Community Update March 30 - Unit Changes

General Discussion
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Hello everyone, this week we wanted to start talking about what we’re thinking for a potential upcoming balance patch. The main intention here is to ensure that our goals are aligned with the community, and to collect any feedback on what else we should be looking at for a balance update. In the post below there are some specific changes mentioned, but everything is open for discussion.

Thor
We haven’t been seeing as much Mech play as we would like, and the Thor is often referenced by the community. In addition, the Thor is rarely used in high level play, and so we think it is a good target for a buff. Since the Thor is mostly used for zoning out enemy flying units we think it would be good to buff that aspect of the unit to give it a more clear and defined role. However, it would be important to make sure that any changes don’t make the unit too much of an all-around unit; it should be something you build a few of for AA purposes and not to be the backbone of your army.

Raven
We feel that the Auto Turret is a little too good in the harassment role. Terran already has a lot of harass options, so we’d like to decrease the damage (down to the 3-shot range for workers) while increasing the duration. With a slightly longer duration, there will be more of a choice to run away from Auto Turrets or attack them. Right now, the turret expires so quickly that its rarely a good idea to try to kill them and is usually better to let them expire.

Protoss vs Protoss Matchup
The PvP matchup, especially in the EU region, has been favoring skytoss compositions too heavily. We’re seeing players take 3 bases, then turtle with Void Rays and Disruptors while building towards the late game composition including Carriers. We think part of the problem here is that there is a lack of options for protoss to attack into Void Rays. Stalkers are the primary non-Stargate option and Void Rays are fairly effective against them. Another part of the problem is that once a protoss player builds the late game composition with Carriers, an opponent has limited options except to build a similar army. We’re thinking we could potentially relocate some of the +armored power from Void Rays into the Prismatic Alignment ability to create better windows of opportunity to attack while they are on cooldown. In addition, we want Tempests to be more effective against capital ships to encourage players to build a more varied army composition.

Protoss vs Zerg Matchup
We don’t think we’re seeing enough variety in the early stages of this matchup as we are frequently seeing Adept openers with Warp Prisms, followed by DT/Archon harass with Warp Prisms. While we aren’t necessarily seeing an imbalance in win rates, we want to make sure that the meta doesn’t settle into a single strategy that gets used for every matchup. We are still deciding what the best course of action would be here, but some early thoughts are to look at reducing the effectiveness of the Psionic Transfer ability, or having the Warp Prism have a “slow warp” power field until an upgrade is researched.

As always, none of this is final. We wanted to communicate some of our early thoughts on what the next balance patch may contain so that we have time to read through your feedback and make adjustments as needed. If you think any of these directions are the wrong way to go, or if you think we should be taking a look at something this isn’t on this list, please let us know. Thanks!
Changes are going in the right direction!
Sounds great!

I knew we just needed to be patient for a good update!
The Raven Nerf sounds good, but I cannot believe that the Swarm Host hasn't been adressed yet , despite the insane amount of feedback that you get every week about the unit.
Curious to hear what you have in mind for the Thor.
Just remove the adept's shading ability. Such a pathetic idea. It is so frustrating at every level. Completely negates defenders advantage.
Now that is a GREAT community feedback. I'm glad Blizzard is listening to feedback and taking steps into the right direction! That's the kind of community feedback we like to read.

Thank you very much for the community feedback of today, it was very pleasing to read it. Don't be afraid to change the game asap for the sake of diversity and to remove frustrating gameplay, Blizzard. Hope to see some changes soon.

As asked, I've collected some stuff that most on the community agree that may need some tweaking to make the game more healthy and in a nearly-perfect spot:

- Redesign or nerf Swarm Hosts, this unit alone wrecks mech in TvZ;
- Redesign Reaper to be a viable unit throughout all game duration instead of only early game scout and cheese;
- Increase BC teleport cooldown;
- Make Nydus Worm behave like a burrowed unit that can be attacked with detection before emerging (that was a brilliant community suggestion as it makes perfect sense with Zerg burrow mechanic);
- Remove or redesign Medivac Boost upgrade and NeoSteel Frame upgrade because they are 100% useless and no one will ever use them the way they are;
- Remove Liberator range upgrade. This upgrade creates too much constraints in the game. Thor buff will mean nothing in TvT due to Liberator range upgrade outranging by a fair margin the Thor. 14 range AtG on a air siege unit is way too much;
- Reduce a bit Siege Tank +armored damage to 60 OR/AND make it occupy 8 spaces in transport ship cargo. These changes will help against frustrating and excessive amount of bio doom drops in TvT while lessening just a bit the oppressive ground power of mech. As a trade off, buff Cyclone AA to help mech where it really needs. Buffing Cyclone AA is also good because it does not scale well with Bio, like Siege Tanks do;
- Reduce Carrier range while kiting with Interceptors or nerf the damage from 5x2 to 4x2. Once Interceptors are released, the Carrier can kite to a safe distance from enemy fire while Interceptors deal immense damage and that brings degenerate gameplay, this coupled with High Templars creates a situation where Zerg AA army can't do anything to come close to Carriers before being decimated by Storms and Interceptors while Carriers are safe from risk;
- Remove burrowed fungals and rework Infested Terrans to be stronger, keeping in mind they are free units for energy. This needs to be done carefully and right;
- Revert Adept shade vision nerf and increase the cooldown of the ability instead, cooldown is just too low and could easily be a couple seconds higher OR just change the Prism as you guys are planning;
- Redesign the Disruptor into a unit that do not have such an all-or-nothing AoE spell, this would also promote diverse PvP and ground mech TvP games again. Also worth noting that the Disruptor kills in one shot beefy and slow units that cannot even micro against it like Hellbats, Roaches, Zealots...

