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Karune has recently released the 45th installment of the Q&A series, featuring six questions and a Chat with the Devs section. Two thirds of the batch are dedicated to the clarification of Zerg gameplay issues, such as Zerg Creep behavior and the recently altered Nydus Worm.

Chat with Devs: After BlizzCon, it has been very exciting to see all the feedback from the fans and pro players about the latest build of StarCraft II. There was lots of noted feedback about both the Colossus and the Nydus Worms. At my most recent meeting with Dustin, we decided to chat about some of the lesser focused on topics, that have undergone quite a few changes since the original StarCraft.

Blizzcon 2008 has indeed provided fans with plenty of hands-on experience and gameplay mechanics information, which translated promptly into a barrage of both positive and negative feedback, as well as pleads for an earlier beta.

Here’s what the developers had to say about some of the lesser focused topics:



The first topic was about hallucination, a classic Protoss ability, that honestly did not get that much use in the original StarCraft. To make it more interesting, Dustin explained how the ability has been brought down in tech to the Nullifier. Additionally, hallucination could be used to create units in which the player doesn’t even have prerequisite buildings for. That in itself should be an interesting scare for opposing players, watching 3 Colossi trampling in, only to counter with Corruptors and realize that they were not real. Furthermore, even probes could be hallucinated! Since the amount of hallucinations you get are based on ‘actual’ costs of what they would cost if they were real, you could get 8 probes per hallucination to trick those incoming Reapers. Dark Templars, Observers, and Carriers though were not on the list of units that could be hallucinated since the first two would be quite overpowering to use as an invisible fake scout (soo OP). Carriers too, would just have much too many hit points, as well as become quite a bit over complicated when you deal with how many interceptors they might have.

Hallucination done right is one of Protoss players’ wet dreams for StarCraft 2. StarCraft 1’s hallucination, despite being an incredibly fun and easily obtained spell, did not see much action due to its direct competition with the Psi Storm over the Templars’ energy pool.
StarCraft 2’s incarnation of Hallucination is availible to the low tier Nullifier unit, and can create:

  • Hallucinations of units which have not yet appeared on the battlefield
  • Multiple hallucinations per use, based on the actual unit cost.

Considering the early stage of availability, Hallucination can easily play a vital role in both tech- and rush-oriented strategies. The defensive and offensive possibilities of its employment are so vast that we’d bet on the ability getting nerfed in the next build. Enjoy it while it lasts, alpha testers.

Queen Spawns 3 Mutant Larva

The mutant larva count has increased with the latest version of the Queen to encourage more use of a pretty powerful ability if used correctly. Mutant larva crawl around independently of a Hatchery and can create units at a discounted production rate. This is like a free Hatchery with each additional Queen! Along with the Queen’s ability to defend against air units early game, it shall make her quite a crucial unit in any Zerg army.


In case any of our readers assumed the Queen is being nerfed due to it no longer being a unique unit, we suggest re-reading the above paragraph. The situation where a Zerg player had to build additional hatcheries to ramp up his production capacity has been changed in an interesting way. To get more production going, the Zerg will now rely on the Queen, which also has plenty of other abilities to offer besides spawning Larva.

1. Do enemy Zerg units also get a boost on your Creep? (StarCraft 2 Forums)


Yes, enemy Zerg units will still get the speed boost when on creep. Currently, the creep shares no affiliation.


2. Are there abilities that remove creep? (TheWarCenter)


The 2 ways to push that expanding creep is to kill the burrowed creep tumors, or kill those Queens building them. On another note, the creep no longer damages enemy buildings. Through testing, the ability actually affected players adversely in team games where players allied with Zerg players would end up having their units damaged by their friend’s creep. In 1vs1 matches, the usefulness of this mechanic was hardly ever used, amongst all the new cooler Zerg strategies that have spawned.

September’s monthly discussion provided Blizzard with plenty of ideas as to what kind of role the Zerg Creep should play on the battlefield. The removal of Creep’s ability to cause damage is not a “nerf”, however, due to the simple fact that it was not beneficial in the first place, as Karune explained.


3. Does the creep speed boost apply to zerg air? (TheWarCenter)


No, they do not apply to air units or drones.


4. Won’t Reapers, Marauders, Hellions, Siege Tank’s splash damage, and Stimpacks be too powerful against a Zerg player? All of that seems pretty well suited to counter masses of low-hp units, like most Zerg ground units. (StarCraft Legacy)


As you know, there is still much balance to be done since we have not even entered into a beta phase yet. With that said, there are several counters still to these Terran units, but Zerg players will be forced to adapt with new units and strategies veering away from some of the original StarCraft strategies. For instance, Roaches and Lurkers are excellent counters to Hellions and Reapers. At a later tech, Infestors simply rock massed units such as Marauders with Fungal Infection, causing them to explode when they die. All the new mechanics and abilities will add many new strategies to your bag of tricks.


5. Can Allies ‘merge’ their Nydus networks? In other words, can you enter through the Nydus Warren of player A, and exit through the Nydus Worm of player B? (TheWarCenter.net)


No, allies can’t share Nydus networks between networks, but allied units can enter into another ally’s Nydus network.


6. Is the Thor still an anti-air unit? Does it fulfill this role effectively? – Thelorme (Battle.net)


Yes, it is still an anti-air unit with the longest range against air units of any unit in StarCraft II. Visually, we are moving to give the Thor anti-air missiles that will fire from his shoulders, unleashing a devastating barrage from a remarkable range.

The Thor, a unit that has gone through many iterations by now, seems to have transformed into a glorified Goliath. Its current role seems to be to counter pesky Zerg hit and run attacks and sieges of longer ranged units, such as the Protoss Carriers.

Will this satisfy Blizzard? Will it satisfy the fans, who have expected something more impressive than the somewhat anemic Goliath of StarCraft 1, and who are still enamored with the old Barrage ability? Time will tell.


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