Co-op Mission Update: Kerrigan Revamp

Co-op Missions Discussion
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Hi all. Last week, we revealed our planned changes for Nova and heard a lot of solid feedback. We value your carefully thought-out feedback and thus will be making the following adjustments to Nova’s kit.

Hellbat Ranger
  • Jump Jet Assault now provides Hellbat Rangers +4 armor for 5 seconds in addition to its current functionality.
  • Jump Jet Assault is now an autocast ability with a cooldown of 5 seconds, up from 0 seconds.
  • Jump Jet Assault maximum range decreased from 6 to 3.

We heard some feedback that Hellbat Rangers would still be likely to die after they use their Jump Jet Assault ability and we’d like to address this in a variety of ways. First, we’ll be adding armor to Hellbat Rangers when they use their Jump Jet Assault ability so that they’ll be more durable and even more able to utilize their newly increased HP.

We’ll also be adding a cooldown to the ability and reducing the ability’s range. With these changes, we hope that they’ll stay closer together with your army and won’t jump outside the range of Defensive Drones. Hopefully both these changes will allow Jump Jet Assault to feel more like an ability you’ll always want to research.

Covert Banshee
  • Covert Banshee cost decreased from 750/500 to 700/375.
  • The Covert Banshee's Rocket Barrage is reworked to be an autocast ability.
  • Rocket Barrage damage decreased from 150 to 75.
  • Rocket Barrage cooldown decreased from 60 to 15.
  • Rocket Barrage range increased from 6 to 7.
  • Covert Banshee selection priority decreased.

We’ll be looking to take a completely different direction with Covert Banshees than what we initially proposed. First, gas cost was cited as a primary reason for why players chose alternatives such as Heavy Tanks or Raid Liberators. Thus, we’d like to slightly tweak the gas cost such that they won’t be so much of a drain on gas anymore.

Next, players indicated that they’d like a more a-move friendly alternative to the micro-heavy Heavy Tanks or Raid Liberators. As such, we’ve reworked Rocket Barrage to be an autocast ability and will be attempting to balance its numbers around this new functionality.

  • Nova's Attack Speed Mastery replaced with Nova Primary Ability Improvement Mastery. This new Mastery has the following functionality: Increases the ability damage of Nova's primary abilities by 1.67% per point, up to a maximum of 50%.
  • This new Mastery will affect the following abilities:

    • Snipe damage from to 200 to 300.
    • Sabotage Drone damage from 200(400 vs Structures) to 300(600 vs Structures).
    • Penetrating Blast damage from 50(100 vs Light) to 75(150 vs Light).
    • Blink shield damage absorption from 200 to 300.

This was a cool suggestion we found for an alternative to a Nova attack speed or attack damage Mastery. Nova is more of an ability-focused heroic unit rather than an auto-attacking heroic unit, so we’d like to try to lean into this a bit more. For players who prefer to focus more attention on Nova herself rather than her army, this Mastery is perfect for you.

We’d also like to point out that this Mastery also happens to synergize well with other aspects of Nova’s kit, such as Operational Efficiency, and Nova’s Energy Regeneration Mastery.

This week, we’ll also delve into changes we’d like to make for another Psionic specialist, Kerrigan. Kerrigan is fairly well-rounded and powerful commander, but as some have noted, her Spire units may leave a bit to be desired. Our changes will focus on these Spires units, but first…

Omega Worm
  • Omega Worms are now detectors.

This was a commonly requested feature that will allow the Omega Worm to be an alternative for Overseers as a form of detection. Ground-based armies will now be able to rely on Omega Worms for detection while air-based armies can continue relying on Overseers.

Assimilation Aura
  • Resource Drops from Assimilation Aura can now be picked up by air units.

This is a small quality of life changes to help out mass-air armies. Like Abathur’s Biomass and Part & Parcel’s Parts, Kerrigan will now be able to pick up resource drops with any of her units.

  • Mutalisk range increased from 3 to 5.
  • The Mutalisk's Vicious Glave will now increase each Glave's search radius from 3 to 5. It previously increased it to 4.
  • The Mutalisk's Sundering Glave upgrade renamed to the Severing Glave upgrade. It now has the following additional functionality: Each subsequent bounce of the Mutalisk's attack now increases the damage dealt by 10% instead of reducing it.

Mutalisks are challenging to balance for a co-op audience, because like Wraiths, there were initially designed as harassment units to be used in a Versus mode. In addition, both Swann and Kerrigan share the problem of owning another unit on the ground that fulfills a similar role, the Goliath and Hydralisk respectively.

Our solution is as follows: as with the changes we’ve made to Swann’s Wraiths, we’ll be looking to lean into the Mutalisk’s harassment fantasy as much as possible. The changes we’re thinking of for the Mutalisk are designed to allow players to hit-and-run enemies near the outskirts of their maximum range. Hopefully, when players use Mutalisks in this fashion, they’ll be able to deal massive amounts of damage without taking much in return. That being said, they’ll still be as fragile as ever, so a-moving into combat is not advised!

Brood Lord
  • Brood Lords respawn 2 Broodlings with each attack, up from 1.

