[MM] Testing Karax Changes


Hi. This post goes over changes for Karax that are available in my mod (any [MM] map on arcade). You only have to type -karax2 in the commander selection screen, without it no changes will be applied.

The changelog is quite long, but the main things are:

  • Generally cheaper and more accessible upgrades
  • Cannons, Monoliths and Shield Batteries can phase to nearby location with powerfield (permanent reposition).
  • Chrono Boost can target defensive structures. Chrono Wave can be upgraded into Combat Chrono Wave that affects all defensive structures.
  • More love and a new ability for the Carrier
  • And others changes…

The link includes images and videos showing these changes better. I tried to make a fancy webpage for it. That was just for fun, and I think it turned out pretty well.

There will be different approaches how to tackle issues Karax has, but this is at the very least a good way to test some possible changes.


Even if half of the change log gets implemented, Karax would be 1000% more interesting to play.

Many loves! :heart:


I like the changes you are going for.

Have you also changed Purifier Beam?
for an ultimate ability in Karax’s Arsenal it’s kind of dull.
I think Purifier Beam is more of a army destroyer rather than dealing very heavy damage to fewer targets like Orbital Bombardment.

I made some changes for Karax’s Beam.
Mostly +50% time Duration (So it’s 15 sec > 22.5 sec (with new talent)) +25% Width and Attack.
No changes in Cooldown.

  1. Damage 50 >62.5 (125) +25% increase
  2. Width increased by +25%
  3. Speed: (Base Beam Speed 1.5>3) (Upgraded Beam Speed 3>4.5) No Change
  4. Duration 15 (+5sec of 50%)> 22.5 seconds (+50% from upgrade) + 2.5 seconds

Link: https://youtu.be/aFuR4HUny2Q

I see Purifier beam has Chrono Wave buff. That’s good then, you already considered that.
If it has “burning-over-time” effect (do air units get affected too?) then I think there is no need for further improvement in terms of damage increase. Just fixing initial cooldowns to 300 sec would suffice.
I’m excited to see it becoming the ultimate weapon it was always meant to be.

Ps. Do you think Chrono Wave accelerating cooldowns of Top bar abilities to be too OP?

I’ll keep trying him out! Keep up the good work!

Overall, these changes are great. For me, the honorable mentions will be cooldown CW and default upgrades.

But one thing I would like to point out- the naming of the new Chrono Wave is… weird, it is like a “Battle Meditation”-like weird.

No changes to the Purifier Beam right now. It can be a bit underwhelming compared to Solar Bombardment.

Perhaps something like Purifier Beam applying burning damage-over-time effect. That would mean a similar strength against attack waves but improved power against static spread out defenses. It adds more reason to control it, which is what sets it apart from Solar Bombardment. And a burning effect fits the fantasy.

Something like that could be tested. Right now I have few bugs that I will have to fix. And feedback on phasing range of defenses would be good. There is an option to make it a global with the upgrade. It would still require powerfield and be permanent, but I don’t want to it to be too similar to Zeratul’s projection.


Not directly related to this, but I was checking out your maps and there was some serious glitches.

  • Void Launch (Terran I think?): All shuttles launched one after another the second the game started, along with the bonus shuttles.

  • Dead of Night (Protoss I think): game timing was again not working properly. It got stuck in the day phase on Day 2. There was no infested swarm, just the generated attack waves and existing bases.

Both games I had changed the difficultly to Elite (highest) and used the Supreme Commander and Great Wall mutators. Both games had “difficulty error” displayed on the left side.

I prefer this idea over the burning after-effect.

What about linking it to SoA energy, where by default it’ll consume 2 energy per 6 seconds (larger price to pay early game but proportionally less price post upgrades to SoA energy regen) with relatively smaller radius. It can be turned on to larger radius, consuming much more energy per second with a maximum limit.

It would provide a relatively easy anti-light/low-HP unit but still takes forever to kill structures/objectives to prevent abuse.

Yes, if you were trying to play difficulties higher than supported in co-op, you will inevitably see a lot of things not working. Some things were set up for higher difficulties, especially in early Co-op development, but I guess eventually it was abandoned.

It could be interesting but perhaps as a core mechanic for another commander.

Looks really cool. Plays out like a greatest hits of “Fix Karax” suggestions. Only problem with it is it completely changes his commander fantasy from “Sucks at Everything All the Time” to “Khalai Phasesmith” (though I do think the recent changes improved him considerably).

