The Beta is near...
The StarCraft II Legacy of the Void Beta is on the way, and with only two weeks left until its launch we wanted to take a look at the goals and expectations around the multiplayer beta. As you are likely aware, we’ve been trying to be as open as possible with the status of our development, and strongly believe that the increased cooperation between developers and players is beneficial to StarCraft II. To be clear, our goal for this expansion is to work together with all of you to make Legacy of the Void as awesome as possible.
For this reason, we decided to start the beta sooner than we normally would have in the past. This should provide ample time for feedback and iteration. However, this naturally results in a few things:
- Some things at the start of the beta will feel more rough than usual.
- We will be missing some units, improvements, features, etc.
- The beta will run for a longer period of time than usual.
- We will need your play-testing support, as well as the feedback about your experiences in the beta, in order to really work together on this expansion.
Please focus your feedback with these points in mind. We are truly excited to get everyone more involved in the development process.
Let’s talk first about the high-level gameplay changes you can look forward to seeing in the Legacy of the Void beta.
- Resource changes
- For the beta, we’re altering the number of resources at each base. Half the mineral patches have 1500 minerals, and the other half have 750. The main goal here was to make a change that would keep the feel of resourcing rates similar to Heart of the Swarm, while simultaneously encouraging players to take additional expansions more aggressively. So far, this change feels like a very solid way to achieve this and we’d love to try it out further during the beta. It clearly gives additional incentives for players to expand more, and from our internal testing, we feel like this change hits the mark on what we’re trying to do with the resource changes.
- Starting worker count
- You’ll also notice that the starting worker count has been increased to 12. This change is meant to reduce the downtime at the start of games, since the first few minutes of any game often grant little in the way of choices. So far, 12 feels like a good starting point for us, but we wonder if we can increase this even further without affecting early game choices too much.
- Unit Scan Range change
- We’ve improved the target acquisition of ranged ground units. Now, we’re just looking to see if any strange, unexpected behavior is caused by this change. We don’t currently know of anything unwanted that’s caused by this change, but we’d like to make sure that this is in fact the case during the beta. We’d really like to thank our community for locating this behavior, and we also agree with you all in that this could potentially be a really solid change to the game.
- Game speed altered to match that of real time
- If you use the game clock, you’ll notice it’s ticking much slower in the Legacy of the Void beta. We’ve changed the rate of time passage to match what you’d expect from a regular clock. We’re trying this out due to our community having asked for this feature, and also because it’s a bit confusing to not have the game display real time. We have a couple major concerns with this change, which we’d like to mention here.
- Game speed changing to real time also means all game values that are related to time also must change. Eg. When we say a cooldown of an ability is 5 seconds, we want that to mean 5 seconds.
- This means all attack speed values, movement speed values, cooldown times, research times, upgrade times, and unit build times will all need to be re-memorized. This is mostly applicable for hardcore players, and it seems that they are the ones requesting this change most fervently. We expect casual players will likely pay less mind to timers either way.
- Having made many changes to StarCraft II throughout the years, we know that sometimes changes that seem good in concept aren’t found to be preferable when implemented. We’d like you all to check this change out for yourselves to determine if this change is better for StarCraft II, or if you prefer the previous timer.
- We don’t want to have an option for this.
- Nothing could be more confusing than having two different versions of timers in the game. Not just when players are playing, but also because StarCraft II is an eSport. If different events start using different timers (whether intentionally or by accident), that would end up being extremely confusing for viewers.
- In making Legacy of the Void the best it can be, we know we want to avoid having a ‘time’ option, and we’re relying on your feedback to choose which game timer we will use in the future.
One of our main goals early in the beta is to get our new units locked down. This will be a higher priority than focusing on changes to existing units. By focusing feedback on the new units first, we’ll then have more time to polish and iterate on these units. And with time to experiment in beta, if we discover that a big change to a unit is really amazing and could work as an entirely new unit, we’re open to using a new unit to fill an existing role in a race’s arsenal. At the end of the day, it’s very important that each new unit has an interesting, new strategic use and purpose.
