Patch 3.17 Preview: New Co-op Commander Dehaka

The Zerg are known for their ability to adapt and evolve, and no creature desires these qualities more than Dehaka. He grows stronger as the battle progresses, and can be customized to help deal with any enemy you face. His army’s huge array of abilities gives you the flexibility to adapt to anything a mission can throw at you. Dehaka leads his pack with the cunning and ferocity that the Primal Zerg represent.



Dehaka and his pack of primal Zerg have a well-established history. The primal Zerg hunt down their prey, gaining strength and evolving new abilities as they defeat their enemies and harvest their essence. Dehaka was another Commander who was an obvious choice to become a controllable hero for Co-op missions. We wanted to incorporate the essence hunting aspect, but do it in a way that was different than Abathur. Abathur focuses on the collection of biomass to evolve his army. Dehaka and his primal Zerg are based on a hierarchy, with the strongest being the pack leader. Since Dehaka is the leader, he is the only one that gets to taste that sweet, sweet essence and use it to mutate and grow. The rest of his army is forced to fight each other for the chance of consuming essence and evolving into more powerful forms.

It was important to us to preserve the fantasy of the primal Zerg. Here are a few examples of how we did that:

  • Drones don’t morph into structures, they summon primal beasts to support Dehaka by sacrificing themselves as the lure.
  • Primal Hives and Wardens can uproot and fight.
  • Primal Zerg don’t use a hive mind to function and thus don’t require overlords.

When Dehaka returned to Zerus, he dominated the primal pack leaders that rose in place of the ones Kerrigan had eliminated. The new leaders, Glevig, Murvar, and Dakrun now follow the strongest primal Zerg, Dehaka. Not only do these primal leaders provide their packs to support Dehaka, they also offer upgrades to the pack themselves, and can even be called into the battle to fight for Dehaka’s cause temporarily.

The main focus of playing Dehaka is the direct control of his hero unit, collection of enemy essence, and making choices for unlocking new abilities during the mission. As Dehaka picks up essence from fallen enemies, he will grow in size, gaining health, attack damage, and mutation points, which he can use to unlock new active abilities and passive upgrades. By the end of the mission, Dehaka should be a nearly unstoppable force of nature rivaling anything we’ve ever seen in Co-op.

Dehaka’s primal underlings must be kept constantly at attention. You can order them to fight each other to prove who is strong and worthy to serve their leader. Each of his basic units can evolve into a new form, becoming a new unit with new attacks and abilities. Choose when to order your minions to perform primal combat and evolve your army to fit your needs.

Evolve Primal Regeneration
Dehaka passively heals all allied units nearby.
Evolve Keen Senses
Allows Dehaka to detect cloaked, burrowed, and hallucinated units.
Evolve Chitinous Plating
Increases Dehaka’s armor by 3.
Evolve Deadly Reach
Allows Dehaka to attack air units.

Primal Zergling
  • Primal Zerglings can battle and evolve into a Ravasaur.
Ravasaur
  • A percentage of damage done heals the Ravasaur.
  • Can evolve to deal bonus damage to armored targets.
  • Can evolve increased attack range.
Primal Roach
  • Regenerates life very quickly while burrowed.
  • Can evolve to increase movement speed.
  • Primal Roaches can battle and evolve into a Primal Igniter or Primal Guardian.
Primal Igniter
  • Regenerates life very quickly while burrowed.
  • Can evolve to increase its movement speed.
  • Can evolve to deal bonus damage to light units.
Primal Guardian
  • Can evolve to fire an explosive spore at a target that causes area of effect damage.
  • Can evolve to increase its attack speed with each consecutive attack, capping at 50%.
Primal Hydralisk
  • Can evolve to increase movement speed and attack range.
  • Primal Hydralisks can battle and evolve into a Primal Mutalisk or Impaler.
Primal Mutalisks
  • Can evolve the following traits:
    • Deal bonus damage against air units.
    • Reduce damage taken while moving.
    • Revive on death after a short time.
Impaler
  • Can evolve to deal damage over time to units and apply ‘Tenderize.’ If Dehaka consumes a tenderized unit, his consume cooldown will be reduced by half.
Primal Host
  • Spawns flying Primal Locusts that can land to engage round units.
  • Primal Hosts can battle and evolve into Creeper Host.
Creeper Host
  • Spawns flying explosive Creepers that land and detonate on impact, dealing bonus damage to structures.
  • Can evolve the movement speed of Creepers as well as allow them to attack air units.
Primal Ultralisk
  • Can evolve and learn the following enhancements:
    • Brutal Charge: charge a target location knocking back units and dealing area of effect damage.
    • Regenerate live quickly when out of combat.
    • Melee attacks have a chance to stun enemies.
  • Can battle and evolve into a Tyrannozor
Tyrannozor
  • Can evolve the following enhancements:
    • Unleash a barrage of spikes, dealing damage to ground units surrounding the Tyrannozor.
    • Grants nearby friendly units additional armor.
    • Melee attacks have a chance to stun enemies.

