Community Update – Design Changes

General Discussion
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Its been a big week here for StarCraft! Just this past weekend we hope you had fun watching Home Story Cup and seeing all of the changes being played out at a high level. And this week itself we have gone live with our big patch with a new commander for coop and all of the multiplayer design patch changes.

Now that the patch is out, we would like to make a number of balance changes based off of observations and feedback that we received from the community. The patch is a bit larger than usual for a balance patch, but these past changes have been larger than usual as well! In addition, a number of esports events are coming up in December so we would like to make sure that players have time to practice with new balance updates. In addition the holiday season is upon us so we would like to target a balance update for sometime during the week of November 27th.

Zerg

For design patches we like to lean on the side of making things powerful so that players can really feel the changes and then pull back from there. However, it seems the Infestor is currently further in this direction than we would like. We believe that Fungal Growth is the prime reason for its strength and we want to increase counterattack options to the currently stealthy Infestors first before heavily nerfing its direct power. So we are going to reduce the Fungal Growth area of effect slightly and remove the ability to cast Fungal Growth while burrowed. In line with this we are also planning on reducing Infested Terran cast range by 2. It can still be cast while burrowed, but now there should be more trade off in how far forward you want to move your Infestors with the initial cast and how much you want to let the Infested Terrans walk towards their targets.

Infestor
  • Fungal Growth Area of Effect reduced from 2.5 to 2.25.
  • Fungal Growth can no longer be cast while burrowed.
  • Infested Terran cast range reduced from 9 to 7.

  • Protoss
    Since Protoss got the biggest design changes in this patch we would like to carefully monitor certain areas before making a move. Disruptors and Stalkers could be overly powerful, but we would like to get more data first. However, the roughly 3 minute Oracle timing vs Terran seems too strong so we want to make a adjustment to that strategy. Since the Oracle itself is a strong option in several matchups and already fights well at short ranges, (Thus already providing player interaction, but perhaps too sharply) we believe that we can adjust the power of the unit.

    Oracle
  • Pulsar Beam
    • Damage changed from 25 vs light to 22 vs light.
    • Damage type reverted back from Normal to Spell.

  • Build time increased from 37 to 43 seconds.

  • This changes how effective they are against Marines and SCVs especially. Marines are now able to defeat an Oracle head on with a group of 5 instead of 6. This change also adjusts the relationship between Oracles and Hydralisks slightly and the Hydralisk will perform better vs Oracles. We are also increasing the build time to match Void Rays to help push back the timing of when Oracles hit slightly.

    We are also planning on slightly increasing the cost of Shield Batteries. Right now the decision to make them is a bit too ubiquitous so we would like to make their cost more similar to other defensive structures. This is just an initial change, depending on how the meta game develops we might have to revisit this newly added building in future balance passes.

    Shield Battery
  • Cost increased from 75 to 100 Minerals.

  • Terran
    For Terran we want to introduce some buffs as we think a number of their upgrades are currently more expensive than required. With the current nerfs to the Widow Mine we think the upgrade is much more costly than needed, especially since the upgrade is now more needed to keep your mines alive. In addition the Rapid Fire Launchers have a very specific use case so we want to reduce the cost here as well. Finally Smart Servos is probably slightly over costed compared to other mobility/combat upgrades like Stimpack and Combat Shields.

    Factory Tech Lab
  • Drilling Claws cost reduced from 150 Minerals / 150 Vespene Gas to 75 / 75
  • Rapid Fire Launchers cost reduced from 150 Minerals / 150 Vespene Gas to 75 / 75
  • Smart Servos cost reduced from 150 Minerals / 150 Vepsene Gas to 100 / 100

  • Also we have been getting feedback about Ghost usage in regards to cost and how they can be a bit inconsistent. Here we wanted to buff Steady Targeting slightly and adjust the cost of Ghosts to better fit in with Bio oriented playstyles.

    Ghost
  • Cost changed from 200 Minerals / 100 Vespene Gas to 150 / 125
  • When interrupted by damage Steady Targeting returns 50 energy to the Ghost.

  • Returning energy on interrupted Steady Targeting should help Terran players who keep their cool under pressure and retarget the ability. Also while the cost change is an overall reduction, Vespene Gas is usually seen as more valuable, except to high level Marine oriented Bio play. This should make it a more competitive choice for players.

