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StarCraft: Legacy has conducted an exclusive Q&A session with Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager. Eight of their questions were answered thoroughly, providing a lot of new information.

1) What is the current state of the Hydralisk? The current stats we have are tier 2-2.5, 100 minerals, 75 gas, 80-90 HP, and 8-10 dmg with no special abilities. Compared to the Roach, the Hydralisk appears inferior in every way, with it’s only saving grace being GTA capability. However, because the Mutalisk is in the same tier, only slightly more expensive, and it can fly, the Hydralisk appears to be almost useless for such an iconic unit.


Actually, the Hydralisk has since been boosted up quite a bit in terms of damage. They currently have 80 hit points and have a ground attack of 13 + 3 versus armored and an air attack of 12 + 5 versus armored. The Hydralisk also has a range of 6 and moves at a ‘fast’ speed, with no need to upgrade with the speed bonus anymore. Roaches on the other hand, only have an attack of 10, half the Hydralisk’s range, and is slower to move as well. The new damage the Hydralisk is able to put out now makes it very dangerous, as Zerg players will be able to take out buildings with a pack of Hydras, with only a few volleys (same goes to Battlecruisers!). Nonetheless, they are extremely weak at 80 hit points, and thus need to always be protected. The new cost for Hydralisks are also 100 minerals and 100 gas.

The Hydralisk of StarCraft 2, not unlike its old incarnation, is a well rounded, multi-purpose unit for the Zerg race. While its price has been increased, most noticeably on the Vespene Gas front (from 25 to 100), the Hydralisk now comes with both available StarCraft 1 upgrades pre-installed. As well, it has been given a damage boost – in damage points as well as in attack type: The StarCraft 1’s Hydralisk attack was “explosive”, which only dealt 50% of the damage to small units. With 13 damage per attack, the new Hydralisk will be able to take down his nemesis, the Marine, in just 4 hits.

Hydralisk Swarm

2) How does Anti-Gravity work on Zerg buildings since they’re organs intrinsically a part of the creep? They are essentially part of the creep. Do they lose health? Also, how does it affect burrowed units? Will they go back to being burrowed or not?


Zerg buildings will not take damage when they are lifted. Burrowed units lifted will become burrowed again when the ability finishes.

Karune reveals a new way to detect burrowed units – Anti-Grav! The Nullifier will be able to “explore” important locations and reveal hidden underground Zerg units for the cost of some energy.

3) With the Thor back to having both anti-air and anti-ground attacks, will he be capable of discharging both weapons simultaneously at a Colossus? Or will only the stronger attack affect it? If it is only the stronger attack, is that dynamically chosen by the game?

Any unit with both ground and air attacks will attack the Colossus with the stronger of the two attacks, but not with both.

4) With the Medivac being a late-game tech, are Terran infantry impaired against the other two races in early to mid-game?

No, Terran is actually quite strong early game for a few different reasons. One, their tier 1 unit is ranged and is thus excellent at defending cliffs without being able to be countered without sight. Two, the new supply depots are excellent at building the perfect barricade in early game. Three, Marauders are very tough and are excellent at winning heavy micromanaged battles, preventing units from reaching your Marines.

5) Does the Ghost’s EMP Grenade ability function any differently from the Science Vessel’s EMP ability from StarCraft Vanilla?

Nope, the EMP currently works the same as the EMP from the original StarCraft.


6) What special abilities, in the current build, can be cast from inside a bunker? Can a nuke be called down?

In a bunker, units will be able to use Stim Pack, call down Nukes, Sniper, and use EMP.

The news about the Ghost being able to call down nukes from within the safety of bunkers has been discussed before. This is a concern for the enemies of the Terran, since it’s going to be impossible to figure out which Bunker actually holds the attacking Ghost, before even mentioning the unbalanced nature of the Bunker’s protection. Since the Ghost has to be killed for the Nuke to be disabled, this is a big issue. here’s what Karune said about the subject last time:

Honestly, this is completely up to balance, and of course if it proves too difficult to prevent or avoid, I’m pretty sure it will be changed.