Essence Gatherer
Dehaka can collect essence, grow stronger, and choose mutations. Dehaka spawns in faster than other hero units and can devour Primal Drones to reduce his respawn time.
New Units: Ravasaur and Primal Igniter
Units can be commanded to engage in primal combat to force evolutions. Unlocks the following new evolutions:

  • Primal Zerglings can evolve into Ravasaurs.
  • Primal Roaches can evolve into Primal Igniters.
Ravasaur Upgrade Cache
Unlocks the following upgrades at Glevig’s Den:

  • Ravasaurs gain +1 attack range.
  • Ravasaurs gain +5 attack damage against armored enemies.
Deep Tunnel
Dehaka, Primal Wurms, and Greater Primal Wurms gain the ability to Deep Tunnel.
Primal Insight
Dehaka’s maximum level increases from 10 to 12 and unlocks the following mutation choices for Dehaka:

  • Gain the ability to detect cloaked and burrowed units.
  • Gain increased armor.
New Units: Primal Mutalisk and Primal Guardian
Units can be commanded to engage in primal combat to force evolutions. Unlocks the following new evolutions:

  • Primal Hydralisks can evolve into primal Mutalisks.
  • Primal roaches can evolve into primal Guardians.
Primal Mutalisk and Primal Guardian Upgrade Cache
Unlocks the following upgrades at Murvar’s Den:

  • Primal Mutalisks revive on death after a short time.
  • Primal Guardians can fire area damaging spores at enemy ground units.
New Units: Creeper Host and Primal Impaler
Units can be commanded to engage in primal combat to force evolutions. Unlocks the following new evolutions:

  • Primal Hydralisks can evolve into Impalers.
  • Primal Hosts can evolve into Creeper Hosts.
Primal Igniter and Primal Impaler Upgrade Caches
Unlocks the following upgrades at Glevig’s Den:

  • Primal Igniters deal bonus damage to light units.
Evolved Pack Leaders
The Pack Leaders and Primal Wurms gain new abilities:

  • Glevig gains a flame breath that deals area damage.
  • Murvar also spawns explosive creepers.
  • Dakrun reflects damage to enemy attackers.
  • Primal Wurms and Greater Primal Wurms gain the ability to project a powerful stream of acid.
New Unit: Tyrannozor
Units can be commanded to engage in primal combat to force evolutions. Unlocks the following new evolution:

  • Primal Ultralisks can evolve into Tyrannozors.
Survival Instinct
Dehaka’s maximum level increases from 12 to 14 and unlocks the following mutation choices for Dehaka:

  • Passively heal nearby friendly units.
  • Can attack air units.
Elite Primal Zerg Upgrade Cache
Unlocks the following upgrades at Murvar and Dakrun’s Dens:

  • Primal Ultralisk and Tyrannozor attacks have a chance to stun enemies.
  • Tyrannozors gain an ability that deals area damage.
  • Creeper Host Creepers gain increased movement speed and can target air units.
Zerus Cunning
Dehaka’s maximum level increases from 14 to 15 and Dehaka starts with an additional mutation point.
Gene Mutation
Primal combat evolutions have a change to mutate, providing permanent passive bonuses that can increase life, attack speed, grant life leech, and more.

