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Blizzard StarCraft 2 Feedback Request: Results and Summary

Blizzard’s official requests for feedback have been up for several months, with voting now closed and the debate slowly coming to a halt on most of the topics. Official topics included the following:

  • Nydus Worm as implemented in the Blizzcon Build.
  • Medivac – the unit and its complicated role on the battlefield.
  • Protoss Warp-In mechanic – which has been demonstrated beautifully during the first official Battle Report.
  • Mothership – the problematic super-unit struggling to find a role in the competitive RTS that StarCraft 2 aspires to become.
  • Dark Templar model – a poll about the two possible models for this unit.

The most uncontroversial and well-accepted of the above turned out to be the Warp-In mechanic.

Warp In Poll Results

With a 87% approval rating among registered Battle.net forum visitors and plenty of common real-game uses that were showcased in the Battle Report, the  Protoss Warp-In is here to stay. All indicators show that the Warp-In mechanic is not just a good addition to the Protoss arsenal, but a key ability that will play a significant role in a majority of competitive Protoss matches:

  • Warp-In is available relatively early via the Cybernetics Core.
  • A Warp Gate can be transformed into a standard Gateway and back without a cost.
  • Warp-In provides significant defensive and offensive advantages, with both proxy Pylons and expansions being able to receive reinforcements from the home base

Considering how “naturally fitting” this technology is to the Protoss, it is also likely that the Warp-In mechanic will be expanded to additional Protoss production buildings, perhaps in the Legacy of the Void expansion or even earlier, even though Karune has mentioned that such plans did not exist for the current incarnation of StarCraft 2.

5)Will the Robotics Facility have a similar upgrade to the Warp Gate allowing it to warp units in?

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There are no plans for this at the moment. Currently Warping technology is limited to the Warp Gate. Of course, we are still testing and balancing this, and nothing is set in stone

Warp-In was just one of the three feedback request topics that have targeted methods of transportation. However, the other two topics, involving the Zerg Nydus Worm and Terran Medivac, have clearly not been greeted with a similar consensus.

The Medivac’s complex role on the battlefield is an eventuality of many tactical factors. It is bound to have a large impact on the Terrans as well as their in-game allies. Here are a few key factors that have made the Medivac such a strategically deep unit:

Cause and Effect - Medivac and Reaper

  • The Medic’s inability to keep up with Reapers, the Terran’s new raider unit, prompted the introduction of a healer that could participate in StarCraft 2 Terran raids.
  • The Medivac’s built-in healing ability gives the Terrans’ new transport more space for actual raiding infantry; it does not “take” production time away from the Barracks and has better chances of survival, making it re-usable between raids.
  • Being an air unit, it can not be attacked by Zerglings and Zealots – key anti-infantry units.
  • It retains the Medic’s ability to heal allied organic (even flying) units, while being significantly more mobile. Mutalisks & Medivacs can become the new M&M of 2v2 matches.

However, all of the above can not overshadow one extremely important factor – any Terran that wants a Medic now has to build a Starport.

Medivac Poll Results

It is reasonable to assume that a significant portion of the 36% that dislike the Medivac are actual StarCraft: Broodwar players. Players that were familiar with Marines & Medics for almost a decade and are witnessing the tactical foundations of Terran gameplay being replaced.

The thread is full of arguements against the Medivac’s dual role, making many strong points for reconsideration of the unit’s abilities, as well as suggestions to amend the situation:

  1. Terran drop strategy does not necessarily imply the use of infantry, and strong Terran infantry does not always imply drops. Tying the two together via the Medivac forces players to either employ both, or effectively waste one of the unit’s key abilities.
  2. The Medivac is produced at the Starport – a production facility that requires the building of a Factory, putting it relatively high up in the Terran tech tree, on a branch otherwise unrelated to infantry.
  3. Providing the Medic with a jetpack upgrade would solve the problem that caused the change in the first place.
  4. Giving the healing ability to a dedicated support unit, such as the Nighthawk (Nomad), would evade pairing it with drops.

The SC2Blog’s question is: If it wasn’t for the StarCraft:BW Medic, would gamers actually prefer an infantry unit over a flying mechanical healer?

On the other hand, a big portion of the Nydus worm discussion focused around figuring out how exactly how the Nydus Worm works, with almost 3 times more people voting “Not sure what it is”.

