Community Feedback Update - January 13

General Discussion
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Hey everyone – we’d like to begin by saying that we agree with your feedback that much of last week’s Community Feedback Update was about balance topics that were really up in the air, and that nothing was even close to finalized. We were still in the process of gathering as much feedback as possible, and sometimes updates will be like that. We won’t pretend like we know something clearly when we don’t because the goal of the weekly updates is to be completely honest and transparent.

This week, we wanted to get your thoughts more quickly on a few topics so we decided to push out the update soon so that we can be ready to do a balance update as early as before the end of this month if necessary.

Gathering KR Pro Feedback
One of the things we’ve been working on more aggressively the past few months is to improve in acquiring more collective Korean pro feedback. We would like to really thank KeSPA, all the Korean pro teams, as well as the Korean players for continuing to work through creating a better process.

We felt that we’ve made a lot of progress in gathering both community feedback and foreign pro players’ feedback. Getting these more aligned allows us to move together with majority of the players’ support. However, Korean pro feedback is an area that we’ve been attempting to improve for years as there are many differing opinions among players. In addition to this, a mindset we’ve worked to overcome is players asking for changes, and then feeling unheard because those changes were not made. At this point, we’ve learned how impossible it is to do everything that a top pro player suggests because of how completely different feedback can often be. Even worse, if two top-end pro players say completely opposing things, implementing one of those changes can cause us to lose the other person forever as a source of feedback.

This is a part of gathering feedback that we definitely wanted to fix, and there have been many ideas going around in terms of how best to do this. We wanted to make you aware that just recently, we just started a new system where KeSPA pings all the pro-players and teams in Korea to consolidate the feedback, and we will be communicating directly with them. This would serve the similar purpose as our weekly updates, forums, and sc2 sites do with you guys.

Details from KR Pro Feedback
Please keep in mind that pro players’ opinions can change as easily as anyone else’s depending on how their games and the meta changes, so the content here is only what we are hearing as of this week.

Much of the feedback is similar to what we’ve already been seeing and discussing. Overall, the most surprising feedback we’ve gotten from Korea is that Zerg struggles against Protoss. The least surprising feedback was that the TvP has a general vibe of being the most problematic matchup .

Concerning the Balance Test Map, there seems to be a good alignment on all fronts. The main differences from Korea was a bigger focus on potentially bringing mech play back into TvT, and for ZvZ to get mixed up a bit due to many games being Roach/Ravager only. We’re interested in reflecting these on the next Balance Test Map.

Balance Test Map and Balance Patch
After considering all the feedback gathered so far, we would like to finalize and implement the changes for the next Balance Test Map as soon as possible so that we can react with a patch as early as sometime this month if necessary. We would definitely like to keep the list of changes to only the most needed ones, so let’s focus our discussions around that this week. With that in mind, let’s get into the specifics and get discussions going quickly so that we can put out a test map as soon as possible.

Balance Test Map:

    Photon Overcharge
    We believe this is the most critical change needed as of now because Protoss is having such an easy time defending in the early/mid stages of the game due to how available Overcharge is. With this nerfed, other races’ tools to attack Protoss will be strengthened, meaning things like Adept harass or Warp Prism harass will be weaker as well since Protoss will need to invest more early game resources into defenses. Of course, more changes may be required in the long run, and we definitely want to take nerfs in smaller steps. Many of you brought this up this week as well, and we were happy to confirm once more that we are on a similar page regarding this philosophy.

    As for the specifics of what to try next, we agree with your feedback in that 50 energy cost was the right move. We also agree that instead of changing up how many shots a unit takes to be killed, we can try tuning up the attack speed so that the DPS is still increased with the energy cost nerf.

    Viper Parasitic Bomb
    We would like to continue testing this nerf. Like we have been discussing together, we don’t think it’s a good thing that the current strength of this ability is preventing certain units from entering play. And even though we are getting some feedback that Zerg is the weakest race right now, we believe that’s mostly in the early/mid stages of the game, so nerfing Parasitic Bomb shouldn’t have a huge impact on Zerg’s overall strength.

    Adept “-1 Damage to Light”
    This was a solid suggestion from the community, and because TvP is most likely the biggest issue right now, we would like to try this change. Even though this would mean that Protoss is being double nerfed against Terran (along with the Overcharge nerf), we believe this might be okay as a lot of your feedback suggests that this matchup needs the most help, and we currently agree. We also like the fact that this specific change is a smaller nerf than changing Adept flag to Armored for the reasons you have all brought up.