  • Know when to combat evolve your units. These evolutions change the unit’s roles. Primal Ultralisks can evolve into Tyrannozors, giving them an anti-air attack. Primal Hydralisks can become an anti-armored siege unit, the Impaler.
  • Dehaka is the most important part of your army. Make sure to keep him alive and collect essence as often as possible.
  • Getting ahead of the power curve is key. Dehaka starts off small and weak early on. Fortunately, he spawns in faster than any other hero in the game, which gives him a head start in building up power.
  • Dehaka’s Devour ability is his most important ability. Be sure to have at least one point allocated to Devour. This ability gives Dehaka access to a variety of temporary powers that are critical to victory (healing, damage, speed, armor, cooldown reduction, etc.).
  • Powers absorbed are dependent on enemy unit types (biological, armored, light, massive, psionic, etc). Learn the different types of powers available and which enemies will provide that power. Eating the right food at the right time can make a huge difference.
  • An advanced tactic for Devour is to use it just before an enemy is killed. The cooldown is based on the amount of life the unit had when you eat it. The temporary powers granted are the same no matter how much life the enemy has.
  • Dehaka’s Leap ability is great for dealing area damage as well as giving him mobility. Be careful, though – if used too recklessly, he may not have an escape. If you use Leap to jump into the fray, be sure to Devour enemies to stay healed, or use the level 3 version to gain temporary armor.
  • Make early choices for Dehaka’s mutation upgrades based on the enemy AI composition.
  • Detection is provided by Primal Wurms. Be sure to keep some charges of Greater Primal Wurms handy—or, once you’ve unlocked the Deep Tunnel ability, build extra Primal Wurms at home and tunnel them over when needed.
  • Weapon and Armor upgrades are found on the Primal Hives. All primal units benefit from these upgrades so a mix of melee, ranged, ground or air units can be combined to create a pack that best fits the mission.
  • The tech path is simple but critical. Make sure to summon all structures as soon as possible, unlocking tech as well as top bar summon abilities.
  • Devour drone on Dehaka’s Den allows him to recover quickly allowing him to be extremely aggressive. Using Devour drone early on might be necessary if you need Dehaka to recover quickly, but it will hurt your economy so be careful. Late game it may be a good idea to build up some spare drones or remember to replace them if Dehaka decides to have a snack.

Dehaka and his primal Zerg will be available for purchase with the release of Patch 3.17.0. What Commander will synergize well with this behemoth? Who would win a fight between Dehaka and Abathur? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Let the BlizzCon 2017 Contest Registration Begin!

The time has come to exhibit your masterful movies, astonishing art, carefully crafted costumes, and terrific talents for a chance at BlizzCon 2017 glory! Head over to our Contest pages to submit your entry and learn more about the epic prizes up for grabs this year.

Cosplayers, one quick note to keep in mind: Earlier this year, we mentioned changes were coming to the Costume Contest. We’d like to announce that this will be the last year we follow a “first-come, first-served” format when it comes to signups, with pre-judging being implemented into the process. More details to come in the following months, but for now, let’s just focus on this year.

Don’t delay! The deadline to submit your entry for each contest is August 31, 2017.

BlizzCon 2017 Original Art Contest

BlizzCon 2017 Movie Contest

BlizzCon 2017 Costume Contest

BlizzCon 2017 Talent Contest to enter. See the available music composition options.

Any questions should be directed to BlizzConContest@Blizzard.com.

Good luck!

How does Blizzard Make Maps?

We wanted to take a moment to provide some insight into how Blizzard designs and creates maps. We expect this information to be helpful to anyone interested in map-making, or to those who would like to understand the various tasks that are a part of game development.

The Team
The development team for StarCraft II is made up of a lot of different people who collaborate on everything we release. Creating maps is no exception, requiring both teamwork and coordination to get them into the game.

Part 1: Level Design

Every map which Blizzard makes internally begins with a Level Designer. When this person starts on a new map, they begin from scratch, creating a map layout designed to hit specific gameplay goals. The Level Designer then gets help from other designers to playtest the map, and receives feedback on any problematic areas or concerns about the map’s balance.

After these initial tests, the Level Designer then gradually expands to include additional groups for playtesting, eventually calling on our Quality Assurance department to give additional expert feedback.

This feedback often leads to multiple iterations on the design of the map. Once these design changes have stabilized and concluded, the map becomes “design locked”. A painstaking work of art, the beautiful finished product will look something like this:

Part 2: Map Art Review
Beautiful may have been a strong word, so at this point, since the map’s design is pretty much finalized, we then hand over the map to our art team to do a pass.

The art team will have a discussion on how to “art-ify” the map, and what directions we could go thematically. Ultimately, the art leads on the team are responsible for considering a lot of factors before they decide on the art direction for each map. It is their goal to be creative with each setting, while remaining consistent with the art direction of the rest of the StarCraft universe. It is also important that a map’s art never hinders the gameplay experience of the player.