Brood Lords are one of the most powerful units in the Versus mode, but since they don’t have too many bonuses in Co-op, they haven’t translated so well to the mode. Currently, Brood Lords fire 2 Broodlings with their initial attack and then only 1 Broodling with each subsequent attack. After the proposed change, Brood Lords will consistently fire 2 Broodlings at a time, keeping up their Broodling output, instilling constant maximum chaos throughout the enemy ranks.
  • The Porous Cartilage upgrade now increases the acceleration of Brood Lords from 1.0625 to 1.875 in addition to the current functionality.

Brood Lords also currently feel a bit unresponsive after their speed upgrade because their base acceleration stays the same. After this change, Brood Lords will reach their top speed faster and slow to a complete stop to fire more responsively.

  • Prolonged Mutating Carapace Mastery replaced with Primary Ability Damage and Attack Speed Mastery. The Primary Ability Damage Mastery increases the damage of Kerrigan's Leaping Strike and Psionic Shift and Kerrigan's attack speed by 1% per point, up to a maximum of 30%.

The Prolonged Mutating Carapace Mastery was designed to allow players who wanted to focus on Kerrigan’s heroic unit to have more power and fun. However, it ran into a few issues. First, it was difficult to communicate to players exactly what it did as Mutating Carapace is relatively complex to explain. In addition, it’s up against one of the most powerful masteries in the game, Expeditious Evolutions.

Thus, we gave ourselves a challenge to redesign the Mastery so that it improved Kerrigan’s heroic unit in a visible and powerful way, which could compete against Expeditious Evolutions given the right situations and playstyle. The Mastery we came up with increases Kerrigan’s damage output in a variety of ways and will synergize with both of Kerrigan’s Set 1 Masteries (Kerrigan Energy Regeneration and Kerrigan Attack Damage). It’s one of the most powerful Hero-based Masteries we’ve ever designed and hopefully will stand some chance against Expeditious Evolutions.

There is debate among Co-op communities regarding whether Kerrigan or Dehaka is the most powerful heroic unit in the game and from what we’ve seen, Dehaka seems to be winning out lately. Maybe this Mastery is exactly what Kerrigan needs to allow her to compete once again?

Going Forward
Though the changes for Kerrigan are few, we think they’ll be especially impactful, especially for Spire players. And though we’re very excited for Nova and Kerrigan changes, we’re even more excited for upcoming Zagara changes that we’ll be ready to share next week. The number of changes for Zagara will rival what we’ve done in the past for Han & Horner and Fenix and will encompass almost her entire kit. See you next week!

Kevin Dong
Co-op Commander Designer
Holy cow, those Nova changes! These are much better and I think they address the current issues very well!
Thx!!!but when day does it announce new commander and map??
Mutalisk damage output should be much higher now with the bounces included, and the mastery for Kerrigan should let her solo most missions. Looking forward to those changes!
Worms now have detector! This is a good day. I will sacrifice a goat to honor Amon.

Is there anyway to speed up the resurrection time for Kerrigan? We can spend minerals and drones to bring Nova and Dehaka back faster. Is there a way we can use queen’s inject to do that for Kerri, and Zagara as well?

Frankly their queen is quite obsolete in coop as we can just use our over 9000 minerals to build hatches. Doing this may give the queen a role in Kerri and Zagara’s army.
Solid looking changes. Looking forward to Zagara's retooling and the next commander assuming you plan to launch it with the next balance patch.
The Nova changes are great, a bit disappointed that the Marauder wasn't taken another look at though.
The nova changes look great. Good work balance team!
Banshee change is really good. The huge CD reduction is really game-changing. Currently, the only viable strategy against light comps (notably ling-bane-muta) is nova's shot gun or siege tanks.

Now the banshee change can potentially open up banshee/liberator style against swarmy zerg or other light comps and it is more micro-friendly than using nova herself, because I find it quite challenging to micro Nova and avoid scourges at the same time! I can focus on spamming heat seekers to scourges now.
05/31/2018 11:24 AMPosted by SneakyBeat
Solid looking changes. Looking forward to Zagara's retooling and the next commander assuming you plan to launch it with the next balance patch.

Hahaha. Doubtful. We can all dream though!
Couple thoughts

-All very good with Nova

-Disappointed with Omega detection, seems to make it too easy. Perhaps make the Omega Network require 2-4 supply to balance?

-like the Mastery (since it boosts carapace, it works well)

-Good air upgrades (mutas will shred anything that doesn't shred them first)
BUG alert
-Will abathur's mutas have these upgrades as well (because he doesn't need them)
...Abathur should not get these upgrades, but he might get them through a bug

-when will the Phoenix/Mirage range upgrade for Karax and Artanis be fixed (the damage buff they got killed their range upgrade)
Like the Nova Banshee change, thou wished you would also give them increased attack range and rocket barrage auto attack, just like Raynor's banshees now have. The fantasy is that Nova's units are elite versions of those base units after all.

One issue with air you failed to address is the missing ability to heal up your air unit. Ground units gain regeneration on creep, while brood lords would need to rely on queens. Still, a good change, thou will prefer the amazing mobility with worms instead of using air units that are a bit less mobile. I like the changes to air however.

