UPDATE: David Kim has made a new post saying that a few more changes will be added to the most recent Balance Test Map.
Thank you for your feedback everyone. After evaluating your feedback and discussing this subject more in detail, we’re currently thinking of adding these two changes to the balance test map (and extension mod):
- Spore Crawler damage decreased from 15+30bio to 15+15bio - Hydralisk damage against air increased from 12 to 12+4bio
Please focus further discussion around the above adjustments only, and again, thank you very much.
David Kim, lead balance designer of StarCraft II, has made a discussion thread on the official Battle.net forums as to the community's thoughts on the Swarm Host as well as general Zerg vs. Zerg balance. Regarding the Swarm Host, the community has been questioning the unit's balance due to a recent tournament match in which a ZvZ match lasted an abnormally long time because of the stalemate that Swarm Hosts caused. In the discussion thread, David Kim described the balance team's current decision:
Over the last few months, we’ve been internally playtesting a variety of design changes to the Swarm Host. We’ve come to believe that, in the long term, a change to overall Swarm Host design could be a good thing, but in the short term, we’d prefer to not disrupt the interesting non-stalemate Swarm Host play we currently see. Therefore, we don’t believe in removing the unit or completely redesigning it at this time.
In addition to that, it seems like the balance team is looking for ways to alter ZvZ balance without affecting any of the other matchups. There are a few possibilities that have been mentioned by David Kim:
We’re thinking along these lines: - Revert spore buff and buff hydralisk anti-air vs. biological units only. o With this, even if Broodlords are Abducted by Vipers, they would still be great against base Defenses. o The Mutalisk strength in ZvZ could possibly be countered a bit better by Hydralisks. o The effect on ZvZ would be acceptable, and the potential effects on ZvP and ZvT are minor.
- Change the Viper’s Abduct ability to make massive units immune to it. o By making Brood Lords immune to Abduct, we’d solve the stalemate. Late game ZvZ would be mostly about who wins in the air. o There are downsides -- Abduct is a really cool ability, and it is something Zerg needs vs. Colossi in PvZ. o To address that, we’d consider a potential buff to Blinding Cloud so that Vipers would still be a valuable utility unit in the ZvP matchup.
Lately there's been a lot of talk about the recent changes to Hellbats that allows Terran players to severely pressure Zerg players and hinder their economy. A few blue posts have popped up around the Battle.net forums, written by community manager Psione.
Our intention with this change was to allow Terran to apply more pressure against Zerg in the mid-game. So far it seems to be working out well, but it's still early and we'll have to see how Zerg players adapt. We'll continue to keep an eye on how this change is affecting the TvZ match-up.
With the recent update, we've been gathering feedback on the Hellbat change and observing how it's affecting the different match-ups. From what we've seen thus far, it's helped Terran pressure Zerg in the mid-game and slow down the their economy.
While we feel this has helped the match-up overall, it's still early and we'll need to see how strategies are altered to account for increased Hellbat usage. Often when a new balance update is applied we see a period of time where players adapt to the changes by creating new strategies and eventually counter strategies. It's important that we allow time for these kind of shifts before considering if further changes are needed.
It seems like the changes will remain in place for a while longer, just to make sure that Zerg can or can't adopt new strategies in response. Here's to hoping a conclusion is reached soon.
For those who have not heard of it, GameHeart is a widely popular overlay for StarCraft II that allows observers to place team and tournament logos, draw analysis on the map, zoom out much further, and more, a video of which can be seen here. Gameheart has been used in multiple tournaments for quite some time, but never in a WCS event. That is about to change with the recent announcement of a collaboration between Blizzard Entertainment and the creator of GameHeart, Ryan Schutter, that aims to create a new version of GameHeart that will serve as the official WCS tournament overlay for all of the WCS events. Furthermore, this official WCS GameHeart Overlay will be available for anyone to use on any broadcast, even ones not related to the WCS.
This collaboration, announced by Blizzard on the StarCraft II home page, seems to be fairly new, as there was no information provided about new features, functionality, or design of the new GameHeart. Details are promised to come as the project nears completion, which will most likely mark a milestone for StarCraft II eSports broadcasting.
For anyone that wants to learn about the latest version of GameHeart, click here.
On March 12, David Kim held an open Q&A on Reddit for a few hours. He answered various questions regarding tournaments and balance, and it's definitely worth checking out.
Q: Are any "large scale" or "mechanic" redesigns being considering for Legacy of the Void? For example considering changing mechanics around high ground advantage, the soft 3 base income cap, warpgate, etc?
David Kim: We're currently working on all parts of the next expansion, but everything is a work in progress. If something is problematic, we would discuss it and try possible changes. But one of our core philosophies on SC2 design is if the change isn't completely amazing, we prefer not to do it.
So in this specific case, things like high ground advantage working the way it does currently vs. how it worked in BW vs. other advantages we can think of that are different, it's really hard to clearly say that one mechanic is better in all the cases. Overall, we are trying various changes in various areas, but it's really difficult to say for certain what will go through at the end of the day.
When you guys have good suggestions on specific problematic areas as well as possible solutions, we definitely discuss and/or try those things internally as we work on the next game to be able to know exactly why or why not we're deciding on a certain area. Eg. We've tried and still retry things like different suggestions for the Swarm Host, more harsh counters to Force Fields, or old units like Lurkers, and so on.
As Tychus Week continues for Heroes of the Storm, the developers of the game have released a Q&A discussing the design of Tychus as a playable hero. There's only a few questions in the Q&A, but there's a lot of info to be learned.
Trikslyr: Let’s talk about the design of Tychus; how was it decided to make him an assassin, and what makes him different from other heroes?
Richard: When we’re deciding what role a hero falls into and what makes them unique, we first think about the fantasy of the character and what they did in their universes. In Wings of Liberty, Tychus was a take-no-prisoners badass who rode around in a stolen Odin, used a chain gun and grenades to mow down the Zerg, and started a bar fight with Jimmy on the Hyperion. He’s clearly a rebel that let his fists do the talking. In this case, a hard hitting assassin just made sense.
The Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is live! You can watch streams of the game over here!
Also, Blizzard has posted an article helping players install and access the game.
We’ve invited a limited amount of US-based players, including testers opted-in via Battle.net, friends and family members of Blizzard employees, as well as a number of international press sites and community contributors, to participate in this very early Technical Alpha testing phase. If you haven’t received an invitation to the Tech Alpha yet, make sure you’ve elected to participate in Heroes of the Storm testing by opting in on your Battle.net account’s Beta Profile Settings page. By doing so, you’ll give yourself the best chance at gaining testing access as our needs evolve and we expand the pool of invited players in the weeks and months to come.