History of Karax's development direction

This is mostly my speculation based on the changelog of the past few years.

Karax at initial release was an exceedingly hard commander to play.
_ His army has campaign stats but is 50% more expensive. Some of the units DON’T have their unique abilities available by default (Colossus’ fire beam, Immortal’s shadow cannon, Mirage’s Phasing armor, Sentinel’s reconstruction, Carrier’s repair drones).

  • In short, his units are more expensive than versus protoss,
  • requires expensive research and upgrades to meet campaign status
  • note: i said campaign status, not coop status because coop units are generally more powerful than campaign units at max upgrade

_ His static defense are strong as they are now but the research for them are also slightly costlier.

_ His top bar’s researches also cost more to upgrade.

The initial design direction is speculated to divide Karax’s power into 3 main branches.

_ Army focus: Which is the most terrible build considering the cost of his units and the amount of tech research + weaponry upgrade he has to get.

  • Unlike other commander who can afford to not upgrade units weapon. Most of Karax’s major damage dealers requires weapon upgrade to be effective in late game. Sentinels are the cheapest units in his arsenal and they are usually amassed in the Sen-Mira build, high-armour enemies shrug off their attack with ease so trying to max out Sentinel’s damage is an incentive. Mirage and Carrier are also countered by high-armour. So his army is forced to upgrade to stay in the game for later stage.
  • While labeled as ‘powerful robotic army’. His army aren’t strong specialists or versatile as Artanis or Raynor or Kerrigan at that time (which is before Muta buff and Dragoon buff). None of his land units are reliable anti-air units. Energizers’ tickle beam and Immortal’s 200 damage wonder can’t deal with sky enemies in general which forced player to invest in the air tech tree. The air tech tree while being versatile enough to deal with air and ground units up to certain degree are exceedingly slow both in moving, amassing and damaging as Hybrids, Ultra, Carrier, BC brush off Mirage and Carrier’s peashooters.
  • Despite being expensive, his units’ performance never justified their cost and the only units that actually does is the Energizer which can tickle an Ultralisk to death with a K/D ratio of 1 to 20.

_ Unlike the horrible’s robotic army, Karax’s static are generally extremely strong at standing their ground. An well-invested fortified position can soak up a lot of damage with minimal loss which Swann’s couldn’t when his SCVs are being targeted or when siege air units attacking his turrets. They are very well-round. Their set-up speed is top tier, bar none. Can self-sustained without player input. Dealing with swarming comp, long range siegers and boss units very well. Being the jack of all trade, his static aren’t the most powerful but has no weakness.

_ The third branch is probably investing in top bar researches. Unlike the mediocre price of the current stage. His initial research cost for these are borderline cutthroat but they are required however to compensate for the weakness of his standing army.

The development direction for his initial release was probably having a very small group of units with support from the top bar to deal with enemies. This does not work because when you have air enemies to deal with while you only have ground units, your solarite are allocated and spent on air units which forced you to save them up and not using them to help his mediocre army to deal with high-profile ground targets (hybrid, ultra, thor, aberration). The air tree may be working well for him but they are too gas heavy to amass a decent fleet that can defeat an attack wave without loss (anyone here who is familiar with the Lanchester’s law will probably understand why it is hard to keep a small group of units alive) and the solarite will also have to greatly allocated to help his air. When Karax was playing missions that doesn’t require him to aggressively on the offense, he play quite well but map that forced him to move out early as usually bad for him overall. Even the probe push build require him to have an early investment on top bar researches + a good amount of sentinels to play as bait while his probe set up cannons.

Karax at that time has very bad design where his mastery and mission will dictate how well he performs. There were buff and nerf over time to make Karax up to the standard power.

Notorious buff include:
_ general reduction in armor and shield upgrade cost
_ Colossus’s fire beam deal 150 in 5s instead of 100 in 5s (campaign value)
_ unit cost reduced to only 30% more expensive rather than 50%.

The devs seemed to agree with general opinion that Karax was not good though they still stubbornly believe that his good static defense and robust top bar justify the army cost which it isn’t. Karax’s army have the same weakness as Zagara’s, the “unless you have enough units or energy to deal with the wave, you have nothing” problem. This is particularly true for Karax. His Immortal does not attack air and their shadow cannon has terribly long cooldown, accurate usage is very important. His energizers weak air attack made it a blinking target for air army and when he loses gas units it is a major set-back. Though many people also expressed their disagreement that Karax is flawed by saying that his Top bar can cover for his weaknesses which is essentially untrue as the production rate aren’t enough to keep up with an aggressive mission’s demand and even with all mastery in solarite, Karax still struggle while others breeze through.

There is also a notorious nerf in this period which is the interceptor cost 15 mineral. Monk at that time justified the decision as he compare it to the 15 mineral cost of versus interceptor. He was personally called out as coop and versus operate in completely different macro design. While in versus, mineral fields are everywhere and players can boost their income far above that of coop, versus players also has many ways to weaken enemies attack by targeting their eco. The nerf was revoke at the next patch.

