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Saturday, December 27, 2008

SC2 Q&A Batch 47

StarCraft II Q&A Batch 47

1. In the original StarCraft, most air units can move and fire, vultures have fast rotating times and can shoot backwards and run forward instantaneously with enough micro. In StarCraft II, there have been some concerns from players who have played the game, that the unit movement animations are getting in the way of micro. Will such animation cancelling techniques still be possible in StarCraft II? - Team Liquid

Both macro and micro-control are very important in StarCraft II as well, and when it comes to micro-control like Vulture’s moving and shooting in the original StarCraft, it is still possible to focus on micro control with the units.

For example, Mutalisks can fire while moving, with micro. And certain ground units, like the Marauders with the slow attack or Roaches with fast regeneration, benefit greatly from moving and shooting, but they still need to stop to shoot. The Hellion is also interesting, because the Hellion is a unit that has high burst, long delay between attacks, splash damage type, as well as a fast movement speed, so it can be used for kiting purposes as well as closing in the distance after every shot to do max possible damage. Eg, shoot once, close the gap, shoot again, close the gap even more, so that you don’t waste a single shot, but with each movement, you are doing a lot more damage.
StarCraft II also has a firing on the move unit -- the Void Ray. The Void Ray can move closer to an enemy unit while continuing to fire at it, and because the damage type builds up over time, it would be more ideal to finish off that one unit that’s trying to run away or back up before engaging a brand new target.

2. Do you plan to introduce consume (cannibalism) as one of the zerg features? For example, in Starcraft I, defilers ate zerglings to gain 50 energy (it is possible to introduce consume for ultralisks which will gain 50 life after eating a zergling or another unit) - Unbreakab1e (USEast)

We don’t have the consume ability in the game now, but if consume is considered as necessary to the game, you will see this ability in StarCraft II. Currently Zerg has caster units like the Infestor, Queen, Overlord, and Overseer. Infestors can move while burrowed, which means it can regenerate energy again away from the battle. The Queen has already powerful skills and combat ability. Overlords can fly and mutate the creep without any energy. Overseers also can fly so that they can earn some time to regenerate their energy as well. If the current Zerg casters having the consume ability, it could make them too powerful and strong.

3. Will there be custom water units? For custom maps and Scumedit will players be able to make units that swim/float. Also will there be special units designed for water, but only available on the Scumedit, like a shark-like zerg or protoss water vessel. Obv. I know these won’t be in multiplayer ladder, I only mean for custom maps. - Imperial_wizard (Lordaeron)

We haven’t finalized the decision about the exact extent of support for custom maps and Scumedit yet.

4. Maps have always been important to keep SC balanced, fun and competitive. We have already seen you have some interesting new tools to help multiplayer map designers balance their maps such as tall grass that blocks vision of ground units. What other new terrain elements are we gonna see in SC2 to make interesting competitive maps? – VIB (Team Liquid)

Currently there are Xel’Naga Watch Tower, Grass, and Destructible Rocks in the map. We will be pleased to add more if we can design other features which will make the game more exciting and balanced as well.

5. The Thor was built by an SCV at first, but since quite time now it is built like a normal unit in the factory. Was this changed due to design or balance reasons? -

We changed this due to the balance reason. Before the change, you could build as many Thors as you want at the same time with your SCVs, as long as you have resources, with one Barrack and an Armory. We decided that this can be too much benefit to Terran, and we changed that Thor could be built from a Factory.

6. Zerg has cliff-scaling units? – Scumlord (USEast)

We want to keep three races different and they do not necessarily have the same ability units. Currently Zerg do not have a cliff-scaling unit, like the Reaper in Terran or Colossus in Protoss. However, Zerg still can expand very quickly and have other movement advantages like 30% additional speed on creep. They also have the combination of Overlord’s creep generating ability and Nydus Network as a very powerful tool to attack opponent’s main base or expansion. Also, Overlords are currently able to transport Zerg units like the original StarCraft.

7. I noticed that in the Protoss demo the Protoss buildings when warped in, had there surfaces visibly warped in, like in the original StarCraft. However, in recent builds and footage, Protoss buildings just appear after the building animation. Is this just a temporary thing, or is it really gone? - Ultimasx (

Warp-in of Protoss buildings should be one effect for all with the final frames unique showing the specific buildings structure phasing in.

--End of Transmission--

SC2 Q&A Batch 46

---StarCraft II Q&A Batch 46---

1. In StarCraft II, will there be friendly fire? – Xigon(

Yes, friendly fire is still available in StarCraft II. You can take out cloaked units attacking your base by using friendly fire on your own unit and giving splash damage to cloaked enemy units, which has been executed by many players in the original StarCraft. For example, if you play Zerg, you can kill Dark Templar attacking your Hatchery, by targeting your Banelings to attack your Hatchery near the invading Dark Templar.

2. Trilogy is Beginning, mid and end, or is it the same story told from three points of view? – Lolod(

The stories will be sequential. The Zerg story will begin from the end of the Terran story, and Protoss story will begin from the end of the Zerg story.

3. Are there any special animations for units which are standing around doing nothing for a long time? (StarCraft 2 Source)

There will be multiple animations for units which are idle.

4. What is the optimum procedure for the new gas mechanic? Should a player mine both gases at the same time and cycle the inactive workers (when the geyser goes down) to the minerals? Or should a player mine only one geyser and alternate the workers between the two? (StarCraft 2 Forums)

It totally depends on what your strategy is in the game. For example, you can mine two at the same time and double up your gas supply to build up certain armies or tech up very quickly. Or if you need more continuous and stable gas supply for your strategy, you can switch off your workers between the two gases with your micro-controls.

5. What Protoss unit is now the best option to counter mass enemy air units? The Phoenix lost its overload ability which was really the only Protoss splash damage option other than Psi Storm. (StarCraft 2 Forums)

Against Zerg’s mass air units like Mutalisks, Archons and Psi Storm are still the best counters. Against Terran’s mass air units like Vikings and Banshees, Protoss can still use Phoenixes and focus fire. Vikings currently do additional damage to large ships, rather than light armor.

6. What kind of damage do spells deal? Is there a type “Spell” or don’t they have any specific attack type? (StarCraft 2 Source)

There isn’t a specific “spell” type of damage, but some do additional damage to current types already in the game. For example, Ghost’s Psi Round deals an additional 40 damage to Psionic units. There are ‘special’ ; cases though as well, seen when Psi Storms instantly kill Hallucinations and when a Yamato Cannon will not activate an Immortal’s hardened shields.

ADDON: "Spells" also ignore armor, as well as the Immortal shields.

[StarCraft II Blue Roundup]

How useful Archon have in SC2? i've heard they lost their splash damage and they lost Feedback ability for longtime ago even the Archon have thier splash damage but what improvement Archon have from SC1 ? against Terran , Archon easily defeated by ghost against Zerg , Does Archon still have splash damage ? now the protoss have Immortal with High HP equip with Harden Shield and have longer attack range i think Archon need buff :/ (Pondpond, USWest)

Archons still have their splash damage and are still quite the beasts they were in the original StarCraft. There is no better feeling than watching a group of Archons instantly pop a stacked group of Mutalisks.

Question on Zerg I read this interview about mbs. They said let's say you have 3 baracks in one group you have to press m three times to get 3 marines. Now, let's say I have 3 hatcheries in one group, do i have to press z 3 times for lings, or do i have to press z for each larva=9times? (Shaytan, USEast)

If you have three Hatcheries in one group, press your group number and hit 's' key, you will select all your Larva of three Hatcheries.
And you can hit 'z' as many as you want them to morph to Zerglings.
If you have nine Larvas, you need to hit 'z' nine times to morph all of them to Zerglings.

---End of Transmission---

SC2 Q&A Batch 45

---StarCraft II Q&A Batch 45---

1. Do enemy Zerg units also get a boost on your Creep? (StarCraft 2 Forums)

Yes, enemy Zerg units will still get the speed boost when on creep. Currently, the creep shares no affiliation.

2. Are there abilities that remove creep? (TheWarCenter)

The 2 ways to push that expanding creep is to kill the burrowed creep tumors, or kill those Queens building them. On another note, the creep no longer damages enemy buildings. Through testing, the ability actually affected players adversely in team games where players allied with Zerg players would end up having their units damaged by their friend's creep. In 1vs1 matches, the usefulness of this mechanic was hardly ever used, amongst all the new cooler Zerg strategies that have spawned.

3. Does the creep speed boost apply to zerg air? (TheWarCenter)

No, they do not apply to air units or drones.

4. Won't Reapers, Marauders, Hellions, Siege Tank's splash damage, and Stimpacks be too powerful against a Zerg player? All of that seems pretty well suited to counter masses of low-hp units, like most Zerg ground units. (StarCraft Legacy)

As you know, there is still much balance to be done since we have not even entered into a beta phase yet. With that said, there are several counters still to these Terran units, but Zerg players will be forced to adapt with new units and strategies veering away from some of the original StarCraft strategies. For instance, Roaches and Lurkers are excellent counters to Hellions and Reapers. At a later tech, Infestors simply rock massed units such as Marauders with Fungal Infection, causing them to explode when they die. All the new mechanics and abilities will add many new strategies to your bag of tricks.

