05 February 2008

Batch #28 + Lots of SCII tidbits

First of all here's the official Q&A Batch #28:

Hope everyone had a great week! Make sure to keep that Q&A Questions thread packed, as we are making plans to tackle Q&As both in these batches, as well as the BlizzCast. Post your questions to be considered for Q&As here: http://www.battle.net/forums/thread....&p=1&#post9620

Chat with Devs: It has been a busy week, in which I had a chance to talk to multiple Devs this and I am happy to say that we have finished recording for our second episode of BlizzCast. We have also added a mini Q&A section to the show, to get direct answers straight from the developers!

Gameplay Blog: Following up on the last game I played in Batch 27, I had mentioned the Terran Marauder being a huge factor in my defeat. This new Terran unit visually looks similar to the Firebat, but instead packs the punch of dual Concussion Grenades (also able to be Stim Packed), which slows the movement rate of biological units, and also does additional bonus damage to armored units. These units are excellent at supporting any pack of Marines & Medics, with the ability to slow charging Zealots, as well as fast moving Zerg units. Playing as Terran, there is a sense of relief, when you watch an incoming army slowed down considerably, to be mowed down by your Stim Packed Marines. In addition, because the Marauders are able to be built at a Barracks with a Tech Lab, they are considered formidable early support units, able to pick off units of a weaker early game army.

As always, feel free to give the Devs and I a w00t if your enjoying these Q&As!

---StarCraft II Q&A Batch 28---

1. I noticed the Stalker "Blink" ability looked as though it was on a cooldown (similar to many abilities in World of Warcraft). This seems appropriate for some abilities, but is this restricted to the Stalker or will other units have abilities on cooldowns rather than energy? (Battle.net Malorn)

Currently, the Protoss Stalkers Blink ability is on a 15 second cooldown and is one of the only abilities that do not require energy. One of the reasons this was done for the Stalkers Blink, was to make sure that players wouldnt have the problem of having only part of their Stalker army blink up on a hill with some left behind. The Protoss Phoenix also carries an Overload ability, which is based on a cooldown timer rather than energy. Whether the Stalker or the Phoenix will use energy or not, will be mostly determined through much more balance testing.

2. The Thor now is anti-aircraft unit, but will it continue to have surface-to-surface attacks? (www.Sc2-esp.com)

In the current build, the Thors role has been changed to exclusively hit ground units, putting the transforming Viking back in the primary role as an air to air fighter. The Terran Viking is also now built from the Factory rather than the Starport.

3. In the original SC, powers like Irradiate and Psionic Storm affected cloaked units and killed them even if you couldn't see them. Will the Phoenix's Overload ability target cloaked units as well? (Battle.net DrakeClawFang)

Yes, the Phoenixs Overload ability does affect cloaked units, such as Terran Banshees. The Devs are all for these types of soft counters.

4. Does energy regenerate at about the same speed as in normal SC? Since the game goes faster, has that been speed up too? (Battle.net nerdpride)

Energy regenerates at the same speed as the original StarCraft. At the fastest game speed, both StarCraft II and the original should feel the same in terms of speed.

5. Now that the Force Field ability has been moved to the Nullifier, what other abilities does the Templar have? Does he still have Hallucination? (Battle.net Blazur)

The Hallucination ability has been cut from the High Templar. Instead, it will have an Anti-Gravity ability in addition to its classic Psi Storm ability. This ability will allow a High Templar to lift up buildings and units in the air, disabling their movement and attack, while also making them an air target. This ability can be cast on Supply Depots blocking choke points, as well as incoming Thors, or even Pylons powering a base. This has been the first ability the Devs have been comfortable with, in giving players a real choice to be made, to use Psi Storm or the Anti-Gravity ability. This ability is still being balanced, in terms of the duration units and buildings will stay in the air, energy cost, and if it will be a channeling spell (which means the High Templar will be unable to move or cast other abilities while casting the Anti-Gravity ability).