Once they’ve been given some general direction, an Artist will then do a pass on the map, feeling generally free to express their creativity. With each iteration on the map’s art, they’ll receive feedback from the art leads on anything they need to tweak to stay consistent with StarCraft themes, and may also receive feedback from the Level Designer on anything that needs to be tweaked for gameplay.

Part 3: Performance Pass

Eventually, the map will be in a nearly completed state, and the map will be ready to ship. At this point however, we must do a performance pass.
Through a variety of automated tests, we receive statistics on various performance metrics for the map, including heatmaps that will show any areas that are causing performance to fall below our standards.

The map Artist then performs additional passes to remove complexity in areas that are having performance problems. This could mean tweaking lights, removing objects, or heavily simplifying the visual goal. This process inevitably leads to occasional disappointment as artistic vision is sacrificed for performance, but maintaining a high FPS is a top priority for any map that’s going to be used in ladder competition.

After all of these passes, the new finished product will look something like this:

How Does Blizzard Select Community Maps?
When Blizzard selects a map from the community to use on the ladder, that choice is being made by a collaboration between our Multiplayer Designers and Level Designers. Similar to our internally designed maps, we evaluate community maps with one question primarily in mind: What layouts are hitting our gameplay design goals? In addition to this, we also factor in how popular a map is with the community, and how creative the map maker was with representing a theme, but these are secondary to purely evaluating the gameplay of the layout.

Our most important goal is always to create engaging and varied gameplay in our ladder pool. This means we have to choose maps from a variety of categories of gameplay, while also avoiding any that allow for exploits or degenerative gameplay.

We’ve seen a wide variety of maps submitted to the Team Liquid Map Contest over the years, and we love seeing all of the unique creative designs and artistic styles which the community has created. Whenever a popular map is close to meeting our goals, we look into whether small tweaks can bring it in line (if it isn’t already). Sometimes however, even a first place winner may be too far-gone to save, but we believe that’s okay. A map can be beautiful, and execute well on a design vision, even if that vision wasn’t meant for the competitive ladder.

We hope that seeing our design process has given you some insight into how various experts all play a role in helping develop a StarCraft II map. We also hope that our emphasis on gameplay design resonates with the mapmaking community, as we believe that the gameplay experience is the most important thing for us to focus on making as great as it can be.
We look forward to your comments and feedback in the section below.

Patch 3.17 Preview: iNcontroL Announcer

A staple of the StarCraft community, Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson has been around since the days of Brood War and was a founding member of the StarCraft II division of Evil Geniuses. Over the years, Geoff has been a caster for major StarCraft II tournament organizers including MLG, NASL, and Dreamhack. He’s been a prominent caster in the WCS and most recently, casted in Korea for the GSL vs the World tournament. We’re happy to bring his unique sense of humor and personality into StarCraft II and have a few choice samples for you to enjoy.

The iNcontroL Announcer will be available for purchase in the ‘Collection’ tab in StarCraft II with the release of Patch 3.17. Let Geoff know how excited you are by tweeting to him @iNcontroLTV.

StarCraft II Multiplayer – Major Design Changes

Last year we released Patch 3.8 which, unlike smaller balance patches released throughout the year, was a larger set of changes aimed at improving multiplayer StarCraft II through various design changes. This year we are embarking on another design patch and are excited to share with you our initial list of changes! This time around our general focus is to address underused units and abilities while also trying to reduce sudden game ending moments.

As with last year, this design patch will require a large amount of testing, feedback and revision before it can go live for everyone to enjoy, so we wanted to get it into your hands for testing as fast as possible. The changes in this blog are live on the Testing section of StarCraft II Multiplayer, and we would like to release the final changes after this year’s tournament season concludes in November. In the sections below we outline the proposed changes, and give some of our thoughts on each one to explain what we would like to accomplish.


Economy

In Legacy of the Void we changed the amount of resources in each base to promote expanding and discourage overly defensive playstyles. While this change did have the intended results, we think that there might be a way to make comebacks easier when players are denied a 3rd or 4th base. To do this, we’d like to increase the amount of gas on Vespene gas geysers, as well as the large mineral nodes. This means that bases take longer to completely run out, but since it’s only the large mineral node being adjusted, players are still encouraged to take new bases to increase their mineral income rate. This should also decrease some of the pressure on new players to secure new bases right away.