5. Can Allies 'merge' their Nydus networks? In other words, can you enter through the Nydus Warren of player A, and exit through the Nydus Worm of player B? (

No, allies can't share Nydus networks between networks, but allied units can enter into another ally's Nydus network.

6. Is the Thor still an anti-air unit? Does it fulfill this role effectively? – Thelorme (

Yes, it is still an anti-air unit with the longest range against air units of any unit in StarCraft II. Visually, we are moving to give the Thor anti-air missiles that will fire from his shoulders, unleashing a devastating barrage from a remarkable range.

Weekly Blue Roundup

1. Warpgate's warp-in (Theoblivion, USWest)

Even though the Warpgate is good enough, I was wondering if the Robotics Facility and Nexus warp-in aswell.

Q u o t e:

Only Gateways can be upgraded to Warp Gates. Gosh...warped in Carriers/Void Rays over an enemy base would be OP! -Karune

2. Reapers and Marauders (Battlenuts, USEast)

Whats units are the reapers good against? Ones they totally own. Also the marauders. Is it more anti toss or anti zerg? Better as a mixed in unit or stand alone? ect

Seems like lings take out reapers well

what are the large walking units in this video are the marauders?

Q u o t e:

Reapers are actually one of the best units against any light units in the game. They kill Zerglings, workers, and even Zealots pretty well with a little maneuvering. Their mines also decimate stationary defenses, as well as tech buildings. They are no doubt one of the best raiders in the game right now.

Marauders on the other hand are probably better mixed, unless you are going up against an all armored ground force. Marauders work well against both Protoss and Zerg. Early game, as mentioned above, they are great for slowing Zealots while Marines do the damage. Against Zerg, they are better suited against those pesky armored Roaches with the fast regen. -Karune

3. Colossus (Communitysc, USEast)

There have been some questions about the Colossus' utility on my website's forums. stebo88 and I have been speculating about possible uses for this 6 food monster. stebo88 used it at Blizzcon to fight some Zerglings and he had to retreat due to the Colossus' low damage (he did get to use its cliff climbing abilities though, the one positive aspect of the situation). In addition to its seeming uselessness, the Colossus costs a large amount of resources...

So I want to ask...what makes the Colossus worth its price? Are the Thermal Lances stronger than stebo thought them to be (against another class of units perhaps)?

Q u o t e:

In my opinion, the Colossus is the most effective when you have more than one. Three seems to be my optimal number, especially against Terran. Medivacs heal at a very fast rate, but only one target at a time. Against a group of Marines with a Medivac, one single Colossus would do virtually nothing, because the damage would be healed through easily. With three Colossi, the Marines would die in one sweep, negating any healing that could be done. A single Colossus is good at softening targets, but with more rapid healing from Medivacs and new units like Roaches, it may not be enough. At that point, you need enough to kill them in one sweep, and when you do have that, it will do significant damage to any army, especially with the additional range upgrade for the Colossus. -Karune

Karune, what are your thoughts on the Colossus attack mechanic? While the numbers can be adjusted in accordance to balance, there's concern that the current attack mechanic is itself a flaw in that it's too situational. Has your team considered enhancing it in any ways, or adding more control to the attack pattern is etches into the ground?

Q u o t e:

Even though the beam is currently shown visually in various ways, the damage is done to all units in that straight line at the same time instantly. That line will always be based on the position you are attacking from, so in that way there is a lot of control as how to use the Colossus.

I definitely wouldn't say the Colossus is too situational either cause this unit is quite useful in both Zerg and Terran matchups. As long as in these matchups, both players continue to adapt to counter each other's strategies, Colossi will surely be brought to the battlefield. -Karune

But what benefits do Colossi have over using units like High Templar or Archons for Zerglings and such? The only differentiating mechanic is the ability to walk up and down cliffs, which is situational in most cases because not every map will be entrenched with cliffs. It seems like Archons will generally be an all-around better unit for fighting the units that the Colossi is also good at.

Q u o t e:

It is true, they all do some form of AoE, but they are very much different from each other. Archons have a range of 2. Colossi have a range of 6, and with the upgrade that becomes 9, as well as increasing the area in which takes damage. The range of the Colossus is what makes it such a great support unit, as well as an awesome raider from cliffs. Additionally, all competitive maps will have cliffs to some degree. -Karune

4. Molecular Displ. & Seismic (Gearvosh, USWest)

So even though I went to Blizzcon, theres still 2 abilities im not sure of.

Firstly what does the Nullifiers Molecular Displacement do? I heard that it shoots a beam of energy and deals extra damage to units of the same type? Can we get more detail on this.

Secondly I keep hearing of a Seismic Thumper ability for the Nighthawk (im positive I never saw this). Supposedly the Thumper stops Zerg from burrowing. Any input?

Q u o t e:

The Molecular Disrupter is a new ability we are testing out on the Nullifier, in which the unit fires a psionic projectile which bounces between units of the same type, doing 10 damage with each hit, up to a maximum of 10 bounces. Thus, if you were to use this ability on 2 Marines (with 40 hit points each, not upgraded), both Marines would die easily. If there were 3 Marines, it would kill 1 Marine and leave the last two at 10 hp each. Currently, the ability costs 125 energy.

Stats are of course all subject to balance.

The Seismic Thumper is no longer in the multiplayer game, but was originally dropped on the battlefield, which slows all units within it's radius by 50% (including friendlies). The only way to stop it was to destroy the Seismic Thumper itself. -Karune

5. Medivac (From the Poll: What do you think about the Medivac?)

Q u o t e:

The Medivac Dropship is a unit that has already gone through quite a bit of discussion since it was introduced. Some were reluctant, many saw its huge potential on site at events and through videos.

The Medivac Dropship is a dropship that heals biological units at an incredible rate and from a range, keep it out of harm's way. This new addition has made the Terran race much more mobile than previously in the original StarCraft. These flying healers have become quite a staple in any Terran army, but we want to hear from you on what you think of it. -Karune

6. Targeting Drone (Shaolin_bboy, USEast)

And the enemy notices it without detectors? (Asides from calculating the damage taken by the units)

Q u o t e:

Even though the drone is stealthed, visually, there will be a red laser coming from the drone aimed at the target, so you will know when there is one around. -Karune

7. Stalkers (Crazyjimlizard, USWest)

When I heard they have a blink, I thought it was 30-60 sec cooldown. Even 15 sec cooldown could be abused.

My teammate and I were talking about it. Blink basically fixes a lot of the problems the old dragoons could have, and gives them some advantages. In SC1, siege tanks could beat Dragoons from a distance, but with blink, the Stalkers can close the distance and avoid more siege tank fire. In SC1, zerglings countered Stalkers, but in SC2, I think Stalkers do a better class of damage vs Zerglings. That stuff is just kids play to the sort of micro you can get out of Stalkers en mass because they're ranged. I've done my share of micro, and people hate it when you use 2 marines to gun down a zealot. Stalkers are even easier to abuse and they scale up.

Lets say you see a bunch of lings on the offensive. The most immediate thing you can do is hail an initial line of fire down. Then when the front guy loses most of his shield, blink him behind the lines. Repeat for the other front line guys. Then you're looking at a situation where you really flee the stalkers, or if you continue the attack. The Zerglings are always looking at losing a few zerglings just to begin the battle with no loss of the Stalkers because they have a community shield in effect.

Q u o t e:

Stalkers still fall to large groups of Zerglings in terms of cost, even with Blink micro. Although, with the additional micro, especially while also using terrain to your advantage, a Protoss player will definitely be able to at least fight a group of Zerglings, rather than being forced to retreat.

In the Sonkie/Yellow game 1, the Blinking micro definitely kept his Stalkers alive longer, though force firing would have ended that battle in the Protoss favor as well, since the Stalker has bonus damage towards armored units like the Roach. Zerglings are still definitely the best counter against Stalkers from the Zerg side, especially since the improved pathing system allows them to get to their ordered locations faster and are able to surround more efficiently.

The cooldown for Blink is perfect in saving Stalkers from death against Roaches which have a much lower rate of dps than Zerglings. Against Zerglings, the cooldown is not fast enough, similar to the announcement video of the Protoss race when the Stalkers were first introduced. -Karune

---End of Transmission---

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Starcraft 2 Blizzcon 2008 Opening Teaser

For all you guys, who weren't able to go to Blizzcon 2008, here is something that would make you regret not going to.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I will destroy everyone in 2009 - Savior

Starcraft pro, Savior at BlizzCon2008 was interviewed and promised one thing...

We are all screwed!!! hehe...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Starcraft 2 will be a Trilogy!

Blizzard Con has given us this update.
Yes! Starcraft 2 will be a Trilogy!

Rob Pardo put up a Powerpoint presentation showing 3 possible routes to go when playing on the single-player campaign.

a) simple like the originals
b) full-out, more cinematics, more (read) EVERYTHING!!!
c) a mixture

It would be a trilogy (StarWars anyone?)

Terran will be first followed by the ZERG then the Protoss.

Now what does this mean?
-Nothing changes in the multiplayer and the skirmish. All races will be implemented
-Each campaign would feel like an epic story. No cliffhangers this time around
-More movies, missions, more EVERYTHING!!! (hopefully not more on the price tag)

Would that mean I can choose what to do? Free to go my way?
Yes. You could select which missions to go about BUT the ending will be the same.

