BlizzCon 2017 StarCraft II: What’s Next Panel Transcript

CO-OP: COMMANDERS

Day9: And with that… how dare you try to translate that for me? I told you… I mean at least demonstrate some value as the host here. With that, why don’t we talk about co-op David?

 

Christopher: I’m going to jump in first before David, because I’m still here, Sir. And the commanders will also be free up to level 5. So if there’s a commander that you’ve been dying to try, or you want us to dive into, or been reluctant with… now is your opportunity, and our goals with this wasn’t to create a side mode where you could go in and try the commander in some sterile environment. We wanted it so that you could actually play with people, see what the commanders are actually like, and I think that’s a really cool way to do it.

 

Day9: Are Raynor, Kerrigan and Artanis still completely free commanders in this?

Christopher: Yes. Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis are still 100% free completely from the beginning all the way up to the end through ascension mastery; also Swan, Vorazun, Zagara and Karax will remain available for free for anyone who buys the Legacy of the Void box or the Digital Deluxe.

Day9: David, talk to me about the new commander.

David: So hi Mr. Day9. As Mike mentioned, we are getting a new commander. It’s Han and Horner-

Day9: Like a duo. The first combo.

David: They are married. So Matt Horner. We’re thinking about him– as we’re designing it, we’re thinking about what is his fantasy. So of course, you’re thinking sky Terran Dominion units, super strong high stats. But also what do you think about? Some of our favorite moments were him and his interactions with Mira Han. It gave us an opportunity to do a combination of gameplay, as well as getting some really cool dialogue. If you guys are familiar with Mira Han, he actually wins her hand in marriage by playing a poker game. He didn’t know what he was playing for, but he won. So he was forced to marry her.

Day9: Don’t you hate when that happens?

Christopher: Sounds like my marriage.

Day9: Oh my God, controversy. All things, it’s always better to win someone’s hand in marriage in a game of poker than in something like a game of Monopoly… slowly getting ground down as you keep landing on Boardwalk and Park Place every single time.

David: So he wins. Now they forced to get married. She’s way more into it than he is, and he’s kind of trying to avoid it. It’s hilarious. So dialogues offer– so we kind of want to go with that theme. So this commander has a combination of mechanics and different playstyles.

So Horner… he’s got his high stat units, he starts with a Starport, and she attaches her mercenary tech lab to his Starport. She gives him upgrades, and as you can see here, she gives her upgrades so his unit’s actually get like mercenary art attached.

Day9: It reminds very Mad Max style feels.

David: So sure her units are like brutal and–

Day9: You didn’t mess up and lose your units, it was a tactical play.

David: Yes, a tactical play. So she can replace units super-fast. Another new unit is the bomber platform. So there’s another combo mash up. So she provides the bomber platform he provides the straight fighters. You can build up to 10 of these; and use the top bar to call them down. You can target a location on the map.

 

Day9: Do they function like units that you can shoot down the bombers that fly by?

David: So these… they are vulnerable. So you don’t want to go too far to enemy territory, but here you can see they do a lot of damage. The cooldown is pretty short, so it’s a really powerful way to kind of start clearing some of the map.

 

Day9: What happens if you lose some of the bombers during those raids? Do you have to rebuild the bombing platform?

David: They will rebuild automatically. So there’s a little bit of a longer cooldown. You still want to be prepared for with them as they’re Matt Horner’s bombers. He is very precise. Next up, we have basically a pirate ship. This is the assault galleon — that is Mira Han’s. It also functions as her production structure, so you can see here in this video that she’s producing Reapers from it, and has an attack; and it upgrades. You can add a hangar bay and it launches Assault Drones.

 

Day9: So this is like a super carrier production building that can make units and also be like a mobile strike platform. That is the best part about co-op. It is you don’t need to worry about balance against another person as much. You get to make things that make you go: Yeahrrr.

 

David: Yea, we are like: “what is cool?”

Day9: Well, I mean… I’m seeing on the next slide. I’m very excited for you to show the next piece.

David: This is calling the fleets is one of the ultimate abilities. This is Matt Horner’s. So you can target the map and it’ll send a fleet of Battlecruisers, and Vikings across the map, and it’ll shoot down enemies. It’s not AOE. It’s not random. He’s very precise–

 

Day9: I can see the precision right there. Yea.

