BlizzCon 2017 StarCraft II: What’s Next Panel Transcript

DESIGN PATCH

Day9: That’s awesome. It’s time to move on to the design patch with Michael, and this is not a balance patch per se. We’re making a few things weaker, a few things stronger. It’s much more of shaping the game’s approach, and if you could talk a little bit about that.

Michael: I’m here representing the multiplayer design team today; and we’re going to talk about the design patch as you mentioned. So we don’t have like the goal to just change the game for the sake of change. We want to look at what the game state is, and see if we can make some targeted changes to make everything better.

 

And here are some of our overall goals that we have this year producing game ending moments. What we mean by that is sometimes where you and the other guy are battling each other it’s been going pretty well. You’ve destroyed some of his stuff and he has destroyed some of yours. It is going very pleasantly.

 

And then through the actions of a few units, you sort of suddenly can lose the game through a few ability casts, and we wanted to see which of those could we kind of make a little bit weaker, but without losing the impact intended.

Day9: Yeah, I mean… you still want attention I would assume, and you still don’t want to punish someone like me that gets really excited micro-ing in a battle while he’s losing all of his workers to an Oracle back home. That sort of thing like… I should have been watching the mini map. I know it’s my fault.

Michael: You should protect your base. Be more defensive.

Day9: I still got it. I still got it, okay?

(laughter)

Michael: So we’re going to go over some of our big highlights here. It is not all the changes. If you want to see all the changes, we have a blog post about it on Starcraft2.com

But we have some of the highlights over here today. And as you can see up first is going to be Protoss with a building I think that you’re very familiar with (Mothership Core removal).

 

Day9: Oh baby! Feel better StarCraft: Remastered. I gotta say I’m still so happy that StarCraft: Remastered is back; and now we have got shield batteries. How do they function?

 

Michael: So shield batteries is a classic structure from Brood War. They work a bit differently this time, though. Now they actually recharge your shields automatically, when your units are nearby. It can also recharge photon cannons automatically. You can also recharge buildings, but you have to do that yourself. You have to micro that. You are on your own. So if somebody is trying to like break through your wall, you can then retarget these shield batteries to keep your wall up.

Day9: I see the shield batteries are healing– with an immortal against stalkers; and immortals are super good against stalkers. It looked like it was out-healing the damage of one of my immortals. Like how fast qualitatively are these things able to regenerate shields?

Michael: They are noticeably faster than a Medivac to give like the easiest comparison. And so up next, we’ve got the Raven. Speaking of Terran.

Day9: I wanedt to ask about the mothership being removed. The shield battery is sort of there to give an additional defense option; and I like that.

Michael: So with the mothership core removal and the battery additional, what we want to try and do is move some of the protoss defensive options from being a singular unit and diffuse it out into the army.

So we’ve actually made a few changes like the stalker weapon is different as well, shield batteries are now in, adds a bit more vision on their shade. The idea is the sort of diffuse that power down into other things, so it’s a bit easier to spread out.

Day9: I know all Terran players are really excited that the mothership core is out. Terrans are like tears streaming down his face. The mothership is gone. Yes! Talk to me about the Raven. What’s for terran?

Michael: So the Raven has three new abilities. We’ve cut its previous three replacing the seeker missile is the anti-armor missile. As you can see here. It still impacts and does big damage. Actually, it doesn’t do big damge. I misspoke. It used to do big damage. Now it does a little bit of damage, but reduces armor by 3.

 

Day9: That strikes me as super significant given how in almost all the matchups getting 3/3 is huge in terms of upgrades; and this just undoes all those armor upgrades in a blast.

Michael: Undo. That’s what it does. Now you have to be very careful. It still does friendly fire so if your opponent is watching they can make you lose 3 armor.

Day9: And that’s going to be a StarCraft highlight, no doubt.

Michael: We also gave it the Repair Drone. It’s a very aptly name. It’s there and it repairs your stuff and it’s a robot.

 

Day9: And again in terms of the healing capability, is it equivalent to the Medivac, or is it super strong like the Shield Battery?

Michael: This one is equivalent to a Medivac, for now. We’re still doing ongoing balance tuning, of course. The final ability is what I’m really excited about. It is the Interference Matrix. This targets a psionic or mechanical unit, and deactivates its weapons and abilities.

 

Day9: And you say psionic and mechanical — which has like a very specific and unusual set of tags. It mostly doesn’t work against the zerg, except for I guess it would be the Queen and Infestor, and Viper.

Michael: And also because it deactivates abilities, it can be used in really very interesting ways like if there’s a war prism that’s activated and it is warping things in, if you hit it with this, it deactivates the warping field underneath it.

Day9: I assume the same for Medivac’s speed boosts?

Michael: Yes. If it is a Medivac’s speed boost trying to get away from you, and you hit it with this, it no longer can; but it will turn off its engines and it also cannot lift up things, or drop them while it’s being inhibited.

Day9: That’s awesome. Be careful.

Fan yells: Is it a single target or AOE?

Day9: A gentleman in the front row has a question outside the Q&A, and his question was a single target area or AOE?

Michael: Single target.

Day9: Single target. (tsk) Got you covered buddy.

(laughter)

Michael: So we’ve also got Fungal. Fungal with the zerg. The Infestor has changed a bit. Fungal now no longer holds you in place. We like promoting the micro, and now the radius is a little bit bigger. It’s a little bit more consistent.

 

Day9: So that way if I have a giant pack of Mutalisks, zerg vs zerg, if I get hit with one Fungal it’s not guaranteed death, but I can very slowly kind of peel them away?

Michael: Yes, you can slowly go around it and say “please move. Go, go, go! You can make it, little guy!” — and then sometimes they don’t make it.

Day9: Now I know you’ve had some of these changes in terms of testing, talking about the Marine, I know we’ve seen Stephano do savage things with the Infested Terrans.

Michael: So the Infested Marine is a bit different. He has an anti-air weapon now, and his ground weapon has been nerfed significantly. However, he does get upgrades again. So they can scale. This is to move him more toward like an anti-air role. This video is actually slightly out of date. Balance is ongoing. They used to spawn really fast on creep, and just this week we actually changed it so they don’t spawn as fast on creep. We got a lot of feedback from the pros and other high level players saying that this made them hit too hard too fast.

 

Day9: And you talked about how this is actually just recently been changing design. What are some things we expect down the pipeline as you are continuing to tune the game?

Michael: So this is definitely not the end. This is the start of balance tuning, and we don’t plan on doing a big patch every year; but we will do it as needed and as warranted, because part of the thing is we want to respect players’s time investment. StarCraft … kind of a difficult game? We hear.

Day9: Some people say that?

Michael: Yeah, and so we want to make sure we respect people’s time and investment. That they feel good about getting good at the game.

 

Day9: Oh, you mean you don’t want them to spend a whole bunch of time practicing a certain strategy that you just negate by–

Michael: We want to be careful about that.

Day9: That’s a good thing the protoss players don’t rely on the mothership core. Ha-ha-ha! Take that protoss players.

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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