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Karune and Cydra, Blizzard’s RTS community managers, have been quite active on the official battle.net forums, answering various StarCraft 2 related questions and revealing a lot of new information relevant to gameplay. However, it’s Dustin “Cavez” Browder, Blizzard’s lead game designer, who provides the skinny on the current status of the Protoss Mothership.

Mothership moves slowly, can teleport to any Protoss building, can do huge damage to a single target with Vortex and cloaks everything nearby on the ground (including buildings). Mothership is build-limit-one.

The Mothership now has the role that once belonged to the Zerg Queen – that of the ultimate base defender. Being able to instantly teleport to any Protoss building, it can be anywhere it’s needed without delay, making immediate use of its abilities. Cloaking everything around it, including buildings, makes for an amazing defensive benefit – providing the Protoss player can negate enemy detection – and grants extra time for other defenders to arrive at the scene or for Phase Cannons to do some damage. If that’s not enough, the newly introduced Dark Pylon can enhance the Mothership even further:

You can cloak your Mothership with your Dark Pylon’s Null Shield.
In this case, the enemy can’t see anything in your base without a Detecting unit.

Since Dark Pylons are going to become quite ubiquitous in all Protoss bases (assuming they make it to the final game), this will provide total protection from detector-less attacks on Protoss expansions and Dark proxy Pylons.

Dark Pylon

The Mothership hasn’t lost too much of its offensive capacity, though. It can utilize the Vortex ability, which has been transformed from the uber-powered kill-everything AoE ability into a more direct offensive spell, not unlike the Terran Battlecruiser’s Yamato Cannon. It also possesses quite a lot of hit points and shields – perfect for advancing into defended enemy territory while safeguarding the rest of the Protoss army under its veil of cloak.

Next, we learn that Phoenixes, who recently gained the Anti-Grav ability, can no longer attack while using it – making Anti-Grav a channeled ability. Here’s the word from Karune:

The Phoenix in the latest build uses energy (4 per second) when casting anti-gravity, thus the same Phoenix is not able to attack the target it is lifting with anti-gravity.

Since a large group of Phoenixes were probably able to nullify entire ground armies in combat by destroying them as they helplessly hovered in mid-air, the developers decided to tone this ability down somewhat. Protoss players will now need double the amount of Phoenixes to achieve the same devastating goal – or just use them to temporarily remove key units from the battle.

Phoenixes

Next, a few updates regarding the Nydus Worm, which has recently lost its unique status as the Zerg’s sole transport. Cydra has made a few posts on the subject, contributing some new data about this unit/building combo. Here’s what we know about it:

  • A Lair is required to build the prerequisite building, the Nydus Network, which costs 150 Minerals and 200 Vespene Gas.
  • From the Network, multiple Nydus Worms can be summoned to any place on creep.
  • Summoning does not require the presence or an Overseer anymore.
  • Each Worm costs 100 minerals and takes 10 seconds to be built, during which it is vulnerable to enemy attack.
  • The “tunnels” created are permanent and interconnected – units can enter and exit from any Nydus Worm or Network.
  • Units emerge one at a time and at the same order they entered the network in.

Nydus Network

The major change to the Worms is the fact that they now require resources to be built. Previously, Nydus Worms were summoned by Overseers, a process which only required energy. While 100 Minerals is not a high price to pay for such a powerful ability, it imposes a cap on something which would otherwise be too easy to abuse. The Overseer’s predecessor, the Overlord, will still be required in many cases thanks to his Generate Creep ability – laying the necessary foundation for the Worm. Of course, now that Overlords are transporters themselves, this step might not be necessary for some Zerg invasions.

With Blizzard just recently announcing significant macro adjustments for all three races and completely changing Zerg transportation and the Mothership’s role as per recent comments, it’s obvious that Gamestop’s release date might be just a bit off.

    

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