  • Large mineral nodes at bases are increased from 1500 to 1800 per node
  • Small mineral nodes remain at 900 per node
  • Vespene Geyser value increased from 2000 to 2250 to maintain the mineral to gas ratio

Last year Terran had a major update to its Mech arsenal. This year we are looking into adjusting MULEs to better synergize with Terran Mech, and giving them a bit more flexibly in general. We wanted to also take a look at Terran caster units and see where we could make changes to have them become more useful earlier in the game, or in smaller numbers. In general, we also wanted to improve some under used options and reduce sudden game ending tactics.

Unit Redesign

While the Mule admirably performs its current job as mineral collector, we wanted to experiment with a version that is more flexible for Terran commanders. MULEs will now be able to mine Vespene gas at a rate higher than SCV’s but lose efficiency if more than one MULE is assigned per refinery. In exchange the MULE’s mineral mining rate has been slightly reduced.

Changes:

  • MULEs can now harvest Vespene gas from refineries
  • MULEs harvest 10 Vespene gas per trip
  • MULEs harvest 20 minerals per trip instead of 25

Unit Redesign

We are exploring a redesign of the Raven’s abilities to turn it into a more supportive caster role. Auto Turret and Point Defense Drone are being removed and Seeker Missile is being redesigned. Our goal here is to address feedback that Ravens are only somewhat useful when made in small numbers and become oppressive if massed. Players should now want to make a few Ravens during a game but not have incentive to heavily mass produce Ravens.

The new abilities are: Scrambler Missile, Repair Drone and Shredder Missile.

General:

  • Removal of existing abilities
  • New Ability: Scrambler Missile
  • New Ability: Repair Drone
  • New Ability: Shredder Missile

Scrambler Missile:

Scrambler Missile is an anti-mechanical unit ability that temporarily disables all weapons and unit abilities. This ability is effective against important enemy units to help swing a battle in your favor, even if you are down in supply. Since it disables abilities, this can also be used against Medivacs and Warp Prisms to prevent loading or unloading of units, cutting off retreats or incursions into your base.

  • Cost: 50 Energy
  • Range: 8
  • Effect: Target mechanical unit's weapons and abilities are disabled for a short time.

Repair Drone

Repair Drone is a deployable unit that is unable to move, but has a repair beam that restores the health of a nearby friendly mechanical unit. The Repair Drone will give Terran Mech commanders a new way to keep their units up and running.

  • Cost: 75 Energy
  • Effect: Deploys a timed life Repair Drone. The drone can target and repair mechanical units that enter the area.

Shredder Missile

Shredder Missile functions like the old Seeker Missile, but on impact it works a bit differently. Instead of doing 100 splash damage it now does 30, but it also decreases the armor of all units hit by 3 for a short duration. This is intended to stack less efficiently with itself than the old Seeker Missile but will be more of a combo ability to use with core units such as Marines, Cyclones or Vikings.

  • Cost: 125 Energy
  • Effect: Deploys a Shredder Missile which activates after a short delay and pursues the target unit, dealing 30 damage on impact and reducing armor by 3 for a short duration.
  • Recalibrated Explosives Upgrade has been removed
  • New Upgrade: Enhanced Munitions
    • Increases the blast radius of Shredder Missile by 20% and its tracking range by 50%

Additional Changes

Widow Mine:

In an effort to reduce certain game ending moments, we want to try making Widow Mines easier to clean up. They will now be revealed when their weapon is reloading, even if they are still burrowed. This should make cleaning up unattended Widow Mines much easier, while still allowing the Widow Mine to perform its splash damage role if properly set up with a Terran army or used defensively.

  • Widow Mines are now revealed while Sentinel Missile is on cooldown.

Ghost:

The illusive and deadly Ghost is already a strong late game tech choice for Terran compositions. However we wanted to try out having the Ghost’s key defensive ability, Cloak, come online faster while balancing this out by breaking out the Mobeius Reactor upgrade and putting it back on the Ghost Academy. This is intended to help players transition into Ghosts more safely in the mid-late game and possibly make Ghosts as an unusual but strategic opening for Terran players.