    Future Changes
    This is of course not the end of balance tuning. The changes are very new and we think that even without patches the game will change quite a bit as high level players develop new strategies. Some areas that we are especially keeping an eye on include things like: Widow Mine usage post nerf, Stalker/Disruptor power vs Terran, overall effectiveness of Terran Bio, timings with the new Chrono Boost, Raven strength and the late game strength of Zerg.

    As always let us know what you think on the forums or other community areas!
    Highly Rated
    Wow this looks like a great first move, keep up the good work!
    Highly Rated
    I am really liking these changes.

    Even as a zerg player I am glad they are removing burrow fungle. Balance wise, I don't really have an opinion , FUN wise however it was a nightmare (for bio terrans) and felt really unfair.
    It's only been 3 days, but I appreciate the change.
    Wow, these ghost changes look interesting.

    I have to try the cyclone upgrade now that the cost is much lower. I could never fit it in well before.
    Let me first start saying that the intention of the new big design patch was good but the implementation was a complete failure. Did you guys not learn from the past to realize that Infestor/Broodlord bull!@#$ would be back? Anyway, I've compilated almost all major concerns in the community for you to fix ASAP (trying to be as fair as possible with all races here):

    - Widow Mine was indeed too strong in TvP before but now, with MSC gone, Protoss will have 100 more gas from the old MSC to spend in tech to get a quicker response (Stargate/Robo) against Mines, making the tremendous nerf WM received unjustified. The Mine nerf completely removed the unit from the game, removed even the purpose of Drilling Claws upgrade;

    - Disruptor is actually insanely buffed despite the change in it's mechanic. Protoss can now spam Disruptive Nova and, coupled with a Warp Prism to drop it close to his target, Disruptor is quite an abusive unit due to it's new mechanic. Blizzard needs to tone down this unit ASAP. The patch was supposed to bring down game ending damage and Disruptor have way more game ending damage compared to before. The unit is in a stupid state;

    - You wanted to address sudden game ending moments with Widow Mine but incentivized it on Oracle and Disruptor. Double standards?;

    - The new Chrono made Protoss much more enjoyable to play but it is creating balance problems in some rush strategies being too strong ie Oracle. We also want to know why Protoss is allowed to have it's macro mechanic as good if not better than it was in HotS, considering both Zerg and Terran had their macro mechanics severely nerfed. Please address this;

    - Shield Battery seems slightly overtuned but at the same time I don't see it being too useful if it get nerfed, so basically this was a terrible request made by the Protoss community turning into a disaster;

    - New Stalker too strong even against light units and Blink timings coupled with the new Chrono are unstoppable;

    - Swarm Host needs to be tagged as a light unit, this doesn't even need an explanation;

    - Raven healing ability is a nice concept but doesn't make sense when SCVs can repair and way faster than what the ability can heal, imo it should be replaced by the PDD. A nerfed PDD would be way better than healing drone;

    - Seriously reconsider bringing back MULEs gathering from gas geyser but do not nerf it's mineral income. The reason for that is Terran mech having no decent/viable build against Protoss anymore due to lack of gas. Before patch, Cyclone builds used to hold their ground against Protoss. Now, with the amount of buffs Protoss received, Cyclone builds do not cut it anymore and they need Raven support to compete against the power of Protoss army in the early and mid-game. Unfortunately, Terran lacks the gas to make both Cyclone and Raven to try surviving against Protoss. With the exception of the Adept, all Gateway units trade very well or make a soft counter against Cyclones;

    - Ghost buff was a complete failure and doesn't help Ghost even in the slightest in any matchup while the nerf it received is a great deal to make the Ghost even worse in mid-late game. All Ghost needed to have to be in a good spot was to revert to pre-patch and change Steady Targeting mechanic to not be cancelled in TvZ instead, even at the cost of a nerf in damage and cast time. This alone would solve a lot of issues in the matchup, including late game issues with Bio.

