StarCraft II Balance Update - October 29, 2019Blizzard Entertainment|October 29, 2019

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:


Adjustments to Old Changes:

  • Reverted: Viking health increased from 135 to 150.

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.

  • Reverted: Battlecruiser Tactical Jump cooldown increased from 71 seconds to 86 seconds.
  • Reverted: Removed the Research Neural Parasite upgrade. Infestors now come with Neural Parasite by default.
  • Altered: Tactical Jump now stuns and puts the Battlecruiser into a 1 second vulnerability phase before it teleports.

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.

  • Reverted: New upgrade found on the Twilight Council: Sundering Impact-Grants Zealots the ability to deal +8 damage to enemies on Charge impact.
  • Reverted: Adept health increased from 70 to 80.
  • Reverted: Adept shields decreased from 70 to 60.
  • Reverted: New upgrade found on the Twilight Council: Amplified Shielding-Increases the Adept’s shields from 60 to 80.

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.


New Changes:

Creep

  • Active Creep Tumors may no longer be canceled.

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.

Overlord

  • Pneumatized Carapace research cost increased from 75/75 to 100/100.

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.

Infestor

  • Removed the Infested Terran ability.
  • New Ability: Microbial Shroud
    • Creates a shroud that obscures ground units below, reducing the damage they take from air units by 50%.
    • Lasts 11 seconds.
    • Energy cost: 100.
    • Cast range: 9.
    • Radius: 3.
  • New upgrade found on the Infestation Pit: Evolve Microbial Shroud Requirement: Hive
    • Research cost: 150/150.
    • Research duration: 79 seconds.

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.

Nydus Network/Worm

  • Nydus Worm cost increased from 50/50 to 75/75.

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.

Zealot

  • The Charge upgrade no longer provides Zealots with +8 damage on impact. Instead, it increases Zealot movement speed from 3.15 to 4.72, up from 4.13.

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.

Adept

  • Resonating Glaives reworked. Instead of increasing attack speed of the Adept by 45%, it will increase the attack speed of the Adept by 60% for 6 seconds after completing a Psionic Transfer.

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.

Mothership

  • Added Heroic tag.
  • Neural Parasite can no longer target Heroic units.

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.


Bug Fixes

  • The Thor’s High Impact Payload will now receive proper upgrade values.
  • Oracle, Void Ray, and Sentry weapons updated to prevent weapons from firing slower than intended. These units are NOT intended to fire slower when switching targets compared to the live game.
  • Void Ray, Sentry weapon icons and upgrade levels now show properly in the info panel.
  • Fixed a bug where the Lurker had less range than intended.

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.


Full Changes:

Terran

Hellion/Hellbat

  • Infernal Pre-Igniter research cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.

Thor

  • High Impact Payload damage decreased from 40 (+15 vs Massive) to 25 (+10 vs Massive).
  • High Impact Payload weapon cooldown decreased from 1.7 to 0.9.

Medivac

  • Moved the Rapid Re-Ignition System upgrade from the Starport Tech Lab to the Fusion Core.
  • In addition to reducing the Medivac's Ignite Afterburners cooldown by 5 seconds, this upgrade will also increase the Medivac's base movement speed from 3.5 to 4.13. However, this upgrade will not affect Medivac’s movement speed during the Ignite Afterburners effect.

Liberator

  • Advanced Ballistics upgrade moved from the Starport Tech Lab to the Fusion Core.
  • Advanced Ballistics upgrade now increases the range of Liberators in Defender Mode by 3, down from 4.

Raven

  • Interference Matrix energy cost increased from 50 energy to 75 energy.
  • Interference Matrix duration increased from 8 seconds to 11 seconds.
  • Raven movement speed increased from 3.85 to 4.13.

Battlecruiser

  • Tactical Jump now stuns and puts the Battlecruiser into a 1 second vulnerability phase before it teleports. In this state, the Battlecruiser can be damaged, but Tactical Jump may not be canceled.
  • Yamato Cannon will no longer cancel itself if a target enters a transport or becomes cloaked/burrowed. Instead, the Yamato Cannon will miss, and the ability will go on cooldown.

