HOTS Protoss: fixed?

Posts: 4,482
----------------------------Summary----------------------------

We'll be comparing WoL protoss to HoTS protoss.

I started a thread a while back (6/10/2012 http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/5745446082) to discuss what I felt was missing in the version of protoss first revealed at MLG for HoTS. I'll be using a lot of the same arguments here but in (I hope) a more clear fashion.

We'll mainly be looking at what I feel was missing from WoL protoss and how the HoTS protoss race deals with these same issues.

----------------------------The Issues----------------------------

So, what do I think was missing from protoss in WoL?

--Harassment options that have degress of success dependent upon player skill (more skill = greater success, more opponent skill = greater mitigation of damage)

--An anti-air composition that didn't get roflstomped by corruptors and vikings alone

--Defensive options for the early to mid game

--A buff to templar/ stargate tech to make them viable alternatives to simply going robo every game

----------------------------Some definitions----------------------------

So we're all on the same page, I'd like to define what I think some terms mean.

Timing attack: An attack that is expected to do some damage and/or force the opponent to create units for defense. This occurs at a very specific interval of time and will not do the same amount of damage if it happens again (since the entire point of the attack is to force the opponent to create defenses, the damage done by this attack MUST BE lower if tried again). It is heavily dependent upon teching to a specific thing, then using that thing to force defenses.

Harassment: Attacks spread out along the opponents bases to force defense at multiple places and (hopefully) kill workers to justify the expensive of the harassing units. By its very nature, harassment must occur frequently and across multiple points to be most effective.

All-in: A timing attack requiring tech or units, sacrificing economy, to the point that your future economy will be irrecoverably behind if you do not win the game or kill at least one base (and a great majority of the workers required for that base).

----------------------------Changes to Protoss from WoL to HoTS----------------------------

--------------Numbers changes and tweaks--------------
--Blink research time has been increased to 170 seconds from 140.
--Dark shrine cost has been reduced to 150/150 from 100/250
--Phoenix range increased from 4 to 5 (range upgrade still gives +2)
--Sentry's hallucination no longer requires research
--Carrier leash micro from BW has been added

--------------Reworked units--------------
Void ray:
---Weapon cooldown decreased from .6 seconds to .5 seconds (buff)
---No longer charges (mixed)
---New ability allows you to do +6 dmg to armored for 20 seconds (1 minute cooldown)
----Timer added so it's easier to see when it's activated, and how long it lasts
---Supply requirement increased to 4 from 3

Mothership: (requires mothership core, cost adjusted to 300/300)
---Vortex removed
---Mass recall changed to the mothership core's ability of the same name
---Time warp added (mothership core's ability of same name)
---Passive cloaking still here

--------------New units and abilities--------------
Mothership core (100/100 and 2 supply) requires cyber core
---Time warp: 75 energy, 9 range slows ground units' movement speed by 50% in a 3.5 radius
---Mass recall: 100 energy, 7 aoe teleports YOUR units within the aoe to a chosen nexus (2 second activation time?)
---Photon Overcharge: 100 energy (10 range to cast): 60 second duration, range 13 cannon appears on a nexus, does 20 dmg per shot, hits air and ground (slightly more dps than a standard cannon, if I've heard correctly)

Oracle (150/150 and 3 supply) requires stargate
---Envision: 50 energy gives the oracle detection for 30 seconds
---Revelation: 75 energy gives 3 vision around affected things (affects everything but neutral creeps and map widgits, can not apply to cloaked units [even if they are currently detected])
---Pulsar beam: 25 energy activation cost, 2 energy per second drained: range 4 weapon with 15 (+10 to light) damage every .86 seconds

Tempest (300/200 and 4 supply) requires fleet beacon + stargate
---Air weapon does 30 (+50 vs massive) in 15 range with 3.3 second cooldown
---Ground weapon does 30 damage in the same range with the same cooldown

5000 character limit...discussion begins in the next post.
Edited by Edowyth on 1/27/2013 8:14 PM PST
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----------------------------Harassment----------------------------

Many felt that WoL harassment options for protoss in the early to mid game were lacking.