Nuclear Bunker

7) Does the Jackal’s attack damage friendly units and/or have AoE capabilities?


The Jackal’s attack will only damage enemy units in its area of effect. Technically, it will target a set unit and all units in that line of fire will take damage.

This is where being able to target the ground would come in useful. Since the Jackal has to target a specific unit which will determine the path of the linear Area of Effect weapon, it is limited in its ability to optimally utilize its fiery attack. Smart enemies of the Terran will quickly put distance between the units coming under attack and their friendly forces or just spread their units in advance.

8 ) The Zerg do not seem to have equal air power compared to the other two races. The Protoss have Carriers and Warp Rays; the Terrans have BCs. While the Mutalisk makes a great harassment unit, they simply cannot stand up to significant firepower. Corruptors and Swarm Guardians are strong in their respective fields, but they lack a single unit that can attack both air and ground well. This suggests that air units will be limited to defense and support for a primarily ground based army. The other two races seem more able to have a well-rounded primarily air-based army. Is this the case, and if so, will anything be done to give the Zerg stronger air options?


Zerg currently has the most powerful anti air unit in terms of damage per second, which is the Hydralisk. Furthermore, while the Mutalisks are not the stronger aerial fighter, they do have flexibility, being able to morph into Swarm Guardians for that additional ground damage and range when needed. Corruptors, in mass groups are also one of the most powerful air to air units, especially considering every unit you kill, makes the battle turn even more into your favor. While we have experimented with other types of Zerg air units, there are no plans to introduce any of them to the multiplayer version of the game.

Karune makes a good argument in favor of the Zerg, and lends strength to our assertion that the Hydralisk is a robust unit. The Zerg of StarCraft 1 do not have a capital ship, like the Battlecrusier or the Carrier, but that’s part of the charm of the game – every race has obvious disadvantages in some areas, but balance is still maintained between the three of them. It’s only natural for the Zerg of StarCraft 2 to rely on mass numbers, overwhelming their enemies with sheer force, without relying on any capital-class fliers.

An angry Hydralisk

The Zerg’s unit database has been increased by 50% today, with the official introduction of the Baneling. The Baneling has received a lot of scrutiny lately, coupled with many changes to its look and attributes, and has now matured enough to warrant a page on StarCraft2.com.


Type: Sapper
Core Genus: Zergling
Primary Attack: Volatile Burst

The Baneling is a newly introduced unit in StarCraft 2. Like the previous two officially revealed units, the Baneling has also made an appearance very early on in StarCraft 2’s development – way back in the original announcement video.

Thumb 1
The baneling is a creature so bloated with fluid-filled sacs that it can barely walk; instead, it moves itself by tucking into a tight ball and rolling. However, this ungainly appearance belies the fact that the baneling is an extremely dangerous organism, one of several new zerg specialists recently seen on the battlefield. When a baneling gets close enough to an enemy, the creature triggers a reaction within its volatile chemical payload that causes it to explode with devastating force and shower the immediate surroundings with searing acid. The baneling is destroyed in the explosion, which is very likely to inflict a huge amount of damage.
Thumb 2

The Baneling is devastating against infantry, vehicles, and even buildings – making it possible to destroy entire outposts with a large enough group of them. With its 40 points of damage, inflicted over a relatively large splash radius, the Baneling is especially potent against small melee attackers such as the Zealot and Zergling. However, since it also receives a bonus of 150 damage against buildings, a small group will also easily destroy key defenses and even major strategic structures.

