There is quite a doozy of a patch coming to Starcraft 2 in the coming weeks. It adds a lot of social features (including map publishing and Facebook integration), interface changes, and some pretty big gameplay changes. Check out the full text from our good friend Zarhym:
- Map Publishing is now enabled: Using the map editor, you can upload your custom maps to share with the Battle.net community.
- Facebook feature is integrated: Here’s a quick way to expand your social network by seeing who among your existing Facebook friends also has a Battle.net account.
- 3v3 and 4v4 formats are now enabled.
- Numerous updates have been made to the Leagues & Ladders system:
- Removed Copper League and added Diamond League above Platinum League.
- Player ratings start at 0, rather than 1000.
- No longer displays loading screen odds in placement or practice league matches.
- Matchmaking system logic updated.
- UDP is enabled to help improve game performance.
- Numerous performance and stability improvements.
- Force Fields can now be destroyed by Massive ground units walking over them.
- Void Ray
- Range decreased from 7 to 6.
- Warp Gate
- Subgroup selection priority changed from 2 to 3 so that it takes priority over Gateways when selected.
- Stimpack research cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.
- Combat Shield research cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.
- Infested Terran spell removed.
- Frenzy spell added:
- Costs 25 energy.
- Targets a single biological unit which deals 25% more damage and is immune to snare, stuns, and mind control for 30 seconds.
- Contaminate spell added:
- Costs 75 energy.
- Targets a single enemy structure which cannot train units or research upgrades for 30 seconds.
- Infested Terran spell added:
- Costs 125 energy.
- Infested Terrans have the same stats as those previously created by the Infestor and are placed directly under the Overseer when spawned.
- Life decreased from 600 to 450.
- Damage changed from 25 to 15 (+25 Armored).
- Damage versus structures increased from 60 to 75.
Hotkey Changes (English Only):
- Zerg Set Worker Rally Point changed from R to G.
- Zerg Spore Crawler changed from W to A to avoid conflict with the Select All Warp Gates hotkey.
- Revamped summary pages for player Profiles and Leagues & Ladders.
- Added a Help system with tech trees and other tips and tricks.
- Removed identifier from the character naming process and added the ability to refer friends for invitation into your party or lobby.
- Updated the Battle.net user interface to consistently use a nested menu system.
- Added in-game blocking and player muting.
The Facebook integration showing up here will soon spill over to WoW when the Battle.net service goes “live” and unites the games. There is a lot to go over here, so lets let Zarhym kick it off with the patch 13 Situation Report:
StarCraft II Situation Report: Patch 13
There have been many new additions to Patch 13 including the map publishing feature, but as with previous Situation Reports, we wanted to take some time to go into some of the balance changes in particular and explain a bit more about them.
In this patch we are looking to address several balance issues that the community has discovered over the last few weeks. We are also addressing some of the zerg units and abilities that don’t see a lot of use in competitive games. These changes are big enough that we think it’s likely there will be further balance changes to these units as we learn more about how they are playing in the game.
Sentry Force Fields – Force Fields can now be destroyed by Massive ground units walking over them.
We are seeing a lot of great games that rely on Force Field as a key part of protoss strategy. The ability is fun, but we do want to create some more options for enemy players to deal with Force Fields to create some additional gameplay choices in a fight against the protoss. Now Massive units (Thor, Colossus, Ultralisk) will smash a Force Field if they are told to move through them. Ultralisks can use this ability to lead a Zerg charge onto a protoss position while protoss players can use their Colossus in an emergency to allow their army to attack or retreat.
Ultralisk – Life decreased from 600 to 450. Damage changed from 25 to 15 (+25 Armored). Damage versus structures increased from 60 to 75.
We have put in a large number of buffs to the Ultralisk to allow him to close the gap on his enemies. The Ultralisk can now ignore Force Fields and with the Infestor’s Frenzy ability he can ignore all of the ways that the enemy could disable him. With all of these buffs the Ultralisk needed to be rebalanced. We are focusing him more as an anti-armored unit since zerg players already have a few ways to deal with mass light units (Banelings and Fungal Growth). This Ultralisk should be able to deal with both mass Marauders and mass Roaches which are a common threat to zerg players in some end game scenarios.
Infestor – Infested Terrans spell removed. Frenzy spell added: Costs 25 energy – Targets a single biological unit which deals 25% more damage and is immune to snare, stuns, and mind control for 30 seconds.
We are cutting Infested Terrans since the ability rarely saw use. We have buffed this ability in internal testing and were unable to find a place in which we were happy with it on the Infestor. We are introducing a new ability called “Frenzy” that is especially useful for the short range zerg to get close up to the enemy to do some real damage. Frenzy should be especially helpful on Ultralisks who are trying to get past Thor Strike Cannons, Fungal Growth, or Neural Parasite.
Overseer – Contaminate spell added: Costs 75 energy – Targets a single enemy structure which cannot train units or research upgrades for 30 seconds. Infested Terran spell added: Costs 125 energy – Infested Terrans have the same stats as those previously created by the Infestor and are placed directly under the Overseer when spawned.
The Overseer is designed as a harassment caster. We don’t want to see hundreds of Overseers flying around, but we do like the ability for the zerg to annoy and harass the enemy with spells like Changeling. We added two abilities on the Overseer that were recently removed from other more “combat oriented” units. We expect that player’s will still build 1-2 Overseers to watch the enemy base and provide detection support for your force, but now you can also use the Overseer’s energy to disrupt enemy production and research, or to make small drops that force the enemy to spread their forces.
Void Rays – Range decreased from 7 to 6.
Void Rays are being used aggressively against terrans now, using their range and speed to trap a terran player in their base. This is pretty fun for the protoss player but at a variety of skill levels it is too difficult for the terran player to stop, even if the player sees it coming with good scouting. We think a slight range reduction will help with this match-up without doing too much damage to other matchups.
Terran Upgrades – Marine – Stimpack research cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100. Combat Shield research cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.
We still believe that the terrans are spending too much on infrastructure and are struggling to compete at certain times in the game against the protoss. Reducing the cost of essential infantry upgrades should make the terrans a little bit more dangerous when going with an infantry heavy force.
As always, we are continuing to watch the data as we make these changes as well as are continuing to watch for constructive feedback on these changes and more.
This is a lot to take in at once. I’ll give everyone a chance to digest this and talk about the new features in a future post.