StarCraft 2 has just received its first major patch. While several mini-fixes had been released over the course of the last two months, Blizzard has saved all the balance changes for this one. Staying surprisingly true to the Situation Report, the patch contained virtually no deviations from the plans revealed back in August – a clear indication of the amount of testing that went into the patch.
You can find the full original patch documentation (which includes many minor tweaks) here. In this post, we’ll go over the more meaningful parts of this update.
• A new game clock has been added. Players can now instantly see how long they’ve been in their current mission or match. This feature can be turned on or off in the Gameplay Options menu.
This small addition has a great potential. Many players learning and perfecting certain builds already use timers to know exactly when they should push out or what to expect from the enemy at any moment given intelligence gathered before. Integrating a timer into the game allows everyone to incorporate this extra piece of information into their game instead of relying on intuition.
The following balance changes are identical to those mentioned in the situation report released last month. Our analysis of the changes can be found here.
Protoss Balance Changes
• Zealot • Build time increased from 33 to 38. • Warp Gate cooldown increased from 23 to 28.
As Blizzard mention in their report:
Zealot rushes are currently too powerful at various skill levels, particularly those that rely on rapidly assaulting an enemy base from nearby “proxy” gateways. We feel the window players have to scout for and fend off this rush is too small. We also want to address the problem of protoss being able to dump minerals a bit too quickly with the combination of warpgates and Chrono Boost.
Terran Balance Changes
• Battlecruiser Ground damage decreased from 10 to 8. • Bunker Build time increased from 30 to 35. • Reaper Build time increased from 40 to 45.
….we have decided to increase the build time of reapers as well from 40 to 45 seconds. Fast reaper + bunker, or fast marine + bunker rushes are problematic against zerg.
Siege Tank • Siege mode damage changed from 50 to 35 (+15 armored). • Upgrade damage changed from +5 to +3 (+2 armored).
Zerg Balance Changes
Ultralisk •Ram ability removed. Ultralisk will now use normal attack against buildings. • Damage decreased from 15 (+25 armored) to 15 (+20 armored).
The adjustment to Ultralisk’s attack is a bigger boost than it may seem at first glance. Check out the following video to fully appreciate the implications of applying an AoE effect to a building attack.
This newly introduced “mechanic” has already been acknowledged as a bug, however, and will be fixed soon.
• Chat windows no longer vanish when exiting a multiplayer map or campaign mission. • Fixed an issue where players would still receive toasts when their status was set to busy.
• Default race in a game lobby is now properly set to Random. • Lobby hosts will now receive a toast when an invited player declines an invitation.
• If a unit loads into a transport, missiles targeting it will no longer target similar units in the area.
• Fixed an issue where builders waiting for an area to clear could block units trying to leave the area.
• Queue tooltips now display information about what is in progress.
• Marines trained at multiple Barracks will now prefer a Barracks with a Reactor over one with a Tech Lab or no attachment.
• SCVs will now load into the closest Command Center if multiple are within range.
Check out the rest of the changes, dealing with the editor and detailing many small fixes, here. Along the detailed changes, we’ve noticed some other modifications to the game, in the form of many updates to existing icons for abilities and upgrades:Google+
The Marauder, Banshee and Spectre are no longer just Terran StarCraft 2 units. Now, they’re also mindblowingly awesome progamer-grade hardware pieces by Razer.
The hardware comes with powerful StarCraft 2 specific driver features that allow the peripherals to act as indicators for actual game events as well as show current player APM levels through multiple multi-color lights.
