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10 Changes We Want to See in StarCraft 2

We have compiled a list of the top changes we’d like to see in StarCraft 2. We think they would make for a faster paced, more interesting game where battles are constantly fought, and no moment is spent on trivial, boring actions. Obviously, these are just ideas; ones we won’t be able to test ourselves. We do hope Blizzard take these things into account, and perhaps incorporate a few of the suggestions they deem worthy into the game.

 

1) Interface and automation

The first, and perhaps most important change, is to the user interface and command automation. In StarCraft 1, the player had to constantly look after and manage his base: Send individual peons to mine; build supply providing buildings (without being able to queue them); click on each unit creating building, one at a time, to create an army; click on each building or unit, one at a time, to fix them; and so on. It is important to remember that these were mostly technological limitations, which made players spend time on useless, unfun actions which do not contribute to the game at all.

current interface

By allowing a greater degree of automation and by streamlining the tedious management portions of the game, it will be possible to focus on what makes the game interesting: Large scale strategic decisions, tactical maneuvers, and intense battles. Don’t get me wrong – some of the most interesting and skill demanding aspects of the game involved managing your base: choosing what to build, where, and when; deciding when to tech up, and when to build more unit producing buildings; when to create an expansion, and how to defend it. These things have their place in the game. However, they should NOT require a lot of time, many actions or too much focus from the player.

The obvious way to ameliorate these issues is to allow buildings queues, smart unit responses to commands, and overall automation of things that do not require any skill, aside from an agile hand and a good mouse.

 

Now that we’ve freed up a lot of our time and can focus on the game more, lets see how we can speed up the pace:

 

2) Health regeneration:

The Protoss should now be able to recharge their shields faster inside Pylon range. This could either be a natural perk, or an upgrade, designed to replace the shield batteries (which weren’t very easy to properly use, and did not see a lot of play in the original game). In general, shields, which are vulnerable to all damage types, should regenerate fast, even on the field. Since it would be easy to build new Pylons on the field and benefit from the faster recharge, a new limitation would be placed: Pylons that are not built within pylon range themselves would either cost more, take longer to be built, or a combination of both. The Protoss, unlike the Terrans, should be less capable of using their structures offensively on the battlefield. This also works well in conjunction with the new warp in ability and the Phase Prisms.

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Similarly, Zerg units should regenerate health at a faster pace (but not as fast as the Protoss shields) while on creep. To offset this huge advantage, they should only regenerate their health to 66.6% of the maximum value while on the battlefield. This would not apply to air units, to prevent hit and run attacks from becoming too cheesy. A late game upgrade (from the upgraded hatchery) could provide the Zerg with the ability to regenerate all the way, even while not on creep, albeit at a slower pace.

 

The Terran, being masters of mobility and deployment on the battlefield, should not suffer from a prolonged stay away from the base. SCVs should acquire an “auto-fix” toggle – allowing them to automatically fix units in a specified range, thus strengthening the presence of the Terran forces on the battlefield. This advantage is offset by the fact that repairs cost resources, and are not free, like for the Protoss and Zerg.

These changes would increase the pace of the game, while adding to the uniqueness of the 3 factions: The Terran, masters of the siege. The Zerg, with their never ending, disposable units, which were not meant to be strategically placed on the field, but swarm the enemy. And the Protoss, somewhere in the middle, but not quite.

All regeneration should only take place when the unit is not actively participating in battle. This includes taking damage, but also attacking. This, apparently, is a feature already present in the game – note the Colossus and the Mothership in the high quality, original gameplay video.

 

3) Each race should acquire a mid to late game method of fast travel:

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phase.jpgThe Protoss have already been seen warping units in directly to the battlefield, using the Phase Prism. This should, of course, be limited to certain fighting units – it would be too easy, and too advantageous, to warp in a few Reavers or Colossi to strategic locations.

 

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The Zerg have their new, and apparently improved, Nydus worms. These seem to be able to pop out everywhere (supposedly, while originating from creep) and supply a direct, fast route for Zerg units.