The options were:

phoenix harassment
--to be effective this required a ton of gas (because of the energy required to attack) and committed the player to a severely lacking ground army since the cost-effective protoss ground units rely more upon gas than the other races' options

warp prism harassment
--not really effective if your opponent microed since everything moves faster than zealots and including sentries in the drop severely limits the damage you can do...stalkers have very low dps vs light

dark templar
--not harassment. This is either an all-in or a timing attack as defined above. Why is it a timing attack instead of harassment? In the early to mid game, if a protoss commits to dts he has a very narrow window in which he must cause damage or his army will simply lose to a counter-attack. The areas where dts can enter bases at this point of the game (2-3 base only) are very restricted and can easily contain detection. You're not going to spread an army out by using this technique...you're only going to force detection at the chokes. Either you win, you force a ton of defenses, or you are somewhat behind: a timing attack.

blink stalker
--this is a timing attack again. If damage is not done with this army quickly, the opponent simply walks to your base and kills you (stalkers have horrible dps).

And in HoTS protoss simply gained a few more timing attacks:

mass recall
Attack with a small force of units somewhere you hope they don't have defenses and get out as soon as units come to defend. This is a classic timing attack. The fact that mass recall costs so much energy keeps it from being repeatable frequently (one of the core requirements for harassment).

oracle
Same problems as the phoenix. Energy based-attack requires long periods of time before you can attack again. There is an extremely narrow window of opportunity to do damage (prior to base defenses being finished) before the unit becomes useless as harassment. This is a timing attack at high levels.

mass recall + oracle + blink stalkers
Huge investment of gas. This is variously a timing attack or an all-in.

----------------------------Anti-air----------------------------

Voids crush corruptors now if you can make them fight during Prismatic Alignment (even with fungals, so long as the voids are spread) and phoenix + void easily deals with vikings

----------------------------Defensive options----------------------------

Mothership core's Photon Overcharge allows one to defend 2 base and 1 base timings much more easily

Oracle's Envision is much less useful. The unit is confused as to where it's supposed to be. If I get them early game, I'm expecting to do a ton of damage in a timing attack, across the map from my base; however, if I get them early, they're the only detection I have...so I leave my economy vulnerable in the hopes of doing damage on a short-lived timing attack. Keeping it at home to detect costs me much more than getting an observer and requires me to invest in stargate tech, which is unable to attack in the early game. Commitment to this unit early guarantees that I have to turtle to a large force and deathball-it-up (unless I can use cannons to defend...only applicable in PvZ).

----------------------------Buffs to templar and stargate----------------------------

Dark shrine cost was reduced, making them more affordable on a late-game tight budget to attempt to harass (after your deathballs have fought to effectively a standstill) but dts and hts remain the same...more importantly, there is no real benefit to going twilight council over robo or stargate first. It is very difficult to justify playing warp-prism harassment with units that do less damage and are slower than the opponent's ideal composition. Straight up fighting deathball vs deathball with gateway units before robo, templar, or stargate is an auto-loss.

Stargate is now a viable alternative to robo for protoss...unfortunately, it's even worse when it comes to turtling. The units involved do massive amounts of damage...but move even slower than robo units do (mainly because robo is stuck at the spead of zealots, sentries, and stalkers, whereas stargate moves at the speed of voids, carriers, or high templar...).

5000 characters again...conclusions in the last post
Edited by Edowyth on 1/27/2013 4:46 PM PST
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----------------------------Conclusions----------------------------

Harassment is exactly the same problem for protoss in HoTS as it was in WoL. It's simply too hard to do, compared to the risks involved. Timing attacks were added, and strengthened, but we've been tired of these for a while.

The anti-air force for protoss is nice (if you're going stargate). Ground to air lacks robustness due to the fact that stalkers have such low dps vs light, but with the scouting afforded us by hallucination we're able to determine that we need stargate earlier...

Defensive options were added to the early game via the mothership core. Unfortunately with all the new (earlier) cloaked units, protoss didn't receive a buff to detection. If you want to be able to detect for longer than 30 seconds, you're going to have to go double oracle or robo. Robo is cheaper and more robust...and observers aren't conflicted about which side of the map they should be on (in fact, you can simply buy more, for less investment than you could oracles...and have them in more places).

Stargate is a viable alternative to robo now; however, it requires even more deathball play due to the speed of the units involved (and lack of harassment options). Templar tech is simply not viable (warp-prism play as a mid-game strategy) due to the deficiencies of the units involved. You simply can not harass long enough to get robo, hts, or stargate tech up.

