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starcraft 2 - q&a

Editor's Note: Happymint, a former World of WarCraft pro gamer, attended the WarCraft III finals in Cologne, Germany. The following Q&A session is a polished sum-up of the information that he has graciously shared with the SC:L community:

starcraft 2


Can you describe your overall impressions in detail?

Well, after playing the game I realized that in 4 more short days I was going to not be able to play it again. I was like "Oh shit this is going to suck when I get home" so I was constantly going from Blizz employee to Blizz employee trying to get some sort of information on when to expect beta. I generally hung out with the four staff members who I played StarCraft with/against the most. They were really down to earth and great guys, one night we talked about StarCraft II alone for like three hours while having some drinks. I can say that no matter how I tried I could never get them to say exactly when (they sincerely did not know I think). Though as often as I brought it up all I can say is that I got the impression that it was not going to be really soon. Sure they could have been pulling my leg, but I built up a good amount of rapport with them over the course of the week. And I think that if it was honestly in like 1-2 months from then and they knew that it was, at least one of them would have told me.

The impression I got was basically, there was 0 rush on this game. They would not - no matter what - release it until it was perfect. They were like 100% content playing it amongst themselves for however long it takes to actually get a build they felt was really solid and balanced. It is like there is absolutely no overhead Blizz president/board member/ whatever calling the devs every day saying "Hey, when's my beta going to be done, I need MONEY!" After all, Blizz has plenty of money. They put us up in four star hotels, unlimited room service, free meals every meal. It was a ballin good time haha.

What are the overpowered elements that you found in StarCraft II?

The Raven (previously named Nighthawk), the new Terran "Science Vessel", can basically be teched to incredibly fast. It has turrets that it can drop. These are not for those "Oh crap!" situations; they are actually quite good. The turrets only cost fifty energy, have two armor, 150 health, and do eight damage per attack. It attacks at approximately the same speed as a non-stimmed Marine. Energy seems to regenerate faster than in StarCraft I from what I could tell. This made it so I could kill players entirely with turrets or with the Raven's heat seeking missiles, which are also really good. The misses, according to the Blizzard staff were nerfed in the most recent build to move slower than the one I was in. They were very good and perhaps needed the nerf. However, if you use them, you have to be dangerously close to enemy units for it to actually hit. There is also an upgrade the range at which it will chase units.

There were games where I had eight Ravens and flew over the Zerg expansion and base and used smart casting to drop approximately thirty turrets on their base. The player had to sacrifice almost its entire army to fend off these turrets which gives terran very quick map control.

Another overpowered element was the Baneling. In the build I played, their AOE was a bit smaller. However, they did forty damage on each explosion which one shot infantry. They were incredibly good. The newest build nerfed them according to the Blizzard staff there, but they increased their AOE abilities.

The last overpowered element I can remember was the Planetary Fortress. A big Terran weakness in StarCraft I is the inability to easily defend expansions, because they had no sunkens/photon cannons. In StarCraft 2, a player can turn their Command Center into a Planetary Fortress. This can be spam repaired with a player's SCV's. It only hits ground but does AOE damage and forty damage per attack. There was a game I had my Planetary Fortress take out 12 zealots and 5 immortals while I was spam repairing, allowing it's HP to never drop. It is not without cost, however; a player can only get this OR the Comsat.

Comsat has a really cool element in which a player can spend fifty energy on a Comsat, or a player can spend fifty energy on dropping a MULe for mining. MULe's actually mine at the SAME time as your SCV's on the same mineral patches the SCVs can mine at. This can drastically increase a player's income. A player can drop a MULE anywhere that he has vision of.

What are some things that you think should be changed or things that you think will be changed?

Some things that need to be changed are: (1)the turret energy requirement increased; (2)Baneling damage nerfed and AOE increased; (3)Siege Tank damage increased; (4)Zerg tech reworked. The Zerg seems to only be good right now because of the Baneling. Every good unit is way too late in the tech tree and Zerg seem to constantly lose in the early or mid-game, as can be seen in Battle Report #3. The temporary Force Field that can be put up by early Protoss tech Disruptor is obscenely good. In my opinion, it needs less AOE or cost more energy.

Can you describe in detail how Creep Tumors are used? Is the ability instant and does it have a cooldown? When casting on receding creep, does it instantly halt the recession and will it magnify creep around it within a radius?

I didn't play Zerg all that much unfortunately, but the Creep stays for a good while. It costs energy and has no cooldown as far as I know. If a player makes Creep Tumors, he can't inject Larva into his Hatcheries because of the lack of energy. It's very important to do so because Zerg no longer needs to spam Hatcheries for Larva; one or two Queens is all that is needed. I had like twelve larva on one Hatchery at one point. Its quite good.

Are there any significant changes with the UI from what we've seen in the latest screenshots? Can players now draw on the minimap in addition to the standard ping?

The UI seems to be about the same as the in the screenshots I have seen. I was unable to draw on the mini map, and the Blizzard staff never mentioned anything about it in all my discussions with them.

Can you discuss Psi Storm? How is it in terms of importance/usefulness?

Psi Storm is just as good as it has ever been. When the Blizzard devs talked about ZvP with me they would talk about the game before and after "storm". This is because it's that big of a difference. When you cast it, similar to WC3 when you're casting say - blizzard for example - you get a circle on the ground where it will show up. There is smart casting now so there is no need to single select each Templar to cast, you can just press T click T click T Click and 3 of your selected Templars will each make a cast etc. The graphic is a bit different, it no longer looks like lightning, it looks more like a very high quality version of the Corsairs web but all "stormy" for lack of a better term. It is still a very integral part of Protoss play.

starcraft 2 - q&a


What was the Thor like, and how effective did you find this unit?

The Thor is a funky unit. It's actually not that expensive, only slightly more than a Siege Tank. It's clunky and slow and its damage is pretty measly. There are only two good things about the Thor: (1)It has an instant 300 damage (something near there), and (2)a five second single-target stun that requires energy. The Thor is also like the Goliath 2.0 against air. It shoots off volleys of around six rockets in the air. Unless the rocket damage is upgraded later in the game, they are relatively low damage rockets though, making them ineffective against units with level three armor.

An adjacent Sensor Tower is now needed to grant detection to Missile Turrets. Can you confirm this? Also, does the Sensor Tower still reveal itself to enemies once constructed?

It does reveal itself to enemies once constructed. I have no idea why; it doesn't make sense to me to be honest. I cannot confirm that sensor towers are needed for detection for Missie Turrets. I can say that the Turrets are substantially better than before, though slightly more expensive. A welcome change if you ask me.

What was your impression of Proton Charge?

Proton charge is pretty easy to keep up and is low tech so you can get the Dark Pylon very fast. I think it only requires a Gateway. You select it then a huge AOE pops up and you have to physically click where to put the charge. It simply makes Probes get 1 more minerals per trip instead of 5, now 6. Everyone gets it pretty early from what I saw.

I am pretty sure they balanced the Mule and Proton charge to give these races approx the same minerals/minute if both used every time possible. Down side is that Mule is energy that can't be used for a Comsat.

How is the macro aspect of the game?

Macro as you would expect is much easier in StarCraft II. They pretty much added dark pylon / Queen / mule to force players to macro. Having rally straight to minerals and being able to hot key all your CC's hatcheries/whatever to one key makes the game much more seamless to play. I welcome the changes, I know some people are hesitant b/c it will require less APM, which is why they put in these new abilities.

Hatcheries now have two rallys. One for workers, one for everything else. It's nice. One thing I hope is that they get rid of the two geysers. I feel like two geysers really screws Zerg because they need gas more than any other race and have to sac four Drones PER gas instead of three. The idea is that if you don't want to tech super fast you can just go one gas. But I found that almost every race seems to need two geysers pretty early to produce anything outside of lings/lots/marines

Did you use Tanks much at all? Or Helions? If so how did you feel they compared to a more bio build?

From what I can tell this is basically how it works with Terran. Bio is strong by itself. Mech is "ok" by itself. Bio Mech is very strong. Bio Mech + Air is also very strong. Unlike in StarCraft I where spamming two units is the best way to go, armies in StarCraft II seemed a bit more diverse to me. For example, Banshees are really strong. Great damage to ground, and can really supplement ground units along with Ravens. You really *can* get a bit of everything at the moment. Tanks in regular mode are the same as in StarCraft I

I personally didn't like Helions that much. They have their uses but I honestly just love Vultures so much they just seemed like crappy Vultures so I avoided them a lot. I felt like their attack was a bit clunky. Vultures can patrol, move micro and fire to harass. Hellions basically stand still to attack which means I don't like the role it fills quite as much. They're more like buff Firebats and less like Vultures.

Did you try any cheese or silly builds? (like proxy Planetary Fortress) or run into any cheese-like builds from Protoss?

The only cheese I really did was mass Ravens and spammed turrets because it's abusing what is in my opinion an overpowered game element. I heard of games of people spamming Planetary Fortresses but I never really did that myself hehe. Keep in mind, you cannot lift Planetary Fortresses. So you can't like... attack with them.

I used Tanks all the time, but never in large numbers. They are REALLY really weak in comparison to StarCraft I. You have to have an Armory to upgrade Siege mode (Armory doesn't upgrade damage anymore either) so Tanks are later in tech, more expensive, deal less damage, and still slow.

If you get a Lair your Overlords can basically drop creep anywhere (you don't even have to research it). And Nydus Network only requires a Lair now. So one game a friend of mine found a corner of my base, dropped creep then a Nydus Worm, flew out, and about 25 Banelings wrecked my base from behind. It was funny, but also a good strategy.

How did you handle Hydralisks and Roaches? Do you recall their stats?

Roaches are generally reserved for ZvZ and in ZVP they seem to only be pretty good against Zealots from what I understand. Banelings were just so good in the build I played no one got much Roaches because they would just rather have Banelings. Roaches can't hit air so banelings are like better all around for the money. Hydralisks are stronger, I don't remember the stats specifically for them; some people got Hydralisks but usually everyone just spammed Banelings. Lings + Banelings is insane against ground...

Did you get to play with the Disruptor? If so, did you play with Hallucination?

I didn't play with it myself, but I played against people who did. It's a very good unit and the damage isn't *that* bad either. No one used Hallucination from what I can recall, just the force fields. People seemed to just prefer Stalkers to them overall. Blink is insane.

Whats the state of the Neural Parasite ability? Has it changed much since the examples in Battlereport 3?

Neural Parasite is pretty much the same as in Battlereport 3. One really great thing about it is that it is standard when you create an Infestor. Infestors only require a Lair and Neural Parasite does not need to be researched. Thus you can actually tech to Infestors really quickly and use parasites relatively early game which is one of the really strong aspects of Zerg. However, as you would expect, the longer the game continues the better they get overall as the higher tech units they can mind control.

Did you get to see any use of the Corrupter? What were your impressions?

Corrupters are actually really strong, and they are actually more microable than Mutas. They are better for "Jaedong style gibbing" than Mutas currently are. With Corrupters there is what they call a "critical mass" number for them. Once a person has like 6 or 7 of them they can 2 shot almost any air unit in the game (save carriers/BC's etc) and give Zerg major air superiority. They're almost necessary against Terran that uses Ravens since there are no more Scourge in the game.

You say that the Siege Tanks are underpowered. Could you give a few example scenarios? The only one you mentioned was against Immortals, but Immortals are designed to counter hard hitters like Siege Tanks.

It's like, all the bad parts of Siege tanks from before: slow, clunky, immobile, with nerfed damage, higher tech required to make it, and a good chunk more expensive. They're still good, but massing them isn't realistic or worth it overall. This is all subject to change when people actually figure out tried and true strategies. But overall in the limited amount of time I had to play, I never really felt they were that amazing. I felt like Terran infantry got the job done better overall. Having Tanks is great for support, but massing them is unrealistic due to expense.

What is the status of the Mothership?

Mothership is ridiculously slow (not as expensive as you would expect) but relatively weak in terms of dealing damage. It can take a ridiculous amount of damage. I never got to use it myself, I only played against it, and I was never impressed. It is so unbelievably immobile (other than being able to blink to buildings) that it makes it difficult to keep up with the pace of battle. You can easily just avoid it. The blink around ability does cost energy which makes it less of a caster. It looks really cool though.

Did you get a chance to try Lurkers? What is their current role? A while back, they were 11 range anti-building siege units.

Not a single person got Lurkers the entire time I was there. They require a Hive now, and their cost is high. I can't comment on them myself unfortunately. It's a shame because they're like a late game unit now instead of the early response to M&M (though there are no more early game Medics either).

Any change in unit designs portraits?

The new portraits look about as life-like as you can get. The Zerg look absolutely...disgusting..and awesome. I honestly didn't pay too much attention to the details of the units. The one thing I regret most is not spam clicking them to hear what goofy stuff they might say.

What is the Zerg response to Psionic Storm?

I honestly would assume Ultras if they can get to them. Ultras are so obscenely powerful they change games. They have like 600 health now and damage is increased and they cleave everything around them for partial damage.

starcraft 2 - q&a


How fast can Medivacs be acquired? is rushing them a common strategy?

Medivacs only require a Starport (no Tech Lab necessary) so they are really easy to get and mass with a Reactor. You can get them very quickly and they basically serve as the new Medics. They are 100/100 in costs and can be made quickly. You can offensively drop as a Terran faster than in the original StarCraft. The healing they do is probably the same as before though because you can't really mass them like you can Medics.

How is the Zerg Base defense with the mobility of the Spine/Spore Crawlers? Do the little things that come out when a building dies contribute at all, or are they more just eye candy for dead buildings?

Zerg base defense seems weaker overall, but the mobility of it is a plus. Most people didn't get many Spine Crawlers. One person got Spore Crawlers to stop my Banshees but they did not do much good because banshees are still pretty devastating. The little things that come out when the building die are in between eye candy and useful. They will actually kill off a unit maybe, but most importantly they eat damage. So if you move units in right as the building dies you have a little army that is far superior to either by itself.

Was the Carrier model improved, or it's still a yellow Tempest?

The Carriers looked pretty cool to me, but I will say they didn't seem all that powerful. I had a set of 12 Vikings pretty much decimate my opponents 6 Carriers. I felt like Carriers are not quite as powerful as they were in the original.

What units do you think are best for a Medivac drop? Simple Marines for cheapness? Or something else.

I usually just went with Marines, they are still the best for worker gibbing and overall harassment. A lot of the time I really wished I could have two Dropships per eight Marines

 

*Note - For more Q&A from HappyMint, visit this thread.


starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) feature event article.

starcraft legacy

starcraft 2 - gameplay impressions

Editor's Note: Happymint, a former World of WarCraft pro gamer, attended the WarCraft III finals in Cologne, Germany. The following are his impressions of the StarCraft II build playable there:

starcraft 2

Hey everyone,

I initially came back to StarCraft: Legacy after about 9 years not visiting the site. I remember when StarCraft came out this was the place to be for StarCraft info, strategies, etc. and I am sure it still is. The thread I created in the forum for StarCraft II Question and Answer seems to have taken off since there is still a lot of ambiguity about the game at the moment. Many people have seen some specific aspects of StarCraft II that are intriguing, but don’t really understand the full picture. After all, Blizzard does want to hide certain aspects of it to keep the fans interested.

On June 24 of this year I was shipped off to Cologne, Germany by Blizzard to compete in their World of Warcraft regional finals. I was at the tournament (all expenses paid by Blizzard, thank you!) to compete for prize money and a shot at a trip to BlizzCon. Unfortunately my team didn’t quite make it but I did have lots of time to play StarCraft II. Blizzard had about twelve StarCraft II PCs set up down stairs for the pros and the general public to play whenever they so desired. It was generally pretty packed so I often had to rotate with friends, but the days were long and since we lost the tourney we had nothing better to do than release our frustration on others in the best RTS I’ve ever touched. I got to play the game for 3-4 hours a day (of actual play time) for about five days straight.

