My thoughts on 5.0

(thread so far covers general, Kerrigan, Nova, and H&H)

First off, thanks to the dev team for a huge and interesting patch! I really like the fact that this system seems to intend alternatives while keeping standard spec worthwhile.

The UI glitch (regarding which spec is active) and the various crashes seem to be fixed at this time.

My top general request would be to let the player choose which spec is unlocked each time they activate. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern as to how they are ordered, whether by style or power or otherwise. There are some Commanders that have a very straightforward or general spec first (or even only such specs, which can be great for some), while others that have a very technical or transformative one first (or again only such specs, which again can be fitting). And of course players’ tastes will differ too. So I think letting the player choose the path they take is best. I’m onboard with working for the reward, but it’ll be pretty hard on Live servers, and I think word of mouth or seeing an ally do something is more enticing than being forced into it (or ignoring it entirely and staying in standard spec) along the way to something else.

This kind of ties into another point. Tweaks to balance and design are one thing (obviously I myself love those), but I’ve been seeing talk that some, or even most, specs are literally and inherently bad. This is rarely the case in reality, as it’s important to recognize when a spec is:

  1. not intended for leveling at a certain, or any, point
  2. not ideal in a given game situation
  3. especially technical or transformative and so take both practice and personal interest/taste

I’m going to continue today for commander specifics and I’ll get back to this post.


On Kerrigan - this is going to involve some significant change. Here are my suggestions:

Malevolent Matriarch is pretty hard to make significant use of on maps where you have to move onto objectives especially in multiple directions, and rather than putting a new spin on Kerrigan’s synergy with Stukov it just adds to the incentive, the desire, to have a Stukov ally over any other. I’d suggest reworking this as follows.

Malevolent Matriarch-

  • Advantage: Upon spawning, Nydus and Omega worms trigger Wild Mutation in an area around them, granting friendly units +200 health and +100% attack speed for 10 seconds.

  • Disadvantage: Malignant Creep is disabled.

This adds a nod to the HotS campaign and should make for an exciting playstyle with aggressive attacks and aggressive use of Worms, while cost and simple physical size should hinder abuse. The tradeoff should be significant but fair.

Desolate Queen is a good simple spec which already nods to the HotS campaign, and strengthens Kerrigan’s anti-air capability. I think that it just needs a little more juice and a little more drawback.

Desolate Queen -

  • Advantage: Assimilation Aura resource drops increased by 100%. Kerrigan gains +3 attack range and the Kinetic Blast and Crushing Grip abilities.

  • Disadvantage: Leaping Strike and Psionic Shift are unavailable. Kerrigan’s ability damage and Carapace generation are reduced by 50%.

This again adds to the HotS campaign reference and takes the drawbacks from Folly of Man in the process of making it both desirable and easier to use Kerrigan in a safe supporting role that fits the army focus coming from bonus resources.

Finally, Folly of Man is a VERY cool idea (don’t miss trying it out!) that I just think gets crippled by its own tradeoff.

Folly of Man -

  • Advantage: [no change]
  • Disadvantage: Kerrigan’s initial spawn and respawn timers are increased by 50%, and her supply cap is reduced by 50%.

Going the opposite direction, instead of cutting Kerrigan’s capability and making it easy to lose her this only makes it very costly if the player does, while limiting her army yet making it critical during her downtime.

As always, I’d like to hear the community’s thoughts. More to come tomorrow.

Is creep spread really that hard for people? I don’t play much ladder aside from custom games, but even I know that managing creep is a mechanic intrinsic to Zerg success. Kerrigan has it easier than Zagara or Abathur, what with her tumors spreading it further and faster, and the fact that as a hero unit, you only have her and Queens to micro with while you tech up to an army, giving plenty of attention that can be spared for creep management. I’ve never had trouble save for a few kinds of mutations.

I feel like Omega worms have spoiled a subset of Kerrigan players a bit. I think this Prestige is one of my favorites. I think it could use a slight buff, perhaps in the form of even greater creep radius per tumor or perhaps untargetable tumors, but the base premise of this Prestige is rather novel to me.

Getting it out on the map isn’t too hard, but getting it into enemy bases is. I don’t feel that it’s the same as ladder, where it’s most used between your own bases for convenience and out on the map as stated where it’s only contested periodically. I also feel that Kerrigan actually has it harder than the other Zerg Commanders, who do not have macro that itself requires micro due to its speed, or of course a hero unit that also requires micro (or at least, Zagara isn’t as critical).

It’s possible I’m still overestimating it and I should write off the harder scenarios as acceptable drawback, but this was my impression so far. I definitely like the idea of boosting the attackspeed buff, but I also think something a little more transformative while still making use of existing material would be welcome.

I wanted to address your Choosing suggestion first. If you allowed players to choose their upgrade they wanted then there would be no reason or drive to unlock them all unless you are a completionist; personally I think the best one should be the last. Best solution I could muster to resolve this would be to have some awesome swag players can use in game. That obviously wouldn’t make it to release so rather unlikely.