Now the current design of Karax seems to be relatively the same as the initial release but moving to another problem. To name a few reasons, his researches and upgrades are cheaper, his army is more durable, Immortal’s shadow cannon deal more damage. The worst thing about this new revamp is the absence of unit cost reduction mastery while in the previous patches, players at 90 mastery can trade static durability with more units (or in a different way of understanding more total damage output).

I believe they must have take in some of the random suggestions (which also includes my opinion) without context and slap it on the patch.

To specify, the discussion was to turn his units into a tough Son.Of.B to provide sight for top bar bombardment. This idea was shot down because many don’t want to play Karax that way as it dumb down his option and builds.

Thus, here we are again with a commander that has no option but to research everything even the useless one to get a strong army while Kerrigan can just max Hydra and omega.

So if they want to keep the price, so be it. I will advise different mean to justify it and to make sure the army is strong enough by itself.

Cost increase to 50% more expensive from 30%.
Armour upgrade give units +0.5 health regen per level
Shield upgrade give units +20 max shield per level

_ Charge deal 16 (+2 per weapon) upon reaching the target
_ For 5s after reconstruction, Sentinel’s damage is increased by 30% and take 20% less damage.

_ won’t attack air
_ they move 30% faster when attacked

_ Shadow Cannon’s cooldown reduced by 2s every time Immortal attack
_ Immortal can switch into AA mode. In AA mode Immortal can’t attack ground but have a weak AA attack, dealing 20 (+2 upgrade) with the same speed and range as their ground attack. Changing mode take 1s. Energizers buff will also speed up changing mode speed by 100%.

Colossus (name changed into Incinerator)
_ Fire Beam dps stack infinitely
_ Incinerator can attack while walking after researching Thermal Lance
_ Incinerator gain the Burning Ground ability by default. Burning Gaze unleash a beam that sweep the area In front of Incinerator similar to the Tal’darim Mothership Thermal Lance. Dealing 10 damage and set the ground on fire. Dealing 150 damage over 5s. This ability dps stack with fire beam passive. Have 60s cooldown.

_ Anion Pulse-Crystals researches cost increase to 200 M&G. Now allows Mirage to attack 3 targets at the same time if they are within range.

_ Interceptor deal +5 vs air.
_ Repair drones can cast Fortification Barrier on Units if this was researched.

_ Fortification Barrier’s research cost increase back to 150 M&G.

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I feel like I am more on board with Karax2.0 from M’s test map.

These are good buffs but I feel they don’t solve the core issue. Karax takes a long macro to get going, his tech path will remain high and research strenuous.

Not that he ever gets any love.


There are few OP buffs in Karax 2.0 like Snetinel’s 60 second reconstruction time upgrade, Carrier upgrade cheal costs etc but they just need to be tweak just the right amount and the rest is golden.
Hope we can play this Karax in the future.

I ain’t serious with these buffs either. I just put it here to relief some stress.

Buffing is not my style of suggestion but more about tweaking mechanics and find new role for existing units or abilities.

Every commander needs to have a long macro to get going, instead of buffing this karax aspect it’s better to nerf other macro fast commanders.

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Nerf train is a lonely ride.

You’d better stop posting nonsense messages here, this is called flood.

Are you seriously this overly sensitive?

Nerf’ing as a strategy is highly frowned upon, both by players and the development team. The team’s strategy (if you look at the history of patches) has been 95% been buffing to balance commanders.

The few exceptions of nerf’ing that has occurred is rare to begin with. Moreover, the ones that stayed are even fewer (such as the Shadow Fury damage). Others, most notably Stukov’s bunker nerf has been met with much negative response that it is reversed.

Know your basics instead of getting Karen-offended at everything on here. And threatening people is a great way to represent yourself :-1:

I do like the idea of increasing the unit tax back to 50%, and then making the units even stronger. (mostly in enhancing their special abilities… which might be simpler with a cooldown reduction)

I wouldn’t make the carrier stronger v. air to avoid stepping on the Mirage’s toes (ie you want to have serious aa you go Mirages)

Making the energizer not attack air is an interesting idea… maybe give it an air attack mode, that drains its energy… but is more useful… possibly increases its shields.

I’d also lower the cost of ALL buildings (including Nexus) for faster macro

Karax is in a good spot now, but to make him more forgiving and more approachable for newcomers (yes, I’m aware his blurb saying “for experienced players”), I’d go with:
Give a slight discount on his buildings
Increase the build time a bit for all of his buildings
Let him recall towers off the map, that refunds him the resources
Either keep the 30% unit tax and buff them more, or keep them as is and make it a 20% unit tax.

Mirage was buffed to handle swarmy air. They are still weak vs carrier and BC. That’s why i give interceptor air atk buff cause interceptors are terrible against swarm of army.

Clear distinction
Mirage - swarm of air
Carrier - strong flying units

My direction is to make Karax army strong by themselves without the need to support from his static and top bar which should be the reason to justify their cost.

But i agree that a simpler buff will be better.