I also got to hang out with a lot of the StarCraft II Blizzard staff who were there and talk to them about previous builds, the current build, and future build changes. The Blizzard team is absolutely awesome to hang out with and are really down-to-earth guys. They were passionate about the game and making it the best RTS ever. I will say even at its current stage it is the best RTS I’ve ever played. Perhaps there are a few balance tweaks, but that is to be expected. The game is still in an experimental phase. They are still designing new elements to add - meanwhile removing or tweaking others. Despite my sincerest efforts I could not get a general date on when beta was supposed to come out. The reality is that it is supposed to be out this summer, but from what I could tell from them I personally expect a September beta. Keep in mind they didn’t say anything about September, that’s just my estimated guess from playing the game and my interactions with them. I believe they didn’t know the date themselves, they just knew it wasn’t yet. They’re dedicated to releasing a game that’s incredibly well polished and ready for the world - even for Beta.

The Basics:


The first thing you notice when you sit down to play a new RTS is the user interface and the smoothness and pace of play. From the Battle Reports, I was worried that the game would be slower paced than the original StarCraft - something like in between StarCraft and WarCraft III in terms of speed. The released Battle Reports seem slower-paced than the original game, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that the game is every bit as fast as the original, or faster. In fact, Speedlings are so fast it’s almost unbearable to deal with them. The Battle Reports were not played on the fastest speed according to the Blizzard staff.

As for the UI, there are a few changes all of which are immensely welcome. First of all, the player can select infinite units in the current build. If the player selects, say, 100 units and presses "A", then clicks on a base, all the units neatly march off in formation to attack. No more single file lines – ever. Moreover, each page of the selection can display 36 units. Beyond that your selection screen will create tabs along the left side in which you can actually tab through your units. When selecting multiple types of units, each type will get its own tab. Suppose five Siege Tanks and three Ravens are selected. The player can keep them all selected and micro them, while tabbing back and forth in between the pages and using abilities. You no longer have to deselect the Tanks to cast Raven abilities and vice versa. Same with Marines/Reapers/Ghosts/whatever. One selection can Stim your marines, EMP your enemy, and cloak your Ghosts – just simply tab through.

starcraft 2 - gameplay impressions

Rally points can be done by selecting as many builds as you want and right clicking. Command Centers and Nexii can rally to minerals or gas and SCVs and Probes will automatically mine. It is absolutely amazing how convenient it is. In WarCraft III you have five guys mining gold, you don’t even NEED that mechanic. In Starcraft you think you’ve about died and gone to RTS heaven. Zerg have two rallies on Hatcheries, one is a worker rally, the other is an "everything else" rally. Right clicking on the Mineral line will automatically set the worker rally to it (as will using the hot key “W”), and right clicking anywhere else will set the normal rally. Spamming Hatcheries is a thing of the past. Queens inject larva into Hatcheries using energy (which quickly regenerates and allows you to use only one Hatchery in a situation where you might have previously used three. The Larvae count you can get from one Queen and one Hatchery is huge.

Unit production is easier also, suppose for a moment I have a group of four Barracks selected and I want to make two Marauders and four Marines. Well, if two have Tech Labs, and two have Reactors, I can actually make all six at once. Nevertheless, with them all selected I just press DD MMM and they will be queued up. After pressing D the first time one of the Barracks will have a little square dot beneath it queue up - basically showing that it’s got something in queue or being made. After each subsequent D or M the other ones light up with dots showing how many of them are currently being used. Each little Barracks icon can have up to five dots below it showing the queue of that specific Barracks.

The game play is pretty much seamless. It ran incredibly smooth on the PCs there and the graphics are well, you’ve seen them. There was never a point the entire time there were I became frustrated with unit pathing. I never had an SCV get stuck or cursed at one floating around unresponsively on top of my Command Center or mineral line (my biggest peeve of StarCraft I). Units always move perfectly in formation and have multiple death animations each. I think there are three death animations per unit at the moment.

General Race Specifics + Ramblings


Terran:


Terran is the race I consistently play on StarCraft I and is the race I played almost exclusively in Cologne. I played perhaps 3-4 games as Zerg and Protoss and about 30 as Terran. So my knowledge of the specifics of the race is much higher in terms of this one in comparison to the others. One really interesting thing about Terran is that it has transformed into a do it all type of race. What I mean is that, you can now run Marines and Infantry against Protoss unlike in StarCraft I. Marauders really fill the huge hole that Terran infantry had in StarCraft against heavy armor, HP, or high damage units. Marauders are like little unsieged Tanks running around that snare whatever they hit. Moreover, Marines can have shields now which give them 10 bonus HP, which is really strong against Protoss. You can still play mech against Protoss too; Hellions are great against Zealots, though the effectiveness of the Terran Siege Tank is greatly diminished.

starcraft 2 - gameplay impressions

Tanks cost more than before, do less damage, are still highly immobile and slow, and get hard countered by new units like Immortals. I personally felt like a Bio + Mech combination was the strongest overall build you could run against Protoss. Tanks are still great to have, but there is no need to have 20 of them in a single large scale battle like what is common in StarCraft I. Ghosts are also really great to have against Protoss too since they are the new EMP machines and aren’t hard to tech to at all. There is no needed Science Facility or anything like that. You can get Ghosts about the same time you would be able to get Tanks; so needless to say, they’re a great deal stronger and easier to get. Cloaked units that fire off EMP rounds? Yes please.

Terran seems to be the race that still requires the most Micro and APM at the moment. There are more casters that are absolutely vital for Terran to be effective. Ravens are in my opinion 100% necessary against Zerg, likewise with Ghosts against Protoss. Fortunately all the extra things you have to do as Terran (Stim, Seige, Raven casts ,Ghost casts, Thor Stun) are all made much easier to perform in comparison to before. The new UI makes casting less of a nightmare.

Currently, Terrans can salvage some buildings to get 100% of the resources used back. Bunkers are like this so you can even progressively Bunker push forward and just keep salvaging the ones behind it. The opportunities that open via this option are pretty insane. Moreover, Bunkers are stronger than ever because you can put Marauders in them now which have really long range and do extremely good damage to the types of units Marines were most vulnerable to in StarCraft I. You can also upgrade the number of units you can put in a single Bunker and the armor on all Terran buildings (including Bunkers) to make them even stronger both defensively and offensively.

The Thor is like having three Goliaths in one. It costs 300 minerals and 150 gas (maybe 100 gas) and currently has an ability that does not have to be researched that does instant high damage and a five second stun to a single unit. The Thor is a bit of a Tank but it is quite slow and its overall damage output is not extremely impressive for the cost. Nevertheless, the Thor is a very impressive anti-air unit. It fires off volleys of six or maybe eight rockets at a time at air units that do eight damage each (I think). This makes them great for fending off early Mutalisk harassment. However since each rocket is low damage, armor upgrades on air are very effective against the Thor.

Zerg:

Zerg is the race that in my personal opinion needs the most love. Zerg isn’t bad to say, but it’s missing the special ingredient at the moment to bring it back to the spot where I feel it should be. The Zerg is still a gas heavy race and the current game design is two Vespene Geysers that yield four gas per trip per worker. This effectively doubles the amount of workers races must contribute to mine gas. The problem is that Zerg is the one race with the most delicate early game economy so losing four drones to get the same amount of gas as is required in StarCraft I is quite a feat, especially considering most Zerg players want to get an early expansion and multiple gases going to facilitate quick teching, Mutalisks, etc. The problem is that the loss of eight Drones that could otherwise be mining minerals puts the Zerg in a bad position which makes it difficult for Zerg to actually tech quickly without being super vulnerable to attack.

From the build that I played there was one thing that made Zerg really strong, and that was quite simply the wonder that is Banelings. In the newest build (not this build), they are slightly nerfed in damage, increased in AOE range and are still going to be extremely powerful. Banelings are what make Zerg at the moment. Without them Zerg players would have 10 times as much trouble early, mid, and I dare say late game as they currently do. They are incredibly fun to use, do ridiculous damage, and are absolutely devastating to Zealots and Terran infantry.

Roaches on the other hand are a new unit I have mixed feelings about. The greatness of them is that they are ranged (though cannot hit air) but cost no gas at all. They’re like replacement for zerglings in a way. They also regenerate very quickly as soon as they are created, and with Hive tech can get increased regen which makes them regen about 10hp/second. However I wonder how good they will be even with the increased regen late game after the opponent has units of higher tech levels.

I feel like Zerg struggles most with its Tier 2 Lair units. A Lair opens up Mutalisks, but with all the improved anti-air in the game Mutalisks have lost their effectiveness. Moreover, Hydralisks have been buffed and moved to tier 2, but they are still just Hydralisks and get eaten away by quite a few counters. If you can make your way to Hive tech, Zerg simply explodes with options and becomes a powerhouse again. Ultralisks are phenomenal at the moment. Expensive but well worth the money, they have tons more health, just as much armor, and a powerful attack. A player can run Ultralisks into just about anything and they’ll leave a huge dent or just kill everything in the way.

Overall I feel like the best change to help the Zerg would be to simply make each base only one gas again instead of multiple. The fragile economy of early game Zerg seems to get taken advantage of by the multiple gas requirement; meanwhile, it seems unnecessary for other races as I could not find a single game where I didn’t get both gases as quickly as I could afford to. Almost no build I ran could manage off of a single gas in StarCraft II. I think double gas is unnecessary.

Protoss:

My experience with Protoss is less than with other races, so I cannot speak too clearly about them with utmost confidence. Nevertheless the power of Protoss at the moment is the same as it always has been - very strong, very dangerous, durable ground units. Zealots with charge are very comparable to Speedlots. The speed is no longer necessary as most units move in formation with Stalkers, etc. So it’s actually better to have burst speed when a Zealot engages and a bit less speed overall. Stalkers with Blink are perhaps the best units in the game at kiting and microing efficiently. They are really difficult to kill when microed well and likewise are great at chasing down other units and harassing in general. These units are neat, but nothing truly special.

Most of you should know that the Reaver has been Scrapped and is not in StarCraft II. Its replacement is the Colossus, perhaps the overall most devastating unit in the Protoss arsenal. I know you all have seen the videos and to be honest I was never really that impressed with it. The thin red line that AOE burns units didn’t seem all that powerful to me. Well my friends, that is because the video doesn’t show Colossus in "critical mass". The "critical mass" of any one unit is once when you get X number of this unit, it passes a certain threshold of deadliness - like Carriers and Battlecruisers in StarCraft I for example. One Colossus, mediocre. Two Colossi,pretty good. Three Colossi, getting warmer. Four Colossi, absolute morbid destruction. If a player accumulates four Colossus or god forbid five, nearby ground units absolutely melt away. They sit behind your wall of Zealots and Stalkers and absolutely do devastating damage to enemy ground, Zerg, Terran, or Protoss. They are strong enough to take quite a few hits, they have strong escape options by being able to walk up cliffs and out of line of sight, but most importantly, they can literally one-shot nearly everything once when in critical mass. Psionic Storm? Yeah it’s still amazing, but why bother when you can press "A," click on their base, and watch the bloody mess your Colossi leave behind.

starcraft 2 - gameplay impressions

Which brings me to my next point, Psionic Storm is still a great spell and a must have for Protoss in nearly any matchup. The new casting system makes it easier to use, more precise than before, and thus more deadly. Templars are still around in full force in StarCraft II and will certainly be a core part of any high level player’s army. Dark Templar are pretty much the same as before and need no real introduction.

Finally, last but not least, we have the newest amazing addition to the Protoss arsenal, the Immortal. The Immortal cannot take more than 10 damage in any single attack. Due to this they are most vulnerable to Zerglings, stimmed Marines etc (although they’re still so good they aren’t *that* vulnerable) but amazing against Mech like Thors or Siege tanks. They’re quite expensive but well worth the cost. I don’t think I played a single game against a Protoss player who didn’t tech to Immortals quickly and use them throughout the entire game. They’re extremely durable and do excellent damage. Once where Protoss was very vulnerable to Terran Mech, this is no longer the case due to this one unit. It single handedly annihilates any Terran attempt to spam Siege against the Protoss player.

Overall, I feel like Protoss is extremely well polished, though the ability to warp units in with Warp gates is borderline too powerful and I can see, and have seen, a lot of amazing uses of this ability in games. Protoss is more so than any other race a stronger version than the race in the previous game. Where Terran has changed more towards Bio, and out of, Mech spam, in games against Protoss I almost always saw the players stick with ground units all the way through. Once I saw Carriers introduced and a Mothership just for fun, but the reality is mass capital ships appears to still be a relatively ineffective strategy overall for any race. I feel like late game StarCraft II will likely be similar to the first game. I personally am grateful for this because I am not a big fan of watching Carriers and Battlecruisers duke it out; I much prefer intricate ground battles.

The computers have 4 different difficulty settings, and you can set it to insane. This is not like StarCraft I where the “insane computer” simply got infinite money. Instead it’s just a really good computer that’s a pain to deal with. Even computers on hard setting were no joke to beat. I usually played against other people but it was quite fun to play against computers a couple of times.

 

starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) feature event article.

starcraft legacy

starcraft 2 - my day at blizzard

Today I woke up at 5:30 AM, slightly earlier than my usual 6:00 AM for work, but with far more enthusiasm. Why? Today was June 22, 2009, and I had taken a day off work to drive the 100 miles in order to attend the press event hosted at the Blizzard Headquarters in Irvine, California. After a quick stop for some coffee, I hit the freeway and took off. If you recall my first visit to Blizzard, you would remember that I hit some nasty traffic on the legendary 405 freeway because I left too late. However, I was determined to not repeat the same mistake, and left extra early, avoiding most of the rush hour traffic, arriving in Irvine around 8:00am. I lingered at a local coffee shop close to Blizzard headquarters, and headed over at around 9:00 AM.

After parking my truck in the visitors section of the parking lot, I walked over to the center of the grounds to see a crew of workers setting up the decorative foundation to a statue of an Orc rider that was still in the planning stage on my first visit. The statue itself had almost been completed, but the area around the statue was not. Another thing I noticed was the large number of people that were hanging around the main entrance. What I discovered later was that today was also the first day of Blizzard's internship program, and half of the group I saw in the morning were new interns anxiously waiting to start. I went through the main entrance inside the lobby and filled out the necessary documents that would allow me to attend the press event. The documents threatened death if I were to leak any of the sacred secrets that the group might have accidentally happened upon that we were not supposed to see. Afterwards, I walked back outside and met up with AJ, Rylin, and a few others who were engaged in a pre-event discussion with Karune. It was mostly a friendly conversation, sharing our thoughts and concerns about certain parts of StarCraft II and a few other games. As 10:00 AM approached, those present for the press event met inside the main lobby, ready for our day to start.

The first stop on the press event was Blizzard's theater room. Here, the press were given a unique opportunity to see a battle report done live, with the commentators Dustin Browder and Robert Simpson in the room, doing their commentating right there. We watched three battles, played by two of Blizzard's balance designers: David Kim and Matt Cooper, from their respective desks. Before going into the first match, Dustin Browder explained that the multiplayer set-up we were seeing was not Battle.net, but a temporary multiplayer system to be used until battle.net was ready. For the matches, the game was set up in the theater, with the player being set in observer mode, an aspect that will undoubtedly be used in the new Battle.net. The observer mode allows any player watching the match to take part without having to play as a Terran and moving their Command Center to an unoccupied corner of the map. Observers will be allowed to chat amongst themselves with in-game messaging, but will not be able to send messages to any of the competing players. One function of this mode is the ability to set your vision. The vision can be set to "Everybody", or to a specific player or team. Vision includes being able to see every players' moves: their units, buildings, current researches/upgrades, units-in-progress, and even where they're clicking. The observer's view can also be set up to be used manually, or to follow the exact screen in real-time of one or both of the players. Dustin Browder warned about not being too focused on the view if the observer's setting is on automatic and focused on every player, because the screen view will jump between each player, whichever made the latest action. This observer mode is the same that you can currently see in the StarCraft II Battle Reports on the official StarCraft II website.

The first battle was a Protoss versus Protoss match, on the 2-player map: Blistering Sands. Both players had an amazing start, calling forth scores of Zealots and Stalkers to battle each other. This was the first time that I had really seen the Obelisk, formerly the Dark Pylon, being used so much. At their main bases, both players stationed an Obelisk, and would continually cast Proton Charge over their Probes, in order to allow them to carry additional resources for a short time. As the battle pressed on, Matt Cooper gained the advantage, and kept David Kim from establishing a stable expansion. After destroying the Nexus of the expansion, Cooper pressed forward with Immortals and Dark Templar in addition to his Zealots and Stalkers. Kim sent forth a Colossus in defense, but Cooper's forces stormed up the ramp into his base and overwhelmed the Colossus. Kim declared "GG" and the first match was over.

