By Conan “Suppy” Liu of Evil Geniuses
Well as I pretty much pointed out already [1, 2], the first change was that units seem to be dealing slightly more DPS in general. We see many units doing 15, 20, 30, 50, and even 125 damage in quick bursts. Compare that to the slow attacking, bulky dragoon, which did 20 damage but explosive (so often it only did 10 damage). It often made up the bulk of the Protoss army (there were no void rays, tempests, immortals, and colossi that did insane amounts of damage with little micro with the exception of the reaver and high templar). The easily made roach that does 16 damage compared to the 10 attack (5 damage to small units since it was explosive) hydralisk, or slow-attacking, positional lurkers to the high impact burst damage of the banelings. All of the buffs in unit damage contribute to battles that are simply way too short. An across the board reduction in DPS could help a lot in increasing the time battles take and thus increasing amount of micro opportunities and excitement when you see an epic engagement that actually lasts for longer than a split second.
Secondly, units nowadays simply move too intelligently. They “hug” each other while moving, meaning that almost as soon as you initiate an engagement, all of your units are able to shoot at once. Before, it took a lot of skill to make sure your units were positioned correctly and in flanking positions in order to get your army to all attack at the same time. Tactical positioning has very much taken a backseat in StarCraft II to composition and timing windows. This is where dynamic unit movement comes in. Obviously we don’t want to dumb down the StarCraft II AI to the point that they are bumping into each other and getting stuck on ramps like in Broodwar. However, there are minor tweaks to how units path that can bring back some of the skill required to take good engagements. I will let you read the thread itself to see what I am talking about, but here are the key points I’d like to say about it.
1. It’s simply aesthetically a lot more pleasing. No longer will you have giant balls of units walking around until they finally slam into each other. It will look a lot more like a real army that is traveling across the map. Battles will potentially stretch across several screens and be much more epic.
2. Battles will last longer as units take longer to get in range of their enemy. This makes tactical positioning and flanking much more important as otherwise your units will simply arrive to the battle too slowly. As mentioned before, this also increases opportunities to micro.
3. Splash can be buffed instead of nerfed to oblivion as it was in SC2, making it more impactful in battles and exciting to watch. Skilled usage of splash can very much lead to comebacks. A common argument against Dynamic Unit Movement is that “it will make splitting easy mode since you are already split against banelings and don’t have to split anymore.” This is countered by the fact that you can buff splash damage so that splitting is still very much necessary. Overall this will make splash much more exciting – remember everyone storms used to be a huge deal and now they are pretty much just an afterthought, something you see in every battle anyways.
4. Ranged units take longer to reach that “critical mass” where melee units simply can’t deal with them anymore. This is an indirect buff to melee units since there is more surface area for them to attack ranged units, but this creates a micro dynamic where a player using ranged units will actively have to get into better positions to push units closer together rather than already having them in the ideal “ball” formation.
The only real argument I remember encountering was when I posted on that thread was that “oh, clumping is a part of SC2.” Well now is the perfect time to change that!
That brings me to the third and final topic.
The third topic: LotV Economy Discussion
This thread has already gotten quite a bit of attention, but I felt like it is one of the most important discussions that needs to be had during this period before LotV. Although most of us are already quite pleased with the direction Blizzard is heading in LotV for economy, this thread details some of the problems that will still exist even with lower resources per base and outlines some ways to improve the economy even further heading into Legacy of the Void. The author explains his suggestions far better than I could, so I suggest you all go over and take a look and join in on the discussion, and perhaps Blizzard will consider an even more significant and all-encompassing change to the economy in StarCraft II!
Alright, well I wasn’t planning on writing something so long (I was mostly just intending to make a quick blog where I highlighted three topics that I thought were interesting) so if my thoughts were rambling or disorganized I hope it wasn’t too bad. I really hope this can inspire some good discussion about these potential changes, and hopefully Blizzard will take an active role in participating with us. I really think LotV has the potential to be absolutely huge. However, it will take a lot of patience and thinking from both sides as well as open mindedness to change, but it’s something to be excited about. I believe we can make StarCraft II one of the best again.
Also Blizzard please fix the lurker along with all of the other unit attacks as they sound so weak.
Follow Conan on twitter @EGSuppy
Read Part 1 here.
Read Part 2 here.