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Q&A 34 is here. Plenty of new post-Zerg information is presented, but everything is far from being final. Here’s how Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, introduced this batch:

So now that all three races are out of the bag, you may have thought you’ve seen it all- nope! The Dev Team is still working very hard to add even more innovation and clever balance affecting design changes that will indeed polish out the gameplay of StarCraft II that much more.

The “Chat with the Devs” section reveals a new mechanic for the Carrier:

Chat with the Devs: As of recent, the Dev Team has added a new ability to the Protoss Carrier that will give it a little more Umph! versus Zerg Corruptor attacks or Viking raids. In the past, the Carrier simply had a large swarm of Interceptor fighters which you had to build from scratch. Carriers now come built with 4 Interceptors already loaded (which is also the max number of Interceptors currently). They also have the new ability to have Escorts built for a temporary power boost to focus fire. Strike Fighter Escorts cost resources to build and last only 45 seconds, but add a decent amount of firepower to a Carriers attack. A Carrier can have a maximum of 4 Escorts. Escorts are given attack orders to focus-fire on whatever the Carrier is attacking and they can be destroyed independently of the Carrier or each other. The cost for these Escorts will be significant enough to where players will not want to just have the max number all of the time, as that would bleed your economy needlessly. Thus, players will have to pick and choose their battles in where they want the full force of the Protoss fleet present.

The Carrier, which aside from a new look (burrowed from the Tempest) had been completely identical to its StarCraft 1 version, has now gotten some attention. The ability to warp in Strike Fighter Escorts gives it more than the Umph it needs to counter enemy units – it makes it much more interesting.

carriers.JPG

The StarCraft 1 Carrier started with no Interceptors at all, and could construct up to 4 of them (8 with the Carrier Capacity upgrade). The StarCraft 2 Carrier now comes with 4 ready Interceptors, making it immediately effective upon production. The Strike Fighter Escort ability allows the Carrier to become even more devastating for a short period – for a small cost – making their usage ideal for situations where the enemy either has nowhere to run or is committed to an attack.

It seems that the enemies of the Protoss will be able to spot the fighters warp in to battle, which will help them decide whether to stick around for the fight or make a calculated retreat.

The escorts for the Protoss Carrier in its current state, hits both ground and air. Furthermore, they take about 1 second to warp in to battle alongside your Carrier after you make the order to summon them.

What happens to Interceptors when they’re destroyed? A Mechanic burrowed from Dawn of War has been implemented:

Building Interceptors can be toggled to ‘auto-build’ or be set to manual build. Like the original StarCraft, the Interceptors will cost resources to build (when you lose any from the original 4).

interceptor.JPGA most important question remains: will Interceptors continue looking like flying binoculars?

 

 

On to the Q&A:

1. An important aspect of any RTS game is for all races to have a way to siege fortified island positions, do the Protoss and Terrans [[and Zerg]] have a unit that is capable of doing so?

 

All factions will have units capable of attacking from a longer range. Zerg have the Swarm Guardian, Terrans have the Battlecruisers Yamato Cannon, and the Protoss have the Carrier (which has gotten some additional abilities since we last talked about it). However we are not at all sure that these are enough to deal with fortified islands. More testing will tell us if this is sufficient or if we need more.

2. The Infestor is a very impressive unit that enchanted the community, because we all wanted to see a unit that is able to move while it is burrowed. Nevertheless there are still pending questions. Can the Infestor even infest Zerg buildings? Are infested marines produced as fast as it is shown on the gameplay trailer? Do you have to train them manually or will they pop out automatically? Do they cost minerals?

 

Like many Zerg units the Infestor is still under development. It cannot infest Zerg buildings though that is something we are still discussing. The speed at which Marines are generated changes frequently as we work on the ability. Sometimes its fast, sometimes not so fast. They will (probably) pop automatically. They do not have any cost associated with them.

The StarCraft 1 Infested Terran was rarely seen on the battlefield. Strategies relying or even just involving them were completely unrealistic due to the scarcity of burning Command Centers, Queens, and the cost of producing the Infested Terrans.

Now that Infested Marines are free, and infesting is as easy as sneaking a burrowed Infestor into an enemy base and spewing some Zerg goo on it, we will surely see an increase in infested units on the battlefield.

 

Infested MArines

3. The Medivac is a very interesting Unit, but there are not many information given to us so far. Can you tell us any more details about it? At which tier can it be found? How does the healing work? Can it even heal multiple units at once and how fast does it heal compared to the medic?

 

The Medivac is currently available from the Starport (no add-ons required). The healing works just like the medic. We will (if we keep the mechanic) be adding a graphic of the Medivac deploying medical drones to heal friendly biological units. It will only be able to heal a single unit at one time. The speed at which it heals changes frequently as we try different balance options.

4. There are many ambiguities concerning the Roach due to the much different information that has been given to us. Many users are quite unsure about its kind of attack. Is it a melee unit or is it ranged? Or is it kind of a crazy mix of both? And most important: can it hit air as well?

 

The Roach is ranged. He has been melee in the recent past (hence the art with the big claws) but he is currently ranged. This gives him added utility at chokes where he really shines. We have tried it as ground only and we have tried it as being able to hit ground or air. Currently it is ground only.

5. Can a Zerg Corruptor infest lifted-off Terran buildings, Colossuses, and other Zerg units such as Mutalisks or other Corruptors? Can Corruptor infest Thors, Siege Tanks or Marines if they are lifted-off by Anti-Gravity?

 


Yes, Corruptors can infest anything that flies or is forced into the air by abilities such as Anti-Gravity. In the situation of a unit being lifted by Anti-Gravity, the unit will return to the ground when the anti-gravity effect ends and sit on the ground. The corrupted unit is only allowed to attack air units and will do so if an enemy air unit flies by.

Corruptors can Zergify any airborne target, which will remain corrupted even after returning to the ground. This is somewhat counter-intuitive, but gameplay considerations always come first. Will Corruptors be able to attack Colossi, which, while staying on the ground, can be attacked by both anti-ground and anti-air attacks? No answer to this question has been given.

6. What is the reasoning behind changing Colossus’ ‘sliding’ thermal lances (from 1st gameplay movie) to an array of beams (zerg trailer)? Balance? Visuals? Will it be possible to choose such sliding or array (or is it just ‘horizontal’ line?) fire mode from the Map Editor (available also for any other unit)?

 

The array of beams give a more interesting AOE template for players to attempt to micro. The sliding beam looks cool, but ultimately doesnt produce any new gameplay. The current visuals on the beam are temp to see if we like the mechanic.

colossus.jpgnewcolossusattack.JPG

    

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