Community Feedback Update - July 1

General Discussion
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Patch next week
After more playtests and more discussions with various people, we believe that it’ll be better to patch the current two changes to the live game sooner than later given the current situation. However, we do also want to point out that we definitely see the foreign community’s concern regarding the Queen buff, and we will definitely make sure to react quick if something breaks. But the two main reasons we would like to hurry up with this update is due to heavy feedback in favor of these changes on the KR pro side, and we also have a major tournament coming up in 2-3 weeks outside of Korea, so we would really love to push the change out to live as quickly as possible so that we can make necessary fixes before the WCS tournament if needed. So looking at this from both regions, it looks to be the right decision to patch quickly.

After the patch next week
We definitely hear your feedback regarding the potential for Ultralisk armor needing nerfs and the Liberator needing nerfs. We would really love to look at the impact of the Spore and Queen changes first before we start testing further changes. For example, if Zerg is performing much better in the early/mid game and are dominating in the late game, we can definitely take a look at the Ultralisk armor nerf, whereas if these changes were steps in the right direction but not enough, we can look at potential Liberator +light damage removal to its AA weapon.

Playing Skill vs. Game Design Skill
It’s been a while since we discussed more design philosophy based topics, and we noticed a topic being very big in the past couple weeks, so we wanted to share our thoughts regarding this. Specifically, we’re seeing a lot of posts discussing the importance of playing at a high skill level in order to be a good game designer.

Our thought is that these two have some overlap, but are different skillsets. We have seen so many examples of every mix of the two: A top player being so bad at game analysis, a top player being so good at game analysis, a bad player being so good at game design, and a bad player being also bad at game design. They’re just separate skills that one person can be good at none, one, or both of them. And the definition of a good player is so opinion based. For example, I’m currently in master league using random and if I say this to a pro player, they would think I’m pretty bad at the game. As compared to if I say this to a silver level player, they would think I’m good at the game.

The same goes for game design skills. Often times, game design skills are more difficult to quantify than say like awesome concept art skills or awesome programming skills. Interestingly, this is an area game designers on our team have a lot of discussions on regarding what an ideal game designer at Blizzard is, which is another fun topic that we can go into if there is desire for it for this in a future weekly update. And going more into detail on this current topic, the important thing for game designers working on SC2 is the ability to analyze game mechanics well. This is clearly a higher priority than playing the game at a pro level.

Just to finish off, we did want to ask a question that we ask ourselves often: In a perfect world scenario, would it be best to aim to have only game designers who are also the very best players at the game? Granted this might be near impossible to achieve, it is an interesting question because we can look at it from many different points of view. For example, I can argue that this is the best because the best player understand more parts of playing the game so he can analyze the game better as well. But I can also argue this isn’t ideal because he would be unable to see the game from a different perspective other than the top skill level, and the more ideal is to have a good mix of every type of gamer who all are good game designers.

We wanted to share our thoughts here because this is a fun topic to discuss, and we’ve also been leaning a bit more towards one way or another over the years on our team as well. Because there necessarily isn’t one, clear, perfect answer to this question, please let us know your thoughts as well and we will look forward to exploring this discussion from a potentially different angle!
YAY FOR PATCH!
I am a bit scared about Liberator +light demage removal,but If it is necessary to have a nerf to Ultra's armor,this is the way to go.
Also curious to see how pro korean Zergs will react to the next week patch
07/01/2016 09:47 AMPosted by Dayvie
Just to finish off, we did want to ask a question that we ask ourselves often: In a perfect world scenario, would it be best to aim to have only game designers who are also the very best players at the game?

Probably not. Sure they might be able to provide a different angle of looking at things, but they will have a bias to favor design changes that benefit just the top players.

