Community Feedback Update - August 14

StarCraft II General
Below an update from Senior Game Designer David Kim:

Potential Balance Test Map for HotS

Before we get to the Void topics, we’d like to discuss a potential balance test map for Heart of the Swarm. We’re currently wondering if a minor change is needed to help Zerg against Terran mech and Protoss. We don’t quite know for certain that a balance update is needed, however we are wondering if we should start up a balance test map to explore the idea.

For this, we’re considering testing the Swarm Host balance changes that have been ongoing in the Void beta. The automatic Flying Locusts, cheaper cost, and decreased supply of Void Swarm Hosts have shown decent potential versus Protoss and mech, and for ZvT, we are looking for a change that will only really help versus mech, since Zerg vs Bio appears to be in a good state. Buffing Swarm Host harass could target this well, considering the relatively low mobility of Terran mech. Please let us know your thoughts in this area so that we can make the best possible decision. Thank you.

Design/balance Schedule in the Beta

As some of you may already know, our team is hard at work trying to release Legacy of the Void sometime this year. With this in mind, we wanted to discuss what this means for the Legacy of the Void beta. So far, we’ve been in the beta for about 4 months – approximately the length of the entire HotS beta.

With the ways things currently are, we don’t quite feel that we’re ready to move into the balance “fine-tuning” stages yet, since major changes (such as macro mechanics or Disruptor redesign) are still on the table. Our current plan is to continue exploring various large-scale changes for roughly one additional month, and then (assuming things are sufficiently finalized) we can shift our focus towards balance changes for the remainder of the beta. Design changes will still be considered after this period, but we will be trying to reduce them to things that are absolutely needed so that we can focus on balance tuning before the release of the game.

Protoss Warp-in changes

We found that the defensive case is too big of a nerf in expansion locations. After reading many of your suggestions, we’ve decided to test this mechanic with both Warpgates and Nexus providing faster warp-ins. Below is a list of all the warpgate changes going into the next update:

  • Warping-in at a Pylon takes 16 seconds.
  • If a Pylon’s power radius is touching a Warp Gate or a Nexus, the color of the power radius changes, and warp-ins take 2 seconds.
  • Multiple Pylons can be affected by the same Nexus or Warp Gate.
  • The Warp Prism’s power radius will be the stronger version, and units will only take 2 seconds to warp-in.

  • With these changes, we’re clearly seeing the heavy nerfs to the offensive warp-ins. The huge buff to defensive warp-ins is also feeling good internally, because one of the main reasons why Protoss is struggling in the beta right now is due to their difficulty in securing late-game expansions.

    Macro mechanics

    We’ve recently seen significant amounts of passionate and well-articulated discussions on the topic of macro mechanics. There are numerous people on both sides of our proposed changes, and we’ve read through and listened to many of the arguments as to why people feel the way they do. Having considered our testing internally along with your opinions in the community, we are currently planning to begin testing these changes in the next balance update. This does not mean the changes are permanent, but that we would like to explore their effects on a larger scale. To help prepare for this, we also wanted to briefly discuss some additional gameplay observations that we’ve discovered while testing.

      Terran Mules being Removed

    • Scanner Sweep use is much more common, but because there are so many possible scans available, Calldown: Extra Supplies now has tactical justification. The decision to cast one ability or the other has become rather dynamic, and the constant decisions between these two abilities seem interesting.
    • The balance on these abilities might not be there yet, and if Mules do in fact get removed, we may need to tune these abilities’ details.

    • Protoss Chronoboost being Removed

    • The removal itself seems good, but we’re definitely realizing that there may need to be some timing changes to help Protoss.
    • We will be decreasing Warp Gate research time, and also speeding up the Disruptor build time, but we believe there’s more to come if this change goes through. Our current thought is that if Chronoboost is removed, we will need to strategically locate the specific units, buildings, upgrade times that would need to be reduced .

    • Zerg Inject Larva Being Auto-Cast and Reduced to 2 per Inject

    • We were initially worried that this particular change would take away too much from Zerg macro, but surprisingly, it is feeling like there’s still so much macro to tackle.
    • With this change, we’re also seeing better creep spread. This is something that we may need to tune eventually. Nevertheless, having a more visible result from players’ macro looks to be a much cooler direction rather than just having the forced/needed clicks found in things like Inject Larva.


    Overall, we expect there will need to be a lot of balance tuning required if the macro mechanics changes stick. We are definitely looking forward to hearing your feedback and observing how the changes play out in the beta. Also, please remember to keep an open mind when testing out these changes - it will take time to iron out the balance as we continue testing this area.