    Spore Crawler +bio Damage
    There are a couple reasons why we believe strengthening Mutalisks is needed in this matchup. Adding the Ravager in LotV has given a lot more strength to Roach compositions, and adding the Parasitic Bomb ability made Mutalisks even weaker in ZvZ. Therefore, if we were to reduce +bio damage on Spore Crawlers even further and/or remove it, it could be a good move. It would bring Mutalisks to be powerful again in the mid game, and unlike the problem we had previously in HotS, there will be a clear counter to mass Mutalisks in the late game through Viper usage. The best case scenario will see a good mix of a variety of units in the early/mid game, and when Mutalisks are being used, the player massing them will have to transition out of them eventually.

    General Mech Thoughts
    This is the area we are most unsure on right now, and we should work towards adding something on this front. If we can get a good solution we will add it along with the other proposed changes above, but if we can’t discover a suitable change in time we won’t wait to test the other changes due to this desire.

    The reason why we are unsure about Mech is because we can’t quite locate the exact reason Mech struggles. Between the feedback we’ve received so far and our internal conversations, we do have some strong guesses:
    1. Like we discussed in a previous update, Siege Tank pick-up in TvT has made Mech lose much of the combat advantage it had against Bio.
    2. The Liberator addition in ZvT has made Ravagers a “must have” in many early game situations, making Muta/Ling compositions less common. This dynamic has favored Bio since it is much more mobile versus Ravager shots, and has the added advantage of possessing extremely potent drop harassment (which Roach/Ravager compositions are weaker versus).

    If you had thoughts on either of these points or have other reasons as to what the root issue with Mech may be, please let us know. Once we find the root cause, we can start discussing potential solutions in this area.

Map Diversity and Balance
Now let’s move on to some philosophy as the last topic for this week. One of the main points of discussion within the community this week was how the game can never be balanced if maps are as diverse as they are now. Yet, as many of you already know, our goal for Legacy of the Void is definitely not to have every map be so similar that each matchup has a “main” strategy that’s considered the only viable option at the pro level. We’ve clearly seen that in the past, this is by far the biggest reason that StarCraft 2 can become boring to play and watch. If there is one thing we cleary have to avoid in LotV, it’s making all the maps similar again.

At the same time, please also keep in mind that we’re not trying to say that it’s ok if a race wins 80+% times against another race on a specific map or anything drastic like that. While there will definitely be a higher chance to have imbalanced maps as we push map diversity, it is a side effect we are prepared to deal with on a case-by-case basis. We also wanted to point out that slight advantages here and there towards a specific strategy or race in a matchup is definitely okay on a per-map basis. It’s not okay however, if we see the win/loss ratios diverging too much on a per-map basis. Please keep this in mind when discussing and suggesting potential changes to the current map pool. We can definitely make balance changes to maps themselves, and we can definitely also remove maps in the worst case scenarios.

We want to be extra careful in treading this line, and not be too quick to judge so that we can continue to push map diversity. In a way, this is a fundamental change in our approach to maps, so we want to avoid overreacting (as we’ve sometimes seen in the past) and talk about specific issues and/or solutions on a per map basis.

For fun…
To close out this week’s update, I wanted to share a funny personal story. This has nothing to do with the game's design, so please feel free to skip onto the comments if you wish…

I was watching Life playing a Best of 69 series against a completely no name Protoss player who is a mid-Master in NA. Unbelievably, Life was losing 0-10, but was barely winning in the 11th game through really amazing Zergling/Overlord drop usage. I was thinking “WT* is going on?!?! Maybe we need to react much more quickly with a patch than we thought!” …. Then I woke up this morning and was so thankful that it was only a dream.
I think your "dream" was a vision what's going to happen with the next patch
Highly Rated
We zerg are struggling against protoss? That's indeed the last thing I expected to hear o_o
You guys are rediculous to think Zerg has a tough time against Protoss. Like are you kidding me? You WILL kills Sc2 if you nerf Toss. But it's your money to lose I guess.
бЛизарды лобки
What about the thor AA buff or a cyclone cost decrease? ANYTHING!? I would recomment removing the deloying of sieged tanks all together, in return making the medivac able to pick up 2 sieged tanks. Also a little buff to the siegetank would be nice, but very little.

Good to hear that the patch is comming soon though.
01/13/2016 09:38 AMPosted by Dayvie
As for the specifics of what to try next, we agree with your feedback in that 50 energy cost was the right move. We also agree that instead of changing up how many shots a unit takes to be killed, we can try tuning up the attack speed so that the DPS is still increased with the energy cost nerf.


Sounds like a solid direction.

01/13/2016 09:38 AMPosted by Dayvie
We would like to continue testing this nerf.


Ack.

Really this is the most glaringly obvious thing to change (making PB not stack). I'm just astounded that it won't be in the first balance patch.

01/13/2016 09:38 AMPosted by Dayvie
Adept “-1 Damage to Light”
This was a solid suggestion from the community


Well ... it's better than making them armored, but leaves them as a gimmicky early-game harassment unit still. They're just strictly worse versus Terran than versus other races now.