Next i want to talk about your suggestion that people should “understand” things as you see it. While your opinion is not wrong, you’ve got to understand that most of the feedback is to make these more palatable and playable rather than feel broken. Nobody wants the game to turn people off, rather they want them to have fun with new and enjoyable play styles that will undoubtedly make game play more unique.

Would it make more sense for the creep spread; mentioned above regarding it being hard to get into enemy bases/encampments; that perhaps adding a multiplier that increases the spread based on the number of tumor that are pushed forward? For every jump a tumor makes it gets 1.05 multiplier to it’s spread so that on the 10th tumor push it is getting a near 75% bump is spread size?

I think this would give ample reach into bases, and address a concern in Malwarfare that the creep spread doesn’t keep up with the mission.

I don’t think that it’s good for there to be a clear “best” one, let alone for them to be ordered that way. There might be some bad ones currently but I think they should all be an issue of taste/interest. Why would you want specs that you think are legitimately bad? Because think about it, that’s kind of what you’re saying.

For the record I’m not directing this at people who clearly put in work, who I’ve already seen several posts from. Regardless of whether I agree with some of their opinions and/or suggestions, I respect them for not just mouthing off as some players are unfortunately doing.

As for choice, I think that having to play through ones you don’t personally care for (or being inclined to ignore them by using standard spec) is not the way to give players the full experience. I’ve personally already taken note of 2 specs thanks to allies that I otherwise hadn’t, and more are likely to come. I think lots of others would have the same experience given time.

Your creep spread idea is also an option, I just thought there was easy potential for something crazier. Any thoughts on the ideas for the other two specs?

One of the effects of the new talents is it’s shaking up the cookie-cutter builds that have evolved over time. By having a worst, middle and best talent available in that order, players will eventually all be playing the third talent which would propagate the cookie-cutter issue. Plus it would also make the first two talents throw away stepping stones which I’m sure the developers don’t want because they put all the effort into creating them.

As a reverse analogy, why allow players to choose Artanis without fully leveling Raynor and Kerrigan?


On Nova:

Nova’s bio has always been extremely strong and is in fact stronger than her mech. Bio beats mech in damage output in both sustained head-on and burst situations thanks to their auto spells combined with greater massing. Meanwhile it may not have as much health, but all considered its still easily durable enough to take most fights. The only things that really threaten are mass BCs, mass tanks or mass reavers, and Hybrid Dominators.

When I decide to play bio, which is the majority of my Nova games, I already rarely even look at my factory or starport. Soldier of Fortune doesn’t change this but literally doubles down on it; it hugely speeds your ramp-up and makes it much less punishing if something does go wrong.

SoF is not only not a meme spec as I’ve heard it bizarrely called, it’s undeniably Nova’s strongest and it’s among the strongest of everyone’s. So I’m going to go so far as to suggest this rework.

Soldier of Fortune

  • Advantage: Nova can pay extra resources to bypass her unit production’s recharge timers.
  • Disadvantage: This cost will increase the longer the remaining duration is.

This offers a further resource sink, helps you cover an emergency when needed if you can afford it, mirrors Nova’s own revival mechanic, IMO better fits spec name, and keeps the approx purpose but extends it to where it’s actually (relatively) needed which is her mech and air.

I want to like Tactical Dispatcher, but I just don’t see it how it’s particularly useful. However, I think that would change with one very simple addition - allowing use into Fog of War. This could create a genuine playstyle out of it. Adding cooldown reduction to Defensive Drones might also be welcome.

I do like Infiltration Specialist tho. I haven’t really gotten the hang of it yet but I can tell that I want to. The only thing I might ask here is for +50% snipe range to be added to the list.

I feel like this should also give some combat buffs. Like temporary damage boost or attack speed. Or maybe temporary cloak and life regeneration for all carried units, similar to Tychus Medivac Pickups.

I think the tactical should
1-ignore vision
2-place a free defense drone at drop off


I’ve edited some earlier parts of the post to hopefully clean up and improve.

On H & H -

Chaotic Power Couple is great on the side of Mira’s units. The mag mines effect is useful but (maybe against expectation) not very. Overall I almost want to change or add something, but I’m not really sure what. It’s possible the issue just comes from my take on the description.

Wing Commanders is excellent. It’s fun and different and fulfills something I already wanted, and it feels about on par with the commander’s existing balance. My only recommendation here is play it!

Gunrunners defied expectations in the opposite direction from the mines effect. I commented elsewhere I thought it wasn’t practical, and it seems like it actually is. I think I’d still prefer a cooldown cut under the existing cap, tho. It could have a lower ceiling but ramp up a bit faster without, I think, being too fast. Or, a further-specific way to do it would be scaling the cooldown reduction to start low and increase with the number of platforms up to the cap.

Overall I think H & H looks good!