The Widow Mine: Almost There

General Discussion
Greetings.

The Widow Mine has probably seen the most changes in beta, along with the Oracle. We've watched it go from a suicide unit to a dependable unit for mech.

Yes, I said dependable.

I have seen excellent play with WM's, with many uses, and they mix well with bio, reducing the difficulty of tech switching (also they and they integrate well into mech: they offer the map control and mobility mech needs without ruining mech play. They are able to act as counters to Immortals, and create reliable base defenses. In short, they help with a lot of mech's short coming, and are not 'death-ballish'. This is a good thing, but the Widow Mine still needs a little more work, in my opinion. It is very close to being what it should be, but I would want a few more changes.

Proposed Widow Mine Stats and Changes

  • Widow Mine primary damage reduced to 120.
  • Widow Mine splash damage reduced to 35.
  • Drilling claws also reduce WM 'delay' in acquiring targets.
  • WM splash damage also deals an additional 5-15 damage to shields (upgrade potentially).
  • (NOTE: I do not have beta, so this may be incorrect). WM's can be qued to burrow and attack a specific target.
  • Cooldown reduced to 30 seconds.

  • Reasoning for Changes:

    Primary damage to 120-
    My reasoning for this was for the sake that the WM can one shot Marauder, but not the Roach and Stalker. As these three units are the 'core' ground units, I felt it would be fair if either they are all one-shotted, or none of them. Also, the WM receives some buffs in my suggestions, so i wanted a little nerfing as well.

    At 120, they will still one-shot Mutalisks, and so will still counter them, and the change is subtle enough that the 'nerf' likely won't be noticed. Recently, a potential change was announced for the WM to deal 125 + 35 vs shields.

    http://eu.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/6533624206?page=8#152

    However, I have some qualms with this. If shield damage is applied before the 125, it will one-shot Stalkers and Zealots. Right now, the WM does enough damage to severely weaken Stalkers and Zealots so that other forces can quickly kill them. Also, this wouldn't make much of a difference with Immortals, as removing their shields is the primary goal, and this is already done. While this upgrade would help in destroying Protoss units, I feel there is a better buff.

    Splash deals an additional 5-15 points of shield damage.-
    The WM is already good against Immortals, but it is not efficient enough overall. Instead of single target damage as Blizzard proposes, shield damage should be in splash. If high enough, this would help to punch through many shields at once, potentially being an alternative to EMP's. Splash would allow more damage to be done over all, but it would not be overpowered, as it only applies to shields. This method helps to prevent Protoss from A-moving into Terran by weakening them enough so the army can trade evenly, instead of killing off individual units.

    Splash reduced to 35-
    A necessary nerf because of the cool-down buff. At 35, it will still one-shot Banelings and Zerglings, meaning micro must be used to avoid damage. No workers can be killed in one hit either. I do not think it is fair that one race's workers can survive the attack, but the other two cannot. Besides, having one unit that can kill massive amounts of workers in a second is not fun (see Oracle threads!), and with the Hellbat drops and Medivac speed, this helps to reduce OP drop problems.

    Drilling Claws reduces delay-
    The WM has a slight delay to target units, which is excellent for early game, but mid to late game the WM suffers. Blizzard wants the WM to be a core mech unit, and Drilling Claws is awesome for this, but the delay means that WM's are hard to use in a battle, unless they are planted before hand. To allow more micro use of WM's (see que suggestions), a shorter delay allows WM's to be used directly in combat, and makes them much better as a core unit.

    Allow qued commands to burrow and attack-
    Again, if this is inaccurate, I apologize. The WM should be able to be instructed to burrow, and then attack a select target. This same feature should also be applied to when it is burrowed, instead of selecting the first target to come in range. This is too increase micro potential, and to make the WM more efficient at handling high value targets. Targeting Immortals and other units is crucial, particularly later game. Again, this helps the WM to be more useful as a core unit.

    Reduce cool down to 30 seconds-
    The reason for this is obvious; the WM feels a little slow, especially past the early game. As I suggested several nerfs to the mine already (weakened primary and splash damage), this is to make the WM less powerful, but more usable. It still will have a hefty cool down time, but at least it won't feel like a year. Additionally, this helps (along with the other buffs) to justify the 2 supply cost for the WM. If necessary, this could be an upgrade, but I doubt it.

    TL;DR:
    Final thoughts
    I believe these suggestions can help make the WM a more fun and useful unit. The overall theme is to increase WM usability and versatility (particularly with a focus on improved micro potential), while reducing the amount of damage it deals. Also, buffs are given to improve it against shields, and to make the WM more of a core unit. Overall the WM is being buffed, but I believe this is the right thing to do to justify its 2 supply, and greater success with the WM will depend on skill.

