Praktischerweise beinhaltete die am vergangenen Wochenende veröffentlichte Ankündigung zu diesem wöchentlichen Projekt von Game Designer Kevin „Monk“ Dong bereits den ersten Bluepost aus dieser interessanten Reihe, der sich komplett mit dem erst vor Kurzem in Starcraft 2 implementierten Kommandanten „Han und Horner“ beschäftigt. Wie nicht anders zu erwarten war, listet dieser informative Beitrag viele der aktuellen Schwachstellen und Probleme dieser Spielfigur auf und erklärt den Lesern in mehreren Absätzen, auf welche Weise das Entwicklerteam diesen Kommandanten verbessern und auf eine Stufe mit den restlichen Charakteren der Co-op Missionen bringen möchte. Wer diesen Kommandanten also gerne in seinen Missionen verwendet oder ihn sich vielleicht in der Zukunft zulegen möchte, der sollte unbedingt einmal einen Blick auf den folgenden bisher leider nur auf Englisch verfügbaren Bluepost werfen.
Co-op Mission Update: Han & Horner Revamp
Hey Co-op fans! Last week, we let you know of our plans to reflect on the current state of our commanders to see how they could be improved. We also asked for feedback from our community on what specific changes we should make to commanders, and—as usual—you delivered in spades!
Starting this week, we’ll be trying something a little different for our community updates. For each of the fourteen commanders, we’ll preview the changes we’re currently considering in order to solicit even more feedback from the community. Keep in mind that these patch notes are subject to change depending on both the feedback you give us now and our internal testing. Let’s kick this off and dive right into a detailed discussion about our first commander revamp:
Han & Horner
We received a lot of feedback about Han & Horner’s units, and we’ve identified two issues:
- Reapers overshadow many of Han & Horner’s other units, especially when controlled by highly skilled players.
- Han & Horner’s units feel too similar to one another. Specifically, Reapers overlap too much with Hellions, and Wraiths, Vikings, and Battlecruisers all overlap with each other.
We will be making concerted efforts to buff many of Han & Horner’s units in ways that differentiate themselves from one another.
- Hellion damage increased from 15 (20 vs. armored) to 15 (30 vs. armored).
- Hellion attack upgrades now provide +2 (+3 vs. armored), up from +1 (+2 vs. armored).
- Hellion’s Tar Bomb ability now reduces the range of units hit by the Tar Bomb by 3.
Though the Hellion was initially designed as an anti-armored anti-ground unit , the Reaper + Raven combination currently does a better job in this role. When we tried to tweak the Hellion’s damage numbers, however, we realized that we’d have to make them by far the best anti-armored units in the game if we wanted to incentivize picking them over Reapers (this might give you an idea of how powerful Reaper damage output can be). Thus, we wanted to give Hellions an additional purpose apart from being a pure damage unit. With Tar Bomb now offering a range debuff, players will be more incentivized to mix in Hellions with Reapers, especially against anti-armored targets. This is similar to how Marines and Marauders are often used together by both Raynor and Versus-mode players.
- Hellbat HP increased from 135 to 235.
Hellbat-type units are designed to combat swarms of weak (preferably melee) light units. Unfortunately, melee light units are rare in our game, and those that do exist can often be dealt with in a variety of more efficient ways. At the same time, ranged light units can focus down Hellbats very quickly, preventing them from making a significant contribution in battle before they die. This is less of a problem with Han and Horner’s Hellbats because of their death effects, but the issue still exists there as well. We’d like to amend the issue, starting with a Hellbat HP increase, but are open to other additional changes in the future.
- Asteria Wraith max damage bonus from 50% to 100%. It now requires 10 shots to reach its maximum attack speed, up from 5.
Wraiths were slightly underperforming, so we wanted to buff Wraith damage using their unique mechanic.
- The Deimos Viking’s W.I.L.D. Missiles ability now deals 15 (25 vs. armored) damage per Missile, up from 10.
- Deimos Viking’s anti-air damage from 15 (21 vs. armored) to 20 (35 vs. armored).
While the Deimos Viking’s ground mode did a great job at its anti-ground role, especially against Infested, the air mode struggled against air units and did not necessarily outperform the Wraith against any type of air. The buffs we plan to make therefore attempt to further define the Viking’s role as an anti-armored unit, focusing on its anti-armored damage.
- Sovereign Battlecruiser ATA Laser (12 damage) and ATS Laser (15 damage) weapon systems removed. They are now replaced by an
- ATX Laser Battery weapon that deals 18 damage with the same cooldown.
- Sovereign Battlecruiser in ATX Laser Battery mode can now fire while moving.
The Sovereign Battlecruiser’s fantasy is that it is Han & Horner’s ultimate unit. In addition to a damage buff, a common suggestion from the community was for this mode to be able to fire on the move like the Hyperion. We thought this was a great idea, so we’re trying it out! Hopefully with this newly enhanced mode, the Sovereign Battlecruiser will feel more like an ultimate unit wandering around the battlefield. It will also add a degree of micro to the Battlecruiser, allowing the player to individually control Battlecruisers to get the most out of these units. This should help differentiate Laser Battery mode from its other mode, speaking of which. . . .
- Sovereign Battlecruiser in Overcharged Reactor mode damage increased from 100 to 200.
- Mini Yamato Gun now receives +20 per weapon upgrade, up from +5.
We were getting feedback that the Overcharged Reactor “upgrade” was at best a sidegrade and, more commonly than not, a downgrade. After some number crunching, we decided to increase the damage output of the Mini Yamato Gun . . . slightly.
