It’s been a few weeks since the 2019 post-BlizzCon changes went live, and before the year comes to a close, we’d like to take some time to review the changes we’ve made and the resulting games we’ve seen so far. Some notable tournaments we’ve been paying attention to include Nation Wars, WESG qualifiers, and of course, HomeStory Cup XX.
One of the hot topics of 2019 was the Nydus Worm, and based on the games we’ve seen so far, we feel pretty good about its level of use and its effectiveness when used. Nydus and Nydus/Swarm Host usage has generally decreased in ZvP, which we believe is caused by both changes to the Nydus Worm and the map pool. And when Nydus Worms are used in the matchup, we feel a lot better about the new level of difficulty by which Protoss has to fight them. Meanwhile, while we’re seeing less direct Nydus aggression in ZvT, we do see increased Nydus/Swarm Host usage, which we attribute to a spike in the popularity of mech play.
Another popular topic of discussion in 2019 was the strength of Infestor/Brood Lord and the resulting passive endgames it caused. With the changes made to both these units in the post-BlizCon patch, we believe the late-games that we see are a lot more dynamic, and small decisions in the late-game feel more impactful to the end result of the game.
In general, when it comes to balance, especially late-game balance, we believe it’ll take quite a bit more time before we can come to any definitive conclusions. Not only are sample sizes small, the styles players are using are more divergent from each other than usual, reflective of a meta after a big patch. For now, our focus is on the end-game dynamics of each matchup with special focus on units that we changed recently including the Liberator, Thor, Lurker, and Infestor. With that said, we’d like to make two design-motivated adjustments.
- Resonating Glaives upgrade effects reverted. The Resonating Glaives upgrade will now increase the attack speed of Adepts by 45%.
We tried a new version of the Resonated Glaives upgrade with the goals of moving it away from the front-line pusher and emphasizing the coolness of the Shade Projection ability. However, it ran into some oddities in practice. For example, in the heat of battle, it took away from the interesting mind-game of whether the Shade would be canceled, because the Adept user is so highly incentivized to finish their Shade. It also created awkward scenarios where Adept users are encouraged to Shade onto themselves in the middle of a fight. For these reasons, we’d like to revert this change to the Adept.
- Microbial Shroud radius increased from 3 to 3.5
- Microbial Shroud energy cost reduced from 100 to 75.
- Removed the Hive research requirement from Microbial Shroud.
As a general rule, we try to tune new skills and abilities to be on the strong side when we initially introduce them to promote experimentation. With Microbial Shroud, we probably didn’t go far enough, leading to its low use in tournament games. The changes introduced here are geared towards increasing accessibility and moderating the effectiveness of enemy area-of-effect abilities against Shrouds.
Both changes should go live with an upcoming update on Tuesday 12/17. Let us know what you think on any community site, thanks for your feedback, and happy holidays!
-StarCraft 2 Team