One thing you could do is make malignant creep work on buildings, or at least give them health regeneration.

Could help boost Kerrigan's static defense and open up a new play-style if the spores and spikes could regenerate after combat. Could even make for some fun micro uprooting damaged spores, letting them stay back and heal up over time.

Speaking of static defense, I really do wish Zagara's revamp opens up this playstyle for her as well. She is perfect for it, making two drones at once, which also makes her spores cheaper. Just needs a less micro intensive way to heal them back up after an engagement.
I take my words back. thank you for your work, Kevin.
wow... no more overseers. and..

wow! super kerrigan. 30atk or 45% regenerate+ 66.7% stun wave(enough to take out liberators and zerg buried units)+30% ability dmg and atk speed

super mutalisks. However,they are still fragile and expansive, but who cares, as long as they don't get blow up by Raven missile.

brood lords... idk, it just doubles the dmg for attacks after the first shot and it flies faster.

Nova ability dmg mastery is bada*s as well. btw, +30 attack mastery is cool too, when it comes to AOE effect with short gun.

yeah, it is a new ago for coop...
oh... just don't get to excited. I wonder if this will make to final release, since everything is just way too great. I dig it because who doesn't like strong characters, but I doubt it because it is just too great. The change is just too great to make me wonder if it is a blizzard game....
I have to say that I am pretty darn impressed with the Nova changes in response to the feedback from last week! I am sure I was not the only one who might have been feeling like community feedback was not really being considered on more things aside from one or two token things.

But these new Nova changes have cleared any and all doubts I had. Covert Banshees changes look real good, and I look forward to testing out them and the Rangers, now that they won't always leap to their doom. Ability power mastery is even better than I could have hoped for, and I am really glad you all realized that Nova really is a mage hero that could benefit from boosts to her spells.

Kerrigan changes look great. The mastery change in particular seems a lot better than what I had come up with in the past, which was just boosting the effect of the Carapace mastery so that at max mastery, her Mutating Carapace regenerates rather than degenerates. The direction you chose seems much better, since doing damage still generates shields and increases durability.

Worms gaining detection seems like a great alternative to just slapping Kerrigan with a Detection-granting research at the Evo chamber, like others have often suggested.

I look forward to whatever neat ideas you have for granting Zagara easier detection in a unique manner, in addition to the other changes she desperately needs.
Looking good.
Nothing to add here.
I’ll be waiting for Zaggy now.
05/31/2018 11:29 AMPosted by Zyne
The Nova changes are great, a bit disappointed that the Marauder wasn't taken another look at though.
Literally the last thing we can complain about for Nova, but I am overly satisfied with this response to our feedback. I really did not expect these levels of adjustment to our suggestions.


As it has been mentioned several times, it would be nice if Kerrigan stays in the first slot of the Omega worm so that it would be much easier to get her out first to start destroying stuff.

I am prepared for the Zagara changes.
Thanks for the great updates for both Nova and Kerrigan!

A few things Kerrigan might still need:

- Quality of life on Omega worm: When Kerrigan's hordes of army are inside the worm, it's so hard to just find and pick out Kerrigan. Can you make it so that Kerrigan always appear on the very first in the worm?

- Leaping strike rollback: Kerrigan used to be able to use "Leap Strike" to leap and do a burst of damage any unit whether they are cloaked or not. There even was a special animation shown when Kerrigan leaps and kicks out a lurker underground (its dead body gets pulled out!). I always felt like popping a bubble wrap whenever I kill a buried lurker or a buried sworm host with leaping strike!! I know I can still kill them by using psionic shift (not to mention omega worm will become a detector), it's that feeling I need back. Can you please roll back leaping strike so that it can attack cloaked unit again?

- Brood Lord auto HP regen: Since Kerrigan's air units don't benefit from "Malignant Creep", it takes forever for brood lords to regenerate HP. Their sustainability is too low. What if they receive Mutalisk's Rapid Regeneration so that brood lord can also regen their HP out of battle?

Thanks! :)
05/31/2018 11:03 AMPosted by monk
we’ll be looking to lean into the Mutalisk’s harassment fantasy as much as possible

05/31/2018 11:03 AMPosted by monk
as harassment units to be used in a Versus mode

this is the type of conclusion i dont get. If the mutalisk is supposed to do an harrassment based unit with its purpose designed for the VERSUS mode of the game, why emphasize this in COOP?

The proposed muta changes aint gonna fix the problem at hand. They are far too underachieving for a unit that costs 100 gas.
There are very few opportunities where its actually a good idea to built mutas (robo toss comes to mind, gotta love those colossi), and all you are doing is to emphasize their niche playstyle even more.
On top of that, if you want to use mutas outside of their niche, you end up having to micro both kerrigan and the muta ball, with one error being gg. Is that really the direction you guys want to take?

The other changes i like very much. Especially this one

05/31/2018 11:03 AMPosted by monk
Omega Worms are now detectors.
it does force the use of omega worms, which should be a given for any kerrigan player anyway, but i also do agree that the worm maybe should get an HP debuff? Or make the inital structure cost like 1-2 supply.

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