Balance Test Map Update - January 20

General Discussion
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We’d like to give everyone an update on the current Balance Test Map and also address some of the recent Swarm Host stalemate situations going on.

On the Balance Test Map front:

  • There weren’t as many top level tournament games going on recently, so we’re unsure if what we were seeing towards the end of last year is still the case.
  • We’re getting mixed feedback on various issues these days on the pro side. For example, in TvZ we still receive a lot of pro feedback on how Zerg has a slight disadvantage. However, we’re also now hearing from others that Zerg players have adapted better to mid-game timing attacks and now have a slight advantage in the match-up.
  • We’re holding off on the proposed balance change for now until we can more clearly see what has changed in terms of match-up balance.

Rather than focusing on what occurred near the end of Season 3, please help us in focusing on what’s going on right now in the brand new season. We’ll continue to monitor the need for this change and provide further updates in the future.

Regarding the Swarm Host, we’d like to start testing two changes in a new Balance Test Map:

  • All Swarm Host changes from Void carried over to HotS.
    • Redesigned from a siege-tool to a mobile harass tool.
    • Spawn Locust can now be used while unburrowed, but must be manually activated.
    • Locusts have been buffed and can be upgraded at Tier 2 to fly over terrain. They must then swoop down to the ground to engage.

  • Raven Point Defense Drones duration decreasing to 20 seconds

Both of these changes are pretty significant, and while we typically avoid major design changes in balance updates, we feel it’s appropriate in this particular situation. Not only because we’d like to address the turtling scenarios, but also because we’ve already spent a lot of time on these changes internally.

However, we do have a few major concerns.

  • What happens to vs. Mech? Internally we are seeing that it’s a nerf and a buff. Nerf for obvious reasons, and buff because Locusts swooping down to a Siege Tank line can be deadly if executed at just the right time. But we would need to know more for certain through public balance testing to see the exact strengths/weaknesses of this change in this scenario.
  • What happens to mass Protoss air supported by High Templar? This is a bigger concern for us due to Locusts’ ability to zone out High Templar being greatly diminished. However, there will be a buff on the harassment front so we’re not sure where this will end up. Again, this is something that will need to be heavily tested, and we may need to make additional changes depending on how this turns out.
  • What happens to the highest pro level? This issue isn’t as critical of an issue at the highest levels of play, especially the games going on in Korea. Korea has more major tournaments this year, and these changes could negatively/unnecessarily affect that skill level. This will be another area that we’ll need to watch out for.

We feel we’ll need to dedicate a longer period of time to test out major changes like this before potentially pushing them out to the live game. More than ever, getting a large amount of external testing and feedback will be critical to our decision making process. We’ll do our best to contact pro-players around the world to get their feedback, but we ask that everyone put an especially high emphasis in testing out the changes. Without the help of our community and the pros, it won’t be possible to push out a change of this magnitude.

Thank you.
Cool. See people, Blizzard actually does care; it's just a matter of time!

Looks like Blizzard is starting to play their cards wisely.
First for dead game.
Wow. Bold.

I'll have to try this and see what it does.
WQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Love this idea, start testing LotV ideas in HotS.
Well, prepare for another season of broken matchups while Blizzard continues to play wait-and-see.
Blizzard makes moves +1

That glimmer of hope may not fade after all :P Time to try out some SC2 again!
I want to be hyped so hard, but I'm very very afraid of what's going to happen in ZvP and ZvT vs mech
zzz
Wow, finally a DECENT test map (that actually 'tests' something). Why did it take 2 years to grow some balls?

Ok, one thing is in my mind... I have no idea how Z will be able to engage deathballs like this... :-s

EDIT: if this actually goes thru, you will have to be much but MUCH more active and balance things faster. No way that you would hit it 'just fine' on the first attempt.
01/20/2015 01:44 PMPosted by Poco
Wow, finally a DECENT test map. Why did it take 2 years to grow some balls?

Ok, one thing is in my mind... I have no idea how Z will be able to engage deathballs like this... :-s

EDIT: if this actually goes thru, you will have to be much but MUCH more active and balance things faster. No way that you would hit it 'just fine' on the first attempt.


Time to test it out then ;)
01/20/2015 01:44 PMPosted by Poco
Ok, one thing is in my mind... I have no idea how Z will be able to engage deathballs like this... :-s


You just got to stop them before they get there.
swarm hosts are just a joke. flying locusts are even more a joke. Do any blizz employe actually play this game ffs? You must be kidding

everyone wants this unit to be removed. remove swarmhost, bring back lurker, reaver and vulture. it istn that hard god damnit.
01/20/2015 01:46 PMPosted by Reno
01/20/2015 01:44 PMPosted by Poco
Ok, one thing is in my mind... I have no idea how Z will be able to engage deathballs like this... :-s


You just got to stop them before they get there.

Oh please don't say that... not that again...
DEAD GAME, MECH IS USELESS NOW OUT OF TVT
Regarding the Swarm Host, we’d like to start testing two changes in a new Balance Test Map:

All Swarm Host changes from Void carried over to HotS.
Redesigned from a siege-tool to a mobile harass tool.
Spawn Locust can now be used while unburrowed, but must be manually activated.
Locusts have been buffed and can be upgraded at Tier 3 to fly over terrain. They must then swoop down to the ground to engage.

Raven Point Defense Drones duration decreasing to 20 seconds

Both of these changes are pretty significant, and while we typically avoid major design changes in balance updates, we feel it’s appropriate in this particular situation. Not only because we’d like to address the turtling scenarios, but also because we’ve already spent a lot of time on these changes internally.


OMG.

Please do. <3 Blizz.

EDIT:

More info:
http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/15699096472?page=7#131

On release timing:
https://twitter.com/PsioneBlizzard/status/557677204449288192
And not a single 3 hour TvZ was missed after this patch

Wooo! Hyped that Blizzard is working away from stale playstyles
swarm hosts are just a joke. flying locusts are even more a joke. Did any blizz employe actually play this game ffs? You must be kidding


You do realize that now Swarm Hosts won't have the timer upgrade and will only spawn locusts every minute now... right?

I'm looking forward to this. PDD is just absurdly strong atm, good to see it getting the nerf hammer.
Nice to see you guys being proactive with HotS even with LoTV somewhere on the horizon. I appreciate it when blizzard is proactive towards improving sc2

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