For a change in pace, the second match was Zerg (Cooper) versus Terran (Kim), on the 2-player map: Steppes of War. Kim worked quickly, building a Barracks to train his Marines. Meanwhile, Cooper quickly morphed a Drone into a Spawning Pool and grew a Queen from the Hatchery. As Kim sent out Marines to attack, Cooper met the challenge with Zerglings, and eventually Roaches and Banelings. At this point, Kim performed a Terran strategy of lifting off and moving his Factory which had an attached Tech Lab, and replaced it with his newly built Starport, which allowed him to immediately build Medivac Dropships, rather than waiting for his Starport to build a new Tech Lab. Kim sent over two Medivac Dropships filled with Marines over to Cooper's expansion. Cooper successfully defended it with a number of Roaches and a Spine Crawler that had been stationed there. Although the Terran offensive lost, the Zerg were short on defenders, and Kim was ready for another offensive, this time with Marines, Marauders, and Hellions, relentless destroying everything in their path with little resistance. Upon making their way into the main Zerg base, Cooper admitted defeat.

The third and final match was Protoss (Kim) versus Terran (Cooper), on the 2-player map: Kula's Ravine. Both players started off the match by each sending a worker out to scout their opponent's base. Meanwhile, Cooper began by blocking his choke point, first with a Supply Depot, and then sealing off the choke with a Barracks. The scouting Probe and SCV met each other, and engaged in combat. The Protoss Probe, with its regenerating shields, was winning the fight, and Cooper ordered his SCV to retreat back to his base. Unfortunately, when he opened his choke point temporarily to allow the SCV to enter, Kim's Probe was able to slip inside, being able to scout out the Terran operations. At this point in the game, the main view jumped around, as the camera setting was changed to automatic, and the view would adjust to whichever player was performing an action. Within the Protoss base, Kim was using his Gateways to call forth Zealots and Stalkers. Cooper was busy as well, upgrading his Command Center into an Orbital Command and utilizing its energy to call forth MULEs to aid in his resource gathering, which was necessary for his growing number of Marauders and his new Starport. The Protoss Zealots and Stalkers charged to battle, but suffered defeat at the hands of the large group of Terran Marauders. The Protoss countered with more Zealots, Stalkers, and a Nullifier. Despite the intense battling, both players continued to climb their respective tech trees. Kim warped in a Robotics Facility, while Cooper built a Tech Lab for his Starport to research cloaking for his Banshees. In a pivotal battle, the Protoss forces destroyed the Command Center of the only Terran expansion, but at the cost of their attack forces. The Terrans retaliated by attacking a Protoss expansion on a gold mineral patch, but Kim defended it with Zealots and Stalkers. With the Terran expansion gone, his expansion safe, and the Terran forces beaten back, Kim assaults the main Terran base with a massed group of Zealots, Stalkers and Immortals, overpowering the Terran defenses and forcing Cooper to admit "GG".

After the final match, Dustin Browder went over the current replay system. For the full details of the replay system thus far in the game's development, check StarCraft: Legacy's June 22, 2009 StarCraft II Review.

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At 11:00am, we were done in the theater, and the group was taken upstairs to the third floor and shown our private computer room. There were just enough computers for everyone to have their own. At this point, everyone present instantly engaged themselves to 1v1 or 2v2 games, or indulging in the observer mode while watching someone else's match. The group was able to play for about an hour before being pulled away for lunch. Also, during this time, everyone present was given the opportunity to pair up with another player and sign up for a 2v2 tournament. Although both casual players, the StarCraft: Legacy team consisted of myself and the other Legacy representative: Ryan, AKA Rylin.

When 12:00pm rolled around, it was time for lunch. At the last press event, the Blizzard cafeteria made excellent pizzas and had them sent up to us, but today, the press group was escorted over to the Blizzard cafeteria for a buffet-style lunch, consisting of various hot sandwiches and sides. It was a tougher choice than my StarCraft II battle strategies, but I decided on the pesto chicken panini over the hot ham and meatball sandwiches. The difficult decision-making was worth it, probably because that choice turned out better than my "strategies". Joining a table with two representatives from the War Center, we had a discussion about gaming backgrounds while we ate. Although the two guys were far more familiar with the WarCraft series than StarCraft, the visit was an opportunity they couldn't refuse. After lunch, the press group waited outside the main lobby until we were called back inside, around 1:00pm, to continue our gaming.

When we returned back to the computer room, we noticed a piece of paper by the door, posting the first round matches for the pairs tournament. The StarCraft: Legacy team faced our first opponents, JoeOrange and Nocturne from Gamer-Source. We both played as Terran, versus Zerg and Terran opponents. This match was a wonderful lesson in how well the Zerg Hydralisk has been strengthened for anti-air. A group of several banshees, even using hit-and-run tactics, were no match for massed Hydralisks, along with Roaches, devastating the unfocused Terran defenses. In case you weren't sure, we didn't win this one. The tournament was double elimination, so Rylin and I were ready to face another pair of fierce opponents, but since the time was nearing 2:00pm, we would have to wait, because it was time for the scheduled tour of Blizzard Headquarters.

Our press group left the computer room and went back downstairs into the main lobby. The first stop was the art and awards sections, located to the left of the lobby. Looking through the StarCraft artwork section, I noticed that some of the artwork I remembered from last year was no longer there, but replaced with more recent artwork, made for StarCraft II. Next we went back upstairs to the second floor, which was focused on the WarCraft series. Throughout the whole floor, there were group offices, which would house several employees each. The idea of the group offices was so that they would be open to each other and feed off each other's creativity. Also, there were several large pieces of artwork on the walls that had covers on them, likely because they were part of upcoming projects that aren't meant to be receiving publicity just yet. Afterwards, we went to the next building over, taking a quick stop by the cafeteria again, then a small peak into the top secret server room, and a quick walk through the on-site gym before making out way back outside near to the volleyball court.

On the tour at the last press event, we were never allowed to enter the third building due to top secret projects being developed within, but this time, we were allowed to go in, so long as we didn't disturb the employees, who were hard at work. Upon entering the building, we entered a large room that housed the Kerrigan statue that was showcased at last year's BlizzCon. We passed by the room housing the development of Blizzard's Project Hydra, the top secret project of which no one outside of Blizzard knows the details about. Next we went through the StarCraft development area. The whole area was very quiet, with all of the developers focused strongly on their projects. After going through the StarCraft development area, the tour was over and we returned to the computer room to continue playing or competing in the 2v2 tournament.

 

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Upon our return to the computer room, the second round of matches began. This time it was myself as Terran and Rylin as Protoss, facing off against two Protoss opponents. We both held off early attacks, and my strategy consisted of surviving long enough to mass Battlecruisers. Unfortunately, Rylin wasn't able to hold off our opponents relentless attacks and was defeated, leaving an uncertain future for our team. However, with Rylin's defeat, there were already six Battlecruisers ready for action, and several more being built. Turning the fleet toward the first enemy base, they were helpless against the onslaught of Battlecruisers. For every Battlecruiser destroyed, two more took its place. Seeing his opponent fall, and the wave destruction coming his way, the other Protoss player focused his efforts toward the Terran center of operations. Both bases fell at roughly the same time. However, quick thinking and a hidden third Command Center on an unreachable island kept the StarCraft: Legacy team alive, as the Battlecruiser fleet stayed strong, destroying the Protoss buildings one by one. However, the game didn't end. Searching the minimap, another Protoss Nexus had been warped in. By the time the Battlecruiser fleet found it and destroyed the Nexus, another replaced it somewhere else on the map. This went on for about 30 minutes, with a large crowd cheering both players on. Eventually, with the last of his resources, the Protoss player surrounded his last Nexus with several Pylons and Photon Cannons. The weathered and beaten Battlecruisers were able to hang a bit longer, and after probably the longest match of the entire day, the StarCraft: Legacy team emerged victorious, for this battle at least!

At 4:30pm, Dustin Browder entered the computer room. Everyone who was playing at the time either paused or quit their game quickly to take part. Browder stationed himself against one wall of computers, facing the rest of the group, and started getting feedback about our experiences with the game, and any questions or concerns we may have had. To read about the discustion, check out the June 22, 2009 StarCraft II Review.

Our discussion with Browder finished around 5:00pm, and those of us that were still participating in the pairs tournament continued their matches. With the win of our previous match, the StarCraft: legacy team faced off again with our opponents from the first round, JoeOrange and Nocturne. Feeling good after the previous win, and stronger with a greater knowledge of StarCraft II competitive strategy, we played double Zerg versus JoeOrange as Zerg and Nocturne as Protoss. Needless to say, the game didn't last too long, being utterly devastated by their great teamwork, and swarm of massed Roaches, Zealots, and Carriers.

As the tournament drew to a close, several of the remaining press attendees watched the impressive finals on observer mode as Karune and his ally crushed their opponents, being the top winners of the day. As the afternoon grew late, many of the representatives of the fansites left or were leaving. A few of us remained behind, to play around with some of the less familiar game mechanics to report on later, and for continued conversation with Karune.

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Around 7:45pm, the few of us still remaining pulled ourselves from our computers, and headed for lobby. Out in California, the sun still hadn't set yet, so I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of the Orc statue in the center of the grounds without the work crews around it. Then I hopped into my truck, and followed Rylin and the others from our group out the main gates. After dropping off one of the guys at their hotel, I took a short walk with AJ, Rylin, and the other representative from starcraft.org over to a restaurant that claimed to be "Home of the World's Best Hamburger". It was a good burger, definitely better than any fast food burgers, but I don't think it was the best in the world. After eating, I walked with the guys back to the hotel and said our goodbyes until the next press event at Blizzard. So about 9:00pm I took off for home, a long drive, but definitely worth it.

Finally, I want to thank all of you, the members and other watchers of StarCraft: Legacy. Without your support, our site wouldn't be what it is today. If you have any questions or concerns about something that wasn't addressed in my article or the other articles spawned from this event, please ask in our forums, and I or any of the other who attended the press event would be happy to answer your questions if possible.

So, until next time, this is Zero, signing off. See you in the forums!

starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) feature event article.

starcraft 2

starcraft 2 review june 22

 

General Gameplay


For this build, each base had two Vespene Geysers on every map. Currently, the gathering of Vespene gas works similar to Brood War in that the Vespene extraction building has a set number of resources and no longer regenerates gas. However, once the Vespene Geyser has been depleted, the player's workers will no longer be able to harvest more gas. Whether this system will remain is still not 100%, according to Browder.

The mechanics against various armor types were, for the most part, balanced. Against armored units, infantry felt a little underpowered - unless they had extra damage, in which case they could be a lynchpin. In the early game Roaches are great units with their fast healing. The additional damage dealt to organic units made them popular in almost every match.

Unit and structure models have not been changed from those seen in recent screenshots and video. The audio has changed considerably, with more new music and unit sounds as the game approaches beta and units are finalized. The team colors are red, orange, yellow, green, teal, blue, purple and white.
Unique death animations have been implemented and while it is unlikely that their development is completely finished, what we've seen thus far looks very good. One especially notable set was the destruction of Protoss air units - the Carrier and the Void Ray. The ships explode in a combination of twisted metal and released psi energy before falling harmlessly to the ground and disappearing.

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The game is definitely true to the original - combined arms is a must and micro is vital, even the new abilities become exponentially stronger as a player's skill increases. Macro mechanics are in place and seem to work the way they are intended.


Terran Information:

The Terran Thor has had a few changes since last seen by the public. Now, Thors can be transported by the Medivac Dropship. Currently, only one Thor can be transported per Medivac Dropship. When attaching, the Thor's body transforms, pulling its arms and legs inside, becoming a more cube-like shape, and attaching to the bottom of the Medivac Dropship, which will then be able to fly the Thor wherever its needed. Despite the work put into this, the development team is still working on the Thor's aerial transportation, and this mechanic will likely not remain the same when the beta is released.

Currently the Thor has a special attack that utilizes the the cannons located on its back. The strike is focused on a single target and bombards it with multiple shots. During this deadly strike, the targeted unit is stunned, and can neither move nor counterattack. Whether this attack remains in the beta is unclear at this point, because the Thor is helpless otherwise when using this attack, and is only worth using against a single, strong enemy unit.

The Raven's in-game model still resembles its last incarnation when it was named the Nighthawk. Its abilities are the Auto-Turret, Defensive Drone, and the Hunter Seeker Missile. The Defensive Drone wasn't given much attention - most focus on the Raven was put toward the new Hunter Seeker Missile. When the Raven unleashes its Hunter Seeker Missile, a large missile slowly flies toward its target, with a red laser constantly pointed at the target, regardless of whether it's moving or not. The Hunter Seeker Missile moves rather slowly, so a watchful player could move most units away from the missile if noticed quickly enough. After a certain amount of time without hitting its target, the Hunter Seeker Missile will harmlessly explode wherever it is when it runs out fuel. With the missile's slow speed, a player may be tempted to move their Raven very close to the intended target, however, the Hunter Seeker Missile will inflict damage on friendly units as well, including the Raven, so a hasty close-ranged launch of the Hunter Seeker Missile may spell certain doom for the Raven.


Zerg Information:


In this pre-beta build, the Zerg Infestor has three abilities: the Neural Parasite, Plague, and Spawn Infested Terrans. The Neural Parasite acts as a short term mind control over a single unit, whether it's a mighty Battlecruiser or a lowly SCV. Should a Protoss Probe be controlled, a Zerg player could warp in a Nexus if there were sufficient resources. Even after the Probe's control reverts back to its original owner, the incoming Nexus will belong to the Zerg player that paid for it. Similarly, the same can be done with a Terran SCV. However, since the SCV must be present and controlled by the Zerg player during the entire duration of the Command Center's build cycle, the Zerg player would have to use the Neural Parasite ability on the SCV at least six times before the Command Center's building can be completed. Should an enemy Zerg Drone be targeted with the Neural Parasite, the controlling Zerg player could use the drone to morph into a building, and the building will be permanently controlled by the owner of the Infestor. Whether the control of the drone would remain with the Infester's owner if the building morph were cancelled early has yet to be seen or tested.

In the group discussion with Dustin Browder, the Plague ability, formerly of the Zerg Defiler, was given to the Infestor. However, Browder mentioned that the Plague ability doesn't appear to fit well with the Infestor, and will most likely not remain when the beta is released. The third ability allows the Infestor to spawn five Infested Terran. The Infested Terran start out as sacs that grow on the Infestor's back before falling to the ground and hatching. The Infested Terrans attack using their gauss rifles, and will only stay alive for a short period of time before dying, if they're not slain in battle already.

A nice addition feature to the model of the Infestor is the slime trail that is left behind as it moves, sliming the ground for a short while before disappearing. As for the Infestor's unique ability to move while burrowed in the ground, it wasn't confirmed, but assumed that the enemy could not see the burrowed, moving Infestor without some form of detection.

In this build, the Brood Lord remains as the Zerg force's siege air unit over the old Swarm Guardian. Although the Brood Lord and its predecessor both function similar in the broodling-sprouting ground attack, the Brood Lord is morphed from Corruptors rather than Mutalisks. Brood Lords didn't see a lot of action in the matches at the press event, since the idea of morphing Zerg air units feels foreign when they're not being morphed from the Mutalisk, although Overseers are an exception since they've been around for some time now.

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Currently, the Zerg Nydus Worm functions similar to the last playable StarCraft II pre-beta build. The Nydus Worm can be summoned to a creep-covered section of land by the Zerg Overseer, and if combined with the Overlord Creep Drop ability, can prove to cause certain destruction upon an unwatchful opponent.


Protoss Information:


Both the Lenassa and Zer'atai Dark Templar models have been implemented into the game. When calling forth a Dark Templar from the Protoss Gateway or Warp Gate, one of the two models will randomly spawn. From the default view, the two models look very similar aside from some minor details and the weapons they possess. Currently, the models look similar enough that Protoss players should not be distracted or confused by seeing these two different Dark Templar models.

Archons haven't changed since the last few public showings of StarCraft II. They are still made from fusing any combination of High Templar or Dark Templar, and do a great deal of damage against ground or air units. Currently, Archons are still lacking any special abilities.


