Our favorite game recently turned 10 years old, and we would like to talk to you about the current conditions of the game since the previous balance update. Battles like TvT and ZvZ haven't changed much, but we'll discuss all other types of battles in detail.
In the current update, this type of combat caused some concern, but it turned out that the changes in the zerg were offset by changes in the map list. It seems to us that at the moment matches like TvZ are dynamic and varied, and it is in TvZ that both players have the greatest variety of strategies available. We would like to note the growing popularity of strategies using mechanical units, the transition from cruisers to armies of organic units, and the use of lurkers. We will be watching with interest the situation in this type of battles.
Most of the trends we've noticed and feedback we've received are related to early game play. Shield Overload has reduced the effectiveness of early siege tank attacks, and players are less likely to use them. A new strategy was developed for the early stage of the game — quickly building the arsenal and planting the Widow mines — but it does not always work. At the start of the update cycle early in the game, the use of Hellions has become more frequent and successful — in our opinion, this is due to the tendency of the Protoss players to use the Blink early in the game and changes in the list of times. But recently, the popularity of this strategy has returned to the proper level. We are still discussing this topic, but at the moment we believe that with equal success at the early stage of the game, in the future, the confrontation between the players will also be on an equal footing, since both races have enough opportunities to influence the outcome of the match. In general, we believe that the situation with battles of this type is still developing, and we need to wait for further developments.
Now let's talk about the late game. Due to the nature of the game, in the middle phase of combat in PvP, development options with four or more bases began to appear more often, and we regularly saw stalkers / destabilizers, aircraft carriers, «Hurricanes» and dark templar with «Blink». Thanks to this, we were able to see some of the most addicting PvP matches in the history of the game — these battles were really revealed as a result of the update.
In the middle of combat, we have become more common with Leap development options — we believe the reason for this lies in the defensive advantage Shield Overload provides when playing with two or three bases. In addition, Shield Overload is very helpful in defending against a full-scale attack using three bases and archons / immortals / zealots, which used to be such attacks often decided the outcome of the match.
Although strategies involving the construction of robotics factories near an enemy base have become less common, it is difficult to say how much the presence of «Shield Overload» has affected this. Of course, it helps, but the players in their reviews argue that this ability is not decisive in countering such strategies. We did not intend to completely get rid of this development option and are still studying the feedback, so for now we will continue to monitor its effectiveness.
Early on, we saw new strategies — like building an additional base quickly after building a gate, or building an additional nexus first. Some players find these strategies interesting and fun, while others dislike them, as the increased number of development options available can amplify the benefits of following established procedures.
After the Shield Overload was added to the game, PvP combat has undergone significant changes. Their concept changes every week, and none of the players we contacted could say that he fully understands all the nuances of this type of fights. Nevertheless, we would like to consistently consider the situations that we observe at each stage of the game.
Without further ado, we present to you the changes that will appear in the new version of the test modification with the changed balance.
Our response to these reviews is in two parts. Firstly, the most significant changes to this type of combat will affect the middle stage of the game. Secondly, while we can make some adjustments and improve the balance late in the game, this needs to be done with a gameplay in mind. From a development point of view, of course, we could just empower the protoss late in the game, thereby increasing the likelihood of their victory. But we believe that this would only make the gameplay worse — the result of the changes would be more frequent protracted battles and the use of defensive strategies that we have often seen in this type of battles. We decided that it would be better to provide protoss players with additional tools that increase the interaction with the gameplay for both sides.
We would also like to talk about a common perception among players about the late game in ZvP battles. As far as we know, most players think that the Zerg have a significant advantage in the late game of ZvP. While many of the best protoss players argue that unit interactions in the late game are inherently balanced, especially after the Countermeasures changes. (And some players on both sides even believe that the protoss have an advantage in this type of combat.) The generally accepted opinion regarding the late game stage is rather that it is difficult to get to this stage on an equal footing with the zerg, especially given the constant sabotage, the effectiveness of Banelings in defense on mucus that spreads unhindered. Protoss players are constantly faced with the choice between building additional bases and attacking an opponent.
Based on these feedback, we concluded that we are moving in the right direction in terms of changes, although they were not so significant.
Inability to clear slime without the participation of the entire protoss army.The effectiveness of Banelings both in open combat and in sabotage.
Ultimately, the previous update did not have the long-term impact on the ZvP win ratio as we hoped, and most of the feedback we get from pro protoss players about this type of combat is largely the same as what we've heard before. For reference, below are the topics of most reviews:
On the other hand, the decrease in the duration of the «Revelation» may not change the balance in a decisive way, but still significantly affects the gameplay at a later stage. We also received mixed feedback from players on the effectiveness of the Banelings damage changes made in the previous update. While many players noted that these changes had little impact on the gameplay, some noticed that thanks to this change, the composition of the army with stalkers and units that require a robotic node has become more common, especially by players from Korea.
