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Several representatives from US-based StarCraft fansites have gotten the chance to visit Blizzard’s Headquarters in Irving, California, and reported back with plenty of clarifications concerning gameplay, balance and unit roles.

Blizzard HQ

The reports shed new light upon key units such as the Zerg Queen, Protoss Colossus and the Terran Thor. They also discuss other interesting adjustments made in the current build, including the total removal of the Medic and the ability to infest Protoss buildings.

The following summarizes StarCraft2Forum.org‘s impressions from the visit to Blizzard’s HQ:

Protoss:

Most mature race at this point. Fully playable with well thought-out abilities and unit roles. Despite constantly being tweaked, the Protoss have not undergone any drastic changes in quite a while, unlike the ever-evolving Terran which lose and gain units on a weekly basis.
One unit stands out, however: the Nullifier keeps raising eyebrows, as it has been doing over the last few Q&As. The Anti-Grav ability affects not only units, but also buildings. This effectively nullifies both siege and defense formations, hurting production and causing a general havoc on the battlefield as key units are removed from battle, WarCraft 3 Cyclone style.
The Colossi are reported to have become the Zerg’s nightmare (as can be seen in the recently released gameplay video), with a fast firing rate and a horizontal AoE attack

colossiaoe.JPG

Terran:

Blizzard’s latest change to the Terran race is the complete removal of the Medic and the introduction of the Medivac Dropship, a flying healing unit. Combining the Dropship and Medic roles into a single unit have made Terran infantry raids far more effective, increasing the amount of offensive units per drop.
The Thor has become a powerful anti-air weapon, employing WW2-Flak-style AoE guns against its aerial foes, but with a far less potent ground attack – removing any role overlap between the Thor and the Crucio Siege Tank.

Thor And Crucio

While both the Terran and Protoss exhibit many deviations in this build (for instance, the Mothership has its Black Hole ability back, now termed “Void“) , such development builds are produced at a very high rate, and many drastic changes have little to no importance due to the slim chances of making it to the Beta or Gold release version.

Zerg:

The most intriguing Zerg unit is the new Queen. Unlike any other unit in StarCraft 2, the Queen has been compared, by Karune himself, to the Heroes of WarCraft 3. The comparison is unsurprising, especially considering the common traits:

  • A player can have only one Queen
  • The Queen evolves as your base and army become more advanced
  • An additional penalty for getting killed – the Queen’s upgrades are eliminated upon death.

The Zerg Queen

 

The Queen, being a unique key unit for the Zerg, will undoubtedly be the subject of many changes and adjustments. Her current abilities include the following:
(courtesy of http://starcraft.wikia.com)

* Burrow
Like many other Zerg ground units, the Queen can burrow.

* Creep Tumor
The Queen can create a Creep producing node. The Creep Tumor can be upgraded at the Evolution Chamber to produce Shriekers, which increase the range of the Creep produced by the Tumor.

* Deep Tunnel
This ability enables the Queen to [instantly] “teleport” underground from one friendly structure to the next.

* Regeneration
The Queen can enhance the regeneration speed of Zerg structures. This ability heals most of a structure’s health.

* Shriekers
The Queen can produce the Shrieker, a detector unit. It enhances the range of the Creep Tumor and Swarm Clutch abilities.

* Sunken Cluster
The Queen can produce a powerful defensive turret.

* Swarm Clutch
The Queen lays eggs which spawn when the Hive is attacked; they gain a range bonus from Shriekers.

* Swarm Infestation
The Queen can alter any Zerg structure to grow an organic turret, which attacks enemy units. The attack appears as small blue flies.

* Toxic Creep
This ability enables the Queen to “poison” a small area of Creep, injuring[harming? hurting? killing?] enemy units over the affected area.

Two of the most interesting new units are without a doubt the Nydus Worm and The Infestor. The Nydus Worm is clearly somewhat influenced by the dreaded Shai’hulud of Dune. It is a permanently cloaked (but detectable) unit, which at this point is the only transport unit available to the Zerg – as neither the Overlord nor the Overseer possess the Ventral Sacs upgrade anymore.
The Infestor has been confirmed to be able to infest Protoss structures, a rumor which has been circulating ever since it was introduced. This should make the Zerg’s many fans happy – Blizzard’s aim to make infestation part of Zerg’s standard strategy can add a lot of depth to the game, especially if the Infested units’ abilities are worth the trouble.

Infested MArines

    

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