Replays & Battle.net

Although the full extent of Battle.net was not shown, tidbits were presented regarding after-game statistics and replays. There will now be extensive graphs showing information such as APM and economic strength presented in a post-game window. This will most likely be similar to the way that BWChart shows information when a replay is loaded in. Although unknown and untested by those present from the StarCraft: Legacy staff at the time, it has been noted that resource sharing has been added to the multiplayer, yet restricted within the first five minutes of the match.

Although there may be far more features in the final product, there are many significant changes to the replay system over what we've seen in the original StarCraft and Brood War.  All of its original functions still remain, with a number of new features.  As we all hoped and expected, there is now a rewind button.  The replay system works through the saving of checkpoints throughout the match.  Along with the rewind function, there is a movable bar representing the timeline of the game.  A great aspect of this movable bar is that the minimap can be viewed while moving the timeline bar, so it will be far easier to locate a key moment in the match - likely a part of the game where you mounted a critical attack or defended against an enemy's strong offensive.  The demonstration of the replay function was relatively short, and this was all of the information we were given at this time.


Group discussion with Dustin Browder:

At 4:30pm, Dustin Browder entered the press-reserved computer room and began a Q&A.

One of the first questions of the discussion was about the Zerg Infestor and how its turning out at present. Currently the Infestor has the Plague ability but according to Browder, it's not working too well since the Zerg already have plenty of splash damage attacks.

After a lot of inside testing, Dustin's unsure of how the Immortal will ultimately appear in the game. The example Browder gave was a Protoss player's reaction to a Siege Tank-based offensive. Since Immortals are built at the Gateway and can be produced instantly with your Gateway set as a Warp Gate - assuming you have the necessary resources - the Protoss player is provided with an almost instant hard counter. There is some speculation that the Immortal could be moved up a tier, becoming a Robotics Facility unit. Browder mentioned that this hasn't been one of their pressing issues but that, if it becomes one during the beta, there's a possibility that the Immortal could be moved in a beta patch.

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One possible change before the beta is the nerfing of the High Templar's Psi Storm as it is currently very powerful with a considerably large area of effect. For example, during one game two separate Psi Storms were enough to take out two Ultralisks and seriously injure a third.

The Mothership has been sent back to its early skill-set, with the Planet Cracker and Black Hole, but it is uncertain whether the Mothership will remain this way until the release of the beta.

Another question brought by an attendee was regarding the Phoenix and its former attack, the Overload ability. According to Browder the ability was too weak to not allow stacking but, if the ability was stackable, it would be far too powerful. For example, a Protoss player could fly several Phoenix into a tight-knit group of Battlecruisers and destroy them with a single click, which would be far too imbalanced to allow them to remain in the game. In defense of the Graviton Beam, the Phoenix's current special ability, Browder explained that it is excellent if used properly. For example, in one game, a player used a group of Phoenix for worker harassment. One Phoenix would use its Graviton Beam on one worker while the others in the group would attack, quickly destroying the helpless worker. The player continued this tactic, putting a lot of strain on their opponent's economy.

The Brood Lord, StarCraft II's version of the Guardian, is an evolution of the Corruptor and is currently a focus for the design team. Browder stated that Mutalisks have a great place in StarCraft II and have been working very well on their own, so there wasn't a strong enough justification to warrant them having an evolved form. Additionally on the topic of the Zerg, one of the attendees asked Browder about the lack of tier two siege units. The response was that the team will likely play with the Zerg line-up in order to justify this lack of tier two siege units.

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The next question involved attack animations, and whether a quick player could maneuver their units to avoid damage by moving away from the attack animation of an enemy unit. Browder mentioned that players can indeed move their units to avoid attacks they can see coming. The Lurker's underground spine attack, the Colossus' thermal lances and the Hellion's flamethrower can be avoided by maneuvering the units away from the attack animation. Players can avoid attacks by quickly moving the unit or through the use of other means, such as the Stalker's Blink, the Mothership's Teleport or by loading a ground unit into a transport unit.
Browder also mentioned hotkeys, stating that while they had not yet been finalised they would be ready for beta.  Also not implemented was the function keys being usable as hotkeys and again this was promised for beta.

The last question of the discussion was regarding the Carrier and how it evolved from its beginning as the Tempest to its current form today. Browder explained that the Tempest, with its powerful under-shield, gave too much of a rock-paper-scissors view of the Protoss air forces. Without the under-shield, the development team decided to return to the Carrier, since it was too iconic to remove without it being replaced by an equally special unit.

starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) feature event article.

starcraft 2

The following is a collection of all the StarCraft II media to emerge from the June 22, 2009 Blizzard press event.

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Race Tech Trees

 

Terran

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Protoss

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Zerg

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Screenshots

 

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Unit Renders


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StarCraft II Gameplay Footage

 

Click here for standard quality.

starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) feature event article.

starcraft 2

Index
Event Wrap-up
PlayXP General Impressions
GameMeca Protoss Review
GameMeca Terran Review
GameMeca Zerg Review

PlayXP General Impressions
Source: http://www.playxp.com/sc2/news/view.php?article_id=1827463

The Overall Feel

  • The writer focused on enjoying the game and reviewing it as a whole, not searching out all the changes that have been made.
  • Didn’t get to test out the observer mode.
  • Unit and building names changed to bold font.
  • The game was played in “Faster”, which was similar to the game speed of Starcraft (Translator's Note: not mentioned which game speed of Starcraft, but I assume it is Fastest).
  • Lakia, who participated in playing, said that the game was too fast and he couldn’t keep track of things (Translator's Note: remember, this is the “Faster” game speed on Starcraft II, meaning “Fastest” is probably much faster).

Resources

  • Two Vespene Geysers at each base, each with 2500 total gas.
  • Minerals mined five at a time, gas mined four at a time.
  • Game starts off with six workers.
  • One squad is 24.
  • The gas usage for each race was about the same.
  • A lot of gas was needed.

Afterplay Comments: Mass_Terran

  • Zealot became much stronger than in StarCraft.
  • Marines also became stronger than in StarCraft.
  • When you upgrade Zergling speed, they sort of fly.
  • When multiple Larvae are selected, the units to be produced have to be chosen one by one.

Afterplay Comments: Lakia

  • The progress of the game is faster than in StarCraft.
  • Almost the same speed as StarCraft (on "faster" game speed).
  • Relative to price and tech, the Marauder is a very good unit.
  • Marauder has 120 health and its attack slows units.
  • Marauder can be produced at the Barracks after Barracks Tech Lab add-on.
  • Marauder attack is 10 (Armoured +10).
  • The cost of Marauder is 100 minerals, 50 gas, two population.
  • Queen’s Spawn Larva appeared to be able to create five Larvae for one Hatchery.
  • Zerg units are quite weak.
  • Six Zerglings were unable to beat two Zealots.
  • Initial population support is 11 for Terrans, 10 for Zerg and Protoss.
  • Barely ever enough gas (with two geysers).
  • Always had enough minerals on the map (including yellow minerals).
  • The importance and value of macro seems to have decreased, partly because multiple buildings can be set to one hotkey.
  • The limit to drag selection had no limit, but only icons of 24 units were displayed at a time in the unit details frame. For example, with 25 Mutalisks, the first 24 showed up and 1/2 appeared in the unit details frame (Translator's Note: my guess is that selection is unlimited, and for every 24 units, they are put in separate pages. So 24 Mutalisks appear on the first page and you can skip to the second page where the 25th Mutalisk is shown).
  • A high probability of success as an e-sport.

Zerg Change Details

  • Queen lost ability to teleport through creep to a building and is no longer responsible for creating defensive structures.
  • Zergling attack speed and movement speed upgrades are the same as in StarCraft.
  • Infestor has a skill that creates five eggs that hatch into Infested Terrans.
  • Infestor doesn’t have Consume, so it was a bit difficult using him.

Wrapping Up

  • Resource income/outcome was just right, and starting off with 6 workers made the game progress faster.
  • The key points in StarCraft II, such as yellow minerals, are predicted to become sources of nonstop battles

 

 

GameMeca StarCraft II Protoss Review, Guerrilla Combat is Now Possible!
Source: http://www.gamemeca.com/pc/review_view.html?page=1&genre_code=&search_kind=&search_text=&chr_from=&chr_to=&order=isrt_date&seq=1190&gm_id=gm0003555&subpage=1

Calm down, the early game still depends on the Zealot!

  • Early game, due to Terrans Reactor add-on and the Queens Spawn Larvae ability, the Protoss only have their Zealots to rely on. Also, making Photon Cannons early game was risky, as there wasn’t plentiful resources to make Zealots afterwards and it could leave you vulnerable if the enemy is left to tech up.
  • Balance between Photon Cannons and Zealots are crucial to early game.
  • Stalkers are available at the Gateway after Cybernetics Core is built.
  • Stalkers don’t do as much damage as Dragoon did in StarCraft, but can attack both ground and air and have the Blink ability, allowing them to teleport a short distances.
  • Stalker has better AI and pathing than the Dragoon did.
  • It seemed effective to have a fighting force of 70% Zealots and 30% Stalkers
  • This is because Zerg have Banelings and Terrans have Marauders, both of which can destroy a 100% Zealot army quickly
  • The early game Protoss player has to decide whether to make a Zealot/Stalker push or endure with Zealots to tech up
Should I fight directly, or should I go guerrilla: the mid game Protoss strategy!
  • Immortals are available at the Gateway after Cybernetics Core and Twilight Council is built.
  • Immortals are strong against Terran mechanical units because of its shield ability.
  • Melee units can destroy Immortals easily, so they must be coupled with Zealots for protection.
  • Zealot Charge and Stalkers Blink are available at the Twilight Council.
  • Zealot Charge makes Zealots much more effective.
  • High Templar are available at the Gateway after Cybernetics Core, Twilight Council, and Templar Archives are built.
  • High Templars Psionic Storm is less effective than in StarCraft, but can still ‘melt away’ Thors.
  • Dark Templar are available at the Gateway after Cybernetics Core, Twilight Council, and Dark Obelisk are built.
  • The writer of the article did not get a chance to try out the Dark Templar, much to his regret.
  • Archon could be made with two High Templar, two Dark Templar, or one High Templar and one Dark Templar.
  • Archon has high shields, low health, ranged attack, and weakness to melee units.
  • Observer could be made at the Robotics Facility, which can be built after Cybernetics Core.
  • Warp Prism could be made at the Robotics Facility after Robotics Bay is built.
  • Warp Prism can carry and transport units (Translator's Note: no mention of if it can act as a Pylon).
  • Colossus available at the Robotics Facility after Robotics Bay is built.
  • Colossus can walk over cliffs, cannot attack air, can destroy buildings easily.
  • Gateway can be upgraded to a Warp Gate which warps in units anywhere on the map, but the writer didn’t have a chance to check or try this out.
  • Phoenix can be produced at the Stargate, which can be built after Cybernetics Core.
  • Phoenix can attack air and ground, with a powerful air attack (5 Phoenixes beat 3 Carriers).
  • Void Ray can be produced at the Stargate.
  • Void Ray can attack ground or air, and its attack gains strength the longer it focus-fires.
  • Void Ray is too slow in charging up to full attack power and too slow to move, so it was found to be quite useless, since any human player could easily kill them before they destroyed a building or ran away.
  • What the Void Ray was able to do, though, was to pressure attacking forces to retreat, since the Void Ray’s attack got stronger the longer it attacked.
The Carrier of Truth, the Mothership of Grace, the Protoss late game strategy
  • Carrier can be built at the Stargate after Fleet Beacon is built.
  • Carrier is initially produced with 4 Interceptors, and an additional 4 can be built. No upgrade required.
  • Mothership can be built at the Nexus after Stargate is built.
  • The Mothership’s movement is so slow, it makes you think that it’s almost unbearable.
  • When Carriers and a Mothership started off at one point, the Mothership arrived a while after the Carriers destroyed the entire enemy base.
  • Mothership can cloak other units like the Arbiter in Starcraft and has decent attack power.

 

 

Starcraft II Terran Review, Can Live Well Without the Medic!
Source: http://www.gamemeca.com/pc/review_view.html?page=1&genre_code=&search_kind=&search_text=&chr_from=&chr_to=&order=isrt_date&seq=1188&gm_id=gm0003555&subpage=1

Terran, they changed like this!

  • Reactor add-on allowed Terran to come close to Zerg unit production speed.
  • The Reapers cliff jumping almost make buying air transport a waste of money.
  • The Thor is able to be used in many occasions.
  • The Battlecruisers skills allow for more diverse strategy.
  • There are 50 minerals and 6 SCVs at the start of the game.
  • When multiple SCVs are selected and they are told to mine, they each go to a separate mineral all by themselves.
Wait a second, let’s learn about the interface!
  • When multiple buildings are selected, and you click to start unit production while holding down Tab, then all the selected buildings start making the unit at once.
  • The maximum number of units that can be set to one hotkey is 200, but they are divided in groups of 24, into 1,2,3, etc. in the control group.
  • Idle worker icons show up on the right of the screen, and you can select them with the "`" button (Translator's Note: I felt that this part of the article was very vague, so don’t take these points to be 100% accurate).
How about minerals and gas?
  • Minerals are mined 5 at a time.
  • The speed at which minerals are mined is two times faster than StarCraft.
  • Each map has golden minerals around, which give 7 minerals instead of 5 at a time.
  • The Vespene Geysers empty out, meaning they can’t be mined at all after it is depleted.
Early game supply count change.
  • Common build order for latest build was 8 SCV Supply -> 9 SCV scout -> 11 SCV Barracks.
  • Initial supply is 11, not 10 like in Starcraft.
Changes to the Command Center.
  • Can be upgraded to a Planetary Fortress which has missile launchers on top of it.
  • Can be upgraded to an Orbital Command which has Scanner Sweep ability.
  • One Command Center cannot have both upgrades at once.
  • The Orbital Command can summon stronger workers, called MULEs, that carry more minerals but explode after a limited time.
Use those supply depots!
  • Supply depots can go underground, allowing units to walk over it.
What kinds of units from the Barracks?
  • Marines, Marauders, Reapers, and Ghosts can be produced from Barracks.
  • Barracks have add-ons now.
  • Marines now have defence upgrade as well as Stimpack.
  • The defence upgrade increases the normal defence and health by 10.
  • Stimpack and defence upgrade are available at the Merc Compound, built after the Barracks.
  • Marine + Medivac rushes are definitely possible, since the Barracks can get the Reactor add-on and by the time you get Medivacs you have tons of Marines.
  • Medivac can be produced straight away from the Starport without further tech.
  • If Merc Compound is built, Reapers can be produced at Barracks.
  • Reapers can jump over/down cliffs, and can get an upgrade from the Merc Compound that allows them to throw bombs that have a 5 second fuse.
  • Ghosts require the Ghost Academy.
  • Ghosts have Cloaking, Nuclear Launch, and EMP.
  • All skills can be bought from the Ghost Academy, but Nuclear Launch is available after Factory is made and Cloaking is available after Starport is made (Translator's Note: no mention of nukes themselves having to be produced).
  • EMP then Nuke is very effective against Protoss.
Stop, let’s look at add-ons!
  • Barracks can have Reactor add-on or Tech Lab add-on
  • Units attacks and armor are upgraded in the Tech Lab.
  • Reactor allow Barracks to produce two units at once, but only Marines.
The Engineering Bays role.
  • You can upgrade Bunker capacity at the Engineering Bay, increasing it from 4 to 6.
  • Engineering Bay allows construction of Missile Turrets, but Missile Turrets no longer have detection and can only attack air units.
  • Sensor Tower has detection, and can show locations of units in fog if they are in range (Translator's Note: no mention if Engineering Bay is required for Sensor Tower).
What kinds of units from the factory?
  • Factory produces Hellion, Siege Tank, and Thor.
  • Hellion has fast movement and flame thrower.
  • Siege Tank is available after the Factory gets a Tech Lab add-on.
  • Siege Tank has range of 7 normally and a range of 13 in Siege Mode.
  • Thor is available after Tech Lab and Armory.
  • Thor is about twice as large as an Ultralisk.
  • Multiple SCVs can repair the Thor at one time for a longer lifespan.
  • Thor has a cannon ability (Translator's Note: not further elaborated).
What role does the Armory have?
  • Siege Mode and attack upgrade for Hellions flamethrower are available at the Armory.
From the Starport, what kinds of strategies?
  • Starport produces Viking, Medivac Dropship, Raven, Banshee, and Battlecruiser.
  • Only Viking and Medivac available in the beginning.
  • Tech Lab add-on is required for Raven, Banshee, and Battlecruiser.
  • Viking has a fast move speed but cannot attack air, but can transform to obtain ATA attack but with slower move speed (Translator's Note: makes it sound as though it is produced in ground-mode, and can immediately transform to air-mode).
  • The Medivac Dropship has a heal that is stronger than the Medic’s in Starcraft.
  • The Banshee has cloak.
  • Raven has detect, and can also attack.
  • Battlecruiser has 3 other abilities besides Yamato Cannon but only one skill can be used at one time.
  • Starport unit skills can be obtained at the Fusion Core building.
  • Fusion Core requires all buildings.

