This Q&A took place between staff of StarCraft: Legacy that attended the 2008 Worldwide Invitational and members of StarCraft: Legacy's sister site Blizzforums:



General Questions

What are the devs doing to keep clutter down in terms of large units (new Swarm Guardian) and opaque attack effects like lasers? - viperjo

There didn't seem to be much clutter. There are a few things that still have a bit of clutter (dead marines, and some dead zerg units) but besides that everything was looking much clearer. We can only expect the clutter to continue to decrease. We specifically brought this up to Samwise and he said they were aware of the problem and were balancing the cool factor with clarity.

Does the new gas mechanic work out well? - Nicol Bolas

It's...interesting. Both yes and no. The way it was implemented seemed like it could increase macro but when your geysers ran out they turned red and a sound alerted you so all you had to do was click it. Now your assimilators/refinery/etc would be out for 45 seconds so it became managing the gas you had at the time. We think the concept is good but that it needs to be tweaked to make it more challenging and useful instead of as an annoyance. Also, many of the units' gas prices had been seriously upgraded - for example the Carrier cost 400 gas - the same as the Mothership - for the cost of a Carrier it turned out to be pathetic and not worth much at all.

Also, how does this mechanic interact with the ability to go for late-tier units? The concern being that you may need 4+ expansions before being able to get a power air army. - Nicol Bolas

It depends - the idea in StarCraft II is that you have a balanced force instead of just an army of one unit... so if you were to mix in a few Collossi, Stalkers, lots, Warp Rys,etc or whatever combo you'd like it isn't debilitating - you just have to be very smart and have scouted well to know what you'll be fighting. So to answer your question - it's quite difficult but a well managed and defended 2-3 bases would be fine.

How does MBS work?

You can select more units than necessary (no idea of the limit) and you can still select multiple buildings but you have to click the unit you want to build once of every building you have selected if you want to build the same unit in each building (or you can mix and match - say we select 10 gateways – we can click z five times and s five times to make five Zealots and five Stalkers).

Were there benefits to keeping the Overlords as Overlords and not Overseers? - ShadowAldrius

None that we're aware of. The detection is imperative.

Were Reaper's effective so late in the tree, and have they been altered at all otherwise? Same question for Hydralisk. - ShadowAldrius

Reapers - they were if you could get a medivac with them and used them to harass/diversion etc.

Hydralisk - We heard a lot of different opinions - they are VERY weak - and we know for a fact that one of our friends sent 30-40 at 10 battle cruisers and lost horribly... In mixed groups they are pretty good - as a single force - no. The name of the game is mixed forces now.

Does the overall grit they put into the game feel enough, or do they need to put in more? - mgcemir

It looks great - the Terran and Protoss are very polished - the Zerg still look a little cartoony - big etc. They need polish but we were very happy with the look.

Any news on the required computer specifications? - mgcemir

No - the computers they had there occasionally chugged but that's because the game hasn't been optimized.

How much is the unit selection limit, was there one in the WWI build? - Slickr

We're pretty sure it was unlimited.

Is StarCraft II fast paced or is it slower than StarCraft? - Slickr

There seems to be more to do in StarCraft II than in StarCraft.

Are there any overlaps in unit roles in the races? - Slickr

Samwise said during a press conferance that this was pretty much deliberately avoided. From what we saw, it was.

How much time would you say passes until you start building more of the mid(tier 2) units, or to rephrase my question - how much time until the mid-game starts? - Slickr

It's different from game to game, but if you call everything Tier 2 mid-game, then it could be everything from 7-8 minutes to 20 minutes. It's the same as StarCraft to be honest- as fast or slow as you like.

How does the Line of Sight and cliff mechanic feel right now across the different races? - XSOLDIER

It's not a big a deal as they're making out, except for Reapers/Colossi/Stalkers and their cliff climbing. W more hours of play are necessary than we will get until the game is released, to answer this question adequately. So we'll just say we think it's shaping up nicely.

Were there any particular effective unit combinations for any of the races that you noticed/enjoyed at any stage of the game? - XSOLDIER

Colossus, Immortal and a bunch of Phoenix were practically unbeatable. Marine/Marauder early game rush worked well also.


