Thursday, 12 April 2012

Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm Multiplayer Update

Blizzard felt that the some of the multiplayer aspects of Heart of the Swarm just weren't up to scratch since the expansion was last unveiled at Blizzcon 2011. Dustin Browder, lead designer on Starcraft II, has written a post on the Starcraft community site outlining the changes to the races since they were last on show.

Shredder unit
On the Terran side of things, Blizzard has axed the Shredder unit, which was capable of emitting stationary death fields.The Warhound, the smaller, faster version of the Thor, is also in contention. According to Browder, "The shredder was very confusing for players as well as being something that was easily used to kill a large number of workers with little to no warning. It was rarely used for its intended role of map control." As for the Warhound Browder said,"It still feels a little too much like a small thor, which is just not new enough to give Terran players new strategies." Since Blizzard only announced three new units for Terran at BlizzCon, this leaves only the Battle Hellion still on schedule to release with the game. However, Browder did say that they're experimenting with adding more units to the Factory and if they keep the Thor unit then they might implement an "anti-air spider mine" that would give the Terrans a way to get some factory-built anti-air into small places that a Thor has trouble reaching (like near your minerals)." The team's also experimenting with a long-ranged missle launcher which could be used to break siege tank lines.

Replicant unit
The Protoss have fared much in the way Terrans have since BlizzCon. According to Browder, the Replicant, the unit that created a copy of other units, has been cut and the Tempest has been reworked. The Replicant was cut because, "he was causing enemy players to not build certain unit types and was actually removing diversity from the game instead of adding diversity." The Tempest was reworked since Blizzard upgraded the range on Phoenix already, so they felt like they no longer needed a splash anti-air weapon. Now, the Tempest is working as a long-ranged aerial siege weapon that can hit both ground and air units.  This will allow the Protoss to force engagements rather than sit there massing up a death ball.

Viper unit
And finally, we reach the Zerg. Unlike the others, the Zerg has remained largely stable and unchanged since Blizzcon. The only change is that the Viper has been given new abilities, making it more of a pure caster than a utility unit. "In addition to Abduct, the viper also has the ability to blind biological units in an area of effect. Blinded units have their range reduced to 1. This is obviously effective against Terran infantry as well as Zerg roach and hydra armies. The viper can also regain energy by feeding off of minerals. This locks up the mineral patch and prevents it from being harvested, so you want to use this ability away from your base," Browder said.

Overall, Browder mentions that the Terran race had been the most challenging to adjust for Heart of the Swarm. "We have had a great deal of trouble with the Terrans largely because they are such a flexible and effective race in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty." Like usual, none of these details are final and they are still subject to change; it's more than likely it'll change during the beta period (for which there still isn't a date). Browder says that the team is working at their utmost potential and are trying to deliver us a date as soon as possible. That concludes this post, if anyone wants the original link for the development update, here you go.


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