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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.

SC2 Q&A Batch 25

Does the Nomad have all the abilities an SCV has? (Of course it has its own abilities, but it would be interesting to know if you can at least temporarily replace lost SCVs with Nomads in a game.)

No, Nomads will not have the abilities of a SCV. The buildings a Nomad will be able to build, will be unique to the Nomad unit. And you cant gather resources with a Nomad.

How will damage against Protoss Shields be calculated with the new damage bonus system?

Protoss shields will take up the characteristics of their normal armor type. For example, if a Protoss Zealot with light armor gets shot by a Terran Ghost with plus light armor damage, the Zealots shields will also take that light armor bonus damage. On the same note, if a Protoss Colossus were to be hit by a Protoss Stalker with bonus damage towards armored unit, the shields would also take that additional damage.

Artwork and rumors about SCII have shown Terran cities like Augustgrad. Will Starcraft 2 contain building doodads as seen in the original artwork (ie. skyscapers, homes, etc)?

Yes, many of the original iconic doodads will be recreated for StarCraft II.

Can the shadow ops contain "one nuke and one drop pod" or "any 2 of nukes and drop pods"?

Currently, the Shadow Ops can contain both a nuke and a drop pod at the same time, but will not be able to contain two of one type within a single Shadow Ops building. Drop pods can be loaded with 12 infantry units of the players choosing. On certain maps, a fast expanding SCV drop pod strategy may prove highly effective.

Will the native resolution of Starcraft 2 be widescreen or 4:3?

The plan is to have both of those resolutions supported, along with everything between 5:4 and 16:9. Larger screens will have slightly more viewable range than a smaller screen, but from our tests, the differences will be very minor.

SC2 Q&A Batch 24

Will there be a way for fan sites to parse replays uploaded to their website so they can pull information such as race, player names, map, etc.?

Exact details have not been finalized, but we do plan to create a much more robust way of being able to search and share replays in game.

The Soul Hunter was considered a good counter unit against the Zerg; why did you remove the Soul Hunter from StarCraft II?

There were a couple of reasons, but one of the more important ones is that it was difficult to make it easily readable in big battles when the Soul Hunter had upgraded. Another reason is that this unit was way too targeted against the Zerg, since they have so many low hit point units, as opposed to other factions.

Has the Merc Haven been removed since the Reaper is built from the Barracks? If so, whats replacing it (if anything)?

The Merc Haven has been brought back in for the current build. It currently needs a Factory as a prerequisite, and is a prerequisite building to build Reapers from the Barracks.

Will "Unlockable Content" be included with the game, such as Art Packs, Secret Maps and Missions, Extra Units, and Special Sounds and Movies?

We are exploring the possibility of having various types of art unlockables, which may include some in-game decals.

Is it possible to build Phase Cannons, turn them into energy and then move them across the map to your opponents base or an expansion, redeploying them using a Phase Prism?

Yes, this tactic will be possible.

How does a Zerg Overlord fly?

To fly, the Zerg Overlord uses gas sacs (filled with helium) combined with a weak telekinetic psi-ability for lift and motive power

SC2 Q&A Batch 23

Will the Campaign have as many videos as the original Starcraft?

There will be several more in-game cutscenes, which are at a much higher quality than the original StarCraft pre-rendered movies. And while StarCraft II's single player will likely feature a few less pre-rendered movies, they will be much longer and more epic than anything seen in the original StarCraft.

Is the ghost unit going to be able to use the EMP Shockwave and -within short time interval- the Nuclear Strike as well?

Currently, there is no restriction to when you can follow up a special ability with another, as long as there are available energy points.

Will the Ghost's EMP affect building shields and energy?

Yes, the Ghosts EMP ability currently affects both building and unit shields, as well as casters energy. It is important to note that there is a possibility the Ghost may lose its EMP ability due to balance.

Will there be some sort of wall structure in StarCraft, for any of the races?

Aside from building current structures close to each other to form walls, such as a line of Terran Supply Depots, no, there will not be walls that can be built. On the other hand, there will be some new wall structures in the single player mode and these doodads can also be accessed in the map editor.

