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Q&A 40.5: Robust Hydralisks, Friendly Jackals, Zerg Air Power

StarCraft: Legacy has conducted an exclusive Q&A session with Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager. Eight of their questions were answered thoroughly, providing a lot of new information.

1) What is the current state of the Hydralisk? The current stats we have are tier 2-2.5, 100 minerals, 75 gas, 80-90 HP, and 8-10 dmg with no special abilities. Compared to the Roach, the Hydralisk appears inferior in every way, with it’s only saving grace being GTA capability. However, because the Mutalisk is in the same tier, only slightly more expensive, and it can fly, the Hydralisk appears to be almost useless for such an iconic unit.

 

Actually, the Hydralisk has since been boosted up quite a bit in terms of damage. They currently have 80 hit points and have a ground attack of 13 + 3 versus armored and an air attack of 12 + 5 versus armored. The Hydralisk also has a range of 6 and moves at a ‘fast’ speed, with no need to upgrade with the speed bonus anymore. Roaches on the other hand, only have an attack of 10, half the Hydralisk’s range, and is slower to move as well. The new damage the Hydralisk is able to put out now makes it very dangerous, as Zerg players will be able to take out buildings with a pack of Hydras, with only a few volleys (same goes to Battlecruisers!). Nonetheless, they are extremely weak at 80 hit points, and thus need to always be protected. The new cost for Hydralisks are also 100 minerals and 100 gas.

The Hydralisk of StarCraft 2, not unlike its old incarnation, is a well rounded, multi-purpose unit for the Zerg race. While its price has been increased, most noticeably on the Vespene Gas front (from 25 to 100), the Hydralisk now comes with both available StarCraft 1 upgrades pre-installed. As well, it has been given a damage boost – in damage points as well as in attack type: The StarCraft 1’s Hydralisk attack was “explosive”, which only dealt 50% of the damage to small units. With 13 damage per attack, the new Hydralisk will be able to take down his nemesis, the Marine, in just 4 hits.

Hydralisk Swarm

2) How does Anti-Gravity work on Zerg buildings since they’re organs intrinsically a part of the creep? They are essentially part of the creep. Do they lose health? Also, how does it affect burrowed units? Will they go back to being burrowed or not?

 

Zerg buildings will not take damage when they are lifted. Burrowed units lifted will become burrowed again when the ability finishes.

Karune reveals a new way to detect burrowed units – Anti-Grav! The Nullifier will be able to “explore” important locations and reveal hidden underground Zerg units for the cost of some energy.

3) With the Thor back to having both anti-air and anti-ground attacks, will he be capable of discharging both weapons simultaneously at a Colossus? Or will only the stronger attack affect it? If it is only the stronger attack, is that dynamically chosen by the game?

Any unit with both ground and air attacks will attack the Colossus with the stronger of the two attacks, but not with both.

4) With the Medivac being a late-game tech, are Terran infantry impaired against the other two races in early to mid-game?

 
No, Terran is actually quite strong early game for a few different reasons. One, their tier 1 unit is ranged and is thus excellent at defending cliffs without being able to be countered without sight. Two, the new supply depots are excellent at building the perfect barricade in early game. Three, Marauders are very tough and are excellent at winning heavy micromanaged battles, preventing units from reaching your Marines.

5) Does the Ghost’s EMP Grenade ability function any differently from the Science Vessel’s EMP ability from StarCraft Vanilla?


Nope, the EMP currently works the same as the EMP from the original StarCraft.

  

6) What special abilities, in the current build, can be cast from inside a bunker? Can a nuke be called down?


In a bunker, units will be able to use Stim Pack, call down Nukes, Sniper, and use EMP.

The news about the Ghost being able to call down nukes from within the safety of bunkers has been discussed before. This is a concern for the enemies of the Terran, since it’s going to be impossible to figure out which Bunker actually holds the attacking Ghost, before even mentioning the unbalanced nature of the Bunker’s protection. Since the Ghost has to be killed for the Nuke to be disabled, this is a big issue. here’s what Karune said about the subject last time:

Honestly, this is completely up to balance, and of course if it proves too difficult to prevent or avoid, I’m pretty sure it will be changed.

Nuclear Bunker

7) Does the Jackal’s attack damage friendly units and/or have AoE capabilities?

 

The Jackal’s attack will only damage enemy units in its area of effect. Technically, it will target a set unit and all units in that line of fire will take damage.

This is where being able to target the ground would come in useful. Since the Jackal has to target a specific unit which will determine the path of the linear Area of Effect weapon, it is limited in its ability to optimally utilize its fiery attack. Smart enemies of the Terran will quickly put distance between the units coming under attack and their friendly forces or just spread their units in advance.

8 ) The Zerg do not seem to have equal air power compared to the other two races. The Protoss have Carriers and Warp Rays; the Terrans have BCs. While the Mutalisk makes a great harassment unit, they simply cannot stand up to significant firepower. Corruptors and Swarm Guardians are strong in their respective fields, but they lack a single unit that can attack both air and ground well. This suggests that air units will be limited to defense and support for a primarily ground based army. The other two races seem more able to have a well-rounded primarily air-based army. Is this the case, and if so, will anything be done to give the Zerg stronger air options?

 

Zerg currently has the most powerful anti air unit in terms of damage per second, which is the Hydralisk. Furthermore, while the Mutalisks are not the stronger aerial fighter, they do have flexibility, being able to morph into Swarm Guardians for that additional ground damage and range when needed. Corruptors, in mass groups are also one of the most powerful air to air units, especially considering every unit you kill, makes the battle turn even more into your favor. While we have experimented with other types of Zerg air units, there are no plans to introduce any of them to the multiplayer version of the game.

Karune makes a good argument in favor of the Zerg, and lends strength to our assertion that the Hydralisk is a robust unit. The Zerg of StarCraft 1 do not have a capital ship, like the Battlecrusier or the Carrier, but that’s part of the charm of the game – every race has obvious disadvantages in some areas, but balance is still maintained between the three of them. It’s only natural for the Zerg of StarCraft 2 to rely on mass numbers, overwhelming their enemies with sheer force, without relying on any capital-class fliers.

An angry Hydralisk

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