Zerg Questions

Are Zerg units actually disadvantaged by cliff-climbing and so forth, as some players on other boards suggested? - Nicol Bolas

Disadvantaged? eh that's a tough one to answer - do we think they'd benefit from one? Yes. But every race could/does benefit from one - the mechanic is very cool and we'd love to see something from the Zerg race do it. When we asked Karune/Samwise about it - their answer was that the Nydus Worm kind of made it a moot point - however in the build that we played there was no worm - it worked just like a Nydus Canal - and you did have to have creep for the exit (though the Overlord drop creep thing facilitated this), so we'll see what happens.

Can the Zerg Crawler buildings walk off of the Creep at all, or would you have to actually Overlord-walk or Creep Tumor them to a choke point? - Nicol Bolas

They can walk - though they are slow and lose health and they lose their armor when they get up so it's possible but definitely not advisable.

Speaking of Creep Tumors, how does the current Queen feel, in terms of her usefulness? - Nicol Bolas

Our view of the queen is still mixed. Even when she is fully upgraded she is no match for an Ultralisk. But the Mutant Larva are a huge help when you decide it's time to push - as long as you have the resources to support that kind of production. The Swarm ability we didn't really see a need to use much, but the Queen can be very helpful early game and even late game to help prevent drops especially since she's now ranged.

Is the Overlord Creep Drop an innate ability or do you have to research it? And if so, where does it come from? - Nicol Bolas

It's innate. The interesting thing is, Overseers don't have this ability.

How does the Corrupter work right now? I've read it's pretty much useless. - NeoSoviet

It corrupts units that makes them turn on their allies until the corruption destroys them. In answer to your uselessness - the Corruptors are a support unit not a single army unit IMO.

Is charge a really useful ability at this point?- NeoSoviet

It's essential.

When an Infestor burrows, can it move up to another terrain level? - SoFool

We don't think we saw anyone try it but we don't believe so, otherwise it would have come up when we asked about Z and the cliff jumpers.

Was the Queen a necessary investment?- ShadowAldrius

It in itself it is weak - but the Mutant Larva was very cool. Just for that it was worth it for me - in addition it is a very good defensive unit and very fast to try and slow down a drop or a surprise attack. We know that the Queen was useful early on in rushing stage if you had some other units to work with her.

How exactly did the Overseer's new ability to create Changelings work? Could the opponent control the changeling? - ShadowAldrius

It's a stealth element for internal scouting. To be honest, we can't see it being a huge amount of use.

Was the Queen a necessary investment in your opinion? - ShadowAldrius

It only costs 150 minerals to get a version which can heal buildings. So yeah, definitely.

Do Crawlers take damage off the Creep? - Kimera757

They don't take damage off the creep.

Is there any easy way to put Crawlers around a new expansion while the new Hatchery is still being built? (Because they're slow, I don't count having them crawl to the new expansion to be an easy method.) - Kimera757

Make an Overlord create the creep around the Hatchery that is being built. Or make Creep Tumors all the way to the Hatchery. That's the only methods.

How are Queens stronger on Creep? (I hear they attack and regenerate faster on Creep.) - Kimera757

There is an ability called "Creep Move" now, which means that any unit with this ability moves faster on creep and REALLY slow when not on creep. This ability applies to every tier of the Queen, Mutant Larva, Spine Crawler and Spore Crawler.

The Queen is stronger on creep because of a number of points:

  • Creep Move.
  • Her abilities are mostly helpful when near the base, or structures. We'll elaborate.
  • Mutant Larva, can be used on an existing Larva, builds in 50 seconds. It takes 1 pop, and can move anywhere. It can be useful to "save up" Larvas and build many units when you suddenly need them. Can't morph to Drone. It has normal move speed, and it is slow off the creep. They're bigger than normal larva, and have more spikes.
  • Transfusion (50 energy) "Instantly restores health to target biologogical unit or structure" This ability is about 5 range, and heals about 200hp. Very nice together with Spine Crawlers, defensive structure early game.
  • At Tier 2 (Large Queen) the queen recieves Deep Tunnel. 15 sec cooldown, costs 0 energy. "Queen tunnels deep underground and surfaces at target Zerg building."
  • At Tier 3 (Huge Queen) the queen recieves Swarm Infestation. 10 sec cooldown, costs 100 energy. "Makes Zerg buildings in target area rapidly launch attacks at nearby enemies." (The area of effect is about the size of a Hive, you can manage to hit many structures at once with this.)