Will the game feature a mechanic similar to Warcraft 3 where if a selection of units contains more than one unit type then the whole selection will move at the speed of the slowest unit to maintain cohesion?

No, units in the same selection will not move at the same speeds. The slower units will need to be micromanaged by the players to keep up with the larger group.

SC2 Q&A Batch 22

Will you finally be able to mix and match terrain types instead of being stuck on jungle, twilight, etc?

[Dustin Browder] Yes terrain texture is mixable now. Also tilesets are also mixable. [Brett Wood] Essentially, you can define your own tileset in the editor, something that wasnt really supported even in Warcraft III.

Will the new StarCraft II Map Editor support text coloring, unit coloring, player "12" (i.e. neutral player) units?

[Dustin Browder] Yes, all of these features will be supported.

Will maps be larger than 256x256?

[Brett Wood] The maximum map size will still be 256x256, and we have no plans to increase that.

Will the new map editor support locking maps? People hate losing credit for a map.

[Dustin Browder] Yes, we are planning to support this feature. We hope that this feature will give the modding community more incentive to create their own original maps.

Will the new map editor support "square" terrain building as well?

[Dustin Browder] Yes. In the editor, users can adjust the footprint of buildings to whatever shape and size they like.

SC2 Q&A Batch 21

Do you have any plan to put the auto-casting ability into StarCraft II units, just like in Warcraft III?

At the moment, Medics are the only units that we have deemed fit to have an auto-cast ability. StarCraft II, compared to Warcraft III, has fewer abilities but are much more potent when executed properly, thus making them manual cast will give players a huge opportunity to demonstrate much skill in the game.

Would you make it possible for players on observing mode to check various information including a mini map, upgrading status, and resource status on a personal window? If not, would you consider developing this function?

These are all great ideas and we will work to get these in for observing mode. We will be working hard to have the observing mode innovative and comprehensive, building upon all the features that were in our previous RTS titles, as well as other titles in the market.

Will the story of StarCraft II be continued right from where the original StarCraft story ended? Or, will it begin at the moment after some amount of time passed since the last time of the original StarCraft?

The StarCraft II storyline will continue 4 years after the events of Brood War.

It is not possible to watch how a mouse was moved in a saved replay game. Could you make this possible to see the movement of mouse?

We would also like the mouse to be viewable in saved replays, however, it may be more likely that well have the options to show both the view of the players playing as well as selection icons of the units being currently selected in the replay.

When grouping units to a control group, how many units could be added to one group?

Currently, players are able to select more than 150 units in a single control group. The final actual number will be determined by hardware performance tests on the game, but should still be close to that number.

Players often tend to stack up workers and air units looking as one group in original StarCraft. Will this still be possible in StarCraft II?

In StarCraft II, this is harder to do than in the original StarCraft, but still possible. Units tend to group together more and more with each manual attack order. As long as you keep giving that manual attack order upon a target certain attacking units of the same type will group closer together. When the unit attacked upon is destroyed or the units become idle, they will naturally spread out again.

SC2 Q&A Batch 20

Will it be possible to give more fluid and realistic movements to small aircraft with proper banking and turning rather than just abrupt sprite-style direction changes?

We are currently in the process of implementing banking animations for flying units, but playability always comes first. If the animations affect playability negatively, it could get cut.

With the Reavers no longer in the game, will the Protoss have any units capable of performing brutal worker raids?

The Colossus is an excellent choice for worker raids, since it is able to attack from higher elevations, and can be transported by the Phase Prism. In addition, we are exploring some ideas for the Twilight Archon that would allow him to make devastating attacks on enemy workers.

Will there be a escort ship for Battlecrusier because Protoss have like many kinds of capital ships?

With the Predator unit cut, the Viking is now the primary Terran air to air fighter. In addition, the Viking no longer requires an upgrade to transform between a ground and air unit and is also built directly from the Starport rather than the Factory.

Will there be units who can trample opponents (such as an Ultralisk)?

Currently, there are no units that trample, but have discussed this idea as a possibility. Nonetheless, we also hit the dilemma of having a trample unit that is able to destroy enemy unit assets far beyond its own cost of the trample unit, with relatively little micro.

