Two weeks ago, we announced our plans to propose and test two separate sets of possible changes for the next big Versus patch. Since our last community update, we’ve gotten a great deal of constructive feedback from the fruitful community discussions around the first set of changes proposed. We are now ready to introduce Proposal #2, which will replace Proposal #1 in the testing tab later today. Partly because of generally positive feedback, both possible iterations of the next patch will include the following:
Stimpack: Upgrade research duration reduced from 121 to 100 seconds.
New upgrade Enhanced Shockwaves: Increases the radius of the Ghost’s EMP Round from 1.5 to 2. Cost: 150/150. Research time: 79 seconds.
Carrier: Interceptor build time decreased from 11 to 9.
Nexus: Strategic Recall cooldown increased from 85 to 130 seconds.
In addition, we saw a bug report circulating around various community forums describing how the Infested Terran’s Infested Rockets weapon ignores armor. We plan to roll out a fix for this along with this upcoming patch, but since this bugfix has a similar effect to our initially proposed Infested Rockets change, we’ll be replacing that change with this bugfix.
- Bugfix: Infested Terran: Infested Rockets will no longer ignore armor.
For Proposal #2, we’ll be including the above changes, but removing our most experimental change involving Warp Prism warp-in speed.
- Warp Prisms no longer start with the Warp Conduit passive ability and warp-ins will take 11 seconds when not near a Warp Gate or Nexus, up from 4.
- The Gravitic Drive upgrade now has the added functionality of granting Warp Prisms the Warp Conduit passive ability, reducing warp-in time from 11 to 4.
Though this change is a significant redesign, it does a good job at addressing multiple issues in one condensed stroke. Some of these issues include the strength and variety of Protoss all-ins in PvZ, the harassment strength of Warp Prisms, and the overall power level of Protoss. In its stead, we’d like to make the following additions with Proposal #2:
- Overlord’s Pneumatized Carapace upgrade research cost decreased from 100/100 to 75/75.
We hope this change will address the difficultly Zerg has in the early game, when scouting their Protoss opponents—specifically, their ability to differentiate between tech choices and the various Immortal-based timings. In our initial feedback from professional players, we heard varied opinions regarding the efficacy of this change, so we want to be very careful that Overlord speed openings don’t become omnipresent in either ZvT or ZvP.
- Warp Prism cost increased from 200 to 250 minerals.
The Warp Prism is perceived as a powerful unit with a lot of utility, providing both harassment and all-in opportunities. We believe this cost increase will more accurately reflect the unit’s power level.
- Warp Prism pickup range decreased from 6 to 5.
We view Warp Prism ranged pickup as one of the more positive additions to LotV—it provides for many skill-testing micro opportunities, encourages Protoss to poke at their opponents without overly committing their army, and allows top players the ability to distinguish themselves. On the other hand, the large pickup range can be frustrating to play against and contributes to the potency of Immortal all-ins. As such, we think there is room to adjust the opponent’s ability to interact with the Prism and the level of risk the Prism must put itself in while it juggles its cargo. Our primary concern with the suggested change in the current landscape is that it could potentially impact PvZ macro openings more than it would PvZ all-in openings.
- Zealot Charge additional impact damage decreased from 8 to 0. After researching Charge, Zealot will still retain the ability to always hit a fleeting target at least once.
Zealots contribute greatly to the power level of Protoss in all matchups, whether they’re used in direct engagements or as part of a harassment role in combination with Warp Prisms. In both these roles, we believe Zealots might be slightly too powerful relative to their cost and the control required to use them. Our intention with this change is both to lower the frontal power of the Protoss army and to slightly diminish the strength of Zealot harassment throughout the game.
In PvZ, this change will also allow unupgraded Zerglings the ability to take additional hits from Chargelots without +1 ground weapons, allowing them to be much more resilient to Charge-based timings (including popular ones that involve Immortals). It would also restore the relationship between weapon-upgraded Zealots and carapace-upgraded Zerglings, an interaction that dates back to the original StarCraft.
Our general rationale for breaking apart all the aforementioned changes in Proposal #2 from Proposal #1 is that we believe they represent two distinct approaches to addressing many of the same issues. For the Charge change specifically, we believe not only that it has overlap with the Prism warp-in speed change, but the severity of both changes combined would also be too extreme for a mid-year balance patch.
As this change is one to a core Protoss unit that is used at all phases of the game in all matchups, we plan to be extra attentive to how it plays. If it does end up going live, we’ll careful monitor just how significantly each Protoss matchup changes in their respective mid-games.
Testing and Feedback
Now that you’ve heard both proposals and are familiar with all the possible changes for the next balance update, it’s time to deliver your feedback. Which proposal do you like better? Is there anything you would tweak from either proposal? We look forward to hearing from you once again!
–StarCraft II Team