BlizzCon 2016 StarCraft II Multiplayer Panel Transcript

This is a full transcript of the BlizzCon 2016 StarCraft II Multiplayer Panel. Among the panelists are the following game developers:

  • David Kim (lead multiplayer designer)
  • Michael Scipione (technical designer)
  • Aaron Kirkpatrick (senior technical designer)

StarCraft II Multiplayer


Balance Patches

David: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the multiplayer panel. My name is David Kim, this is Michael Scipione, and this is Aron Kirkpatrick. We are a few of the members on the StarCraft II multiplayer team. Today we are going to be talking to you guys about the 2016 major balance design patch, and before we get started I would like to point out that we have been working together with our community for the past couple years.


For those of you who have been keeping track of our design processes, design philosophies, and the decisions that we made together with you guys, all that other information that we are going to be talking about today will hopefully not be a surprise; but we still wanted to get into this panel so that we can talk to you guys about the cool stuff that are coming, especially to the people who haven’t been paying attention so that you can come back to StarCraft II, and try out these awesome changes.

Speaking of which, if you wanted to get involved in working together on StarCraft II, we actually have that balance testing queue on the live game, so if you go to, click on the multiplayer tab, and the testing sub tab, you can actually queue into it, play some games, and then join in on the discussions.


For the discussions, we have the weekly updates about that we do on a weekly basis, as you can see on the other side, so you can join in on these discussions, give us your feedback, so that we can work together to make sure that StarCraft II is the best game that it can be.

So let’s get started. The main goal as many of you already probably know of StarCraft II is stability to promote mastery, and what we mean by this is we want to have a situation in StarCraft II where the game is not changing so much, so that players can feel like the number of hours that I put into the game (and really like hard work), and giving the hard work, and practicing the game cannot be disrupted by the major changes that come to the game so often.


So that is why we had this goal because we believe the core fun of StarCraft II is really mastering specific parts of the game; and then feeling that sense of accomplishment that you get from StarCraft II is unlike any other game out there. It is what we think. So how do we get there? We had balance patches and an expansion so far. So let us talk a little bit about both of these things.


For balance patches, our biggest goal is to make the smallest change as possible, and the reason for that, like we said just now, is to respect the players time and effort that they put into the game, and we did not want to make big design changes or big balance changes to kind of disrupt that flow; and therefore, the big stuff we left for expansions.


For expansions, this is where we did the big balance changes, and the design changes, and we also introduced new units. The reason for this is because sometimes small changes are not enough to solve specific issues. So we needed a place where we make these big changes, and we looked at these as a bit of a soft reset. So players can play with these changes during the off-season, and we can finish tuning and polishing the changes after the expansion launches during the off-season; and when the new ladder season begins, all the ladder players can go back to that fully competitive experience that they are used to.


Now that we do not have expansions anymore because StarCraft II is a live service game, we asked ourselves, and as we evaluated the game throughout the course of this year, we said hey but there are some big issues remaining with the game still, and because we do not have expansions anymore, how can we handle these big changes, because we are not going to change our philosophies on the more frequent balance patches.


So we said what if we were to do a major patch and we aligned it as if we were doing another expansions? So we looked at this as a bit of a multiplayer-only expansion type of deal, and that is why there are such big design changes, big balance changes, as well as we did some exploration on potential for new units as well.

So these three things will be what we are going to talk about today. Before I hand it off to Michael Scipione to talk about redesign and rebalance, I would like to just point out that because of the number of changes that we are doing with this major patch is so massive, we cannot go into every single change; but we tried our best to make sure that we cover all the big changes; but if you want to check out the full list you can either log on and play online, or you can go to and check out the blog that is going to come up right after this panel.

Next: Redesign & Rebalance


Balance PatchesRedesign & RebalanceNew Units ExplorationPanel Q&A (Part 1)Panel Q&A (Part 2)

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of 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. Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers. I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for (formerly ***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet's patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donatives will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round.

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