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Q&A 31: Jackal Revealed, Nuclear Bunkers, Dancing Mechanics

Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, has posted a new batch of questions and answers. This batch deals with some of the questions we’ve raised in the last few posts, and introduces a new Terran unit, the Jackal:

Gameplay Blog: This past week while playing a Terran versus Terran mirror game, I discovered a new unit option from the Factory. This new unit is known as the Jackal, which is a fast vehicle like the Vulture, but instead wields a rail gun, which does an area of effect damage in a straight line at ground units.

 

My opponent built the standard Marines & Medics (M&Ms) composition while I bunkered my choke point and teched straight to a Factory with a Reactor add on, which allows me to build two Jackals at one time from a single Factory.

 

After I built a group of 6 Jackals, I rolled onto the field with my Jackals broken up in two groups with 3 Jackals each. I engaged his M&Ms with my first group, having the Marines line up around my Jackals as they naturally do while firing. Quickly, I brought in my second group of Jackals along the side to flank the M&Ms and the line attack did the rest, killing up to 2-3 units with a single focus fire command. With a little micromanagement, I was able to decimate his whole group of 15 or so units, while only losing two Jackals. That battle gave me a significant military advantage, which eventual led to a relatively quick win.

The Jackal’s rail gun has a similar area of effect mechanic to the Colossus’ new weapon, pushing its slug through multiple targets in the line of fire. Like with the Colossus, this attack method is clearly meant to counter large amounts of smaller units. It seems that the Jackal will be able to easily negate the power of the M&M combo, instantly vaporizing groups of infantry without giving them a chance to be healed.

Later in the post, Karune answers some more questions regarding the Jackal.

Q. Since no two units – especially across races – are too similar, and the jackal is a tier 2-2.5 ground unit effective against light infantry with a linear splash damage, does this mean we can assume that the lurker is either cut or completely different from it’s original incarnation?

 

The Jackal’s attack is instant, whereas the original StarCraft Lurker had an attack that would go outwards from the location of the Lurker, which allowed a player to potentially dodge the attack even if you were originally standing in its line of attack.

 

Q. So can they fire while moving?

 

They currently need to stop and fire. But if your opponent’s units are in the line of attack of a Jackal when it attacks, they will surely take damage, whereas if it were a Lurker (from StarCraft), they would still have about half a second to react and possibly dodge that attack.

Can the Jackal hit air units?

The Jackal does not currently hit air, but be assured that Terrans will have their counters to air. At the moment, they are still figuring out what unit best fits that role (such as the Thor).

 

On to the Q&A:

1. How will Marines mount into a pod? Is this done via the barracks, or an entirely unannounced building, or Dropship-like airship yet to be revealed?

 

Terran infantry currently load into the Shadow Ops building (prerequisite for the Ghost). A Ghost can then launch drop pods, which originate from that building.

2. Can a player order a Ghost in a Bunker to call Nukes and Drop Pods?

 

Yes, Terran infantry currently have all abilities except the SCV repair ability available for use while inside a bunker, including the use of Nukes and Drop Pods.

Finally, a definite answer to this issue. Aside from the SCV’s Repair ability, which has recently been ruled out, all abilities will be available for infantry inside bunkers. How will the enemies of the Terran find out where the Ghost that’s about to nuke them is located? Karune answers that question as well:

Honestly, this is completely up to balance, and of course if it proves too difficult to prevent or avoid, I’m pretty sure it will be changed.

 

Furthermore, the red dot that Ghosts project when launching a Nuke at the moment, is somewhat easily avoided.

Nuclear Launch Detected

3. What spells are specifically affected by the Nullifiers ability? Will physical spells like the Marines Stim Pack, the Ghosts Nuke, or Reaper Mines be disabled? Also, will spells cast before entering the area (I.E. Ghosts cloak) be disabled upon entering the area?

 

Only abilities which require energy usage will need be unable to be cast while in the Null Voids area of effect. Additionally, the Null Void ability will disengage cloak by units such as the Ghost. It also currently reveals burrowed Zerg units, but this is still being debated in terms of balance.

Karune had already explained how Null Void works in this regard. This time, Karune also addresses the Burrowed Zerg issue, which we have discussed last time this subject came up. This is more than just a balance issue, and it’s good to know that it’s being looked at.

4. Last we heard, Veterancy was active for the Terran but we havent heard anything about it since and are quite curious is it still in the game?

 

Veterancy will likely be seen in the single player campaign, but will not be in the multiplayer game.

Unit veterancy

5. In StarCraft, some units had instant attack animations (Corsiar, Mutalisk, Vulture). This allowed people with good micro to make these units move and shoot. In contrast there were units that had an attack animation which required the unit to stop and shoot. This allowed people with good micro to dance (move, shoot, move shoot, maximizing the distance travelled without the unit losing any shooting time). In Warcraft III, units tended to have attack animations which took as long as the cooldown for the attack, making micro actions such as these non-existent.

 

Will units in StarCraft II have attack animations that last as long as the cooldown for their attack, similar to Warcraft III? or will players be able to dance (moving in between shooting) like in StarCraft? Also, will there be any units with instant attack animations that can be micromanaged to move and shoot like in StarCraft?

 

Balance will be the first priority when determining the animation duration for units. With that said, there will be certain units that players will be able to dance with, and there will be other units which will force the unit to stop and fire. Some units in StarCraft II will not only need to stop and fire, but will do additional damage to a target while it focuses. All of these characteristics which determine how a unit will be used in competitive play will be chosen based on balance.

The only unit we know of that does additional damage the longer it fires is the Warp Ray, which we haven’t heard anything about recently. This is a new weapon mechanic in StarCraft, and it will be interesting to see which other units get to use it.

It should be noted that a third option used to exist – the Cobra, which is now no longer a part of the game, was able to fire while moving.

6. When a unit is cloaked or burrowed, can the sensor tower still see the unit in the fog of war?

 

Yes, the Sensor Tower will reveal all units in the fog of war, including cloaked and burrowed units. Sensor Towers are currently a staple to any Terran defense or offensive.

Radar marks

In another later post, Karune responds to a question about the proliferation of area of effect weapons in the Terran race, and provides an update about the Banshee:

The Banshee now has a single target attack. It will still be able to cloak and is still only able to hit ground targets.

 

It is true that Terran does have various area of effect attacks now, though most of them all require micromanagement.

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