 

 

StarCraft II Zerg Review, Overload with Mindless Swarming!
Source: http://www.gamemeca.com/pc/review_view.html?page=1&genre_code=&search_kind=&search_text=&chr_from=&chr_to=&order=isrt_date&seq=1189&gm_id=gm0003555&subpage=1

Zerg, they changed exactly like this!

  • In general, in StarCraft II you control more units than in StarCraft.
  • The Queens Spawn Larvae lets Hatcheries (and by extension, Lairs and Hives) have 7 larvae for 40 seconds.
  • The Infestors Spawn Infested Terrans can be used to make 5 Infested Terrans.
  • The movement speed of combat units increased drastically and was faster than that of the other races.
  • The health of all the buildings fell compared to Starcraft.
  • Zerg was a bit weak when a large Zerg force met a large Terran or Protoss force, because each individual Zerg unit was weakened for balance, so that Zerg could produce more units than in StarCraft.
  • Zerg had a slight upper hand from early to mid game, but became disadvantaged as the max supply (200) filled up.
I’m so curious about the new units!
  • Baneling can be mutated from a Zergling after the Baneling Nest is built, which can be built after a Spawning Pool is built.
  • Banelings can wipe out early game units like Marines and Zerglings with ease, but lose most of their usefulness by the mid game.
  • The Roach can be spawned after the Roach Warren is built, which can be built after a Spawning Pool is built.
  • The Roachs attack is great, but only GTG is possible.
  • The Roach doesn't have much use or adaptability, and has no special skill to speak of.
  • A Corruptor can be spawned after a Spire is built, which can be built after a Lair is built.
  • A Corruptor can only attack air, and can upgrade the passive ability Corruption, which has the effect of converting your enemys unit to your army and stopping its movement after the Corrupter damages the unit a certain amount. Corrupted units explode after a few seconds.
  • The Infestor can be spawned after an Infestor Pit is built, which can be built after a Lair.
  • The Infestor can move while burrowed, can use spells while burrowed, and has no attack.
  • The Infestor has Neural Parasite, which makes the targeted unit yours for 10 seconds.
  • The Infestor has Spawn Infested Terrans, which makes 5 Infested Terrans that fight for 10 seconds before dying.
  • A Queen can be spawned right from the beginning, same as Drones and Overlords.
  • A Queen can attack both ground and air, but is weak.
  • A Queen has the Spawn Larvae ability which creates 4 additional Larvae for a Hatchery.
  • There are rumors that you can only spawn one, but in the latest build multiple Larvae could be spawned (Translator's Note: It might look like he confused Larvae with Queen beforehand).
  • The Overseer can produce creep around it and can use Spawn Changeling to create a Changeling.
  • Changeling is extremely small and can transform into the base unit (Marine, Zealot, Zergling) of an enemy, but dies after its limited life ends.
  • Zergling, Hydralisk, Mutalisk, and Ultralisk don’t have any notable changes, except that Hydralisk can be produced after a Lair, and Lurkers can be evolved after a Hive.
  • Mutalisks cannot be stacked.
Mutalisk later! Lair fast! Plenty of resources!
  • The chance/probability of multi is lower in Starcraft II.
  • Due to change in minerals/vespene and mining speed, there isn’t much need of multi.
  • Queens Spawn Larvae and Infestors Spawn Infested Terrans are used to boost unit production rate.
  • Since Mutalisks no longer clump together the usefulness of Mutalisks has dropped and the usefulness of Hydralisks has increased.
  • But since the Hydralisk can only be made after Lair, fast tech to Lair is important, and also because most of the tech tree is finished at Lair, so Hive is less important.
Starcraft II tips for Zerg users!
  1. When you start the game you start with 6 workers, and you don’t need to divide them.
  2. Radars on the map show nearby enemy units as exclamation marks, and only activate when one of your units are near it.
  3. Hatchery has two separate rally points: one for workers, one for offensive/spellcaster units.
  4. Minerals are mined 5 at a time, and vespene by 4, but the gathering speed is about 1.5 to 2 times faster.
  5. When a Vespene Geyser is depleted, no more gas can be mined from it.
  6. Whenever a Zerg building is destroyed, Broodlings appear, but they have low health and low damage.
  7. Larvae conform to the same rules that Barracks and Gateways have: you have to click the same number of times as you want units.
  8. Gold minerals give 7 mineral at a time.
  9. You can select idle Drones with the "~" key.
  10. You can set 200 units (nearly all) to one squad but only 24 show up in the frame for unit details.
  11. Overlords can’t detect invisible units, so evolution to Overseer is necessary.
  12. Sunken Colonies changed to Spine Crawlers, which can move after being built.
  13. Ultralisk lost its speed and armor upgrade (It is fast and strong as soon as it is spawned).
  14. Zerg buildings require Creep to build on. Also, Zerg units move slightly faster while on creep.

Articles translated by StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/).

SC:Legacy

Index
Event Wrap-up
PlayXP General Impressions
GameMeca Protoss Review
GameMeca Terran Review
GameMeca Zerg Review

PlayXP General Impressions
Source: http://www.playxp.com/sc2/news/view.php?article_id=1827463

The Overall Feel

  • The writer focused on enjoying the game and reviewing it as a whole, not searching out all the changes that have been made.
  • Didn’t get to test out the observer mode.
  • Unit and building names changed to bold font.
  • The game was played in “Faster”, which was similar to the game speed of Starcraft (Translator's Note: not mentioned which game speed of Starcraft, but I assume it is Fastest).
  • Lakia, who participated in playing, said that the game was too fast and he couldn’t keep track of things (Translator's Note: remember, this is the “Faster” game speed on Starcraft II, meaning “Fastest” is probably much faster).

Resources

  • Two Vespene Geysers at each base, each with 2500 total gas.
  • Minerals mined five at a time, gas mined four at a time.
  • Game starts off with six workers.
  • One squad is 24.
  • The gas usage for each race was about the same.
  • A lot of gas was needed.

Afterplay Comments: Mass_Terran

  • Zealot became much stronger than in StarCraft.
  • Marines also became stronger than in StarCraft.
  • When you upgrade Zergling speed, they sort of fly.
  • When multiple Larvae are selected, the units to be produced have to be chosen one by one.

Afterplay Comments: Lakia

  • The progress of the game is faster than in StarCraft.
  • Almost the same speed as StarCraft (on "faster" game speed).
  • Relative to price and tech, the Marauder is a very good unit.
  • Marauder has 120 health and its attack slows units.
  • Marauder can be produced at the Barracks after Barracks Tech Lab add-on.
  • Marauder attack is 10 (Armoured +10).
  • The cost of Marauder is 100 minerals, 50 gas, two population.
  • Queen’s Spawn Larva appeared to be able to create five Larvae for one Hatchery.
  • Zerg units are quite weak.
  • Six Zerglings were unable to beat two Zealots.
  • Initial population support is 11 for Terrans, 10 for Zerg and Protoss.
  • Barely ever enough gas (with two geysers).
  • Always had enough minerals on the map (including yellow minerals).
  • The importance and value of macro seems to have decreased, partly because multiple buildings can be set to one hotkey.
  • The limit to drag selection had no limit, but only icons of 24 units were displayed at a time in the unit details frame. For example, with 25 Mutalisks, the first 24 showed up and 1/2 appeared in the unit details frame (Translator's Note: my guess is that selection is unlimited, and for every 24 units, they are put in separate pages. So 24 Mutalisks appear on the first page and you can skip to the second page where the 25th Mutalisk is shown).
  • A high probability of success as an e-sport.

Zerg Change Details

  • Queen lost ability to teleport through creep to a building and is no longer responsible for creating defensive structures.
  • Zergling attack speed and movement speed upgrades are the same as in StarCraft.
  • Infestor has a skill that creates five eggs that hatch into Infested Terrans.
  • Infestor doesn’t have Consume, so it was a bit difficult using him.

Wrapping Up

  • Resource income/outcome was just right, and starting off with 6 workers made the game progress faster.
  • The key points in StarCraft II, such as yellow minerals, are predicted to become sources of nonstop battles

 

 

GameMeca StarCraft II Protoss Review, Guerrilla Combat is Now Possible!
Source: http://www.gamemeca.com/pc/review_view.html?page=1&genre_code=&search_kind=&search_text=&chr_from=&chr_to=&order=isrt_date&seq=1190&gm_id=gm0003555&subpage=1

Calm down, the early game still depends on the Zealot!

  • Early game, due to Terrans Reactor add-on and the Queens Spawn Larvae ability, the Protoss only have their Zealots to rely on. Also, making Photon Cannons early game was risky, as there wasn’t plentiful resources to make Zealots afterwards and it could leave you vulnerable if the enemy is left to tech up.
  • Balance between Photon Cannons and Zealots are crucial to early game.
  • Stalkers are available at the Gateway after Cybernetics Core is built.
  • Stalkers don’t do as much damage as Dragoon did in StarCraft, but can attack both ground and air and have the Blink ability, allowing them to teleport a short distances.
  • Stalker has better AI and pathing than the Dragoon did.
  • It seemed effective to have a fighting force of 70% Zealots and 30% Stalkers
  • This is because Zerg have Banelings and Terrans have Marauders, both of which can destroy a 100% Zealot army quickly
  • The early game Protoss player has to decide whether to make a Zealot/Stalker push or endure with Zealots to tech up
Should I fight directly, or should I go guerrilla: the mid game Protoss strategy!
  • Immortals are available at the Gateway after Cybernetics Core and Twilight Council is built.
  • Immortals are strong against Terran mechanical units because of its shield ability.
  • Melee units can destroy Immortals easily, so they must be coupled with Zealots for protection.
  • Zealot Charge and Stalkers Blink are available at the Twilight Council.
  • Zealot Charge makes Zealots much more effective.
  • High Templar are available at the Gateway after Cybernetics Core, Twilight Council, and Templar Archives are built.
  • High Templars Psionic Storm is less effective than in StarCraft, but can still ‘melt away’ Thors.
  • Dark Templar are available at the Gateway after Cybernetics Core, Twilight Council, and Dark Obelisk are built.
  • The writer of the article did not get a chance to try out the Dark Templar, much to his regret.
  • Archon could be made with two High Templar, two Dark Templar, or one High Templar and one Dark Templar.
  • Archon has high shields, low health, ranged attack, and weakness to melee units.
  • Observer could be made at the Robotics Facility, which can be built after Cybernetics Core.
  • Warp Prism could be made at the Robotics Facility after Robotics Bay is built.
  • Warp Prism can carry and transport units (no mention of if it can act as a Pylon, though it can).
  • Colossus available at the Robotics Facility after Robotics Bay is built.
  • Colossus can walk over cliffs, cannot attack air, can destroy buildings easily.
  • Gateway can be upgraded to a Warp Gate which warps in units anywhere on the map, but the writer didn’t have a chance to check or try this out.
  • Phoenix can be produced at the Stargate, which can be built after Cybernetics Core.
  • Phoenix can attack air and ground, with a powerful air attack (5 Phoenixes beat 3 Carriers).
  • Void Ray can be produced at the Stargate.
  • Void Ray can attack ground or air, and its attack gains strength the longer it focus-fires.
  • Void Ray is too slow in charging up to full attack power and too slow to move, so it was found to be quite useless, since any human player could easily kill them before they destroyed a building or ran away.
  • What the Void Ray was able to do, though, was to pressure attacking forces to retreat, since the Void Ray’s attack got stronger the longer it attacked.
The Carrier of Truth, the Mothership of Grace, the Protoss late game strategy
  • Carrier can be built at the Stargate after Fleet Beacon is built.
  • Carrier is initially produced with 4 Interceptors, and an additional 4 can be built. No upgrade required.
  • Mothership can be built at the Nexus after Stargate is built.
  • The Mothership’s movement is so slow, it makes you think that it’s almost unbearable.
  • When Carriers and a Mothership started off at one point, the Mothership arrived a while after the Carriers destroyed the entire enemy base.
  • Mothership can cloak other units like the Arbiter in Starcraft and has decent attack power.

 

 

Starcraft II Terran Review, Can Live Well Without the Medic!

Source: http://www.gamemeca.com/pc/review_view.html?page=1&genre_code=&search_kind=&search_text=&chr_from=&chr_to=&order=isrt_date&seq=1188&gm_id=gm0003555&subpage=1

Terran, they changed like this!

  • Reactor add-on allowed Terran to come close to Zerg unit production speed.
  • The Reapers cliff jumping almost make buying air transport a waste of money.
  • The Thor is able to be used in many occasions.
  • The Battlecruisers skills allow for more diverse strategy.
  • There are 50 minerals and 6 SCVs at the start of the game.
  • When multiple SCVs are selected and they are told to mine, they each go to a separate mineral all by themselves.
Wait a second, let’s learn about the interface!
  • When multiple buildings are selected, and you click to start unit production while holding down Tab, then all the selected buildings start making the unit at once.
  • The maximum number of units that can be set to one hotkey is 200, but they are divided in groups of 24, into 1,2,3, etc. in the control group.
  • Idle worker icons show up on the right of the screen, and you can select them with the "`" button (Translator's Note: I felt that this part of the article was very vague, so don’t take these points to be 100% accurate).
How about minerals and gas?
  • Minerals are mined 5 at a time.
  • The speed at which minerals are mined is two times faster than StarCraft.
  • Each map has golden minerals around, which give 7 minerals instead of 5 at a time.
  • The Vespene Geysers empty out, meaning they can’t be mined at all after it is depleted.
Early game supply count change.
  • Common build order for latest build was 8 SCV Supply -> 9 SCV scout -> 11 SCV Barracks.
  • Initial supply is 11, not 10 like in Starcraft.
Changes to the Command Center.
  • Can be upgraded to a Planetary Fortress which has missile launchers on top of it.
  • Can be upgraded to an Orbital Command which has Scanner Sweep ability.
  • One Command Center cannot have both upgrades at once.
  • The Orbital Command can summon stronger workers, called MULEs, that carry more minerals but explode after a limited time.
Use those supply depots!
  • Supply depots can go underground, allowing units to walk over it.
What kinds of units from the Barracks?
  • Marines, Marauders, Reapers, and Ghosts can be produced from Barracks.
  • Barracks have add-ons now.
  • Marines now have defence upgrade as well as Stimpack.
  • The defence upgrade increases the normal defence and health by 10.
  • Stimpack and defence upgrade are available at the Merc Compound, built after the Barracks.
  • Marine + Medivac rushes are definitely possible, since the Barracks can get the Reactor add-on and by the time you get Medivacs you have tons of Marines.
  • Medivac can be produced straight away from the Starport without further tech.
  • If Merc Compound is built, Reapers can be produced at Barracks.
  • Reapers can jump over/down cliffs, and can get an upgrade from the Merc Compound that allows them to throw bombs that have a 5 second fuse.
  • Ghosts require the Ghost Academy.
  • Ghosts have Cloaking, Nuclear Launch, and EMP.
  • All skills can be bought from the Ghost Academy, but Nuclear Launch is available after Factory is made and Cloaking is available after Starport is made (Translator's Note: no mention of nukes themselves having to be produced).
  • EMP then Nuke is very effective against Protoss.
Stop, let’s look at add-ons!
  • Barracks can have Reactor add-on or Tech Lab add-on
  • Units attacks and armor are upgraded in the Tech Lab.
  • Reactor allow Barracks to produce two units at once, but only Marines.
The Engineering Bays role.
  • You can upgrade Bunker capacity at the Engineering Bay, increasing it from 4 to 6.
  • Engineering Bay allows construction of Missile Turrets, but Missile Turrets no longer have detection and can only attack air units.
  • Sensor Tower has detection, and can show locations of units in fog if they are in range (Translator's Note: no mention if Engineering Bay is required for Sensor Tower).
What kinds of units from the factory?
  • Factory produces Hellion, Siege Tank, and Thor.
  • Hellion has fast movement and flame thrower.
  • Siege Tank is available after the Factory gets a Tech Lab add-on.
  • Siege Tank has range of 7 normally and a range of 13 in Siege Mode.
  • Thor is available after Tech Lab and Armory.
  • Thor is about twice as large as an Ultralisk.
  • Multiple SCVs can repair the Thor at one time for a longer lifespan.
  • Thor has a cannon ability (Translator's Note: not further elaborated).
What role does the Armory have?
  • Siege Mode and attack upgrade for Hellions flamethrower are available at the Armory.
From the Starport, what kinds of strategies?
  • Starport produces Viking, Medivac Dropship, Raven, Banshee, and Battlecruiser.
  • Only Viking and Medivac available in the beginning.
  • Tech Lab add-on is required for Raven, Banshee, and Battlecruiser.
  • Viking has a fast move speed but cannot attack air, but can transform to obtain ATA attack but with slower move speed (Translator's Note: makes it sound as though it is produced in ground-mode, and can immediately transform to air-mode).
  • The Medivac Dropship has a heal that is stronger than the Medic’s in Starcraft.
  • The Banshee has cloak.
  • Raven has detect, and can also attack.
  • Battlecruiser has 3 other abilities besides Yamato Cannon but only one skill can be used at one time.
  • Starport unit skills can be obtained at the Fusion Core building.
  • Fusion Core requires all buildings.

