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Seven patches into the StarCraft 2 beta, and Blizzard are still tweaking things around, leaving the game fundamentals intact; just three units have had their abilities changed, many others were slightly buffed or nerfed, and several build/research times were nudged back and forth. A month and a half into the beta, we’ve yet to either gain or lose neither unit nor game mechanic.

This is the 7th consecutive patch in which Protoss receive a nerf. Turtlers should be glad to hear that all three races’ defense structures have been strengthened.

Balance Changes

TERRAN


Banshee


The health has been increased from 130 to 140.


Missile Turret


The damage has been changed from 7+7 armored to 12.

Missile Turrets will now perform much better against the light-armored Mutalisks and Banshees – StarCraft 2’s only air-to-ground, worker line raiders. Turrets are built specifically to deter such harassment attempts, but until this point, even a small raiding party could destroy single Turrets without losing any unit of the attacking force and without any micromanagement involved.

Mutalisk Swarm Over an Abandoned Protoss Worker Line

The improved Turrets will do better against these types of attacks or act as better deterrence against them. Since Terran Turrets fire two missiles per volley, the actual damage against light units has increased from 14 to 24!

For most players, though, Turrets are merely the first line of defense, buying time for Marines to rush to secure the location, as well as some Thors, which will likely see more play time against Mutalisks from now on:

Thor


Anti-Air damage has been decreased from 10+6 light to 8+4 light.
Anti-Air attack now deals splash damage in a 0.5 radius.

This type of attack for the Thor has been tried during the alpha-testing period at Blizzard, but did not make it to the beta. Though his attack damage has been reduced by 25%, the small splash radius makes the Thor a much more competent answer to groups of light fliers, like the Mutalisk, Banshee, and Phoenix.

The Thor has had many tweaks to its abilities and mechanics in the past: it used to be built by SCVs and dig into the ground when bombarding targets, along with having an anti-air AoE flak-cannon attack. It’ll be interesting to see if Blizzard reaches into the StarCraft 2 Alpha bag again for Thor ideas and adjustments.

The Thor change, along with the Turret buff against light fliers, means that Terran bases will become even more secure than before – especially considering the recent cost reduction for the Viking, which functions as an excellent defender against armored air units. All in all, the last two patches have toughened the Terran’s anti-air capabilities significantly.

PROTOSS


High Templar


The Psi Storm radius has been decreased from 2 to 1.5.

The Psi Storm, a hallmark ability for the Protoss race, has been hit hard with a nerf to its area of effect, reducing it from 12.56 to 7.06; a 45% reduction!

Psi Storm was as devastating as ever far in the beta, even with its reduced radius and damage from StarCraft 1, owing a lot to smart casting. Coupled with the Khaydarin Amulet upgrade, which makes Psi Storm immediately available to newly warped High Templars, and the ease of covering large areas with storms, this ability was perhaps too strong.

Photon Cannon


Life and Shield values have been increased from 125/125 to 150/150.


ZERG


Broodlord


Damage has been decreased from 25 to 20.

Broodlings, hurled down to the ground by Broodlords, cause a lot of AI and pathing trouble to the enemy forces – often a much more important attribute of this unit than its actual damage.

Roach


Organic Carapace no longer grants bonus regeneration to unburrowed roaches.


Spine Crawler


Damage has been increased from 20+10 armored to 25+5 armored.
Attack period decreased from 2.2 to 1.6.


Spore Crawler


The cost has been decreased from 100 to 75.

Just like the Terran Turret, Both the Protoss’ and Zerg’s static defense buildings have been buffed. The Spine Crawler change virtually mirrors the tweaks made to the StarCraft 1 Zerg Sunken Colony, and the Photon Cannon adjustment “cancels out” the buff received by the Terran Banshee while improving it all-around in general.

This patch continues Blizzard’s recent trend of removing hard counters and normalizing damage bonuses. Perhaps we are yet to see a major damage/armor system revamp?

    

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