Specifically, I like:

  • Phase cannons, extended warp-in range, and larger pylon power radius make cannon pushing more viable (making his static defense useful on more than just defensive missions) without being dum dee dum dum dumb like Zeratul’s shade projections since there are deliberate limitations to it.
  • An attempt was made to make Chrono Wave useful in the late-game. The funny thing about this ability is it’s mostly useful for Karax himself, since he has so much research and units like carriers that take 5ever to build. Newer commanders generally already have their own macro buffs that make their research fairly painless (or they just don’t have research at all). I like the idea here; it reminds me of actual tower defense games like Defense Grid.
  • Base-lining reconstruction and repair drones with weaker versions, with upgrades to make them less weaksauce (similar to what Blizzard themselves recently did with tauren and pulverize in Warcraft III), which makes these units immediately useful with less investment. Relatedly, I like the idea of giving carriers the pirate ship area stun, moving them more solidly into a support role (which I already think is the most sensible way to use them since they’re too expensive to mass, except of course for all the co-op gods here who can get a dozen of them out before the first objective spawns, please don’t start long boring stupid arguments with me). I wouldn’t mind if this ability were made more situational and only affected mechanical units, though (which maybe is already the case).
  • Giving energizers more shields so they won’t get sniped as much. I’m still annoyed that Karax doesn’t have a basic anti-air unit (though I admire the boldness of the design decision). Obviously, I know the intention is that you would use the Spear of Adun for anti-air, but I think the reason is bothers me is because the idea of a commander with powerful top-bar abilities like that seems to be that he has global presence and can do things all over the map. Instead, it feels like I have to use the abilities to make up for his patchy army and whenever I actually try to use them for global map presence, I lose a million gas in energizers because I looked away from them for three seconds and the enemy had one cloaked banshee somewhere. But I know this issue only affects me and not the co-op gods here who never lose a unit ever, please don’t start long boring stupid arguments with me.

I think Purifier Beam is fine, though I would probably change its cooldown to a flat 300 s like Solar Bombardment rather than 360 s, 450 s initial (unless there’s some important reason for this that I haven’t considered).


What difficulty do you recommend? I changed it to elite because the map said that was roughly equal to brutal.

Oh I see what’s happened. Setting it to Elite AI means you were overwriting Amon’s AI with the Elite AI for standard 1v1 Starcraft, as in a non-co-op AI taking over for Amon. DON’T mess with the settings in the game lobby, all that will happen there is the breaking of scripted events. All settings you want to change will be the emulated co-op selection screen once you’ve already entered the game.

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Brutal would be the best choice for now.
My guess the editor can set the max difficult level and if your choice exceed that of max level setting then it won’t work.

I tried it with my experiment where I set the difficulty to “unlikely” (higher than elite) and enemy army are automatically set to Easy - Normal.

A lot of interesting idea for changes. However, the Carriers are still most likely going to be too slow and too costly to get out.
On top of this, why separate Combat Chrono Wave from regular Chrono Wave? Why not have the upgrade make it affect both production and defensive structures? Would it be too powerful?

Few additional changes in the Karax build for testing:

  • Purifier Beam puts enemy units on fire (100 damage over 10 seconds).
  • Phasing range change: 30 base range, unlimited upgraded range.
  • Carrier’s Power Discharge radius +1 range.
  • Fixed Phasing Energizer shield amount. Fixed Energizer bonus shield amount from unit vital mastery to reflect its increased shields.
  • Fixed Phasing Energizer subgroup priority.
  • Fixed Chrono Boost on non-Karax structures.

I’m sorry this wasn’t clear. This is from my blog:

Desired Co-op difficulty Difficulty to set
Brutal Hard (default)
Hard Medium
Normal Easy
Casual Very Easy

I hope it helps.

If it’s all in one, there is a confict on when to use – do you use it for production or for defense? It doesn’t feel good based on prior testing. The upgrade prevents this. Although I’m wondering if this can’t be improved somehow.

Maybe we can change the cool up time of Chrono Wave from 300sec to 240sec.

It doesn’t have to be fixed at that number but the idea is to give players opportunity to use it upon first wave. This satisfies the “should I use it as a defensive cast”, to allow low cannon-count with boost Chrono Wave defense. The 4min new timing would still allow unsaturated player bases and/or combat units to come out at 1st wave-timing for most maps.