  • Cloak is now available by default on Ghosts
  • Ghosts now start with 50 energy instead of 75
  • Moebius Reactor is re-added to the Ghost Academy. It provides +25 starting energy to Ghosts

Liberator:

The Liberator is getting a minor design change to its vision when deployed in Defender Mode. Instead of getting a flat vision increase to allow it to fire into its targeting circle it will instead get extra vision within the targeting circle. This lets the Liberator still fire unsupported but makes it easier for opponents to sneak around its vision or attack from alternate angles.

  • No longer gains bonus vision when using Defender Mode
  • Now gains vision of its target location in Defender Mode

Cyclone:

We want the Cyclone’s Lock-On ability to feel a bit more impactful than it does currently. To that end we are making it so that the first four shots will fire rapidly to help increase the guaranteed damage that the Cyclone can deal to its target. We are also introducing a new upgrade to increase the Cyclone’s Lock On damage against armored units. While the Cyclone is not intended as an all around Anti-air option we wanted to try experimenting with giving its Anti-air weapon a bit more long term use.

  • First four shots of Lock On fire more rapidly. Total damage over time remains at 160.
  • New upgrade: Armor Piercing Rockets
    • This upgrade adds +2 armored damage to each of the Cyclone’s missiles during Lock On, +46 armored damage total.

New Upgrade: Smart Servos

This upgrade will make Thors, Hellions, Hellbats and Vikings transform much faster. This is a rather experimental change to see if we can get some more micro out of the Terran transform mechanic. However, we are not targeting Terran siege units such as the Siege Tank and Liberator with this upgrade as we feel it would take away the interesting counter play to those units.

  • Hellion, Hellbat, Thor and Viking transformation times are reduced heavily.
  • Located on the Factory Techlab, requires Armory.

With Protoss we are looking into smoothing out control of certain units within the Protoss arsenal. Especially in regards to their core splash damage options with the High Templar, Colossus and Disruptor. We also wanted to take another look at the early game defenses of Protoss, especially the ubiquitous Mothership Core, and seeing if we could make these defenses revolve more around the basic Protoss early game units. Since these changes are quite large we will be keeping a close eye on how they all work out.

Unit Removal

In perhaps the most experimental, and risky, change of this update we are trying out removing the Mothership Core and moving its early game defense role to the Nexus itself. This is not a minor change and we will be paying close attention to how this plays out during testing. In doing this change, we hope to somewhat simplify Protoss early game defenses by concentrating defensive power in the Nexus itself rather than a specialized unit that moves between them.

Changes:

  • Mothership Core removed
  • Redesigned Nexus Ability: Chrono Boost
  • New Nexus Ability: Mass Recall
  • New Nexus Ability: Shield Restore

Chrono Boost:

We are changing Chrono Boost to behave more like it did during Heart of the Swarm where it costs energy to cast and lasts a fixed duration. Its macro boost rate is overall similar to how the ability currently functions in Legacy of the Void. By moving the macro ability back to being an energy cost there will be interesting decisions to make between spending Nexus energy on macro boosting or defenses.

  • Cost: 50 Energy
  • Duration: 10 seconds
  • Effect: Boosts a building’s work rate by 100%.

Mass Recall:

We have changed how Mass Recall works. Now Mass Recall will bring back units in a target location to the Nexus that cast the ability. This should allow for Protoss players to make the choice to be more active on the map with their units. As games go longer this could increasingly give Protoss players more mobility as they take and hold more bases. We don’t want this to result in super safe army movements, so when units are being recalled they will be unable to attack or move while the ability is being channeled before they are called back to the nexus.

  • Cost: 100 Energy
  • Effect: After 4 seconds all units in target area are teleported to the Nexus. Units are unable to move or attack during this time.

Shield Recharge:

In replacing Photon Overcharge we are trying out a Shield Recharge mechanic. This should allow Protoss players to use more of their combat units for defense. Currently the ability works on both buildings and units so that players can decide if they want to keep important structures alive during all ins or heavy harass.

  • Cost: 1 Energy per 3 shield restored
  • Range: 8
  • Has autocast functionality
  • Can be cast on units or structures

Additional Changes

Stalker:

With the removal of the Mothership Core we are also looking into Protoss’s other early game units. In particular we wanted to try sharpening the role of the Stalker, and make it more of a shoot and move unit with sniping capabilities. To do this we are slowing its attack rate but increasing its damage per shot.