    The new patch headed in the right direction but it had lost a TON of opportunities to make the game better, not to mention the useless neosteel frame upgrade left unaddressed for 7 years despite massive player feedback. I would not expect nothing less from developers who said recently that Cyclones are a good option against Broodlords but, at the very least, listen the proplayers and community feedback and FIX StarCraft II ASAP.
    Its a good step in the right direction.
    darn, I really loved the 13 kills my oracle gets :/

    well done Blizz
    snipe should still be instant but be on a timed CD and do a flat amount of damage ignoring armour I think this should make Ghosts Viable again. The interrupt sucks considering;

    fungal = instant

    Storm = Instant
    Feedback - Instant
    I can't believe the ghost change. People might actually start spamming nukes which is a total nightmare to play against. People will use ghosts with a mech camp style, not bio.

    You are buffing terran insanely hard vs both races, but its only protoss that is too strong at the moment.
    11/17/2017 10:21 AMPosted by Balance Team
    Also we have been getting feedback about Ghost usage in regards to cost and how they can be a bit inconsistent. Here we wanted to buff Steady Targeting slightly and adjust the cost of Ghosts to better fit in with Bio oriented playstyles.

    Ghost
    Cost changed from 200 Minerals / 100 Vespene Gas to 150 / 125
    When interrupted by damage Steady Targeting returns 50 energy to the Ghost.

    Returning energy on interrupted Steady Targeting should help Terran players who keep their cool under pressure and retarget the ability. Also while the cost change is an overall reduction, Vespene Gas is usually seen as more valuable, except to high level Marine oriented Bio play. This should make it a more competitive choice for players.


    Never have I ever been so excited to see a feedback post regarding Ghosts.... just about brings a tear to ma eye.... How long have we been asking for this?! I love you guys! BibleThump
    All I want to say as a Terran player is, this is the best Community Update I have ever read. And I have read a lot of them.
    I've been critical of the balance team for not testing as many changes with units like the Ghost, but I am glad that they have heard our feedback. This is really solid list of tuning changes that doesn't immediately nerfhammer anything.

    Hopefully they continue to remain in contact with the community about further tuning changes before the major tournaments begin for the next cycle.
    I think it is super awesome that these balance changes are coming in so fast. Nice job Balance Team! We appreciate your hard work.
    Really amazing start blizzard :D this is an awesome direction to go in. I am really happy you guys made good changes quick, and while I know you gave Terran a lot of buffs just now would it be possible to also give us back the older marauder? This would allow stalkers to remain in the spot they are at the moment without needing to touch them. I find a problem with TvP is that you can get both Zealots and Stalkers to synergize very well and scale amazingly with upgrades. The marauder at the moment does not scale quite as well. But great work regardless blizzard!! amazing job!
    11/17/2017 10:21 AMPosted by Balance Team
    Infestor
    Fungal Growth Area of Effect reduced from 2.5 to 2.25.
    Fungal Growth can no longer be cast while burrowed.
    Infested Terran cast range reduced from 9 to 7


    I just wanna point out that you have to be very careful with that. Those changes seem fine for tvz but i would argue that protoss is now stronger than zerg mid and early game. With these changes you bring back skytoss and make zerg weaker at any point in the matchup.

    Especially the range change make it so carrier can always outmicro infested terrans due to the low mobility. On top of that we have fungal cast unborrowed while high templar stay stealthed under mothership and can insta feedback now all infestors since they always see them. How is that ever supposed to be cost efficient. You basically revert all the buffs to zerg vs skytoss but retain the gateway unit buffs. All we have left then is the lurker change vs toss.

    EDIT: for all the downvotes, check out the vod from wardiiis weekly finals scarlett vs hellraiser game 2 (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/202394669 around 3:07:00 the kiting begins). Scarlett had 40 infestor and were fighting a full carrier army without hts under spores. Still she lost, because he could always back off and drain her infestors energy with sacrificing his interceptors. As long interceptors are that cheap protoss can do this alsmost infinitely. With infestors nerfed this kiting and energy draining is even easier.

    PS: i would ofc rather prefer a real anti air, not this mass caster playstyle. I dont ask for a infestor buff or that it stays like it is, just a reminder that skytoss is still very threatening even without the nerfs.
    Very good patch, thanks for not destroying ITs BTW.
    great infestor change for ZvP lategame, so one more year of skytoss :D
    Wow great changes! I am looking forward to see how the game changes with these. This looks like you guys have been watching recent tournaments and it makes me optimistic about the future. Keep at it blizzard!
    This is really good and fair patch from blizzard, i usually think they are doing everything afwull, but this patch looks actually good, im happy with it (zmain)

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