIA GeForce 2 class card or better 3D graphics processor with Vertex and Pixel Shader capability with 128 MB VRAM
    such as an ATI Radeon X1600 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT class card or better
    Hard Drive 15Gb (of free space) –
    DirectX DirectX9.0c –

  8. Spiral Architect — January 30, 2010 @ 8:13 am

    The recent facebook update (see top of page) says that this is not legitimate.

    I love that this site doesn’t report all the bullshit rumors like the rest of the fansites that just go along with whatever pops up.

  9. Karl — January 30, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    “These system requirements are not accurate – the page went up with some placeholder information. We will have more information about beta system requirements once the beta starts. We’d appreciate it if you could amend the story and/or pull the listed numbers.
    Thanks, and please feel free to contact me in the future for fact checking before posting StarCraft II stories.”

    IT WAS legitimatlely FROM their website, it was a Blizzard blunder. They really did have this on the site. Excuse us for believing what we find on a Blizzard official web site, we should know better.

  10. Spiral Architect — January 30, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    Haha, you’re right. They royally fucked up.

    I wonder who’s the guy who finds out about this stuff, camping the Blizzard support pages to find updates? I hope it’s automated in some way…

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