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Q&A 20: Mega-Ghosts and Unspotable Siege Tanks


The twentieth batch of questions and answers, answered by StarCraft 2 developers, has been posted on Battle.net. Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, began with this cheerful introduction:


Wow, we’re already at our 20th Batch of Community Q&As! I’ve got to say, the questions from the community are becoming better and better as we move along.

The Devs and I are all reading and we love answering community questions. Every week there are always exciting new changes we want to share with everyone. Granted, many of the changes may not stay in the game very long, but the process of game development is a constant cycle of brainstorm, revision, and much testing, to ultimately make all the gaming components flow together for one awesome overall experience.

First up, the Chat with Devs, focusing on the Ghost yet again:

Chat with Devs: Terran Ghosts are currently being tested as an effective Tier 1.5 unit, capable of sniping down high profile enemy targets, have an increased attack damage towards light armored units, as well as an upgradable EMP against Protoss and energy using threats. If that isnt enough, these highly advanced Terran soldiers at higher techs can also be equipped with a personal cloak ability, and launch drop pod reinforcements, as well as call down a massive nuclear strike. The StarCraft II Ghost will surely be bringing a whole new meaning to “You call down the thunder and I’ll reap the whirlwind.” Of course, I should mention, all of this is subject to change.

It looks like the Ghosts are getting better and better every week. Will the UI have room for all their abilities? Cloak, Snipe, Drop Pod, Nuke and now EMP have all been confirmed. If the StarCraft 2 Ghost turns out to be likable enough and becomes a fan favorite, will we get StarCraft Ghost after all?


On to the questions:

1. Will it be possible to give more fluid and realistic movements to small aircraft with proper banking and turning rather than just abrupt sprite-style direction changes?


We are currently in the process of implementing banking animations for flying units, but playability always comes first. If the animations affect playability negatively, it could get cut.


2. With the Reavers no longer in the game, will the Protoss have any units capable of performing brutal worker raids?


The Colossus is an excellent choice for worker raids, since it is able to attack from higher elevations, and can be transported by the Phase Prism. In addition, we are exploring some ideas for the Twilight Archon that would allow him to make devastating attacks on enemy workers.

Initially, the Colossus could not be transported by Phase Prisms. A short while ago, the Colossus received a boost to its mobility, and it can now fill the role of the Reaver in annihilating the worker line quickly.


3. Will there be a escort ship for Battlecrusier because Protoss have like many kinds of capital ships?


With the Predator unit cut, the Viking is now the primary Terran air to air fighter. In addition, the Viking no longer requires an upgrade to transform between a ground and air unit and is also built directly from the Starport rather than the Factory.

Goodbye, Predator. Hardly anything was revealed about this unit, which seemed redundant from the minute it was introduced. The Terrans still have plenty of air units to choose from, even without it.

The Viking has been bumped up in the Terran tech tree, perhaps because the Ghost has been brought down to “tier 1.5”. We’ll have to wait and see how effective it will be in its grounded, assault mode.

4. Will there be units who can trample opponents (such as an Ultralisk)? (gamereplays.org)


Currently, there are no units that trample, but have discussed this idea as a possibility. Nonetheless, we also hit the dilemma of having a trample unit that is able to destroy enemy unit assets far beyond its own cost of the trample unit, with relatively little micro.


5. Will siege tanks be able to shoot at targets in the fog of war picked up by sensor towers, but not yet confirmed by visual sighting?


No. Siege Tanks will only be able to hit targets within visual range. In addition, Siege Tanks firing from the fog of war, such as on an unseen cliff, will not reveal its location from the fog of war to its enemy, thus will not be able to be return fired upon.

Unlike the radar in the Total annihilation series, which allowed units to target and fire at units in the fog of war, the StarCraft 2 radar will only function as a dedicated intelligence gatherer. Terran commanders will have to scout and reveal the fog to be able to attack.


Another interesting revelation is that Siege Tanks will no longer be visible when firing from within the fog of war. In StarCraft 1, if a player was attacked by any enemy unit, that unit would briefly be visible, no matter its location. The consequences of this change are not immediately clear, but it is sure to have an impact on the core StarCraft gameplay. With this change in effect, a player’s units could be blasted from afar, continuously, without being able to retaliate or even tell where the attack is coming from!

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