- Now a massive unit.
- Range increased from 2 to 3.
After receiving and reviewing a lot of solid feedback about the
archon from the StarCraft II community, we came to the agreement that
having archons break Force Fields would increase strategic variety in
protoss-vs.-protoss matchups. We were slightly worried that strategies
such as mass Charge zealots plus archons would be too difficult to stop
with only ground units, but in testing this on the PTR, we found that
the relationship between the zealot- and archon-based strategies vs. the
more standard robo-tech builds were proving to be fun.
Archons have generally been a slightly weak unit for their cost. This
was a conscious design decision that we made since we wanted Morph to
Archon to be a "recycle" ability. However, due to the size of the
archon, we felt an increase in attack range was necessary so that the
unit can get attacks in more easily, especially on the defensive.
- Cybernetics Core
- Research Warp Gate time increased from 140 to 160.
- Sentry train time decreased from 42 to 37.
- Warp Gate unit train times remain unchanged.
- Pylon power radius has been decreased from 7.5 to 6.5.
These three changes were made specifically to address the 4-gateway
issue. The slight increase in Warp Gate research time should only really
affect early-game strategies such as the 4-gate all-in. It was a
challenge to find a research time high enough to achieve this goal
without affecting other, non-early game strategies, but we eventually
settled on 160. Regarding the sentry, it's the only tier-1 unit that's
rarely used on the offensive in PvP 4-gate all-ins. However, they're
almost always used on the defensive, so buffing this unit was the way to
go in order to make defending easier.
The pylon power radius reduction will help the defending player take
them out easier from above ramps, as well as make it so there are
limited spots below cliffs where the opponent can build them in order to
offensively warp in above. On the flip side, because protoss bases
generally have plenty of pylon power, we’re not too worried about this
affecting the defensive side too much -- though players might need to
pay more attention to their base layouts.
On top of these changes, we're also looking into slightly changing
how vision works on ramps so that if you use Force Field on your ramp
just right, the opposing protoss player will not be able to spawn above
your ramp or Blink stalkers up past a perfectly positioned Force Field.
We will continue to monitor how the changes we made in 1.3.3 are working
out before making the final call.
We hope these changes will resolve the 4-gate issue in PvP.
- Salvage resource return reduced from 100% to 75%.
This change was one of the most frequently requested by the
community, and players made a lot of valid arguments as to why this
change was necessary. We've seen too many bunker rushes vs. zerg, and we
felt that adjusting the salvage return rate would be a positive change.
Players will also have to think about mineral loss before constructing
multiple bunkers on the defensive, which also feels right.
- Cost changed from 150/150 to 200/100
This cost change was a strategic, high-level change. We wanted ghosts
to have a place in as many of the existing unit compositions out there
as possible. For example: we wanted at least a few ghosts to come into
play with the standard armies we currently see in each matchup. We feel
ghost EMP is a vital tool at the highest skill levels, and we didn’t
like how players had to choose between ghosts or something else.
Therefore, we decided to keep the total costs the same while decreasing
the gas cost so that they can more easily be added to whichever army
terran players are currently using.
We realize having to manage so many units (including the ghost) can
be difficult for many players, but at the same time we felt ghosts are
only really vital at the highest skill levels because their
counter-units are also micro-intensive.
- Thor now has 200 max energy, and starts with 50 energy.
- 250mm Strike Cannons now cost 150 energy to use (cooldown removed).
We generally haven’t reverted changes in the past, but at the same
time, we’re not afraid to revert changes when we feel that we’ve made a
mistake. Some rare strategies involve mass numbers of Thors using 250mm
Strike Cannons to lock down protoss, leaving them with few options for
response. While these situations are rare, and the strategies aren’t
necessarily overpowered, there were still a few things we didn’t like.
First, we definitely don’t like seeing Thors en masse. Due to the
visual size of the unit, as well as a small pathing radius, Thors can
obscure the other units in your army too easily. This can be problematic
because it's important to know roughly how many units an opponent has
when scouting. We want the Thor to be the type of unit that you add to
your main army, and we definitely don’t want them to be the core of your
army to the point where you strive to build as many as possible.
Second, we felt counter relationships were turning too heavily. The
nature of lockdown abilities in general is that they have the potential
to heavily turn the tide of battle against armies that would otherwise
counter your units. Most of these abilities, especially for an ability
as strong as this one, have to be fairly difficult to bring out and
easier to counter. We feel that having the additional counters of
EMP/Feedback to the Strike Cannons ability is better so that we don’t
get into degenerating situations where the opponent is stuck without
- Speed decreased from 2.5 to 2.25.
We like how infestors have been functioning across the board since
the last patch. We feel the previous infestor buffs heavily contributed
to making matchups solid, especially at the higher skill levels.
However, it was slightly problematic in some scenarios where
infestors were getting away too easily. Even when it was off of creep,
the infestor was slightly faster than normal units -- and on creep, it
was considerably faster. We decided to give infestors normal movement
speed off of creep to make it easier to catch up to them and kill them.
- Spore Crawler
- Root time decreased from 12 to 6.
Air-based strategies vs. zerg are common due to zerg anti-air units
coming out later than other races. Because of this, it actually makes
sense for spore crawlers to be more flexible than other races' anti-air
structures. If a zerg player is totally unprepared, we don't mind them
just outright losing the game. However, what we didn't like was when
zerg players still suffered considerable damage from void rays,
phoenixes, and banshees, despite being prepared with spore crawlers that
were slightly out of position. We decided to make this change so that
it's somewhat easier to fend off these attacks, especially when you
already have some spore crawlers in play.
As a side note, we don't feel the same way about spine crawlers, as
there are being plenty of other anti-ground units zerg players can use
along with the spine crawlers from the beginning of the game.
As always, we will continue to listen to players' discussions, and we
welcome your constructive feedback. As with any balance-related change,
we've made these with a lot of care and consideration to ensure a great
game experience for players of all skill levels.
* David Kim is a game balance designer for StarCraft II and enjoys long sun-scorched walks on Char.