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The month of February began with a reinvigorated, hopeful, and well justified beta rumor frenzy. Blizzard has been contacting gamers, websites and certain individuals about their StarCraft 2 beta access, and all eyes will be focused on Blizzavision’s public conference call, only 3 days away. Blizzard is setting up the pieces for the most massive RTS game beta test in history – a beta that will test not only StarCraft 2’s mechanics and balance, but also the revolutionary gaming platform Blizzard has been working on for a long while.

Blizzard’s Korean community representative commented on the topic and summarized Blizzard’s intentions in the following response:

(Credit for translation goes to our friends at IncGamers)

We know that all of you are very curious about the development of the Beta with the release of many Starcraft 2 Beta Testing related news across various news portals.

Unfortunately, the specifics of beta testing have not been finalized yet and I cannot give you a definite answer through this thread.

But we are trying our best to make the necessary preparations ready and introduce Starcraft 2 as fast as we can. I can definitely say that the Beta test will not just involve industry experts and other VIPs but rather will involve all fans of the franchise.

We understand how long and excruciating the wait was, and we also understand what you want the most right now as well.

We will tell you about any specifics that become finalized as soon as we can.

In the meantime, Blizzard has made some standard updates in the form of new features on the official site and new bits of information from the blues, Blizzard’s official RTS community managers.

The StarCraft 2 website has been updated with new fan art, all very inspiring StarCraft works.

Zhydaris took the time to post about the updated Zerg Baneling mechanics on the Battle.net forums in response to a 5-question inquiry by a fan.

Baneling Art from 2005

1 – The Banelings cannot detonate while burrowed, they have to unburrow first and then explode. I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, probably exploding while burrowed would be a better warfare tactic”. You must understand that exploding in the name of the Zerg is indeed a great satisfaction for a Baneling, thus they prefer to unburrow in order to showcase their enthusiasm for their role by exploding with a smirk on their face. If you zoom close enough you will see a little smile on their little glowing face of theirs. Ah, gotta love the Banelings.


2 – They’ll wait for your command. If you don’t tell them to explode, they’ll just wait while staying burrowed. That’s nice for setting up ambushes.


3 – They always wait for your command.


4 – They’ll not behave like Infested Terrans. The attack-move command is not going to be interpreted as “Go and explode at this location”, but rather as “Move to this location and attack any enemy unit. If you can’t spot an enemy unit, just sit there”.


5 – It’s comparable to a D8 Charge, yes, the explosion covers pretty much the same area.

The above answers clear the air (if not to most Zerg players’ satisfaction) about the Baneling’s most dangerous, coolest and problematic property – the ability to act as a powerful underground mine. Some players will undoubtedly be disappointed that Blizzard took the safer (balance-wise) path of forcing the suicidal Zerg unit to unborrow prior to exploding. Of course, this won’t prevent them from still being very dangerous in this role.

Zerg units were not alone in getting blue attention, as both Terran Reapers and Protoss Nullifiers were mentioned by Blizzard’s community teams. Most importantly, the Nullifier, the superstar of the freakishly awesome 3rd battle report, has been renamed to Sentry and has received an updated unit model.

StarCraft 2 Sentry

Kapeselus took the time to clarify how the Reapers’ D-8 charges act once deployed. The D8s have a 2 second delay before exploding, providing some panic dodging time, and are indestructible, at least in the current build.

In the current build you cannot destroy D-8 Charges. By that I mean that you can select them, but they are indestructible (they don’t have HP like other units do, just like units caught by Arbiter’s Stasis Field in SC:BW for example). If you are playing against Reapers though, you can still dodge the charges, as it takes them around 2 seconds to blow up.

He also answers some follow-up questions about the dangerous use of the charges against buildings:

D-8 charges don’t stick to buildings. You can only throw them directly to the ground and if you target a building they will just appear next to it. They also only damage ground units, so they won’t do any damage to your buildings if you manage to lift them off before the charges blow up.
You cannot damage burrowed zerg units if they are not affected by any means of detection. For example if you raid your opponent’s mineral line and he burrows his drones you won’t be able to damage them without a detector, like for example a Scanner Sweep.

D-8 Reaper raids are going to be a major issue for enemies of the Terran to take into account when constructing their bases. Clumped up Supply Depot farms, undefended worker lines, or expensive, high-tier buildings – all will be easy pickings for quick and painful Reaper raids.

Last but not least, Matt Horner – one of StarCraft 2’s key Terran characters – has been awarded with his very own lore page on the official StarCraft 2 website, being added to the respectable list of heroes: Jim Raynor, Zeratul and Tychus Findlay. Read it here.

“…he was young, smart, idealistic, and bored.

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