On the whole, it feels like Protoss will have a few new gimmicks and be able to play stargate first instead of robo first (in PvP and PvZ, getting an early forge in PvT (for detection so that your oracles can do their timing attack) is suicidal due to tanks + scan) in Heart of the Swarm. But truly harassment-oriented play...multi-pronged attacks as a mid-game strategy... will be as impossible as it is in Wings of Liberty.

----------------------------Requests----------------------------

I'd love to see the observer available at cybernetics core to even early protoss detection out. It could require one of the following structures: stargate, robo, twilight council and simply be producible from the cyber. It would allow protoss to go stargate or robo without fear of cloak, even if we're unable to go twilight early.

I'd also love to see some kind of buff to the warp prism. Moving the warp prism to the twilight council would make mid-game harassment a little easier since we could then chose to go robo, templar, or stargate after doing harassment with units from gateways. This play-style will never be the easiest option, but I'd think it'd be much more fun.

Swapping the production structures for these two units allows protoss to more easily defend mid-game cloak without being forced down robo or forge routes and allows us to explore templar tech as an opening route prior to robo or stargate. It also allows us to do the only kind of harassment that we could really have (multiple warp prisms all around the map with few units in each) while going templar tech (for stronger harass), or as a stepping stone to robo or stargate tech (for a deathball).

I don't know that the harassment allowed by warp prisms will be up to the task of keeping an opponent occupied during the mid game; however, since we'd no longer be required to have a robo...we could find an optimum number of gates to use (say 3 zealots, one sentry in the warp prism, along with warped-in blink-stalkers) with given strategies to delay an attack long enough to get better tech.

----------------------------Call to action----------------------------

So, please respond with your own ideas about the differences between HoTS and WoL protoss play-styles as they apply to the four deficiencies above (do those deficiencies exists, to what extent do they affect play-styles, how can they be mitigated with current designs?), any solutions of your own you may have to address the four deficiencies, and any constructive criticism you might have about the ideas expressed herein.

(You're an idiot! Protoss is op! is not helpful, please explain why you feel that protoss doesn't have the deficiencies listed, with details so that I can respond intelligently)

Thanks!

(For those who care, I was at one point High-diamond in WoL before I got tired of going robo every game and stopped playing. I don't know that I'm masters level or ever will be...)

Finally, if you'd like to ensure that Blizzard takes a look at this thread, please +1 or request sticky.
Edited by Edowyth on 1/27/2013 4:51 PM PST
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Interesting read.
Edited by blitz on 1/27/2013 4:33 PM PST
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Posts: 75
i agree with the more versatile access to get observers.
not sure about the warp prism though
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Posts: 389
The Dark Shrine is 250 gas in WoL. Nice write up though
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Posts: 308
Right now a robo offers detection, harassment, an armored counter (immortal) and long range splash. In comparison to other tech paths, why choose stargate or counsel over robo?

Totally agree with OP.
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01/27/2013 06:16 PMPosted by STEPHEN
Right now a robo offers detection, harassment, an armored counter (immortal) and long range splash.


I'd say that harassing while attempting to build a robo army is just too difficult right now...where do you spend gas: on units (or twilight + legs) to make your harassment more than zealots derping, or on main-line army units? Do you need an observer? Can you maintain effective harassment, or just timing attacks?

Currently the robo brings timing attacks, the only permanent mobile detection for protoss, and a deathball army (because you HAVE TO use the robo for something other than making a prism or two, or you'll die to well-defended opponents when they counter).

However, robo is the clear choice in WoL with stargate being viable PvZ and PvP in HoTS. I'd surely love to play twilight tech (templar tech, I'd call it): upgrading harassment units while USING them would be awesome...using a twilight -> dark shrine or twilight -> archives build would require great multi-tasking and enable a non-deathball way to play.
Edited by Edowyth on 1/27/2013 6:37 PM PST
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01/27/2013 03:04 PMPosted by Edowyth
---Ground weapon does 15 damage in the same range with the same cooldown


it does 30 not 15
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01/27/2013 07:50 PMPosted by Interceptor
---Ground weapon does 15 damage in the same range with the same cooldown


it does 30 not 15


Apparently the wiki I was looking at was wrong...liquidpedia agrees with you sir!

Thanks for the correction.
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Posts: 488
gm in wol, gm in hots, similar builds, nothing changed really.
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01/27/2013 08:17 PMPosted by hellokitty
gm in wol, gm in hots, similar builds, nothing changed really.