  • Increased Stalker’s Particle Disruptor weapon from 10 (14 vs armored) to 15 (21 vs armored)
  • Increased Particle Disruptor’s weapon period from 1.03 to 1.54
  • Particle Disruptor now gets +2 damage per weapon upgrade, up from +1

Disruptor:

While we like how much micro the current Disruptor provides, we thought that we could try making it do damage more consistently with slightly less game ending potential per shot. To do this we are making it so that the Purification Nova has a triggering detonation circle in the middle of the shot. So if an enemy unit comes in contact with the Purification Nova it will detonate immediately. In exchange the damage per shot is reduced but the cooldown is reduced as well. This allows the Purification Nova to hit more constantly against opposing armies but each shot is less likely to detonate in the center of the enemy forces and cripple them.

  • Purification Nova
    • Purification Nova now detonates on contact with enemy units (not structures)
    • Purification Nova still lasts 2 seconds before detonating
    • Damage reduced from 145 (+55 shields) to 135 (+25 shields)
    • Cooldown reduced from 21 to 18
  • When dropped from a Warp Prism the Disruptor’s Purification Nova will be set to a brief cooldown. As it felt a little too strong vs worker lines otherwise.

Colossus:

As mentioned in previous updates we wanted to take another look at the Colossus role in Protoss splash damage. With the High Templar filling the role of general splash damage, and the Disuptor dealing burst damage we wanted to push the Colossus towards a consistent anti-light armor role. In addition, the Extended Thermal Lance upgrade has perhaps too much power locked behind it for the Colossus’ more niche role. So we are looking into making it easier to obtain.

  • Damage changed from 12 to 10 (15 vs Light)
  • Damage per upgrade changed from 1 to 1 (+1 vs Light)
  • Range increased from 6 to 7
  • Upgrade: Extended Thermal Lance
    • Range upgrade decreased from +3 to +2
    • Cost decreased from 200 / 200 to 150 / 150

Carrier:

For the Carrier we wanted to slightly increase the cost of their Interceptors. We don’t want to remove the Carrier’s role from the game as a powerful end game unit but feedback from the community is that it can overperform in this role due to easily replacing lost Interceptor units.

  • Interceptor cost increased from 10 to 15 minerals

High Templar:

The High Templar’s abilities and role are already in a solid state in Legacy of the Void. Instead we wanted to try making the unit slightly easier to use. To do this we are adding a very low damage auto attack to the High Templar, like in the campaign. This will keep the High Templar further back during fights and avoid its charging heedlessly into danger.

  • Added Psi Blast weapon
    • Range: 6
    • Damage: 4
    • Attack period: 1.25

Mothership:

With the removal of the Mothership Core we have adjusted the abilities of the Mothership itself slightly. This is likely not its final state, but is just a starting point.

  • Now built directly from the Nexus
  • No longer can cast Photon Overcharge
  • Mass Recall now works like the Nexus version above, all units targeted will be recalled to the Mothership

Observer:

While we don’t want to make Protoss ability gameplay any more complicated we wanted to try making Observers more useful for ladder players. Currently Observers are selected with the select all army button (F2 by default) which can often bring Observers out of position and to their untimely demise. While we’d like to keep observers in this selection, we are considering adding the ability to ‘deploy’ your observer for increased vision range in exchange for being unable to move.

  • New ability: Surveillance Mode
    • The observer is unable to move and gains 25% more vision

Since last year’s update, we have seen a number of new strategies and tactics come from the Zerg. This time around we are looking into encouraging more direct interaction with Creep spread from Zerg specialist units and wanted to increase the utility of the Lurker. Additionally we want to look into experimenting with Zerg ground based anti-air options outside of the Queen and Hydralisk. Looking forward as the testing progresses, we want to make sure that Zerg has enough aggressive options before late game so that Zerg players don’t feel heavily pressured into only defensive play.

Unit Redesign

For the Infestor we wanted to try experimenting with making the unit interact more with Creep. We also wanted to see if we could reduce some of the game ending potential of fungal growth while keeping it as a strong disable/area of effect ability.

Changes:
We are changing Fungal Growth to no longer hit air units, and those units hit off Creep will now be slowed instead of rooted. At the same time those units who are hit on Creep are now rooted to the Creep and the overall radius of Fungal Growth is larger. Since this affects Zerg anti-air we will be closely watching this to make sure that Zerg still has sufficient options in this area.