    Thanks for all of the passionate feedback and discussions these last few weeks. We hope that you will continue to have such rich discussions while we test these rather unique changes as we are certainly eager to hear your thoughts after playing with them.

    Thanks so much!
    Hello!
    That nexus thing is great idea. And the 16 second offensive warp in is good thing now i think. It will make miracles to PvP wich is now a bit coin flippish when it comes to BO:s.
    Still i feel like. If you are 2 base all inning. Or some cases 1 base. You can easily build a gateway proxy pylon location to 2 second warp in units, Wich will then turn in to a huge buff to offensive warp ins wich we dont want. So an idea: What if Protoss nexus had some kind of field, that will empower all pylons within it to allow defensive 2 second warp ins. Then you dont need to focus too much on architeching your buildings and whatnot.
    Warp prism power field buffed, Great!
    I feel kinda bad for deleting macro mechanics becouse it have been a part of the game, wich can separate better players.
    I feel disruptor needs a redesign. There is no way protoss player can show hes skills, or feel like i won becouse i played better, Becouse the unit is too much depending on enemy players micro mistakes.
    Thank you for all this information!

    Here are my 2 Cents regarding LotV:


      1. Replays: I want to watch via a player camera AND want to see the movements of all other players.

      2. A voting system for maps (random generator for the coin flip?) to veto maps in "automatic tournaments".

      3. More attention to Jakatak's hints

      4. More/An arcade control group trainer like Hotkey Trainer (battlenet://starcraft/map/2/166322) but for Spawning units and adding them to control groups.

      5. A more transparent MMR System, make clear when/why I am to be promoted. PLEASE!

      6. Countdown (like recover) at the end of the scroll bar / at the beginning of a ranked game.

      7. A possibility to play (un)ranked against a chosen race and/or skill level if they enabled this on their account.

      8. Better AI (see the already existing projects; including scouting etc.pp) with the possibility to load individual BOs

      9. Include "TheCore" keyboard setup via hotkeys

      10. Include "TheStaircase" training system to become a better gamer (TM).

      11. Faster international/regional pings as well as off-line tournaments via LAN ;)

      12. SC 3!


    BONUS
    Pre-defined camera positions which I can still change by my self.

    Thank you also for all the great tournaments and live streamings incl. replay packs!

    Warm regards
    17/08/2015 09:21Posted by Nakatoir
    Terran Mules being Removed


    please reconsider removing mules, and keep the repair with a reduced time it stays alive. I think removing will really nerf any heavy terran air and mech play. I use the mules to strategically repair harrassing air or repair an attack force on the move. Since scvs tend to die really fast, and have to fetch them from bases all the way back mining. it is faster to just call down the mules.
    Am i correct that the warp mechanics change will make early protoss cheese like proxy gate or even proxy nexus even stronger?

    ...i like it!
    Iam pretty excited about the upcoming changes and i have split feelings about it but we will see.

    I would realy like to see some kind of Observing, Livestream, Watch me Play feature to be added. Sc2 Menues will be a much cooler place to hangout if u could watch ur buddies play.
    So the already retardly high 120s build time carriers got nerfed even more by removing the possible speed up via chrono boost
    nice, just remove that !@#$ already.

    Also if there no mule to spend energy, then it means that using cloaked units VS teran will be a even more impossible thing, since they going to have loots of energy for scann...
    I don't think removing chronoboost is a good choice.

    In early game protoss have to choose if crono probes or play in a more aggressive way using chrono of a starport for a fast oracle or maybe a stalker or a zelot to destroy a terran engineering bay. Taking out chronoboost from the game will destroy theese early game choices. On the other side in late game chorno takes too much time to do booring thins like have a decent time for big units or upgrades, and you have to use it more than once for a single upgrade.

    I suggest to not remove chorno, but to change it in this way:
  • Each nexus can make a chrono link with one building each time
  • The link last until is stopped or transfered to an other building
  • The building with the Chronolink will have increased production speed by 33% (actual chrono is 50%)
  • After you used the Chronolink you have to wait 40s to transfer it on an other building
  • With my suggestion of chornoboos it will be tattics like now in early game and in late you will spend less time on macro.
    How can i post my screenshot here? I played a game today, but the Immortal is showed like a dome.
    21/08/2015 12:45Posted by dzc
    How can i post my screenshot here? I played a game today, but the Immortal is showed like a dome.


