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New Maps for Heart of the Swarm Balance Testing

New Maps for Heart of the Swarm Balance Testing

If you've kept up with our most recent round of Heart of the Swarm balance testing, then by now, you've become very comfortable with Bel'Shir Vestige LE as the home for your playtests. After reviewing suggestions from pro players and the StarCraft II community, we decided to create two additional Balance Test Maps to help ensure more comprehensive testing and offer extra variety from game to game. All three of the Balance Test Maps below have already been published to the Custom Games list so you can jump in and start your next playtest session right away.

Balance Test Map Pool
Bel’Shir Vestige LE (2.0.11 Balance v1.1)
Yeonsu LE (2.0.11 Balance v1.1)
Alterzim Stronghold TE (2.0.11 Balance v1.1)

Bel'Shir Vestige and Yeonsu should look familiar, as both are present in the official StarCraft II Ladder and World Championship Series map pools. Alterzim Stronghold, however, is a brand new map that we're debuting today, and we'd love to review any feedback you might be able to share with us. The StarCraft II development team kindly provided a brief introduction to Alterzim Stronghold to help you get your feet wet before you jump in to your next game:

Alterzim Stronghold TE


Alterzim Stronghold (we’re pronouncing it ‘ahl-ter-zeem’) is a four-player map, designed with the specific goal in mind that all combinations of 1v1 spawn locations are viable and don’t offer an advantage to any one player. Please make sure to test this component of the map and let us know what you think. We also worked with our eSports partners to incorporate their knowledge and feedback into the creation of this map. However, we need to be extra sure that it’s tournament viable, because we’d really love to have this sort of macro map in the WCS pool next year. Therefore, we’ll be looking to make necessary tweaks not only before the release of the map, but potentially throughout the remainder of this year as we prepare for the WCS in 2014.

Though we've previously listed the group of potential balance changes we’ve been testing over the past few weeks, we thought you might like to have everything all in one place. The following have been applied across all three maps in the balance test map pool:



  • Movement speed increased from 3.375 to 4.0
  • Acceleration increased from 2 to 3
  • Units that burrow or cloak while under the effects of Revelation will once again be revealed after unburrowing or uncloaking.



  • Vehicle and Ship Weapon upgrades have been combined

Siege Tank

  • Siege Mode attack period decreased from 3.0 to 2.7

Widow Mine

  • Sentinel Missiles now deal reduced damage to units caught within its splash radius based on their distance from the target:
    • 40 damage within 1.25 radius
    • 20 damage from 1.25 to 1.5 radius
    • 10 damage from 1.5 to 1.75 radius


Roach Warren

  • The Tunneling Claws upgrade now increases burrowed Roach movement speed from 1.41 to 2.25.

Thank you very much for all of the feedback and thoughts you've sent our way thus far during this round of balance testing. We're hopeful that you'll log in, play a few games on the new balance test maps, and continue to let us know what you think of each change. Once again, we'd like to remind everyone that the changes listed above are not final, and the most helpful feedback and discussions are based on your playtesting experiences.

Thanks, and we'll see you in StarCraft II!

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