M.U.L.E.

  • Duration decreased from 64 seconds to 63 seconds.
  • Mules now always attempt to spawn on the side of minerals closest to a town hall.

Zerg

Creep

  • Active Creep Tumors may no longer be canceled.

Overlord

  • Pneumatized Carapace research cost increased from 75/75 to 100/100.

Infestor

  • Removed the Infested Terran ability.
  • New Ability: Microbial Shroud
    • Creates a shroud that obscures ground units below, reducing the damage they take from air units by 50%.
    • Lasts 11 seconds.
    • Energy cost: 100.
    • Cast range: 9.
    • Radius: 3.
  • New upgrade found on the Infestation Pit: Evolve Microbial Shroud
    • Requirement: Hive.
    • Research cost: 150/150.
    • Research duration: 79 seconds.
  • Neural Parasite range decreased from 9 to 8.
  • Neural Parasite can no longer target Heroic units.

Lurker

  • Lurker Den build time decreased from 86 seconds to 57 seconds.
  • Lurker range decreased from 9 to 8.
  • New Upgrade found on the Lurker Den: Seismic Spines
    • Increases the Lurker’s range from 8 to 10.
    • Requirement: Hive.
    • Research cost: 150/150.
    • Research duration: 57 seconds.
  • Increased research duration of Adaptive Talons from 54 seconds to 57 seconds.

Brood Lord

  • Broodling leash range decreased from 12 to 9.

Nydus Network

  • Nydus Worm cost increased from 50/50 to 75/75.
  • Summon Nydus Worm ability cooldown increased from 0 to 14.
  • Nydus Network and Nydus Worm initial unload delay increased from 0.18 to 0.36.
  • Nydus Network and Nydus Worm load period increased from 0.09 to 0.18.
  • Nydus Network and Nydus Worm unload period increased from 0.18 to 0.36.
  • New upgrade found on the Evolution Chamber: Propulsive Peristalsis
    • Reduces the Nydus Network and Nydus Worm’s initial unload delay from 0.36 to 0.18.
    • Reduces the Nydus Network and Nydus Worm’s load period from 0.18 to 0.09.
    • Reduces the Nydus Network and Nydus Worm’s unload period from 0.36 to 0.18.
    • Requirement: Hive.
    • Research cost: 100/100.
    • Research duration: 57 seconds.

Protoss

Oracle, Sentry, Void Ray

  • Fixed an issue where beam attacks could deal more damage than intended.

Zealot

  • The Charge upgrade no longer provides Zealots with +8 damage on impact. Instead, it increases Zealot movement speed from 3.15 to 4.72, up from 4.13.

Adept

  • Resonating Glaives reworked. Instead of increasing attack speed of the Adept by 45%, it will increase the attack speed of the Adept by 60% for 6 seconds after a completed Psionic Transfer.

Observer

  • Observer movement speed decreased from 3.01 to 2.63.
  • Gravitic Boosters upgrade now increases movement speed by 1.31, down from 1.51.

Void Ray

  • New upgrade found on the Fleet Beacon: Flux Vanes
    • Increases the Void Ray’s movement speed from 3.5 to 4.65.
    • Increases the Void Ray’s acceleration from 2.8 to 3.76.
    • After the upgrade, the Prismatic Alignment ability will still reduce the Void Ray’s movement speed to 2.625.
    • Research cost: 100/100.
    • Research duration: 57 seconds.

Tempest

  • Kinetic Overload (anti-air) range decreased from 15 to 14.
  • Health increased from 150 to 200.
  • Shields decreased from 125 to 100.

Mothership

  • Time Warp now affects air units in addition to ground units and buildings.
  • Time Warp delay reduces from 3.57 seconds to 1.79 seconds.
  • Gains the Heroic Tag. Neural Parasite can no longer target Heroic units.