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StarCraftMay 12, 2015 7:00 pm CT

Blizzard previews Legacy of the Void balance changes

StarCraft 2 Legacy of the Void

Legacy of the Void is getting closer and we have another nice preview of the balance changes to the Starcraft II expansion from the folks at Blizzard.

For starters, there’s a discussion of the change to a real-time clock for Legacy of the Void and the pros and cons of doing so. Blizzard wants to hear player feedback on this one — they know there are some serious downsides to making the change and want to make sure what they do works for players. The one option they say is off the table is the ability go back and forth between the HotS clock and a real time clock, because it would simply be too confusing for players. They’re also working on the Automated Tournament feature, designed to end tournaments at a specific point to keep players from dragging the game out endlessly, and as part of that they’re considering a stalemate limit of 1.5 hours to prevent trolling (this is barely past the concept stage).

There are a ton of actual balance changes as well. Definitely some shake-ups to how Legacy of the Void will play compared to Heart of the Swarm in what’s coming.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Official Post)

Hey everyone! We’ve got more updates on the way for the Legacy of the Void Multiplayer beta. However, before we get to the specific changes and what else we’re working on internally, we’d like to talk about a couple things.

In-Game Clock

First, we’d like to inquire once more on the in-game clock changing to real time. This change is looking positive so far, so we’d like to start thinking about committing to making this change for Legacy of the Void. On our end, we see the advantages and disadvantages of going either way, and we’d really love to rely on you all to make a call in this area that you feel is best. The only thing we must avoid is having an option to go back and forth between the HotS clock and a real-time clock. We are sure that this will be  confusing, especially when viewing various events that use different clocks.

Automated Tournament Game-Length

The second thing we want to address also relates to time. As you likely know, the StarCraft II development team is currently working on an automated tournament feature. Just as it was in Warcraft 3 automated tournaments, we can’t have two people that play for hours drag out a result for everyone else in the same automated tournament. The solution that we are currently testing for this dilemma is to end every automated tournament game at the 30 min mark (~42 min or so in HoTS time), at which point the winner is determined by whichever player earned more XP in that game.  This number itself isn’t final, and we’ll be looking at how the actual tournament games turn out. We can easily tune this as needed when we start testing automated tournaments.

Stalemate Limits

When exploring this specific concept for automated tournaments, we also wondered if every melee game in SC2 should also have a rule like this to prevent long, boring, dragged out games in the future. We believe with the Swarm Host fix, as well as how so many changes in LoTV cater heavily towards aggressive play, the chances of 2-3+ hour games happening in the future is quite low. However, we also know that some dragged out games have happened due to players trolling, or other player behaviors that can’t be controlled. To avoid this, we are considering putting a time limit on standard melee games around the 1.5 hour mark or so since this seems to be beyond the longest a legitimate game could go. We are only beginning to consider this idea, and we wanted to hear your thoughts on this subject in order to make a better decision.

Now, let move on and discuss the specific changes we’re thinking about for the next balance update.

Balance Changes

Mothership Core & Mothership

  • Mass Recall cost reduced from 100 energy to 50 energy

With the resource changes in LotV, we agree that Protoss seems to be struggling the most when it comes to defending bases at various locations. We believe that decreasing the cost of Mass Recall is a good change, in that it will both help Protoss players defend multiple bases easier, and also allow them to play more aggressive throughout the early/mid stages of the game.


  • Movement speed increased from 1.41 to 1.88 to match the Mothership Core
  • Same abilities as Mothership Core + Cloaking Field

Previously, we were exploring a lot of new abilities and ideas on this front. For now however, we have decided to make the Mothership simply a much improved version of the Mothership Core. Mothership Core abilities are critical throughout the course of the game, but towards the end of the game, the Mothership Core becomes an extremely fragile unit. Therefore, we’d like to try having the Mothership be just a better version of the Mothership Core that no longer has trade-offs for its increased stats.

Oracle Stasis: Forced Auto-cast

We’re seeing certain strategies with the Oracle’s Stasis ability where players are stacking the ability several times, and then manually detonating them over time to indefinitely leave units in Stasis. With our focus on constant combat, this is obviously something that we have no desire for and this change should effectively end this behavior.

Brood Lord

  • Range increased to 11
  • No longer has the frenzied passive

We’ve been exploring potential changes to the Brood Lord, and we’ve recently settled on a range increase to differentiate the unit further from other tech options Zerg has at that tier. Additionally, we’re removing the passive ability of Frenzy now since it is not needed. For context, this ability was added back when ZvZ defensive Swarm Host + mass Spore Crawler was an issue, but now that the issue is gone, we no longer see the need for this ability to protect Brood Lords from the Viper’s abduct.

Upgraded Zealot speed increased from 2.75 to 2.953

With the addition of the Adept, the Zealots role has been reduced in the later stages game. To adjust for this, we decided to make a mid/late game buff to Zealots that makes the Zealots be a more ideal choice in certain situations compared to the Adept. Alternatively, we could have toned down the effectiveness of the Adept, but overall we agree with the community opinion that Protoss isn’t as powerful as the other two races currently, so we felt this change was best.

Lurker damage changed from 30 damage to 20 +10 vs. armored

We feel that the counter to mass Lurkers is too heavily leaning towards mass air. We’d like to try out this change in order to see if we can get more ground based interactions against the Lurker. With the unique way that Lurker’s deal damage, it would be great to see more micro against players using Lurkers.

Disruptor gains unit type: Armored

The Disruptor survives for a bit too long even when caught off guard, and we didn’t want to do a big nerf to the unit yet, so we picked something small in adding that +armored damage units will deal more damage against them. It’s also convenient that the unit looks armored, so this felt like a good change to test out.


As a final update, we wanted to let you know more about the areas we’re testing internally.

  • We’re exploring ways to give more power to Terran bio play.
  • We’re trying new ability ideas for the Raven’s PDD and Ghost’s Snipe.
  • We’re developing the new Terran unit
    • We’re getting comfortable with the air unit we’ve been exploring. Here’s how it currently operates:
      • Two attack modes:
        • Fast movement with splash-damage vs air
        • Can enter a stationary-mode where it changes to attack vs ground. This attack targets an area where any units within that area receive high single-target damage.

We’re doing our best to get this unit out to you all as soon as possible. In addition to this new unit, we will be once again splitting apart mech and air upgrades at the Armory. We believe the Starport is more all-around in its capabilities now, and we’re seeing a lot of cool things in internal playtests. With the mech upgrades being split out again, Terran players will need to more fully choose which tech paths they would like to commit to.

As always, please remember that none of this is final since we’re still in the early stages of the beta, and your feedback is always welcome. Please let us know your thoughts on any of the topics discussed above so that together, we can make the decisions that are best for the game. Thank you!

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