Thanks for the voice of validation! I appreciate it when someone who knows more about the game agrees with me! (And try to be humble when they don't!) :D
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I think harassment is more viable now with the oracle. 1 oracle might not do much but 3 of them will clean out a mineral line before anyone can even react.
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good write up, though I must disagree on your summaries on the dt and the oracle (mostly the oracle). The dt really does feel more like a harassment unit, though it needs to be combined with a warp prism to really achieve that effect.

I find the current oracle to be far less of a timing attack than you'd suggest, mostly because of revelation, their bonus to light, and the new voidray. oracles synergize really really well with the new voidray by being able to (for a limited time) snipe or distract the massable light units that would normally counter them without 300 apm, the gameplay goes something like this (for me):
1-2 oracles harass the main/nat or third at the same time and kill 2-5 drones, rarely more against decent reaction time, your opponent builds static D as you suggest (as there are 3(?) non-light aa units in the game) and the oracles are now for scouting.
place revelation on their army every other minute or so, build up voidrays if you see nothing insane from them for this time.
with 5 voidrays you take your ms core, voids, and oracles to wherever their biggest piece of tech or production is and snipe it with the voidrays new activated ability. revelation should ensure you get there safely and have time to snipe.
once they start to engage en mass, recall out. Ideally you kill some fragments of his army with void+oracle without taking hull damage.
defend the counter, which you can see the composition and angle of attack of.

Oracles excel where nix failed because 1 or 2 oracles are actually a threat, while it would take 4 nix to do the same. you can reliably force static D with just 1 oracle because 4 oracles + some micro can kill any given static d or a significant number of marines/hydras/queens (I believe I've had an oracle kill 5 marines in a group and survive) and there are currently allins that will get those next few oracles quite quickly.

I would like to also point out that the ms core can reliably get 1-2 drone/scv kills in the early game (and time warp on a mineral line is pretty funny, if not very effective). The only reason to leave it tied to base is if you're build relies on it for the photon overcharge.
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01/27/2013 09:02 PMPosted by Badloss
I think harassment is more viable now with the oracle. 1 oracle might not do much but 3 of them will clean out a mineral line before anyone can even react.


I understand the hope, even the desire for oracles to be a good harassment unit (since Blizzard explicitly said they wanted it to fill this role)... but it just doesn't cut the mustard when it comes to harassment. You can kill probes, marines, lings, zealots....and pretty much nothing else.

The hallmarks of good harassment are potential to do damage if unchecked, multi-pronged attacks (forcing defenses spread across all the opponent's bases), and utility even if they're turned from doing maximum damage. Mutas, banshees, and bio drops all match the description.

As I claim above, I don't believe that oracles are properly termed harassment since they don't have (real, terrifying) potential to do damage to anything other than light units, and they're not particularly useful if they don't kill a bunch of workers (they have revelation and envision so you can see your death coming...and a short weapon so you can't do anything about it).

As for late game harassment, oracles may be awesome. Especially if you've not revealed that you've made a stargate...but once again, the time in which they can do damage will be very small from the moment someone sees that you're making stargate units (since they must be killing workers to be worth the money you've sunk into them). It still seems to me that they're more a 'gotcha' timing attack unit than a real harassment option.
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01/27/2013 09:17 PMPosted by Artisian
I find the current oracle to be far less of a timing attack than you'd suggest, mostly because of revelation, their bonus to light, and the new voidray


That's an interesting thought, but what do you do if they successfully keep you from killing a single worker, then immediately moves across the map? Can you really defend an all-in at 6? 7? minutes with a mothership core and stargate only? What if he forces Photon Overcharge and waits it out while adding reinforcements? I find it extremely hard to believe that your very light number of units will be able to defend, say, a roach + ling all in with a couple of overlords to spot.

01/27/2013 09:17 PMPosted by Artisian
you can reliably force static D with just 1 oracle


That's definitely one of the goals of harassment, but what else can you do? You mention just using them from then on as scouting tools. That's kind of my entire point. You either kill a bunch of workers and quickly redeem the cost of the unit, or you get scouted and have much less success ... but now your huge investment into stargate has to pay off in a different way. What you're saying seems to be that, even if your attack fails, you can amass enough damage to snipe key tech (ie, even if this timing attack fails, I have a [much smaller] chance of success [increased chances if I can cast revelation on his main army multiple times] if I can stop him from making things...).