    Same Here immortal Model seemes to be wrong
    Protoss relies on chronoboost to enforce a tactics quickly enough, e.g. to pump out Phoenixes once a spire has been scouted. Now that chronoboost has been removed in the beta, I lose every single game because whatever strategy I choose, it develops too slowly to be competitive. This has removed all fun from the game for me, and I am out of the beta until this has been fixed.
    Also, I feel that the splash radius of the new Disruptor powerball is too small to make any difference. This way the unit remains hardly useful for its cost. Basically I like the idea of making the disruptor more like an SC1 reaver, but a reaver has more splash radius for a reason.
    Hate the feel of auto inject. Feels like trying to undo so much muscle memory.

    Disabling it is just stupid so don't suggest that.
    I love the auto inject. I am a bronze league hero so I rejoice that change. Too bad tho its nerfed to 2 larvas.
    I was thinking about buying this game, have been GM for the first 7 Seasons of SC2, but this is the most pathetic thing I've read in a while, certainly wont buy if it stays like this.
    23/08/2015 11:24Posted by mEtRo
    I was thinking about buying this game, have been GM for the first 7 Seasons of SC2, but this is the most pathetic thing I've read in a while, certainly wont buy if it stays like this.


    And your logic behind your decision is... what exactly?
    I know I wouldn't respect someone's opinion if they were unwilling to back that opinion up, and I am pretty sure you wouldn't either.
    So why should Blizzard?

    I am torn on these changes,
    Larvae inject: On one hand it actually feels kind of nice not having to go back to my base every few seconds to make sure my macro does not slip, it's most certainly a reduction in skill ceiling when it comes to zerg, but probably not all that bad for the masters and GM's out there.

    Chrono boost: I don't play Protoss, so I am not convinced I can form an educated unbiased opinion on it.

    Mule: I like it, if only because no terrans will ever be able to field a 200-200 army and get away with it anymore.
    And that terrans now actually choose between Scan and Supply drop is pretty cool.

    And to the naysayers, I say this:

    17/08/2015 09:21Posted by Nakatoir
    This does not mean the changes are permanent, but that we would like to explore their effects on a larger scale.


    Shove the whine where the sun doesn't shine and try it out before you shout!
    Form an educated opinion on the actual effects of the changes and not because you think it looks bad on paper!
    I am with Dudeliduu when it comes to backing up one's opinion, so I would like to add some more.

    Basically, I really like the idea of strategically irrelevant "garbage" micro being removed, freeing up player time for meaningful decisions. I know there are some that insist that having to micro lots of stuff increases the fun of the game, and that for that reason any automations are evil, but to those I always suggest having to move every single probe back and forth between mineral patch and Nexus (likewise for the other races) for maximum fun. I think that illustrates my point.

    What I dislike about this patch is that the imbalances it causes are obvious, making it ill-suited even for trying out.

    o Zerg needs a second queen at every hatch, slowing them down a little in the beginning and costing them a little max pop in the long run, but get more air defense in the process and are otherwise unnerfed.

    o Terran gets a permanent economical nerf which is effective throughout the game (except for the very early beginning).

    o Protoss gets a temporary but heavy economical nerf that is effective until midgame (until they have reached their target probe count so Nexus chronoboosts are no longer interesting). From there on, they get a major strategic nerf for the rest of the game because they can no longer produce the thing they focus on with greatly enhanced speed. (I will not comment on the ridiculous +1 supply boost for Nexi.)

    You could try and factor the permanent Terran economic disadvantage against the early economic and late tactical disadvantage of Protoss. However, Zerg can compensate their nerf by simply putting a second queen at every hatchery, and from there they hardly are at any disadvantage at all. To the contrary, it even means a benefit to them, because no human player can always manually inject all possible larvae at all his hatches at the optimal time throughout the game, which auto-inject does. So in the long run, the change probably even means a larva boost to Zerg (on top of the extra queen energy for healing or creeping)!

    I already observed that it was practically impossible for me to react to a sudden Muta switch (which is hard enough in HotS), because when I spot the spire, I can no longer chrono out Phoenixes as fast as I can (and there is no other working counter to Mutas because Mutas can easily outmaneuver anything else that could threaten them and raze your base where it is not defended. Even multiple photons fall to Mutas in practically zero time once enough Mutas have been amassed (which can be achieved with a single round of larvae later in the game)).

    David Kim has even pointed out that they are aware of this imbalance against Protoss, so I wonder why they did not include some sort of compensation right away (other than the laughable +1 nexus supply).
    As Z player I just say: thanks, it was like atm T players could get more supply than a zerg cause less workers needed and more income which was really stupid, but I think you need to bring back the swarmhost someway which is not boring because, at this momment, T mech is nearly unstopable for Z players.
    I think a big help for Zerg versus turtlemech, especially in the very lategame, would be if there were any Zerg unit (other than infested terrans, unless they get their upgrades back), that can shoot air without activating PDD.