Quoting someone else: Remove the carrier.

Seriously, this would make 90% of random Karax partners much more effective. It’s the worst unit.

My first change would be upgrade cost reduction mastery (replace the godawful second mastery set) for obvious reasons. No commander should always be that unavoidably gas-starved. It’s not interesting. And what did Karrymyass, of all the crappiest commanders, ever do to deserve it?

Second change would be a way to teleport cannons/shield batts. Failing that, at least let them be placed at 5 or 6 range by a probe. It’s so incredibly obnoxious trying to warp in shield batteries or cannons into an enemy base in the middle of a clustered melee, in time for them to actually be useful. Half the time you try to drop a building the probe just gives up after 10 seconds and the phantom building disappears. There’s just too many buildings and units in the way, and no space where you actually need it. By the time it warps in, the battle is often already decided, or your partner has already pushed forward and there’s nothing left in range of your buildings.

Shield batts and photons are fine defensively, but they’re often just not useful for base-busting alongside an army. And I think the army/building warp-in combo attack should be highly useful. It’s a lot of fun, and buildings can cover your weaknesses (anti-air) and enhance your strengths (durability). Plus that’s almost the only reasonable way to use buildings on a lot of maps. Static defense in any non-minimal quantity is usually just a useless waste of resources.

There’s a few maps where you want to set up choke points, and buildings can be useful for some niche mutation mods. But buildings are mostly garbage compared to an army. Even an army as godawful as Karax’s. So help Karax’s buildings be useful for something other than making noobs say “I’ll defend” and their partner go “***ing ****ty Karax partner again.”

A lot of frustration here :joy:.

May I redirect you to check out M’s recent release Karax2. It has many of your concerns and wishes addressed. It’s not perfect but by far still the best set of proposals that is implemented and can be tested.

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Plenty of Unit cost reduction ideas and topics
Plenty of research cost reduction masteries and thing
Plenty of building+army combo ideas
Plenty of combo of many thing

I won’t go back to that ages-old discussion because it has already been made ages ago.

I will go with the original development direction. Let the player choose to follow one of the 3 paths

_ army focus
_ static focus or
_ top bar focus

For that to happen any of these path must be strong enough by themselves without the need to further investing in other paths.

If you go army focus, I don’t want you to have to build cannon to support it and vice versa.

Generally put, Maguro’s thread is more your style if you want a change that allow static teleport. I myself consider that duplication of Zeratul’s static defense.

Ok, well you’ve got your preference, and I’ve got mine. Personally I think mutually exclusive paths are one-dimensional and get boring fast. I don’t want you to have to choose just one narrow path and not enjoy a fuller, more dynamic game.

But it’s not fair to say you would “have” to support one path with another. You can win brutal games making nothing but 0/0/0 sentinels if you want. Allowing mixed compositions isn’t exclusive to allowing specialization. Look at, idk, any pro game that goes longer than 15 minutes. Mixing and balancing the strengths and weaknesses of different paths allows the kind of strategical and tactical variation that make RTS games so much fun. Clearly you’re not interested in it, but don’t try to speak for everyone.

First of all, i do not suggest Mutually exclusive paths for Karax.

The initial design of Karax was having expensive researches and upgrades are tech restriction which prevent him from going into too many paths. You can still mix the playstyle but it is just harder. I proposed to go back to this direction. I did not propose to have mutually exclusive paths.

Secondly, Zagara is the prime example of mix and matching and she suffered greatly because of that. Her units are too specialised to the point of restricting them from doing the other’s job. Zagara’s build for most of the time consist of all of her units and that’s 1 dimension. Karax’s units are the same. His only ground units that can attack air is too expensive to lose and too weak to deal with air. His only Air unit that can attack ground is ill-suit to deal with swarm of units and too expensive to amass.

If Monk is the first one i called out on this, you are the second one. Coop is extremely restricted to the point that most Versus’ strategy and tactic can’t apply to it. You are constraint by income source. You can’t harrass enemy eco, can’t cut off enemy’ production. The primary objectives are fixed in most mission and turned your strategic and tactical approach almost linear. In higher difficulty, when your loss is less forgiving and your schedule is stricter, your tactics, build order and strategy are even less flexible.

The only way to introduce diversity to player’s experience is allowing them to have choices. Unit combo is one of these choices but it is greatly depend on how many unit types each commander have, how versatile each type is, how easy it is to amass, preserve or how significant unit loss is. Karax’s unit lists are too constraint on this respect to be used alone without support from top bar. Which makes Karax’s too dependent on the top bar path, almost every single game you play as Karax you have to invest either half way to full into top bar which is one dimension.

I hope you drop your premature assumption. I stated loud and clear that this topic will only

It is not a statement of like or not. It’s to state that this is my personal direction.

If i said “for the purpose of this paper, i will only look at discrimination against black people”, you will tell me that i am not interested in Asian?

When and where did i speak for everyone? All of this topic is MY personal opinion for the matter. There is no everyone here and i don’t dictate or speak for anyone here but me.