Change has a name, and that name is ‘Bel’Shir Vestige LE (2.0.10 Balance v1.0)’. The new test map in StarCraft 2’s Custom Games list is built to try out a few balance tweaks for both its Zerg and Terran factions.
“Mech in general has been weak throughout HotS,” admit Blizzard.
It’s quite possible that the changes Blizzard are testing will never be rolled out. The developers simply want to work out what those changes will be, should they be required in the future.
“We’re still constantly watching our ladder data and the highest level tournament games,” writes game balance designer David Kim. “As we all know, something that looks overpowered right now can change for top players in a matter of 1-2 weeks. We want to know as much as possible about how changes like these play out, so we’re ready when changes are needed.”
The first tweak comes to the Zerg Overseer’s Pneumatized Carapace upgrade – normally a movement speed boost to 2.75, now increased to 3.375. Blizzard say the aim is to help Zerg players out in late-game skirmishes against Terran forces.
“Having to micromanage your army in every engagement, morph new Banelings, manage 4-5 (or more) bases, and morph new Overseers can be a bit too much,” explains Kim. “So we’re going to test giving Overseers a speed buff after the speed upgrade is purchased, so that we keep the early- and mid-game the same while specifically helping out the Zerg in the later stages.
“They still wouldn’t move as fast as say, Mutalisks,” he adds, “but perhaps late game TvZ goes more evenly if Overseers don’t lag behind and get killed in most late engagements.”
Discussions internally and with top Zerg players have also led Blizzard to a second change – one that sees the starting energy of the Viper increased to 200.
“We don’t know yet whether we want to increase the rate of Vipers’ spells, and thought it might be cool if Vipers come out of the box at full strength, so their first use has a much bigger impact,” says Kim. “It’s possible that we can both increase the strength of Zerg in the late game and bring back a fun strategy that we’re seeing a bit less lately.”
And finally, a simplification: Blizzard want to find out what happens if the Terran Armory’s Vehicle and Ship Weapon upgrades are combined into one upgrade.
Says Kim: “We don’t think Terran is struggling, but do think mech in general has been weak throughout HotS. We tested this specific change a bit in the beta, and we have some idea of how much better mech will be, but a lot has changed since then, so we’d like to actually have players playtest it again.
“Right now, it’s looking like the only area where Terran might be weak is late game PvT, but it’s debateable. If so, this change would address that area, because upgrading Vikings that are really core in the matchup will also help with the Hellbat transition in the late game.”
All in all, the order of the day seems to be ever-so-slightly reduced micromanagement in the name of better balance. Are there any Terran or Zerg commanders out there? Let us know: should Blizz implement these changes or not?