Q&A with David Kim - February 5, 2014

General Discussion
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In this thread, we're going to do a balance and gameplay Q&A with David Kim from about 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. PST.

David will also be posting in other threads on these forums during that time, but we will be primarily reading and responding to this one.

It's something we'd really like to do a lot more often, so let's see how this goes!

- Only pose questions for David Kim on game balance-related subjects here.
- Feel free to discuss and offer further feedback in other threads.
- Understand that this is going to be a heavily moderated exercise. We want to answer as many questions about recent developments, the current state of things, and possible future changes as we can, and the best way to do that is to rapidly remove anything that doesn't contribute to that.
-Don't be surprised if this thread is locked from time to time. It will only be locked for a minute or less if necessary.

After the answering is all finished, the thread will be open for feedback.

Thank you!
Why is Starcraft 2 so much more deathball-y than Brood War? Have you thought about changing SC2 to allow for battles that last longer and let players more easily recover from setbacks?
Are there any concerns about zerg late late late game? It seems to be having trouble against terrans mass mech and raven compositions and also not being able to deal too well against protoss air deathballs with high templar.
Do you believe that the swarm host is proving to be used in the way that you wanted it to when you designed the unit for HotS? Do you like the way the swarm host is currently being used by pros?

My question is as to why Terran doesn't have a more viable mobile detector. I know we have turrets, which provide static detection, and ravens which, yes, are a mobile detector, but comparatively much more expensive than the mobile detectors of Protoss or Zerg. It would make more sense if Zerg and Protoss didn't also have static detectors (spore crawlers, photon cannons).

Hope I get an answer :)

gl hf and thanks for working on this awesome game!
Why have there been no changes on stuff that people have been complaining for forever like warp gates and forcefields?
With issues relating to the Swarm Host, why is the focus aimed at fixing other symptoms Swarm Host cause rather than the Swarm Host themselves?

Even if Swarm Hosts are in a "good place" when used as intended, why can't their be a change that allows the Swarm Host to remain "good" in these usages yet still fixes the issues Swarm Host create inherently?
Did you ever consider looking at the queen for fixing the swarm-host build? It seems to me that Queens being without armortype means, you only need a few of them added with spores to shut down every protoss Air play against Swarm Hosts, provided they have creep, which they always have with that Build. Which is also why they are normally rather useless against mass protoss Air.
Have you considered reverting the Oracle speed change? sOs was successfully utilising Oracle builds in PvT at Blizzcon before the buff.

Would you look into ways to tweak the Oracle to be more of a harassment unit rather than the binary state it's in right now? Either it deals huge amounts of damage or it deals very little, and is relegated to a scouting role (albeit an effective one). When static defence from any race enters the field the Oracle's capabilities as a harassment unit are almost completely nullified.

What about the original speed but with a tweak to shield/health/range values - something that would reward players who are able to control the Oracle and keep it alive while not punishing an unprepared opponent completely.
When are you going to nerf the mothership core vision or at least make a balance testmap to try it out. Have you thought of making tanks not suck. Are you planning on fixing the swarmhost any time soon. If you make tanks not suck are you going to nerf raven. If you nerf raven are you going to nerf Swarmhost.
Where's my vultures =(

And are the zerg ever going to get some kind of true massive zerg unit for end game play? something that takes a good while to spawn and a lot of resources.
What are your thoughts on the current state and usage of Carriers?
Why is it that the mother ship core is such a good defensive and offensive unit. In HOTS beta you said you didn't want to add anything to the protoss deathball and you gave them a unit that has the ability to slow entire army's at 4 minutes in the game. Can you explain how you went from the super defensive mother ship core in beta to what it is now?
Do you feel that the mutalisk is currently balanced? From what I've seen it's a unit that's used heavily in every match-up and to me it gets boring seeing it so much. Additionally, it's difficult for protoss to counter it if the spire isn't scouted in time for blink to be researched and an adequate number of stalkers to be produced. Are you guys satisfied with how often it is used?
Which changes to wol with hots do you foresee keeping and which do you foresee not keeping with lotv?

If the logistics weren't a factor are there any large changes you would make to the game today?
There was a small part mentioned in the recent balance changes that I wanted to ask about. You said you would like to avoid changing swarmhosts. Many people have suggested changing how the swarm host works as they think it is a boring unit that inevitably leads to unexciting games. When balancing the game is it your approach to not change the mechanics of units even when those mechanics are creating uninteresting games?
Firstly I think it's awesome that you're doing this.

Have you thought about reintroducing the Spider mine? Perhaps giving 3 per Hellion, it would give players more incentive to harass with Hellion runbys and could make mech less of a turtle style.

Also, could you please add more micro possibilities like moving shot and lowering the damage point of more units? Then the top players will be able to differentiate themselves more from the lower players.
02/05/2014 01:59 PMPosted by Boomer
Why is Starcraft 2 so much more deathball-y than Brood War? Have you thought about changing SC2 to allow for battles that last longer and let players more easily recover from setbacks?

We believe armies as a whole are easier to move around and control because of the better pathing and unlimited unit selection.

As far as deathball goes, we believe having to micro armies and their positioning correctly to win major battles is a good thing. We don't like seeing games where two players both just sit back and mass up to their composition before engaging. This is why we're currently looking into the EU late game PvZ issue.

We feel like we've done a lot in this area in HotS, especially compared to the end of Wings. If you recall towards the end of Wings, especially in PvT, both sides often just defended and macroed up for 1 final battle.

We don't think we're completely there yet and will continue working towards a more action packed game where there's a lot of action leading into army vs. army battles sometimes. The end goal in this area in our opinion is not to get rid of mass army vs. mass army scenarios, but more so to have a lot of action, a lot of harassment opportunities, and have each game feeling different.

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