Will siege tanks be able to shoot at targets in the fog of war picked up by sensor towers, but not yet confirmed by visual sighting?

No. Siege Tanks will only be able to hit targets within visual range. In addition, Siege Tanks firing from the fog of war, such as on an unseen cliff, will not reveal its location from the fog of war to its enemy, thus will not be able to be return fired upon.

SC2 Q&A Batch 19

Will the Protoss be getting any mechanism for healing their units or repairing their buildings?

There are no plans to give the Protoss any healing abilities, especially since their shield regeneration rate when out of combat, is more than twice the rate of the original StarCraft.

With the new physics engine, can explosions affect surroundings? (like hurt or push units, destroy doodads, etc)

Explosions will not be able to push units, but they can destroy doodads. In fact, destroying certain doodads will be vital on certain maps, to get access to expansions or other strategic locations. Furthermore, explosions will not be able to push units because it would affect gameplay and balance negatively, in having units be knocked off cliffs, be stuck in unplanned locations, or ultimately have units disoriented where the player cannot control them.

How long does a unit typically take to make from concept to playable unit?

With a finished concept piece, it could take from a few days to a few months, to create it for the game. Much of this time depends on the priority of the unit amongst other development goals, as well as the iterations necessary to perfect the unit. The Zerg Baneling is an example of a unit that took only a few days to complete after the concept, whereas the Protoss Stalker has gone through several iterations, and has taken 4-5 months.

Are the units on the official site finalized, or is everything still up for grabs at this point?

We are still heavily in the development phase of StarCraft II, thus none of the units on the website are 100% final. We are also still testing out several new units, abilities, and mechanics, to create the most fluid StarCraft II experience.

What do the Protoss eat? (where do they get energy and mass?)

Protoss gain nutrition from sunlight, or at a pinch, moonlight (which is just reflected sunlight anyway) by absorbing through their skins. They can go for extended periods without absorbing sunlight. What little moisture they need is also absorbed through their skin.

SC2 Q&A Batch 18

Will doodad placement values increase? (ie, more than 25)

[Brett Wood] We expect the doodad placement value will be on the same order as Warcraft III, which I believe was something like 10,000, so definitely way more than 25

Will the number of available locations/triggers increase? The current limit on locations really cramps some ideas.

[Brett Wood] Any limits on both regions and triggers will be at least in the thousands.

Will the new map editor include ALL the triggers in the program unlike Staredit?

[Brett Wood] Yes, even moreso than Warcraft IIIs WorldEdit. Weve been making a point of ensuring that ALL script functionality is also exposed in the Trigger Editor UI.

Will max unit limits increase? The current unit limit on maps is quite a crimper, and nobody likes CCMU (cannot create more units).

[Brett Wood] I dont recall the exact unit limit in the original StarCraft, but the StarCraft II limit will likely be a healthy boost over the limit in Warcraft III. The exact value hasnt been nailed down yet and will depend on optimizations near the end of the project (i.e. shortly before release).

Will the new map editor include unused units such as the crashed scouts, turrets, eggs, nukes, scarabs, crash command center, etc? Third party programs were needed to use these.

[Brett Wood] All units defined in the data files will be usable in the editor. I believe this was true in Warcraft III as well.

SC2 Q&A Batch 17

Will the defensive matrix of the Terran Nomad apply to enemy units within its AoE (Area of Effect)?

Yes, the Terran Nomads Defense Matrix ability will affect both friendly and enemy units, thus using this ability on a position that the player can hold will be wise.

What helps to delineate the Thor and Battlecruiser as both being high-tier support units? Lots of concern over this duality?

Currently, the Thor has splash damage, whereas the Battlecruiser has direct damage in its attack. We definitely agree with most of the community that the Thors role overlaps with various other roles on the Terran Faction, thus we may modify that role or possibly cut the unit.

Will there be any consideration of having an oceanic server?

Unfortunately, this has not been decided yet, as many aspects of has still yet to be implemented.

Will the Protoss Colossus be able to walk over Supply Depots like over cliffs?

This is an issue that is still being discussed quite a bit. We like how when enemy units enter your base, they are forced to deal with the layout of your base, but at the same time we are also dealing with the realism factor, where cliff climbing Colossuses ought to be able to step over Supply Depots. Many issues we face are similar to those debated amongst the community, and for this particular topic we dont yet have a final answer.