 

 

StarCraft II Zerg Review, Overload with Mindless Swarming!
Source: http://www.gamemeca.com/pc/review_view.html?page=1&genre_code=&search_kind=&search_text=&chr_from=&chr_to=&order=isrt_date&seq=1189&gm_id=gm0003555&subpage=1

Zerg, they changed exactly like this!

  • In general, in StarCraft II you control more units than in StarCraft.
  • The Queens Spawn Larvae lets Hatcheries (and by extension, Lairs and Hives) have 7 larvae for 40 seconds.
  • The Infestors Spawn Infested Terrans can be used to make 5 Infested Terrans.
  • The movement speed of combat units increased drastically and was faster than that of the other races.
  • The health of all the buildings fell compared to Starcraft.
  • Zerg was a bit weak when a large Zerg force met a large Terran or Protoss force, because each individual Zerg unit was weakened for balance, so that Zerg could produce more units than in StarCraft.
  • Zerg had a slight upper hand from early to mid game, but became disadvantaged as the max supply (200) filled up.
I’m so curious about the new units!
  • Baneling can be mutated from a Zergling after the Baneling Nest is built, which can be built after a Spawning Pool is built.
  • Banelings can wipe out early game units like Marines and Zerglings with ease, but lose most of their usefulness by the mid game.
  • The Roach can be spawned after the Roach Warren is built, which can be built after a Spawning Pool is built.
  • The Roachs attack is great, but only GTG is possible.
  • The Roach doesn't have much use or adaptability, and has no special skill to speak of.
  • A Corruptor can be spawned after a Spire is built, which can be built after a Lair is built.
  • A Corruptor can only attack air, and can upgrade the passive ability Corruption, which has the effect of converting your enemys unit to your army and stopping its movement after the Corrupter damages the unit a certain amount. Corrupted units explode after a few seconds.
  • The Infestor can be spawned after an Infestor Pit is built, which can be built after a Lair.
  • The Infestor can move while burrowed, can use spells while burrowed, and has no attack.
  • The Infestor has Neural Parasite, which makes the targeted unit yours for 10 seconds.
  • The Infestor has Spawn Infested Terrans, which makes 5 Infested Terrans that fight for 10 seconds before dying.
  • A Queen can be spawned right from the beginning, same as Drones and Overlords.
  • A Queen can attack both ground and air, but is weak.
  • A Queen has the Spawn Larvae ability which creates 4 additional Larvae for a Hatchery.
  • There are rumors that you can only spawn one, but in the latest build multiple Larvae could be spawned (Translator's Note: It might look like he confused Larvae with Queen beforehand).
  • The Overseer can produce creep around it and can use Spawn Changeling to create a Changeling.
  • Changeling is extremely small and can transform into the base unit (Marine, Zealot, Zergling) of an enemy, but dies after its limited life ends.
  • Zergling, Hydralisk, Mutalisk, and Ultralisk don’t have any notable changes, except that Hydralisk can be produced after a Lair, and Lurkers can be evolved after a Hive.
  • Mutalisks cannot be stacked.
Mutalisk later! Lair fast! Plenty of resources!
  • The chance/probability of multi is lower in Starcraft II.
  • Due to change in minerals/vespene and mining speed, there isn’t much need of multi.
  • Queens Spawn Larvae and Infestors Spawn Infested Terrans are used to boost unit production rate.
  • Since Mutalisks no longer clump together the usefulness of Mutalisks has dropped and the usefulness of Hydralisks has increased.
  • But since the Hydralisk can only be made after Lair, fast tech to Lair is important, and also because most of the tech tree is finished at Lair, so Hive is less important.
Starcraft II tips for Zerg users!
  1. When you start the game you start with 6 workers, and you don’t need to divide them.
  2. Radars on the map show nearby enemy units as exclamation marks, and only activate when one of your units are near it.
  3. Hatchery has two separate rally points: one for workers, one for offensive/spellcaster units.
  4. Minerals are mined 5 at a time, and vespene by 4, but the gathering speed is about 1.5 to 2 times faster.
  5. When a Vespene Geyser is depleted, no more gas can be mined from it.
  6. Whenever a Zerg building is destroyed, Broodlings appear, but they have low health and low damage.
  7. Larvae conform to the same rules that Barracks and Gateways have: you have to click the same number of times as you want units.
  8. Gold minerals give 7 mineral at a time.
  9. You can select idle Drones with the "~" key.
  10. You can set 200 units (nearly all) to one squad but only 24 show up in the frame for unit details.
  11. Overlords can’t detect invisible units, so evolution to Overseer is necessary.
  12. Sunken Colonies changed to Spine Crawlers, which can move after being built.
  13. Ultralisk lost its speed and armor upgrade (It is fast and strong as soon as it is spawned).
  14. Zerg buildings require Creep to build on. Also, Zerg units move slightly faster while on creep.

Articles translated by StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/).

SC:Legacy

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Benwa collected the following information regarding the GC 2008 build at ESL Finals 2009 in Paris, France:

 

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General Impressions

All games were limited to 30 minutes, and there were 10-15 computers with the game. One of the Blizzard staff mentioned the next battle report, and said that we will be very pleased with it. This might be an indicator that battle report 2 is coming closer to completion.

Be advised that the build playable there is older than BlizzCon 2008, it is the GC 2008 build. There is no Nighthawk, just the Nomad with the Turrets which cost energy and the Queen is still a unique unit like the Mothership. There is nothing new about the macro system, it reverted to the mechanic where it’s necessary to pay 100 minerals and refresh your geyser. There is only one version of Dark Templar in this build as well.

There is a strange UI feature which I haven’t noticed before. When you "ctrl" select units as groups under "1-2-3..", there is a little icon which shows up with the number of your group, the number of units in it, and a wireframe of one of the units. It's just above the space where you see the details of a unit you have selected.

I had a good TvT against another player. Missile Turrets detect invisible units and Sensor Towers have a really huge field of vision. You can see the opponent's towers as well. Ghosts are powerful units when cloaked, they can destroy a Siege Tank really fast. Nukes are still fun like in the original StarCraft and Battlecruisers are very very powerful units, and really expensive
too 400 minerals, 300 vespene. But with four of them I managed to destroy an army of Marines and Vikings.

In addition, a burrowed unit near a Xel-Naga tower does not activate it!

 


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Protoss

What is the Void Ray's magnitude of effectiveness over structures and units?
Benwa: I did not manage to use this unit correctly, the range is very short but the unit is very deadly when used stealthily on a building. If you micro against them well they wont do squat.

Hammy: Well the Protoss seemed to have many "assist" units like Void Ray, Carriers, Collossi and stuff like that. So basically the Void Rays were great at doing damage, but pretty fragile, and if you micro against them they wont do squat unless they have an army around them. Somehow they had the same feel to them as the Colossi, but one is specialized versus low hitpoint units, and the other versus high hitpoint units.

What is Warp-In's cooldown period and initial research cost?
The research cost is 50/50 and 35 seconds. The cooldown after you warp a unit is the same length for the unit to be built normally.

How large is the High Templar's Psi Storm area of effect and second ability usage.
It's small, much smaller than in the original. It makes it harder to use (but Zerg players are gonna be happy). It's not as large as a ramp for example.

What does 5 x 2 damage mean for Interceptors? Does that mean Interceptors make two passes before returning, or are they actually dealing 10 damage to unarmored opponents?
It's something many units have. It means the unit shoots a unit twice in a row for 10 damage. But if the unit attacked has 1 damage reduction, it will take only 8 damage [(5-1)*2]. It's important because many big units like the Mothership and Thor make a lot of damage in one shot.

Does the Immortal prevent all but 10 damage, or 20?
Benwa: I'm not sure, I used an Immortal to shoot another but the Immortal does 30 damage against an armored unit, and my other Immortal took only 10 damage, so I don't know if they prevent 20 damage or just take 10 damage for all attacks higher than 10.

Hammy: I don't have the exact values, but i can tell you that Immortals are really great. They hard counter tanks and hydra and stuff, but they are still useful in your army when you're fighting roaches or marauders. In my opinion, it's working out really well to have split the old dragoon in two functions (stalker and immortal)

Unit Stats

Colossus
HP: 300
Shields: 150
Supply: 6
Built by: Robotics Facility
Damage: 20
Bonus: none
Range: 7 (+2 with upgrade)
Armor: 1 armored

Nullifier
HP: 40
Shields: 40
Supply: 2
Built by: Gateway (with Cybernetic Core)
Damage: 5
Bonus: +5 vs shield
Range: 5
Armor: 1 light
Abilities: Force Field and Anti-Gravity

Phoenix
HP: 120
Shields: 60
Supply: 2
Built by: Stargate
Damage: 10*2
Bonus: none
Range: 4
Armor: 0 light
Abilities: Overload

Carrier
HP: 250
Shields: 150
Supply: 6
Built by: Stargate (with Fleet Beacon)
Damage: 5*2 (8 Interceptors)
Bonus: None
Range: --
Armor: 4 armored

Mothership
HP: 600
Shields: 600
energy : 1000
Supply: 0
Speed: "slow as hell"
Built by: Nexus
Damage: 8*8
Bonus: no
Range: 7
Armor: 4 armored

Archon
HP: 10
Shields: 300
Supply: 4
Built by: Templar, Dark Templar
Damage: 35
Bonus:
Range: 2
Armor: 0 light

 

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Terran

Can the Thor be transported?
Definitely not.

How much bonus hp does having a shield grant the Marine?
10(from 45 to 55), for a cost of 150//150

Does the Planetary Fortress gain extra hp over a Command Center?
No, it stays at 1500hp, and I did not see if it gains armor. This building is really frightening, it has saved my life against a bunch of Zealots. It doesn't attack air.

Does the Tech Lab still upgrade infantry weapon and armor?
The Tech Lab has the following upgrades: Stimpacks, Shields for Marines, and Mines for Reapers.

What does the Engineering Bay upgrade/research now?
Infantry weapons and armor. However the Engineering Bay could no longer fly in this build!

What is the Thors missile pod attack description?
No text, the air attack is not the same as the normal attack. It's 4 attacks, each do 4 damage (+2 against armored)

Nighthawk, costs for all three deployed machines, energy or resources.
Still called the Nomad. Three deployavbles are Turret, Spider Mines, Targeting Drone. (No information was provided regarding costs)

Is the Battlecruiser overpowered and are its abilities useful?
The yamato and the air barrage are a must have. There is no need to research them, just choose one or the other for each battlecruiser you have. Really strong and expensive unit.

Do Missile Turrets detect now, or still need help from a sensor tower?
Missile Turrets detect invisible units. So do Sensor Towers, but you only see the red dot on the map, so you always need a Missile Turret.

Do units rallied to a Bunker enter the Bunker?
Yes, and into a Dropship too. You just need the bunker to be already built, if not they stay next to it.

Unit Stats

Medivac Dropship
HP: 150
Energy : 200
Supply: 2
Built by: Starport
Damage: none
Bonus: none
Range: none
Armor: 1 Armored
Abilities: heal one biological unit at the time

 

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Zerg

How do the Hydralisk and Roach fare together?
Benwa: In this build you can't really compare theses two units. One is Tier 1 the other is Tier 2. Hydralisks can attack air units, Roachs can't. On paper the Hydralisk is much better than the Roach. When I first heard about the fast regeneration of the Roach, I was wondering "how fast?". Well, I have the answer now, fast means rediculously fast! I created a duel between a Hydralisk and Roach on creep (Hydralisk does 13 dmg, Roach has 80hp), before the Hydralisk shoot a second time, the roach was already on full health. If you don't try to micro vs them in early game, you're dead meat. And in a ZvZ game, it's a powerful attack unit, with 6 of them I managed to kill so many Zerglings, which was pretty impressive (and I'm not really good at that).

Hammy:As a Zerg player, Hydralisks were a huge disappointment. Not only are they tier 2... but they cost a whooping 100 gas. Basically i treated them as designated GtA units, and expensive ones at that. They got completely obliterated by any form of melee units or small units. Their damage was good though, so i guess the "large" group of Hydras I made at some point worked well with the Roaches as long as they weren't getting hit. I tried to soak up the damage by microing my Roaches and the Hydras did damage. However that wasn't a very realistic situation since i just had a bigger army than he did.

To sum up: Hydras shouldn't be treated as Hydras anymore. I'm not saying they are bad, but they are just highly specialized units. They would get crushed by Zealots or Immortals for example (they activate hardened shields). On the other hand any air unit wouldn't stand a chance.

However Roaches are simply awesome. They work really well with Zerglings and Bbanelings, are cheap, fast, really cool to micro around and just overall awesome.

Tell us about the Overlord creep and current transport tactic.
Benwa: Awesome! When you evolve your Hatchery into a Lair, your Overlord can "drop" creep. The Overlord must stay still to continue to drop the creep, otherwise it slowly disappears. You can use that to spawn a Nydus Worm and unleash one billion Banelings into the enemy base! How joyful. When the creep disappears, the Nydus Worm will slowly die.

Hammy: Again, just awesome. Overlords have got two abilities: the first is to spout creep for an unlimited time. This spell doesn't cost anything and can be used anytime. When toggled the Overlord just keeps on spitting creep under it (you have to toggle it off to be able to move your Overlord again). Concerning Overlord transport... I'm pretty sure they don't have any in this build (but I'm pretty sure i read something online saying that their transport ability was back). Honestly, who cares about Overlord transport when you have a Nydus Network!! This is just amazing: you build the network (it's a building) when you hit Lair, proceed to hotkey it... and then just enjoy placing Nydus Worms all over the map, wherever you've got creep (or an Overlord making creep). Sure each Worm costs 100min, but it's still great. It only takes a few seconds to build each Worm. After that, all you've got to do is rally each hatchery to the closest Nydus worm (the nydus network counts as a canal) and your new units will automatically load up into this "virtual network". Once loaded, just select any Worm and hit "unload" and your units pop out. I couldn't think of an easier way to reinforce or move around your army. If you're attacking a Zerg you don't even need an Overlord to put creep down. And it's relatively early in tech.

Do you know how Nydus works in this version?
You build the building in Tier 2 and using this building you can build a nydus worm anywhere on creep, it will stay until it's destroyed (and the way it dies is neat), you don't need to send a Drone anymore. After that you can load your units into any Nydus (the building you create or another worm!) and unload to any other worm.

How much extra control does an Overseer give?
Benwa: Can't say, the tooltip says it does but it seemed to be bugged.

