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StarCraft 2 Beta Patch 13: Zerg Get More Interesting

Patch 13, the long-awaited Zerg-enhancing patch, is here. Well, almost – the patch notes have been released, but the patch itself hasn’t been applied yet. As with the last few patches, this one comes hand-in-hand with a detailed Situation Report, written by the Blizzard developers to let players in on the decision-making process leading to all the latest balance changes.

General

  • Map Publishing is now enabled: Using the map editor, you can upload your custom maps to share with the Battle.net community.
  • Facebook feature is integrated: Here’s a quick way to expand your social network by seeing who among your existing Facebook friends also has a Battle.net account.
  • 3v3 and 4v4 formats are now enabled.


Numerous updates have been made to the Leagues & Ladders system:

  • Removed Copper League and added Diamond League above Platinum League.
  • Player ratings start at 0, rather than 1000.
  • No longer displays loading screen odds in placement or practice league matches.
  • Matchmaking system logic updated.
  • UDP is enabled to help improve game performance.
  • Numerous performance and stability improvements.

Making it to the Platinum League Was Easy... How about Diamond?

A week before the end of this phase of the beta, Blizzard is delivering the long-awaited 3v3 and 4v4 game modes – with new maps for these to be played on, quite likely. It will remain to be seen how the other improvements affect matchmaking and the game.

When asked about the league naming change, the official response by Zarhym was:

Honestly, we feel copper and bronze are a bit too similar and this should clear up some of the confusion.

Moving on, this patch brings about some interesting balance changes:

PROTOSS

Sentry


Force Fields can now be destroyed by Massive ground units walking over them.


Situation Report

We are seeing a lot of great games that rely on Force Field as a key part of protoss strategy. The ability is fun, but we do want to create some more options for enemy players to deal with Force Fields to create some additional gameplay choices in a fight against the protoss. Now Massive units (Thor, Colossus, Ultralisk) will smash a Force Field if they are told to move through them. Ultralisks can use this ability to lead a Zerg charge onto a protoss position while protoss players can use their Colossus in an emergency to allow their army to attack or retreat.

Blizzard has said before that the Force Field ability will be looked at and reevaluated. With the previous patch lowering the Sentry’s damage by 25% to discourage bringing too many of them to a fight, this next change wasn’t anticipated. With this move, Force Field becomes counterable in the mid-late game rather than functioning as completely immovable forces that the Protoss can spawn at will.

Void Ray

Range decreased from 7 to 6.


Situation Report

Void Rays are being used aggressively against terrans now, using their range and speed to trap a terran player in their base. This is pretty fun for the protoss player but at a variety of skill levels it is too difficult for the terran player to stop, even if the player sees it coming with good scouting. We think a slight range reduction will help with this match-up without doing too much damage to other matchups.

Void Rays Supporting a Large Protoss Assault

Warp Gate

Subgroup selection priority changed from 2 to 3 so that it takes priority over Gateways when selected.

TERRAN


Marine

Stimpack research cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.

Combat Shield research cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.


Situation Report

We still believe that the terrans are spending too much on infrastructure and are struggling to compete at certain times in the game against the protoss. Reducing the cost of essential infantry upgrades should make the terrans a little bit more dangerous when going with an infantry heavy force.

ZERG


Infestor

Infested Terran spell removed.

Frenzy spell added:

Costs 25 energy.

Targets a single biological unit which deals 25% more damage and is immune to snare, stuns, and mind control for 30 seconds.


Situation Report

We are cutting Infested Terrans since the ability rarely saw use. We have buffed this ability in internal testing and were unable to find a place in which we were happy with it on the Infestor. We are introducing a new ability called “Frenzy” that is especially useful for the short range zerg to get close up to the enemy to do some real damage. Frenzy should be especially helpful on Ultralisks who are trying to get past Thor Strike Cannons, Fungal Growth, or Neural Parasite.

Infested Terran, No Longer in Multiplayer

As promised, the Infested Terran ability has been removed in favor of a more interesting choice for the Infestor. With the Frenzy ability, the Ultralisk will be able to take down a Marauder, one of its hardest counters, in three hits rather than four. Of course, this is already an improvement over the previous patch, thanks to the accompanying Ultralisk damage buff against armored units:

Ultralisk

Life decreased from 600 to 450.

Damage changed from 25 to 15 (+25 Armored).

Damage versus structures increased from 60 to 75.


Situation Report

We have put in a large number of buffs to the Ultralisk to allow him to close the gap on his enemies. The Ultralisk can now ignore Force Fields and with the Infestor’s Frenzy ability he can ignore all of the ways that the enemy could disable him. With all of these buffs the Ultralisk needed to be rebalanced. We are focusing him more as an anti-armored unit since zerg players already have a few ways to deal with mass light units (Banelings and Fungal Growth). This Ultralisk should be able to deal with both mass Marauders and mass Roaches which are a common threat to zerg players in some end game scenarios.


Overseer

Contaminate spell added:

Costs 75 energy.

Targets a single enemy structure which cannot train units or research upgrades for 30 seconds.

Infested Terran spell added:

Costs 125 energy.

Infested Terrans have the same stats as those previously created by the Infestor and are placed directly under the Overseer when spawned.


Situation Report

The Overseer is designed as a harassment caster. We don’t want to see hundreds of Overseers flying around, but we do like the ability for the zerg to annoy and harass the enemy with spells like Changeling. We added two abilities on the Overseer that were recently removed from other more “combat oriented” units. We expect that player’s will still build 1-2 Overseers to watch the enemy base and provide detection support for your force, but now you can also use the Overseer’s energy to disrupt enemy production and research, or to make small drops that force the enemy to spread their forces.

Up until today, the Overseer has mostly been used as a mobile detector for the Zerg. With these new abilities, more options open up; as promised, the Zerg race just got more interesting. Will the Overseer be crowned “most annoying unit in the game”?

Battle.net Interface


Revamped summary pages for player Profiles and Leagues & Ladders.

Added a Help system with tech trees and other tips and tricks.

Removed identifier from the character naming process and added the ability to refer friends for invitation into your party or lobby.

Updated the Battle.net user interface to consistently use a nested menu system.

Added in-game blocking and player muting.

A few more updates that we will soon get to experience. A noteworthy change is to the identifier system, which has apparently been removed from Battle.net. With the system gone, unique names will once again be sought after, since no two characters will be able to share a similar alias.

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