    I feel like as soon as a Terran gets to change from groundmech to air, zerg has pretty much nothing that can really affect it. Basically, if the terran is to lose that, it's because he screwed up, not because the Zerg played well. A simple change like 'hydra doesn't activate PDD' would at least give the Zerg a fighting chance, even though it probably wouldn't entirely fix the balance issue.
    Below an update from Senior Game Designer David Kim:

    Potential Balance Test Map for HotS
    For this, we’re considering testing the Swarm Host balance changes that have been ongoing in the Void beta. The automatic Flying Locusts, cheaper cost, and decreased supply of Void Swarm Hosts have shown decent potential versus Protoss and mech, and for ZvT, we are looking for a change that will only really help versus mech, since Zerg vs Bio appears to be in a good state.1. Buffing Swarm Host harass could target this well, considering the relatively low mobility of Terran mech. Please let us know your thoughts in this area so that we can make the best possible decision. Thank you.

    Protoss Warp-in changes

    2.We found that the defensive case is too big of a nerf in expansion locations. After reading many of your suggestions, we’ve decided to test this mechanic with both Warpgates and Nexus providing faster warp-ins.


    Macro mechanics


      Terran Mules being Removed

    • Scanner Sweep use is much more common, but because there are so many possible scans available, Calldown: Extra Supplies now has tactical justification.3. The decision to cast one ability or the other has become rather dynamic, and the constant decisions between these two abilities seem interesting.
    • The balance on these abilities might not be there yet, and if Mules do in fact get removed, we may need to tune these abilities’ details.


    • Zerg Inject Larva Being Auto-Cast and Reduced to 2 per Inject

    • We were initially worried that this particular change would take away too much from Zerg macro, but surprisingly, it is feeling like there’s still so much macro to tackle.
    • With this change, we’re also seeing better creep spread. This is something that we may need to tune eventually. Nevertheless, having a more visible result from players’ macro looks to be a much cooler direction rather than just having the forced/needed clicks found in things like Inject Larva.


    4.Overall, we expect there will need to be a lot of balance tuning required if the macro mechanics changes stick. !


    1. In my opinion you should remove the Swarm Host from the game and introduce a new idea. Give the Zerg race a ranged high dps unit, because most of the high dps units from the Zerg are not viable against most compositions. (Hydras are high dps, but they become obsolete really fast) Having a unit with a high dps means very much in game, where reaction time is essential. Example, Marines attack Mutas on patrol, the Zerg's reaction time has to be insanely fast not lose any units. Counter example Marines are getting attacked by Zerglings/banelings, and the terran reaction has to be fast, but not nearly as fast as the Zergs.

    2. I've always been against defenders advantage because it just makes games dull (Which is why you nerfed the Swarm Host, let me ask you this, having to deal with mech or air toss also makes the game dull, so why are not being consistent in this logic?), as a Zerg player I know the hardship of trying to kill a Terran or Protoss well protected behind their walls, while it feels satisfying to break through, it feels really disappointing having Terran or Protoss just walk into your base after you had 1 bad engagement, and the game is lost. Having this wall provides a second chance, that Zerg has in some regards, but is harder to obtain. You should focus more on having the right position, building placement as a reward to the defender. Add a structure, which grants 1+ armor, or some attack speed when placed near a pylon?

    3. As a long time gamer I think your conclusion here is wrong. It seems interessting and dynamic as of this moment, but that is because it's new to us players, once the math is done, we will learn whether to use Scan/Supply drop situationally best. Instead of Supply drop an idea could be bunkerdrop, which grants the bunker +2 slots and extra armor? This would make for an interessting develpment in bunker rushes, while also granting the ability to bunkerdrop your bunker, when there's a roach rush incoming. A good terran player knows this is coming, without having to scan, so any terran player will have to scan for this when learning to deal with it, but any high level terran player will always use the bunkerdrop in this scenario.

    4. After this change has been implemented I feel Zerg has lost some of it's core. We no longer have the option to drone hard or go aggressive. The economic curve seems to have been mediated a lot by this change, which reduces the Zerg races greatest strength, being able to be greedy in the right moments.

    Generally speaking I am very much against this removal of macro elements, as Starcraft is your only challenging competetive game left, and playing LoTV Beta just seems boring compared to HotS, because I've attained the speed necessary to do most of these things even without thinking, so a lot of GM players will probably think, this is too easy, while not providing a better eco to support constant battle. You have made WoW a lot more casual, don't make the same mistake with Starcraft, as us competetive gamers will all transfer our attention to CS or other hard to play games. Casual players should not affect your competetive scene, they should stick to arcade games.

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