One interesting thing about the Queen, when you build it it starts with 50 energy, max energy is 150. When you upgrade her, it doesn't matter how much energy she had. Large Queens ALWAYS start with 100 energy, max 200. Huge starts out with 200 and has 400 as a max. Also, if you have an upgraded Queen, and she dies, you can build a new one that is upgraded from the Lair/Hive. You don't have to build a regular Queen and then upgrade her again, once or twice.

Did buildings explode and release "Swarms"? - Kimera757

Yes. It was awesome.

With the Overlords being relatively fast to produce, did the Zerg rush happen even faster than before? - Psi Warp

No, Spawning Pool takes 65 seconds to build, and Zerglings take 23. Zerglings are very weak at the moment.

If a Phase Prism deploys at the edge of an elevated platform, does its Pylon matrix extend into the lower platform? - Blazur


What happens to anything underneath anti-gravity when the unit/building is dropped? - Blazur

It just moves.

How does the Mutant Larva work? What's the idea? - Norfindel

You basically get to save up Larva that can move away from the Hatchery and have lots of Larva for when you need them.

Does the Corruptor require a lair to be built or do you have to build a spire for it as well? - Slickr

Lair. No spire required.

Is the Queen rush viable, i.e. creating creep in the enemy base via Overlords/Overseers and then teleporting the Queen there? - Slickr

This is not possible, as the Queen requires friendly structures to deep tunnel.

Is the Mutalisk useful and cost-effective? - Slickr

Mutalisks are great for harassing, just like in StarCraft.

Do the Zerg have any weaknesses to cloaked units since you need Overseers to see cloaked units but lack early GTA or even ATA to prevent the enemy from killing the Overlords? - Slickr

The Spore Crawler is a detector as well, and it requires only the Evolution Chamber. Corruptors only require a Lair, so you can get those early on as well.

How does the Hydralisk stand against small units and do the Zerg have trouble from air attacks early to mid game? - Slickr

We didn't use a lot of Hydras, and apparently they were woefully underpowered, particularly against Battlecruisers. They wouldn't be used against small targets though, as Banelings are your primary anti-everything-light. The Corruptor being available before any other piece of air means you are well prepared against an air rush, especially as it is so powerful.

How do the Zerg handle against a Marines, Medivac push knowing that the Medivac is a flying unit and the Zerg have no GTA up until mid game and even upper since the Hydralisk is a bit too expensive (100/100)? - Slickr

Corruptors and Banelings. Bye bye Marines. =)

How does the Zerg air force feel in comparison to the other races at the moment? - XSOLDIER

They've got the triangle of AA (Corruptor) AG (Swarm Guardian) and Jack of All Trades (mutalisk). One thing that we noticed was the range on Corruptors and Mutas was small. Like, Corruptors are nearing melee range and Mutas aren't far away either. However, they seem to be a balanced air force, although we wouldn't be surprised to see an additional unit of some sort in the near future.

How does the Roach fill the Hydralisk's old spot as the Tier 1 ranged unit, and by the same token, how is the Hydralisk fairing with the Mutalisk overlap at Tier 2 that was a big concern? - XSOLDIER

Hydras need balancing. Badly. That's pretty much all we can say on that. They're underpowered and feel wrong from the accounts we've heard. The Roach is quite powerful, but focus fire is it's main enemy. However, especially in ZvZ, they are awesome, and very helpful. Roach and Lurker could be a deadly force in the mid(possibly late)-game particularly.

What about the Zerg Race seems the most polished at this point, and what elements feel like they need the most attention? - XSOLDIER

Zerg early-game feels the most polished i.e. Queen, Spine buildings, Zerglings and Roaches. They seemed to fit together well, the end and mid-game, with the exception of Ultralisks, which need some work. Air units need some work as well. Models and textures are sure to improve though.

