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Blizzard has published a very specific request for feedback on StarCraft2.com. Having designed two different yet equally suitable Dark Templar unit models, Blizzard is leaving it up to the fans to decide which one should appear in StarCraft 2 Multiplayer matches.

Different clans take great pains to distinguish themselves through variations in weapons, armor, markings, and dress. For example, the famed hunters of the Zer’atai dress in the bones of slain zerg; the Boros are known for their blank-faced helms and heavy armor; and the Lenassa wear distinctive cloth wrappings and bear wickedly curved warp blades.

Dark Templar options

The first option represents the Lenassa tribe of dark templar, which made its debut in the original StarCraft. This unit carries a single warp blade, and a cloth shroud covers its face.

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The second option represents the Zer’atai tribe of dark templar, who wield dual scythes and wear an ensemble of heavy armor and the bones of slain zerg.

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The third and final option is to have both tribes represented: When you build a dark templar, either the Lenassa or Zer’atai dark templar would spawn randomly.

The dilemma is not complex; it is one which most companies solve behind the corporate curtains, often ending up picking the wrong model due to simply not having the tradition of crowdsourcing certain design decisions. That’s not the case with Blizzard, who often seeks direct feedback from their fans. This is another one of these occasions, so get out there and make your voice heard.

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The SC2Blog, devout proponents of democracy, will also be hosting a poll on the subject.

Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, has posted a request for feedback for one of the Zerg’s most evolutionary unstable and important “tools” – the Nydus Worm. As witnessed during BlizzCon 2008, the Nydus Worm is no longer a unit, but a transportation gateway which can be planted by an Overseer.
This “summoning” ability only requires energy – aside from the Nydus Canal, this operation does not require any resources – and the worm will pop up after a short delay.
This represents a mild deviation from the StarCraft 1 implementation that was observed during WWI in July 2008.

Here’s what Karune had to say:

Zerg Nydus Worm
The Nydus Worm is a unit that has undergone several changes since its unveiling and we are curious to the feedback on the latest round of changes shown at BlizzCon.

For those who do not know, the Nydus Worm is a tunnel opening to a network in which you can store your army. When the Nydus Worm springs from the ground, it can allow that whole army to start pouring out from that position as seen here: http://starcraft2.com/screenshot.xml?s=84

 

Nydus Worm prior to BlizzCon

Prior to BlizzCon, the Nydus Worm had to be summoned from the Nydus Canal, and only on creep. Thus, in order to do a drop, an Overlord was usually needed to drop creep, and then the Nydus Canal could spawn a Nydus Worm at that position. Also, because of the cooldown, typically for a mass drop, a Zerg player would need multiple Nydus Canals, to spawn multiple Nydus Worms at the drop position, to make sure the enemy couldn’t easily destroy the Nydus Worms before the Zerg army could come out.

Nydus Worm at BlizzCon

In the BlizzCon build, the Nydus Worm no longer is spawned from the Nydus Canal. Additionally, it no longer needs to be spawned in on creep as well. Instead, the Nydus Worm is spawned in from the Overseer, and is based on energy cost. Thus, if you have multiple Overseers, you could easily spawn multiple Nydus Canals (which will have a ‘build time’ before the worm erupts from the ground) and ensure a higher success rate of getting your units out.
Let us know your thoughts on the new changes. Also keep in mind, most of the discussion here is about gameplay mechanics, rather than the “numbers and stats” as those will always be changed to balance mechanics (i.e. changing build times for the Nydus, energy costs, hitpoints, etc).

 

Karune has also posted the following clarification:

When units enter the Nydus Worm opening or the Nydus Canal, they are in the Nydus network. They can exit at any opening, including the Nydus Canal building. There is no actual “tunneling,” and is actually more similar to loading units in a dropship. When all entrances/exits are destroyed, all units in the network will die, so if you are a Zerg player, make sure you don’t let that happen 🙂

The above note describes a very safe mode of transportation for the Zerg; as long as the player ensures that at least one Nydus Network Node is alive, the transported units are not in any danger of being lost without a fight.

Despite the fact that Karune’s request for feedback is a simplistic Like/Dislike poll, which you are welcome to vote on, the SC2Blog would like to guide the discussion to a slightly more technical side:

1) Do you consider a certain Nydus Worm implementation the best one, and if so, which one?

2) If you could implement any plausible Zerg transportation method, what would it be?

3) What additional “buffs” or “debuffs” would you see fit for units after Nydus Worm transportation?

Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, has posted this month’s official discussion on Battle.net, requesting fan feedback for a highly interesting topic, and a fundamental mechanic of the game – the Zerg’s new and improved creep.

The StarCraft 1 Creep only slightly benefited the Zerg race, having little importance during actual combat. The StarCraft 2 Creep has been designed to be nothing like that – its effects have already been mentioned in the past, and using this opportunity, Karune revealed even more juicy details about the new and improved mechanics.

