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The 35th batch of questions and answers has been posted on Battle.net by Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager. This one includes an elaborate Gameplay Blog section, a Chat with the Devs, and eight (!) answers.

Chat with the Devs: The Dev team has been working hard to find the best defense mechanic that works for the Zerg. The latest builds have brought back Sunken and Spore Colonies, with a new twist. Sunken and Spore Colonies can now uproot and crawl to a more advantageous position. Incidentally, Protoss Phase Cannons no longer have the ability to change positions.

 

Giving the Zerg mobile defensive structures feels a lot more right as this ability opens up many more aggressive strategies in both Zerg mirrors as well as combined with Overlords generating creep to push these defenses up towards the front lines. Furthermore, there definitely is something about watching defenses crawling around that just seems very Zerg-like. Its worth noting that Zerg defenses while in mobile form have fewer hit points and are more vulnerable to attack.

The Protoss’ new defense mechanism has been transferred to the Zerg; Phase Cannons can no longer switch to energy form and move around, but the Zerg’s defensive colonies can now “uproot” and slowly creep towards a better Creep-infested location. Like the Phase Cannon in energy form, the Sunken and Spore colonies are more vulnerable when traveling.

Phase Cannons

This new mechanism, coupled with the Queen’s ability to extend creep and the Overlord’s ability to generate a small patch, will certainly prove useful for both defensive and offensive purposes.

How are the new defensive colonies created?

The Queen still creates all the defenses for the Zerg.

A question pops up: Will the mobile colonies be able to traverse Creep-less land, like Phase Cannons could energy-less ground?

The Gameplay Blog for this batch is actually longer than the Q&A section. It provides some insight into Terran 1v1 tactics at the Blizzard HQ:

Gameplay Blog: Over the past few weeks Ive really been practicing up with the Terran faction, as it is probably the one that I am weakest at playing with. After getting beat about three or four times and finally getting my build order up to speed, I realized Terrans actually have a huge advantage in StarCraft II with being able to block off choke points to your base with ease.

 

Currently, on most maps a Terran player is able to block off their base entry point before the enemy is able to scout, making it nearly impossible for the enemy to find out what the Terran player is doing behind that wall. With only a few Marines and a couple SCVs, the Terran player can fend off most early attacks, especially since they usually also have a higher elevation sight advantage.

 

Three popular options amongst the staff playing at Blizzard include:

 

1) Tech straight to Banshees, which have a very powerful single target attack, and can be researched to cloak. This unit devastates if the opponent is not prepared with both anti- air units as well as detectors.

 

2) Tech straight to Reapers, which can jump up and down hills without a spotter, and get an added bonus damage versus light units. What this means is that the Reapers are able to quickly get in an enemys resource line to annihilate workers at an astounding rate, as well as get out before the enemy can react. This works great if you can scout/scan to see if their main base is defended well with static defenses. On top of that, did I forget to mention that they can drop mines that do significant damage towards buildings? Yes, that means with a handful of these guys, you can drop enough mines to take out whole Hatcheries/ Nexuses, or strategically use them to take out Pylons or tech buildings. After you drop the mines, jump back out of combat and let the mine cooldown reset for another round of raids.

 

3) If a Terran player bunkers up as mentioned above and no attacks are made by this player, one way an opponent mayrespond is to expand and build a stronger economy, as they do not feel threatened. In this case, a Terran player can simply build up a huge force of Marines and Marauders behind the wall without the opponent knowing, and then strike when their opponent drops their guard.

 

Luckily, the Dev Team is well on top of balance, as they have introduced new abilities such as the Nullifiers Anti Gravity ability to lift up buildings blocking choke points and Nydus Worms to bypass such defenses to keep those Terran players honest. Maps will likely have larger choke points in the future to offer a little more chance for opponents to get a Probe or Drone in early to scout early teching Terran players.

The Terrans, masters of turtling, have plenty of effective options to choose from – and all in the safety of their well protected base, often without the enemy knowing what to prepare for.