So how long will the campaign last?
It would range from 26-30

Here's the STARMAP of the Terran Campaign

Article by:
Pics credited to Lipton

Monday, September 22, 2008

Frank Pearce talks about Battle.Net 2.0

Frank Pearce talks about Battle.Net 2.0

Expect the following:
* Expect long continued support after the release, as history has shown with the original StarCraft.
* Unsure, but hopefully StarCraft 2 will replace the original StarCraft in Korean eSport. However, as history has shown, the original StarCraft has trumped the newest released RTS - WarCraft III.
* Lessons learned from dealing with WOW cheating will be applied to the new 2.0 and StarCrart 2 platforms. For example, a security token will be implemented that adds an extra layer of protection from account fraud.
* Their main focus in combating piracy of their games is through offering a unique online platform which requires a valid and unique CD key.
* An expansion for StarCraft 2 is not off the table, and “it is definitely something that is in discussion.”
* A StarCraft MMO is nowhere in sight.
* Lowering latency during gameplay is of concern and they are working on reducing overall gameplay lag.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

SC2 Q&A Batch 44

Dustin brought up two scenarios to why Creep Tumors no longer morph into other Zerg defenses:

1) You would be able to creep across the map by moving your creep-spawning base defenses.

2) It would be easier to accidentally end up with buildings off of creep because the creep-generator moved away.

Thus, since the development team definitely wanted to give Zerg mobile defenses, they decided to split the roles of the Creep Tumor and the other Zerg defenses. This also allows for the team to make these Creep Tumors burrowed and very cheap in the latest build.

As always, feel free to give the Devs and I a w00t if your enjoying these Q&As!

---StarCraft II Q&A Batch 44---

1) Is it possible for replays to contain more in depth player statistics such as average clicks per minute, number of hotkeys used, etc.. ? (

Replays will have much more info available in them that will include more detailed stat tracking, as well as other useful eSports related features.

2) Terrans currently appear to be at a disadvantage in terms of troop mobility, (as compared to 'Warp-in' and 'Nydus Worm') are there any plans to bring back the, 'drop-pod' or other new transport mechanic? (

Actually, the Terrans have many units and mechanics that empower them with more mobility than the original StarCraft. The Reaper and Viking is a good example of new units that extend the Terrans raiding capabilities. Furthermore, Medivac Dropships offer more incentive to build lots of Dropships, which translate to more mobility for their entire army. Salvage is also another mechanic that helps in terms of rebuilding and moving a Terran base to new locations. Lastly, the Terrans are still the only side that can pick up and move their whole entire base, as well as being able to load SCVs in their Command Center now, allowing for quicker fast expanding strategies.

3) With the new high ground mechanic in place, an army can't fight units that are on higher ground anymore until they get a spotter up the ledge. Both Zerg and Terran have the possibility to spot units on high ground with Overlords and floating buildings right from the start of the game, but the first Protoss unit to fly up there would be the Phase Prism. Could it be that Protoss players have a significant disadvantage on some maps because of this?(

In the latest builds of StarCraft II, the Protoss no longer need an Observatory to build Observers. Observers will be able to be built straight from the Robotics Facility, allowing earlier eyes on the battlefield.

We definitely saw that especially on certain maps, Terrans were able to block their choke point early, taking away much of the scouting portion of the game from Protoss, and are trying out this new solution for it. Additionally, we felt that Observers were too a crucial to the Protoss army to have them that far up the tech tree.

4) Will the Unit Portraits in SC2 be pre-rendered high quality video clips like in SC1 ? willygundersen (

The unit portraits will be shown in much higher quality than the actual units on the screen, similar to the original StarCraft and Warcraft III. They will not be video clips, but will be animations rendered in game. There will be several examples of their unit portraits in the next BlizzCast, where we have Dustin and Sammy discussing the process of creating a unit.

5) We all know how important it is that tier 1 units be effective at later tiers, which has prompted different unit abilities like the Zealots Charge. But it seems that the Protoss have a leg up in that they have Charge while the Zerglings have only their traditional speed boost without any AI enhancements. Is anything being planned for the Zergling? (

Due to the new game engine, Zerglings have much better pathing in StarCraft II, meaning they move much more efficiently. Zerglings are able to both surround enemy units easier and are more easily selectable as well, being able to control more than 12 at a time. Furthermore, Zerglings are also slightly smaller than their original StarCraft counterparts, and able to be morphed into Banelings, which are extremely effective against Zealots. Lastly, Zealots have also had their shield hit points reduced by 10, as compared to the original StarCraft Zealots.

---End of Transmission---

SC2 Q&A Batch 43

---StarCraft II Q&A Batch 43---

1) What happens if a Nullifier targets a Colossus with the Anti-Gravity ability? (garmgarf

When Anti-Gravity is used upon a Colossus, the Colossus will still be immobilized and lifted up, which will still allow it to be hit by units that can attack air targets. Colossi will not be able to shoot while under the effect of Anti-Gravity.

2) How many critters will there be available and will they have attack animations? (SatanicLaser

There will be critters, but there have not been any detailed discussions yet about their attack animations. On that note, there is a possibility that BlizzCon panels may fill the community in a bit more on what type of critters there will be.

3) Can the Infestor infest any building, or only specific ones, such as Barracks or Gateways, if the Protoss can be infested? (Son_Of_Korhal

This is actually a mechanic they are currently testing quite a bit. It is undecided if the Infestor will be able to infest Protoss or Zerg buildings, as there are gameplay and lore reasons which support many different options. Either way, at the end of the day, the development team will choose an option that will be balanced and fun in terms of gameplay for multiplayer.

4) What units are currently undergoing major art changes? (

There are several artistic revisions every week, though the two newest units to get some artistic updates are the Nomad and the Stalker. The Terran Nomad is getting a complete artistic redesign from any versions the community has seen thus far. Furthermore, the Protoss Stalker is also being updated to look more similar to the concept art piece as seen here:

5) How do Zerg vs Zerg games play out in SC2? Is it still mostly a battle of mutalisks and zerglings or have the new units changed things around? Ideas (

ZvZ (Zerg vesus Zerg)matchup usually opens up in 2 different ways, Zerglings or Roaches. Aggressive players can use Zerglings mobility to take control of the early game, whereas going Roaches is more of a defensive strategy. Zergling vs. Roach relationship is such that for cost, Zerglings wins out in the open, Roaches win at chokes, but in mid/late games when numbers are greater, Roaches can stand up to or even beat Zerglings for cost out in the open. Hydralisks dont have much use in ZvZ early game, as they are more of an anti air unit in StarCraft II.

The tier 2 battle continues with Banelings that can dominate Zerglings, but with micro, Zerglings can actually come out ahead in Zergling vs. Baneling battles. Similarly, Lurkers counter Roaches for cost, but Roaches have the mobility advantage. Mutaliks counter Zerglings/Roaches since these units cant hit air. Whats different in StarCraft II is that Hydralisks counter Mutalisks extremely well, meaning something like Roach/Hydralisk combo can stand up to the classic Zergling/Mutalisk combo. Also, another great way to fight vs. mass Mutalisks is to tech to infestation pit (same tech level as the Spire), and make Corruptors or Infestors. Infestors have the disease ability that is great for fighting vs. units that clump really well such as the Mutalisk, and Corruptors are Zergs anti air air unit.

Due to the fast pace of the ZvZ game, most games dont end up in tier 3, but ultralisks, with their cleave attack, or swarm guardians that use swarms to soak up a lot of ground vs. ground damage are great options if the game does happen to go into tier 3.

Overall, StarCraft II has a variety of options even in a mirror match such as Zerg vs. Zerg. Players can use different unit compositions to counter the classic Zergling/Mutalisk strategy that is a still powerful but not the only option.

---End of Transmission---

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pearce Says Fourth Race Possible in Expansion

In another statement released to VG247, Blizzard big man Frank Pearce suggested that a fourth race might be forthcoming in a future StarCraft 2 expansion.

We don’t have the resources or time to add a fourth race to the launch of StarCraft II, but I’m sure in the event that we decide to do an expansion set it’s a feature that’ll come up for discussion.

When asked why there wasn't already a fourth race in StarCraft 2; "We talked about the possibility of a fourth race early on, but we felt like we had a finite amount of great ideas and wanted to make sure we focused all the cool, best ideas on the existing three races rather than diluting those ideas across four races."

While this shouldn't be enough to get your blood pumping just yet, it is an indicating of Blizzard's intent after release. It would seem that Blizzard does indeed plan very seriously on an expansion for StarCraft 2. Whether or not it will actually contain a fourth race remains to be seen.

Monday, July 28, 2008

SC2 Q&A Batch 42

1. What was the main reasoning to shifting the Hydralisk backwards one technology level? How does this affect the Zerg early-game, especially since the Zerg will have absolutely no anti-air units before the Hydralisks? (

Actually, the Hydralisk has been brought back down to Tier 1.5, giving Zerg early anti-air capabilities without upgrading their Hatchery to a Lair. The test originally was to put Hydralisks at a later tech and have Corruptors be buildable earlier without a prerequisite building other than upgrading to the Lair. To make this happen, the Corruptors had to be nerfed appropriately to fit that tech, which made it very weak and much less fun. Additionally, without a prerequisite building, opposing players could not scout the Zerg player to see when they were going air, which did not fit the gameplay style we were shooting for.