6. Will there be an icon on the left hand side of the screen to alert the player of idle workers? (Battle.net- Elminster)

Yes, we currently have the ability to select idle workers built into the UI.

---End of Transmission---

Then there's lots of other infos that Karune and other Blizzard employees scattered across the Battle.net-Forums:

Originally Posted by Karune
Neither the Immortals nor the Reapers can attack air units. Immortals are currently awesome counters to any high damage unit, and are able to be countered well by any type of rapid attacking unit, such as Zerglings or M&Ms with Stim. The Immortals' bonus damage against armored add to their ferocity against many Terran units going into Tier 2 and beyond. Nonetheless, bringing in Terran Banshees will ruin any players' day who masses Immortals.

Originally Posted by Cavez
I don't know what this forum is "officially" for but I know what I use it for. I come in to this forum to see what you guys think about the game, to listen to you guys talk about the original StarCraft and to read some ideas/suggestions. I know a lot of other developers on the team do the same thing.

Originally Posted by Cavez on the Protoss Warp-in Mechanic
- You build Gateways.
- You purchase the Warp-In upgrade on the Cybernetics Core.
- You select your Gateways and transform them into Warpgates. This is extremely fast.
- You may select your Warpgates and transform them back into Gateways (also fast) any time you want. You would mostly do this if you wanted to reduce your Macro and rely on queues. Skilled players never go back to Gateways once they have Warpgates.

Now that you have Warp Gates:
- Select a Warpgate.
- Select a unit to build.
- Target anywhere within a power radius.
- Unit begins to warp-in where you selected.
- Warp-In is very fast.
- Unit is vulnerable during the warp-in process and can be killed before the warp-in is complete.
- Warpgate must now "cooldown" with a time equal to the build time of the unit created before it can warp-in again.

That's how it works right now. In games it is extremely effective with Immortals and Dark Templars though I have seen it used with everything at one time or another.

Originally Posted by Cavez
We are still working on the Mothership, trying to make it as cool as possible. It currently is not a super-unit by our defenition (its health and damage are balanced for cost) though you are allowed only a single Mothership.

Its powers are pretty epic and are currently way too powerful. Nerfs are in-coming but we are focused on the Zerg so we havent put a ton of work into her for several weeks. When there is something worth updating on this unit, we will update.

Originally Posted by Cavez
We are putting a lot of effort into the Zerg right now. I played 5 fun games on friday with them (1v1s). I lost 1 and won 4 (woot) but to be fair at this point I know who I am going to lose to who and who I am going to beat before the game begins because we have played each other so often. =P Also, some of the new Zerg stuff is way over-powered IMHO.

In terms of time, the Zerg still need some work. We understand you guys are anxious to see them. Best I can still say is "soon." Sorry. =(

Originally Posted by Cavez on team gameplay
It is currently in the game but it is pretty troubled. We have not done a ton of balance testing with resource sharing as the focus, but we did do some before Blizzcon in the design group and we were able to do some pretty unpleasant things with it.

For example it was easy for some races (at the time Protoss) to focus on minerals-only units while feeding gas to another player (at the time Terran) so they could tech up more quickly and get access to some pretty rough gas-heavy units (at the time, Banshees) before the other team had a chance to be really prepared.

We're reserving judgement on this until we get to really test it properly and see if we can come up with some solutions to make it workeable. But, if it can't be fixed then it gets cut.

Originally Posted by Cavez on the High Templar's new Anti-Gravity ability
It works on all ground units as well as all buildings (barring "town-hall" buildings like the Command Center, Nexus, etc.).

It is obviously useful against Thors and other big-guy ground units. Not super-useful against lots of the smaller ground units since this spell is competing with Psi Storm for your energy and you would rather use Psi Storm against just about everything else (Anti-Grav is 50 energy at the moment).

It's use against buildings is what is most interesting since it is so easy to block up a choke these days with buildings (especially Terran). But we shall see. We have been so focused on the Zerg that it hasn't gotten all that much testing time yet.



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