David: He is Admiral of the Dominion fleet. So…

Day9: This is like the Raynor Battleship on steroids.

David: It’s pretty good damage; and then Mira Han is the exact opposite. So she’s not precise. She is crazy, reckless, chaotic. So hers is space station reallocation where you can target, and she teleport her space station into the enemies. This is hella frag damage.

Day9: This is the Rick and Morty episode.

David: Yes. So basically, anything it touches, it just instantly explodes one-shot.

Day9: And if it wasn’t enough damage I see that there is a post-teleportation explosion.

 

David: Yes. So it’ll release drones and then after that a nuke. So there’s even more damage. So it is like both things up, and blows up.

Day9: Beautiful. Now we heard earlier a little bit about the part and parcel mission being included. Talk to me about that new-

 

David: Yes, so this is the community contest winner. We had a community contest where the community members got to build maps. So special shout out to the winner Buswolley. I hope I said his name right. Is he here? Yes! Hey, everybody give him a round of applause.

If you guys didn’t get a chance to play it, it was this really awesome map where there is this mechanic where you collect the parts, you build up a busted Archangel. It repaired itself, and they would march across the map and attack — it’s kinda a boss fight with the death shards. So we really wanted to stay true to their original version of the map.

So some of the stuff we did, we tweaked a little bit of the mechanics, the timing… Travis here and his art team provided a full art pass. We got our support for new bosses, new effects, the terrain itself, the map. He’s got this awesome art pass, and then Valerie here… she wrote the script for General Davis. He is the map’s announcer.

So we got a little bit more of a backstory on General Davis, what she was doing before. Her story in Nova: Covert Ops. So it’s going to go right into the official map pool, so everyone can play it.

 

Day9: And you mentioned this idea of ramping up with Boss fights in the game. Talk to me about that.

David: Also we wanted to stay true to that original mechanic. So here is General Davis. She’s going to go explode the stasis chambers, and release the boss for you to fight. So we replaced the death shards with these hybrid mashups with like terran technology on them.

Day9: If you have bad micro… well, if there’s one thing in video games has taught me… any time there’s red circles, or red lines on the ground: run, run away. It’s bad. It’s not good.

 

David: So both of these: the commander, as well as the map are playable here at BlizzCon today. So you guys make sure and go check that out. Let us know what you think.

Day9: And I would just like to strongly note, if any of you are new to StarCraft, or haven’t played, and are interested in free-to-play I strongly recommend starting with co-op commanders. Super awesome. Super fun way to get into the game, for sure. What are some of the future things coming down the pipeline for Commanders?

 

David: I just wanted to also mention that for the viewers at home, if you are feeling left out about not being able to play, it is coming later this month. So look forward to that coming real soon; and speaking of which, on the next patch some of the people on the forums — a couple of them, I’m sure… this is actually the most anticipated feature of all BlizzCons. It is the random commander option.

So we’re happy to give that. It’s been a feature that people have been wanting for a while. So we’re very excited to give that to you guys. And then, the other thing that we’re changing is the Mutation Challenges no longer require level 5. So if you like leveling up commanders basically by playing mutations you can do that.

 

So we’re giving people more options, and we’re also still looking at leaderboards, and future war chests. We will have something for co-op players: It’s a Stimpack basically — an XP boost, so you can get those commanders leveled up faster to get those ascension levels Ranking.

Day9: In terms of the leaderboards, how is that intended to be structured? Is it more speed based or efficiency based?

David: Yes. So we definitely want to avoid degenerate gameplay styles… like some people were concerned: do I have to worry about how many units I lose like X:Y ratios? Do I farm to get more?

Day9: Maybe just turtle for two hours.

David: Yeah, we don’t want you to turtle for two hours. So basically, it’s an efficiency speed run. You want to do all the objectives, the bonus objectives, and then just do that as fast as you can. So you’re playing the right way, playing with a friend, and so I think it’s going to be really cool mode.

BlizzCon 2017 StarCraft II: What's Next Panel Transcript
1. Free-to-Play2. Co-op3. Design Patch
4. Shadow Wars Comics5. War Chests6. Community Q&A

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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