Hey again everyone. We’re back with a brief update from David Kim on a few of the topics that we saw discussed this week, and also to give you a few details on our big upcoming patch!
3.0 Update to HotS
First, we want to talk about the next major patch coming into HotS. It's the major preparation patch that is happening for Legacy of the Void. The patch won't have any balance changes in it, but we are separately trying to decide if the current Balance update test map is needed before Blizzcon. For now, it's looking like the game is in a good enough state where the better player wins matches rather than players winning due to racial strength, but we'll keep a close watch on it to make sure we make the right call. We are currently working on a list of detailed improvements that will be included with this last major patch for Heart of the Swarm, but we wanted to update you guys on one of the changes now - we will be removing the FFA matchmaking queue from this patch onwards. The reason is quite simple: not enough players have been interested in playing this mode, and so the matchmaking in the FFA queue isn't working properly. Due to the low participation, it's pretty much just random match making like custom games. We don't feel the need to have a matchmaker for a format that doesn't provide much of an improvement in terms of quality of experience compared to custom games. The few players who do play FFA on a regular basis should be able to have a similar quality experience through custom games.
Thank you for your participation and feedback yet again throughout this week. Making a decision in this area is probably the most difficult choice we've ever faced during Starcraft II’s development. Both the community and our development team members have had an evenly split opinion on the topic, and no matter which way we go, there will be an equal number of players that are for and against the decision. Because of this, we believe it's important to do what's best for the game in this situation, rather than going for a change that everyone wants, because clearly, there's not even close to a consensus on this topic.With that said, let's talk about where we're at currently in the beta. We like the fact that the current version for Protoss and Zerg keeps the game as difficult as possible for the highest level players out there, while it reduces the clicks and attention needed for everyone else. The Terran’s MULE was clearly the easiest to execute of the three races, and we are noticing there's really not a huge difference in terms of difficulty of execution whether the MULE is automated or not across most skill levels. However, we definitely don't want to lose the interesting strategic choices throughout the Terran game of having to decide between more minerals vs. scouting advantage. We'd like to also to let you know that we will continue to explore potential solutions for late game mass MULE dropping.Of what we've tried so far, we believe the current version is the best version for Starcraft II, and we'd like to make the decision between this and potentially reverting the changes to HotS. Our team is leaning towards keeping this version right now, but we would love to hear your feedback before making the final decision.Regarding Protoss and Zerg, the main worry for Protoss is whether the current change is a side-grade and if the old version plays better or not. The main worry for Zerg right now is if the current version makes the game easier at the highest skill level, even though it currently looks like this is most likely a non-issue. Please focus your feedback around these two main points this week, so that we can together make the right decision for the game.
We definitely heard your feedback and we agree that Adepts warping-in during the early game using Warp Prisms against Terran in the current state is probably too much. However, there has been mixed feedback in terms of whether Adepts are the issue, Warp Prisms are the issue, or both. With what we know so far, Adepts are most likely the issue. The reason is that if Warp Prisms were OP, they would be OP no matter what unit is warped-in. However, we only see a huge amount of strength with Adept warp-ins. We discussed this topic with many higher level players in the beta this week, and there looks to be a consensus in this thought process. We also don't want to be too quick to judge on new strategy/unit nerfs like this one, because it is often the case that what's new can initially look too powerful. We will first try out a nerf with the Adept, and reevaluate the Warp Prism after trying out the Adept changes.Therefore, we'd like to do an early game change to the Adept first, and then evaluate the strategy after that. We're currently thinking of either lowering the health of the Adept (if it's just a numbers issue), or changing the Adept's flag to armored (if it turns out to be the case that Terran not having a counter to the Adept at that stage of the game is an issue). We're also continuing to test different stat upgrades for the Adept to replace the current upgrade, so we'll keep you updated on the progress of this going forward as well. We'd like to aim for the next balance update to include this change.
We've decided to not go forward with the change which allowed the Corruptor's ability to be used against units instead of structures.The main difficulty for this unit was how we wanted an ability that's not powerful for cost, but feels powerful in very specific situations only due to how good the unit is against various air threats. What's currently in the beta looks to be the best recycle for the Corruptor, and it clearly provides awesome, cool moments that make the Corruptor look extremely powerful. At the same time, we don't see players building Corruptors when no counter units are in play, meaning the balance of the ability is most likely in a good spot as well.We've explored many abilities for this slot, and nothing seems to be nearly as good as the current one in the beta right now.
The new Ravager upgrade, on the other hand, is something that's not working out well during beta testing. Like many of you have pointed out, this upgrade makes it quite difficult for Terran players to go into mech play due to Ravagers now countering large numbers of mech units. We believe the Ravager without the range upgrade is better for the game because it's much cooler for Zerg players to have to pick and choose the right locations to attack into with Ravagers, and then having to tech switch into a different approach if the Siege Tank/Liberator counts get too high. As things currently are however, Ravagers simply counter Mech play no matter the sizes of the armies. We also don't like the changed relationship against Lurker lines. Lurkers seem very difficult to use now due to how much the Ravager ability out ranges the Lurker. It was much better when their ranges were equal. We would like to remove this upgrade in the next balance update.
Ghost Snipe Buff
We agree with you guys in that this ability needs to be tuned up in cost-effectiveness, and we'll be looking into it.
Raven Movement Speed Buff
We also agree with the suggestion to increase Raven movement speed, especially in TvZ. The increased rate at which creep spreads and recedes both look to be very fun changes to the game. One issue for Terran, however, is that in the later stages of the game it's too difficult to get the interaction we're looking for of creep constantly going away and being re-spread. A Raven movement speed buff sounds like it could do the trick in terms of getting this cool factor back into the game.Thanks for all your input and suggestions so far – and be sure to let us know what you think of the questions and topics we posed here. We’re looking forward to reading your thoughts, and we hope you enjoy the additions to come with patch 3.0!