Still seems to be a timing attack to me, just with a back-up plan (as most timing attacks tend to have).

Thanks for the ideas, though. If oracles make it to HoTS in their current state, I'll try this type of idea out and see if I can make anything happen. I'd love to see video of it working, if you've got it (since I don't have the beta to watch replays with...).
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01/27/2013 09:29 PMPosted by Edowyth
I think harassment is more viable now with the oracle. 1 oracle might not do much but 3 of them will clean out a mineral line before anyone can even react.


I understand the hope, even the desire for oracles to be a good harassment unit (since Blizzard explicitly said they wanted it to fill this role)... but it just doesn't cut the mustard when it comes to harassment. You can kill probes, marines, lings, zealots....and pretty much nothing else.

The hallmarks of good harassment are potential to do damage if unchecked, multi-pronged attacks (forcing defenses spread across all the opponent's bases), and utility even if they're turned from doing maximum damage. Mutas, banshees, and bio drops all match the description.

As I claim above, I don't believe that oracles are properly termed harassment since they don't have (real, terrifying) potential to do damage to anything other than light units, and they're not particularly useful if they don't kill a bunch of workers (they have revelation and envision so you can see your death coming...and a short weapon so you can't do anything about it).

As for late game harassment, oracles may be awesome. Especially if you've not revealed that you've made a stargate...but once again, the time in which they can do damage will be very small from the moment someone sees that you're making stargate units (since they must be killing workers to be worth the money you've sunk into them). It still seems to me that they're more a 'gotcha' timing attack unit than a real harassment option.


Why do you need the ability to hit more than light units? If my oracles kill 25 workers, isn't this a big deal?

There is no question that hellions are considered a harass unit, yet they're in the same boat with even less late game utility than the oracle. Hellions can trash a mineral line but they're all but useless vs buildings or non light units. I don't think your definition of harassment makes sense when you consider the hellion.

I consider oracles to be successful harassment units because your first attack should do serious damage, and it will force static D on every expansion they make for the rest of the game. 1 oracle isn't much of a threat but a few can focus down a queen or turret if they need to, meaning the static D expense gets fairly big as they get on multiple bases.

Once the static D shuts down your oracle harass, the surviving oracles are effective scouts due to their speed and revelation. Revelation also synergizes well with tempest... hitting their army with revelation and then picking off colossi is a great way to start a fight!
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Why do you need the ability to hit more than light units? If my oracles kill 25 workers, isn't this a big deal?

There is no question that hellions are considered a harass unit, yet they're in the same boat with even less late game utility than the oracle. Hellions can trash a mineral line but they're all but useless vs buildings or non light units. I don't think your definition of harassment makes sense when you consider the hellion.


Hellions in WoL are a harassment unit that didn't see much use at all except versus zerg (because zerg will always have lings). But they're mainly a harassment unit because they're cheap, fast, and GASLESS options that don't require much investment from a terran building up to something entirely different.

If a terran had to invest as much gas into hellions as a protoss does into oracles you'd see them a LOT less as harassment (witness the banshee, which individually costs less gas than the oracle, is a useful harassment tool [and main-line army dps addition] and is hardly ever built to harass because terrans would rather have medivacs with their army and dump minerals into the chance to kill some workers).

Finally, yes, it is a big deal if you kill 25 workers. But when a serious level of damage is required to justify an attack, it's called a timing-attack or an all-in... Harassment is when you have a unit that can be used to inflict minor damage over and over, in multiple places (or, like the hellion, can quickly get in [and possibly out] doing an AMAZING amount of damage, then more can be made/ not-made depending upon the level of success of the attack and weakness of the defense... all while not diverting away from the core tech you'd like to make [regardless of what that tech might be]).

I guess as a final note, hellions in HoTS are not useless late game. They eat zealots, zerglings, immortals, and even hydras in their alternate form (Hellbats). Positioning is key, but they are definitely not all but useless.
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Mothership core sounds nice, increased blink research time sounds not so nice. The rest of the stuff probably doesn't really effect me, lol.
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01/27/2013 11:33 PMPosted by NiteCore
increased blink research time sounds not so nice


This was done because Mothership core + blink was seen as too powerful. I'd rather such an ability (non-deathball centric) be easier to get to, but it was apparently causing infinite trouble in lower leagues.
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