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The stream of information continues. Fans who were lucky enough to visit the events held by Blizzard in the far east are still supplying us with new interesting tidbits about the game, which we will summarize here.

Note that the builds showcased in different locations have small changes and inconsistencies between them – the Roach, for example, was a melee unit in China, but a ranged one in Korea. In any case, make sure to read our previous posts covering the Zerg to get the full picture. Here’s the full list of changes and other noteworthy bits:

Zerg

zergrush2.JPG

* Nearly all of the Zerg’s units can evolve in StarCraft 2.

* Zerg evolution, or upgrades, only affect one unit. For example, the Zergling has 3 levels of evolution: Level one grants it more speed, level two provides +2 to damage and +1 to armor, and level three +1 to damage and +2 to armor. No word has been given about the favorite crack upgrade, which transformed Zerglings into insane machines of destruction in late games of StarCraft 1. The upgrades are researched at the unit’s building – in the Zergling’s case, the Spawning Pool.

* Roaches have alternated between functioning as melee units and ranged anti-ground units. They have clearly been designed for close range battles, as evident by their enormous blades.

roach.gif

The Roach is a lower tier unit than the Hydralisk, which is now tier 2 – putting the Lurker at tier 3.

* The Infestor can use its “Dark Swarm” ability without needing further research. Infest and Disease, however, have to be researched.

* Infested Protoss buildings currently produce Infested Marines – a placeholder for Infested Zealots, perhaps?

* The Overseer has been spotted!

overseer.jpg

* The Nydus Worm can currently carry twelve of any Zerg ground unit. It is an unfinished unit, though, so expect that to change.

* Hatcheries have two Rally Point options: Rally Point for normal units, and Worker Rally Point for drones – allowing the player to send freshly hatched drones straight to the resources.

Protoss

toss.JPG

* The Mothership currently has 4 abilities:

1) Void, a new name for the Black Hole, which now also affects ground units

2) Cloak, which cloaks units around the Mothership – much like the Arbiter of StarCraft 1, but with a larger radius

3) Planet Cracker, the ID4-esque heavy ground damage dealer

4) Time Bomb, which is cast on a specific location and protects friendly units by reducing damage

In addition, the Mothership can drain energy from friendly units and utilize it for its spells.

* Stalkers feel and play like fragile, but more agile, Dragoons. They also serve as excellent economy raiders.

* The Archon‘s “Twilight” prefix has been dropped from its name. It now has a “Power Overwhelming” buff, which grants it an additional 20 points of damage. This buff is temporary, and lasts a short time after the Archon’s creation – a great way to effectively use wounded Dark Templars and energy-less High Templars in battle.

Power ... Overwhelming!

* The Phoenix is now an air-to-air unit. It’s quite strong, but slow.

* Even a small group of Colossi can wipe out huge ground armies with ease. They now have a “Heavy Shield” upgrade, which increases their shields’ defense rating. The graphics used for their attack sequence will likely be enhanced soon.

* Gateways can transform to Warpgates and back for free – and it only takes 3 seconds of time. For a more detailed review of Warpgates, check out this post.

Terran

terran.JPG

* The Marauder has 80 HP and does 6 points of damage + 4 to armored units. Its range is like that of a Marine. Since it is relatively expensive, it is not effective on its own – the Marauder is strictly a complement to the Marine. The Marauder’s slow effect actually stops the affected unit completely for a short duration, after which it returns to normal speed. Multiple shots from Marauders can almost completely stop an enemy’s advance.

* Jackals deal relatively low damage – around ten points – making them quite ineffective against single units.

* The Banshee no longer deals area-of-effect damage. It now fires more directed rockets at a single target. It is still somewhat structurally weak, with 150 HP. Since it attacks in an oblique line, it has trouble hitting targets directly beneath it.

* Reapers can no longer use the Stim Pack ability. A huge blow for this unit, which has “Raider” as its middle name. The Reaper seems a bit lost in the current build of StarCraft 2 – is it on the way out?

Say no to drugs!

* The Nomad no longer looks like a giant, flying crane. It has received a complete overhaul, and now has a sharper design. No pictures are available yet. Its Auto-Turrets are quite strong and destructive, and currently no longer cost any energy – instead, they require Vespene Gas only.

* Differently upgraded Battlecrusiers, with either the Yamato Cannon or the Plasma Torpedo upgrade, are treated as different units – double clicking one version will only select Battlecruisers with the same ability.

* Ghosts have the EMP ability, but can no longer call down Drop Pods.

* Thors are no longer built by SCVs. They are now constructed at the Factory, like other Terran mechanized units. The built-by-SCV unit mechanic was an interesting one, and we hate to see it go.

Other issues:

* In StarCraft 1, units “checked” for new orders every half a second, making for a somewhat unresponsive reaction time. In StarCraft 2, this reaction time has been dramatically reduced, and all units now feel much more responsive.

* Before starting a match, players can communicate with each other using VoIP.

* The match summary screen now contains informative graphs as well as the old number statistics.

* The game requires a Pixel Shader 2.0 capable computer, and at least a GeForce 5200 (or equivalent) graphics card. StarCraft2 should be at least playable on just about every computer that’s been made in the last 5 years.

* The Blizzard 40-strong development team is divided into three equal thirds: programmers, artists and designers. Members are from Korea, China, America and Europe, and two are ex-ProGamers.

Thanks go to NGACN and StarCraft-Source for their coverage and translation.

    

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