• StarCraft 2 Blog on Facebook

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Replay Roundup, where we bring you only the best and most entertaining video replays of high level StarCraft 2 games. Today’s replays are going to be from games played over the last month of phase one of the beta. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re not great! First up, we have two matches featuring Sen, a Taiwanese player, playing against two well known pro-gamers: Artosis and fan-favorite Liquid’TheLittleOne.

First up, a short game between Sen and Artosis, a Zerg versus Zerg on Lost Temple.

An unorthodox play by one of the Zerg players decisively wins this game, where no clear advantage was had by either player up until that point. Will this strategy be more commonly used when the beta returns?

Next up, another game featuring Sen as Zerg playing against TLO’s Terran on Kulas Ravine.

In this long game, both players display great skill as they struggle to harass each other while taking over their side of the map. Non-stop battles take place all over and unique strategies are employed to produce a great victory!

Lastly, we have a game from the EU versus Asia tournament, cast by the awesome Day[9], and featuring TheLittleOne once more in a Random versus Terran game on Blistering Sands.

Getting Zerg as his race, he proceeds to play the entire match using two units only – producing another epic game, TLO style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1nSSp8Rg0I&feature=youtube_gdatahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1nSSp8Rg0I&feature=youtube_gdata

After one long month of hiatus, the StarCraft 2 beta returns in full force. This phase will last for 11 days, until the 19th of July. Here’s the official word:

The second phase of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beta test is now underway. We’re delighted to invite you back to the battlefield and hope that you will join us through July 19 for more terran, protoss, and zerg action.


As stated previously, all data from beta phase one has been reset. This includes characters, match history, ladder rankings, and achievements. Beta participants will therefore need to recreate their characters and, if joining matchmaking games, complete a new series of placement matches.


We thank you for all the feedback you provided during phase one and are excited to hear about more of your experiences in phase two. Welcome back to beta, and we’ll see you on Battle.net!

Patch 16 was released along with the restarting of the beta, bringing with it a few relatively minor changes and some more undocumented ones.

GENERAL


Rally points now behave as a move command, instead of an attack move command.
Enabled the ability to manually add a StarCraft II character friend using the player’s character code. Character code is a server-assigned numerical code that is displayed within the Add Friend panel.
Battle.net Achievements & Rewards have been updated.
All Quick Match modes are now available: 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, and Free For All.
All A.I. difficulties are now available for play.
Cooperative matchmaking versus A.I. players is now available as a play mode.
Enabled cross-game social features between World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.

The rally point change is the big news of this section. Previously, units rallied out of production buildings would automatically attack all enemy units in their way, often nullifying themselves immediately because they would meet with larger forces. This would frequently make rallying useless, since each new unit had to be handled anyway. Instead, units will now move to where they’re told to go, ignoring enemy units.

ZERG


Infestor


Frenzy spell removed.
Infested Terran spell added.


Overseer


Infested Terran spell removed.


Ultralisk


Now immune to stuns and mind control.

Continuing the trend from the recent patches, the Ultralisk has received another buff. Along with the speed upgrade and the ability to ignore the Protoss Sentry’s Force Fields, Blizzard is certainly gearing the Ultralisk to be an unstoppable juggernaut – just like its design implies. It will be interesting to see if this latest buff will be enough for this purpose.

A few other undocumented changes have already been spotted in the new phase of the beta, both for the interface and the game itself. We’ve gathered a list of changes:

GENERAL

  • All menu sound effects changed
  • Many changes to all races sound effects
  • Changed graphics settings, removed highest level of shaders
  • Engine performenace optimized (not confirmed)
  • “Beta” removed from title screen
  • New music added
  • StarCraft installation directory drops from 10gb to 3.5gb as the patch deletes all previous versions
  • Only 2 placement matches are required (down from 5 before and 10 at the start of the beta) A display bug incorrectly shows that only 2 placement matches are required while 5 are needed in effect
  • Xel’naga towers now look like eyes on the minimap

GAMEPLAY

  • Tabbed browsing through production buildings has been removed. Instead, units are assigned to the most efficient building. Early reports inform about many issues with this.
  • Neural Parasite is no longer unlimited, lasts about 12 seconds
  • Infested Terrans last 30 seconds (from 20)
  • Infested Terran can be cast while the Infestor is burrowed
  • Roaches can no longer move under Force Fields while burrowed
  • Stalkers can no longer blink over “unpathable” terrain, meaning no more blinks across islands

Time to hit the servers!

Rally points now behave as a move command, instead of an attack move command.
Enabled the ability to manually add a StarCraft II character friend using the player’s character code. Character code is a server-assigned numerical code that is displayed within the Add Friend panel.
Battle.net Achievements & Rewards have been updated.
All Quick Match modes are now available: 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, and Free For All.
All A.I. difficulties are now available for play.
Cooperative matchmaking versus A.I. players is now available as a play mode.
Enabled cross-game social features between World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.