Nydus Worm Poll Results

Here are a few clarifications:

  • The Nydus Worm of BlizzCon is no longer a unit. It does not move or cost food.
  • An Overlord that has been upgraded to an Overseer can “cast” a Nydus Worm for a mana cost, if a Nydus Network has been built.
  • Units that have entered a Nydus Network building can exit at any Nydus Worm. They are destroyed if all Nydus Worms are destroyed.

The SC2Blog’s own discussion of the Worm’s fate was slightly more “productive”, perhaps due to the detailed comparison between the Unit and Building states. If you’re still unsure about the Nydus Worm’s mechanics, check it out.

Despite the radical change (compared to the Protoss and Terran methods of transportation), the main complaint was actually about the Worm not being innovative enough. A massive burrowing transport unit would have been a challenge to implement and balance, but “playing it safe” by giving the Overseer a sort of Arbiter Recall ability just feels forced and constitutes a huge waste of gameplay potential.

Real Bursting Nydus Worms

Mobility is obviously a key tactical aspect for any race, and despite the major differences between the mechanics, the Nydus Worm, the Medivac and the Protoss Warp-In are all solutions to the same known problem, which must come to a resolution by hook or by crook by the time the game hits beta.

The Mothership, on the other hand… is a solution in search of a problem to solve.

The discussion itself was kicked off by Cydra:

If Zerg has the Queen and Terran has the Thor, Protoss has the Mothership!

And despite the fact that the thread includes several good suggestions, we’d like to go back to the massive Mothership poll we ran for a few months, which has narrowed the discussion to a very specific niche – what should the actual role be? Abilities can be replaced, prices can be adjusted, overpowered units can be nerfed… but what the Aiur should it actually accomplish on the battlefield?

Mothership Poll Results

  1. Straightforward Capital Ship. Massive shields and armor, high-damage output and a few combat abilities. A supreme offensive tool.
  2. Disruption and Damage. An offensive support tool, with significant AoE damage and punishing abilities like the Black Hole and the Planet Cracker.
  3. Mega-Battery. The ultimate mobile support unit, feeding mana and shield energy to the army. Can absorb a lot of damage, regenerates quickly.
  4. Air Domination Station. A flying AA fortress of damage and disruption. Anti-air AoE damage, Force Field and Lockdown type of spells, a disease-like aura that causes AA damage.
  5. Support Fortress. A flying castle with an array of battle control and support spells that can protect/recharge/hide friendly units. Also possesses abilities to disable/slow/lock down enemy units.
  6. Super Troop Carrier. Highly armored and with multiple defensive abilities and teleportation. Able to transport entire fleets and armies across the battlefield.
  7. Flying Factory. The Mothership can build ANY Protoss unit and warp it to the location it’s at. “Production” costs 110%.
  8. Base Breaker. Focused on abilities which cause significant damage to buildings, locking down production, disabling defenses and paving the way for attackers.
  9. Annihilator. The Mothership has a 5 minute “recharge” timer. Acting as a superweapon, the Mothership is equivalent to a Nuke in terms of damage output. Once charged and removed from its dock, the Motership’s “Unleash” ability becomes available.  An “unleashed” Mothership delivers massive damage to air and land units around it for 15 seconds.
  10. Power Plant. The Mothership has a wide radius aura, which: powers buildings, accelerates production by 15%, adds 40 energy points to all shields, doubles regeneration rate, and stops all enemy regeneration and healing abilities.

Top results: Support Fortress with 501 votes and Capital Ship with 538 votes.

Every option represents a unique and specific role, and over 2200 votes have been cast by our readers – with only 2% voting for “Other”. Considering the voting demographic and the amount of votes cast, the above data can easily be considered a correct statistical representation of StarCraft 2 fans’ wishes for the Mothership’s role on the battlefield.

Unlike the four aforementioned requests for feedback, the recently closed Dark Templar poll was quite simple – Blizzard has two 3D unit models, and the team just couldn’t decide which one will be used in official multiplayer matches. Sadly, almost 3000 people voted on the subject, with the discussion thread spanning 24 pages – more than all actual gameplay topics combined…

Dark Templar Poll Results

Blizzard has demonstrated time and time again – by completely redesigning units, reducing color saturation, adding and adjusting game mechanics – that it not only requests feedback, but actually listens. And delivers. When it’s ready.

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