The latest patch for StarCraft II is out, containing a few bug fixes.
StarCraft II 2.1.2 Patch Notes
- Your Friends List should now sort correctly based on friend type.
- Players set to ‘Busy’ will no longer see Chat Channel messages.
- The New Messages counter will now correctly update for messages sent from the same player across multiple games.
- New chat tabs should no longer appear when continuing a conversation with a player who has logged in and out of multiple games.
- Fixed an issue where players could appear as offline in StarCraft II when logging in and out of multiple games.
- Fixed an issue which occasionally prevented a player’s presence from updating when logging into StarCraft II from the Battle.net Desktop App.
Battle.net - StarCraft II 2.1.2 Patch Notes
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.
To check out the full post, click here.
Battle.net - Thoughts on Swarm Host
Another call to action is out, with the map "MerryGoRoundLE (2.1.1 Balance v1.0)" and the extension mod “Balance Test Mod” containing the following changes:
- Removed Transformation Servos upgrade
- Changed Hellion/Hellbat transform requirement to Armory
Battle.net - Call to Action: May 5 Balance Testing
David Kim has just posted another balance update on the StarCraft II forums, explaining to the community how the game balance is currently looking.
There are two options that the balance team is looking at, both regarding buffing Terran. Option one is to reduce the mineral and gas costs of infantry upgrade levels 2 and 3 by 25 each. Option two is removing the Transformation Servos upgrade and allowing Hellions to transform into Hellbats once an Armory is built. You can read the details and justifications for these proposed changes in the full post, which is fairly short.
Battle.net - Balance Status Update
Although it is in closed alpha, Heroes of the Storm has numerous skins available for purchase. Currently, each hero has one or two skins that cost anywhere from eight dollars to fifteen dollars. Click through below to see the skins available for the StarCraft heroes!
Read more: Heroes of the Storm: StarCraft Skin Screenshots
The dates for BlizzCon 2014 have been announced! On Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8, 2014, the halls of the Anaheim Convention Center will open to the sounds of Blizzard franchises coming together for a weekend of excitement.
Tickets for the event will be available in two batches, one on Wednesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. PT and the other on Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. PT through this online ticketing service. Tickets to the exclusive pre-BlizzCon Benefit Dinner will also be available through the same service on Wednesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. PT. As always, if you are unable to make it to the Anaheim Convention Center, you can always purchase a virtual ticket to watch the BlizzCon livestream right from home. There is also a helpful page on the BlizzCon official site, which explains how tickets work, how much they cost, when they are available and more, which you can view here.
For more information, you can check out the press release, or the associated official news post. We're looking forward to covering all the amazing news that will be at BlizzCon, so be sure to stick around!
Battle.net - BlizzCon 2014 Conquers Anaheim November 7 and 8
Blizzard - BLIZZCON 2014 DETECTED
In a recent study published on PLOS ONE, researchers discovered through studying StarCraft II players that "declines in cognitive-motor functioning" began past the age of 24. That being the case, there was a decrease in players' speed (measured in the research article with "looking-doing latency") the older they were from 24. Something to consider is that other real-life activities don't necessarily equate speed with efficacy; likewise, a StarCraft II player's skill level did not seem to have a strong correlation with their age.
The research article goes through how older players definitely experienced a decline in their motor skills, but compensated for their loss of speed through more efficient usage of hotkeys, resorting to simpler but equally effective strategies, and focusing more on strategic planning. By delegating more tasks to the user interface, older players could certainly reach similar levels of skills as younger players.
On two measures, older players showed signs of being more advanced than they actually are. Both Unique Hotkeys per game timestamp (more with age; p*<0.001), and Offscreen attacks per game timestamp (more with age; p*<0.001) were strong candidates as compensators. Older players in our sample exhibited more impressive hotkey performance, even when skill was controlled for, suggesting that our participants may be indirectly compensating for declines by offloading demands to the game interface. An increase in attacks to areas outside of the view-screen might reflect heightened awareness of global game information via attention to the ‘mini-map’. Generally then, older players seem better at using available interface features (customizable keys and the ‘mini-map’) than younger players.
The paper is an interesting read if you can make your way through the scientific jargon and number-crunching, so be sure to check it out.
PLOS ONE - Over the Hill at 24: Persistent Age-Related Cognitive-Motor Decline in Reaction Times in an Ecologically Valid Video Game Task Begins in Early Adulthood
It's the 2nd of April, which means all of the April Fools jokes are revealed to be false and everyone can rest assured that news will no longer be riddled with fabrications. There were a variety of April Fools posts that were on Blizzard homepages yesterday, which ranged from the horrifying to the hilarious. There were quite a few StarCraft-related ones this year, so let's get started.
First up was Herald of the Stars, the "new title" for the upcoming Legacy of the Void expansion for StarCraft II. With various abbreviation-themed jokes (hint: Herald of the Stars abbreviates to HotS) and ludicrous changes to the expansion's plot and gameplay, the Herald of the Stars news post wasn't fooling anyone, but was comical nonetheless.
Next up was an upcoming hero for Heroes of the Storm, Pajamathur. Pajamathur is the baby incarnation of Abathur, and has all the abilities that such an adorable little Zerg-spawn deserves. With a hilarious custom model (how can this not make you laugh) and nonsensical abilities, this new hero was on everyone's mind this April Fools Day.
The last StarCraft-related April Fools joke is Blizzard Outcasts: Vengeance of the Vanquished. This new fighting game from Blizzard brought all of the unsung heroes from each of their franchises into a deathmatch of unepic proportions. With characters such as Arcturus Mengsk and Deckard Cain exchanging punches and hurling swords, this joke was definitely the strangest of all of them.
Other than the aforementioned posts, there was also Happy Reaper, the Flappy Bird clone based off of Malthael, the angel of death from Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. With a playable version that's accessible right from your browser, there's no excuse for you to not be decimating Nephalem right now. On the World of Warcraft side there was the new Draenei models and fake patch notes. Both are worth checking out for the horrifying possibilities of bad design choices.
That was it for this year's April Fools Day, at least in regards to Blizzard games. We hope you all enjoyed the jokes and pranks that you experienced, and here's to a great Spring!
Battle.net - April Fools!
Dustin Browder has posted a new article on the Heroes of the Storm front page describing the leveling and experience gain system in the game. He goes into detail about how the system has changed over the course of development, and also elaborates on why these changes were made.
When we first started, we had individual hero leveling like many games in the genre. We liked how it forced players to split up into different locations, and coming together was a cost and a risk. We also liked how individual experience rewarded players for doing well, and really encouraged players to do their best; knowing that they were falling behind if they started to give away too many victories.
The entire article is worth a read, especially how the current leveling system allows for characters such as Abathur to exist. To check out the full article, click here.
Battle.net - From the Bullpen: Team XP and Leveling
In preparation for Season 2 of StarCraft II, the ladder map pool is receiving some new additions. The new 1v1 maps are King Sejong Station LE, Overgrowth LE, Merry Go Round LE, and Waystation. The maps being removed are Polar Night, Yeonsu, Daedalus Point, and Heavy Rain. This makes the full Season 2 1v1 ladder map pool as follows:
Complete 1v1 Map Pool for 2014 Season 2
Alterzim Stronghold TE
Habitation Station LE
King Sejong Station LE
Merry Go Round LE
For the full list of new maps, including maps for 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4, click here.
Battle.net - New Ladder Maps for 2014 Season 2