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StarCraft 2 Gameplay Info from Cavez and Karune

Cavez, Blizzard’s lead designer, and Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, have taken the time to answer a few questions that had popped up on Battle.Net. While this type of information is usually released in Q&As, the last few posts actually contain more new, interesting facts than the last few batches.

First up, a detailed explanation of how Protoss Warp-In actually works, by Cavez:

– You build Gateways.
– You purchase the Warp-In upgrade on the Cybernetics Core.
– You select your Gateways and transform them into Warpgates. This is extremely fast.
– You may select your Warpgates and transform them back into Gateways (also fast) any time you want. You would mostly do this if you wanted to reduce your Macro and rely on queues. Skilled players never go back to Gateways once they have Warpgates.


Now that you have Warp Gates:
– Select a Warpgate.
– Select a unit to build.
– Target anywhere within a power radius.
– Unit begins to warp-in where you selected.
– Warp-In is very fast.
– Unit is vulnerable during the warp-in process and can be killed before the warp-in is complete.
– Warpgate must now “cooldown” with a time equal to the build time of the unit created before it can warp-in again.


That’s how it works right now. In games it is extremely effective with Immortals and Dark Templars though I have seen it used with everything at one time or another.



The StarCraft 2 Warp-In actually teleports units into the battlefield immediately – and why shouldn’t it, if the Protoss unit constructing buildings are just big intra-dimensional gates? The time it takes to build, or “Warp-In”, a unit is reflected in the cooldown of the building after the unit has already been delivered. Warp-In differentiates the Protoss from the Terran in terms of constructing units – this was identical in StarCraft 1, with only the Zerg having a unique Hatchery/Larvae system.

The mobility and availability this grants the Protoss, especially considering the Phase Prism, is completely game-changing. It’ll be interesting to see how the game shapes up when the Protoss can send an instant army to any powered point on the map.



Next, Cavez discusses a few RTS issues and how they are addressed in the forming StarCraft 2:

We totally agree that terrain and position is key for StarCraft 2. We actually have a good amount of it now with our current units as well as our new terrain mechanics. If we find that the Reaper/Viking/Colossus/whatever are ruining our game play experience and have destroyed strategy then they get the boot. That hasn’t been our experience so far with these units, but we aren’t in beta yet so our pool of feedback is limited.


The rock-paper-scissors relationships are slowly being ground out. Some of them were never that real anyway. Since it is more exciting to show those relationships in a demo, we sometimes pushed them over-the-top just to show off units. As time goes by we have fewer and fewer rock-paper relationships. We will keep working on this issue.


We do have some big units, but then Ultralisks and Battlecruisers were big units in the original StarCraft. Thors are no worse than Battlecruisers in the current build and we will see what happens to the Mothership. She is not currently very dangerous for cost with her weapons or health (though her spells still need some tuning).

Cavez nails all these issues beautifully, leaving no room for doubt. Cavez later further elaborates about the Mothership:

We are still working on the Mothership, trying to make it as cool as possible. It currently is not a super-unit by our defenition (its health and damage are balanced for cost) though you are allowed only a single Mothership.


Its powers are pretty epic and are currently way too powerful. Nerfs are in-coming but we are focused on the Zerg so we havent put a ton of work into her for several weeks. When there is something worth updating on this unit, we will update.


Overall the unit has some promise, but she has a long way to go to be worthy of StarCraft 2.

We, too, are too focused on the Zerg to comment on the Mothership


Neither the Immortals nor the Reapers can attack air units. Immortals are currently awesome counters to any high damage unit, and are able to be countered well by any type of rapid attacking unit, such as Zerglings or M&Ms with Stim. The Immortals’ bonus damage against armored add to their ferocity against many Terran units going into Tier 2 and beyond. Nonetheless, bringing in Terran Banshees will ruin any players’ day who masses Immortals.

Karune clarifies the role, advantages and weaknesses of the Immortal. We haven’t heard a lot about this unit recently, probably because it hasn’t really changed since its inception.

Bring on the tanks!

Lastly, Cavez talks about a non-gameplay related matter and details his thoughts about the forums and the fans’ role in StarCraft 2’s development.

I don’t know what this forum is “officially” for but I know what I use it for. I come in to this forum to see what you guys think about the game, to listen to you guys talk about the original StarCraft and to read some ideas/suggestions. I know a lot of other developers on the team do the same thing.


I have on occasion taken an idea from this forum and brought it with me to the next design meeting. Sometimes I have to modify the idea to fit it into our current needs. Often these ideas get shot down, but then a lot of ideas get shot down. I have taken concerns from this and other forums directly to people on the team to see how we can address them. Sometimes we decide that the concerns aren’t valid. Sometimes we decide that they are and we make a fix.


As developers we don’t get a chance to post a lot, so it may not seem like we aren’t here with you, but we are.


I have learned a lot from the StarCraft community, both here and in other forums as well as through face-to-face with fans from around the world. StarCraft has a great community, filled with passion, knowledge and enthusiasm.


StarCraft II is lucky to have you guys watching over it.

We love you too, Dustin.

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