BlizzCon 2016 StarCraft II Multiplayer Panel Transcript

Panel Q&A (Part 2)

QUESTION: My question is in regards to the MMR per race which is really cool, but I am finding that when you are in the loading screen for a ranked game it is showing your highest rank, highest league. So I could be a diamond Zerg and they see the diamond, but I am Protoss, and it is very deceiving if I am a silver and it is showing I am a diamond, if that is on purpose or what the reasoning might be behind that, if it can show with the current one?

David: Initially, we put that so that we show you the highest potential of the player, but I think that is great feedback, and we definitely want to explore maybe splitting that out; and for team games maybe showing the team specific one. All that stuff. So we will definitely discuss that one and try to do something if we can.


QUESTION: I am just curious if you have messed with the mobility of the swarm host at all? I like the ideas of what you are doing with it now, but I do feel like it does not feel like a traditional Zerg unit which is high mobility, high rate of speed. Especially, when I am playing with it, and usually why I do not use it, is I feel like it gets lost outside of my army and it is easy to get caught out of place when you are using it as a harasser.

David: So we tried a couple different things. We tried adding deep tunnel to the unit so you can get away easily, or a burrow move to the unit also so that you can remain cloaked as you run away; but we realized the threshold between if it is a little too difficult to kill the swarm host then on the opposite side it feels like: man, I can never kill the swarm host.

As you probably know, if you have six or seven swarm hosts you can even take out to a Nexus. When we were testing it, it felt like: man, now it feels like there is nothing I can do, because I can never take my 4th base or my 5th because he has six swarm hosts and it so difficult to catch them.

I think finding that good balance where you can… sometimes, especially if went Phoenix, you should be able to counter the swarm hosts; but we have to be careful that we do not cross that line where it feels like it is getting away too easily, so it is doing way too much; but if the changes currently are not enough, we can explore more; but with the mobility we have to be very careful.


QUESTION: I have a couple questions. First one is about new players in general, and how they feel very intimidated, and kind of tying in with third-party sites and stuff like that. I think one of the most important things, and one of the issues that a lot of players have with 1v1s is they just… it is really win or lose, but there is no one to tell them what they did wrong, there is no one to help them improve. There are sites like SC2replaystats as a replay aggregator stuff like that. Is there any plan to improve maybe the score screen, or give options for a player to go more in-depth into like: well, I could get supply blocked a little bit less the next game, and then maybe get some sort of achievement for achieving a certain level of that. As opposed to just I lost four times in a row even though I got supply blocked 30% less, it feels like I am just losing every game, and I do not want to play anymore. Do you have any plans for advancing that, or better training, or improvement options in general?

Aron: Community collaboration is something we have had a big focus on lately, and in fact, we have been talking about improving community tools inside of the game a lot recently; but that actually is not one that has come up, and I think that is a great suggestion. So thanks.

David: Popular streamers like you yourself can also help out new players.


REPLY: I try, but something I get a lot is how do I improve? It is like: well spend your money. What does that mean? A lot of players have that, but the second one is: I know you have gone a little bit into detail about it, and with the new map pool for the balance test you are going with a set of older maps. Do you have any sort of guidelines, or testing for mapmakers, or custom maps coming up in 2017?

Michael: Historically, we have had some guidelines and such. We did a blog post about it before the last big map contest we did, about like here are some kind of doodads, do not put a whole bunch of them, do not do ton of water effects because we will have to make sure that the game runs on lots of platforms including very old ones. I suppose we can look into it again when it is coming up for when we are looking to do more community maps. Once again, as sort of a refresher of here are some base rules, here are some things we are looking for, here are some optimization tricks you can do.

David: I think the biggest one that the artist would say, I think, is: it is easy to get caught up on trying to make your map look pretty, so you use way too many doodads. So not all the machines can run these maps in a reasonable way. So I think that is a good one to look for. Like I said before, the other thing is we want to try maybe stretching out our ruleset a little bit on the design side, so if you had cool ideas that you always wanted to try, maybe in the next map contest we can try out those maps as well.


QUESTION: Have you ever considered having a larger map pool with more details to maybe add a little more variety?

David: That one is difficult, especially because we tried to tie the tournament maps with the ladder maps as well, and we don’t want to create such a more difficult situation for players trying to play in tournaments, and prepare for tournaments, and so on. So we think right now the seven maps with three v2s is the right number; but it is open for discussion as well.


QUESTION: My question is in relation to these major patches. I was wondering if your purpose is to shake things up at the end of every season, like WCS after BlizzCon, whether the goal is to actually shake things up, or you trying to maybe do them every once in a while, and not necessarily only after the season?

David: Our ultimate goal for StarCraft II is to be in a place where the game is not changing so drastically, so players can really focus out on every single aspect of StarCraft II. That is our ultimate goal, but right now we felt like we are not quite there yet. That is why we made this major patch.

So year-to-year we have to see, engage, and check if we are there yet. So next year, if we are not there, then maybe there is another major patch; but if we are, then that is great and maybe we switch our focus to doing smaller changes, and maybe focus on other parts of StarCraft II instead of changing the game design in a major way.


QUESTION: A follow up for that. After this one does go through, are you going to work to perfect that one or is there ever going to be a thing where this might not be working as you start to see it in tournaments, and there would be some kind of a revert, or anything like that? Or, is it maybe just like: Oh, we just gotta GO, and just try our best to make it the best it can be until the next year?

Michael: We are going to be watching the patch very closely once it goes live. Especially since there is a lot of big changes and potentially very drastic ones that are going to affect the gameplay. Like how you fight against Terran can be very different now, that you have to look for different signals and different build orders. So we definitely are going to be very careful about what are players doing and we are going to make changes as needed; and we will be watching very closely once this patch goes live.

David: And Totalbiscuit is doing the show matches on the test map very soon, I think. Maybe 6:00pm o’clock today. So we were talking to them about it this morning, and I was saying I kinda wish there are some broken things that get found so that we can fix those things. Whether it is a full revert, or a balance change, or a design change, because it would be great to find these problems right now, and then fix them before they go live.


David: Thanks, guys!

Narrator: Thank you for attending the StarCraft II Multiplayer Panel.

Transcriber: Rettep
Editor: Medievaldragon

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

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