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Q&A 33: Hunter Ghosts, Shared Nydus Worms, Taiwan Build

Another batch of Q&A has been posted by Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager. This Gameplay series post also includes the recently introduced ScreenCraft; screenshots taken as per fans’ request. This time, it’s a Protoss versus Zerg shot titled “Psi Onslaught“.

As requested by the community, the Protoss have brought their heavy hitters in this psi onslaught upon a developing Zerg base. In retaliation, the Zerg counter with a ravaging pack of Ultralisks and Zerglings upon the advancing Templar army. While the epic battle begins, the Protoss player cleverly sneaks a group of Stalkers to raid the Zergs economy as well.

Psi Onslaught

* Click for Big

Chat with Devs: After the Zerg release, I have been asking Dustin what types of changes are being made to the other factions during this process, and one of the most interesting ones that have been added has to do with the Terran Ghost. In order for the Terrans to counter the various new casters that have been introduced to all sides in StarCraft II, the Ghost can now detect units with energy in a 30 yard radius. This passive ability works similarly to the Sensor Tower, revealing their location even within the fog of war. This ability could also no doubt open up some interesting assassination type single player missions as well with the Ghost.

The Ghost‘s Snipe ability has just become a lot more useful: The Ghost can now detect spell casting units in a radius around it, operating like a Sensor Tower for casters (somewhat similar to the WoW Hunter tracking mechanic). This will allow the Ghost to go on hunting missions with specific targets in mind, taking out critical units like the High Templar and the Infestor before engaging in full battle with the weakened enemy.

When asked about the Ghost’s ability to detect non-energy-based abilities, such as the Stalker‘s Blink, Karune clarifies:

Currently, the Ghost’s new ability only applies to units with energy.

Ghost

On to the Q&A:

1. What upgrade type (assuming these are returning) is the Viking using? Vehicle or ship? (Or perhaps infantry?)

 

The Viking is built from the Starport again and will use ship armor rather than vehicle armor.

2. What will Zerglings be able to do against new Jackal?

 

Attacking Jackals efficiently with Zerglings will take a bit of micromanagement, making sure that Zerglings are spread out or attacking from different directions. The Jackals hit points have also been reduced from 125 to 75 with a slight increase to their speed. This will make them more vulnerable to Zerglings if you can get them close to surround the Jackals.

The Jackals’ strength lies in their ability to line up their targets. Their weapon’s area-of-effect only extends directly in front of them, creating opportunities for skilled players to surround the Jackals, effectively eliminating their advantage over small units. This will cause players to either utilize the Jackals’ improved speed to get out of the disadvantaged position, or quickly lose the unit, which now has 66% fewer hitpoints.

Jackals

3. If a unit is being produced at a Protoss building while it becomes unpowered, does it continue production or pause until re-powered?

 

If a Protoss building becomes unpowered, all production including research at that building will pause until re-powered.

4. In lieu of the Nydus Worm, will the Zerg Overlord maintain its “Ventral Sacs” upgrade? Will the Ultralisk have any sort of unit carrying capacity?

 

Currently, the Overlords original Ventral Sacs ability has been taken out. With the introduction of the Nydus Worm, the Zerg will have more than enough mobility to keep their enemies on their toes. On that note, the Ultralisk will not be able to carry units.

This issue has already been extensively covered in the reports following the Zerg announcement. Karune posted some more information about the Nydus Worm in response to a question:

Currently, the Nydus Worm can carry any ground unit from any faction (yes, this includes your teammate’s units), including Ultralisks. In regards to the Nydus Worm, I cannot stress enough that this is still work in progress, as this can easily be an overpowered ability. Nonetheless, the Blizzard Devs are working hard to get this balanced, as it is a very fun mechanic to play with. You never know when you’ll have a huge Nydus Worm bust out in the middle of your base, spewing hundreds of Zerglings out.

 

Detectors will be able to detect Nydus Worms traveling underground to their destinations.

This addresses the question that the SC2Blog had in the last Q&A – teammates can indeed use each other’s transports, or at least the Nydus Worm, to travel!

5. To what degree will StarCraft II allow for remapping – limited remapping a la Warcraft III, or complete remapping of key bindings?

 

We are planning to support key-mapping for StarCraft II. The extentof the ability for remapping keys is still to be determined. Even in current experimentations, we have found that there are often many issues with conflicting key bindings as there are very few open unmapped keys to be swapped in and out.

Q: Karune, are those templar in the screenshot channeling psi storm, or are their hands only glowing because the shot was taken right after they cast it?

 

Psi Storm is still instant cast, like the original StarCraft. The glow from their hands are the animations that occur when they cast Psi Storm. The animation can also be seen in my avatar as well.

Very High Templars

In other news, Blizzard has exhibited StarCraft 2 in Taiwan a few days ago, and a few pictures have popped up on a local site.

The most interesting picture is this one, where the new Mothership Vortex” spell can clearly be seen. It’s easy to understand why this ability is no longer called “Black Hole”, although we’ll have to see it in action before we can decide if it is actually an improvement.

Vortex

A close up on the new Zealot:

Pink Ranger

A laser-heavy picture with a lot of action. A new building that looks like the Queen’s Nest is apparent on the lower right corner of the screen.

Lasers!

Check out the rest of the pictures over at sc2.sgamer.com.

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