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Karunology: New Concept Art, Warp Rays Firing While Moving

Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, has been active on the forums lately, posting bits and pieces of new information about StarCraft 2.

First, Karune posted concept art pictures from two, now-cut units from StarCraft 2, and one picture of the evolution of one of those.

FirebatMarauder

* Click for big

This is the original art concept for the Firebat, which is operating a small mechanized armor. The Marauder has slipped into the Firebat’s old shell, keeping most of its armor, but replacing the flame weapons with grenade launchers.

Next up: can you guess which cut unit this concept art picture belongs to?

Purifier

This is the Purifier, the old name for the now-defunct Soul Hunter. Perhaps if the Soul Hunter had been this magnificent in-game it would not have been cut.

Next, another old concept art picture:

Ultralisk

The Ultralisk originally had spiny tentacles, as Karune mentions, and as this picture illustrates so well. The spines, which apparently flailed around randomly, skewering marines in their path, were eventually cut due to the random nature of their damage output, which doesn’t fit StarCraft’s professional, competitive nature.

Karune further promises that during Blizzard’s upcoming mega-event, BlizzCon 2008, new artwork changes will be shown. Specifically, he mentions a “planned community event around the Dark Templar in which we hope to get much feedback about the models in-game of these units“.

Finally, an interesting change to the Warp Ray has been described by Karune:

Yes, the Warp Ray can fire while moving. Once it begins firing at a target, the Warp Ray will follow the target if it begins to move, keeping at a close proximity since the Warp Ray’s range is currently quite short.

The Warp Ray, whose beam increases in intensity and damage output the longer it is being focused on a target, currently has a relatively short range for its devastating attack. To compensate for the cut in weapons range, which used to be quite long, and to make it harder for units to break away and eliminate the Warp Ray’s deadly lock, the Warp Ray will be able to keep firing at its target while it’s moving – even if it means it has to follow it itself.

Warp Rays

This means that the only way to avoid the Warp Ray’s damage barrage is to destroy the Warp Ray itself. This eliminates an aspect of micromanagement, in which the player would constantly move his units out of the Warp Ray’s range to avoid its attack, just as it’s gaining focus. Fast units would probably still be able to outrun the Warp Ray, but these are not the units that should fear the Warp Ray’s attack – its juicer targets, units and buildings which possess many hit points, generally move very slowly.

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