Continuing our Strategy Overview series with the Terran race, we explore commonly used strategies in mid to high level of play in StarCraft 2. The Terran race is a totally different animal from the Protoss race previously explored here, and, therefore, the format will not be exactly the same as before – the rugged space hicks are actually not as straightforward as they seem!

To start off, we’ll focus on the common rush-type openings, before moving on to the more general gameplay strategies.

Reaper Rush

The Reaper, The Terran’s jetpack-equipped infantry unit, has been hotly discussed from day one. This super fast, ranged, cliff-jumping, light-damage dealing, tier 1.1 unit takes down workers in three rapid shots and can infiltrate an enemy mineral line before he’s able to produce a single unit. The fastest variation calls for building a Barracks and Refinery before the first supply depot, attaching a tech-lab to it and getting a Reaper out as soon as possible.

Since this is an economy-crippling build, the goal in this rush is to inflict more economy damage to the opponent than the Terran player has sacrificed for it. In low-mid levels of play, groups of 2-3 Reapers will be gathered first before an attack. However, in higher level play, players can smell a Reaper rush a mile away, and so, the Terran player will send his first Reaper to attack as soon as it emerges from the Barracks.

Doing it wrong: Reapers approach the Terran choke head-onYou’re doing it wrong

Reapers are basically invulnerable to tier 1 melee units and can kite those forever while taking shots at them if proper micromanagement is applied. The only exceptions are Zerglings on creep and Speedlings, which can catch up with the Reapers and quickly surround them. Still, with the Reapers’ ability to jump up and down cliffs, their survivability and harassment potential are greatly increased.

Some are calling it the “Terran 6pool” because of the somewhat obnoxious feeling one gets from being attacked before any defensive capabilities are available. However, just like early Zergling rushes, Reaper rushes can be defended against as well if one scouts ahead and prepares accordingly.

Counters:

  • A single Stalker or Marauder in the mineral line, Roaches
  • ~2 Marines per Reaper
  • A Spine Colony or Photon Cannon + whatever units are at hand to chase the Reapers

Fast Banshees

Banshees, the Terran’s rotor-spaceships, are somewhat slow and can’t take a lot of hits, but dish out damage at an incredible rate. Despite being relatively high on the tech tree, the Terran’s walling-off abilities make this strategy both relatively safe and hard to scout. Getting these out to the field quickly gives the Terran player a good chance to find his opponent lacking any meaningful anti-air capabilities. With more than a couple at hand, the Banshees are very capable at hit and run attacks against anti-air defenses and units, wearing down the opponent until the mineral line is exposed and the workers are good for the picking. However, even single Banshees can take out their immediate counters in one on one battles – Both Queens and Stalkers lose to a Banshee in a head-on fight, and groups of Marines are not guaranteed to repel it as well. When the defenses go down, two Banshee volleys are enough to kill one worker! If that wasn’t enough, delaying the Banshee attack a little longer can allow the Terran player to research Cloak for it, making its harassment (and game ending-potential) even more effective.

Counters:

  • Missile Turrets with Marines, quick Vikings with Ravens
  • Spore Colonies, quick Hydralisks with Overseers
  • Photon Cannons, Stalkers with Observers added later on

Marine Rush

As simple as it gets. Get a bunch of trusty Marines and send them to the enemy base, mowing down everything on the way. This build was very uncommon in the early days of the beta – the simplest things are sometimes hardest to see – but it’s been gaining traction as of late, despite the nerf to the Marine build time in patch #6. After getting a first Barracks and an Orbital Command, three more Barracks are quickly added (before the second Supply Depot, for brave players) and Marines start being produced in masses. The gang heads out to the enemy base, trying to take advantage of their long weapon range and concentrated DPS to quickly and painlessly take down any target of opportunity. With some micro inserted into the mix, the Marines will run back a bit after each firing cycle: this makes them take less hits from melee units and prevent them from getting surrounded as well as makes it harder for shorter ranged units to engage with their full attack potential. When the Terran player finally pushes his Marine force into the enemy base – usually supplemented by more and more waves of rallied reinforcements – the opportunity to deal a knock-out blow to the enemy economy is great, and the game is often decided right at that point.

