Hard times for Protoss in latest StarCraft 2 balance patch

A group of spider-like Protoss Stalkers warp into existence beneath flying Brood Lords.

Blizzard’s latest balance patch for StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm attempts to address the disparity between Protoss and Terran, which has become one of the biggest issues in the game.

In keeping with Blizzard’s cautious approach to balance, they’ve made some significant tweaks that will hopefully address the major problems without radically overhauling the way the factions play. Still, there’s no getting around it: Protoss are hit hard with this patch.

The mighty Mothership Core, which has helped the Protoss thrive in the early game by letting them scout, harass, defend, and escape with ease, has had its vision radius sharply reduced. No longer will the Mothership Core be like Eye of Sauron, hovering over a Protoss army and helping it scout over the high ground into an enemy base. Now the nearsighted support unit will be either have to face more danger to scout the enemy, or it will have to stay with its friends for safety’s sake.

The other major change is that the Terran Widow Mine now does a LOT of damage to Protoss shields. A shocking amount, actually. From the patch notes:

Sentinel Missiles now deal bonus splash damage to units with Shields, based on their distance from the target. Splash damage is now dealt as follows:

  • 40 + 40 vs. Shields within 1.25 radius.

  • 20 + 20 vs. Shields from 1.25 to 1.5.

  • 10 + 10 vs. Shields from 1.5 to 1.75.

Yikes. Those are some scary numbers if you’re a Protoss. The Widow Mine just went from being a tactical obstacle to being Protoss’ kryptonite.

The complete patch notes are available here, but you should also check out StarCraft balance designer David Kim’s forum post explaining some of the thinking behind the changes, and why Blink Stalker and Swarm Hosts remain untouched for now.