2. What kinds of cheats will be included in Starcraft 2, and how will they be accessed/unlocked? (

There will be cheats, but you wont know what they are from us sorry.

3. Concerning resources there is one big issue for mapmakers: There are only two of them. For many UMS-maps you need more different resource-types than gas and minerals, thus mapmakers were forced to use even civilians as a sort of resource. So will mapmakers be able to place their one, gather-able resources on the map such as lumber or gold? (

Yes, we have recently added support for one additional custom resource type. Additional custom resources types may be implemented in the future, but there are no plans at the moment.

4. With the Battlecruiser's new ability dealing splash damage to lightly armored air units, you could fear that the Thor has once more fallen into a role void. Is this the case or are the Battlecruiser ability and the Thor's anti-air capabilities tactically different enough? (

The overlap is really no more different than a Siege Tank and the Yamato Gun ability or the Reaver and the Psi Storm from Brood War. The new ability helps the Battlecruiser against a specific group of units, which are units the Battlecruiser is already good against, rather than making it effective against all units. The last thing we wanted is for the Battlecruiser to kill groups of units that are supposedly effective at countering it, such as the Warp Ray.

5. Does the Battlecruisers new AoE affect friendly units in the area? (

No, the Missile Barrage does not affect friendly units.

6. Will it be possible to use the full 3D cinematics mechanic from the single player campaign in the map editor? (

Yes, we are looking forward to seeing some awesome custom cut scenes from the community.

7. Most users know that even invisible units can be seen by experienced players since they cause this nice little blur effect while in Warcraft 3 invisible units are indeed invisible aside from leaving footprints on the ground. So what about transferring the 'real' invisibility into the World of Starcraft by allowing mapmakers to choose from those two different invisible modes for each unit? (

Map makers will be able to remove the blur effect that is currently on StarCraft IIs invisible units.

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SC2 Q&A Batch 41

1. How exactly does the Corruptor's attack work? Is it a stacking debuff that takes effect after a certain number of stacks? And if so can the debuff time out? Would you be able to hit and run kill for example Battlecruisers with a few Corruptors over a couple of minutes? (

The attack is technically a debuff, but does not do damage over time. Every time the Corruptor attacks a unit, it'll leave a debuff on it for a couple seconds. If the unit dies within those couple seconds, the unit will be corrupted.

2.What are the current stats and build times for the Queen defensive buildings? (

To catch us up, Zerg defensive buildings arent built by the queen anymore. Instead, they are built from the drone once again.

Spine crawler:
- Only hits ground
- Health is 300 (uprooted health 100)
- Movement speed is 2.25 (1 off of creep)
- Damage is 20 +20 armored
- Range is 7
- Attack speed is 1.5 sec

Spore Crawler:
- Only hits air
- Health is 300 (uprooted health 100)
- Movement speed is 2.25 (1 off of creep)
- Damage is 15
- Range is 7
- Attack speed is .8608

3. The Queen seems to be a very potent unit, although its tasks are more defensive ones, it can be used in crazy rush strategies, according to Karune's experiences. Well, if the Nydus Worm was able to transport even queens, she would get even more potent. You could easily think of crazy rushes using your opponents creep to just overwhelm him with your units AND your defensive structures. So here is the simple question: Can the Nydusworm transport queens among all the other units? (

Defensive structures will not be able to enter the Nydus tunnel network, but the Queen will be able to. Furthermore, the Queen will no longer be able to build defensive structures. Drones will morph into defensive structures, similar to the original StarCraft.

4. When the Zerg Sunken Colony is uprooted and on the move is it more vulnerable to enemy attack? (

Yes, the Spine and Spore Crawlers will have less hit points while they are uprooted. The actual number of hit points will be determined through balance testing.

5. In many cases, the micromanagement of units in StarCraft revolved around gameplay mechanics (Dragoon dance, Mutalisk stacking, Reaver/Shuttle micro, etc.), rather than special abilities with cooldown/charges (Stalker's Blink, Phoenix's Overload, etc.).

Is the amount of this kind of special abilities in SC2 a concern of Blizzard, and how would this affect the overall gameplay? lepape (

Players will still have dependence on both gameplay mechanics as well as special abilities. For instance, Stalkers will have the basic dancing mechanic as Dragoons had in the original StarCraft. Marauders are another unit highly dependent on micromanagement to get the most effectiveness out of the unit, making sure you use their attacks slowing effect at opportune times.

Though for StarCraft II, we are introducing much more positional micromanagement, which will amplify units damage significantly. A Colossus will fire in a line and lining up that radius with the enemy units will be crucial in battles. Flanking Jackals from multiple angles will surely add to its potency as well.

Overall, we definitely want to balance the game with both plenty of gameplay mechanics as well as special abilities that create opportunities for the players to initiate clever strategies as well as innovative maneuvers on the battlefield.

6. Terrans currently appear to be at a disadvantage in terms of troop mobility, (as compared to 'Warp-in' and 'Nydus Worm') are there any plans to bring back the, 'drop-pod' or other new transport mechanic? (

Actually, we consider the Terran side to be quite mobile. Let us first look at the Reapers. This unit is the fastest ground unit in the game which traverses terrain without even having a spotter. In addition, the Medivac Dropships, allow added mobility to all Terran ground units. With the addition of the Dropship being able to heal, it has become even more of a staple in Terran strategies, giving even more increased incentive for players to build Dropships than the original StarCraft. On top of this, Vikings providing both ground and air support at a click of a button, gives that added support of mobility and options when moving a Terran army around.

The method in which Terran will be mobile is indeed different than Warp-in and Nydus Worm, though they are not considered less mobile than the other races.

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SC2 Q&A Batch StarCraftCZ

How many units can Nydus Worm and Phase Prism transport (does it depend to number of units or population)? Is it possible to load Zerg defensive buildings to Nydus Worm? That means loading Sunken Colony to Nydus Worm, burrowing and getting into enemy Zerg base, unloading and taking roots in enemy creep.

The Nydus will be able to transport as many as can be selectable (which is currently 255). Phase Prisms will be able to transport the same amount of units as the transport from the original StarCraft. Zerg defensive buildings will not be able to be transported in a Nydus Worm.

Does the terrain in the game affect damage which deal shooting units? E.g. shooting down of cliff, hiding behind the trees...

Terrain will not affect damage, but will affect line of sight. Without LOS (line of sight), you will not be able to fire back at enemy units with LOS on your units.

Can Baneling explode at command? (for the best using damage radius, for killing cloaked units) Does a killed Baneling explode? Can it be actived like a mine? (it'll automatically explode when enemy unit gets closer) How can (immobile) Baneling hurt air units while they're lifted up by Nullifier's Anti-Gravity ability?

Banelings will not be able to explode on command. They will only explode on contact with an enemy unit or by a unit killing it. If Banelings are lifted up by Anti-Gravity and an air unit kills the Baneling, it will do damage to air units- which will be highly effectively against light units such as Mutalisks.

How complicated will it be to destroy Nydus Worm while moving?

In the current build, Nydus Worms are able to be seen while traversing the terrain. You do not need a detector to be able to see it traveling.

Is there some method in SC2, how Protoss can replenish their HP or shields or will they have to wait? Will Shield Battery replenish shields for buildings?

The Protoss will not be able to replenish their hit points unless they have allied Medivac Dropships healing them.

Does the Drop-pod's falling hurt units/buildings in place of falling?

The Drop Pods ability has been removed from the Ghost in multiplayer.

Are Reapers, while flying, considered ground or air unit?

Reapers are still considered ground units when they are jumping up and down from cliffs.

How does the final mosaic of I <3>

This will be out very soon. Keep checking the I <3>

SC2 Q&A Batch 40

By the current look of the game with spectacular death animations you could worry that you can get slightly distracted by dead units while playing. You could for example waste precious APMs (Actions per minute) trying to click on a spliced Space Marine that you thought was still alive. The wrecks of some larger units or deaths for some others could block your sight in-game too. Could this fear be a real issue and will there be the option to toggle down these model details in the settings?

Yes, this is an issue we are looking into. For multiplayer, we want to make absolutely sure that players can clearly see visually what is happening on the battlefield. Currently, we are looking to have different types of death animations available for multiplayer than will be present for the single player campaign. A lot of people do still love watching intricate death animations when not in a competitive scene.

Battlecruisers do employ more than one gunner right? So will they be able to attack both air and ground at the same time?

Battlecruisers will only be able to attack one unit at a time.

What happens with the units inside a Nydus Worm if it gets killed? Considering it can carry 255 units, would they all die?

Units inside the Nydus network will only die when all entrance/exits are killed. This includes the Nydus Warren building, the prerequisite to build Nydus Worms, as it also acts as an entrance and exit to the Nydus network. Nydus Worms that are not deployed as an entrance/exit will not count as an entrance/exit to the network.

So far the map editor seems to be a very powerful tool which doesnt constrain the map makers creativity at all. Will it even be possible to edit critical abilities like path finding? If so, there would be really no limits, or at least none we can imagine at this point.

Pathfinding, the method in which a unit will determine how to move, is handled by code, and will not be able to be edited within the map editor. Nonetheless, map makers will be able to edit things such as footprints, speed, and the size of units, which will affect the movement rates of units.