Thumb 3
At first the baneling was identified as an unstable zerg mutation of an unspecified genus. Subsequent observations have revealed it to be a morph of the zergling, the most numerous zerg subtype. Zerglings have been seen entering a brief chrysalis phase before emerging in their new form. This alarming development has demonstrated the advanced ability of the zerg queens to manipulate their offspring. Although the baneling is chemically volatile and unstable enough to explode at any time, the queens have engineered a morph that can contain its energies until just the right moment. By creating the baneling out of the most basic of zerg fighters, the queens have also ensured that an inexhaustible supply of raw materials is available for the task.

The Banelings, a relatively low tier unit that evolves from the Zergling, will not be hard to produce early in the game – and in massive amounts, depending on its final cost. However, since the Baneling is a one-time-use kamikaze unit, there’s no doubt that effective use of them will require some thinking. Choosing targets unwisely will quickly drain resources and leave the Zerg player at a greatly disadvantaged position
Proper use will require measuring the potential damage to an enemy directly against the initial investment – and deciding whether it’s worth sacrificing Banelings for.

Baneling concept art

Coming in a bit late, today we’re reporting that StarCraft 2 Forum has gotten their hands on two in game screenshots with what looks to be the new Zerg Swarm Guardian unit.

In the first picture, the Swarm Guardian can relatively clearly be seen in the top right corner. Another unidentified unit is found in the lower left corner – possibly, this is the new design for the Nomad.

The second picture shows a more blurry Swarm Guardian. The StarCraft 1 Guardian icon is visible in the GUI, confirming that this is indeed the StarCraft 2 version.

These screenshots appear to be legitimate, though we have not been able to track the source.

Today’s Q&A, posted by Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, contains a whopping nine questions. No other special sections are included, however – not even the usual Chat with Devs. The wealth of answers, which Karune continues to supply throughout the thread, makes up for it.

1. If the Roach is hit by any spell like “plague” or “psi storm,” something that reduces hit points per second, will this be negated by its HP regeneration, or result in fewer hit points gained per second for the duration of the spell?


To clarify, a Roach regenerates at a set rate and Psi Storm does a set amount of damage at intervals in the area of effect. Put that Roach under a Psi Storm in the current build for the full duration and the Roach will have approximately 50% of its original health after the Psi Storm is over. With a new upgrade ability at the Hive which allows the Roach to have an even more increased regeneration rate, the Roach will emerge from a full duration of Psi Storm at approximately 80% of its original health.

Psi Storms tearing it up

Karune adds this later in the thread:

Psi Storm hits both ground and air. Also, I wanted to add to question 1 that Roaches seem very strong with their regeneration, but with even a little bit of micro management, they are pretty easy to kill. In theory crafting, they seem much stronger than they actually are, though you must counter them with either very specific units of spend additional micromanagement time on them. Siege Tanks, Stim Packed Marines, Stalkers, Immortals, Dark Templars, Hydras, and any air to ground unit, are all effective at killing Roaches with a little micromanagement.

Here’s what we know about Roach so far:

  • Has 90 hitpoints
  • Regenerate 15 hitpoints per second, allowing it to return to full health in 6 seconds
  • Is useful against units with slow attacks that don’t deal a lot of damage with a single hit
  • Can survive the full brunt of a Psi-Storm and quickly shrugs off the effect of Plague
  • Has an upgrade that dramatically increases regenerated hitpoints per second
  • Started as a melee attacker, but currently has an anti-ground ranged attack

The Roach, in accordance with its name, is a pest that’s hard to kill. While it will likely not pose a huge threat – its ranged attack will not be very powerful – it will require special effort to be rid of.

Roaches on the loose

2. Will Starcraft 2’s heroes showcase new models for each hero, or will SCII follow in SC:BW’s footsteps, leaving heros as normal units with improved stats?


StarCraft II Heroes will have unique models in game, which will be different than standard units.

Since Blizzard knows how hated multiplayer heroes are by some StarCraft fans, Karune quickly adds this bit:

As additional clarification to question 2, StarCraft II Heroes will only be available in the Single Player Campaign and in user created maps. They will not be available in the default multiplayer version of the game.

