Hello fellow gamers and welcome to your weekly dose SC2 News.
In the March 8 and March 11 community feedback updates, Blizzard has taken a very transparent approach to evolving the game. The game designers are focused on two things: making maps diverse to encourage diversity among build orders and balancing seemingly overpowered units by nerfing cool-down times. In the most recent community update, the game designers announced tweaking the cool-down times of two units: (1) the attack time of Tank-Vac drops in siege mode and (2) the cool-down time of the Corrosive Bile ability of the Ravager.
During the March 8th community update, Blizzard revealed that they want early-game and mid-game to be fun and dynamic with late game “macro” strategies being less viable. These are the comments I am talking about:
“In the past, we’ve seen times when the game was mostly just about accruing 200 supply and fighting a few times at that stage to determine the winner. In these instances, games all felt the same. We’ve also seen this same sort of thing when all the maps in the map pool were of the same type: you play the exact same strategy capitalizing on the exact same timings on every map, so every game felt too similar.
Some of the staler, more boring games (to play and watch) have been mech only.”
So now we know where the game designers are coming from. They like early-game harass and mid-game pushes that make late-game strategies less viable. As the new abilities get nerfed, games are going stretch further into the late-game. I’d really like to see the older tier 2 units get buffed to keep the mid-game evolving. To give the older tier 2 units viability, these units need abilities. That is where the game can evolve, so let’s take a quick look at some possible buffs for the Swarm Host, Colossus, and Thor.
In SC2: Heart of the Swarm (HotS), the Swarm Host turned late game ZvT into a battle of attrition between Auto-Turrets from Terran’s Raven versus unlimited Locusts from Zerg’s Swarm Host. Blizzard responded by nerfing the duration of Auto-Turrets from the Raven and nerfing the Swarm Host in various ways.
Swarm Hosts deserve a LotV patch to make them a viable unit again. I suggest making the unit bigger (type massive), cost more, and spawn more Locusts(5) with one cast. The mechanics of the ability could be similar to a Ravager’s by holding the shift key, so a player can cast all Locusts and select where the Locusts need to land after spawning. This leaves a spot for opposing players to micro away from (just like Corrosive Bile), but also creates a counter to Liberator/Tank contains, micro-ing Locusts past the Liberation Zone out to get at the Tank line. The buffed Swarm Host would also be a viable counter against Blink Stalkers, trapping the Blink Stalkers with Locusts that attack from the back while the main army attacks from the front.
During HotS, the principle strategy for Protoss was the death ball. To achieve a death ball, a Protoss player would macro to a large supply of Stalkers and four or five Colossus. The death ball then mowed down anything that got in its way. The best way to beat the death ball was to avoid it, and constantly counter-attack the Protoss bases to force the death ball to stay close to home.
In LotV, Blizzard nerfed the damage of the Colossus and temporarily nerfed its range. The Disruptor was supposed to fill the AoE role that was previously filled by the Colossus, but in a more micro-intensive way (i.e. more fun to watch/play).This has had limited success so far, but once a professional gamer successfully shows the strength of the unit, I am sure the Disruptor will start causing unit splits similar to Marine splits against Banelings.
The Colossus deservers an ability of its own that diversifies it from the Disruptor as more than an AoE unit. I suggest giving the Colossus a new ability to charge the laser beam and swipe the line of the laser beam across an ultra-long range. This would diversify the Disruptor as the counter to large Zerg Roach/Ravager armies and large Terran bio armies, while placing the Colossus as a counter to Zerg’s Lurkers and Terran’s Liberator zone outs.
The Thor provided the basis for the “Mech” build that the game designers decided was a really boring match to play/watch. Currently, the Thor is not a very strong unit because of Ravagers. A heavy assault of the Corrosive Bile ability deals a lot damage to a Thor army that is not very mobile.
In SC2: Wings of Liberty (WoL) and to a lesser extent in SC2: HotS, we saw “Thor drops” as a unique and viable strategy. This involved building a proxy factory and getting a Thor extremely quickly. The Thor could then be dropped by a Medivac and lay waste to an enemy base.
I think we should bring this strategy back but without requiring the Medivac. The Thor could use an ability that allows it to jump up cliffs like a Reaper and over small gaps (like flying locusts). Thus, the Thor is given the ability to harass like a mid-game reaper. It would be awesome for a Thor to be able to squash non-massive units with this ability by landing on them. A burrowed Lurker could be splattered or a Sentry’s Force Field could be crushed with a well-placed jump. The cool-down time for this ability would have to be pretty long to keep the game balanced, but it would add some mobility to a unit that does not mesh well with the current Terran Bio compositions.
So, that’s the rundown on a lot of the major changes that came out in the last couple weeks. What do you think of the updates? Let us know in the comments! Otherwise, see you next week!