01/13/2016 09:38 AMPosted by Dayvie
there will be a clear counter to mass Mutalisks in the late game through Viper usage.


I seriously doubt that. Mutalisks are the most easily split + magic boxed and generally micro-able air unit in the game. They also have severe regeneration. Vipers would have to double- or triple-cast PB to be able to reduce well-handled mutas.

That said, the spore buff vs mutas was always gimmicky. I'd like you to try it out just because it'll remove one weird aspect of the game.

01/13/2016 09:38 AMPosted by Dayvie
Once we find the root cause, we can start discussing potential solutions in this area.


Corrosive bile + massively better cracklings + unkillable ultras in TvZ.
Tank-i-vacs meshing too well with bio's mobility means that pure mech is out-maneuvered too easily in TvT.

01/13/2016 09:38 AMPosted by Dayvie
Map Diversity and Balance
Now let’s move on to some philosophy as the last topic for this week. One of the main points of discussion within the community this week was how the game can never be balanced if maps are as diverse as they are now. Yet, as many of you already know, our goal for Legacy of the Void is definitely not to have every map be so similar that each matchup has a “main” strategy that’s considered the only viable option at the pro level. We’ve clearly seen that in the past, this is by far the biggest reason that StarCraft 2 can become boring to play and watch. If there is one thing we cleary have to avoid in LotV, it’s making all the maps similar again.


This whole section is great. It's awesome to see you move in that direction.

...

However, if you're going to push maps with different gold bases, wide entrances, and lots of area in bases ... you're going to have to, at a minimum, give Protoss and Terran better ways to defend far-flung expansions.

For the most part, Bio has mobility to be able to get most places, but cracklings will always be faster. With PFs and walls, Terran can hold far flung expos. With or without PO, holding spread bases for Protoss is going to be difficult: adepts don't deal with crackling / hydra and the colossus is essentially useless (hooray!) ... but there's nothing mobile enough to keep these bases alive for Protoss.

If you don't believe me, you can just look at the win-rates on maps with weird golds and hard-to-hold naturals / thirds: Protoss will lag far behind Zerg and Terran will be only slightly ahead of Protoss versus zerg.

01/13/2016 09:38 AMPosted by Dayvie
I was watching Life playing a Best of 69 series against a completely no name Protoss player who is a mid-Master in NA. Unbelievably, Life was losing 0-10, but was barely winning in the 11th game through really amazing Zergling/Overlord drop usage. I was thinking “WT* is going on?!?! Maybe we need to react much more quickly with a patch than we thought!” …. Then I woke up this morning and was so thankful that it was only a dream.


lol.
If 200 players says PvZ is fine, the other 1 million has to keep get frustrated while playng this game?
Pro level is important, but maybe you can give also a chanche to master/diamond players who can play this game almost at full potential and make their life a bit easier.

PO change means only protoss now will loose to 1-1-1 vs terrans and to pool first / ling drop strategies vs zergs.
Get a buff to gate units production time or pvz will drop down below the current 40%
At least we might get rid of the ridiculous pylon rush with this
I'm glad to hear the patch is coming soon this month and I'm glad to know that you have touched up on things that were talked about.

One thing I did not know was that Zerg was struggling against Protoss. I understand that Protoss still has the adepts and warp prisms to harass, but majority of the time I found it way easier for Zerg to crush Protoss.

Anyway, I think Mech's main problem is lacking AA. In TvT, the mobility of the flying siege tanks gives bio an advantages when Mech should be the one having the advantage against bio in a forefront battle. Giving the siege tanks so much mobility makes Mech hard to use.

I hear a lot of nerfs. Are there going to be any buffs?
I think this was the first community update that has impressed me in many months. Good job DK. Keep it up.
01/13/2016 10:43 AMPosted by lIIIIllllllI
Get a buff to gate units production time or pvz will drop down below the current 40%


A buff to gate units production would literally break the game because protoss will make units faster at every stage of the game.. Bad idea
-_- Are you ever going to change resources back to the way they used to/should be? This game is not even close to epic anymore.
Would like to +1 for that dream.

Not-so-quick thoughts:

1) Mech is inherently problematic due to the immobility (and in some cases, outright futility) of its core units--Siege Tank, Thor, Vikings. Its more mobile units--Hellions and Cyclones--have no place in the main composition and are relegated to very specific, ancillary roles.

The problem with buffing mech's core units, of course, is that you simply augment the tendency for X vs. mech games to be "asymmetrically balanced." In other words, unless you rework mech at its core to make it slightly more mobile and slightly weaker (in terms of pure a-moveability), its best hope will always lie in its deathball.