3. Will the ranking/experience system that Terran units used to have be available in the Map Editor as on option in Starcraft 2?


We will try to have this feature in.

4. Will it be possible to change (cancel, tie up, etc.) alliance during multiplayer game?


Yes, players will be able to have all the original diplomacy features as the original StarCraft and possibly a few extras in regards to controlling units and spending ally resources.

In reply to a concern about back stabbing in ladder games, Karune clarifies:

Teams will be locked in ladder games.

5. Will StarCraft 2 feature new map tile sets and will any from StarCraft be removed?


Many of the original map tile sets such as Mar Sara, Char, Shakuras, and Space Platform will be back in StarCraft II, as well as a few additional ones including a new Shattered City tile set.

6. What creature did the Zergling gain the inspiration to evolve into a Baneling from?


The idea of the Baneling didnt actually come from a certain creature. In actuality, it started from the need of something to fill the role of a ground-based, area-of-effect, suicide unit. To give added versatility to the Zergling, they had the Baneling evolve from the Zergling at tier 1 in current builds. For a suicide unit, the art team then took that idea and created a creature with huge sacs of volatile liquids, which you can see on the Banelings in StarCraft II screenshots.


7. Can you provide more details on the Reaper’s mine ability? How much damage does it do? Is it effective vs. both units and buildings? Is it detectable without stealth detection? What’s the cooldown on it?


The Reapers mines currently do 30 damage plus 30 additional damage to armored units (including buildings). These mines are not stealthed, have a 30 second cooldown period between uses, and are definitely small enough to make focus firing on them very difficult. In the current build, an upgrade is needed to allow the use of mines by Reapers.

Reaper Mine questions have been abundant recently. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Unlimited in use
  • Do not require mana, instead relying on a 30 second cooldown
  • Deal splash damage
  • Can harm friendly units and buildings
  • Inflict 30 base damage + 30 to armored units and buildings
  • Are visible, but small and hard to target quickly
  • Have little hitpoints and can quickly be destroyed
  • Can be hidden by troops that move over them, allowing for stealth mine assaults
  • Require an upgrade to be used

The Reapers and their mines have the potential to become StarCraft 2’s most destructive economy raiders, able to destroy an entire peon line in seconds – while taking very few losses themselves, running away quickly and gathering up for a new attack.

Reapers: Destroying economies since 2008

8. Are the Zerg Sunken and Spore Colonies capable of moving out of the bounds of creep?


Yes, they are able to move and plant themselves outside of the creeps boundary. Keep in mind that all Zerg buildings not in the boundaries of creep will slowly degenerate and eventually die. Creep which moves into an enemy base will also damage enemy buildings at a slow rate as well, allowing for new types ofcreep pushing strategies in StarCraft II.

Like the now immobile Phase Cannon used to work, the Zerg Defenses can uproot and move – and not only on Creep, but outside of it as well. Unlike the old Cannons, they can even plant themselves outside of the Creep and still function, although only for a finite amount of time, as they’ll slowly degenerate and die.

Another major change involves the new offensive capabilities of Creep, which will now slowly damage enemy buildings it engulfs.

Fortunately for the enemies of the Zerg, the re-planted Colonies will not spread creep themselves, although the Zerg of StarCraft 2 have plenty of other ways to spread their gooey, organic influence:

Sunkens and Spore Colonies will not expand the creep. Zerg players will be able to use both Overseers with their new special ability and Creep Tumors, which will expand Zerg creep significantly.

Terran and Protoss buildings will not be able to be built on Zerg Creep. Existing buildings will be able to be surrounded by Creep though.

A courageous Zerg player will also be able to keep his colonies alive by using the Queen’s ability to regenerate building health, allowing for interesting off-Creep offensive towering tactics.

9. Will the Map Editor support letters from non-English alphabets (ó, ű, Å‘, ú, á, é, etc.)?

Yes, these characters will be supported.

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