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The StarCraft 2 Beta is going at full speed. Thousands of players can be found online at any time of the day, testing their skill against each other, constantly improving and getting a better handle on the game. Many great games have already been played and released through replay files and YouTube videos, and this is just the beginning!

The first patch – of many to come, according to Chris Sigaty – has been released yesterday. Blizzard have been quick to assess the data and feedback gathered from the beta; the patch already introduces some balance changes among various bug fixes. Not only that, but some abilities have been completely removed from the game!

Here are the changes, followed by some clarification on their reasons.

TERRAN


Viking

The armor value for this unit in Fighter Mode has decreased from 1 to 0.
The damage done by this unit in Fighter Mode has changed from 6 (+8 armored) to 10 (+4 armored).

Reaper

The damage done from D-8 Charges has decreased from 40 to 30.
The delay between attacks for D-8 Charges has decreased from 2.5 to 1.8.

Orbital Command

The build time for this upgrade has decreased from 50 to 35.

PROTOSS


Observer

Gravitic Boosters: The cost of this research has decreased from 150 minerals and 150 vespene gas to 100 minerals and 100 vespene gas.

High Templar

Phase Shift: This ability has been removed from the game.
New ability: Feedback – Drains all energy from the target unit and causes damage equal to the amount of energy drained.

Colossus

The building pathing radius for this unit has decreased from .75 to .5625.

Mothership

Vortex: The energy cost of this ability has increased from 75 to 100.
Vortex: The target radius of this ability has decreased from 3.0 to 2.5.
Temporal Rift: This ability has been removed from the game.
Wormhole Transit: This ability has been removed from the game.
New ability: Mass Recall – Teleports all of the player’s units in the target area to the Mothership.

Nexus

Chrono Boost can no longer target allies.

Gateway

The build time of this building has increased from 50 to 65.

ZERG


Infestor

Fungal Growth: The damage done by this ability has decreased from 48 to 36.
Fungal Growth: This ability now prevents affected units from burrowing.
Neural Parasite: Functionality changed – The Infestor now channels this spell, which lasts 10 seconds or until the Infestor is destroyed. You can now target all units with this ability.

Terran Infestation: The ability’s energy cost has reduced from 50 to 25 and Infested Terrans now spawn 1 at a time.

BUG FIXES

Addressed an issue causing people to receive an “Internal Battle.net Error” message with their game client.

Muting your microphone will no longer cause your microphone to be turned off in the operating system once the program has exited.

Please note that the voice chat functionality has only partially been implemented. There are many known issues with voice chat that we expect to address in a future patch.

The “Medium” graphical settings were reconfigured to work better on appropriate machines. The video settings “auto-detect” functionality has been reset as a result.

Added a frame rate limiter to the game menus to prevent some graphics cards from running at higher frame rates than necessary.


The main change to the Terran has been the tweaking of the Reaper‘s attack, making it less effective in hit and run attacks against buildings. A common tactic with the Reapers is to quickly move around an enemy base, switching between harassing (and sometimes completely decimating) worker lines and taking down the occasional Pylon or Supply Depot. With the decrease in damage per attack, and despite the overall increase in damage per time, the Reapers will now have to stop and dedicate their attack to a building in order to efficiently destroy it.

The Viking‘s damage has been changed to allow the Terran to have a flying answer to the constant threat of the Zerg Mutalisk . Since they are light units, Mutalisks will now take 66% more damage from Vikings.

Vikings in Fighter mode

The only change to the Zerg was to the Infestor, the Zerg’s most advanced spell caster, and, unfortunately, quite an underwhelming unit according to feedback from all over the community. The new Fungal Growth ability might prove useful in Zerg mirror matches with its effect on burrowing, but the improved Neural Parasite spell will definitely come into use. Previously, this ability was limited to biological units, leaving out many of the potential threats to the Zerg unaffected. Now, and as seen in the third battle report, Neural Parasite will once more be able to take control of the super-dangerous, anti-swarm Colossus.

The most disappointing and “safest” item on the patch notes list is the Protoss Mothership. This end-game unit, which turned out to be both fun and highly effective to use in competitive gameplay, has been hit with the nerf-hammer, and might as well be renamed “Motherbiter“. Having its “Town Portal” ability removed means the Mothership is quite vulnerable considering its extremely slow speed (think Overlord), and its most deadly spell, the black-hole generating “Vortex”, has had its effect dialed down and its cost increased. Granted, the old Mothership was quite the powerhouse, perhaps indeed an overpowered one – but it’s a shame to see it stripped down of its distinctive abilities and tuned to the exact same characteristics of the Arbiter: Cloaking field, Recall, and Vortex, which is essentially Stasis Field with a cooler effect.

We, among many others, have been testing the voice system integrated into Battle.net 2.0 and the game, but without great success. Communications have been choppy and unclear compared to modern stand-alone solutions, and it was clear that this is an unfinished feature. While it’s obvious that Blizzard will eventually get it right, this is perhaps the most immature aspect of the recently launched gaming platform.

Calculation Still Wrong

One of the most important patch-related questions has finally been answered conclusively. Will replays from previous game versions remain viewable? Answer:

Old version replays? Yes please.

As has been mentioned before, different display aspect ratios provide slightly different gaming experiences, giving (and denying) a certain edge depending on one’s system setup. Check out this animated gif to get a clear idea about how StarCraft’s field of view adjusts to the gamers’ monitors.

StarCraft Screen Ratio animations

While Blizzard has claimed that the difference will be minor, the above illustration makes it clear that it is not. If you have a 4:3 or 5:4 aspect ratio monitor and you intend to play StarCraft competitively, it’s probably time to move on.

Moving on, the thirteenth Blizzcast has been released, and it’s beta all the way. Very interesting comments from the senior people in charge of StarCraft 2, Dustin Browder and Chris Sigaty, which we will highlight here.

  • Blizzard hopes to release a patch at least once a week, promising to react as much as on a daily basis.
  • How radical can changes get? Dustin Browder: “As much as necessary”.
  • Is it possible that units will be introduced or removed from the game? Dustin Browder: “Absolutely”.
  • The planned period for the beta was 3-5 months, but Blizzard is currently targeting 3 months.
  • The Galaxy editor will be release late in the beta with a “major content patch”. No information on what else this may include.
  • The developers believe that the beta and feedback they get from the community is critical to the game’s success.

Some select quotes:

So community, you guys, will be doing a lot of interfacing directly and sort of bubbling up the big points to us.

… if we discover something that is a fundamental mistake, absolutely we will add or cut as necessary to make this game as good as we possibly can by the time it ships.

There’s definitely areas where we’ll be watching, areas where we’re nervous, we’re pretty convinced that we may have made a terrible mistake but we’re going to keep watching and see what happens. So far, things that I am convinced must be broken have not yet proven to be so. This is largely I think because other units are overshadowing them and preventing them from being that powerful, right. As the community plays, we’ll see what they find to be truly powerful and then we’ll see what really shakes out of it.

What we’re really trying to do is get players to have some additional strategy and choices when it comes to their base building and their economy, right. We really want to push that part of the game. We want players to be able to choose which type of player do they want to be. Do I want to be a player who can maximize my economy but maybe is not quite as good at commanding my forces on the battlefield or am I a player who is really good at commanding my troops out on the front line but maybe I don’t focus as much on my economy or do I want to try to balance both together.

… for sure the main central focus of the beta is balance for us.

As we continue to cover the beta, up to date news items, interesting tidbits, replays and videos will be posted on our Official Facebook page. Do come visit us there or check out the feed at the upper right corner of this page.

Surprise Nydus attack!


    

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