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Karune

Karune, Blizzard’s Official RTS Community Manager, has released a 7th batch of official answers from the Blizzard development team.

First, a short assurance to the fans that their voices are heard:

Many on the forums have asked, if their feedback is being used. From question 1, you can see they definitely have. Your voice does matter, so keep up the constructive feedback, as we are indeed reading. Be sure to follow up on the BlizzCon news August 3-4, as there will be lots of StarCraft II news!

And on to the questions:

1) Will the look of the siege tank be changed for the final version?

 

In response to much fan feedback, the siege tank has indeed been redesigned, with a much more powerful look to it. This visually redesigned siege tank will be shown at BlizzCon 2007.

The main complaints about the Siege Tank were about its “lego” look and the barrel of its cannon.

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2) Will there be a ctrl-a key stroke to select all your units on screen?

 

Not at this moment, but the hot keys have not been finalized yet for StarCraft II.

 

3) Will we get to hear the return of some of the original melodic themes from SC1 (like the Terran themes), or will the music for StarCraft II be completely new?

 

There will mostly be new epic theme songs with similarities to the original faction music. Music is still definitely in the works, thus we will not rule out a reprise of one of the original songs.

 

4) Will the High Templar still be able to create hallucinations?

 

In the current version of StarCraft II, the Hallucination ability will be back, but not as a High Templar ability, but rather a Star Relic ability.

 

5) When will you release a StarCraft II Fan Site kit?

 

The Fan Site Kit will be released around BlizzCon.

Karune later gives a 6th answer in response to a question that has popped up in the thread:

The protoss structure that looks like a very tall pylon. In the gameplay video, it is when the Terran Reapers are running and before they talk about warp-in. What is that structure?

 

It is currently the Dark Obelisk, a building needed to build Dark Templars. Again, this is subject to change still.

Dark Obelisk

That’s it for this week’s official Q&A.

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The Protoss Soul Hunter, initially revealed in the leaked PC Gamer video, did not make the cut and will not make an appearance in the game, according to Dustin Browder, lead designer.

 

Dustin has posted on the Battle.net StarCraft forum, describing the “training camp” process which the developers put units through. This process helps them decide which of the units need adjusting, refining, or a coup de grace.

We have a lot of units going into StarCraft 2 right now. Many of these units you have already seen, others you havent had a chance to hear about yet. We have a few rules for our units:

 

1) A unit should have a cool personality. A unit must be something that is fun to play with.

 

2) A unit should have their own very unique role on the battlefield.

 

3) A unit should be fun for the enemy to try to deal with. Generally this means good strengths and interesting weaknesses.

 

Theres a lot more to it of course (how intuitive it is, will it balance well, etc) but thats the basics. Right now we have a lot of units on the Protoss. Not every Protoss unit you have heard about is going to make the cut. They are in training camp. We put them in the game and we see how they do. We compare them to some other units and see how much overlap there is between various units in the game. We compare units that are similar and then we make the call. Which unit is cooler? Which unit has a more unique role? Which unit is more fun to fight against?

 

Sometimes units will get cut. For example, the Soul Hunter is not going to show at Blizzcon. He appears to have failed his training period. He was kind of cool, but not cool enough. Some other units that you have seen are going through some significant changes. They have adapted and may yet survive. Thats how we do it. Being able to try units out before we decide if they are going to be in the game or not is a huge advantage for our development process and its an opportunity that not every developer gets. Well give you more specific information on the Protoss as we figure it out. Even what you see at Blizzcon will be work-in-progress. After Blizzcon things will most definitely continue to evolve.

The Soul Hunter had received a lot of critical attention right from the start. We wrote about our reservations regarding its design in our “PC Gamer Leak: Analysis” post as well. Blizzard has taken this into account, or perhaps realized the same thing for themselves, and have decided to remove the unit from the game.

 

Goodbye, Soul Hunter. We hardly knew you.

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New Terran units and more thorough descriptions of them have been spotted in a Korean magazine.

As usual, we have the pictures, translation and speculations based on what we now know. Click the thumbnails for the large version.

Banshee:

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This is a flying bomber which can only attack ground units, dealing area of effect damage. Like the Wraith, it also has a cloak ability.

Cobra:

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A reenvisioned Vulture. This is a fast, hovering vehicle, which carries dual railguns. Apparently, it can fire while moving. We’re very glad to see a unit with this feature, and hope to see more of them in the future, as we have suggested in our “changes we want to see in StarCraft 2” article.

This is why it has a rotating turret, which can likely target units not directly in front of the Cobra.

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We’ve recently seen this unit in a screenshot that came out of the E3 event.

 

 

Viking:

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This unit is a Mech that can transform into a flier. It uses two gatling guns in Mech form, where it can only attack ground targets, and missiles in flier form which can only be used against air targets. I wonder which attack it will prefer when engaging a Colossus?