 

 

A Terran mode of fast travel has still not been revealed. However, the Terran are already a very mobile race, with flying buildings, jump jet infantry, and drop ships. A late game upgrade could perhaps grant them an ability similar to the one the Human forces have in the Warhammer RTS games, also a late game upgrade – drop pods that hit the ground and deploy units anywhere on the battlefield, launched from orbital positions. A Ghost would be required here to signal the drop, adding to its role (which was quite limited in StarCraft 1), since an ability like this should still be range-limited.

 

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These changes would change the game for the better, and make it become ever more fast paced, while staying constantly interesting and fun.

 

Moving on, here are some more changes we’d like to see in StarCraft 2. Some of these are things that are already present in many other RTS games, and the other suggestions would just make the game more fun, in our opinion.

 

4) Attack while moving:

Aside from the Carrier (and now, the Tempest), no units in StarCraft are able to move while firing! This is very unnatural. All recent RTS games have units that are able to fire while moving, and it adds a great depth to the game. Not all units should be able to fire while moving, of course, which would already makes some of them more distinctive and different. Some units can suffer accuracy, range, or damage penalties when firing on the move, and some units lose accuracy when shooting at moving targets. This brings more depth to the micromanaged, tactical game. It requires skill and knowledge of the gameplay mechanics. Above all, it looks better. Marines should not move to range, stand still, and shoot. They should storm the target, guns blazing!

 

5) Terrain levels: Make more than 3.

Different terrain levels, as implemented in StarCraft 1, already contributed to the depth of the game. Units on higher ground have offensive and defensive advantages. In StarCraft 2, with the addition of ground units that can quickly traverse heights, this feature is already extended even further. However, 3 terrain levels only are not enough – especially not in a 3D environment. We’d like to see more natural levels and height gradients in StarCraft 2, a game that should not be bound by old 2D limitations.

siegetanks.jpg

 

6) Moving while burrowed:

The Zerg should be allowed to move, very slowly, while burrowed underground. This should be a mid game upgrade (before the Nydus Worm) that would allow the Zerg to burrow outside of view, move in slowly, and pop out for a surprise attack on an unsuspecting enemy.

 

7) Specific attack animations:

We’d like to see units attack different units in different ways. It’s great to see Zealots tear up Zerglings with their psi blades, but it looks a bit silly when they do the same to Siege Tanks or buildings. When a game has this level of detail, it becomes a lot more immersive and believable.

 

8 ) Mine Laying

spidergrenade.gif75 minerals for 3 mines, and you get a free Vulture? That was a good deal in StarCraft 1, but a bit of a clunky one. We’d like to see a dedicated mine laying unit (or a unit with this ability) that would be able to manufacture mines and lay them (for a cost). The old mines were great, and we want to see an improved StarCraft 2 version. Also, the banelings could function as Zerg mines, assuming you have both the burrow upgrade and the Baneling evolution research completed.

 

9) More deployable units

StarCraft 1’s Siege Tank was a very innovative idea at the time – a unit that has to deploy on the field to utilize its main weapon. This takes time, and therefore tactical planning. We’d like to see more units with this behavior, which adds to both tactical depth of maintaining a position and advancing it. It would work for the Terran, mostly, but it’d be great to see variations on the theme for other races (like the Zerg Lurker, which was added in the expansion).

This was perfected in Company of Heroes, where many units had to be deployed on the field before becoming useful. CoH also added an extra twist to this, limiting the firing arc of some deployed units, which the player had to position skillfully.

 

10) Dual screen support

We will end our wishlist with something exciting and new in the world of RTS games – multiple screen support. This has already been done nicely in Supreme Commander, where both screens are completely functional, and World in Conflict, where the second screen constantly displays the mega map. StarCraft 2 does not appear to be a demanding game, hardware wise – which means using both screens should not be a problem for most computers. Having a second screen displaying the entire game map is a great feature, and with computer monitors costing next to nothing nowadays, dual screens are getting more and more popular among gamers.

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That’s it for our list. We hope the Blizzard developers, which seem keen on getting community feedback, take heed of it.

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