Do you plan to take ideas from third party programs and update the editor frequently to meet the demands of the map making community?

Absolutely. We are very much committed to supporting the map/mod community as much as possible, and well be keeping an eye on the forums and updating the editor as often as we can to incorporate new suggestions.

Why were Plasma Torpedoes added to the Battlecruiser when the Banshee has virtually the same attack?

The Battlecruiser no longer has Plasma Torpedoes that hit ground. Instead, they can be equipped with a Missile Barrage which will be an air-to-air area of effect attack ability. This ability will make the Battlecruiser even more effective against lightly armored air units, as the attack also gets additional damage points versus light armored units.

In SC: BW we have terrain bonuses for units, for example standing behind a tree or being on higher ground while shot from lower. Are you keeping or maybe even improving such this feature and what happens with large units that are more massive (Thor) or simply larger (Colossus) than a tree or even a cliff?

Terrain bonuses are no longer present in StarCraft II. Instead, line of sight will be vastly more important. For instance, units firing from a higher ground will not be able to be seen by ground units without line of sight vision, and thus the ground units will not be able to fire back.

If a Zerg player corrupts a Dropship/Medivac, will they get control of the units inside?

No, the unit's contents will be destroyed when it becomes corrupted.

EXTRA: Wait, so now we're removing features from the game? Is that not a step backwards? also in regards to the whole "feature" of not being able to see up cliffs and therefore not attack, that isn't really new or unique. RTS games have had this since 1998 for !&$%s sake.

I'm not completely sure to which features you are referring to, but in general, features are a tool to shape the gameplay of a game. Features may be good or bad, depending on its effects on the game. Not all features fit your design goals. For instance, multiplayer is about competition. Random factors like a random % of missing based on terrain is not optimal for a balanced competitive game (similarly chess does not have random factors involved when a player wins or losses). On the other hand, in single player, our goal is to immerse the player into the StarCraft world. Here is where the details that add to the story and immersion really count! Thus, there will be LOTS of content not seen in the multiplayer, as well as animations, heroes, additional units, and more...

SC2 Q&A Batch 39

Will the new map editor support placing of traps, doors, and other things commonly referred to as doodads in unorthodox situations? (ie doors, auto guns, wall traps in a jungle map)

Yes, any object defined in the data files can be placed on the map, regardless of which tileset it is normally associated with.

Will the new map editor support extended upgrade values? (ie, 30 upgrades)

Yes, upgrades are arbitrarily extendable, as they were in Warcraft III. In addition, upgrades will now be downgradeable via triggers as well (by using a negative value), which was a very common request in Warcraft III.

Will the new editor still support all the other ideas currently implemented in StarEdit?

This question is a bit vague. As far as I know, everything the original StarCraft could do, StarCraft II can do.

What additional features will the new editor have?

How much time have you got? Very broadly speaking, the biggest improvements over Warcraft III will be found in the data editor, where literally every game database file is exposed for modification, and in the trigger dditor, which now features the ability to define custom functions and libraries. That said, virtually every aspect of the editor has at least some improvements over Warcraft III/StarCraft.

Do you plan to take ideas from third party programs and update the editor frequently to meet the demands of the map making community?

Absolutely. We are very much committed to supporting the map/mod community as much as possible, and well be keeping an eye on the forums and updating the editor as often as we can to incorporate new suggestions.

Will be a tool to transfer WC3 models to SC2?

No, there will not be, as StarCraft II is built with a totally new engine.

Given that we know the Roach regenerates faster than normal, will players be able to change the regeneration rates for Zerg units?

Yes, all regeneration rates can be easily changed.

Will players be able to give units Protoss shields or Zerg regeneration that don't normally have them? ie, a regenerating Zealot, a Ghost with shields, etc.

Yes, you could create a Roach-Zealot hybrid if you would like. Many passive abilities can be interchanged similarly.

Is the new StarCraftII map editor able to make our own 4th race by combining 3 races different looking and ability etc. together? even more combining with some new units from the editor?

Yes, custom races are fully supported, including the ability to choose them from the game lobby while playing melee maps, as long as the mod defining the race is loaded.

I'm sure you guys will love that I know I'm excited!

EXTRA: Will you be able to customize the UI? Will there be improvements on camera control from warcraft 3?

All UI layout is defined in external files, so this should be possible. However, we are not planning on having any user-friendly support for this (i.e. no UI Editor).

Also, the camera will be fully controllable through triggers, as it was in Warcraft 3. More info will be released as it becomes available.

SC2 Q&A Batch 38

If the Roach is hit by any spell like "plague" or "psi storm," something that reduces hit points per second, will this be negated by its HP regeneration, or result in fewer hit points gained per second for the duration of the spell?

To clarify, a Roach regenerates at a set rate and Psi Storm does a set amount of damage at intervals in the area of effect. Put that Roach under a Psi Storm in the current build for the full duration and the Roach will have approximately 50% of its original health after the Psi Storm is over. With a new upgrade ability at the Hive which allows the Roach to have an even more increased regeneration rate, the Roach will emerge from a full duration of Psi Storm at approximately 80% of its original health.

Will Starcraft 2's heroes showcase new models for each hero, or will SCII follow in SC:BW's footsteps, leaving heros as normal units with improved stats?

StarCraft II Heroes will have unique models in game, which will be different than standard units.

Will the ranking/experience system that Terran units used to have be available in the Map Editor as on option in Starcraft 2?

We will try to have this feature in.

Will it be possible to change (cancel, tie up, etc.) alliance during multiplayer game?

Yes, players will be able to have all the original diplomacy features as the original StarCraft and possibly a few extras in regards to controlling units and spending ally resources.

Will StarCraft 2 feature new map tile sets and will any from StarCraft be removed?

Many of the original map tile sets such as Mar Sara, Char, Shakuras, and Space Platform will be back in StarCraft II, as well as a few additional ones including a new Shattered City tile set.

What creature did the Zergling gain the inspiration to evolve into a Baneling from?

The idea of the Baneling didnt actually come from a certain creature. In actuality, it started from the need of something to fill the role of a ground-based, area-of-effect, suicide unit. To give added versatility to the Zergling, they had the Baneling evolve from the Zergling at tier 1 in current builds. For a suicide unit, the art team then took that idea and created a creature with huge sacs of volatile liquids, which you can see on the Banelings in StarCraft II screenshots.

Can you provide more details on the Reaper's mine ability? How much damage does it do? Is it effective vs. both units and buildings? Is it detectable without stealth detection? What's the cooldown on it?

The Reapers mines currently do 30 damage plus 30 additional damage to armored units (including buildings). These mines are not stealthed, have a 30 second cooldown period between uses, and are definitely small enough to make focus firing on them very difficult. In the current build, an upgrade is needed to allow the use of mines by Reapers.

Are the Zerg Sunken and Spore Colonies capable of moving out of the bounds of creep?

Yes, they are able to move and plant themselves outside of the creeps boundary. Keep in mind that all Zerg buildings not in the boundaries of creep will slowly degenerate and eventually die. Creep which moves into an enemy base will also damage enemy buildings at a slow rate as well, allowing for new types of creep pushing strategies in StarCraft II.

Will the Map Editor support letters from non-English alphabets (ó, ű, ő, ú, á, é, etc.)?

Yes, these characters will be supported.

SC2 Q&A Batch 37

Can the Ghost snipe casting (energy based) units in the fog of war using its passive sensing ability?

While the Ghost will not be able to snipe casters in the fog of war, their current range to detect casters(units with energy) is 30, giving you plenty of time to prepare for incoming threats.

Could you tell us more details about the Reapers' mines mechanics? Are they visible for the enemy? Can they be defused, or should simply be destroyed? Do they deal damage to friendly units and to each other? If so, does the explosion of one mine cause the detonation of its neighbors, or they just die, without dealing damage?

Yes, the Reapers mines will be visible, though depending on the placement, they can be covered by enemy units moving over them. The mines have very few hit points and can be killed easily. Nonetheless, it is important to note that they are very small, making it more difficult to micromanage those attacks when there are several mines.

Mines damage both enemy and friendly units/buildings, so making sure you dont blow up your own Reapers is quite important Mines will not detonate other mines, have a 30 second cooldown, and they currently do 30 damage plus 30 additional damage to armored units (including buildings). Furthermore, the mine is now an upgradeable ability of the Reaper.

In StarCraft II there are destructible obstacles like rocks. Apart from simply killing them the Protoss Nullifier can lift them with his Anti-Gravity spell. Do the other races have any similar options to remove or pass the rocks with spells?

Actually, the ability to lift destructible doodads has been classified as a bug and has been fixed in the latest builds. Nullifiers have already proved to be quite strong when used in groups, being able to lift up Siege Tanks and Ultralisks, effectively taking them out of combat until the rest of their reinforcements are dead.

Do Anti-Gravitated Banelings keep their suicidal abilities and act as Scourge?

Yes, when Banelings die while being lifted by Anti-Gravity, their explosion will hit air units in its area of effect. This could undoubtedly open up some unique and unexpected strategies in team games.

Blizzard made 2 e-sport oriented games after StarCraft: Warcraft 3 and WoW. What are the biggest lessons that you've learned from those 2 games and how will you apply them to StarCraft II?