Edited for typos and formatting. Sorry for the big text, I've tried to be as concise as possible.
Sounds pretty good.

I think the warping in is not the problem, but the pickup range.

Its just too safe to use it without losing anything except fast regenerating shields.

I would slightly decrease the pick up range,
my locusts get countered by good hellion positioning, and when mech pushes out they start becoming dead supply. Idk maybe i suck at microing swarmhosts but i find going hydra viper more effective than going swarmhost into broodlords
> while increasing the duration

Nope, leave it as 3 shotting workers but the duration the same. Like you said there already is a load of options and specifically in ZvT it is very hard to stop a raven when the terran goes 111. Having free damage every 30 ish seconds even if the Zerg has defenses is a bit too much at that period of the game. I think a straight up nerf rather than a sideways nerf is a better option.

Can we work on making skytoss a little bit easier super late game please? Like I didn't see you mention it as a problem but there still is massive frustration in the skill needed to pull off skytoss vs the skill to counter it. Currently storm, archons and void rays are the main issue with skytoss.

Storm counters all Zerg units well enough but the fact they counter corruptors and hydra very well is a big issue. Archons counter clustered units and that is a problem because corruptors when they go in to kill carriers they will naturally bunch up. And void rays just remove corruptors from the game like a knife through butter.

What I would like to see rather than a nerf to any specific unit I would like to suggest maybe a potential change for the hydra as a solution to the issue. Namely a morph available at hive/infestation pit that allows you to turn hydra into hunter killers. Give them a HP buff for some minerals and gas. Leave the supply the same just allow us to get a slightly more effective unit late game. It is a fair buff because it doesn't ruin mid game like the range buff did, it just means hydra are more viable in a composition than they were before. Them not being so easily countered by storm is the goal here and given the already high cost of the unit they really shouldn't be so easily dealt with.

The entire idea of the suggestion above is just to counteract the unit dropping off a cliff late game. They are one of the only options against a particular strategy and having them be more viable should be at least explored to alleviate the match up a bit.

Also I think the adept needs to be looked at again. Most creative builds are stifled nowadays by 4 adepts suiciding into the mineral line and getting 5 or 6 kills. I think their HP is the problem here and given their maneuverability it makes more cheesy builds super effective. Even if the Zerg goes 2 base and tries to stay safe usually adepts will still get decent damage done and as well as that give serious scouting information at the same time. Either look at adepts or you really should be looking for a buff to the tools Zerg has early game. Adding maybe 1 more larva early game would be the difference between dying to an early adept push or holding.
You're gonna buff the thor?! Imo it's very close to being extremely solid AA another bump should be huge. Mech working without mass raven is crucial to the viewing pleasure of the game and enjoyment playing vs it.
03/30/2017 12:10 PMPosted by Nathanias
You're gonna buff the thor?! Imo it's very close to being extremely solid AA another bump should be huge. Mech working without mass raven is crucial to the viewing pleasure of the game and enjoyment playing vs it.


I kind of agree, its AA its really solid. When it is in range.

I think something that would make it a bit more effective as AA and buff it a bit overall would for it to be slightly faster.
Excellent changes, really love them!
My only criticism would be the thor, i agree it needs a slight buff and increasing its aa potential is a great start as this defines its role, however i do believe that its anti ground is already quite good and if we want to define it as an AA unit, then i think in the case of an AA buff, a slight nerf to its antiground would be appropriate.

Other than that, great changes!
What about changing the game speed to "slower". That way I can see a widow mine/oracle killing my entire mineral line in slow motion! :)
2 Changes for the adept :

1) Increase the vision of the shade to 3-4. This will allow P to use it again in early game P v P and P v Z for scouting. Probably wont do much in T v P but thats fine.

2) Increase the cool down of the shade after an adept completes a successful shade. The goal of this change is decrease the abusive shade potential for going between bases. Currently it feels like the adept shade has no cool down.

This wont do much in P v P because that match up is all stalker disruptor till skytoss.

