Heart of the Swarm gets a Unit Update
After watching people test out the new toys, Blizzard changes things up.
If you’ve ever played StarCraft you know how important specific units are to each race. As a Terran, I don’t know what I’d do without my OP Marines. With the new expansion set to come out later this year though, Blizzard plans to introduce new units and updates to each race to give the game more variety, address some balance issues, and allow more strategies to emerge.
After running a few different tests with the new units, Blizzard has come back and addressed some of the issues they found with the new stuff. The original changes were to include
- Reapers can no longer attack buildings
- Ghosts cloak is no longer a toggle
- Hellions can now transform to walkers like tanks going into siege mode
- Battlecruisers get a turbo boost for a limited time
- Warhound: a new unit that functioned like a small Thor
- Shredder: new unit that does stationary damage to enemies
- Only one Thor allowed at a time
- Banelings get burrowed movement
- Hydralisks faster off creep
- Corruptors and Ultralisks get new special abilities
- Swarm Host: spawns ground units similar to brood lord
- Overseer removed
- Viper: support unit with abilities to replace overseer.
- Nexus gets Mass Recall ability and Arc ability
- Replicant: Unit that would morph into units from enemy army
- Tempest: Strong air unit
- Carriers and motherships removed
- Oracle: harassing unit capable of stopping mineral collections and other support abilities
After a few tests, the devs behind the expansion have tweaked things a little. For the Terran, the shredder was removed since it was used to kill mass workers, and the warhound was also changed because it felt too much like a Thor and didn’t lead to new ways of thinking. Blizzard is looking into more factory units to make them more usable and they are toying with some ideas to make late game TvT more interesting. For Zerg, they managed to stay mostly the same. The overseer was returned and the viper changed to reflect that. The Swarm Host worked well and allowed for some very interesting strategies and they’re also looking into changes to the nydus network to allow for more interesting uses.
Finally we come to the Protoss.
As a former Protoss, I know how hard of a race they are to manage. Units are very expensive, they have no way of healing themselves, and their unit compositions can’t get too wild or you’re almost guaranteed to lose. I was really looking forward to the new units and all of the interesting additions to strategies they could bring, but it wasn’t meant to be. After testing the game, Blizzard has decided to remove the Replicant entirely as it was causing people to neglect other units in order to copy more of their enemies. The Tempest was also changed to be more of a long range siege unit. The Oracle was able to stay the same, but that was the only part that went unchanged. I hope to see some changes for this in the time between now and the release of the beta.
I think the expansion holds a ton of possibilities, but I worry about how the overall balance of the game may change. As it stands now, Terran appears to be the most flexible and the “best off” in the way that they can marine rush and win the game fairly easily. The Zerg seem to be the second easiest to win with, even if they do require more skill to use. The Protoss though are by far the hardest to win with. The strategies they can use are fairly limited based on the situation and the enemy race. I’m hoping that the expansion can help this, but as it stands right now I don’t know how much it will.
The Swarm Host is the unit I’m most worried about. From the news coming out about it, it seems to be a Brood Lord that burrows and then produces ground units, which seems infinitely scary. Hopefully it’s more balanced than that. I also worry about what will happen with the Protoss. The Replicant was the only way I could see for them to effectively defeat a teched up Terran. I’m not worried about the Terran, though, as they seem to be close enough to now that everything should work ok.
Needless to say, I would stay tuned for more updates as they come. I trust Blizzard and hopefully by the time the expansion is finished, all the balance issues and new units will be addressed and the new units and adjustments will allow for some new and exciting gameplay. I’ll update you guys with more news as soon as I get it.