Do the Zerg feel like they have the AA/GtA capability to protect their Overlords/Overseers right now, especially during the transition into early Tier 2 since the Nydus Network now requires Overlords to act as escorts to drop the Creep to deploy? - XSOLDIER

Good question. The short answer is no. There were many people that had problems going up against big forces of air, like many Battlecruisers. Both Hydras and Corruptors failed massively. This is really something Blizzard has to work with. Smaller forces like harassment of the Overlords etc. wasn't really a problem considering how fast you have the speed upgrade. Overseers got better speed without upgrades.

Is it a little easy to manage Zerg base defense, and multiple expansions now that a Queen has a somewhat diminished role? - XSOLDIER

Was it too easy to build base defenses in StarCraft? Compared to the other races, it's pretty much the same difficulty level.

Since the Zerg lack MBS, and the Protoss can Warp-In multiple units at once, and the Terrans can now double pump, are the Zerg feeling slower than the other races, or are they still managing to keep up pace wise with the addition of the Mutant Larvae? - XSOLDIER

You can still target multiple Larva, Zerg is easily the fastest race.

If you string out Creep with Overlords, and walk several Spine/Spore Crawlers out and plant them, do they start to get injured when the Creep retreats, or does it allow them to stay planted further out as long as they don't attempt to re-deploy? - XSOLDIER

We believe they take damage when they're planted not on creep. Once they uproot, they should be fine though. You can just keep making creep with Overlords though, they never get empty.

Have you placed Creep Tumors everywhere in a maniacal sense? (SPREAD THE CREEP!) - Psi Warp

If you keep building them from the Hatchery as well as from other Creep Tumors, you can basically spread creep everywhere. =)


Terran Questions

Have we really seen the death of Terran Factory builds being the dominant Terran strategy? - Nicol Bolas

Possibly. The Terran infantry is extraordinarily powerful if used correctly and microed well, but we’re not sure that it could sustain the Terrans mid-late to late game. The Factory will still be important we just doubt that it will get rushed to as quickly as it is now.

How does the Jackal match up against any race, is it useful? - NeoSoviet

Only when it's part of a mixed group - every time we saw Jackals by themselves they got annihilated.

How are M&M combos working in conjunction with the Medivac? - NeoSoviet

It's different but fun. Some people thought the Marines were too weak - others thought they were too strong. The Medivac makes you rely on other strategies early game than a standard T push. We think it fits a little better and adds alternative mobility to the Terrans.

Was the Viking's ground form an effective unit?- ShadowAldrius

Yes, but it's versatility is it's greatest asset. Often the game wouldn't make it past marines/maruders.

What about the Sensor Tower/Radar Tower - does it still give Missile Turrets detection, or do the Missile Turrets get that by themselves - Kimera757

The Turret still needs the tower for detection.

Can you explain the marauder's slow/stop ability? When the target is hit does it stop momentarily and then continue to move or does it just slow down but continue to move. Does it have splash that you are aware of? - viperjo

It's great early game vs Zerg. There was a group of infantry, and an opponent tried to harass with Zerglings, but got owned 'cause of a single Marauder slowing them. It does have splash, and they slow down and continue running, they don't stop. The Zerglings became slow enough for Marines to chase down and kill them.

How effective are reapers? - Blazur

How does the salvage ability work? - Blazur

Salvage is 100% selling. It's probably mostly for add-ons (and probably for Planetary Fortress/Surveillance Station as well).

They're fun and with a mix of units they're excellent at harass/diversion.

Tell us more about Terran Infantry.

Terran infantry is awesome. Awesome as in "I can see this being pretty overpowered". You don't need any additional tech so with 2 Barracks you can pump out 4 Marines. Go from that to an Engineering Bay and another Barracks with a Tech Lab and you're looking at some serious firepower and hard counters to Banelings, Zerglings, Zealots and Immortals (any low damage fire). You can then go for some more standard metal, or some air for Medivacs. Or, you could continue on the infantry angle and get some Ghosts. We can see the pros getting Nukes out in about 7-10 minutes. These Nukes are purchased at the Ghost building, and require a Starport (which requires a Factory).