    Any questions or comments are greatly appreciated. I will also go back and edit the post (I'll note which parts) if discussion can provide better solutions to what I proposed, because I am by no means a balance master. Still, I think these changes can help the Widow Mine be the unit Terran needs.
    I dont want to pull numbers or suggestions out of my !@#, but i think the following changes will happen to the widow mine whether in beta or after release:

    Cooldown reduced.
    Damage reduced.
    bonus vs shield will probably happen.

    just a feeling, but Im probably wrong like most people who pull suggestions and predictions out of their $%^.

    your suggestions are decent though.
    02/06/2013 10:04 PMPosted by Allon
    Drilling claws also reduce WM 'delay' in acquiring targets.


    This could have unintentional side affects.

    Targeting the first unit in many cases is worse than waiting for the group to be on top of you.

    I dunno, just thinking :S
    02/06/2013 10:10 PMPosted by fingrknitter
    Drilling claws also reduce WM 'delay' in acquiring targets.


    This could have unintentional side affects.

    Targeting the first unit in many cases is worse than waiting for the group to be on top of you.

    I dunno, just thinking :S


    No, you're right. What was thinking of was that Blizzard obviously wants for the WM to be used in front line combat, but the delay makes it difficult to get the WM in range and fire, especially if detection is out.

    Kinda sucks both ways, huh?
    I dont want to pull numbers or suggestions out of my !@#, but i think the following changes will happen to the widow mine whether in beta or after release:

    Cooldown reduced.
    Damage reduced.
    bonus vs shield will probably happen.

    just a feeling, but Im probably wrong like most people who pull suggestions and predictions out of their $%^.

    your suggestions are decent though.


    I bet/hope those things happen.
    I was looking at unit health in particular, along with the common strategies that WM's are used for, and tried to balance around that.

    i also really want to push for more control and micro for it though, especially if it's going to see front line use.
    02/06/2013 10:04 PMPosted by Allon
    In short, they help with a lot of mech's short coming, and are not 'death-ballish'.

    For a unit to not be 'death-ballish', as you put it, they're meant to be discouraging when made in numbers or grouped with an army. The Widow Mine does not suffer particularly much from either of these.

    And to say the Widow Mine adds anything to Mech is silly. Tanks have the same functional presence, save for the anti-air and stealth bit.
    02/06/2013 10:20 PMPosted by Allon


    This could have unintentional side affects.

    Targeting the first unit in many cases is worse than waiting for the group to be on top of you.

    I dunno, just thinking :S


    No, you're right. What was thinking of was that Blizzard obviously wants for the WM to be used in front line combat, but the delay makes it difficult to get the WM in range and fire, especially if detection is out.

    Kinda sucks both ways, huh?


    Kinda like autocast banelings :S
    In short, they help with a lot of mech's short coming, and are not 'death-ballish'.

    For a unit to not be 'death-ballish', as you put it, they're meant to be discouraging when made in numbers or grouped with an army. The Widow Mine does not suffer particularly much from either of these.

    And to say the Widow Mine adds anything to Mech is silly. Tanks have the same functional presence, save for the anti-air and stealth bit.


    I disagree. Death ball is when you A-move, with little need for micro, spells, or positioning. Widow Mines have to be microed the whole way, and you can't A-move them. You have to burrow them. Also, large numbers are not always a death ball, like Zerglings. Widow Mines are also used for map control and base defense when the mech army is away. Yes, it can be used in the deathball, but everything can at some point. The Widow Mine works best if you don't use it as a death ball unit, which is good.

    I really have to disagree with you that the Widow Mine brings nothing to mech. It allows for defense at your bases due to mech's immobility. They also provide great map control, ambushes, and harass; the last two are unique from the Hellion that the mine is instant damage. Their speed is awesome for addressing the immobility of mech (a problem in SC2 which is much faster) without ruining the fundamentals of it. The WM helps fill out these roles with the Hellion, which is closer to the mech army, I would say in general, particularly now that they can become Hellbats.

    Widow Mines also help to combat air units, which is not a necessity, but is really nice to making mech less easily counterable. Perhaps most importantly, they help with the Immortal problem, without having to alter any other mech units at all.

    Last, WM's really help to solve the tech switch problem. Like, a LOT. They require no upgrades to be effective, so bio can use them while they transition. Also, they synergize well with bio, and are always useful in any match up, even if it's just defense.
    02/06/2013 10:24 PMPosted by TropicalBob
    For a unit to not be 'death-ballish', as you put it, they're meant to be discouraging when made in numbers or grouped with an army. The Widow Mine does not suffer particularly much from either of these.


    thats not actually the case. For a unit not to be deathballish, it has to be good when made in low numbers and spread out. It doesn't necessarily have to be bad when made in high numbers.