Counters:

  • Bunkers, especially with Reapers OR very quick Siege Tanks
  • Banelings, Roaches and/or Spine Crawlers in sufficient numbers
  • Quick Colossus, dancing Stalkers, Cannons + Force Field in chokes, Charging Zealots

Hellion Opening

Hellions, the StarCraft 2 Firebat/Vulture hybrid, have been seeing more and more use throughout all stages of the game. Still, one of their most effective uses is early in the game, where few offensive units are available. Their linear splash damage effect makes them particularly suitable for killing workers – especially if these try to run away – and makes the Hellion one of the units most benefiting from good micromanagement. The Terran player will get a fast Factory right after the first Barracks, on which a Reactor addon is pre-built, and then move the Factory over it to quickly start pumping out Hellions for a devastating drive-by on the enemy economy. With their bonus damage against light targets, the Hellions remain very handy later on, if Zerglings, Banelings, Hydralisks, Zealots, and Dark Templars come into play. While the Hellions can’t survive many hits, their relatively long range allows them to stay safely behind the rest of the Terran army, scorching enemy units without inflicting friendly fire damage in the process.

Upgraded Hellions devastate the Protoss worker line

Counters

  • Blocked ramps and choke points (units on Hold Position work well!)
  • Static defense in the mineral line

Standard M3 Ball

Ahh, the dreaded M&M&M army. Much has been said about this unit composition – comprising Marines, Marauders and Medivacs – and not surprisingly so, as it can be seen in the vast majority of Terran games, in all match-ups. The reason, of course, is the incredible robustness and all-roundedness of this build – and some would say: ease of use. The M3 ball, composed of easy to mass units, capable in both defense and offense, mobile to the extreme yet beefy enough for a stand-up fight, is clearly the “correct” go-to strategy in many situations. With Marauders dishing out heavy anti-armor damage, Marines – the highest DPS/cost ranged unit in the game, who have a great anti-air weapon – and Medivacs, the mobility and healing granting fliers, the M3 ball can be where it needs quickly, counter almost any unit composition, and stay alive long enough to get the job done. With the three upgrades added – Combat Shields, Concussive Shells and Stim Packs – the ball can serve many Terran players for the entire match.

Perfect Combo - A big MMM Blog with a Thor on the side

When building up for an M3 ball, one would best be served by quickly setting up two extra Barracks after upgrading to an Orbital Command. One Barracks should have the Reactor addon while the other two get a Tech-Lab. From then on, pumping out units is an easy affair, and the ball is quickly formed by continually building two Marauders and two Marines at a time. This build allows the production of a relatively heavy army while still teching up and/or getting unit upgrades – a must for a dedicated M3 ball. When a small complement of M&Ms is gathered, a Starport is built to supplement them with Medivacs.

The M3 ball is made! This well-rounded army can then push out, look for weaknesses in enemy positions, drop on unsuspecting mineral lines, or serve as cannon fodder for Siege Tanks.

Counters

  • Siege Tanks, Cloaked Banshees
  • Fungal Growth, Banelings + Swarm, Brood Lords in the late game
  • Colossi or Psi-Storm with Charging Zealots

Mid-game transitions: Siege Tanks, Thors

Once the Terran player has opened with one of the above and successfully transitioned into the mid-game, the time comes to choose a unit composition that will best serve the next transition – into a victory, or at least into the late-game. The Terran race has a variety of options and answers for all situations, but some counters are very hard and serve almost no purpose against anything but their intended targets.

Siege Tanks

The Siege Tank, one of the Terran’s most symbolic units, returns to serve the same role in StarCraft 2 – ground-control and crowd-control. With the huge damage and splash effect, Siege Tanks are effective in all numbers, whether by softening up enemy units for an M&M blob or by completely denying an area of the battlefield from ground units when large enough numbers are used. Often, the Terran player will quickly get a couple of Siege Tanks after settling into the game and march straight towards the enemy base, slowly wearing him down with the help of the incredible long range of the sieged-up tank artillery cannon. From then, the Terran player is a Siege-Tank push away from victory – slowly leap-frogging the Siege Tanks closer and closer to where it hurts while keeping the enemy contained inside his base.

Counters

  • Siege Tanks, Banshees
  • Swarming the tanks when they unsiege, Brood Lords
  • Immortals, Phoenix Gravity Beam, Dark Templars, carefully managed Charging Zealots

Thors

The Terran Thor, still a menacing unit despite the recent size cut, has slowly managed to find a niche on the battlefield, thanks to some patched-in changes to its attributes and a greater understanding of its role in the game a couple of months into the beta. Despite its cost, the Thor has many advantages and is very useful in many army compositions – and sometimes, even just by itself.

Thor Doom Drop an Unsuspecting Protoss

Since the Thor is able to take down many units – including workers – in one volley of its cannons, Thor drops can actually be very effective if done right. A Terran producing a Thor quickly and dropping it on an enemy mineral line will rack up a few worker kills easily and will also be able to deal with many offensive units unless they swarm him all together – in which case, it’s back to the Medivac.

Thors are also a great addition to an M&M ball when deciding to push out with one. Its great anti-air attack, which deals area-of-effect damage in a small radius, is a perfect complement to Marines against flying threats such as the Mutalisk and Banshee. The Thor’s special Strike Cannon ability is great when dealing with other Massive targets, since, despite not dealing much more DPS than its normal attack, the bombardment stuns the unit in place until it dies. Also, since abilities ignore the Immortal’s hardened shield, the Strike Cannons destroy a fully-shielded Immortal in one use.