The subsequent 4min per next available Chrono Wave will be focused on either unit production and/or defensive boost. Ideally of course, an experienced player would align both to gain maximum benefit. So I don’t see why not provide the same opportunity to the very first one as well.

What do you think?

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I think some kind of upgrade/switch is necessary.
I’m just not sure about it’s implementation. (Cost, duration, option to reset back, etc.)

First, thank you for doing the work Blizzard should be doing. Why co-op doesn’t use the balance testing map functionality like for multiplayer is a mystery.

I play tested twice on Rifts to Korhal and once on Void Thrashing and afterwards, playing regular Karax was not pleasant lol. The Probe build range increase and chrono boost on static defense are brilliant, and I really want these implemented in the actual co-op mode.

I played before the latest changes above went live so was playing with 40-max phasing range. While I liked the concept of making a pylon highway to slowly creep, the unlimited range does sound more user friendly and less tedious. That being said, is there a way to introduce an upgrade to decrease the cooldown of phasing? Let’s say the current 30 seconds to 15? That and/or eliminate the 5 second channel time on phasing so that its instant, like static defense blinking haha. I think being added to Optimized Ordinance upgrade (the 25% buff to attack speed) in addition to its current functionality would be interesting.

Carriers - interceptor count increase and repair drones functioning properly did wonders that the new ability is more of a extra than a necessity. I did a mass photon cannon transition to mass carriers, like back when we had the unit cost reduction mastery, and ended with about 13 carriers by 20 min mark (skip all upgrades except carrier upgrade, air attack 1, 2, 3, solar core upgrades 1 and 2, and fire on solar lance). They just don’t die. Two carriers + cannons + spear of adun can effectively push into 2nd set of shards in rifts to korhal. About 7 can do the same to 3rd set of shards.

Still on my list to try:

  1. Mirages - still sounds pretty weak, even with attack buff. Their role, I think, is to be Karax’s dedicated anti-air, along with Carrier, but they don’t do their job very well. Shadow cannon immortals do a better anti-air job.
  2. Colossus - I had no idea of incendiary lance upgrade nerfing attack speed. Its still probably going to remain a niche unit.

I look forward to testing these further as you introduce more changes/tweak the existing ones!

No arguments here. This is how I feel with hero units. They’re powerful, and literally 1-man armies. However, I’ve looked away, and ended up losing them. For Kerrigan, it cost me a Void Launch victory since I was going to use her Immobilization Wave, but a 1 minute revive was too late. Ditto with losing Alarak when a train is slipping through in OE. Last but not least, Nova’s units. I wasn’t aware I was near a spawn point, and her ground bio and mech got decimated by Banalings. I had to switch to air since her production charges were mostly gone.

That’s one reason I prefer traditional armies is if you mess up, you can still replace them quickly (granted that you have the resources for them of course, but still).

From what I’ve read (which are mixed reactions), even though some regard his Purifier Beam as garbage, PB is considered superior to Solar Bombardment. PB doesn’t leave any holes in coverage, does more damage, and can be repositioned to waste less shots. However, the cd’s are the curveballs. SB has a 5 minute cool-up and cd. PB has a 7.5 and 6-minute respectively. I’d still like to see both of them as even to overall balance it relative to Artanis.

It’s something to consider. I will see how the current changes go.

By the way, if anything else, Purifier Beam putting units on fire now looks very cool. :fire:

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Maguro, I have a quick question.
How hard is it to implement Co-op Commanders in Campaign missions?
I think it will be quite difficult.

  1. Bringing units from Co-op to Campaign may overlap with already present Campaign units. Making it hard to work with them editor.
  2. May cause Cinematics to fail and stop the game (This happened in “the Host” mission). There could be errors with missing with changed units, abilities, effects, doodads etc.
  3. Difficulty of how to implement commander units in the earliest stages. For example, in the first Raynor mission how will you replace “Raynors and marines” with each Commanders.

There are examples this being done in Asian Arcade.

  1. The Host
  2. All Into the void campaigns.
  3. Some more but they are currently deleted or unmaintained

Thanks for the answer, Maguro! I have a feeling it is a lot work especially to maintaining them with each patches.
We are looking forward to the next work. Hopefully the developers can implement your changes! (Most are appropriate but Sentinel Reconstruction time is bit OP for mineral dumps).

Keep up the good work!

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