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SC2 Q&A 54: Glorfied Arbiter Confirmed, No Map Data API

The 54th installment of the StarCraft 2 Questions and Answers series has been posted on Battle.net’s forums by Cydra, Blizzard’s RTS Community Manager. The Q&A spans seven questions in total, and deals with a broad array of issues, ranging from individual unit roles and balance to specific map data extraction.

1. Does the Zergling vs. Zealot ratio remain at 4:1 or has it changed in the latest builds?
One zealot can usually take out two, and sometimes three zerglings. However, the ratio is mainly based on positioning and micro-controlling. As the number of zealots grows, it will take more zerglings to win the fight since the zealots can clump up and reduce the attacking surface area. Smart use of terrain, such as a choke or backing up against a wall, will also help a protoss player reduce this attack area. Zerglings have to secure a good surround around the zealots to keep the ratio close.

It’s worth noting that there never was a 4:1 Zergling:Zealot ratio to begin with, as positioning was the name of the game in StarCraft 1 as well.

2. In World of Warcraft pvp they found an issue over time that it was “very unsatisfying” to the player when they lost control of their character as it limited their ability to do their job or role. There is a noticeable increase in stuns and immobilization in Starcraft 2, which was barely present in Starcraft 1. From your experience in testing, do you feel abilities, which limit unit control, provide more dynamic game play so far or are you noticing more concern?

First of all, there were actually some abilities in the original StarCraft that could cause players to lose control of units. These abilities include the ghost’s lockdown, the corsair’s disruption web, and the dark archon’s mind control. It may be premature to suggest at this point that there’s a “noticeable increase” in stuns and immobilization in StarCraft II.
To address the comparison anyway, in World of Warcraft, you control a single character, unlike RTS games where you manage multiple units and bases. The difference in the World of Warcraft is when you lose control of your character you simply have to wait it out, assuming you don’t have any control breaks. However in StarCraft, when units in your army are being controlled, you can still issue orders to the rest of your army, manage your base, build new units, etc. There are a lot of options and we happy with the diversity it brings to gameplay at this point.

Ghost Lockdown - Old School StarCraft Stun

Stunned and disabled units are simply a non issue, and it’s correct of Blizzard to brush the concern off. Unlike WarCraft 3, and even more so, unlike WoW, StarCraft is a macro oriented RTS, with no distinct heroes, main characters or units that are absolutely required to proceed with normal multiplayer gameplay.

3. What is the current status of the Mothership? What niche does it fill at this time, and if the unit were removed, would there be a reason to fill that niche with a different unit or would protoss still be fine?
Currently the mothership has a passive cloaking field for nearby units and buildings, wormhole transit, temporal rift, and vortex as its abilities. We are happy with the state of the mothership at this time, and would like to hear feedback from the players once beta starts.

A year ago, we’ve run a long and much debated poll about the Mothership’s role on the StarCraft 2 battlefields. Many have felt that the unit has huge potential and can bring additional  depth to the Protoss’ late game tactical arsenal without being an uber-unit.

Sadly, its current role appears to be virtually similar to StarCraft’s original Protoss Arbiter.

4. What is your overall goal for the Infestor? The units have had and removed so many abilities, are you trying to focus into a support role, or disruption and harassment, or just to have a wide variety of spells so it can be a quick response unit?
It is intended to play more of the disruption/harassment role. They are meant to burrow and move up ahead of the swarm to soften up their opponent’s forces.
5. Is EMP dodgeable, or there’s some sort of indication that it’s going to be launched? And does this cause a problem with Immortals?
It’s possible to dodge EMP, but it is difficult to do. Your options include anticipating your opponent will be casting an EMP by seeing the ghost or its shimmer and predicting it; being near the edge of the EMP range and moving out quickly; or using the stalker’s blink ability.

Blinking away from danger

6. Map/mod to site communication – Will there be support for map/mod makers to bridge a connection between their map/mod to their site? For example, if a person wanted their map/mod to submit scores/results to the site, and vice-versa the map/mod could pull the highest scores from the site and display it in the game.

It is possible for players to make their own custom score screens but there are no specific plans to bridge map data to web sites via Battle.net.

It is unclear whether the above answer means that no game and player data API will be provided to developers when Battle.net 2.0 is launched. In the current day and age when virtually all modern social platforms provide developers with great API tools to enhance and expand their products and user base, Blizzard should seriously consider giving developers (especially ones eyeing the premium content marketplace) tools to extract specific game map and player data.

7. Launcher support – Will maps/mods be able to have their own “launcher” (ala WoW’s launcher), as in shortcut or start icon from the computer outside of StarCraft, and have their own screens, after a Battle.net authenticating screen (ala Twitter’s, or Facebook’s, application authentication).
There are no plans to allow maps and mods to have their own launcher. However, making a loading screen or launch screen is still possible.

In other news, StarCraft has now been proven once and for all to be a dangerous activity and a threat to society as well as to moral human conduct in modern culture.

An 18 year old Starcraft player has been reported as attacking a 15 year old girl. The gamer became angry when his internet connection wouldn’t work and picked up a kitchen knife and headed into the street…

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