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BlizzCon: Changes to StarCraft 2

The current build being presented at BlizzCon has changed many facets of the game that we’ve already come to know. While the game is still far from becoming finalized, and the end result might turn out to be completely different, it’s always interesting to follow these changes and developments, and see how the game is shaping up.

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The Official Unofficial StarCraft 2 Blog has gathered up a list of changes, additions and new interesting pieces of information about the game, as it was presented at the event.

Protoss:

* The Carrier is back, and will replace the Tempest. The Carrier will look bigger than all other Protoss aerial units, except for the Mothership. The Carriers will carry Interceptors, which will have a normal laser attack. The Carrier will also have an “auto-build” option for its Interceptors – great automation, we approve.

* The Colossus can not be transported. Its mobility is limited to its walking speed. The Colossus also has an upgrade that increases its shields.

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* The Reaver has been removed from the game. Developers say that it was overlapping with the Colossus in the “kill a lot of small units” department, and that it was no longer necessary.

* The Warp Ray has changed its theme to a Dark Templar one – it’s darker, and also smaller, to allow the Carrier to become the distinctive capital Protoss ship.

* The Star Relic has been changed to a “Statis Orb“, which will now be a land based unit. It has an attack that slows down the movement and rate of fire of its enemies.
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* The Twilight Archon no longer has feet – it hovers, just like in StarCraft 1. Also, it has received the “Feedback” ability, which was previously used by SC1’s Dark Archons:

Feedback is a targeted spell that when cast on a unit, that unit lose all of its mana and will take an amount of damage equal to the mana lost. Example:

If a Science Vessel with 150 Energy Points is within the range of the spell and Feedback is cast on it, the Science Vessel will lose all 150 Energy Points as well as lose 150 HP instantaneously.

If the unit has more Energy Points than HP when Feedback is used on it, the unit will instantly die.

 

* The Mothership has lost the Timebomb and Black Hole ability (though we suspect that at least the Black hole ability will return in some form). Instead, it now has a cloaking ability, similar to that of the SC1 Arbiter – it cloaks all ground units in a surrounding radius, while staying visible itself. Currently, it’s possible to build more than one Mothership. Their air-to-air attack has also been nerfed considerably.

Terran:

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* New unit: Nomad. This is a Science Vessel redux, featuring EMP, which drains all shields and energy from units in an area, and Defense Matrix, which is now an area of effect ability, defending all units in the area it’s set up in. The Nomad can also auto-repair close flying units.

* New unit: Predator. This is an updated Wraith, with an air-to-air attack only. Also, it can transform into an Interceptor that can block enemy missiles. Unlike the SC1 Wraith, the Predator doesn’t have a Cloaking ability anymore – it passed that along to the Banshee.

* Banshee: Anti-ground attack only. It fires a volley of missiles that deal splash damage in a relatively large radius. Its rate of fire is slow, however. Since it has cloak, we are bound to see packs of Banshees performing hit and run attacks on unsuspecting enemy forces.

* Salvage: This unique Terran ability allows them to “sell off” a building for a full refund of its resources. The process takes some time, and can not be reversed. Very similar to the Command and Conquer method of selling off buildings, which deconstructs them step by step for a nice, instant wad of cash.

* A Command Center, when upgraded, cannot be lifted off the ground. This means its function as an offensive weapon will be very limited.

* New Siege Tank design! Verdict: Awesome.

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* Missile Turrets no longer serve as detectors, a role which has been assigned to the Sensor Dome.

* The Starport can now be upgraded to a Starbase. The Starbase can produce units while airborne.

* Battlecruisers come in two flavors: Plasma Turret and Yamato Cannon. The Battlecruiser will look different depending on which version the player chooses. The Plasma Turret is an AoE ground bombardment ability, which deals heavy damage in a large radius, while looking very impressive. The Yamato Cannon is unchanged from its previous incarnations.

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* Click for Big (it’s worth it!)

* Snipe, the Ghost ability, deals 150 damage points to organic units. I’m betting the Ghost will soon take a new name – given to it by pleased Terran players – “High Templar Hunter“.

* The Thor‘s long range bombardment ability requires it to dig its feet down into the ground, giving it the stability it needs to fire off all four cannons on its back. It appears that the Terrans have really gone to lengths to ensure that the success of the Siege Tank is replicated in their new unit designs.

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* Reapers: These are recruited at the “Merc Haven” building. The reapers aren’t produced like normal units. Instead, the building slowly “recharges” up to 4 of them, which can then be quickly recruited.

* The initial Viking form is the ground assault form. An upgrade is required for it to transform to fighter mode.

* The Cobra is especially strong against armored units, such as the Siege Tank or Colossus. It is relatively weak against small targets, though.

* The Radar Dome shows exclamation points for units under the fog of war.

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General:

* Building queues are five unit deep.

* Unit selection is limitless.

* an idle worker button has been added to the UI.

* The Xel’Naga Observatories are not capturable per se. They are activated and work for your benefit when you have a ground unit near one.

* The game starts with six workers, instead of four in SC1.

* Start of game fog of war is no longer black – you can now see a grayed out layout of the map, just like you would normally have after revealing an area and not having a unit present in it, in SC1.

* The GUI now displays a list of attributes for every unit. Since the damage units deal to each other depends on these attributes, this will greatly help players understand the advantages and disadvantages of these units, and will allow them to make the most out of their forces.

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