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Q&A 46: SCVs Autocast Repair, “Special” Armor Cases

The 46th Q&A session, featuring answers to questions submitted by fans, has been published on Battle.net by Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager. This batch starts with a Chat with Devs section, discussing the increased susceptibility to raid attacks in StarCraft 2:

Chat with Devs: StarCraft II is definitely evolving to be even more intense than the original StarCraft, with the increased mobility of units with cliff traversing abilities, as well as new transport abilities. In response, the development team has buffed up the Terran Planetary Fortress to have splash damage as well, which has proven to hold off decently against raids now, especially with your SCVs fixing the command center at a very high rate.

The Planetary Fortress, an upgrade to the standard Terran Command Center, will now be able to dispatch small raiding parties with relative ease – assuming, of course, these ever get into its weapons range. While the SCV resource line will likely be mostly protected, a significant portion of the base’s structures will probably still be exposed to enemy fire. As of now, the Command Center, when upgraded to a Fortress, cannot be lifted off and relocated.

Planetary Foretressation

Speaking of SCVs fixing at a high rate, and before we move on to the Q&A, a comment from Karune’s MiniMe, Cydra, is worth discussing:

In the current development stage, SCV’s Repair, Medivac’s Heal and Carrier’s Interceptor training can be autocasted.

Yes, you heard it right – The SCV’s repair ability can now be set to autocast. As we suggested a few ages ago, Terran players can now bring several SCVs along to every offensive bout, set their repair ability to be automatic, and enjoy their services hands-free. Here’s what we had to say back then:

SCVs should acquire an “auto-fix” toggle – allowing them to automatically fix units in a specified range, thus strengthening the presence of the Terran forces on the battlefield. This advantage is offset by the fact that repairs cost resources, and are not free, like for the Protoss and Zerg.

This move will greatly reduce the amount of micromanagement required – veterans of StarCraft 1 all know how frustrating it can get to fix all your bunched up fliers after a rough fight – and free up more time to engage in playing the game. The only problem here is that SCVs will essentially auto-“heal” mechanical units mid-fight, which might be somewhat overpowered. To compensate for that, a similar mechanism to the Protoss shield regeneration can be implemented, not allowing SCVs to fix units (but not buildings!) while they are taking damage.

With repair being autocast, SCV-only armies have started to surface and ravage the battlefields of StarCraft

Next, the Q&A:

1. In StarCraft II, will there be friendly fire?

Yes, friendly fire is still available in StarCraft II. You can take out cloaked units attacking your base by using friendly fire on your own unit and giving splash damage to cloaked enemy units, which has been executed by many players in the original StarCraft. For example, if you play Zerg, you can kill Dark Templar attacking your Hatchery, by targeting your Banelings to attack your Hatchery near the invading Dark Templar.

We believe the question was about receiving friendly fire while attacking the enemy. In that case, currently, only the Siege Tank can damage friendly units when in Siege mode. Banelings, on the other hand, will not harm friendly units unless targetted directly.

2. Trilogy is Beginning, mid and end, or is it the same story told from three points of view?

The stories will be sequential. The Zerg story will begin from the end of the Terran story, and Protoss story will begin from the end of the Zerg story.

3. Are there any special animations for units which are standing around doing nothing for a long time?

There will be multiple animations for units which are idle.

4. What is the optimum procedure for the new gas mechanic? Should a player mine both gases at the same time and cycle the inactive workers (when the geyser goes down) to the minerals? Or should a player mine only one geyser and alternate the workers between the two?

It totally depends on what your strategy is in the game. For example, you can mine two at the same time and double up your gas supply to build up certain armies or tech up very quickly. Or if you need more continuous and stable gas supply for your strategy, you can switch off your workers between the two gases with your micro-controls.

The gas mechanism, as it is currently implemented, is a cause for both anger and confusion for most players who’ve had a chance to experience it. While it’s clear that Blizzard intended to expand on the available options for gas management, as laid out above, we suspect the current execution won’t last long.

5. What Protoss unit is now the best option to counter mass enemy air units? The Phoenix lost its overload ability which was really the only Protoss splash damage option other than Psi Storm.

Against Zerg’s mass air units like Mutalisks, Archons and Psi Storm are still the best counters. Against Terran’s mass air units like Vikings and Banshees, Protoss can still use Phoenixes and focus fire. Vikings currently do additional damage to large ships, rather than light armor.

6. What kind of damage do spells deal? Is there a type “Spell” or don’t they have any specific attack type?

There isn’t a specific “spell” type of damage, but some do additional damage to current types already in the game. For example, Ghost’s Psi Round deals an additional 40 damage to Psionic units. There are ‘special’ cases though as well, seen when Psi Storms instantly kill Hallucinations and when a Yamato Cannon will not activate an Immortal’s hardened shields. “Spells” also ignore armor, as well as the Immortal shields.

Blizzard, as many of its developers are quick to state, does not like “special” cases in its games – it usually takes an extreme case to create an exception for any rule. The Battlecrusier’s Yamato Cannon is one – this is an ability meant to take out most units and even some buildings with a single hit, and it would not make sense for Immortals to shrug it off. However, it’s not entirely clear why Psi Storms instantly kill Hallucinations.

As in StarCraft 1, damaging abilities will completely ignore all types of armor, but unlike the Nuke, the Yamato Cannon will now also not be affected by the Immortal’s hardened shields.

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