The number, 200, was picked specifically because it hits certain breakpoints, even with 1 attack weapon upgrade. For example: Siege Tank (175HP), Liberator (180HP), Thor (400HP), Immortal (400 effective HP), and Carrier (400HP). However, this weapon will now vastly overkill the majority of targets, so the player will be incentivized to switch modes on the fly. Hopefully this new gun is now fitting of the name “Mini Yamato Gun”—although we’re not sure how “mini” it is anymore.
Horner Supply Costs
- Asteria Wraith supply cost increased from 2 to 4.
- Deimos Viking supply cost increased from 2 to 4.
- Sovereign Battlecruiser supply cost increased from 6 to 12.
We felt that Horner’s units felt consistently under-costed in terms of supply, especially with the new buffs we’re planning. In terms of supply efficiency, only Nova’s units can compare and we didn’t feel like supply efficiency was a defining theme of Horner’s units. Note that this is not technically a strict nerf as Mira’s units will now gain increased buffs due to Significant Others. And although Han & Horner’s maxed army will be weaker due to this change, we feel the buffs to the commanders’ units overall more than make up for that.
- Strike Fighter takeoff time decreased from 1 second to 0.5 seconds.
- Strike Fighter movement speed increased from 13 to 30.
- Strike Fighter acceleration increased from 20 to 100.
- Strike Fighter armor increased from 0 to 2.
- Strike Fighters gain 1 fewer second of invulnerability after they drop their payload.
- Strike Fighter retains vision for 2 additional seconds after it drops its payload.
- Strike Fighter damage increased from 150 (400 vs. non-Heroic structures) to 175 (400 vs. non-Heroic structures).
We’ve received lots of feedback that Strike Fighters felt underwhelming. Common complaints included taking too long to reach faraway targets, lack of survivability, lack of damage output, and lack of vision. From a design standpoint, we want to ensure that Strike Fighters were a powerful option, but not so powerful that it would be able to cheese every objective on its own. Fortunately, most of the complaints about Strike Fighters hinged on their usability rather than their raw damage output and this is something we can change without affecting its overall power level too much.
First off, we’ll be reducing the travel time of Strike Fighters in a variety of ways. The result of these changes is that Strike Fighters will now release their load approximately twice as quickly. Strike Fighters will still take time to reach their targets, but they should feel significantly more responsive than before.
A side effect of this change is that due to their quick movement speed, Strike Fighters can now outrun most projective weapons. To compensate, we scaled back some of their invulnerability after dropping their payloads. In addition, we added armor to Strike Fighters so that units with hitscan such as Marines won’t be as dangerous. The result is that Strike Fighters can survive longer than before in almost all cases.
Next, we wanted to increase the vision duration of Strike Fighters so players will be able to chain them one after another more easily. In addition, Strike Fighters can now be used as spotters for other top bar abilities, most notably Space Station Reallocation and Call in the Fleet.
Finally, although we’re generally wary about changing any damage numbers, we will be slightly increasing the damage of the Strike Fighter from 150 to 175. At this number, Strike Fighters will be able to one-shot Siege Tanks without the Napalm Payload upgrade, encouraging more strategic use of the unit in low numbers.
- Mag Mine arming time reduced from 15 seconds to 10 seconds.
- Mag Mine firing time reduced from 2.5 seconds to 1.5 seconds.
We’ve received feedback that Mag Mines feel unresponsive and awkward to use. First of all, we want to highlight that this is an intended weakness and Mag Mines shouldn’t be an all-purpose defensive ability. In addition, many Han & Horner players are mitigating this weakness with skillful use of structures as bait.
That said, we do agree that Mag Mines might be a bit too unwieldly, especially without invested Mastery points. Thus, we will be aiming to buff the Mag Mine in a way that still retains its weaknesses to some extent.
His and Hers Supply Depots
- Han & Horner’s Level 8 ability, His and Her Supply, now increases the HP of their Supply Depots from 400 to 800.
Speaking of Mag Mines, we saw this cool suggestion from our community and decided to try it out. Many skilled players currently use Depots to bait the enemy army into Mag Mines and this change should encourage using Depots in this fashion.
- Chrono Boost will now affect the cooldowns on Horner’s Starport.
With a Karax (or other Protoss) ally, you can now mass the new Sovereign Battlercrusier to your heart’s desire!
- Horner Unit Life Regeneration Mastery replaced with Strike Fighter Area of Effect Radius Mastery. The Strike Fighter Area of Effect Radius Mastery increases both the radius of the Strike Fighter’s base attack and the radius of its Napalm Payload Effect by 1% per point up to a total of 30%.
In practice, Horner’s Unit Life Regeneration Mastery wasn’t as interesting or effective as we’d like for it to be. Instead we thought a Strike Fighter Mastery would be really cool for players who really wanted to focus on a different way to play Han & Horner.
We spent a lot of time trying to lock down the specifics of this Mastery, considering bonuses such as base damage, Napalm damage, travel speed, and HP. We eventually settled on AoE radius, because it was the bonus that had the least impact on how effective Strike Fighters were at cheesing objectives.
- Stronger Death Chance Mastery bonus increased from 1% per point to 2% per point. Max bonuses increased from 30% to 60%.
- Double Salvage Chance Mastery bonuses increased from 1% per point to 2% per point. Max bonuses increased from 30% to 60%.
We felt these adjusted Masteries would be more competitive against the alternate Mastery choices.
Whew, that was a lot! Before we sign off, we’d like to reiterate that these changes are not final, and we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback before we release a patch. We’d also like to restate that the number of changes we plan to apply to Han & Horner will not accurately reflect the number of changes we expect to make for the other commanders. However, as you can probably tell, we’re not afraid of making many changes to commanders that we feel deserve them. We look forward to talking about Fenix next week!
Co-op Commander Designer