I can’t say I know for sure what’s happening internally, although I get the sense that a lot of the patch proposals, in both Co-op and Versus modes, are being performed by third parties, with Versus in particular being done by high-level professional players. The problem with this is that at the professional level, there’s a large emphasis on putting on a good show, wishing to enforce games that are fast-paced and dynamic. And while I don’t doubt the skills of the professional players, I find a lot of their games play in a very particular way.
I suppose some things should be considered from a game design perspective rather than “what do the professionals currently do”? The Raven, having been brought up so much, is being looked at as if you’re building an Oracle… you build one, maybe two, when you first get your Starport, then hotswap it back to a Reactor instead of the Tech Lab, never to use it again… at least that is what is trying to be encouraged, it seems. The problem is that professional players have the micro mechanics to keep their Oracles alive for the rest of the game, so it can keep building value with Revelation and Statis Wards. All of the current proposals to Ravens are about getting it out as fast as possible, but then tone down its power so it’s not unbalanced in the early game, which then harms its usefulness in the late-game when you have more Orbital Command energy available for scans (hence you don’t need them for mobile detection all that much), and yet Auto-Turrets and the Anti-Armor Missile are being weakened. Maybe Ravens are rarely, if ever, used in match-ups outside of TvT, and a fast Raven may help more in TvZ to clear creep, but harming its late-game potential is the wrong approach, I feel. I think it would be better to see if its abilities can be made more useful. e.g. Having Interference Matrix also reduce the unit’s vision to 1 and allowing it to target Overlords and Overseers (give them the Psionic tag) could produce some interesting engagements when you disable an enemy’s detection or high ground vision (or just a unit that’s further ahead of the tank line acting as a spotter).
I get the impression that some decisions are possibly a little narrow-minded. One that’s been around for a while now is the Tectonic Destabilizers for Tempests. I can understand the reasoning for it… PvZ matches had devolved into “Spore Forests” and Vipers that slowly creep forward and in the right hands are very difficult to break through, and this was compounded with the nerf to Feedback that prevented High Templars from outright killing full-energy Vipers, so with needing a long-range unit that could pick apart the forest while being able to keep a relative safe distance from enemy Vipers, the Tempest was the logical option (Carriers are a bit too slow and a large number of Spores, coupled with Fungal Growth, would shoot down Interceptors). The problem though is that this caused an overlap between Tempests and Carriers, with Carriers supposed to be assault units while Tempests are a strange mix between a siege unit and siege breaker, and more importantly, it adversely affects other match-ups that rely somewhat on structures, such as mech. In PvT(mech), Terran players rely more on Missile Turrets, Sensor Towers and Planetary Fotresses because of mech’s relative immobility, but the Tempest already counters most mech units and trades fairly evenly with Thors, but at the same time, a group of them will mincemeat an expansion very quickly and there’s not really mucn you can do except to overproduce Vikings, which come with its own problems (vulnerable to Blink Stalkers after kiting with the Tempests and eats into supply that might be better suited to Siege Tank, Thor and Hellbat production). More than anything it’s just something that feels a little unfair.
I do have my own suggestions for the Tempest problem, but I’m not sure if it will be liked all that much, and it’s hard to suggest anything without being called biased (I main Protoss and off-race as Terran).
- Bonus from Tectonic Destabilizers reduced from +40 to +30 vs. Structures (will be on equal footing with a Siege Tank’s damage output, and will still 6-shot a Spore Crawler… reducing it to +25 vs. Structures would require 7 shots, and may be an option if it needs better balancing with the second change below).
- New upgrade at Templar Archives named Twilight Focus (150m 150g, 100 seconds to research) - increases the damage of Feedback from 0.5 HP/energy to 1 HP/energy (back to its original damage, which will permit a well-placed Templar to kill, not just injure, a badly-placed Viper!). Being behind an upgrade, it will only become prominent in the late-game since, unless you have a very good reason for rushing the stronger Feedback, you’d be researching Psionic Storm first (I can possibly see it as being useful in PvP if the opponent has a large number of Phoenixes).