An obvious goal (among many) for Starcraft2 is to maintain the profile of being an E-Sport. What facet do you consider more integral to the growth of that ideal: An extremely high skill ceiling that demands years upon years to achieve mastery, or an extraordinarily large base of interested players to provide the attention that such a sport needs in order to succeed and grow? Obviously both are important, but when it comes to design ideals, what has more pull? Accessibility or Longevity?

I think for e-sport we need the high skill ceiling. Though really as you say, both are very important. As designers we have spent years focusing on accessibility. Ideas must be accessible to even be put into the game. So we are just not as worried about making the game accessible. That will happen. What we are focused on, what is the more challenging problem is making the game last for years and years and years. So in our development cycle at the moment, longevity definitely has the larger pull. Longevity is the harder problem to solve, so we put way more effort into making the game as challenging as possible to master. Dustin Browder, Lead Designer of StarCraft II

How will unit collision and stacking be handled ? Can flying units pass on top the Colossus or is it blocking ?

No, the Colossus will not block a flying unit.

In terms of collision and stacking, units first always follow your order, and when it completes your order, they will stop and spread out. The area in which those units spread out will be slightly less than in the original StarCraft.

SC2 Q&A Batch 16

Does the Time Bomb ability of the Mothership stop a Nuclear Missile (just like other missiles) when used on the area where the Nuclear Missile is about to explode?

The Time Bomb ability of the Mothership is designed to stop a Nuclear Missile if used at the right time, making a powerful counter in the hands of a skilled Protoss Player. This ability has still yet to go through the needed balance to make sure this is not over powering, but it is our intention to try and get that ability in the final version as designed.

In the UI there are little boxes just to the right of the minimap that have numbers on them. How exactly do these function? Different gameplay screenshots suggest different functionality.

I believe the small boxes you are referring to are the Control Groups used to select multiple units at a time, making it faster to give attack and move orders.

Does Drop Pads make new units or use this recruited before?

There are plans to have the drop pods be manually loaded with units created by the player, to better allow the player to adapt to their current tactical needs.

What was the design team's rationale in adding a second siege style unit (Thor) to the Terran race?

The Thor's role compared to the Siege Tank, is more of an assault unit rather than a siege unit. The Thor is much more exposed when attacking an enemy location, while the Siege Tank has a much larger range and is able to hit the enemy at a larger distance. The range of the Siege Tank has also been increased since the BlizzCon Demo.

How do the Yamato and Plasma Torpedo upgrade work? Do you have to research these things only once or will you have to pay for each battle cruiser?

Battlecruisers can be upgraded individually with either a Yamato Gun or Plasma Torpedoes, but not both. After the Battlecruiser is upgraded, it can then use that particular special ability as long as it has enough energy to do so.

With MBS (Multiple Building Selection) and automine in the game, what macro-specific features are going to be added to make sure that the player always has as much to do on the macro side as he does micro? Will a player still be able to favor macro or micro according to his own style?

It is our goal to allow players to micro more vs. macro more. This is something that was great about the original StarCraft and it is something we want to maintain while we add new mechanics as well as interface features. We are still evaluating such features as automine as well as MBS. We don't have an answer for this at the moment, but we are working on it.

SC2 Q&A Batch 15

Can an upgraded command center be salvaged? Does it lose its mobility when upgraded to a surveillance station?

No, the command center cannot be salvaged, nor can it lift off after it is upgraded to a Surveillance Station (allows the use of the Comsat ability).

In StarCraft 1, when you cancel a nuclear launch that is in progress, you lose the warhead. Will StarCraft II make any changes to this setback?

Currently, if you cancel the nuke while it is firing, you will still lose the nuke. This outcome has not yet been finalized and may be changed in the final version.

Can a Ghost be equipped with both a Nuke and Drop Pod simultaneously?

Yes, any Ghost can launch either a Nuke or a Drop Pod, making the Ghost highly effective at responding to multiple battle circumstances.

Will "caster" units, such as the Protoss High Templar, have a regular attack, like Tassadar had in SC1, or will they only be able to attack through their spells?