One of the distinct features of the Zerg is their fast movement, quick reactions and their large numbers. With the newest changes to the StarCraft II build these attributes are bound to reinforced once more.

Here are a couple of changes to the Zerg:

  • Zerg units except Drones can now move 30% faster on creep
  • Creep Tumors are smaller and burrowed
Creeping ramps
Creeping down the ramp

The above improvements join a long array of advantages that the StarCraft 2 Zerg have received in their home turf. Considering the Swarm units created by destroyed buildings, the omnipresent Zerg Queen, which can turn buildings into turrets via its Swarm Infestation ability and has a multitude of other defensive abilities, and the additional stationary defenses, defeating a Zerg army inside its base may become a very difficult task. Another important thing to remember is the Overlord’s creep laying ability, allowing the Zerg to take advantage of Creep even on the offense.

Here are this month’s official questions from Blizzard:

What do you think of the speed increase on Creep?

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How do you think this change will effect Zerg, Protoss and Terran?

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Do you like or dislike the change? Why?

Additionally, the SC2 Blog’s questions are:

1) Should creep affect enemy units as well?


2) Do you feel that this adds an additional, unneeded tactical aspect to the game?


3) Should Protoss units enjoy similar buffs when in Pylon energy range?

As with last month’s discussion, Blizzard has selected a major, fundamental topic to receive feedback from fans for. Like the Vespene Geysers, Creep will have a major impact on many aspects of matches involving the Zerg race in StarCraft 2. As always, this is your chance to influence the direction the game is heading to.

Four months have passed since the last discussion topic, which focused on the Baneling. This month’s topic moves the spotlight from the single unit to a core gameplay mechanic which will affect every aspect of StarCraft 2.

At the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, we had the opportunity to show you a new StarCraft II client. With this client we introduced a new idea on how our Gas Mechanics work. This would give the player more options and more economy choices. In the following days, Dustin Browder went more into detail on how these new mechanics can affect the game-play and we were able to get even more questions answered in the following Batch of the StarCraft II Q&A. Now we would like you to give us your feedback on the way Gas collection works now.

For more information about the new Vespene Gas mechanics, make sure to read our earlier posts on the subject. First, the original post with Dustin Browder’s introduction of the changes, and second, the Chat with Devs part of Q&A 41, which contained a detailed explanation with updated numbers.

To recap (current numbers, subject to balance changes, in parenthesis):

Each resource location now has two Vespene Geysers. These start with a relatively low amount of gas (600), which allow workers to carry a full load in each trip (6). When the geyser is depleted, this number is reduced (2), and the player is offered a choice to replenish the geyser for a mineral cost (100).

The repleneshing process requires the player to select the geyser and hit a button (or shortcut key), which takes the geyser offline for a short period (45 seconds), during which workers can not extract gas at all. This pumps gas back into the geyser (600), allowing workers to resume Vespene Gas extraction at full efficiency.

Vespene Gas Refinery

Our thoughts on this matter remain unchanged from previous discussions:

All these major changes have been implemented to StarCraft 2 for one purpose: complicate the “macro” portion of the game, which has been downsized severely with the introduction of new and improved user interface aspects, and mainly, Multiple Building Selection (MBS).

 

These changes will steal some of the added focus to the micromanagement portion of StarCraft 2, which pro-gamers, who’ve had a chance to play the game extensively, have reported about, and divert it back to base and economy management.

The monthly discussion topic is an excellent opportunity for StarCraft 2’s fans, be they pro gamers or causal RTS players, to voice their opinion about this change to the resource system – a central part of StarCraft 2.

As always, Blizzard has three specific questions they wish to receive answers for:

* What new strategies and choices do you think the player would have and have to make with the new Gas Mechanics?

 

* How do you think this change will effect Zerg, Protoss and Terran?

 
* Do you like or dislike the change? Why?

 

* Additional feedback you might have

Additionally, the SC2 Blog’s questions are:

1) Do you think the need to “babysit” the Vespene Geysers adds to the depth of the game, allowing players to put more thought into the resource management process, or is it going to become a dull, mindless chore?

 

2) Resource collection in StarCraft 1 has always been very straightforward. With the introduction of Yellow Minerals and the complication of the Vespene Gas collection process, this aspect of StarCraft 2 has been expanded. Would you like to see StarCraft 2’s economy simplified, or perhaps complicated further?

 

3) Unlike in StarCraft 1, Workers can now be automatically ordered to start harvesting resources as soon as they are produced, using a rally point, without requiring further action from the player.

Should it be possible for “Replenish Gas” to be set on Auto-Cast, making this process automatic as well?

The new Vespene Gas mechanics are likely to become an important and significant part of every StarCraft 2 game, regardless of race or skill level. Blizzard has proven time and time again that they listen closely to fan feedback – this is your chance to leave your lasting impression on StarCraft 2.

Yellow Minerals(?)

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