Hammy: I don't think it gives any more control.

Does the Infestor produce Infested Terrans, or Infested Marines?
Benwa: Marines, 7 or 8, even from Zerg buildings, they have an attack which does 6 dmg at 5 range.

Hammy: It produces Infested Marines. Even if you infest an enemy Hatchery, it will make an Infested Marine. However I think you can only infest production buildings.

Unit Stats

Infestor
HP: 120
Damage: no
Bonus: no
Range: no
Armor: 0 light
Abilities: same as Defiler in StarCraft: Brood War, no Consume but can Infest buildings.

Lurker
HP: 125
Supply: 2
Built by: Hydralisk
Damage: 10
Bonus: +20 vs armored
Range: 7
Armor: 1 armored

Swarm Guardian
HP: 200
Supply: 2
Built by: Mutalisk
Damage: 25
Bonus: no
Range: 8
Armor: 2 armored

 

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This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/)
ESL Pro Series Finals 2009 feature article.

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Hammy had the chance to play the GC 2008 build at ESL Finals 2009 in Paris, France. The following are his impressions:

 

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General

The blue lines with arrows, as seen in the latest video from ESL Paris 2009, is the sensor tower. It has little triangles on the sides - that's the range of the Sensor Tower. If there's only one it's ok, but when there are multiple it's ugly because they overlap, and they clutter.

The high grass system is useful; when you're fighting around the bases it's really great to hide the scouts. It's also really great that when you try to run away, you can run into high grass and enemy units will have trouble running after you. The only way to counter this is to have an air unit. This system brought alot to the game. The maps were extremely good though. For Space Platform, instead of high grass you have black smoke - even in low-res this looks awesome. The entire game looks extremely good.

What I'm less thrilled about, is that some maps were too much like Lost Temple i.e. many people could foresee lame early Tank drops on cliffs. It's a good map anyways, but still. To reach high ground you can destroy rocks, but this takes ages. The rock system is okay, but sometimes you have to go through three layers - they may have overdone it.

To set rally points, if you right click on minerals or an extractor it will turn brown, which will mean it's a rally point for workers. And it's only available for Hatcheries. If you right click anywhere else it's a white line that is the rally point for all other units. Whenever you select your Hatcheries you will be seeing these lines. It's not clutter, but something that you will always be seeing. Although auto-mining and MBS are decent additions, you really didn't have much to do at the beginning of the game. you just select Larvae and spam "D" - that's all you can do, you can't optimize your mining.

 

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Zerg

In a recent StarCraft II discussion with Artosis, Tasteless, and NonY, they were afraid that StarCraft II wont have same kind of mechanics as StarCraft I i.e. Reaver drops on the mineral line. However, if they played the game they'd have realized, especially with Banelings, if you run into the enemy mineral line then you can destroy it instantly; the baneling is a very powerful unit. Banelings can be taken down by Stalkers. The second option against Zealots is Roaches. Zealots are faster, but you can kill a whole army of Zealots. Roaches are very easy to mass, and also easy to micro because of the pathing.

In my experiences playing with the Zerg, Zealots would rip Zerglings apart, so I had to go to Banelings. The first time I sent them to attack randomly, the opponent separated his Zealot and Banelings got wasted. If you micro a little more and don't waste the banelings, then they are very useful and can easily turn games around.

When Protoss starts to pump out Stalkers, which are easy to micro for the opponent, especially at tier 2 when they Blink around, the Stalkers can get taken down by Zerglings and Banelings if you can run the Banelings into the Stalkers. It's all about having the right ratio of units, but the game is very dynamic.

 

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Bases are very close in these maps. As in Battle Report 1, when you have the leg up the opponent will get reinforcements and chase you back to your base, so you have to adjust. There is much less downtime than in StarCraft I. I'm personally a D+ in ICCUP.

With the Zerg you reach tier 2 much later than normal; it costs 200 gas to upgrade to the Lair, unless you make both of your gas geysers immediately. I'm not impressed with tier 2 much besides the Nydus Network. Hydralisks cost 100 minerals and 100 gas. You can't mask them as much as you used to, they now serve as very specialized anti air.

Was the Battlecruiser overpowered in this build? There is too much anti-air to actually make these air units useful. Zerg has the Corruptor, which is extermely powerful. I don't think we've seen the corrupted units actually firing, but they shoot the same as the Corruptor. They have very high damage, it shoots at an average speed and once units start going down, the amount of damage keeps increasing.

In a ZvZ I played a very common technique, instead of using Zergling/Mutalisk is Zergling/Corruptor. Very few Zerg units can beat Zerglings, and there are very few air units that can beat the Corruptor, so those are main units you're using, at least in the GC 2008 build. In a Corruptor vs. Corruptor battle, damage increases too quickly and units die way too quickly. IBasically, the Corruptor is an awesome AA unit.

Each race has very strong anti-air. Viking has crappy GTG, but its ATA was high. Same with the Phoenix, though I'm sure it's outdated in this build. Phoenix's didnt have high damage, but they had Overload which wasn't easy to dodge, came quickly and dealt massive damage.

Making Mutalisks wasn't too good an idea. I still tried to make them though just to see how they played. Often times a couple of Vikings or a couple of Corruptors would kill them quickly.

Against Terran, Lurkers were awesome, but they took too long to get to. The Warren took 100 gas and an upgrade to Lurker another 100 gas. Lurkers are at least as good as before; I couldn't test their damage. As far as the attacking animation goes, it kinda felt like the spines went further and wider, but they didn't move as quickly. Lurker burrowing speed is the same, it didn't change so much.

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Against Terran as long as you're comfortable with micro then you can allow Banelings to get in melee range. You can just use Banelings to take down any army. You can also use Roaches and Banelings - the Roaches go in first and soak damage while the Banelings roll toward their targets. When the enemy made Banshees they went down very quickly against Hydralisk/Corruptor fire.

The Roach/Lurker combo is good but it's too gas consuming and a bit difficult to pull off. As far as the Roach/Hydralisk combo goes, unless he's got air units, there's not much use to doing that because the Roach deals decent damage and has a high regeneration. But range is pretty short, so unless you got so many Roaches they can't all fire at same time, I don't see why you'd use Hydralisks. Instead you'd add Zerglings or Banelings. The Nydus Network is very awesome. The maps have details which allow you to place Nydus Worms or other offensive towering.

The moment I reach Hive tech I realize that three of my geysers just went down all at same time and it's a big mess and waste of time. For tier 3 Ultralisks are extremely expensive at 200 minerals and 400 gas. They are extremely powerful, but they are sometimes too big. When running into a Protoss base the Ultralisks will just run around. And even some gaps where big units can go through, Ultralisks can not. However, in open space combat they're hideously powerful.

It's hard to compare the cost of units because of this whole gas system. You'll get a little more gas than in StarCraft: Brood War, but you have to recharge them and your income starts to drop very quickly. I think it would have taken lots of getting used to if it got kept, but at the same time would have added more depth to the game.

Swarm Guardians were very very powerful. The Spawn Broodlings spell was great. It would start to spawn Broodlings not every single time they hit, but maybe every couple. It is great against Terrans especially when he has Tanks, which can be compared to Zealot bombs. The guardians deal some very high damage.

AA counters are very powerful, I don't know how this is gonna turn out once the game is released. Ground units are very well rounded & balanced. in ZvP Zerglings, Banelings and Roaches are a great matchup against Zealots, Stalkers, Nullifiers and Immortals. It is tons of fun to fight against these units.

For the Infestor's Dark Swarm, you can still make use of it, and it's a great spell, but unlike StarCraft: Brood War you do not have infinite energy to use as long as you have Zerglings around. Plauge is extremely powerful, it deals tons of damage, but I don't understand how it works. It works very differently from plague in StarCraft: Brood War. It seems like it spreads from unit from unit, but doesn't spread in a circle or radius. The last Infestor spell is Infest. Whichever production building you infest, it will produce infested Marines, the Marines will just be shooting - they won't explode. I tried the spell on a Spawning Pool - the building got infested, but immediately lost infestation. This could have been a bug, or the spell just only works on production buildings. The Infested Hatchery definitely got infested, but spawned Infested Marines, which was weird. And when I infested a gateway, infested Marines also came out.


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Overlords are super slow at the beginning. Without any upgrades they can start making Creep. Creep is just great because you can put worms all around the map. You can upgrade the Overlords into Overseers - they're much faster and they're detectors. If Dark Templar rush you then he wouldn't have time to do much damage because you could transform and Overlord into an Overseer fairly quickly. There was no upgrade to turn Overlords into transporters. Now the Overseer has a spell and loses the capability of making Creep but can spawn a Changeling. It'll be the one unit that won't be following his army perfectly and won't be grouped with his army, which will will seem awkward. If your enemy isn't paying attention his units won't automatically kill it. It can just run through his army and it wont be killed. It's basically a free scout. Nothing gamebreaking, but a useful little gadget.

The Queen is great, but I've never been a fan - it felt like overkill. It's a defensive unit. With the new sunken/spore colonies that can move around, you can move your army around very quickly, you can move your Sunken colonies onto some creep that was made by Overlords, which, combined, greatly improved the Zerg's defense. Plus the queen isn't that expensive. It didn't feel necessary, though her spells are powerful.

The Queen's healing spell is pretty strong. She also has the capability of turning Larvae into a Mutant Larvae; it takes a while to do, but it doesn't cost any energy - just one population point. What makes it great is that you can move it and take into battle. It would take ages to walk into battle, but you can send it in via Nydus Worm. However, it allows units to morph very quickly. A player who knows that he's going for Ultralisks or Mutalisks, from the beginning of the game could start preparing Larvae. Once a Spire kicks in, and once he has 6 mutant larva, instead of taking 40 seconds, it would only take 5. This would be a very lethal combination.

 

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Terran

 


Marines are as usual, but I felt like their life expectancy was greatly increased because of Marauders who have greater hit points and take more damage. The Maruader's attack is not like an AoE attack; one unit it hits is slowed down for like a second or two. It's not overpowered, as you can't just kite anything - it would be impossible to micro every Marauder. But it makes Terran very mobile especially when the Medivac kicks in.

Medivacs double as transporter and Medics, which is quite dangerous. Hellions range is very far, kind of like Lurkers, but if you don't flank the enemy with your Hellions then it's not good. Tanks haven't changed. Banshees are great though they would go down quickly against Corruptors..

A Blizzard rep said that the Nomad had been changed alot into a Nighthawk. The turrets are much better - they cost minerals instead of energy, and you can make as many as you want. They are much more offensive. If you use Dropships to assault someone and put down turrets, it's very dangerous. Though I didn't get to see them alot, Battlecruisers were usually handled by Corruptors very well, but they were powerful.

 

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Protoss

 


Warp-in is really a great addition to reinforce the army. The Nullifier in this build had Force Field which cost very little energy. It was so easy to block chokes and to assist stalkers with Force Fields. At ESL total newbs were using Nullifiers easily, since the interface was so easy. In the hands of pro-gamers they would be terrifying. You can instantly block any path and any choke. You can make the Force Field around your Stalkers & keep them from being attacked.

Anti-Gravity was pretty useless. Templar's Psionic Storm was powerful - it's a little smaller, but since units are more tightly packed in StarCraft II it did lots of damage. Archons are extremely powerful. They do 35 damage and can 1 shoot a Zergling. Archons are very dangerous for Zerg. Warp Rays were really good at taking down buildings, but I felt that they weren't fast & dynamic enough. If you bring some AA against them, Warp Rays are not fast enough to run away. Once you have a counter to Warp Rays, they lose a big part of their use. It's up to the Protoss player to know how to use them right. Same with the Colossus, which has high damage, is fragile, and not easy to maneuver around. The Colossus and Warp Ray are assist units; you must keep em protected.

 

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Zerg Upgrades

Evolution Chamber & Spire remain unchanged.
Zergling: at Spawning Pool ->speed (tier1) and glands (Hive)
Roach: at Roach Den -> Increased regeneration (Hive)
Baneling: at Baneling nest -> Increased speed (Hive)
Hydra: at Hydra Den -> Speed (Lair) (no range upgrade)
Overlord: at Lair -> Speed (Lair)
Ultralisk: at Ultralisk Den -> Carapace (hive) (no speed upgrade, and that sucks actually, Zerglings are way faster than Ultralisks this way)

 


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This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/)
ESL Pro Series Finals 2009 feature article.

My Day at Blizzard

My day started as any other day, getting up at 6:00am like I normally do for work. However, this was not a normal day. Today I was not going to work, I was going to Blizzard. I got dressed, grabbed some coffee and a muffin, and set out on the one hundred mile trip to Irvine, California. I believed that by leaving early enough, I'd avoid a lot of the morning traffic, and just relax at a local Starbucks until 9:45. I was wrong. When I pulled onto the legendary 405 freeway, this is what I saw:

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It took me two and half hours to get to Irvine, but within 15 minutes at Blizzard, the trip was well worth it. Security cleared me, and I drove past the gates, parked my truck, and was let into the lobby. A large figure of Nova from StarCraft: Ghost stood to the right of the room, and a large statue of a dwarf with a gun was located to the left, toward the theater and the art/trophy area. I waited in the lobby with Aaron (AJ the administrator) while a few more people from other fan-sites showed up. Once the group of 15-20 people from Europe arrived, we were taken upstairs to this amazing room:

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Before settling down to test out the latest build, a few of us went to do a few group interviews first. Everyone met Karune, and he accompanied us as we went through the interviews. The first person we interviewed was Chris Sigaty, the Lead Producer for StarCraft II. Chris works as the project manager, organizing the scheduling for the programmers, artists and designers, so that everyone is able to coordinate their work to make as much progress in the game development as possible. One of the biggest issues lately was the recent Zerg release. To create the trailer, every department needed to cooperate in adding the art, cinematics and in-game footage. A large part of this interview revolved around the development. Chris mentioned that they do read through fan comments on various websites and make changes according to certain ideas. For now, he explained, the changes made due to fan comments will decrease later on during development. Another means of fine-tuning the game are professional gamers, whom Blizzard hires to play and address various gameplay issues. When StarCraft II reaches its beta phase, professional gamers will continue to test the game even more, so that development team can make the final adjustments to the game and prepare it for its release.

After our interview with Chris Sigaty was over, we headed over to the next room, to meet Dustin Browder, the Lead Designer for StarCraft II. Dustin told us a lot about the development schedule for StarCraft II. Fridays were reserved to test current builds using various people from throughout the company, and who wouldn't want to spend their Fridays at work playing video games? Those who played the build would leave feedback about any suggestions or changes that should be made. On Monday, the team goes over the feedback, and the next three days are spent making those changes in addition to their project schedule demands as set by Chris Sigaty. Thursday is mainly used as a pre-run-through to ensure that the build is ready for the weekly testing. As for the game itself, Dustin informed us that the single-player is still being worked on, and that the campaigns and storyline have not been completely set as of now. During the interview, the issue of the Colossus' attack was brought up. Recently, its attack changed from a single, powerful laser to a spread of multiple lasers. Dustin explained that this was to prevent wasting damage, that rather than do a ridiculous amount of damage to kill a single Zergling, that the spread attack can hit several Zerglings at once, and not waste nearly as much damage. He does admit that at this point the attack doesn't look that good, and that changes are being made for it look better. Next, Dustin explained the static defenses of the Zerg that are laid by the new Zerg Queen. The Queen can lay down pods called Swarm Clutches. Swarm Clutches deal good damage to ground and air. However, they are weak against enemy attacks, and must rely on a new detection unit, called the Shrieker, in order to target enemies. Shriekers are also laid by the Queen, and any Swarm Clutch within the shrieker's radius can attack enemy units, even if they are on the opposite end. Dustin explained that good strategy would have to be used in order to use Swarm Clutches and Shriekers to their maximum defensive potential. Another change that has been made to the game is that the 200 food cap has returned. Finally, the question I asked was in regards to the cut units appearing in the map editor. Dustin explained that any of the original units that don't make the cut will appear just as they were in StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War, so don't open up the map editor and expect Firebats packing Napalm Rockets. As for the new units that have been cut, some of them will make it to the editor, but unfortunately there is no guarantee that all of them will appear. However, to ease the minds of the fans he did explain that the map editor will be very user-friendly and, if a unit didn't make it to the Editor, it will be possible for the player to create their own units or make changes to any existing units on custom maps.

