BlizzCon 2016 StarCraft II Multiplayer Panel Transcript

Redesign & Rebalance

Michael: Hello, everybody. I am Michael Scipione, I work on the StarCraft II multiplayer team, and I also work on the campaign team; but here we are going to talk about each of the races and some of the big changes we are doing with them. Up first is Terran, specifically we are looking at Terran mech.


Terran mech serves as a strategic zone control play style. This is different than Terran bio which is more of a multi-pronged tactical playstyle. For Terran mech we decided to look at what do they have, and what preys upon mech? For what they have we looked at things such as the cyclone, the siege tank, and the battlecruiser. We also looked at what preys upon mech, especially the relationship between mech and Protoss with the Tempest.



So starting things off, we have the cyclone. On the live version of the game the cyclone acts as a sort of assassination tool. You pick your target, you lock on, and opens fire; and then you need to keep the cyclone alive by moving around. It is not a frontline fighter as we see here.


So when we are looking at mech, we thought what if my caddy armored unit that could come out earlier, and give them more map control, and fight against early enemy armored units? So we looked into redesigning the cyclone to do this. In this way, we gave it a new auto attack, and changed its stats a bit as you can see here.


The cyclone actually maintains its lock on ability for fighting against air units. With this new ground attack, we are hoping that the cyclone will be able get map control; and when defending your main stack of units, it can ward away small groups of enemy armored units that might try to pick off your big guns. Speaking of those big guns, let us go to the siege tank.


On the live version, the siege tank does a good amount of damage, but can be overrun when faced with large amounts of enemies. I said we are looking at zone control, we decided to make a change to the tank, and all you all you can see it here.


Post-patch, the siege tank does a lot more damage, and this will make it very dangerous to walk into an enemy siege tank line if you are unprepared. However, Terran Commanders, you have to be careful; greater damage means greater friendly fire. So you have to be careful with your siege tank positioning. In order to make it more of a zone control style, we removed the medevac pickup ability from the siege tank. So now it is more of a commitment to where you want to siege up, and where you want to destroy your enemy.


We also looked at the Battlecruiser, and with the Battlecruiser we looked at its abilities. Specifically that right now tactical jump which allows you to warp anywhere, and your modular cannon which allow you to blast an enemy to pieces are tied to the same energy. So you have a choice of using one, or the other. We made a change where they are now on separate cooldowns, so you choose both.


So here, instead of saying: Which one do I want? You say: When do I want the Battlecruiser to go full power and attack the enemy, or when do I want to use it more defensively with both abilities?


We also looked at what preys upon Mech. Specifically, the Tempest with 15 range outranges everything in the Mech arsenal on live, and this makes it have consistent damage against Mech forces which is very difficult for them to engage into, because again, they have low mobility. So we took it to auto attack and reduced its range, and said give the Tempest ability that can stun units but only if you don’t move out of the way in time; making it more of a combo piece.


At 8 range, the new Tempest actually has lower ground attack range than the Thor, which should allow for a more interesting back and forth. Also before I go on, I would like to point out that all the art and sound effects that you see here are still temporary. They will be different once it goes live.

Next is Protoss itself. With Protoss we want to go look at the Gateway units, and make sure they are all getting the same amount of use. To that extent, we believe zealots are a little bit weaker. So we have been looking into buffing their speed post-upgrade. We also looked at harassment units and making sure that harassment options for Protoss are a bit more evened out. To that extent we are nerfing add-ops, through their shade vision range.


So now if you shade aggressively, you need to be much more careful as the amount of information you get is lower. We are also going to be introducing Warp Prisons hold amount which means it has the same amount of shields, but if you are careless you could lose that prison much more easily.


We are also buffing some of their harassment options with the Dark Templar. With the Dark Templar, we are giving it a blink which should help it for a later game as it comes online later game. Let us look at air units specifically the Void Ray and the Carrier. We want to promote more of the Carrier interceptor micro; and with the Void Ray, we have increased its speed with a bit more of a strike.

So with the Dark Templar, before they do serve a role and they are very good up until detection starts coming online. In the patch, we have introduced a late game upgrade off of the Dark Shrine that will give the Dark Templar a blink that is very similar to the stalker ability, but does give you some vision of which direction it is moving.



We also wanted to look at Carrier Micro. When you destroy the Carrier all its interceptors will explode. Another thing about the Carrier is that once it deploys its interceptors as long as you keep the Carrier moving and the interceptors attacking, it can actually attack further than when it first deployed. We looked into removing the release interceptors ability, which was more of a set and forget kind of ability, and we want to move it more towards: we want you to keep your Carriers moving, you want to keep the higher range; and right now, the main way you defeat a carrier is killing receptors, and it will drain them of resources. We looked at reducing the interceptors cost from 25 to 5, which should allow you do more Carrier micro like this.



The Zerg have a few interesting changes. The hydralisk is being seen more as a core unit, as opposed to right now where it is more of a pure support unit. To that extent, we have looked into increasing its range, and also post upgrade. It will now gain speed both on creep, and off creep.


Before, it was only off creep that the speed would increase. This will allow it to respond faster and attack more quickly when you have the creep highway.


We also looked at the Baneling. We made it more resistant to indirect fire, or non-targeted fire by increasing its health on the upgrade with Baneling speed. This way we do not negatively influence Zerg vs Zerg too much.


We also looked at infestors and swarm hosts as sort of Zerg’s tech options. With the infestor we were looking at burrow casting. So it will be very dangerous if your opponent does not have detection. For the swarm host, we believe its role is correct, but its cost might be too high for what it does.


With the hydralisk, with an increased speed and increased range here you can see when the Liberator comes in to attack, they now have the ability to attack and kill off the Liberator whereas before they could not.



We also have the Infestor burrow casting, which as a tech option will make it very dangerous if your opponent doesn’t have mobile detection following their forces as you can see here.


Also of interest to note here, is that like I mentioned before, these are placeholder. Fun fact, these are the Brood Lord cocoons we are using as placeholder for now, and what this is showing though is that unlike many other burrow Zerg which are very hidden once they are burrowed, the Infestor is going to be more visible, and will have some collision on it.

This means that just because it can burrow or move around, once your opponent does get detection it will be easier to target them down, and you can’t hide them underneath your other units.


With the swarm host, here it is before, trying to be used as a harasser and siege line breaker — which was a good effort, but not quite enough. So we thought that perhaps this role is correct, but they have costed too much. For the same amount of cost, here is how many more swarm hosts you can have.


There is another little thing that changed with the swarm host. We actually increased the swoop range of those locusts by one. This means that they will be less vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire, and will allow more of them to get in range to actually attack their targets. Up next will be Aron Kirkpatrick to talk about new unit exploration.

Next: New Unit Exploration

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

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