How do Marauders play against the Protoss or Zerg army? Are they really useful, can you mass them, are they best used with a combination of units and what type of armor do they have, etc? - Slickr

They're extremely important versus early Banelings if you want to keep your Marines safe. Used like this with Marines they could be devastating rushers against Zerg. The only counter would be quick Roaches, which can be countered with focus fire. Against Protoss their usefulness will dwindle, but they still deal solid damage and can slow Stalkers so that Blink is of less use. Massing isn't easy as it requires a Tech Lab add-on and is reasonably expensive.

What about the Ghost. Is it a good unit, is it useful, etc? - Slickr

We like it. It's available much earlier, for less cost, and Nukes are easily available. Snipe is nice, as are it's other abilities.

What happens if you have a double production add-on but don't have enough resources for the add-on to produce the second unit? Does it build just one or...? - Slickr

Double production works the same as if you had one production, only the second unit you put in the queue is built as well. So you'd just press the button once instead of twice.


Protoss Questions

Is the Mothership useful at all? - NeoSoviet

It is abysmally slow so when most people bought one they used it as a base defense. Its Recall ability is nice to bring your army back - just like in StarCraft - , as is its Timebomb ability to stall for time. In this build you could only have one Mothership and it can attack both air and ground. Here are its abilities:

Recharge Energy (e): "Recharges the energy of a friendly unit." - a spell ability.
Summon (n): "Summon target ground unit."
Time Bomb (t): "Creates a distortion field around the Mothership that lasts 30 seconds. Air units within this field can not move, and take no damage from ranged attacks."

How does hardened shield work, especially against zerg? - wuu

Zerg units with high damage:
Ultralisk 20 (60 vs buildings it 4 shots a bunker)
Swarm Guardian 25
Baneling 40 +30 vs Light.
Hydralisk Ground Attack 12 +5 vs Armored.
Lurker 10 +30 vs Armored

And we have to mention the Queen, because they have 2 attacks that they do simultaneously. Large and Huge Queen does 9 and 12 damage, respectively. Weapon speed: Fast. So they will do about twice the damage as other Zerg units, before the shields are off.

So to conclude, the Queen works fine against the Immortal, but you have only one, and you don't attack much with her, you stay defensive. Lurkers are great once the shields are down. They are Tier 2.5, which makes them hard to get when you actually need them. Swarm Guardians requires greater spire, which is actually Tier 2.5. You need only Lair and Spire. And since the Immortal doesn't attack air, Swarm Guardians are a safe win against the Immortals.

So basically, before the shield, that always takes 10 or less damage, is gone, Zerglings, Roaches are good vs the Immortal. After that, Lurker or Swarm Guardians are great. Overall Hydralisks are good, because of their damage 12 +5vs Armored, Normal attack speed, and you will probably have high numbers of them. Their range makes them easier to micro as well.

Will they be changing the animation for psi-storm? - iAm

It's already changed. It wasn't the same in the build we played. It looks similar to the Psionic Storm from StarCraft 1, just in 3D. We'd say it's large enough to cover about 13 tightly grouped Marines.

Tell us about the Carrier.

It can build eight Interceptors. It's okay but not super fantastic against light-air and it can still out-range static defenses.

Is the Nullifier overpowered considering it is a very early-game unit, but has such strong abilities? Also can you explain how anti-gravity works in detail; how much AOE would you say it has, and can it be exploited by lifting up a "nexus" for example and preventing the gathering of resources? - Slickr

"Such strong abilities" is a little inaccurate. Early game lifting two units off the ground, maximum (50 cost on AG, needs to be researched and the Nullifier only starts with 50 energy out of 100 max, which takes a while to build up), isn't very helpful except in a minority of circumstances (maybe in very small skirmishes where you can't afford Banelings to own your face). Force Field is "nice" in conjunction with Stalkers, but again only in select circumstances and it can be countered with a bit of intelligent placement of units (don't move all your units to one side of the barriers). AG is single target and Karune has said in a previous Q&A that it would not work on a Nexus/Command Center/Hatchery. More likely we'll see Force Field placement to force bad pathing on units. The Nullifiers attack, meanwhile, only does 5 damage.

How are Nullifiers feeling as early Protoss casters, and do they suffer any overlap into the High Templar's role? - XSOLDIER

They shouldn't overlap, their spells are quite different.

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