Starcraft 2 Beta Patch 12 Released

Blizzard released a new patch for Starcraft 2, along with patch notes and a “situation report” that explains the motivation of the changes. There are lots of bug and performance fixes, including the super-annoying crash-on-exit that would lock up lots of system.

Our first Situation Report took a look at the changes with Patch 11 and while not a large patch, we wanted to continue sharing our insight on balance changes with Patch 12. Please keep in mind that we are continuing to keep a close eye on many of these changes to better gauge their effects and may not apply all of our planned changes into any one patch. This allows us to track the effects a bit better and layer in our planned changes to better set the pace of how they affect balance overall.

We have a few minor changes implemented as a part of the balance for this patch and are also planning some more ability changes for the zerg in the next.

  • Thor – Radius decreased from 1.375 to 0.8125. Model size reduced to match new radius.

We have reduced the physical and pathing size of the Thor just to make him more useable. This will end up being a minor buff to the Thor (which he didn’t really need). We made the change just to make him less frustrating to use. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this change plays out and if Thors become too dominant we will deal with them in other ways in future patches.

  • Forge – Build time increased from 35 to 45. Life and shield values decreased from 550/550 to 400/400.

We are seeing a Photon Cannon rush against protoss and zerg. Against protoss, players usually use a cliff edge or the enemy minerals in combination with their forge to protect their pylon. Against zerg, you can use the Forge and Pylon to block the zerg player’s ramp. We have a few numbers we can tweak to fix this, build time on the Forge being the most obvious. However if we make the build time too high it will be difficult to panic build a Forge and Cannons to block a badly played cloak attack. So we are going to try a mixture of health nerfs to the Forge and a small timing change.

  • Mothership – Vortex now removes Force Fields within its area of effect.

Vortex continues to be an exciting ability with some known issues. Limiting how Force Fields are used around Vortexes will help fix a few exploitable situations. Our thanks go to the community for continuing to find and report issues with it. =)

  • Roach – Supply count increased from 1 to 2.

Roaches are just too mighty to be a 1 supply unit. In 200 supply battles Roaches can be very difficult to deal with even with the correct counters in play by protoss or terran players.

As always, we appreciate the ongoing constructive feedback and will continue to closely monitor the effects of these changes within the game.

These changes are minor, but very much welcomed. The Thor change is a buff in nearly all situations, but some Thor-drop harassment strategies relied on the big Thor range to attack from ledges and cliffs. However, the greater maneuverability and smaller size means it won’t have as much melee on it and will be much easier to micro.

I haven’t played in any leagues above Silver, but lower league players have a few very popular cookie-cutter strategies. Protoss players will Zealot rush with a Gateway push, mass Stalkers, or mass Void Rays. The first one is often accompanied with a Photon Cannon push if the Zealots do well. The last two require a bit of teching that leads to turtling, and the Forge is required for the all-too popular Photon Cannons. Hopefully this will making teching a little bit more risky by requiring more time to get to Cannons. Low level Zerg players go for Roaches and Hydralisks quite a bit in my experience, and it can get kind of ridiculous mid to late game how many roaches there can be on the field.

In a lot of top-level tournament replays I’ve seen, the Sentry’s force field has been used in very offensive and creative ways. The interaction with Vortex was seen as a little too powerful, even exploitable, and changed a bit.