In P v T the change will be very small. Most terrans have a wall between their natural and main. The only exception is if it is a map that has a natural that is in base.

P v Z is where this is important. Adepts trade out so cost effectively vs lings drones and queens in the early game. It seems like every game I watch their is no reason not to send ~8 adepts across the map to see what you can get done. Its getting tiresome watching adepts shade from base to base killing up to 15 workers along with lings. After that attack protoss usually follows up with a warp prism + resonating glaive timing attack. Its chaos for the zerg they have no time to get their units in position and once they do the adepts are all ready shading to the next spot. Its really not that fun to watch adepts shade back and forth with very little consequence.
Yay! Thank you Blizzard.
03/30/2017 11:59 AMPosted by Seizon
Now that is a GREAT community feedback. I'm glad Blizzard is listening to feedback and taking steps into the right direction! That's the kind of community feedback we like to read.

Thank you very much for the community feedback of today, it was very pleasing to read it. Don't be afraid to change the game for the sake of diversity and to remove frustrating gameplay, Blizzard. Hope to see some changes soon.

As asked, I've collected some stuff that most on the community agree that may need some tweaking to make the game more healthy:

- Redesign Swarm Hosts;
- Redesign Reaper to be a viable unit throughout all game duration instead of early game scout and cheese only;
- Increase BC teleport cooldown;
- Make Nydus Worm behave like a burrowed unit that can be attacked with detection before unburrowing (that was a brilliant community suggestion as it makes perfect sense with Zerg burrow mechanic);
- Remove or redesign Medivac Boost upgrade and NeoSteel Frame upgrade because they are 100% useless and no one will ever use them the way they are;
- Remove Liberator range upgrade. This upgrade creates too much constraints in the game. Thor buff will mean nothing in TvT due to Liberator range upgrade outraging by a fair margin the Thor;
- Reduce a bit Siege Tank +armored damage to 60 to indirectly nerf bio and lessen the oppressive ground power of mech. As a trade off, buff Cyclone AA to help mech where it really needs;
- Reduce Carrier range while kiting with Interceptors or nerf the damage from 5x2 to 4x2;
- Remove burrowed fungals and rework Infested Terrans to be stronger keeping in mind they are free units for energy. So this needs to be done carefully and right;
- Revert Adept shade vision nerf and increase the cooldown instead;
- Redesign the Disruptor into a unit that do not have such an all-or-nothing AoE spell, this would also promote diverse PvP and ground mech TvP games again. Also worth noting that the Disruptor kills in one shot beefy and slow units that cannot even micro against it, like Hellbats, Roaches, Zealots...


I would rather have 8 dmg 1 atack than 4 dmg 2 atacks :p, already take about it u-u (nerf in the efficiency of + air weapons, while not making BC and Corruptors a super Hard Counter)

About adepts maybe not a full vision revert (4 vision should be great :D )
Uhhm what about the carrier? When will you guys see its really hard to deal with it as Z?

Protoss rushing carriers on 3 base is disgusting. This unit shouldn't come so early in the game since its a late army unit. Consider fixing their production time asap pls
For the Raven auto turret change, I don't really want to see it return to the HoTS auto turrets. I wonder if a firing rate change could do a little better.

Increase the duration, keep the damage, but make it fire 1.5 or 2 times slower. Players could pull fast enough to save workers but the auto turret will still have the same role in midgame fights and defense. That's what I thought was the strength of the auto turret, is it's rapid damage potential.
03/30/2017 12:10 PMPosted by Nathanias
You're gonna buff the thor?! Imo it's very close to being extremely solid AA another bump should be huge. Mech working without mass raven is crucial to the viewing pleasure of the game and enjoyment playing vs it.


Here's my feedback as a passionate mech pilot who plays only mech (since StarCraft vanilla) at Diamond 1 currently. I will try my best to hit the core problem without bias. I hope Blizzard takes it to heart:

Thor and Cyclone
I believe Thor do not need a buff BUT mech definitely needs stronger AA and this could be achieved through buffing Cyclone AA damage slightly and making lock-on automatic once again. As a mech player, I think Thors are fine and the old Cyclones before 3.8 were extremely abusive with the insanely strong lock-on kiting. Let's not forget that a buff to Cyclone AA damage must be handled with caution to avoid them being too good all around. Another thing that could be done is a slight nerf to Cyclone HP to create more room for a very needed AA buff.

Cyclone is also extremely lackluster in late game as well, and buffing it instead of Thor would spread out the power of mech more evenly across the board, but one thing is certain: Liberator range upgrade and Carriers need to be addressed for mech to ever be viable. Right now Cyclone is just a cheesy unit and mech cannot compete against Terran and Protoss air armies.

However, we do not know what Blizzard have in plans for the Thor, it could be good stuff that isn't gamebreaking. Who knows?
Nerfing raven but not SH? This new thor AA better kill the locust flying easily...

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