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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

StarCraft II Source Exclusive Q & A

This is an exclusive Starcraft 2 Source (fansite) Q&A
Blizzard will now take your questions:

1. Are you still developing new units or are you satisfied with the amount of units for each race and, therefore, more concerned about the fine tuning and balancing?
Our philosophy has always been to keep the amount of units for each race to a certain number to keep the gameplay tight, and we are satisfied with what we have right now in terms of that number. Once we head into beta we definitely evaluate the role of each unit and will potentially add or drop units as needed based on feedback.

2. Can you explain the movements of big melee units like the Ultralisk in detail? While running through idle units smaller units tend to move away so the Ultralisk can walk in a straight line. Will that happen only in battles or while moving your whole army as well?
The way movement collision works right now is that a unit has to be idle for it to be pushed to a new location by another unit like an Ultralisk. Generally if you are controlling your forces and they are active, you will not see this behavior.

3. In the campaign of StarCraft II, there are many optional objectives to do so that the player can choose how to play through the campaign. But there are players who want to see every cinematic and play every mission. Are there missions where you have to decide, which way you go (e.g. the Terran campaign in StarCraft I, where you decide to choose nuclear weapons or Battlecruisers), or will the player be able to play the whole campaign in a linear progression? Will there be a menu were you can replay already completed missions? If so, can you also unlock new missions in that menu?
As you play through the campaign, there will be a few cases where you must make a distinct choice that could change the outcome of a certain side plot or the fate of a specific character. These choices will be made very obvious to players, and for those who want to see all the possibilities, you’ll have the ability to go back and choose the other path. We will also have a way for you to replay completed missions or cinematic cut scenes via the story mode interface as well.

4. In the single player campaign of Warcraft III, even races like the Naga are playable temporarily. Is something like that planned for StarCraft II too?
The single player campaign for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will focus on the Terran campaign, but there will also be a short series of missions where players take the role of Zeratul and other Protoss forces.

5. Is the range of the stalker’s blink ability limited to the distance between him and the target area or are cliffs and trees considered; so a stalker could blink farther when he’s blinking down a cliff than if he’s blinking up the cliff?
The distance you blink is the same regardless of blinking up or down a cliff.

6. Will players be able to send resources to their allies? If so, will there be a limit to the amount of resources they are able to send?
Yes, players can send and request resources among teammates but only after a few minutes into the game. The reason for this is to minimize imbalances that could be created by one player getting a massive early economic boost from his or her partner dumping resources at the outset of the game. There currently is no limit to how many resources you can share.

7. Some replays were not compatible with new patches in StarCraft I. Are you working on making replays compatible with new patches for StarCraft II?
Yes, we’re working on allowing replays from previous versions of StarCraft II be compatible with new patches as they are released.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

SC2 Q&A Batch 54

---StarCraft II Q&A Batch 54 ---

[SC2 Forum]
1. Does the Zergling vs. Zealot ratio remain at 4:1 or has it changed in the latest builds?
One zealot can usually take out two, and sometimes three zerglings. However, the ratio is mainly based on positioning and micro-controlling. As the number of zealots grows, it will take more zerglings to win the fight since the zealots can clump up and reduce the attacking surface area. Smart use of terrain, such as a choke or backing up against a wall, will also help a protoss player reduce this attack area. Zerglings have to secure a good surround around the zealots to keep the ratio close.

[SC Legacy]
2. In World of Warcraft pvp they found an issue over time that it was "very unsatisfying" to the player when they lost control of their character as it limited their ability to do their job or role. There is a noticeable increase in stuns and immobilization in Starcraft 2, which was barely present in Starcraft 1. From your experience in testing, do you feel abilities, which limit unit control, provide more dynamic game play so far or are you noticing more concern?
First of all, there were actually some abilities in the original StarCraft that could cause players to lose control of units. These abilities include the ghost’s lockdown, the corsair’s disruption web, and the dark archon’s mind control. It may be premature to suggest at this point that there’s a “noticeable increase” in stuns and immobilization in StarCraft II.
To address the comparison anyway, in World of Warcraft, you control a single character, unlike RTS games where you manage multiple units and bases. The difference in the World of Warcraft is when you lose control of your character you simply have to wait it out, assuming you don’t have any control breaks. However in StarCraft, when units in your army are being controlled, you can still issue orders to the rest of your army, manage your base, build new units, etc. There are a lot of options and we happy with the diversity it brings to gameplay at this point.

