Legacy of the Void Beta: Balance Update Preview – June 12
Before we talk about specific changes coming in the next balance patch, we’d like to cover a few topics.
Big Changes on the Way
First, there’s a common misconception that after all the changes we’re implementing as we transition from Heart of the Swarm to Legacy of the Void, we’re planning to make the game completely different with each patch after release.
When we say the game will change with each patch, we’re referring to the big picture. When you compare Heart of the Swarm to the current state of Legacy of the Void, the changes are profound. This means we need even more time testing and iterating to make sure that these major changes work well.
Completely remaking the game with each patch is impossible—what we’re saying is that we will continue to iterate on major changes with future patches, and these changes will have a great impact on the game. We’re definitely not saying we won’t be trying new, big things in the beta—we clearly are and will continue to do so.
But we need to spend a lot more time working on, testing, and polishing the huge changes we’ve already implemented, and although it may be more fun to only try crazy new things that would make the game completely different, that’s not the purpose of this beta.
Archon Mode Update
Second, we’d like to tackle Archon mode and any necessary improvements to how players will control shared units in StarCraft II. We’ve been exploring various options, including your suggestions. After many discussions and test sessions, we decided to abide by this rule:
“Only make changes that can’t be handled by good communication.”
Archon mode is a mode where you only play with arranged teams. And part of an arranged team’s skill—not just in Archon mode, but as a whole—is good communication.
So far, we have one Archon-friendly change that we’re exploring:
When you select units and use the Alt + (number) command, those units are added to that number’s corresponding control group, and removed from other control groups.
This change addresses a common situation in Archon mode where one player is controlling a bunch of units when that player’s teammate wants to take a few of those units off to harass the enemy from another direction. Currently, there’s no easy way to do this.
- Player A is controlling all Marines and Medivacs and needs to focus on the main attack
- Player B wants to take 2 Medivacs and 16 Marines for a Medivac drop harassment
In this scenario, Player A would have to add 16 Marines and 2 Medivacs to Player B’s control group. Player B would then have to figure out which 16 Marines and 2 Medivacs Player A removed from their control group.
With our proposed alteration to how control groups are handled in cooperative games, after the strategy has been communicated, Player B can Alt control group the 16 Marines and Medivacs without having to interrupt Player A. This is something we’re currently working on, and it won’t make it to the next balance update, but we’ll try our best to get it out to the beta test as soon as possible for testing.
Third, we’d like to address potential improvements to the Minimap. We haven’t begun testing anything in this area, but we’d like to share our perspective so that we can gather initial player feedback.
We are looking at two areas of potential improvement. One is the issue of destructible rocks and towers not showing up on the Minimap—this can be confusing, especially on newer maps. Because we cycle through maps faster now, we feel that this would be a good thing to address before the Legacy of the Void launch.
We’re also looking at displaying spawn locations more clearly in-game. We have more and more maps, mostly in 1v1, where there are special case rules for possible spawn location such as diagonal spawn locations only or vertical spawn locations only. With many new maps coming in every season, it’s something we feel should be addressed. One way we could do this would be to ping the Minimap at the start of the game to indicate all potential enemy spawn locations. This way, we wouldn’t have to explain anything to the players through text—they’ll know where to scout by tracking the ping locations
Now let’s discuss the potential changes we’re implementing with the next balance patch:
New Ghost Ability
Ghosts would gain a new ability that spawns a flying drone on an enemy target. That drone would channel a beam at the enemy unit, reducing its Armor by 3. The drone would have a fixed duration and can be attacked and killed. The main purpose of this ability is to help Terran bio armies better deal with a current weakness—high armor targets.
Ghost Movement Speed Increase
We’d like to try this one out to see if Ghosts can be better combined with other bio units.
Individual Overlord Transport Upgrades
After testing out this popular suggestion, we decided to give it a go during the beta. We feel that with the Nydus Worm changes in Legacy of the Void, doom drops have been buffed with the Nydus Worm, so we wonder if Overlords can be served for the small drops.
New Upgrade Reducing Medivac Unload Delay
We were exploring various upgrade replacements for the Medivac, and tried upgrades ranging from providing straight-up power in combat to various utility upgrade ideas that change up their gameplay. We decided to try reducing the unload delay because we feel that Medivacs don’t need to be buffed in strength in main engagements, but we wanted them loading and unloading in various locations throughout combat or during harassment.
Disruptor Damage Increased from 145 to 145 +55 Shields
Disruptors aren’t very effective in the PvP mirror matchup, so we wanted a targeted change that only affects that matchup.
Ravager No Longer Has the Armored Flag
Ravager is looking too fragile now, so we wanted to buff its survivability.
Viper Parasitic Bomb Ability Cost Increased from 100 to 125
In larger fights against many air units, the micro we wanted to see wasn’t happening if too many Parasitic Bombs were used at once. So we wanted to reduce the number of Parasitic Bombs being used per combat situation so that we can see the micro and counter-micro a lot more in engagements involving this ability.
Armory Ship Upgrade Costs Reduced to Match Vehicle Upgrade Costs
With the upgrades being split out again, we felt the choice of committing into the specific tech routes is cool, but we wanted to make each path similar in terms of investment needed.
Spore Crawler Damage Decreased from 15 +30 Bio to 15 +15 Bio
While the Lurker add is working well in ZvZ in terms of transitioning out of Roaches, we’re seeing that fights are generally trending to be ground-based only. We’d like to have the option to go Mutalisks in some ZvZ games, so we’re reducing the +bio damage of Spore Crawlers. We’re looking for Spore Crawlers to still counter Mutalisks well, but at the same time, we don’t want Mutalisks to almost never be used in the matchup. We think this is a good starting point to get the damage value of Spore Crawlers to the right place, but we can continue tuning it as needed throughout the beta.
Worker Counter Change Displays 2 Per Mineral Patch Instead of 3 Per Patch
While 3 workers per mineral patch is the max efficiency, 2 per is optimal in multiplayer games of SC2, so we decided to try out this change in the beta.
Liberator AG Search Radius Indicator Is a Dotted Circle Similar to Siege Tank in Siege Mode, but the Ability’s Startup Still Displays the Animation
This change is due to performance issues caused by potentially having so many splats in a given spot.
Please keep in mind that these changes aren’t final. We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on all of the topics we’ve discussed. Thank you so much for all of your assistance as we work to make Legacy of the Void the best StarCraft II expansion possible.