One of the main goals for StarCraft II is to keep the game very visually intuitive and readable. As Dustin has mentioned in our recent chat, visually When a unit teleports, it teleports. When it shoots, it looks like it is shooting. It should be easy to follow on a screen and players should be able to quickly understand what is happening in the battles. Futhermore, Blizzards games has followed the premise of easy to learn and hard to master. StarCraft II will follow this philosophy.

How does the Marauders slow ability work against the Zealots charge ability. According to present knowledge the concussion grenade shot of a Marauder forces its target to stop moving for a short time; afterwards the targeted unit can go straight forward. So does it stop a charging Zealot and does the speed bonus remain?

When the Marauders concussion grenade hits an enemy target, it will reduce that units speed immediately by a set percentage. The cooldown of the concussion grenade shot is subject to balance. Nonetheless, a charging Zealot slowed by a concussion grenade is still pretty fast. Before the Protoss player upgrades their Zealots with charge, a Marauder can kite a Zealot with relatively little micromanagement.

EXTRA: Will the spider mines do splash dameage and for the reapers is there a limit for their mines?

Yes, Spider Mines will do splash damage.

Mines for the Reapers will only be limited by their cooldown timer.

SC2 Q&A Batch 36

Do Protoss Immortals get killed when a Nuke explodes next to them(seeing as the Hardened Shield blocks all high profile attacks and that a Nuke is definitely a high profile attack)?

In term of units, the only units that will be able to survive a Nuke will be the Protoss Mothership and Immortals upgraded with Hardened Shields. An upgraded Immortal will take 10 damage from a Nuke. To all other units, the Nuke will do 800 damage, thus making it much more powerful than the Nuke in the original StarCraft.

How powerful is the Roach's regeneration ability? How much time is needed to regenerate from 1 to full hp?

The Roach currently regenerates 15 hit points per second, allowing it to regenerate to full health in 6 seconds. In countering Roaches, a player must either micromanage the battle to make sure they are focus firing on each Roach one at a time, or they have to bring in high damage units such as Siege Tanks or Archons.

Are Overseers any tougher than Overlords?

When an Overlord evolves into an Overseer, it will gain a speed bonus, passive detection, the ability to generate creep below it, and the ability to corrupt' resources to make it more difficult for opponents to gain access to them. Furthermore, when Overseers sit in the same spot, over time its visual range will increase (but not its detection range).

Is it worth it to build a Terran Reactor Add-on since the benefit of doubling your queue list is not that useful, as it is often a bad idea to have your queue full?

Yes! The Terran Reactor doesn't just double the size of your queue list. For a mere 50 minerals and 50 gas cost for the Reactor, that Barracks, Factory, or Starport will have the ability to create two units simultaneously (assuming that unit doesn't require a tech lab add-on). Most of the time, building the Reactor will be worth it, rather than building a second Barracks, Factory, or Starport. Not only will you be able to build from a single building the production of two normal buildings, you will be able to salvage that Reactor if needed to get 100% of the cost back. Being able to salvage allows for quick tech shifts or evacuations.

Will there be different building textures resembling the actual terrain? (in Warcraft 2 the buildings were snowy on the winter maps)

This is something the art team would like to do, though it will ultimately come down to time. There's a lot of art work still left to do, such as their current task, which is putting the finishing touches on the Terran Marauder amongst several other units. On the Marauder, players will be able to see many intricate animations for both the weapons and their power suits.

Did the High Templar's Hallucination ability undergo any changes due to the introduction of new tough units, such as Thor or Colossus?

The Hallucination ability did not undergo changes because of those new units, but it did get significant buffs since the original StarCraft. First off, hallucinated units still have the same hit points as the original unit, but take double damage. Furthermore, the duration the unit lasts for will be around 2-3 minutes, which will be significantly longer than the original StarCraft. On top of that, to hallucinate a unit only costs 40 energy, which is much cheaper than the original StarCraft's cost of 100 energy.

SC2 Q&A Batch 35

Do Banelings damage nearby friendly units when they explode onto an enemy target?

No, in the current build the Banelings do not damage friendly units caught in the splash. The splash damage does cover its area of effect range evenly, doing the same damage to enemy units throughout the whole area.

When a Nydus Worm is detected, is it possible to shoot it down while it is traveling?

Yes, having detectors in strategic places will keep you from being surprised by an unexpected Nydus Worm showing up in your base.

Does the Nydus Worm, a ground unit, move through open space?

Yes. We dont know how we are going to make this look yet. When we come up with a visual solution we are happy with we will show it to the community.

Can Zerg buildings be infested, and if so, what units are produced?

Zerg buildings cannot be infested. It is planned that infested Protoss buildings will produce an infested Protoss unit that will play differently than the infested Marine.

Will be there such doodads like customizable light or shader?


The first screenshot listed in Karune's 33rd Q&A shows what looks like the Mothership's Black Hole ability. However, it was said that the Black Hole was removed. Does this mean the ability has returned in the current build?

As mentioned before, the state of many of these units are always changing. In the current build, the Mothership has become more of a support unit with increased hit points and decreased speed. The Mothership now allows Protoss Gateways that have converted to Warp Gates to be able to warp units straight to the Mothership. The warp-in mechanic (which cannot be queued) has also been tweaked to allow Protoss players who use it to get a slight time decrease in unit production as opposed to queuing units traditionally at the Gateways. In other words, the cooldown timer on warp-in doesnt take as long as the build time for units at a Gateway.

Furthermore, the Mothership will also have the ability to transfer energy down to casters below it, such as Templars. Both the Time Bomb and Black Hole abilities have been removed

Will Phase Cannons be able to rematerialize on an allys Pylon Power, or an enemys Pylon Power for that matter?

Phase Cannons are no longer able to move in the current build.

Is the Tauren Marine going to be included in the StarCraft II map editor?


SC2 Q&A Batch 34

An important aspect of any RTS game is for all races to have a way to siege fortified island positions, do the Protoss and Terrans and Zerg have a unit that is capable of doing so?

All factions will have units capable of attacking from a longer range. Zerg have the Swarm Guardian, Terrans have the Battlecruisers Yamato Cannon, and the Protoss have the Carrier (which has gotten some additional abilities since we last talked about it). However we are not at all sure that these are enough to deal with fortified islands. More testing will tell us if this is sufficient or if we need more.

The Infestor is a very impressive unit that enchanted the community, because we all wanted to see a unit that is able to move while it is burrowed. Nevertheless there are still pending questions. Can the Infestor even infest Zerg buildings? Are infested marines produced as fast as it is shown on the gameplay trailer? Do you have to train them manually or will they pop out automatically? Do they cost minerals?

Like many Zerg units the Infestor is still under development. It cannot infest Zerg buildings though that is something we are still discussing. The speed at which Marines are generated changes frequently as we work on the ability. Sometimes its fast, sometimes not so fast. They will (probably) pop automatically. They do not have any cost associated with them.

The Medivac is a very interesting Unit, but there are not many information given to us so far. Can you tell us any more details about it? At which tier can it be found? How does the healing work? Can it even heal multiple units at once and how fast does it heal compared to the medic?

The Medivac is currently available from the Starport (no add-ons required). The healing works just like the medic. We will (if we keep the mechanic) be adding a graphic of the Medivac deploying medical drones to heal friendly biological units. It will only be able to heal a single unit at one time. The speed at which it heals changes frequently as we try different balance options.

There are many ambiguities concerning the Roach due to the much different information that has been given to us. Many users are quite unsure about its kind of attack. Is it a melee unit or is it ranged? Or is it kind of a crazy mix of both? And most important: can it hit air as well?

The Roach is ranged. He has been melee in the recent past (hence the art with the big claws) but he is currently ranged. This gives him added utility at chokes where he really shines. We have tried it as ground only and we have tried it as being able to hit ground or air. Currently it is ground only.

Can a Zerg Corruptor infest lifted-off Terran buildings, Colossuses, and other Zerg units such as Mutalisks or other Corruptors? Can Corruptor infest Thors, Siege Tanks or Marines if they are lifted-off by Anti-Gravity?

Yes, Corruptors can infest anything that flies or is forced into the air by abilities such as Anti-Gravity. In the situation of a unit being lifted by Anti-Gravity, the unit will return to the ground when the anti-gravity effect ends and sit on the ground. The corrupted unit is only allowed to attack air units and will do so if an enemy air unit flies by.

What is the reasoning behind changing Colossus' 'sliding' thermal lances (from 1st gameplay movie) to an array of beams (zerg trailer)? Balance? Visuals? Will it be possible to choose such sliding or array (or is it just 'horizontal' line?) fire mode from the Map Editor (available also for any other unit)?

The array of beams give a more interesting AOE template for players to attempt to micro. The sliding beam looks cool, but ultimately doesnt produce any new gameplay. The current visuals on the beam are temp to see if we like the mechanic.

SC2 Q&A Batch 33

What upgrade type (assuming these are returning) is the Viking using? Vehicle or ship? (Or perhaps infantry?)

The Viking is built from the Starport again and will use ship armor rather than vehicle armor.

What will Zerglings be able to do against new Jackal?

Attacking Jackals efficiently with Zerglings will take a bit of micromanagement, making sure that Zerglings are spread out or attacking from different directions. The Jackals hit points have also been reduced from 125 to 75 with a slight increase to their speed. This will make them more vulnerable to Zerglings if you can get them close to surround the Jackals.

