Blizzard's next major patch for the Heart of the Swarm beta is due to hit in time for the holidays and it is intended to rebalance many of the game's units and shake up their role and use in the Starcraft sequel.
Writing on the Heart of the Swarm beta's forums, David Kim, game balance designer on Starcraft, wrote "Was just reading through forums this morning and realized we didn't communicate our general direction for the major balance patch before the holidays" before listing all the proposed unit changes across the three races.
This comes after a good deal of commotion and uncertainty from the forums over the release of balance update 8. It's been almost three months since the release of the last balance update, players are getting tired with units they see as overpowered, abilities that have no reasonable counter, and generally feeling like the beta isn't progressing.
The changes Kim says are being explored, and soon to be applied to the game, are far reaching and explain something of the time it's taken to implement them. They fairly drastically change the way the game is currently played and will lead to a number of future minor balances to get them sitting well with the community.
Enough dallying, here are the proposed changes:
- Redesign Thor ability/Raven seeker missile
- Push early game Reaper a bit more
- Hellbats better against melee units, not necessarily better vs. Ranged.
- We'd really like to see more Medivac usage like we saw in Wings for a time in the past. Currently thinking on a cooldown based speed booster ability.
- Buff Bio in the late game - with the addition of new units in HotS, we feel Bio in the late game is a bit weak.
- Buff mech in general - we'd like to maybe test combining the vehicle and air upgrades at the armory.
- Hydralisk movement speed upgrade to Lair
- Mutalisk buff to speed and/or acceleration
- Ultralisk changed to be good vs. all ground
- Nerf Infestor quite heavily
- Make it easier to unburrow and reposition Swarm Hosts
- Redesign Voidray - we're currently thinking of having the player choose when to activate the charge up ability.
- Oracle - pulsar beam would now overlap too much with the new Voidray, so we'd like to change the Oracle to be more of a worker harasser.
- Buff DTs not necessarily for the DT rush case, but to have DTs more often in the late game.
- Nerf Vortex - we don't like how all or nothing this ability is in Wings, and with new unit adds, we feel we can remove or phase out this ability.
- Fix Tempests to not counter all late tech Zerg. We currently don't like how Zerg can't go Tier 3 units if Tempests are in play.
- Make Voidray + Phoenix + Oracle combo a viable strat overall."