StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm multiplayer detailed

New details about StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm's multiplayer and races were recently revealed at BlizzCon 2011.


StarCraft 2 developers Dustin Browder, David Kim, and Josh Menke were discussing all things Heart of the Swarm at BlizzCon 2011, disclosing some new details about the current state of the series' next installment, with a particular focus on mulitplayer. Though still very much a work-in-progress, the team explained that by continuing to add or remove units, they can "effectively address race weaknesses, spice up certain stale matchups such as ZvZ or PvP, and address missed opportunities in existing units ."

According to the official blog post about the panel discussion, nothing is final, and everything is subject to change. That said, game designer David Kim gave a detailed breakdown of all three of the game's races, detailing what's new in Heart of the Swarm's multiplayer.

A couple of changes were also noted during the presentation that were not mentioned in the lists below. Terran Reaper units have lost their building attack, but regenerate health more quickly when out of combat, and Battlecruisers are getting a "cooldown-based" speed boost ability.

The Zerg's Corruptor units now have an ability called "siphon" which damages enemy structures while providing minerals to the player, hydralisks are getting a speed upgrade, and a late-game upgrade will allow banelings to travel underground.

As far as the Protoss are concerned, two new abilities have been added. One of these is a "mass recall" that lets players quickly regroup their forces at home base, and the other is a defensive ability that temporarily adds a shield and building armor, as well as "a weapon similar to a photon cannon."

The current list of race-based features for Heart of the Swarm is as follows:


  • Issues and weaknesses
    • Thor is too slow and clumsy

    • Race has difficulties in handling mass zealots in late game

  • New units and abilities
    • New "battle mode" for hellion - transforms like a viking

    • Battle mode hellion has more hit points, moves more slowly

    • Shorter, wider arc on flame attack, and stronger

    • Gives terran a beefy front-line fighter in the late game


    • Smaller, more nimble version of Thor

    • Effective anti-mech ground weapon to help break siege tank lines

    • Anti-air attack with splash damage


    • Robot that emits channeled, area of effect damage when immobilized

    • Damage automatically shuts off when an ally moves into range

    • Gives terran cheap zone control, but can't be used near main army

    • Is still very work-in-progress


    • Moved to late game, more hit points and damage

    • Can only have one, like mothership from Wings of Liberty


    Issues and weaknesses

    • Mid-game difficulties with siege and controlling areas

    • Missed opportunities with certain units like ultralisk and corruptor

    • New units and abilities


    • Existing version is bulky and has difficulties engaging in battle

    • New burrow charge ability lets it dive underground and get into the fight easily


    • New caster unit with detection -- replaces overseer

    • Has abilities like blinding cloud to help break entrenched positions

    • Abduct ability allows it to pull units to itself -- pull siege tanks or colossus out of death balls

    Swarm host

    • Zerg artillery for map control and siege

    • Burrows into the ground, and continuously generates small creatures to attack

    • Feels very zerg-y


    Issues and weaknesses

    • Needs more raiding options

    • Needs area of effect, anti-air attacks

    • New units and abilities


    • New protoss capital ship, replaces carrier

    • Anti-air splash damage for mutalisks and other aircraft

    • Has direct air-to-ground attack as well that isn't splash


    • Special unit that can clone itself into any non-massive unit

    • Allows protoss to also take siege tanks or infestors from enemies

    • Is very expensive

    • Still very much a work-in-progress, not-final unit


    • Caster unit used for raiding and harassment

    • Can disable enemy structures, or prevent miningwith its abilities

    • Doesn't actually kill or damage anything

    • Mothership is cut in favor of this unit

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 24, 2011 12:30 PM

    Jeff Mattas posted a new article, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm multiplayer detailed.

    New details about StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm's multiplayer and races were recently revealed at BlizzCon 2011.

    • reply
      October 24, 2011 1:12 PM

      Didn't Blizzard say there was going to be 3 installments of this game to be considered a complete game right?

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        October 24, 2011 1:14 PM

        I believe the next one is the Protoss Campaign: Legacy of The Void.

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        October 24, 2011 2:15 PM

        Game (Wings of Liberty) plus two expansion packs (Heart of the Swarm & Legacy of the Void).

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      October 24, 2011 2:46 PM

      zerg Viper is game breaking, i mean really game breaking

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      October 24, 2011 2:56 PM

      Units I like:
      Oracle. It's a good Mothership replacement and gives the Protoss some viable harass options.
      Viper. Overseer wasn't used and this new unit seems powerful and interesting.
      Shredder. Good concept, I hope it is useful.
      Battle Hellions. I never use Hellions as is, so I like this.
      Swarm Host. Zerg can siege now without investing in Brood Lords.

      Units I don't like:
      Tempest. Instead of replacing the Carrier, which is an iconic unit, they should have improved it. The Tempest should replace the Phoenix, which I think is too situational of a unit.
      Warhound. It's a Goliath? What makes this unit interesting?
      Replicator. This seems game breaking to me.

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        October 24, 2011 3:53 PM

        The replicant is 200/200/4, only 60/60 health/shields, and must have vision of an enemy unit before transforming. It is potentially powerful but you really have to worry about having it sniped.

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          October 24, 2011 4:11 PM

          But can't it replicate Mules that last forever and SCVs that can build Command Centers?

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            October 24, 2011 4:21 PM

            No idea. We'll see what limitations they impose. They've been smart about it so far, things like not being able to hallucinate DTs because doing that with cloaked units would be ridiculous, etc.

            HoTS multiplayer is far from being balanced and some of these new units may not even make it. The beta alone will have numerous tweaks as it did in WoL.

