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Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, has posted Q&A batch #37 on battle.net. This one features a Chat with Devs and the 6 standard questions – including one of our own.

Chat with Devs: One of the latest changes the Devs are trying for the Nomad is replacing their previous stationary Mine Drone with Spider Mines. The Spider Mines behave the same as Spider Mines from the original StarCraft. It now also does 50 damage plus 50 additional damage towards armored units. Instead of only having 3 Spider Mines, the Nomad will be able to plant Spider Mines with the cost of 15 energy. These Mines will definitely prove quite formidable against mass Tier 1 units such as Zerglings and charging Zealots.

The Mine Drone ability has been replaced with the more standard Spider Mines, a relic from the StarCraft 1 Vulture. At the low cost of 15 energy, a few dedicated Nomads could easily mine entire sections of the map. As flying units, the Nomads will be able to plant mines where no Vulture has gone before – helping assaulting Siege Tanks survive incoming melee units, defending the economy against surprise drops, and preventing enemy players from expanding too quickly.

1. Can the Ghost snipe casting (energy based) units in the fog of war using its passive sensing ability? (Battle.net) crazy_dave

 

 While the Ghost will not be able to snipe casters in the fog of war, their current range to detect casters(units with energy) is 30, giving you plenty of time to prepare for incoming threats.

2. Could you tell us more details about the Reapers’ mines mechanics? Are they visible for the enemy? Can they be defused, or should simply be destroyed? Do they deal damage to friendly units and to each other? If so, does the explosion of one mine cause the detonation of its neighbors, or they just die, without dealing damage? (Battle.net) Elsoron

  

Yes, the Reapers mines will be visible, though depending on the placement, they can be covered by enemy units moving over them. The mines have very few hit points and can be killed easily. Nonetheless, it is important to note that they are very small, making it more difficult to micromanage those attacks when there are several mines.

Mines damage both enemy and friendly units/buildings, so making sure you dont blow up your own Reapers is quite important 😉 Mines will not detonate other mines, have a 30 second cooldown, and they currently do 30 damage plus 30 additional damage to armored units (including buildings). Furthermore, the mine is now an upgradeable ability of the Reaper.

The Reapers’ explosives, not unlike the Reapers themselves, are great for surprise attacks – but aren’t suited for coming under fire. At 60 damage per mine, a relatively small group of Reapers could deal great damage to an enemy – if not by taking down key structures or a group of workers, then by forcing him to divert his attention back to his base every 30 seconds.

Reapers

Karune answers a couple of more questions about mines:

Yes, Spider Mines will do splash damage.

Mines for the Reapers will only be limited by their cooldown timer.

3. In StarCraft II there are destructible obstacles like rocks. Apart from simply killing them the Protoss Nullifier can lift them with his Anti-Gravity spell. Do the other races have any similar options to remove or pass the rocks with spells? (broodwar.de)

 

Actually, the ability to lift destructible doodads has been classified as a bug and has been fixed in the latest builds. Nullifiers have already proved to be quite strong when used in groups, being able to lift up Siege Tanks and Ultralisks, effectively taking them out of combat until the rest of their reinforcements are dead.

4. Do Anti-Gravitated Banelings keep their suicidal abilities and act as Scourge? (sc2blog.com)

 

Yes, when Banelings die while being lifted by Anti-Gravity, their explosion will hit air units in its area of effect. This could undoubtedly open up some unique and unexpected strategies in team games.

An alliance between Zerg and Protoss players gives them an ability to launch makeshift anti-air AoE attacks – ones that are especially potent against air units, which tend to clump up and occupy the same space.

Baneling explosion

5. Blizzard made 2 e-sport oriented games after StarCraft: Warcraft 3 and WoW. What are the biggest lessons that you’ve learned from those 2 games and how will you apply them to StarCraft II? – VIB (teamliquid.net)

 

 One of the main goals for StarCraft II is to keep the game very visually intuitive and readable. As Dustin has mentioned in our recent chat, visually When a unit teleports, it teleports. When it shoots, it looks like it is shooting. It should be easy to follow on a screen and players should be able to quickly understand what is happening in the battles. Futhermore, Blizzards games has followed the premise of easy to learn and hard to master. StarCraft II will follow this philosophy.

World of WarCraft… an E-Sport?

6. How does the Marauders slow ability work against the Zealots charge ability. According to present knowledge the concussion grenade shot of a Marauder forces its target to stop moving for a short time; afterwards the targeted unit can go straight forward. So does it stop a charging Zealot and does the speed bonus remain?(starcraft2.4players.de)

 

When the Marauders concussion grenade hits an enemy target, it will reduce that units speed immediately by a set percentage. The cooldown of the concussion grenade shot is subject to balance. Nonetheless, a charging Zealot slowed by a concussion grenade is still pretty fast. Before the Protoss player upgrades their Zealots with charge, a Marauder can kite a Zealot with relatively little micromanagement.

We have previously gotten the impression that the Marauder’s Concussive Grenade attack completely stops an enemy’s advance for a short duration, and that a few Marauders focusing fire on the same unit will prevent it from advancing completely.

It now appears that the Grenade will only reduce the movement speed of the affected unit by a set amount. In regards to Zealots, this creates a balance of power between the Protoss and Terran, in which the Zealots will first wreck havoc on the Terran infantry, followed by the Terran’s comeback utilizing the Marauder’s Grenades, and then finally a more balanced interaction with charging Zealots which will still be able to close the distance and slice up the Terran infantry.

Marauders

Karune also clears up another point about the Marauder’s attack. It wasn’t clear whether the Concussion Grenade creates a splash effect or only stops a single target, but now we know:

The Marauder’s attack effects a single target and is not an area of effect attack.

Karune made another post in the Q&A thread, discussing base defenses:

While the Dev Team has been trying out some ‘new’ types of base defense, nothing has proved to stay any longer than a few builds, and the Phase Cannon currently operates the same as the original Photon Cannon with no new abilities.

It would be interesting to hear about the recent experiments with base defenses, especially after Blizzard has reverted the Phase Cannons to their previous, more static form.

Standard Phase Cannons

In other news, Gamevideos has conducted an interview with Chris Sigaty, StarCraft 2’s lead game designer. Chris doesn’t reveal any new information, but reiterates a few interesting points and voices his opinion. Here are a couple of highlights:

* The AI no longer “cheats”. In StarCraft 1 and WarCraft games, the AI always had the entire map and all units visible to it. This is no longer the case in StarCraft 2, and AIs have been spotted using peons to scout their opponents.

* Chris is happy that the Medic is gone and has been replaced with the later-game Medivac Dropship.

    

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