The Infested Terran ability for the Infestor is also being changed. Currently the unit is used as a last resort and we think that there is potential to make it a bit more useful. But we do not want Infested Terrans to become a main army composition. Instead we are trying out having Infested Terrans move into an anti-air role with a weaker anti-ground attack.

Fungal Growth:

  • Radius increased from 2.0 to 2.5
  • No longer hits air units
  • Units hit off Creep have their movement speed reduced by 50%
  • Units hit on Creep are immobilized

Infested Terran:

  • Now benefits from Zerg Missile Attacks and Ground Carapace upgrades.
  • Infested Gauss Rifle damage decreased from 8 to 6
  • Infested Gauss Rifle no longer hits air
  • New Weapon: Acid Spores
    • Projectile
    • Range 6
    • Damage 14
    • Period 0.95
    • Prioritized over ground weapon
  • Infested Terrans spawn much faster on Creep

Unit Redesign

With the Lurker, we like its current role as a zone controller but we think that its current window of use is a bit too small. This is due to a combination of the Lurker Den being soft locked behind the important Hydralisk Muscular Augments upgrade and when games go late detection can heavily reduce their effectiveness.

To address this we have split off the Lurker Den into its own building that can be made from a Drone once a Hydralisk Den has been built. Additionally, we are adding a new upgrade called Digging Claws on the Lurker Den which increases the Lurker’s move speed and burrow speed. Our goal here is to give the Lurker more late-game utility when detectors are more numerous.

Changes:

  • Mutate to Lurker Den removed from Hydralisk Den
  • New Building: Lurker Den
    • Costs 100 minerals / 150 Vespene gas / 86 seconds
  • New Upgrade: Digging Claws
    • Located on Lurker Den
    • Requires Hive
    • Costs 150 minerals / 150 Vespene gas / 56 seconds
    • Reduces burrow time. Increases Lurker movement speed from 4.13 to 4.55

Additional Changes

Viper:

The Viper’s Parasitic Bomb ability is often used as an all or nothing mass cast tactic. You want to get as many Parasitic Bombs ready as possible and cast them all at once to destroy the enemy quickly. We wanted to keep the ability as a strong anti-air option but make it no longer exponentially grow in power. By increasing its damage a Viper user can be more confident about targeted enemies being destroyed.

  • Parasitic Bomb
    • Damage no longer stacks with other Parasitic Bomb effects
    • Damage increased from 60 to 180

Overseer:

Much like the Observer we wanted to try making the Overseer less likely to run to its doom if a player was intending for them to hold position somewhere.

  • New Ability: Oversight
    • The Overseer is unable to move and gains 25% more vision

Swarm Host

For the Swarm Host we wanted to increase the counter play options against them. By slowing down its move speed off Creep to that of the Siege Tank and Immortal opposing players should have an easier time counter attacking Swarm Hosts. Its move speed on Creep is unchanged however, keeping Creep spread very appealing to a Swarm Host user.

  • Move speed off Creep decreased from 4.13 to 3.15
  • Move speed on Creep remains at 5.36

Keep in mind that this is a first pass on the design update for November this year. Things may look very different as testing goes on with numbers changing, new changes being added or other areas being rolled back. We are very excited about the potential that these changes have for the StarCraft II multiplayer community, and the test matchmaking queue has been activated. Please let us know what you think in the comments below and have fun!

War Chest Phase 2 Unlocked

Phase 2 of the War Chest has been unlocked! It’s time to construct additional pylons, spread your creep, and drop manner MULEs to earn new skins, emoticons, and sprays. You can refer to our handy guide to see what rewards will be available in this next phase, or you can jump into StarCraft II and mouse over each node within the War Chest itself.

We were both humbled and excited to see the community rally around supporting esports and reaching the $700,000 goal so quickly. As a sign of gratitude, we wanted to add more content for those who participated in the first ever War Chest, so we created new portraits from the Shadow Wars comic. These portraits will be released in a future patch and will be awarded to anyone who purchases the War Chest.

Now that prize pool has been maxed out, 25% of future War Chest earnings will go towards WCS 2017 and 2018 operations. We’ve already been able to put this money to work by doubling the prize pool of TotalBiscuit’s recent SHOUTcraft Kings tournament. Thanks to your efforts, players competed for a total of $10,000 USD. You can watch the entire series here if you missed it.

Thank you again for everyone’s continued support of StarCraft II and StarCraft II esports.