The Banshee rush is reminiscent of the StarCraft 1 pre-nerf Wraith rush. Both units are relatively high up in the tech tree, requiring the player to neglect the push for a normal, balanced force in the early game, but aren’t high enough that they can’t be produced in adequate numbers quickly. The Stealth capability both possess allow them to completely devastate an enemy’s economy, or at least harass his forces, without taking any losses, long enough for the Terran player to establish a substantial advantage. Unfortunately for Terran players, the Wraith’s anti-ground attack was greatly nerfed early on, making this tactic somewhat suicidal. With the Banshee’s clear role as a ground bomber, the Wraith rush of the old days may be brought back in StarCraft 2.

Crouching Marine, Hidden Banshee

A noteworthy change has taken place for the Reapers, who can now jump up cliffs even without having vision of their destination. This, along with their bonus damage against light units, means Reapers are currently the best economy raiders of StarCraft 2, and all that without mentioning their powerful, regenerating mine laying ability.

Reapers: Voted best in synchronized jumping

On to the Q&A:

1. Do Banelings damage nearby friendly units when they explode onto an enemy target?

 

No, in the current build the Banelings do not damage friendly units caught in the splash. The splash damage does cover its area of effect range evenly, doing the same damage to enemy units throughout the whole area.

This answers a question that’s been brought up often in comments about the Baneling, which is now being scrutinized in this month’s discussion.

2. When a Nydus Worm is detected, is it possible to shoot it down while it is traveling?

 

Yes, having detectors in strategic places will keep you from being surprised by an unexpected Nydus Worm showing up in your base.

Another question we’ve had for a while. The Nydus Worm can be intercepted and destroyed before popping up in the middle of your base, probably killing its passengers in the process.

3. Does the Nydus Worm, a ground unit, move through open space?

 

Yes. We dont know how we are going to make this look yet. When we come up with a visual solution we are happy with we will show it to the community.

4. Can Zerg buildings be infested, and if so, what units are produced?

 

Zerg buildings cannot be infested. It is planned that infested Protoss buildings will produce an infested Protoss unit that will play differently than the infested Marine.

5. Will be there such doodads like customizable light or shader?

 

Yes.

6. The first screenshot listed in Karune’s 33rd Q&A shows what looks like the Mothership’s Black Hole ability. However, it was said that the Black Hole was removed. Does this mean the ability has returned in the current build?

 

As mentioned before, the state of many of these units are always changing. In the current build, the Mothership has become more of a support unit with increased hit points and decreased speed. The Mothership now allows Protoss Gateways that have converted to Warp Gates to be able to warp units straight to the Mothership. The warp-in mechanic (which cannot be queued) has also been tweaked to allow Protoss players who use it to get a slight time decrease in unit production as opposed to queuing units traditionally at the Gateways. In other words, the cooldown timer on warp-in doesnt take as long as the build time for units at a Gateway.

 

Furthermore, the Mothership will also have the ability to transfer energy down to casters below it, such as Templars. Both the Time Bomb and Black Hole abilities have been removed

The Mothership has received a huge change, again, and will serve as a unique support unit. It is now slow and sturdy, and functions similarly to an always-deployed Phase Prism – allowing units to warp-in directly to it. Its Time Bomb and Black Hole (Vortex?) abilities have been removed, but no word has been given regarding its Arbiter-like Cloak. However, it’s safe to assume it no longer possesses the powerful “Planet-Cracker” ability either. As a support unit, it can still transfer energy down to spell-casters below it – perhaps signifying that it has no more energy-dependent abilities of its own, functioning only as a large battery for Protoss casters.

Battership?

Another interesting change is to the Warp Gate mechanism: In an effort to increase the reward given to high-APM players, the queue-less Warp Gates have received a small boost in efficiency. Players who choose to relinquish the Gateway’s queue in favor of the Warp Gate’s more efficient warping technology, even when warping in itself is not required, will be able to enjoy a small increase in productivity – as long as they’re willing to babysit the Warp Gate constantly throughout.

7. Will Phase Cannons be able to rematerialize on an allys Pylon Power, or an enemys Pylon Power for that matter?

 

Phase Cannons are no longer able to move in the current build.

8. Is the Tauren Marine going to be included in the StarCraft II map editor?

 

Yes.

Tauren Marines posing

    

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