Technical specifications (EST price: 79.99)
Lightweight, Fingertip-Grip 5 Button Mouse 5600 DPI Laser Sensor Ultrapolling (1000Hz Polling / 1ms Response) APM-Lighting System Button Force Adjustment Always-OnTM mode Ultra-large non-slip buttons 16-bit ultra-wide data path Up to 200 inches per second and 50g of acceleration Zero-acoustic UltraslickTM Teflon feet Gold-plated USB connector Braided 7 Foot USB Cable
Technical specifications (EST price: 119.99)
Full keyboard layout with integrated number pad keys Ergonomically optimized wrist rest Reduced desktop footprint APM-Lighting System Laser-etched keys Optimized Key Travel & Spacing Ultrapolling (1000Hz Polling / 1ms Response) Braided 7 Foot USB Cable
Technical specifications (EST price: 119.99)
Circumaural Design with 50mm driver units Volume & Mic Control Buttons on the Headset APM-Lighting System 8 preset EQ Detachable Microphone Boom Braided 7 Foot USB Cable
Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz Impedance: 32Ω at 1kHz Sensitivity (@1kHz, 1V/Pa): >102dB at 1 kHz Max. Input Power: 200 mW ( Drivers: 50 mm, with neodymium magnets
Frequency Response: 100 – 10,000 Hz Sensitivity (-42 dB ± 2dB @1kHz, 1V/Pa) Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >58 dB Pick-up pattern: Uni-directional
Blizzard has released a brand new Questions and Answers batch, continuing the long-time tradition after a 3 month hiatus. This is understandable, though, as the last months brought us expansive coverage of the Single Player aspects of StarCraft 2, the beautiful third Battle Report, lots of information, pictures and videos in a large press event, and the yearly BlizzCon festivities.
Without further ado:
1. Computer AI – Does the computer’s online AI vary from its offline counterpart?
No. They are the same.
2. Have you considered allowing a post-game lobby for users to discuss the last game, collectively watch replays, or immediately enter into a rematch?
Yes, we have a plan for a post game lobby. However the details are not finalized yet.
The success of the StarCraft 2 multiplayer as well as the Battle.net Marketplace greatly depend on the social appeal of pre-, in- and post-game player interaction, and Blizzard’s efforts in this area have not gone unnoticed. Battle.net’s social features, the improved observer and replay HUDs, and the advanced integration of the interface into the game will make StarCraft 2’s online experience a real treat for both professional and casual gamers.
3. Is there any update on additional map features other than the Xel’Naga watch towers, destructible rocks and tall grass?
No. Currently there is no update on additional map features.
4. How many different voice actors are needed for StarCraft II, including the unit sounds and campaign heroes?
There are 58 unique voice actors participating, with some voicing multiple roles, and the number may increase as the game gets closer to release
5. The terrain types in StarCraft II we have seen so far had names like “Bel’Shir (Jungle)”. Does this mean that “Bel’Shir” is just an alias for jungle and every terrain is just named after a typical planet using it or are there – to stick with this example – other jungle maps with a different terrain set, something like “Aiur (Jungle)”?
We named our terrain sets based on the planets. There are a lot more terrain sets than in the original StarCraft and you will have huge flexibility in modifying the terrain sets (including adjusting textures, doodads, lighting) allowing you to create your own variations of the default maps. There may be other jungle-themed default maps named after other planets.
StarCraft 2’s terrain types have been unveiled in full during BlizzCon 09’s Art Panel, and can be seen in this video:
Environments shown in the video include:
- Bel’Shir – a rich Protoss world, with nature unbound and forests untouched.
- Valhalla Installation – Terran Thor construction station.
- Castanar Installation – Laboratories for Zerg research.
- Monlyth– a Protoss world with distinct Protoss structures.
- Avernus – doodad rich tech/lab installation.
- Redstone – lava planet with reactionary doodads and changing lava levels.
- Zhakul’Das – a dark ancient world.
- Port Zion – a tech junk world.
- Korhal – a very rich Terran world, with monorails, billboards, skyscrapers and even pedestrians.
6. Will there be any chance to have more options on pausing the game? In StarCraft: Brood War every player can pause the game three times, but every other player can unpause it. How about a (user editable) time limit before other players can unpause the game?
We recommend that players communicate with each other in the game to agree on when to pause and unpause during the game. We feel that pausing the game interrupts the game flow and it would be inconvenient for players to be forced to wait for a certain amount of time before being able to unpause. The pausing feature is mainly meant to allow for pausing of the game when all players are in agreement and for which duration.
7. I already knew the map editor would be available to beta testers a while after Beta was released, but this is why I’m asking the bland question, will it also be available to non-participating people?
No, the map editor will only be available during the beta for beta testers.
8. When a unit comes out from a building will there be only 4 exits from the building like in Warcraft 3 or will there be “infinite”?
It is not infinite, but your units will come out from a building at the closest point on the building to where your rally point is set.
This wraps it up for the recent Q&A batch. Make sure you follow the official @StarCraft Twitter feed, as Blizzard’s team has been quite active recently, tweeting fun stuff like the following fan-made Lego Immortal.
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