What is the Standard

When Terran players wish to play it safe and solid, they’ll often wall-up inside their base while gathering the standard M&M force. Constantly scouting the enemy, additional units will supplement this basic army to counter upcoming threats to the Terran infantry: Hellions for masses of light units, mainly Zerglings, Banelings and Zealots; Vikings for heavy air units, such as Brood Lords, Void Rays, Carriers and Battlecruisers, as well for decapitating Colossi; Siege Tanks to deal with masses of tier 1-2 units; Thors to deal with light-air swarms; and eventually, Battlecrusiers to put the hurt on everything or break down turtles. Some pressure can be applied using Reapers, Banshees or Hellions, as described above, until the Terran player is ready to seal the deal with a well-timed push.

Addendum: Terran as the Real Infestation

While fighting the Zerg often feels like dealing with bugs that keep harassing you all over and are impossible to get rid of, the Terran race can actually play the infestation game just as well, “infesting” the battlefield and never releasing their hold on it. The Terrans have always been the turtle-friendly choice, but in StarCraft 2, thanks to some new tools and additional mobility, the turtle can now more easily spread around and hold more and more of the battlefield. Almost every Terran unit can be treated like a mobile turret with various properties designed to keep enemies away from the Terran mining operations. Their units have the longest range, their buildings are bulky and durable, and their static defenses – Bunkers, Missile Turrets and Planetary Fortresses, provide the most robust defense.

The Thor often makes more sense when seen as a walking turret, patrolling the base and guarding it from Mutalisk invasions; Vikings, one of the slower flying units, have an incredible range of 9, and are more than suitable for taking down Void Rays trying to penetrate the Terran base before they even think of charging up. With Siege Tanks, the building armor upgrade, the Raven’s Point Defense Drone and Auto-Turret, and the amazing staying power of infantry backed by healing Medivacs, a well-built Terran fortress is indeed the hardest to break.

Fortressing - Terran Player claims the high yield

A Terran player playing the infestation game will periodically take over an expansion, sending many SCVs to quickly put down defenses and buildings as well as Siege Tanks and the other necessary walking/flying turrets to secure the area. The purpose, of course, is to create a stronghold that the enemy will have to spend many more resources to remove than it took to secure. Slowly taking over the map while occasionally harassing the enemy, this strategy is often hard to deal with even if it’s seen coming.

New threads rumoring about a monthly fee for StarCraft 2, posted on the official Battle.net forums, would normally be ignored by regulars and Blizzard posters. This one, announcing a new payment scheme to be deployed in Russia, was not:

To play on Russian servers after some time, included in the cost of the set, Blizzard Entertainment introduces a system of subscription for 1 and 4 months with full access to single and multiplayer StarCraft II on Battle.net.

For once, this piece of information turned out to be correct! Xordiah, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, posted the following clarification in response:

To clarify, this is the Russian pricing model you are talking about. This is a very special case for Russia only. All other European versions will be without a monthly fee.

For the Russian version the monthly fee also only applies after the free months that come with the box are over and are only for the online version of the game. They can then purchase online game time or upgrade to a full EU access, that will grant them the same access as all other European players have without further monthly fees.

What our readers think of a monthly fee

Almost two years ago, the SC2Blog ran a poll to see how our readers would react to Blizzard charging a monthly fee for StarCraft 2. The reaction was not positive, to say the least.

This is the first and only official confirmation of the existence of a monthly fee-based StarCraft 2 pricing. Further posts explain the reasoning behind the need for a subscription-based service in Russia:

Of course that is also an option that Russian players have. The subscription model is mainly for those players that would not be able to afford the European version. This will also give them the option of buying the less expensive game and then afterwards deciding that the game is worth upgrading to the European version and as such they will have access to European as well as the Russian servers.

It should be noted that Russian Internet users are more accustomed to making micro-payments for services received online. Despite the rampant software piracy practiced in Russia, online social and gaming networks often receive payments for what most Internet services provide for free.

Blizzard’s decision actually provides Russian gamers with more optionsthe game will be priced at 499 (jewel) and 999 (DVD) Rubles ($17 and $34, respectively), and include 120 days or a year of gameplay, depending on the version purchased. According to the article, the game will be fully localized and playable only on Russian Battle.net servers, and players will be required to pay an additional fee to play on international European servers. However, the option to purchase the European version immediately, for the same price available in Europe, will be given to Russians as well. Still, it’s not clear whether or not they’ll be “locked” to European servers only, not being able to play on servers in Mother Russia.

« Previous Articles    Next Articles »

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
All the Rest © SC2 blog 2010 - Powered By Shohat

Video Games blogs