Blizzard Discusses StarCraft 2 Balance, Patch 1.2

By Alice O'Connor, Sep 27, 2010 8:09am PDT After launching patch 1.1 for StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty last week, Blizzard has given PC Gamer a peek at plans for patch 1.2. The patch, which Blizzard hopes to launch this year, is described by SC2 lead producer Chris Sigaty as "largely our e-sport patch."

"A couple of big things that will be in there are support for the season rolling, so players can look at the history of how they did in past seasons. There will be bugfixes, balance changes and tweaks, too," Sigaty explained. "Chat is the other major thing we want to get in there next patch. We'll also add more significant features to the editor."

On the hot topic of balance, Sagaty says "We're being very cautious about making large swinging changes right now because at the highest level things are actually very strong. The things that we'll probably be addressing are the 2v2 and larger scale games. Ultimately, the 1 to 1 is what we want to keep as sacred as possible, but as a result right now there are some things that we need to address in the 2v2 at the higher level. We'll be looking at ways to do that without affecting the 1v1 balance."

Though the North American Top 200 ranking and current GSL tournament are being dominated by Terran and Protoss players, Sagaty insists that the Zerg race is not underpowered. "That's not actually the case," he says. "We have fewer Zerg players overall."

Sagaty explains that he personally finds Zerg too complex for his liking, implying that others might too. A genuine imbalance could also explain the dearth of Zerg, though even the mere perception of imbalance may be enough to scare some players away.

"We'd like [patch 1.2] out by the end of the year," Sagaty says, though he warns balance "is an ongoing process that, honestly, will take a year or longer to do. Even after [StarCraft's expansion pack] Brood War was released we still patched and continued to drive towards a really solid final balance."

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  • There is a lack of Zerg on both the higher tiers of the ladder and in tourneys like GSL. Idra winning KotB is starting to look anecdotal compared to ladder rankings and how the GSL is going. I tend to think GSL or the continuing trends are a better indicator. I would also tend to think higher level players are less affected by groupthink and perception.

    Lots of people will argue that people haven't "figured it out" but the obvious counter is to ask, "what haven't they figured out?" If you figure out what is missing, by all means post it, the technique will quickly flourish. Yes, we can speculate that it will change, but without stating what will change there is no argument it will change for the better. Terran could come up with a new, more powerful strategy just as easily as Zerg could gain ground.

    And since it is such a popular argument, if a race is buffed then later people figure out a new way to play the race that makes the buff unneeded, it's not like another balance patch can't be made. We know the game changes over time, and I certainly don't expect the next balance patch to be the last.

    I think the nerfs to P and T are very underwhelming overall, but I'm glad they didn't overreact as well.