StarCraft 2 Lead Designer Reveals New Balance Plans

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.