StarCraft 2 Lead Designer Reveals New Balance Plans

By Brian Leahy, Oct 07, 2010 11:20am PDT Dustin Browder, lead designer of StarCraft II, has revealed some upcoming multiplayer balance changes that should be in the game's next patch. Browder also examined win-rate statistics.

Though the company is still seeing near 50% win rates for all races in all match-ups when looking at the entire population, but Dustin has broken down the North American win rates for each league of the ladder. The percentages are closest at the Diamond level, but Protoss appears to be winning more frequently as the skill level is reduced.

"What we're also aware of is that, while the numbers don't necessarily support the need for Zerg changes across all leagues, the feedback from the community as well as our own play experience tells us that improvements are necessary to make Zerg matchups feel and play better," explains Browder. "The balance changes in our next patch will primarily focus on improving the Zerg."

Browder then describes a "few" of the changes coming to the next patch, which should represent some of the largest changes since the beta.

  • We're increasing roach range. This will allow roaches to be more effective in large groups, giving the zerg more options in the mid to end game.
  • Fungal Growth will now prevent Blink, which will give zerg a way to stop endlessly Blinking stalkers which can be very challenging to deal with in large numbers.
  • The Barracks are going to require a Supply Depot, which will impact a lot of early terran reaper pushes.
  • The reaper speed upgrade will require the Factory, which is meant to weaken a lot of the early terran reaper attacks that dominate so many matches, especially in team games.
  • We're making a number of increases to the health of zerg buildings, which will make the very vulnerable zerg technology structures more resistant to raids. We don't expect these hit point changes to have a super significant impact on the game, but the current numbers felt way too low.
The timing of the patch will be interesting, especially if it happens before or during the October GSL tournament, which should begin its qualifiers soon. Against the odds, a Zerg player won the first GSL tournament, beating a Terran player in a match-up thought to favor Terran.

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12 Threads | 98 Comments

  • I have a problem with how T expansions work.
    *They can remotely build the CC and fly it in
    *Repair it with SUV's
    *Defend from drops with the best AA building in the game.
    *Change it to a PF
    *Float the damned thing away
    So essentially, in my opinion, they have the best expansions of the 3 races, due to all the options for them.

    Z and more so P their expansions are pissweak: canons and spore crawlers are mediocre at damage, furthermore one requires creep, other requires Pylon - T no such requirement yet strongest AA.
    So essentially our defense against drops is not as good.

    Now, Z can use a transfusion on the hatchery but again, T managed to perform the successful drop in the first place due to the mediocre AA.
    P however, we're proper fucked, we don't have any way of repairing the Nexus, no shield battery, no transfusion, no repairing workers, no PF and no lifting off!

    It pisses me off T can send in 2 dropships, stim the marauders, have the dropship heal the marauder (heal isn't even an upgrade on their transport!) and then nuke my Nexus in under 5 seconds. Even with 2 canons, noticing the drop in time and warping in 5 stalkers, they'll probably still get the Nexus with those stimmed Marauders <- <- <-
    (Furthermore if my units do come to defend, they'll be slowed by concussive shells)

    The TLDR: If you watch a lot of games on youtube, GSL and day9's feed, there's one consistent thing I've noticed, overall you will see see more successful expansion kills against Z or P compared to T, for the above reasons.

    I propose we either get the shield battery for Protoss (expansion #2 I guess :( ? ) or take stim from the Marauder or even just reduce the damned things damage bonus on armoured.

  • Ouch, to be honest, I think that may be a bit overkill. I could see maybe a few of these changes, but all at once seems like a lot.

    I think just something like improving how larvae inject works vs. chrono and mules would be a great way to help lesser league players. That alone would go a long way by itself. Lesser players can spam mules so easily, or dump CB on warpgates, but missing an injection, especially when you're being pushed and trying to micro against A-move bio balls or A-move 4gates is devestating. My thought was to reduce the amount of time it takes for larvae to pop, but keep energy the same. When larvae pop in early game you'll have to wait a few seconds to reinject . Energy regen would limit you to having the same total larvae potential early game. In later game, you could catch up a bit if you miss injections. Being able to inject several times simultaneously might be too much. Since the first injection would pop sooner it would also give zerg a slight boost against some rushes.

    Roach range isn't an awful idea, something they should've gotten in exchange for the 2 supply nerf probably, but it might be best if this was an upgrade, or came with roach legs. This will suck for toss earlier in the game with roach pushes. It will be much easier to cram roaches on ramps to roach bust. More roaches will be able to hit. They'll rape zealots even worse, and also have even better chance against stalkers early.

    I don't get rax requires depot. Seems completely unnecessary. But I haven't been losing to many proxy 10 rax cheese. Not sure about fungal and blink either, maybe that's reasonable?

    Building health buff will be welcome. It would be nice if transfuse would be a percentage of building health instead of just 125, though, because having to heal a hatch sucks, but there's no reason to buff transfuse on spines, either. Maybe transfuse could heal 100hp + 12% or something.