If they were to influence game design, it would most likely not be in a positive way for the average gamer.
07/01/2016 11:07 AMPosted by raff
I am a bit scared about Liberator +light demage removal,but If it is necessary to have a nerf to Ultra's armor,this is the way to go.
Also curious to see how pro korean Zergs will react to the next week patch


Personally, I think having it nerfed, but not completely removed would be massive for TvZ so mutas with micro can actually be viable as drop defense. Otherwise, I think just reducing the splash radius so magic boxing is a bit more effective (not thor levels of shutdown by magic boxing, though) could make a difference with letting mutas get a bit more aggressive.
What is really bothering me about the queen buff is that you are considering this above other very unpopular abilities like tankivacs.

The tankivacs destroyed TvT and is making the other match ups impossible to balance.

And this example is the base of the discussion. Micro by pro's(microable super mobile tanks) over the intention of the unit(a strong immobile unit).

Why don't you look at that first?

As for game designer vs pro...you guys have been neglecting proper game design for the sake of balance(pro feedback) for a long time.

Asking 'how do we wan't a unit to perform' above 'what can we do to fill the balance gap' should always take the priority.

Nobody is questioning the quality of your designers. A lot of people are questioning why some design decisions was made(like the tankivac) because at the moment it looks like it is in there to fill a balance gap(and maybe to please some opinions of a few casters who doesn't seem to get it is killing strategic variety) .
I am surprised to hear both changes are going through, but I will adjust and see where it goes. I am still concerned about banshee play as the change was very notic able when I tred the test map, but we will see what it does at the pro level.

As far as the ideal world, I personally believe that it is easier for a higher skilled player to understand the lower level play than vice versa. As much as people talk about design is more important, that doesn't change the fact that balance is, as well, and I think higher level people will understand that more. But if the balance is to the point where one level struggles with one race and another level dominates with the same race, that may point to other issues. It would be helpful to have people not as high in order to keep this in mind.
Double Zerg buff.

WE DID IT BOIS.
Dayvie, in my opinion, balance test maps are not the best and optimal way to test the real impact of potential changes to the game. I suggest to our devs looking at this suggestion thread:

http://us.battle.net/forums/en/sc2/topic/20745685690

It seems a solid suggestion to me, making able to test much more widely and deep the potential changes while barely affecting the ladder experience.

That's my feedback.
07/01/2016 09:47 AMPosted by Dayvie
whereas if these changes were steps in the right direction but not enough, we can look at potential Liberator +light damage removal to its AA weapon.


I'm fine with this because of how mutas are extinct in ZvT but I still think liberators are not the issue and there just isn't enough larvae to go ling bling, which forces a defensive ravager into ultra style. And since ultras are so bad at attacking and 3-3 roaches are so bad against 3-3 bio, zergs are getting wrecked.

I highly disagree with nerfing ultras. There is absolutely no reason why bio should be able to counter everything in the game, and bio is the only thing that does badly against ultras in TvZ. Siege tanks, widows, liberators and ghosts are all solid options against ultras. And protoss has immortals and stalkers so there is really no reason to even be considering ultra armor nerf.
Can someone link to the changes he's talking about? With the blizztracker gone it's like an easter egg hunt trying to find the official information.
Dayvie, you are saying your design team is from different skill levels, but you serve to only one purpose, kespa Zerg players. You conflict with what you are saying. As a NA casual Platinum level player, I dont give a shiitt what kespa player things. I know in my level, terran is UP. But I watch lots of stream and I can see High korean Terrans are OP. But I also see EU and NA games where Terran is not OP.

Not that I am not skilled. I play like 5-6 games a week top. Sometimes I dont even play. In WoL days I was very high Diamond Terran and all my practice mates are in Grand Master now. I just dont have time to study the game and practice it over and over. I just want to play casual game. I want to be able to deal with Ultra or Broodlords. I want to be able to deal with Tempest. I want to be able to do this without having 400apm.

I want to be able to use anything other than MMM. I want to be able to use Terran Mech and Air. Terran Mech and Air is the most underpowered units in this game. Vikings cant do a shiittt to any Zerg or Protos air which were supposed to be counter. BattleCruiser is a joke. Ravens are nerfed the shiittt out. Liberators nerfed every single patched or being discuss nerfed. This would balance the game for top 32 players in the world, but will ruin it for everyone else.