Once we have the new units in a place that feels solid, we’ll shift our focus to the other unit changes. However, if there are any awesome thoughts in the meantime, we’ still love to hear them.
Below is a list of the major changes coming in the Legacy of the Void beta. A complete list of all changes will be published upon the release of the beta.
This is a new unit that we feel rather confident about. We’d like this unit to serve as a core unit option. This means that this unit will be able to perform some of the previous roles filled by Zealots or Stalkers and, in some cases, do it better. The main worry for us here is to really ensure that we differentiate the Adept from the Stalker, since they’re both teleporting units. Our direction right now is that the Stalker’s Blink focused on more twitch based micro, where the player who’s fastest/most accurate with clicks will perform better. The Adept’s Psionic Transfer is more about the timing and positioning of the teleport. We’d like the two units to be as far apart from each other as possible, and want to avoid any changes that make them more similar. For example, allowing players to control when to teleport the Adept by activating the teleport manually is something that we’d like to avoid.
- Warp-in Mechanic
- Units that are warping-in have become more vulnerable while constructing. The goal of this change is to strengthen harassing tactics versus Protoss, while also making a Protoss player’s army and warp-in positioning a more tactical decision.
- Warp Prism
- To strengthen the harassment options available to Protoss, the Warp Prism can now pick-up units from a distance.
- In order to create more opportunities for Terran Mech, and to increase the impact of micro, the Immortal’s ‘Hardened Shield’ ability has been removed and replaced with ‘Barrier’, an activated ability which grants the Immortal a limited hit-point shield.
- To create more diversity in Protoss detection, Revelation has been removed and merged with Envision so that any targets tagged are now revealed for 60 seconds. The oracle has also been granted a new active ability called ‘Stasis Ward’.
- Stasis Ward: This ability places a cloaked Stasis Ward on the ground which, upon detonation, will explode and trap nearby enemy units in stasis for 30 seconds.
- To help incentivize action, the Tempest has had its role changed to an aerial skirmish unit – its movement speed has been increased, it can now only fire on ground units, and it has been granted an activated ability called ‘Disintegration’ which deals damage over time.
- Carriers can now activate ‘Release Interceptors’ to permanently launch all interceptors at great distance. After 60 seconds, any remaining Interceptors will perish.
New Terran Unit
We’re also in the process of exploring a second new unit for Terran. We’d like to avoid something from the Factory, as that building already has quite a few units already. Instead, we’re looking at adding a Barracks unit, Starport unit, or possibly even a new building altogether. Our initial idea is that we’ll see the interactions of various changes to the game, and try to locate something interesting and fun for this slot during the beta.
- The Battlecruiser has been granted the ‘Tactical Jump’ ability, allowing it to teleport anywhere on the map (regardless of fog of war) at a very high energy cost.
- Siege Tank
- To coincide with Legacy of the Void’s focus on harass and aggression, the Siege Tank has been granted the ability to be lifted and dropped while maintaining Siege Mode. Doing so requires the full cargo-space of a Medivac.
- The Corruptor’s ‘Corruption’ ability has been removed and replaced with ‘Caustic Spray’. Caustic Spray is a channeled ability which deals increasing damage over time to the unit or building targeted. However, the Corruptor cannot move as it channels this spell.
- Swarm Host
- To strengthen Zerg harass, the Swarm Host has been shifted from a siege-tool, to a mobile harass tool. ‘Spawn Locusts’ can now be used while unburrowed, but it must be activated manually, and has a much longer cooldown. Locusts themselves have been buffed, and can be upgraded to fly over terrain. They must then swoop down to the ground to engage.
- Nydus Worm
- To enhance the diversity and strength of harass options for Zerg, the Nydus Worm can no longer take damage until it is finished unburrowing. A main effect of this change is that workers will no longer be a viable defense versus Nydus worms.
Overall, we’re incredibly excited to be taking Legacy of the Void into beta. We’ve been working hard to make this game the best it can be. Thank you for all the feedback you have offered on StarCraft II these past few years, and we look forward to hearing even more of what you have to say in the beta.