A few Vikings can be seen wrecking havoc on a Protoss base here, along with a …

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Thor:

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The Thor is the ultimate siege unit. It has a long range, slow firing weapon. It is very slow moving, slow turning, and relatively vulnerable to attack.

Here’s what Blizzard has said regarding the Thor so far:

The Thor will not be the Terran equivalent to the Protoss Mothership. In addition, you will be able to build more than one Thor. The Thor unit will not be the type of unit you’ll want to march into the enemy base by itself.

By no means should you consider the Thor to be a ‘weak’ unit, it just has certain weaknesses that encourage players to add it as part of their arsenal, rather than as a 1 unit army.

Interestingly, the Thor is not created in any building, but built directly by SCVs. This is comparable to Supreme Commander‘s super units, which are also built using workers. In SupCom, the more workers you assign to building the super unit, the faster it is built. Will this be the case with the Thor as well?

Reaper:

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A lot is already known about these guys. It has now been revealed that they have a mine laying ability, though details about the mine itself are sketchy. A concept art picture has also been published.

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Marine:

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His shield will provide a flat, 15 HP health bonus. The Marine will retain his Stim Pack ability, and also has a range upgrade research.

Ghost:

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Higher quality picture of the Ghost. It’s been confirmed that his abilities are back: Cloak, Lockdown, and call for Nuclear Strike. As well, he now has two new abilities: Snipe, which will cause “critical damage” to biological units, and another ability which can summon a few units, apparently via a drop pod, to a location he specifies. This is another suggestion we have written about in our “changes we want to see in StarCraft 2” article! Keep them coming, Blizzard!

The Sensor Dome and Radar Dome:

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The Radar Dome is an upgrade to the Sensor Dome, which has already been revealed. The Radar Dome can detect enemy movement even under the fog of war.

Supply Depot:

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Normal and below ground version of the Depot.

 

Some more information that’s been gathered:

Battle Cruiser: It now has a new area of effect ability, called “Plasma Injection“.

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The Command Center and its upgrade, the Planetary Fortress, can carry 5 SCVs inside of them while flying, as seen in the original gameplay video. The Planetary Fortress can apparently target and fire at a few enemies at once.

Add-on buildings are now shared by unit producing buildings – each building type (Barracks, Factory, Starport) can be linked to any Add-on. A building can only have one Add-On at a time, but they are easy to change by lifting off the building.

The Tech-Lab add-on will allow access to more advanced units, such as the Medic for the Barracks and the Tank for the Factory.

The Reactor Add-on will allow two units to be built in the same amount of time it normally takes to build one (for the cost of two).

The Siege tank will get a design overhaul. Community feedback was harsh regarding the tank, and Blizzard has taken notice.

 

That’s all the information available at the moment. Blizzard promised we’ll be able to see these units in action at Blizzcon, which is only 2 weeks away.

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Blizzard has updated its StarCraft 2 page with another Protoss unit – the Twilight Archon. As usual, the page features a short gameplay video, a new screenshot, concept art and a short backstory and description.

 

 

Builds From: Merging Templar
Armament: Psionic Shockwave
Role: Heavy Assault

The Archon is a late game, heavy, ground assault unit. It has a lot of health and a devastating attack, which can target both ground and air units.

The terrifying power of the high templar is rightly feared by the enemies of the protoss. A mere handful of these potent individuals can lay waste to entire armies of foes.

 

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* Click for big

These swirling, burning effigies of the protoss spirit radiate incalculable power. Their devastating psionic storms can be unleashed against cowering enemy forces both in the air and on the ground. With the halves of the protoss race reunited, an archon can now be brought into being by the merge of two high templar, or two dark templar, or even the unification of a dark templar and a high templar. Although the protoss are loath to sacrifice valuable templar, those who do achieve this final level of commitment are forever honored in the memories of their people.

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The Twilight Archon seems similar to StarCraft 1’s normal Archon, which was created by merging two High Templars. A Dark Archon version, created by merging two Dark Templars, functioned as a dedicated spell caster. Will the Dark Archon be forgotten in StarCraft 2? Perhaps the Twilight Archon will now be able to both attack and cast spells.

As mentioned in the update, the Twilight Archon can be created by merging any two templars. This opens the possibility of having the final result being dependent on the composition: An Archon created from two High Templars might have a stronger shield, while an Archon created from two Dark Templars might be able to use more spells or have more mana.

 

Don’t forget to take a look at the short gameplay movie, embedded in the StarCraft2.com unit page. Note how the Archon now walks on two legs instead of hovering slightly above the battlefield. The StarCraft 1 Archon was effectively immune to mines – will the updated Archon trigger them?

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