3. What is the current status of the Mothership? What niche does it fill at this time, and if the unit were removed, would there be a reason to fill that niche with a different unit or would protoss still be fine?
Currently the mothership has a passive cloaking field for nearby units and buildings, wormhole transit, temporal rift, and vortex as its abilities. We are happy with the state of the mothership at this time, and would like to hear feedback from the players once beta starts.

4. What is your overall goal for the Infestor? The units have had and removed so many abilities, are you trying to focus into a support role, or disruption and harassment, or just to have a wide variety of spells so it can be a quick response unit?
It is intended to play more of the disruption/harassment role. They are meant to burrow and move up ahead of the swarm to soften up their opponent’s forces.

5. Is EMP dodgeable, or there's some sort of indication that it's going to be launched? And does this cause a problem with Immortals?
It’s possible to dodge EMP, but it is difficult to do. Your options include anticipating your opponent will be casting an EMP by seeing the ghost or its shimmer and predicting it; being near the edge of the EMP range and moving out quickly; or using the stalker’s blink ability.

[Vile Gaming]
6. Map/mod to site communication – Will there be support for map/mod makers to bridge a connection between their map/mod to their site? For example, if a person wanted their map/mod to submit scores/results to the site, and vice-versa the map/mod could pull the highest scores from the site and display it in the game.
It is possible for players to make their own custom score screens but there are no specific plans to bridge map data to web sites via

7. Launcher support – Will maps/mods be able to have their own "launcher" (ala WoW’s launcher), as in shortcut or start icon from the computer outside of StarCraft, and have their own screens, after a authenticating screen (ala Twitter’s, or Facebook’s, application authentication).
There are no plans to allow maps and mods to have their own launcher. However, making a loading screen or launch screen is still possible.

SC2 Q&A Batch 53

Hope everyone has enjoyed all the BlizzCon news and got a chance at our Twitter beta key giveaway! Everything has settled here in the office after various shows and events we've been at, but we are back in the swing of things. If you haven't been following us on Twitter, don't forget to do so too, as we will consistently be adding more spotlights, development info, and fun contests on there as we approach beta and throughout the development of StarCraft II.

Check us out here:

---StarCraft II Q&A Batch 53 ---

1. Computer AI – Does the computer’s online AI vary from its offline counterpart?
No. They are the same.

2. Have you considered allowing a post-game lobby for users to discuss the last game, collectively watch replays, or immediately enter into a rematch?
Yes, we have a plan for a post game lobby. However the details are not finalized yet.

3. Is there any update on additional map features other than the Xel’Naga watch towers, destructible rocks and tall grass?
No. Currently there is no update on additional map features.

4. How many different voice actors are needed for StarCraft II, including the unit sounds and campaign heroes?
There are 58 unique voice actors participating, with some voicing multiple roles, and the number may increase as the game gets closer to release.

5. The terrain types in StarCraft II we have seen so far had names like “Bel’Shir (Jungle)”. Does this mean that “Bel’Shir” is just an alias for jungle and every terrain is just named after a typical planet using it or are there – to stick with this example – other jungle maps with a different terrain set, something like “Aiur (Jungle)”?
We named our terrain sets based on the planets. There are a lot more terrain sets than in the original StarCraft and you will have huge flexibility in modifying the terrain sets (including adjusting textures, doodads, lighting) allowing you to create your own variations of the default maps. There may be other jungle-themed default maps named after other planets.

6. Will there be any chance to have more options on pausing the game? In StarCraft: Brood War every player can pause the game three times, but every other player can unpause it. How about a (user editable) time limit before other players can unpause the game?
We recommend that players communicate with each other in the game to agree on when to pause and unpause during the game. We feel that pausing the game interrupts the game flow and it would be inconvenient for players to be forced to wait for a certain amount of time before being able to unpause. The pausing feature is mainly meant to allow for pausing of the game when all players are in agreement and for which duration.

7. I already knew the map editor would be available to beta testers a while after Beta was released, but this is why I’m asking the bland question, will it also be available to non-participating people?
No, the map editor will only be available during the beta for beta testers.

8. When a unit comes out from a building will there be only 4 exits from the building like in Warcraft 3 or will there be “infinite”?
It is not infinite, but your units will come out from a building at the closest point on the building to where your rally point is set.

---End of Transmission---