Currently, there are no plans to give the High Templar a physical attack, though High Templar Heroes will have additional abilities beyond that of the standard unit. At the moment, the High Templar is one of best support units in the game, with the ability to cast a devastating Psi Storm or choke off crucial areas of the map with the force field ability. Once you've used up its energy, no worries, convert it into an Archon with another Templar.

Can Marines use the Stim Pack while in a bunker? What about a Ghost's snipe ability?

In the current build, abilities cannot be activated while inside a bunker, but you can activate abilities before entering a bunker. For example, if you activate Stim Pack on a few Marines, then enter a bunker; they will attack at the higher rate of fire from inside the bunker. The Stim Pack effects will still wear off as normal though.

SC2 Q&A Batch 14

Will there be Vespean Gas deposits that yield better rates, the same as yellow crystals? (

It is very likely that there will be higher yield Vespean Gas deposits, though we are being very careful in balancing this, since gas collection is based on a more linear rate of collection (3 collectors) versus mineral collection.

What happens if you initiate the warp-in of a Protoss Stalker but the pylon providing power is destroyed before warp-in completes?

If you lose the pylon providing power for the unit warping in, you will lose that unit, and the purchasing credits will likely be refunded.

Could the Colossus be transported by the Phase Prism, since the Prism's crystal can turn any matter into energy? (

Yes, the new Phase Prism now transports by changing the unit they wish to transport into energy, which is stored in the Phase Prism for transport. This allows the Phase Prism to be able to transport even gigantic units such as the Colossus.

What happens if a Terran Battlecruiser targets a Protoss Stalker with the Yamato Cannon but the Stalker blinks away before the shot is completed?

Currently, the shot from the Yamato Cannon will still track and hit the Protoss Stalker.

Will Dark Templars be invisible when warping in, or susceptible to attack for a few seconds before it fades out?

No, currently the Dark Templar will be invisible the instant it begins to warp-in, though of course we are still testing this for balance as it makes the Dark Templar quite strong in back door drops.

Do the bunkers have any visual indication as to whether or not they're occupied?

Currently the bunkers do not have any visual indications to whether it is occupied or not, but this is something we would like to change.

SC2 Q&A Batch 13

Are the Ultralisk making a return in SC2?

The Ultralisk figures heavily in our current plans, but as with everything else relating to units and balance, this is subject to change.

Will there be in game voice chat supported in SC2?

Yes, there are plans to implement voice chat into, but details beyond that are yet to be announced.

What are the system requirements ?

We are still optimizing the game and do not have minimum system requirements yet. Nonetheless, StarCraft II will require pixel shader 0 and at least 128mb of dedicated video RAM.

Will we be seeing any hybrid units in StarCraft II?

We are planning to explore the mysteries surrounding the Xel'naga for the single player campaign. In the campaign you will encounter several unique units that would not otherwise be seen in multiplayer. At this time, you'll just have to wait and see.

Does the Thor burn out like Terran buildings if it is damaged?

No, the Thor does not burn down like the Terran buildings. It will be like the other Terran vehicles, which are able to be repaired by the scv.

SC2 Q&A Batch 12

How useful will tier 1 units be in the late game?

As a staple of the original StarCraft, which we intend to carry over to StarCraft II, is that every unit has a specific role in that factions army. Every unit will fulfill a unique role, which complements the other units, some better than others of course. In subscribing to that idea, tier 1 units will be quite useful in late game as well as early. Many of the tier 1 units will be able to be upgraded to keep up with the later game units as well.

For example, the Terran Marine currently has 3 upgrades available to it, as well as its standard attack and armor upgrades. New upgrades such as the combat shields, increasing the Marines health will be important in having the Marine deal with later game units.

Can we expect units to replace the Reaver and the Soul Hunter?

Yes, we are always testing the addition of new units as well as the removal of older units. For instance, in our current build, the Terran Firebat is back in the game, as we test how he interacts with the new additions into StarCraft II. Of course, nothing is final though.

What was the reasoning behind axing spell X (lockdown, mind control etc)?