    Look at protoss. Pretty much all their units are bad in low numbers or split up across the map.
    Instead:
    Cost increased too 125/50
    cooldown reduced to 30
    now can hold up 2 charges
    cooldown for shooting the 1 charge then another is 12 seconds
    Damage reduced to 110/45 splash.
    Speed reduced to 2.5
    Upgrade added to increase its speed to 3.25(armory)
    i've found ways to beat them, but i think that helbats and widow mines force zerg into a zergling-free ZvT style. There shouldn't be units that counter zerg core units that well. Just because there are helbats/widow mines on the field doesn't mean that all my tech investment in zerglings should be completely wasted, and it shouldn't mean that I'm never allowed to invest in them. These units have made zerglings to zerg in HotS ZvT as hydra were in WoL ZvT.

    its very disappointing :(


    I think the primary reason is too stop Ling counter attacks. Mech can have a hard time dealing with this, unless you happen to have Hellions nearby. I do agree Hellbats shut Lings down too hard, but the WM you can micro one ling in, and then you're good.
    02/06/2013 11:46 PMPosted by Nasreth
    splitting units hardly works for zerg because... well we're primarily melee/low range, so all you have to do is stay fairly clumped up and we'll naturally clump up around your army.


    Yeah, I've thought of that before too. On the bright side, it does encourage Hydralisk play!
    Instead:
    Cost increased too 125/50
    cooldown reduced to 30
    now can hold up 2 charges
    cooldown for shooting the 1 charge then another is 12 seconds
    Damage reduced to 110/45 splash.
    Speed reduced to 2.5
    Upgrade added to increase its speed to 3.25(armory)


    I wouldn't want to do this for a couple of reasons. The WM is nice as a cheaper, quickly built unit to help with mech's incredible slow remax times. Also, Zerg has enough problems with WM's already, and beefing them even more might make them OP. I also don't want the mines to be blindingly fast, as that isn't mech's style. Yes, they are much faster than the rest of mech units, but they aren't Reapers.
    However, I have some qualms with this. If shield damage is applied before the 125, it will one-shot Stalkers and Zealots. Right now, the WM does enough damage to severely weaken Stalkers and Zealots so that other forces can quickly kill them. Also, this wouldn't make much of a difference with Immortals, as removing their shields is the primary goal, and this is already done. While this upgrade would help in destroying Protoss units, I feel there is a better buff.
    I imagine that one-shotting Zealots and Stalkers is kind of the point.

    If you didn't notice, Mech anti-ground attacks are slow but strong. Very prone to accidently wasting an entire Thor volley on a Zealot with 25 HP, instead of using it on a Zealot with full HP. Same goes for Siege Tanks, other Widow Mines, and to a lesser extent, even Hellbats.

    Primary damage to 120-
    My reasoning for this was for the sake that the WM can one shot Marauder, but not the Roach and Stalker. As these three units are the 'core' ground units, I felt it would be fair if either they are all one-shotted, or none of them. Also, the WM receives some buffs in my suggestions, so i wanted a little nerfing as well.

    At 120, they will still one-shot Mutalisks, and so will still counter them, and the change is subtle enough that the 'nerf' likely won't be noticed. Recently, a potential change was announced for the WM to deal 125 + 35 vs shields.
    1) There is no problem that I see with the Widow Mine one-shotting Marauders but not Roaches or Stalkers in terms of gameplay.
    2) Nerfing for the sake of nerfing? That doesn't make a lot of sense.

    Splash reduced to 35-
    A necessary nerf because of the cool-down buff. At 35, it will still one-shot Banelings and Zerglings, meaning micro must be used to avoid damage. No workers can be killed in one hit either. I do not think it is fair that one race's workers can survive the attack, but the other two cannot. Besides, having one unit that can kill massive amounts of workers in a second is not fun (see Oracle threads!), and with the Hellbat drops and Medivac speed, this helps to reduce OP drop problems.
    I don't know how else to say this, so I'm going to be blunt.

    There's almost no way that a Protoss player is going to let a Medivac drop units inside their mineral line without warping in Stalkers, being ready to pull probes, and having units already standing by to defend. A drop of Bio units is almost as punishing. It takes a full four seconds to burrow a Widow Mine, in which time eight stimmed Marines can kill a dozen or more Probes- not to mention the unload time. Both one-base Terran players and two-base Terran players do drops against Protoss, so Protoss will be prepared for drops.