I hold 4 SC2 account. 3 of them have all 3 game and 1 has WoL and HOTS. I paid more money to this game more than your average user and I want my money's worth.
I don't have a problem with the zerg incoming changes, if pros think its for the best for the game scene in kr then so be it.

And frankly, about the designerXproficience in the game issue, I believe no one should really care if the designers of the game can play at pro level as long as the game is fun to play.

The reason you're seeing so many complaining about the balance team proficience in playing the game at the highest levels is that you've ALWAYS favored balance at the pro scene level instead of what should be fun to play to 99% of the community, so, how could you actually know if a change based on their opinions isnt biased (because what they always want in the end is a easier way to win and gain cash in tournaments) if YOU cant play at their level to know the truth? Thats basically their point.

I personally believe that the stuborness of the balance team in making meaningful design changes centered in what could be fun to play to 99% of the players (instead of balancing for the pro scene) is leading to a decrease in the player base and consequently to viewers in tournaments, which will inevitably lead them to making the changes the playerbase wants or see the game dwindle to a shadow of what it once was.

I also have a question to you guys: Why you have chosen to execute your game design centered in the pro level when those who actually make the pro scene viable are the common players? How the game can prosper in the pro scene if the common playerbase is dwindling even more since the release of the last expansion? Don't you believe you could have made a mistake that led to this decrease in the game population in LotV and consequential drop in viewership?
07/01/2016 11:42 AMPosted by Ace
07/01/2016 09:47 AMPosted by Dayvie
whereas if these changes were steps in the right direction but not enough, we can look at potential Liberator +light damage removal to its AA weapon.


I'm fine with this because of how mutas are extinct in ZvT but I still think liberators are not the issue and there just isn't enough larvae to go ling bling, which forces a defensive ravager into ultra style. And since ultras are so bad at attacking and 3-3 roaches are so bad against 3-3 bio, zergs are getting wrecked.

I highly disagree with nerfing ultras. There is absolutely no reason why bio should be able to counter everything in the game, and bio is the only thing that does badly against ultras in TvZ. Siege tanks, widows, liberators and ghosts are all solid options against ultras. And protoss has immortals and stalkers so there is really no reason to even be considering ultra armor nerf.


Lol, you have no idea what you talking about. How many tank it takes to kill an ultra? it takes 5 widow mine to kill an ultra and they are useless for next 40 seconds. Liberator and ghost counters it. But liberators are useless when Corruptors out. ghosts stead snipe is very hard and it takes too long to shoot and by that time, it got hit by broodlings, fungal or lings, so half the time loses the energy and shot does not go off. You have to be pro to use ghost.
Wow, David Kim, glad you're decided to buff Zerg even more, it's the step in the right direction. The next should be removal the Terran race from the game. But you have to hurry if you want to do it before this game completely dies.
07/01/2016 09:47 AMPosted by Dayvie
In a perfect world scenario, would it be best to aim to have only game designers who are also the very best players at the game?


No. You don't even, really, have to have any high level designers.

All you need to do is have high-level feedback. Sometimes there are things that only high-level players will experience, but designers don't need to have that experience if they can hear about, understand, and mold the game to encourage, incorporate, or eliminate desired experiences.

But there's no reason you have to have high-level players designing the game.
07/01/2016 09:47 AMPosted by Dayvie
For example, if Zerg is performing much better in the early/mid game and are dominating in the late game, we can definitely take a look at the Ultralisk armor nerf

If blord/infestor style gameplay comes back, I'm not sure I can forgive the team at blizzard again without a major shakeup.
I genuinely don't believe the balance team understands the implications that the queen range buff will have. I sincerely hope you'll realize fast and change your minds about it. The ultralisk armor does need nerfing no matter what though, it's just a question of finding the right midgame buff for Zerg. This buff is not it.
Interesting topic on game design versus game skill.

I think the OP is mostly spot on on this, but I would like to add the following:

1. Some players/game designers thinks very well about the game, even considering certain skillsets top Korean players excel at, but external factors such as lack of mechanical skill or mental/emotional skill or lack of practise prevents them from performing in tournaments and in general.