As mentioned above in question 2, much like with units, we are also testing several new abilities for StarCraft II. If these abilities do not work as we would intend, it is always possible for a reintroduction of original abilities from the original StarCraft. We are constantly striving to improve and complement what has already been very successful with StarCraft for StarCraft II.

Will there be a black player color?

We have tried using black, but it was too difficult to differentiate units on the mini-map from the fog of war.

Will you be able to use custom army colors in the game?

In custom maps created through the Map Editor, players will be able to select any color for their factions. In multiplayer games, players will be able to choose between approximately 12-18 colors.

SC2 Q&A Batch 11

Will map sizes in StarCraft II be similar or larger than the maps in the original StarCraft?

Map sizes can fluctuate on a per-map basis, but generally the playable area on maps are about the same. The terrain cells were converted over into the new editor to proportionally match the original StarCraft (i.e. 128x128 SC1 is about the same as 128x128 in SC2 ).

Will StarCraft II Heroes have unique abilities?

Heroes will have unique abilities different from regular unit abilities. Heroes will be playable only for single player and will not be a part of the multiplayer skirmish experience.

Will the Terrans be weak to melee without the Firebat?

Dont worry, the Terrans will have plenty of other counters to melee units. Nonetheless, because we know there are so many people who do love the Firebat unit, it will be in the map editor.

Will Mutalisks attack still hit multiple targets?

Yes, the Zerg Mutalisk unit is currently designed to hit multiple units with a single attack.

Will a submerged supply depot still be able to be attacked? Will it have more hit points while submerged?

Yes, the submerged supply depot will still be able to be attacked, and no it will not have more hit points. The ability to submerge a supply depot is designed to allow units to move over them strategically. Players will not only be able to keep enemies out, allow friendly units to pass through, but they are also powerful roadblocks in separating incoming armies in

SC2 Q&A Batch 10

What does the "Intercept Missiles" function of the Predator do exactly?

The Predator is equipped with a point defense laser system which destroys incoming enemy projectiles. This ability makes the Predator an excellent support fighter to help defend slower capital ships, such as the Battlecruiser.

Can the Radar Tower also detect invisible units even in Fog of War?

No. On the other hand, Sensor Arrays and Radar Towers do allow all Missile Turrets in its range to also detect invisible units within those Missile Turrets range.

Can the Thor defend itself against air units well?

The Thor unit can attack air units, although it has a relatively slow rate of fire. It is always still better to escort your Thor units with additional support units.

Can the Thor be attacked by the Missile Turret like the Colossus?


Will phase cannons dissipate if they travel outside influence of pylon matrix?

No, phase cannons will not be destroyed if they travel outside of pylon power. However, phase cannons caught outside of pylon power will still be able to move but will also be stuck in energy form. They cannot redeploy until they are back in range of pylon power. Also, while in energy form, phase cannons have no shields and are extremely vulnerable to enemy fire.

When a player in a team game leaves will the computer AI take over? Or, will the remaining players be given control of that person's team?

Computer AI will not take over if your ally leaves in a team multiplayer game. Although, if you have allied control set, the player will be able to control their allys units after they leave.

SC2 Q&A Batch 9

In the gameplay video the UI is toggled on/off several times. Will that be an option in-game?

Currently, the UI will only toggle off during game cinematics. There are currently no plans to implement this for single-player or multiplayer as it would give some players an advantage over others.

Will the Twilight Archon have abilities?

Yes. In the BlizzCon build, the Twilight Archon had the feedback ability. We are still doing much work on this unit, so none of this is final.

Can Protoss Units be attacked during the Warp-In process?

Yes. When units are warping in, the unit will increase in hit points until they are at max hit points and at that point youll be able to control the unit.

Will there be some old units from StarCraft be included in the Map Editor for StarCraft II?

There will be units included in the Map Editor which will not be in the standard multiplayer skirmish mode. These will include various units from the original StarCraft, such as the Protoss Dragoon.

Will different races have different max-squad caps?

Currently all 3 races will have the same maximum population cap at 200.

Can the Planetary Fortress lift off?

Once the Command Center has been upgraded to be a Planetary Fortress, it can no longer lift off. Furthermore, the Planetary Fortress cannot be changed back into a normal Command Center with lift off capabilities.