2) Nerfing Photon Overcharge will not reduce the efficacy of Adept + Warp Prism. Of course, more resources will need to be allocated for P's defense, but at the end of the day, Terran's defensive responsibility remains just as demanding so long as T lacks anti-ground static defense. Ultimately, all Photon Overcharge needs to do is buy time for more warp-ins. If PO actually defeats the small army or raiding party single-handedly--which is often the case--then that is simply bonus.

The bottom line is that PO should be removed from the game and P's core army should be reworked, but I realize that this is simply a pipe dream for many players at this point (Protoss players included).

3) The Adept nerf seems reasonable and is certainly worth testing. However, as many people have stated, the Warp Prism seems to be the primary culprit in P's over-powered harassment.

4) I know that many players have complained about the strength of parasitic bomb, so I cannot say that this proposed nerf is misguided; however, at the same time, I have not encountered it even once in my 80+ ladder games this season. Simply put, my games end (one way or the other) before the late-game against Zerg or I die as soon as Ultralisks are on the field. If I'm alone in this, then I'll quietly retreat to my corner, but it seems to me that Ultras are downright unkillable (as bio--I have no idea how mech deals with them).

Before anyone says "Make Ghosts, bro," I'd like to point out that relying on a 100% counter unit--and more than that, a counter unit that essentially counters ONE unit--is awful design. For one thing, if you preemptively make Ghosts--that is to say, before the Zerg makes Ultras (or Vipers, Infestors, or Broodlords) then you are stuck with an expensive unit that is completely worthless in your main composition until the aforementioned Zerg unit(s) hit(s) the field. If the Zerg mind-games you and reverts to his T1/T2 army (think re-maxing on LBM after a wave of Ultralisks), then my Ghosts are left to piss in the wind of the void (which is cold).

In terms of philosophy/design, I would like to add the final point that relying on hard-counter units such as the Ghost is inherently correlated to poor design and/or skewed balance. What I mean by this is that the hard-counter unit--Ghosts in this case--are tasked with killing one unit type (or possibly two at most) and have virtually no utility against the main army of the opponent. The one target of the Ghost--for example, High Templar or Ultralisks-- have utility against the entire army (air units being an exception for the Ultra, of course) of the counter-reliant race.

This type of volatile design should be avoided at all costs. There are many ways to do so, but that is a different conversation for a different day.
This update has given me some relief in terms of the noticeable balance issues plaguing the game right now.

As is mentioned before. I believe although there doesn't seem to be much of an alternative in doing so, taking advice primarily if not exclusively from pro players may push the game in a direction of consistency and routine which is generally boring to watch. This causes the game to be more predictable for viewers and takes away from risk and excitement from the perspective of the viewer. I see some counter effort is being made with a more broad selection of maps and I think this a good choice in broadening the tech choices in all the match ups depending on the play style encouraged on each map. That said, it's still paramount that the game be exciting and fun to observe.

As a Terran player I've not been able to bring myself to hit the ladder in the passed couple of weeks simply out of frustration seeing how easy it is for Protoss to show aggression early versus terrans inability to show any gaming changing aggression of there own early on. Also importantly, terrans inability at this point to play with selection of unit compositions; being forced into liberater marine, at least at my level of play. While Protoss has a plethora of choices at there disposal in tvp.

In terms of TvT mech versus bio maybe consider buffing the thor's armor slightly to strengthen it vs tank drops and allow an extra second or 2 for the mech player to take the situation to there advantage. Also, I've always fealt that mech players need a stronger LOS advantage in order to "out play" medivac tank micro. So maybe giving the Thor a boost to its line of sight could be advantagious for mech players.
Uhhh wtf???
I generally am disappointed with these updates. The last good update, although i felt it was forced from TL community "Let's see if you still do nothing" when you revert the Widowmine damage

This one sounds like it could be promising. Its very very important to me that mech returns to at least 2 matchups in the game. Clearly the tank-i-vac is really great on one hand especially against zerg, and although i loved strategic positioning and the old TvT, it is very fun to play TvT in this specific way right now. But there's just no diversity. Please buff or rework parts of the tank/cyclone to make them viable without having to use the medivac for tank. I wonder if maybe a 4 second delay would be helpful if you insist on keeping the tankivac, along with a flat damage buff

also, please look very closely at the thor. increasing move speed might be as important as giving damage buff.
If the thor was a bit smaller, and had some researchable speed upgrade, it could still be less mobile than a unit like goliath (which is probably the best unit in the game in co-op and a terrible tragedy it couldn't make the multiplayer) or the cyclone, but maybe be enough to fill some of the holes in mech.
Factory tech should be absolutely viable against anything non T3 Capital ship air
Cyclone cost to 75/75 2 supply, damage down to 13(+2) lock on does 200 damage.

You fix warp prism issue and mech issues.
Why best of 69?

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