Two interviews down, one to go. Finally, our group met with Samwise Didier, the Senior Art Director for Blizzard. The first subject of discussion was regarding the recent changes in the appearance of the Terran and Protoss. Everyone present in the group approved of the changes; adding more grit and grime on the Terran units and buildings, and taking a lot of the shine out of the Protoss' golden armor. I had the chance to offer up a question, asking Samwise about the possibility of day/night terrains and weather effects. Currently there is no plan set for day/night effects, but Samwise made mention that this could be an option that may be tested in the future for review. According to Samwise, weather effects are being tested, but at present, the only "weather" effect that exists are various fireballs on the Char/lavaworld maps. He told us a funny story about one player testing the lavaworld map and freaking out because he thought he lost his base, when in reality, it was one of the harmless fireballs appearing in the foreground of the screen, temporarily blocking the view of his base. Another interviewer asked about the style they were going for with the races this time around, and Samwise answered that they were going with the original StarCraft style, that the Terrans are a mix of backwater and military, the Protoss are technologically advanced and rely a lot on robotics, and the Zerg resemble insects with a hivemind whose biology are highly evolved. The style of the Zerg did bring forth another question about how fresh ideas came around for the new Zerg units. Samwise explained to us that everyone felt the Zerg had a feel of being lean, fast and agile. But then he asked the question "Why?", encouraging people to think outside the box. And it was in thinking outside the box that the Infester came to be. Rather than fast and agile, the Infester is stout and relatively slow for a Zerg warrior. For example, why did the Terran Thor, whose original design was a larger tank, have to be just another, bigger tank? The idea was played around with, and soon the Thor design became how we see it today. As with Chris Sigaty, Samwise was also asked about fan comments and their influence on the concept art. He replied that the art team was good about reading developed, well thought-out ideas, and often suggestions they read online have already been considered and sometimes confirm what they should work with next. Finally, Samwise was asked about one of the biggest art concerns currently existing for StarCraft II: the Protoss team colors. The interview group was mixed in their opinions about the team colors. I was skeptical about the team colors, with the different colored crystals and Psi-Blades, upon further testing, I really liked the team colors, with two exceptions. The Pylons seem strange suddenly being different colors, but that is something I would be fine with if left alone. However, I'm strongly against the current coloring for Archons. With the brighter colors, the Archons look like giant balls of light. Yes, it makes it much easier to determine which Archons are yours if they're in a large group, but lore-wise, it's a nightmare, explaining how Archons on a red team look almost exactly like the Dark Archons from StarCraft: Brood War. Regardless, Protoss team color is one of the art team's biggest issues, and I'm confident that they'll surprise us (in a good way).

After the interviews, which lasted until 10:45am, it was time to sit down and do some serious testing. Obviously, the first race I tried was the Zerg. I joined a four player free-for-all, that didn't involve much fighting since we were all busy checking out the details behind the Zerg. One of the biggest changes to the Zerg was for their upgrade system. No longer are the Zerg tied to a general upgrade, such as ground carapace, flier carapace, etc... Each Zerg unit has its own set of upgrades that can be bought at their required building (for example, Zergling - Spawning Pool). Rather than separate attack and armor upgrades (there are still only three levels), each level now includes attack, armor, and - depending on the unit and upgrade level - a stat boost or an additional ability. If this type of upgrade/research were to remain for the Zerg, there would be at least one significant pro and con for traditional Zerg players. Research and upgrading is made easier by summing it together into a single upgrade. However, with only one type of unit being affected by the upgrade, Zerg players are forced to be more careful about which units they focus on upgrading. It is cheaper and faster to fully-upgrade Zerg units, but upgrades will only affect the one type of unit instead of half the Zerg ranks. If I were to choose between upgraded tier one Roaches and basic tier two Hydralisks, I would choose the Roaches, because with their upgrades, they outclass the Hydralisks, even though the Hydralisks are originally more powerful than the Roaches. After getting killed in that four player Zerg free-for-all by someone more interested in killing everyone, I decided the best way to collect my Zerg information was to play a 1v1 with a computer player. I spent the next hour recording as much of the information on the Zerg race as I possibly could.

12:30 rolled around; I was starting to get hungry, so through sheer force of will I was able to pull myself away from the computer and walk outside the room for some pizza. I had three slices of delicious sausage and mushroom pizza. Later, I found out on the tour that the pizza had been made by their cafeteria staff. But more on the cafeteria later.

Wasting no time, I devoured the pizza and returned to my computer a few minutes later. Now that I had recorded the majority of the Zerg stats, I was ready to have a bit more fun. I found myself a little tired of the Zerg and chose to play as the Terran, which is my favorite race. To my amazement, I noticed that the Medics were no longer built at the Barracks. Later, I found out that the Medics had been replaced by the Medivac Dropship - a combination of the Medic and Dropship. According to Dustin Browder, who showed up later in the day, the Medivac Dropship was still relatively new. At this point in time, the Dropship would hover over infantry and auto-heal any injured units. He explained that they would like to try to make an animation of the healing process, such as a robotic arm descending to the ground unit to visually show that the injured ground units were being healed.

I found my strategy improving with the Terran. I'd go straight to Barracks, building one or two Barracks with Reactors. Then I would be able to build two Marines at once to build up my defense, and then another Barracks with a Tech Lab, so I could buy the Shield Upgrade. In the meantime I'd save up some Minerals, build another Command Center and fly it to a nearby expansion, which was easy without the pitch-black fog-of-war. Once I built a decent defense of bunkered Marines and a few Siege Tanks I'd build two Starports; one with the Reactor to build two Vikings at once and the other with the Tech Lab to build Banshees. If I had the resources available I'd build another Starport with a Tech Lab to build Banshees faster, because Banshees own the ground, especially when they're cloaked. Once I built up a sizable force of Banshees and Vikings I did hit-and-run tactics against the other players. If they countered with ground, I'd use the Banshees, and if they countered with air, I'd bring out the Vikings. Once most of the resistance was gone, I'd transform the Vikings to their ground mode and mow down the remainder of the base. My strategy was good enough to win half the time, but it did lack aggressiveness early in the game.

Around 1:45pm, Karune took everyone attending the press release on a tour of the premises. First we were taken back down to the main lobby, and then went into the art and trophy section. One section of the wall was dedicated to the numerous awards that Blizzard has received for their more successful games. In the entire art section, there wasn't too much in the StarCraft department, other than an amazing marine statue and some art on a rather small section of the wall. However, the overwhelming presence of Warcraft and Diablo art couldn't surpass one picture frame on the wall, that contained a StarCraft CD that had actually been taken into space (but unfortunately wasn't played in space, apparently they don't allow that). Also in the frame was a picture of the space shuttle crew, that I assume was taken while they were out in space. After everyone was done looking around, we were taken over to the second building. At Blizzard, there are three buildings, and we were only allowed to see two of them. The third building is for their top secret stuff. Between the second and third buildings is a large grassy area where a bunch of the Blizzard employees play football at four pm, and a little further down was a volleyball net. After going inside the second building, we were shown the company cafeteria (where that great pizza came from). The cafeteria staff makes three meals a day, and every meal is completely different. One really nice touch to the cafeteria was the artwork on one of the larger walls:

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Now seriously, who wouldn't want to have their work or school cafeteria wall look like that? Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time for me to "investigate" the cafeteria further, so we moved on. Next on the tour was the company's fitness center. The fitness center was really nice, and had all of the necessary equipment, including televisions on each of the aerobic machines. After we finished looking around, we were taken back to the main building. The group visiting from Europe, who had been here since Monday, went back upstairs. The group that was only visiting today stayed on the first floor to go watch the Zerg trailer in Blizzard's mini theater. Seeing the trailer on a large screen with surround sound while sitting in very comfortable seats offered a far greater cinematic experience than that of YouTube. Once the trailer ended, Karune escorted us back upstairs to the computer room. While the team tournament went on I continued to play several more 2v2 games, sticking with the Terran because they were the only race I ever stood a chance with. Toward the end of the visit, Dustin Browder visited, and we convinced him to play a game with us. We ended up playing a 2v2v2, and I was lucky enough to be paired up with Karune. I played Terran of course, and he played Protoss. Browder's team killed the other two player team relatively quickly, but since I was safe in my corner position I had enough freedom to mass Banshees and Vikings. As Karune began to sweep forward with his Stalkers and Archons, I joined in with my air forces and we mowed them down for a victory. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a screenshot as a remembrance of that glorious battle. As the day grew late, the group from Europe went to their hotel. A few of us remained with Karune talking mostly about the game and the industry. Everyone present that day had been invited to dinner at 7:00pm, so slightly after 6:00pm we left Blizzard and met at Ling & Louie's Asian Bar. Blizzard had reserved half the restaurant for our group with a long table that seated all 30-40 of us. Dinner was amazing, starting with an appetizer plate, continuing with various dishes being passed around, and ending with an incredibly tasty pastry dessert. The majority of the group stayed for a while after dinner, but as 9pm rolled around, I realized that it was time for me to hit the road. I said goodbye to Karune and my online associates, walked to my truck, and drove the two hours home. And that was my day at Blizzard.

Special Thanks To:
Blizzard
Karune
Dustin Browder
Chris Sigaty
Samwise
Blizzard's cafeteria staff (that was good pizza)

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Additional Thoughts on the Zerg and Gameplay

Should the Zerg remain similar to the way they are now, dedicated Zerg players will definitely need some time to adjust. The new upgrade system for the Zerg feels alien at first especially since the Terran and Protoss continue to use the same way of upgrading and researching abilities as in the original game. Researching abilities and purchasing statistics boosts separately is no longer necessary since they are now included into the units' individual combined upgrades which does make things easier by the simplicity of this new system. However, the downside to this is that you need to buy the upgrades for every unit you plan on using in the game, which will force the player to think carefully about their strategy to minimize upgrade costs but maximize the deadliness of their units through their upgraded strength, abilities, and numbers.

Another strange move that Blizzard has made with the Zerg is that all ground units, including the ultralisk (which is significantly bigger than its StarCraft: Broodwar predecessor), can burrow. One thing that threw a lot of players off their game when playing with the Zerg is that when their unit burrowed, it was still partially visible, rather than seeing a black hole in the ground. After some testing, a few of us discovered that despite the Zerg player being able to see the top of their burrowed unit sticking out of the ground, it was completely cloaked to any opponent without detection. This is something I really feel is an improvement. For the Zerg player, it will be much easier to keep track of your buried units, because you will know exactly where they are, and if you have a large group of mixed units buried, you know which ones are which. For anyone playing against a Zerg opponent, using a detector to find buried units, they'll have a much easier time determining which units are buried, where, and how many, since the top of the burrowed unit will be exposed. What's strange, and actually quite funny, is when you bury an Ultralisk - since they've doubled in size the amount of space that appears above ground could house several supply depots.

As for the Nydus Worm, it's still too early to have a good opinion of this new unit. The Nydus Worm had two modes: its mobile mode and its load/unload mode. I wasn't able to test as to whether or not the Nydus Worm could be killed while loading or unloading, but for both modes it is completely cloaked from enemy view without detection. The loading/unloading mode is when you see the head protruding vertically out of the ground. While in its mobile mode, the Nydus Worm appears like a large caterpillar, similar in shape to the late Reaver of StarCraft. It's current movement animation looked very nice, as it would move up and down diving and rising through the ground as it crawled to its selected destination. In this build, despite its beauty, the Nydus Worm was obviously not finished - the Nydus Worm could burrow through water and empty space as if there were normal ground there. Also, the Nydus Worm had a twelve unit capacity. It's too early to know if it was intended to be this way, but each individual unit took up one space, whether it was a tiny Zergling or a hulking Ultralisk. Theoretically, if you were playing a game against a Zerg player and were lazy with detectors late in the game, you could have an invisible Nydus Worm crawl into your base and unleash twelve Ultralisks at once, resulting in an obvious gameover.

An additional note about the new Zerg unit, the Infester, is that when it "infests" a building, it is not permanent, nor are the units produced by it. Currently, the infesting process takes a few seconds, and the building will appear infested. As soon as the building is infested, infested Terran start popping out, one right after another, and continue until the building loses it infestation, which lasts for several seconds. Each Infested Terran has a limited lifespan, similar to the late Broodling of StarCraft. Soon after the building loses its infestation status, the first of the Infested Terrans die, and the rest follow. With the current build both Terran and Protoss buildings produced infested Terran. According to Dustin Browder, infested Protoss will appear, but the unit has yet to be made. The development team is looking for a way to balance infestation on the Protoss, so that the Zerg can't take too much advantage of infesting wayward pylons to produce wave after wave of troops free of cost. On Tuesday, I hadn't heard of anyone trying to infest a Zerg structure and I hadn't tried it myself, so at this point, it's unclear if an Infester will be able infest an enemy Zerg building. One thing I do regret is not playing with the Corrupter more, because I have no firsthand knowledge of their attack and its infestation abilities.

Other than the Zerg, there haven't been too many changes to StarCraft II since the BlizzCon version I played last August. Back in August, the zooming ability wasn't very impressive. Currently, however, you can zoom in much further to the point that you can see a lot of detail on the units' faces. This is especially the case with Zerg claws, teeth, and vicious facial structure. The detail on the buildings is really impressive to the point of distracting you from the game if you try to focus on the details too much. Another point of interest is with the resource gatherers. By selecting a rally point, any Probe or SCV will head to the selected resource node and begin gathering automatically. Since both Zerg warriors and Drones are built from the Hatchery, Lair, or Hive, there are two types of rally points. The first, simply called Rally Point, works as a normal rally point for all Zerg with the exception of the Drones. The second is the Worker Rally Point which allows all hatched Drones to go to a separate area or gather depending on the rally point selected.

Due to my testing of the Zerg and my semi-serious play with the Terran, I didn't have any major opportunities to try the Protoss. One thing I did catch was that Archons are no longer Twilight Archons, rather, they are simply just "Archons". Apparently, in the current build, they are slightly overpowered which may have explained how Karune was able to do so much damage on his own with Stalkers and Archons. If they are overpowered, this is a minor fix that will be dealt with in due time.

Regarding the Terrans, the Barracks can now build Marines, Marauders, Ghosts, and Reapers. Reapers require the Merc Haven, Marauders require the Tech Lab, and Ghosts require the Tech Lab as well as Shadow Ops. Marines and Reapers can utilize the Reactor which allows two units to be built at once. In this particular build [Editor's note: there have been three different builds during the Zerg release], Ghosts have EMP but no longer can call down Drop Pods. At the Factory, you can build Jackals, Siege Tanks, and Thors. I wasn't able to experiment too much with the Jackals and Thors, but I was proud with the performance of the improved Siege Tank. Jackals can utilize the Reactor, while the Siege Tank and Thor require the Tech Lab. (Note: There may be an additional requirement for the Thor that I haven't noticed.)The Starport can build Vikings, Medivac Dropships, Nomads, Banshees, and Battlecruisers, with the Vikings and Medivac Dropships able to utilize the Reactor, while the others require the tech lab. I played around with the Nomad a little bit, but I wasn't able to put its auto defenses into a good combat situation to see their true effectiveness in battle. The Battlecruisers are impressive, but the future Terran player be warned, if you mass Battlecruisers, make sure that you specialize them with the Yamato Cannon or Plasma Torpedoes before you go into battle. Also, keep track of which ships are specialized and with which special ability, because if you were to use them in a serious battle, the precious seconds you lose trying to locate a Battlecruiser with the Plasma Torpedoes can turn the tide of a battle, with some expensive losses. Below are the current stats for the Medivac Dropship:

Current Unit Information for the Medivac Dropship:

Type: Flying
HP: 150
Max Energy: ?
Minerals: 100
Vespene: 100
Supply: 2
Requires: Starport with attached Tech Lab
Armor: ?
Abilities:

  • Heal (Auto-heal set for default, can be turned off)
  • Load/Unload

And thus ends my added summary of the March 11th build of StarCraft II. Although there may be aspects of the game that may not appear to fit or balance perfectly into the game yet, we should remain confident in Blizzard for creating another quality product that we can be proud of and spend many, many hours enjoying.

This is Zero, signing off.

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