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Q&A 15: The Return of the Ghost

Another interesting Q&A has been posted by Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, in what has become a highly anticipated mini-event in the StarCraft 2 community.

As with all recent Q&As, this one also starts with a Chat with the Devs section. Today’s chat brings bad news for the Terran race:

Chat with the Devs: The Terran Starport will no longer transform into a Starbase.

 

During much testing, the Developers realized that the Starports ability to transform into a Starbase was not very essential in the gameplay of the Terrans and was also leaving several tech lab add ons scattered across the map. At the moment, the Starports ability to transform into a Starbase has been taken out of the game, thus to produce advanced units, the Starport will need the appropriate tech lab add-on, similar to the original StarCraft.

Who hasn’t looked forward to producing units from a forward, airborne base?

On to the Q&A:

1) Can an upgraded command center be salvaged? Does it lose its mobility when upgraded to a surveillance station?

 

No, the command center cannot be salvaged, nor can it lift off after it is upgraded to a Surveillance Station (allows the use of the Comsat ability).

We already knew that.

2) In Starcraft 1, when you cancel a nuclear launch that is in progress, you lose the warhead. Will Starcraft II make any changes to this setback?

 

Currently, if you cancel the nuke while it is firing, you will still lose the nuke. This outcome has not yet been finalized and may be changed in the final version.

 

3) Can a Ghost be equipped with both a Nuke and Drop Pod simultaneously?

 

Yes, any Ghost can launch either a Nuke or a Drop Pod, making the Ghost highly effective at responding to multiple battle circumstances.

The Ghost is shaping up to be a critical unit to have around in every Terran engagement. Even without the Lockdown ability, the StarCraft 2 Ghost will have many ways to have an impact on any battle, and even change the course of entire matches.

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4) Will “caster” units, such as the Protoss High Templar, have a regular attack, like Tassadar had in SC1, or will they only be able to attack through their spells?

 

Currently, there are no plans to give the High Templar a physical attack, though High Templar Story Characters will have additional abilities beyond that of the standard unit. At the moment, the High Templar is one of best support units in the game, with the ability to cast a devastating Psi Storm or choke off crucial areas of the map with the force field ability. Once youve used up its energy, no worries, convert it into an Archon with another Templar.

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No change from StarCraft 1. Casters in the game tend to have a useless attack or no attack at all. These are usually fragile units that would be best kept away from the war zone, either way. Well, except for the Mothership!

5) Can Marines be Stimmed while in a bunker? What about a Ghosts snipe ability?

 

In the current build, abilities cannot be activated while inside a bunker, but you can activate abilities before entering a bunker. For example, if you activate Stim Pack on a few Marines, then enter a bunker, they will attack at the higher rate of fire from inside the bunker. The Stim Pack effects will still wear off as normal though.

This sounds like an artificial restriction of the UI. Players who can click faster will unload the marines, stim them up and load them back into the bunker, while slower players will lose this advantage. This effect will be magnified when dealing with main base defenses, which might have 2-3 bunkers loaded with marines. What reason is there to prevent players from selecting units inside the bunker and using their abilities?

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This is another point in the argument for “skill” versus a streamlined UI and automation. So far, automation and better UI functionality have prevailed, taking the game to a new level where skill will be determined by fast decisions, reducing the emphasis on agility and the number of mouse clicks a player can manage. This is a logical progression for the RTS genre, one that Blizzard should fully embrace in StarCraft 2.

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