    You might rely on the alert, but that doesn't work all of the time. Sometimes the Terran does two drops, or pokes at your army, or just straight-up attacks.

    It's similar when playing Zerg against Hellion drops. The only major difference is that Widow Mines can kill Queens as well, and not just Drones.

    End result is that Widow Mine drops are very all-or-nothing.

    02/06/2013 11:46 PMPosted by Nasreth
    but the WM you can micro one ling in, and then you're good.


    except that once you have the drilling claws upgrade you can wait to burrow your widow mines until the enemy army is literally on top of you. sure, you might lose a widow mine or 2, but you're guaranteed so much burst damage that it doesn't even matter (plus, all the lings die. all of them).

    splitting units hardly works for zerg because... well we're primarily melee/low range, so all you have to do is stay fairly clumped up and we'll naturally clump up around your army. with stim you can run away for a long enough time for the widow mines to do their damage.
    You clump your Widow Mines and burrow them, you die to Banelings, Fungals, and or Ultralisks. That clumped up and with the two second firing delay, there's no way that you can kill the Ultras and Banelings with the mines before losing at least half of them if not more while doing a heck of a lot of friendly-fire splash damage.

    People spread out their Widow Mines for very good reason. It maximizes the amount of splash damage every individual mine does, aka it doesn't let them overkill, it keeps them from splashing on eachother too much, and it gives the Bio a lot of breathing room to kite, split, and do all the little dances that MMM has to do against Banelings and Infestors without getting overrun by a Zergling flank or some such.

    Drilling Claws reduces delay-
    The WM has a slight delay to target units, which is excellent for early game, but mid to late game the WM suffers. Blizzard wants the WM to be a core mech unit, and Drilling Claws is awesome for this, but the delay means that WM's are hard to use in a battle, unless they are planted before hand. To allow more micro use of WM's (see que suggestions), a shorter delay allows WM's to be used directly in combat, and makes them much better as a core unit.

    Allow qued commands to burrow and attack-
    Again, if this is inaccurate, I apologize. The WM should be able to be instructed to burrow, and then attack a select target. This same feature should also be applied to when it is burrowed, instead of selecting the first target to come in range. This is too increase micro potential, and to make the WM more efficient at handling high value targets. Targeting Immortals and other units is crucial, particularly later game. Again, this helps the WM to be more useful as a core unit.
    Setting it up before hand is kind of the point of it being a mine and not a Marauder.

    It's also very useful as a core unit in TvZ as shown by the recent Day[9] Dailies and the games casted by HuskyStarcraft. In TvT and TvP this remains to be seen, but your suggested changes just weaken the Widow Mine in those match ups -notably TvT- while in some ways strengthening it in TvZ.

    Reducing cool down? Strengthens it greatly in TvZ.
    Decreasing damage? Doesn't do anything to it's effectiveness in TvZ.
    Removing lock-on time/charging time/target delay? Strengthens it against Banelings, Mutalisks, and Ultralisks.

    I just don't see how these changes will make the Widow Mine more of a positional unit. If anything, I think it decreases the amount of positional use you can get out of it.
    doncroft jr
    Widow Mine primary damage reduced to 120.
    Widow Mine splash damage reduced to 35.
    Drilling claws also reduce WM 'delay' in acquiring targets.
    WM splash damage also deals an additional 5-15 damage to shields (upgrade potentially).
    Agreed, and, Upgrade, DEFINITELY :)

    (NOTE: I do not have beta, so this may be incorrect). WM's can be qued to burrow and attack a specific target.
    The reason why WM cannot be used to manually target is because they are no longer suicide units. Making them controlled manually would make them a little too strong, unless their splash was completely removed. This was changed when the WM was changed to non-suicidal.

    02/06/2013 10:04 PMPosted by Allon
    Cooldown reduced to 30 seconds.
    Not necessary. WM on 40s cooldown are plenty good, and don't need to be doing damage more often. That's why you are using Mines as support, and not CORE units...
    02/07/2013 01:46 AMPosted by Ponera
    doncroft jr
    Who are you addressing?
    My reasoning for this was for the sake that the WM can one shot Marauder, but not the Roach and Stalker. As these three units are the 'core' ground units, I felt it would be fair if either they are all one-shotted, or none of them.


    imo it doesn't really matter since it's a mirror matchup. you don't want to overly buff or nerf a particular playstyle in a mirror but it isn't as critical as it would be if we were talking about stalkers being 1 shotted. That could (theoretically) make terran OP vs. protoss

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