2. Starcraft 2 is a game of massive complexity, and usually as you get better at StarCraft 2 like any other skillset, you tend to get used to and stick to certain principles/concepts of your own play/style, personalizing it. This tends to create the "biased" personality without said person necessarily being aware if it. If you are an extremely defensive or aggresive player, it is likely you favor changes promoting defensive or aggressive playstyles. This is to say that while defensive and aggressive playstyles on their own have no apparent balance issues, high-level players will have a varying definition of "what good gameplay is", thus favor balance/design changes that specifically promotes what they themselves are good at or consider "great design."

3. Psychologically aware players/game designers. Related to point 2, it is important that players ranging from professional to casual must read and learn things about how the human mind to be self-aware and critical of your own judgement of the game. This allows you to get the best ideas that fit into multiple categories of largely accepted great gameplay and design. This is key when unlocking your potential to see things from a greater perspective, as I would argue that it goes hand in hand with showing your, in this case, SC2 knowledge, skill and vision for the game.

And if anything, to the question, I think it is better to have game designers who are as all-around as possible, as then it is likely they absorb high-level player feedback very well as well.
07/01/2016 11:14 AMPosted by Dinwiddle
What is really bothering me about the queen buff is that you are considering this above other very unpopular abilities like tankivacs.

The tankivacs destroyed TvT and is making the other match ups impossible to balance. And this example is the base of the discussion. Micro by pro's(microable super mobile tanks) over the intention of the unit(a strong immobile unit).

Why don't you look at that first?

As for game designer vs pro...you guys have been neglecting proper game design for the sake of balance(pro feedback) for a long time.

Asking 'how do we wan't a unit to perform' above 'what can we do to fill the balance gap' should always take the priority.

Nobody is questioning the quality of your designers. A lot of people are questioning why some design decisions was made(like the tankivac) because at the moment it looks like it is in there to fill a balance gap(and maybe to please some opinions of a few casters who doesn't seem to get it is killing strategic variety) .
I completely agree with you here.

I think it is good that discussion is being opened to talk about design skill vs player skill, but more importantly, we need to change current design, even if it makes the game imbalanced for a while, so that the game is more fun for all levels.

That also means that KR pros need to suck it up and deal with very new changes for a short period of time, and will need to adapt to them.

I firmly believe that this would be a small step back in balance for a greater leap forward in design, for better results of success for Strategy of Starcraft, rather than just mechanics of the game being rewarding to pros purely.

Currently, there is practically next to no evolution of Strategy in the game because the amount of bandaid fixes limiting how much a player at pro level can achieve is overwhelmingly large, whereas the areas for growth of strategic play through map positioning and control are just less and less.

Not to mention that All 3 races suffer from pigeonholing of strategies because of 1 overwhelming aspect of the other race, which basically kills innovation (;P) and stagnates metagame and in-game strategy.

There is also too large a disconnect between pros and the 80-90% of the remaining players when it comes to these acceptable limits of mechanically demanding tactics.

That needs some bridging. It is not totally a bad thing since it differentiates top players from the rest, but top players will still be distinguished if the mechanical demands for each race in terms of Worker Harassment being a requirement was lowered significantly, but buff mechanical requirements for Army Harassment, to make the game more tactical at high levels, like in Broodwar.

Worker killing should still exist, but it should not be the be all and end all in most scenarios, pushing players of all levels to do it, rather tha focus on army tactics which present a lot more Strategic variety via timings, and Tactical variety through Micro.

That's my opinion, David and Blizzard.

Please, for the sake of the future of our beloved game that we've been married to for 16 years, do reconsider your position on what is fun and not for the playerbase, because, ultimately that is what will keep eSports for Starcraft alive.

The moment the game stops being fun, is the moment pros leave, amateur players leave, and eventually we will suffer. I am a loyal Starcraft fan, and have been supporting it, and will continue to, through Thick and Thin.

This is what I feel will make a difference, and I hope my feelings resonate with you and your team.

Thank you for reading, Blizzard <3

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