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Legacy of the Void Beta: Balance Update Preview

Legacy of the Void Beta: Balance Update Preview

We’d like to offer some details on what you can expect in the first balance update for the Legacy of the Void beta. Before we get into the specifics, we’d like to point out a couple things.


Map Diversity
First, let’s review maps in Legacy of the Void. We’d like to have even greater map diversity, especially in terms of rush maps vs. uber macro maps, as our current beta maps show. Our idea here is to create more strategic variety and if a race is found lacking in a particular area, we can make changes to that race during the beta to address it. An example of why we think this will be a good approach can be seen in ZvZ. On normal maps or rush maps, Roaches are probably the best option in the early and mid-game. However, imagine a really big macro map such as the one we’re currently testing in the beta. Mobile units such as Zerglings or Mutalisks can be more viable than they are in HotS even without any changes to the unit stats. One example of something we may need to work on is a Protoss player’s ability to take fifth, sixth, or further expansions on these really huge maps.

Assessing Unit/Ability Strength
We’d also like to share our thoughts regarding players labeling units or abilities as overpowered. We don’t want to be too quick to nerf everything that people initially consider overpowered. As we know from past experience, it can take quite some time for players to adapt to fighting against new, powerful units. We’d really like to preserve the strong units as much as we can, and mostly focus on buffing other areas rather than nerfing the new units. For example, ZvP is probably leaning in Zerg’s favor right now, especially on bigger maps. Some of this is due to Ravager strength, and some of it is due to Protoss having a more difficult time spreading out over the map compared to Zerg. Instead of nerfing Ravagers right away, or Zerg’s ability to expand, we’d like to first explore buffs/changes on the Protoss side that allow Protoss to function better in these larger maps.

With that said, let’s get into the specific changes we’re thinking about for the first balance update. Unlike the live game, we’ll be applying balance updates directly to the beta client without trying them out on a balance test map first. The main reason for this approach is to get quicker turnaround on testing new things.


Adept

  • Health changed from 80/60 to 90/90.
  • Adept upgrade changed to a health upgrade instead of the bounce damage: adds 50 Shields to Adepts.
  • Adept can cancel the Shade ability at any time. When you cancel, the Shade disappears and you don’t teleport.

Our goal for this unit remains unchanged. We want a unit that’s good in early game harassment, which can also serve as a core army unit in the mid/late-game. The health change is because the Adept is much weaker than we expected out of the box. We want smaller numbers of Adepts to be viable in the early-game depending on how the opponent opens the game. We also hope that with this change, Protoss can take expansions a bit quicker and keep up with the other two races in terms of economy.

The change to the Adept upgrade is because the bounce attack wasn’t getting the micro interactions we were looking for. What we really want out of this upgrade is for Adepts to function well as a core part of the army. The current ability is too pointed towards low health units, but we wanted a more general combat buff. Therefore, we would like to try out something more straightforward.

The final change is to provide more decision making and power to the player using the Adept’s Shade ability without making it similar to Blink. The most common feedback we hear in this area is that players want to be able to control when the teleport happens, but we’d like to avoid that as that would make this ability more like Blink.

Immortal Barrier ability absorbs 200 (up from 100).
Our goal for the Immortal is for it to be more committed to in-combat situations depending on what the opponent is building. For example, if the Zerg player is going heavy Roach/Ravagers, Protoss can potentially opt to use multiple Robotics Facilities and use the Immortal as the core unit. We also would like to encourage more Immortal drop play in combination with the Warp Prism. Therefore, we decided to buff the Barrier ability to reward Protoss players who are able to utilize this ability properly, as well as reward the opposing player who is able to get around the shields during their short duration by focusing on units in combat.

Cyclone after lock-on range down from 15 to 12, but after the range upgrade, lock-on range goes back up to 15.
This change is really aimed towards getting more early-game Cyclone shot-dodging micro. Before things like unit speed upgrades and Blink come into play, the 15 range feels like it’s just a snipe ability. We’d like to try out this change in hopes of seeing more micro on both sides with early Cyclone usage.

Lurker starts off with 9 range, and upgrade is removed. Lurker attack is also more responsive after burrowing.
The Lurker feels buried at the moment, especially in ZvZ vs. Roaches where we’d really love to see more Lurker play. Against other races the steps needed to start using Lurkers also feels like too much. Hydralisk Den has to be upgraded to the Lurker Den, which also competes with the Hydralisk upgrade, Lurkers then need to be morphed and also research the upgrade before Lurkers are useful. We’d like to try out this change in order to see what happens when Lurker timing is sped up.

Tempest disintegration ability damage increased to 550, and units under the effect of disintegration can’t regenerate, heal, or repair health.
We’re seeing a lot of cool things with many of the end-game units, but the Tempest just doesn’t seem to have a clear role right now, especially vs. Terran as they can just repair through the damage. We really want to see how our initial direction with the new Tempest turns out and this change helps us further evaluate that. Once your units are tagged with Disintegration, you really have to decide if you’ll cut that loss and gain advantages elsewhere, engage in combat, or just decide to go for skirmish attacks during the 80 seconds you have.


What’s next?

In addition to reviewing your feedback after this update, we’re also looking into these areas:

  1. Protoss ability to take later bases in larger maps
    1. We’re considering having specific units that warp-in faster. Maybe the Adept.
    2. Overall, we like the change to warp-in being dependent on position, but maybe we could have specific units that are more resilient to getting picked off quickly.
  2. Splitting mech upgrades
    1. Internally, we’ve been playing with splitting these upgrades again, and we believe the commitment in upgrades makes for much more interesting pure mech games or bio supported by mech games.
    2. Our concern is that we don’t yet know how strong or weak mech is currently. We’d like to first make mech more viable before making this change.
  3. Transition late-game units
    1. While we feel like we’re doing well in this area, we’d like to evaluate all three races again to confirm.
    2. Examples of strong late-game transition units we’re seeing now are: Carriers, Battlecruisers, Banshees with speed, Ultralisks, etc.

We want to be as detailed as possible with sharing our thoughts so that you are all in the loop and can contribute more meaningfully to the testing process. Thank you for playing, watching, and giving feedback during the beta. Your help continues to be a vital part of making Legacy of the Void awesome!

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