If a unit is being produced at a Protoss building while it becomes unpowered, does it continue production or pause until re-powered?

If a Protoss building becomes unpowered, all production including research at that building will pause until re-powered.

In lieu of the Nydus Worm, will the Zerg Overlord maintain its "Ventral Sacs" upgrade? Will the Ultralisk have any sort of unit carrying capacity?

Currently, the Overlord's original Ventral Sacs ability has been taken out. With the introduction of the Nydus Worm, the Zerg will have more than enough mobility to keep their enemies on their toes. On that note, the Ultralisk will not be able to carry units.

To what degree will StarCraft II allow for remapping - limited remapping a la Warcraft III, or complete remapping of key bindings?

We are planning to support key-mapping for StarCraft II. The extent of the ability for remapping keys is still to be determined. Even in current experimentations, we have found that there are often many issues with conflicting key bindings as there are very few open unmapped keys to be swapped in and out.

SC2 Q&A Batch 32

Will allies be able to use each others transport/teleportation methods? Marines in Overlords, Zealots in Nydus Worms, etc.. ?

Many of these questions are still being debated within the development team and the final decisions will ultimately be determined through balance. Nonetheless, classic abilities, such as heal by the Terrans, will be usable on allies regardless of faction.

Does the Anti Gravity spell work for your own units? In other words, can you use it to lift up buildings to protect them from an early wave of Zergling?

Yes, the Anti Gravity ability can be casted on friendly units and buildings. Also, the Anti Gravity ability has been added to the Nullifier, as the ability has proven much more effective in the earlier parts of the game. Nonetheless, this is still being tested and is subject to change.

What happens to units who are under a flying building when it falls down? Can you build a building under the building that are flying? and if that is the case, what happens to that building that it is landing on?

This is actually a notable design challenge the development team is currently facing with the Anti Gravity ability. Currently, players are not allowed to build buildings under the floating object. When the object does land, it will land on top of whatever unit is under it. For example, if a Supply Depot is lifted up by Anti Gravity and it lands on a Marine when the ability duration is over, it will indeed land on the Marine (but will not cause damage). The Marine can then move out from under that building in the direction of that players choosing. The details around Anti Gravity are still very much in testing. As this is a new ability, many of the details are not finalized.

In StarCraft many glitches and near-bugs were discovered with the years passing. Many of them are used regularly and changed the game (Mutalisk stack, patrol-attacking, mineral hopping, Lurker hold, etc). This is and was even more true for other games (bunny hopping in quake or through-floors dmg, etc) and it became part of the identity of the game that people knew about those glitches, learned and mastered them. They became important aspects of the game. Will any of these bugs make an appearance in StarCraft II, but as intentional features?

Yes, certain unit characteristics like the firing on the move dynamic of the Mutalisk, as well as stackable flyers will be in StarCraft II. Some of these characteristics may not feel completely the same, as it is a bit tougher to get flying units to stack, it will still be possible. Although it is important to note that not all of these characteristics will be making it back to StarCraft II, there will be plenty of opportunities for players to find new ways to use the units of StarCraft II in creative ways similar to the original.

What are the duties of the Blizzard eSports team, and how much will they be responsible for promoting Starcraft II as and eSport?

The eSports team is responsible for developing Blizzards presence in the increasingly popular eSports scene. Their duties include the planning and operation of Blizzard tournaments around the world in places such as Asia, Europe and the United States. They also provide third-party support for the eSports leagues that host both online and live events using Blizzard titles. Additionally, they help provide balance feedback to our development teams based on interaction with professional gamers and response from the eSports community. They will have an integral role in promoting StarCraft II as an eSports as they have done for the previous Blizzard titles.

SC2 Q&A Batch 31

How will Marines mount into a pod? Is this done via the barracks, or an entirely unannounced building, or Dropship-like airship yet to be revealed?

Terran infantry currently load into the Shadow Ops building (prerequisite for the Ghost). A Ghost can then launch drop pods, which originate from that building.

Can a player order a Ghost in a Bunker to call Nukes and Drop Pods?

Yes, Terran infantry currently have all abilities except the SCV repair ability available for use while inside a bunker, including the use of Nukes and Drop Pods.

What spells are specifically affected by the Nullifiers ability? Will physical spells like the Marines Stim Pack, the Ghosts Nuke, or Reaper Mines be disabled? Also, will spells cast before entering the area (I.E. Ghosts cloak) be disabled upon entering the area?

Only abilities which require energy usage will need be unable to be cast while in the Null Voids area of effect. Additionally, the Null Void ability will disengage cloak by units such as the Ghost. It also currently reveals burrowed Zerg units, but this is still being debated in terms of balance.

Last we heard, Veterancy was active for the Terran but we havent heard anything about it since and are quite curious is it still in the game?

Veterancy will likely be seen in the single player campaign, but will not be in the multiplayer game.

In StarCraft, some units had instant attack animations (Corsiar, Mutalisk, Vulture). This allowed people with good micro to make these units move and shoot. In contrast there were units that had an attack animation which required the unit to stop and shoot. This allowed people with good micro to dance (move, shoot, move shoot, maximizing the distance travelled without the unit losing any shooting time). In Warcraft III, units tended to have attack animations which took as long as the cooldown for the attack, making micro actions such as these non-existent.

Will units in StarCraft II have attack animations that last as long as the cooldown for their attack, similar to Warcraft III? or will players be able to dance (moving in between shooting) like in StarCraft? Also, will there be any units with instant attack animations that can be micromanaged to move and shoot like in StarCraft?

Balance will be the first priority when determining the animation duration for units. With that said, there will be certain units that players will be able to dance with, and there will be other units which will force the unit to stop and fire. Some units in StarCraft II will not only need to stop and fire, but will do additional damage to a target while it focuses. All of these characteristics which determine how a unit will be used in competitive play will be chosen based on balance.

When a unit is cloaked or burrowed, can the sensor tower still see the unit in the fog of war?

Yes, the Sensor Tower will reveal all units in the fog of war, including cloaked and burrowed units. Sensor Towers are currently a staple to any Terran defense or offensive.

SC2 Q&A Batch 30

Will it be possible to code the game so map makers can make maps where people can stop incoming spell/missile?

This should be possible through customized ability data and/or triggers.

Will we have selectable male/female of every unit?

No, we don't have plans to include male and female versions of each unit.

Will we have the option to give players the option to change weapons in-game?

While we don't have any plans for a specialized interface for this, it would be possible using the highly flexible ability system.

Will you guys link multiplayer maps? So mapmakers can make multiplayer campaigns?

Yes, we do plan to support multiplayer campaigns and linked maps.

Will all buildings stand alone and also can we have the ability to disable tech trees?

The tech tree will be fully configurable through customized data and/or triggers.

Will research or firing a skill in a certain location be part of the tech tree enabling, for example Stim Packs could be researched to enable a Factory?

Yes, the tech tree and upgrade system will be fully configurable from the editor.

Will it be possible for AI to be commanded to research a skill, perform an upgrade, build a building at a location, build a unit at a location, retreat from a location?

Yes, there will be extensive AI scripting support.

Will mapmakers have the ability to set weather that can change the terrain and interrupt gameplay for players? Is this for anywhere or in a specific location?

Weather effect technology has not yet been finalized. However, even if weather effects do not affect gameplay normally, it would be possible to drive both the desired weather effects and associated gameplay effects through triggers.

SC2 Q&A Batch 29

Do the Terrans currently have a purely dedicated anti-air unit filling the role of the Wraith and Goliath?

No, the Terran Viking is currently their primary anti-air unit, which is built from the Factory. The Viking can currently shoot both ground and air when in ground mode, and is able to transform into an air to air fighter, for better mobility and economy raids.

Do the Auto Turrets built by the Nomad attack randomly like the bunkers in the original StarCraft or will the player be able to choose the target similar to the Missile Tower?

Auto Turrets can be controlled by the player as if it were a stationary unit. You can both group them and focus fire with them. When they are not given an order, they will fire at the nearest enemy within range.

The Nomads second construction option, which is the Mine Drone, will not be able to be controlled by the player as easily. The Mine Drone is a stationary defense structure, which places four mines around it, and then immediately cloaks both the mines and the structure. Similar to the Spider Mines from the original StarCraft, these mines will wreck havoc on an incoming army without the ability to see cloaked units. The mines does a base damage of 50 plus an additional 50 damage to armored units. On top of that, the Mine Drone replaces the mines after they detonate, temporarily revealing the Mine Drone structure. Similar to the Auto Turret, both of these structures will cost energy to build from the Nomad, and will have a very minimum setup time.

With the Reaver removed, and his siege role moved to the Warp Ray, what will take his splash role?

The Protoss Colossus now has a linear splash damage beam attack, which blazes enemies in a horizontal area of effect, from where the Colossus is facing. Like all area of effect attacks, the Colossuss beam is excellent at annihilating close groups of M&Ms (Marines and Medics) and mass Zealots.

With water featured on some of your maps, will this allow modders to try new game ideas that may make use of water?

This should be possible, though much of this experimentation will have to be left up to the modders. I am sure there will be amazing mod creations the community will come up with.

What is the status of StarCraft IIs AI?