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            October 24, 2011 4:58 PM

            Currently it can replicate workers, and you can replicate a SCV, build CC,build supply depot, build barrack then get the orbital command.

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        October 24, 2011 4:59 PM

        Swarm host is kinda meh right now. The spawn time between larva is really long and you have to micro the larva that spawn since it doesn't have seige tank range at all. They completely get shredded by marines still.

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        October 24, 2011 8:39 PM

        The point of the Warhound is that they decided that Thors aren't working out the way they want them to. So they're removing Thors as a unit, except for 1 late game expensive hero version, and now have to give us a mech replacement.

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      October 24, 2011 3:03 PM

      I can't believe they are adding a town Portal for Protoss, ♥ I mean most of the changes suck but that one, my god am I gonna have my War 3 feeling back

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        October 24, 2011 3:04 PM

        Way to abrasion up this thread.

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          October 24, 2011 3:05 PM

          I don't get it?

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            October 24, 2011 3:06 PM

            I'll let you know after you post that dissertation on why those changes suck you're most certainly working on.

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              October 24, 2011 3:10 PM

              I'm not the only one thinking this, the units feel like a Command and Conquer guy worked on them, , gimmicky, silly and illogical. Don't fit in with the lore and make very little sense. They seem like magic to me, which doesn't belong in SC2.
              A unit that 'pulls' things like a frog? Really?
              A unit that can change into any other unit?

              Sorry - gimmicky shit, see teamliquid if you want to see hundreds of other people saying the same thing.

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                October 24, 2011 3:15 PM

                A unit that can go invisible? Really?
                A unit that can spit out zombies? Really?
                A unit that can transform from a plane to a mech? Bullshit!

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                October 24, 2011 3:18 PM

                Wow. Nerds are raging over shit. There's a fucking shocker. They were also raging over every little thing in SC2, but they got over it pretty quickly.

                Shit, dude, Blizzard is just outright trolling the forum monsters now. Did you catch the pink My Little Pony Diablo 3 shirt? Or the 15 minute presentation on how Diablo 2 wasn't fucking hard in the first zone and people are retarded for judging the whole game over the first 10 levels?

                Forum monsters are idiots. Don't be one of them.

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                  October 24, 2011 3:38 PM

                  Is the video of the talking about Diablo 2 online? I'd love to see them rail at idiots.

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                    October 24, 2011 3:42 PM

                    Not sure. It was pretty funny, though.

                    They started by talking about people's comparison's to Diablo 2, and claiming D2 was never that easy. They then showed a short clip of the D2 starting area where there were a bunch of monsters doing absolutely nothing to a stationary character. They're even outright taunting with "oh oh, look, it's about to hit her! oh no, it moved away.. wait wait, nope, missed it." The Bliz rep then explained their design philosophy -- they don't like tutorials, and the entirety of Act 1 Normal is supposed to be a tutorial for the game.

                    Afterwards they showed a video of their play testers talking about how hard the game is. None of them had touched Inferno difficulty yet, but were getting their asses kicked anywhere from early Nightmare to Hell difficulty.

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                      October 24, 2011 3:44 PM

                      Oh, and I'm pretty sure Metzen's going to punch someone in the face during a QA session within the next three Blizzcons.

                      There are entirely too many ass burgers douchebags there. This year the winner goes to the guy who bitched at him because normal-mode Rag has a LESS THAN 1% chance to drop a mount, and claiming they were giving it away to people who didn't deserve it.

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                October 25, 2011 2:14 AM

                TBH, the fringes of TeamLiquid complainers make the NMA folks look positively civil in comparison.

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        October 24, 2011 8:32 PM

        Hey, don't forget. The Thor is the new hero unit for Terran.

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        October 24, 2011 10:29 PM

        What are you referring to?
        Town Portals are what ruined War3. But I keep reading the changes...and I don't get which change are you referring to exactly?

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          October 24, 2011 10:31 PM

          Disregard. I just saw it. Wow that is fucking retarded.

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            October 24, 2011 10:47 PM

            Anything in particular?

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            October 24, 2011 10:57 PM

            They're preserving one of the real uses of the mothership while trying to address some of the protoss mobility issues. What's the big deal?

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      October 24, 2011 3:08 PM

      I hope Zerg get Lurkers in single player.

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      October 24, 2011 3:37 PM

      The Viper "pull" spells is going to end collosus in PvZ :(

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        October 24, 2011 3:38 PM

        *in the late game.

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        October 24, 2011 3:48 PM

        That spell takes 100 energy out of 200, and the Viper is quite costly in terms of gas and supply. It isn't like people are going to be spamming that spell like crazy unless they sacrifice a lot of other units or are allowed to mass vipers and build up energy over the course of a long game.

        Besides, colossus suck, you should be making high templars yo. :)

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        October 24, 2011 3:50 PM

        Doesn't having lots of corrupters already do that?

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          October 24, 2011 4:55 PM

          yeah except now Vipers also have reverse dark swarm which will make attacking sieged terrans SOOO much easier.

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        October 24, 2011 4:59 PM


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          October 24, 2011 5:02 PM

          I doubt that. Almost every video they showed with the viper was it pulling in collosus, ultras, and thors to get owned.

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            October 25, 2011 1:48 AM

            they re-balance the game every 2 fucking seconds, i wouldn't worry about it

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      October 25, 2011 2:01 PM

      Ewww... 1x Thor...

      Reminds me of when they limited Land Raiders to 1x in Dawn of War...

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        October 25, 2011 3:36 PM

        The idea of Super-Units in Starcraft is fucking dumb beyond comprehension. Leave that shit to silly sup-comm/dow style games

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