Hi all! In the excitement before the culmination of this year’s WCS finals, we think it’s a good opportunity to revisit the proposals made earlier in the month with a fresh perspective. Special thanks to Wardi and his Balance Test Mod Invitational, which showcased these new changes in action. After further watching games and following feedback, below are a few changes we’d like to make to the testing queue:
Based on feedback, we’d like to pull this change back for now due to concerns surrounding the Viking’s subsequent increased power in TvT as well as its increased strength in earlier parts of the game. If the Viking has any deficiencies, we believe they exist later on when end-game units and area-of-effect abilities start coming into play. Thus, if necessary, we’d like to instead tackle the Viking’s strength in late-game with alterations to end-game units from other races—such as Tempests—rather than to the Viking itself.
Last update, we tested a variety of Battlecruiser-related changes aimed at broadening counterplay options against the unit. At the same time, we believe the ways in which Battlecruisers are currently used are overall pretty cool. After feedback, we’d like the prune and alter our changes such that we improve the feeling of fairness when fighting against Battlecruisers and, at the same time, preserve the core of current Battlecruiser play.
Thus, we’ll be removing changes to Tactical Jump cooldown and reinstating the Neural Parasite upgrade. We’ll also be keeping the vulnerability phase on Tactical Jump with one key alternation: “stun” effects such as Interference Matrix, Fungal Growth, and Abduct will no longer be able to cancel Tactical Jump and put it on cooldown. This change brings the behavior of Tactical Jump to be more similar to both Strategic Recall and Mass Recall.
We’d also like to put a pause on these changes for in favor of some alternate proposals. For Zealots, we hear concerns regarding Protoss’s resulting overall power level after this change. For Adepts, we hear feedback that this upgrade isn’t impactful enough, so if it were reintroduced, we would do so with slightly altered stats.
Last year, we made some changes to creep spread in order to promote the gameplay surrounding creep denial. This year, we’d like to try to take it a step further with this change, aimed at the dance we typically see between Hellions and Queens. We believe the change will increase both the interaction between players and the skill cap for all parties involved.
When we initially made the change to reduce the cost of this upgrade, we had been receiving feedback that the different variations of various PvZ Immortal all-ins were too difficult to differentiate and scout. Since then, we’ve received additional feedback that Zerg have gotten better at defending these all-ins and that the changes to the Warp Prism in the same patch were alone sufficient at dealing with this issue. Additionally, we believe the upgrade is currently too omnipresent in both ZvT and ZvP, leading to players feeling less able to surprise their Zerg opponents. Thus, we’d like to revert this previous change, which we believe will lead to more thoughtful decision making regarding when to research this upgrade.
While we’re not completely shelving the previously proposed changes to the Infested Terran, we’d like to try an alternate proposal. This new ability is designed to replace the anti-air role that the Infested Terran ability occupied. A key difference, however, is that Microbial Shroud acts as more of a force-multiplier rather than a standalone spell with lethal potential. This means that mass Infestors will be significantly less powerful than before and that other Zerg ground units would have to be mixed in for maximum effectiveness.
Our first iteration of this ability has it gated on Hive, as we believe having this ability unlocked on Lair tech restricts mid-game air play too much. In addition, as this is one of the most experimental and unique abilities we’ve ever introduced, we expect many alterations to its stats if it goes live.
As a point of clarification, the first iteration of this spell will not protect buildings nor Colossi. Nor will it protect against Oracles attacks, Colossus attacks, or Yamato Cannon. It can also not be cast while the Infestor is burrowed.
We generally enjoy the increased usage of Nydus Worms this year, and we believe one of the keys to its increased usage is its decreased Worm cost of 50/50, compared to 100/100 last year. However, at the moment, we believe that Nydus Worms are slightly too cheap, specifically in the early and mid-game stages after a Nydus Network is built. At this fragile economic timing, a failed Nydus Worm might not be punishing enough, and just the threat of the Nydus could pin too much of an enemy army at home.
As we already have two proposed changes to the Nydus Network/Worm, we will be evaluating which of the changes should go through, including the possibility of having all three go live. At the same time, however, we want to ensure we preserve a certain percentage of the Nydus’ power, as we believe it is key to encouraging map-wide multipronged attack options for Zerg and pulling apart turtling enemies in the late-game.
A concern we’ve had regarding the Zealot is its raw frontal power, especially when compared to its ease of use and the relative difficulty of defending against them. Thus, we’d like to try this change that aims to exchange its direct power in favor of increased mobility. This change would also restore the age-old relationship between weapon-upgraded Zealots and carapace-upgraded Zerglings. Because an exchange of damage for speed moves its power into a drastically different area, we categorize this change as very experimental. We’ll especially be looking at how the increased speed impacts their relationship against kiting Stimmed units.
We view Adepts as having two primary problems: its role overlaps that of the Zealot, and it’s viewed as having low utility in late-game, which we believe is due to the Zealot overshadowing it. Not only do Zealots and Adepts have similar matchups against enemy units, they both control and function similarly by being strong front-line attack-move units (Internally, we call these units “pushers”). This is especially exacerbated by the previous version of the Resonating Glaives upgrade, which highlights the raw frontal power of the Adept and draws away from its distinctiveness and coolness, which we believe comes from its Psionic Transfer ability.
Thus, the new direction we’d like to take with the Adept is to rework the Resonating Glaives upgrade into one that moves it away from the direction of being a strong pusher and towards one that highlights the Adept’s defining characteristic: Psionic Transfer. With this newly designed upgrade, Adepts will achieve only 92% of its previous upgraded damage when used optimally in a frontal fight in the long term. However, it will become much more effective at burst damage, for example, after a shade in for surprise worker harassment or when you need to break a Marine/Tank push. At the same time, it will still have obvious counterplay, such as Banelings, Widow Mines, building walls, or running away until the attack speed bonus runs out. In addition, this new upgrade could add a back-and-forth dance where both players attempt to engage during their preferred Adept state. Hopefully, after this change, Adepts will be more pointed and overlap less with the Zealot, especially in mid and late-game. As with other experimental changes, the stats of this ability are subject to change.
Due to the increased power of the newly improved Time Warp, we have concerns that the power swing gained from Abducting and then Neuraling a Mothership might be too high. With this change that heavily leans into its gameplay fantasy, a Mothership will always be able to contribute to the fight in favor of the Protoss player.
These changes will be published to the Testing Matchmaking Queue shortly. As always, we’d like to reiterate that these changes are not final, and we’ll be actively looking at your feedback. Finally, below is our full list of changes for your convenience.
Oracle, Sentry, Void Ray
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We’d like to take one final look at what tweaks we could make to our initial proposals.
Here is a preview of the map pool for 2019 Season 4.