StarCraft IIs AI (artificial intelligence) is definitely superior to Brood War in many ways, though most notably, the AI does a great deal more of scouting, and makes decisions according to what it has found during those scouting missions. Unsuccessful scouting missions, similar to what a player might experience would tend to lead towards a more standard type of army build or continued scouting.

SC2 Q&A Batch 28

I noticed the Stalker "Blink" ability looked as though it was on a cooldown (similar to many abilities in World of Warcraft). This seems appropriate for some abilities, but is this restricted to the Stalker or will other units have abilities on cooldowns rather than energy?

Currently, the Protoss Stalkers Blink ability is on a 15 second cooldown and is one of the only abilities that do not require energy. One of the reasons this was done for the Stalkers Blink, was to make sure that players wouldnt have the problem of having only part of their Stalker army blink up on a hill with some left behind. The Protoss Phoenix also carries an Overload ability, which is based on a cooldown timer rather than energy. Whether the Stalker or the Phoenix will use energy or not, will be mostly determined through much more balance testing.

The Thor now is anti-aircraft unit, but will it continue to have surface-to-surface attacks?

In the current build, the Thors role has been changed to exclusively hit ground units, putting the transforming Viking back in the primary role as an air to air fighter. The Terran Viking is also now built from the Factory rather than the Starport.

In the original SC, powers like Irradiate and Psionic Storm affected cloaked units and killed them even if you couldn't see them. Will the Phoenix's Overload ability target cloaked units as well?

Yes, the Phoenixs Overload ability does affect cloaked units, such as Terran Banshees. The Devs are all for these types of soft counters.

Does energy regenerate at about the same speed as in normal SC? Since the game goes faster, has that been speed up too?

Energy regenerates at the same speed as the original StarCraft. At the fastest game speed, both StarCraft II and the original should feel the same in terms of speed.

Now that the Force Field ability has been moved to the Nullifier, what other abilities does the Templar have? Does he still have Hallucination?

The Hallucination ability has been cut from the High Templar. Instead, it will have an Anti-Gravity ability in addition to its classic Psi Storm ability. This ability will allow a High Templar to lift up buildings and units in the air, disabling their movement and attack, while also making them an air target. This ability can be cast on Supply Depots blocking choke points, as well as incoming Thors, or other threatening units. This has been the first ability the Devs have been comfortable with, in giving players a real choice to be made, to use Psi Storm or the Anti-Gravity ability. This ability is still being balanced, in terms of the duration units and buildings will stay in the air, energy cost, and if it will be a channeling spell (which means the High Templar will be unable to move or cast other abilities while casting the Anti-Gravity ability).

Will there be an icon on the left hand side of the screen to alert the player of idle workers?

Yes, we currently have the ability to select idle workers built into the UI.

SC2 Q&A Batch 27

How will the map pool for the ladder be handled? Only maps made by Blizzard or will there be opportunities for mapmakers to contribute?

If so, how will new maps be selected/balanced and how often are you planning on updating the map pool?

[Dustin Browder] The map pool for competitive play will only be Blizzard maps or Blizzard-approved maps. We are always excited to see new maps from the community and when we see new cool maps we will definitely include them in the pool. I have no idea how often this will happen. It really depends on the map makers and our schedule. We also have some really cool plans for mod support for for StarCraft II, which we will be rolling out to the community soon. We have all watched with great enthusiasm the impact that mod makers have had upon our previous games, especially Warcraft III, and we really want to continue to support and encourage this community.

Will each of the 9 different matchups play in a unique fashion with less viable strategies overall, or is the game looking to ensure that every unit has a useful role against every race?

Terran in StarCraft 1 had a very interesting dynamic in that the optimal strategy combating a Zerg would require large amounts of infantry and science vessels, whereas Protoss would require a large amount of factory units, leading to more diverse gameplay between the two matchups. This dynamic existed in mirror matchups as well - Goliaths, Battlecruisers and Wraiths were very useful in Terran vs Terran, but are rarely seen versus Protoss and Zerg (with the exception of Goliath vs Carrier).

Protoss and Zerg also had this trait - Protoss would often need large amounts of Corsairs, Zealots, and Archons to combat Zerg and a large amount of Dragoons, Arbiters, and Carriers to combat Terran, skipping zealots entirely until the speed upgrade is done. Zergs would frequently use Hydralisks versus Protoss, but would always immediately morph them to Lurkers vs Terran until Plague was researched.

For some people this was viewed as a positive aspect of SC, others are frequently disappointed that Terran cannot realistically integrate marines into their strategy vs Protoss and so forth. What style of gameplay is StarCraft II looking to attain - will each of the 9 different matchups play in a unique fashion with less viable strategies overall, or is the game looking to ensure that every unit has a useful role against every race?

[Dustin Browder] So far StarCraft II plays similar to the original StarCraft in that different matchups require a different unit mix. On the design team we enjoy this type of gameplay and prefer to have players use different strategies and different units against different races. Our goal is that every unit will have some use against each race, but that players will tend to prefer certain units against certain races. We are going to strive to make sure that no unit is completely worthless against any one race but there will definitely be better and worse choices depending on the enemy race, strategy, the map, and your start position on the map.

How much effort are you putting into making lower tech units viable higher up in the tech tree?

In StarCraft 1 the basic tier 1 units were balanced against higher tech units almost equally by their unique role within each race as they were by unique unit upgrades and a greater benefit from the standard upgrades. How much effort are you putting into making lower tech units viable higher up in the tech tree in ways other than upgrades that just makes them a "better unit" such as hit points and damage?

(This question is brought up because of the Terran Marine +HP upgrade which IMHO is really cheap)

[Dustin Browder] We are putting a huge amount of effort into making sure that the tier 1 units are useful throughout the game. We are also putting a large amount of effort into trying to get as much mileage as we can out of each of our upgrades so that upgrades really change how you can use a unit (but without fundamentally altering its role). The Marine is an example of a work-in-progress unit. We think the shield looks cool, but we are still working on how it will affect gameplay. Actually, in current builds Marines+Medics+Stim are so powerful that the shield is not that necessary in a lot of matchups.

Are there any plans to allow special terrain that acts as spells?

Some new maps used in the pro scene for StarCraft have started to include permanent spells like "Dark Swarm" and "Disruption Web" as a part of terrain. Are there any plans to allow this as a kind of special terrain by default or allow map makers to add it as a special attribute to some sections of the terrain? Examples would be areas with decreased movement for some or all units like shallow water, terrain making units immune to missile fire like dark swarm or terrain making the units unable to fire like web.

If you plan to include it will it be usable on melee maps or UMS only?

[Dustin Browder] Our data editor allows the creation of this type of terrain. You could easily put this type of terrain on melee maps. We have not finalized our feature set for terrain yet so I dont know what will make the final cut for the default Blizzard maps.

SC2 Q&A Batch 26

Do Protoss warriors actually die? What is the blue flash when they die?

In the chaos of the battlefield, Protoss warriors fight with tremendous power and grace, but even so, they can be mortally wounded. Then the Protoss' foes often bear witness to a startling sight: the injured Protoss disappears in a bright flash of light. Such a vision has caused primitive races to quail in superstitious fear, and yet it has no supernatural cause. On the contrary, it is merely the result of teleportation, which is one of the chief strengths of Protoss technology. Protoss warriors typically have teleport mechanisms built into their armor. If the warrior is sufficiently injured, a properly functioning mechanism will automatically teleport the body to the nearest safe haven.

A Protoss warrior who is badly injured but still living may be placed in a dragoon--or latterly an immortal--shell to continue to fight. This is the choice of the individual warrior. Some warriors elect to shoulder the burden of remaining among the living instead of joining the sum of Protoss lives embodied in the Khala. It is worthy of note that the lives of individual Protoss that have passed into the Khala are no longer coherent entities, and the Protoss cannot speak with their dead per se. However, there are memories and strands of experience that can be accessed. Only the most skilled Protoss preservers can locate and follow specific desired strands of knowledge. The tremendous value of preservers comes from the fact that they carry within themselves and can access the sum total of Protoss experience at an individual level.

Will there be more ways to give energy(mana) to a caster?

Protoss casters will have an ability to transfer energy from one caster to another. This ability will allow for a lot of micromanagement opportunities to maximize the amount of energy to a single caster, for the maximum number of special abilities casted.

On what kind of energy are based Protoss shields? If they are based on PSI energy, how can be possible for a Terran EMP attack to drain their energy?

Protoss energy sources are highly esoteric because their starting point was the Protoss' use of their own psionic powers to protect themselves; to charge their tools and weapons; and to make, manipulate, or meld matter. Over time technological advances have enabled the Protoss to mimic these psionic processes to the extent that the Protoss can now construct inorganic devices to tap into the same universal processes to power shields, drives, weapons, and robots. Thus, for example, the energy field projected by a pylon that powers Protoss structures cannot truly be called psionic in nature, just as the shields protecting a zealot are not purely technological constructs. Rather, the two processes are so closely interlinked that they are almost the same. As a result, Protoss power sources and particularly their shields are vulnerable to disruption by technological means such as EMP weapons. Similarly such power sources can be restored or recharged from artificially stored energy.

Are you planning to make another statue, for example, statue of Kerrigan?

We are planning to fully explore the high end collectibles realm with plenty of StarCraft II merchandise, and yes, there are projects already in the works.