Almost all of the feedback on the changes to ZvP combat in the previous update has been positive. Changing the attack range of queens significantly influenced the gameplay, reducing the energy consumption for the use of «Revelation» allows you to effectively clear mucus with the help of this ability, and at the later stage of the game, an increase in the «Counteraction» range played an important role. On top of that, Shield Overload has proven to be an effective defensive tool, especially right after it was added to the game, when Zerg players weren't used to countering this powerful ability.
Time required to develop an improvement: 100 sec.Cost: 150/150.Effect: Damage of «Resonance Loop» against buildings is increased by 40 pts.A new upgrade is available in the Flotilla Beacon: Tectonic Disruptors.
This interaction of combat units has recently become less frequent in matches, but we would still like to bring it to a form more consistent with the interaction of «Neuroparasite» with other combat units.Interceptors of an aircraft carrier hit by Neuroparasite will no longer be automatically attacked by the aircraft carrier's owner's units.
It seems to us that of all the types of battles with the participation of different races, it is among the protoss that mobile units are insufficiently effective in battles such as PvZ. We would like to make such changes for the Void emitters so that they can take this role, because it is already quite close to them. The proposed movement speed increase serves this very purpose, so we separated it from the other outcome changes in the previous section. For comparison, the new movement speed will be slightly less than the Banshee with the Reinforced Rotors upgrade.
The late game lineups, which make matches interesting and dynamic, usually differ in combinations of two types of units. The first type is the slow units that make up the backbone of the army, such as siege tanks, Liberators, lurkers, pack masters, colossus or aircraft carriers. And the second — mobile combat units, compensating for the sluggishness of the main army. Squads of such mobile units can usually launch raids on key enemy fortifications, but are also effective in open combat along with the main army. Typically, these units are made up of organic units — Hellions, Cyclones, Zerglings, Banelings, Zealots, and Dark Templars.The movement speed of Void Emitters with the Stream Turbines upgrade has been increased from 4.65 to 5.11.
In other types of combat, the consequences of these changes will be that, for example, in PvT, Void Emitters will be able to chase and overtake the Banshee. And in PvP, according to player feedback, the updated Void Emitters can be effective in countering the strategy of erecting robotics factories near the opponent's base.
Void Emitter is one of the most rarely used units in the game, so we decided that the time was right to give her a specific role designed to eliminate some of the biggest challenges facing protoss players right now. In this role, in PvZ battles, the Void Emitters would be a multi-purpose mid-game unit capable of effectively killing overseers, preventing mucus from spreading and / or clearing it, and resisting Banelings landings. According to most reviews about Void Emitters, this unit is simply ineffective, so first of all we decided to reduce its cost and creation time. We also believe that the emitters need a little more mobility to play this role, so we have increased their movement speed to the level of «Vikings» and «Banshees». In PvZ battles, when using a stargate, players often create first two oracles, and then a third combat unit. We believe that the Void emitter could well take the place of this third unit instead of the Phoenix or the third oracle.Movement speed increased from 3.5 to 3.85.Void Emitter creation time reduced from 43 to 37 seconds.Manufacturing costs reduced from 250/150 to 200/150.
We've made this change to improve the effectiveness of Revelation in the late game, while preventing oracles from over-flagging opponents' armies with this ability too easily in the middle of combat. We considered several different ways to achieve this goal, but in the end we decided that the easiest of them would be such an adjustment.The duration of Revelation has been increased from 15 to 20 seconds.
In the last update, we changed the Banelings damage, making it equal to 20 units. (+15 versus light targets) instead of 18. (+17 versus easy targets). We were careful not to make too drastic changes because we didn't want to overly influence the balance of TvZ battles. However, we believe that we are moving in the right direction. In their feedback, players claim that this change had almost no effect on the gameplay in all types of battles, so we decided to take another step in this direction. After the change takes effect, banlings with an upgrade to weapons of the 2nd level will need 4 more attacks to kill archons and immortals, and to kill stalkers — 2 more attacks compared to the original indicators of damage: 20 units. (+15 versus easy targets)
Damage changed to 18. (+17 versus light targets) instead of 15. (+20 versus easy targets).
This change is intended to give protoss players a method to clear out the «thickets» of creeping sporeweed in the late game. In our opinion, this will help prevent the game from being overly protracted. This Hurricane Buff has been added as an improvement rather than an increase to base damage so that strategies for creating Hurricanes near the enemy base in PvT battles do not become overly effective.
By the time this article is published, the changes described in it will have already been added to the test modification with the changed balance. As always, these changes are subject to change based on feedback received after the update was released.
That's all for me. Good luck. Until next time