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starcraft 2 news

Postby Tenebris » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:30 am

Chat with Devs:

Art Updates
The StarCraft art team have been making massive updates to the Zerg faction, adding various new animations and improving even further on the textures of Zerg units and buildings. A picture is a thousand words so check out the updates for yourself!

Zerg Drone (Before/After) ... dDrone.jpg

Zerg Overlord (Before/After) ... erlord.jpg

Zerg Hydralisk (Before/After) ... ralisk.jpg

Zerg Overseer (Before/After) ... erseer.jpg

Zerg Baneling (Before/After) ... neling.jpg

Throughout the development process, the team is constantly reiterating and improving on the game in every way. As mentioned before, the Infestor too is getting a makeover, becoming much creepier and intimidating – you definitely don’t want to end up helpless at the will of this thing!

Zerg Infestor Concept Art

The StarCraft 2 team has made a number of changes in each of the races as the game gets closer to Beta. These are some of the new weapons and abilities that are currently being tested on the battlefield.

Protoss Dark Pylon
Long used only by the Dark Templar of Shakuras, the Dark Pylon is now used by all as the Protoss war for survival becomes more desperate. In addition to providing supply and giving power to nearby Protoss structures, the Dark Pylon has several unique abilities that require energy to use.

Proton Charge: an area-of-effect ability that gives all targeted Probes additional charge for their Proton-Cutters. Probes that have an additional charge gather additional minerals per trip when collecting resources. The Proton Charge lasts only a short time before dissipating.

Null Shield: a single-target ability that causes a Protoss Shield to shimmer and warp, cloaking the targeted Protoss unit. The Null Shield lasts only a short time.

Argus Link: a single-target ability that transfers energy from the Dark Pylon to any energy-using Protoss unit.

Screenshot: Proton Charge in Action ... Target.jpg ... arvest.jpg

Terran Orbital Command
The Terrans rely not only on the troops they can train on the battlefield but also on troops called from deep space. The Orbital Command allows the Terrans to make use of their orbital assets to support their fight on the ground. As an upgrade to the Command Center the Orbital Command can create SCVs and serves as a drop location for collected resources. In addition it has several abilities that require energy.

Calldown Mule: sends a single automated mining robot by drop-pod that assists SCVs in collecting resources by working around current SCV mining operations. Unfortunately the Mule is still in the prototype phase and has a limited battery supply (timed life).

Calldown Extra Supplies: sends additional supplies to a targeted Supply Depot. Generally used by Terran commanders only in an emergency to allow them to support additional troops.

Scanner Sweep: using a satellite in high-orbit, the Terrans reveal a large area anywhere on the map and detect all cloaked units within the target area.

Screenshot: Mules Everywhere! ... _Mules.jpg ... ations.jpg

Zerg Queen
The Zerg Queen has continued to evolve over the last few months. She is a fierce defender of the Zerg Hatcheries and can often be found in small groups defending the larger Zerg infestations. In addition to defending her Hatchery from ground and air threats, the Queen has several special abilities that require energy to use.

Build Creep Tumor: with a mighty push from her bowels, the Queen creates a cluster of organic tumors that generate additional creep. In recent months the Zerg have mutated to move more quickly on creep, making this an important function for the Queen.

Spawn Larva: by injecting Queen ichor into a Hatchery, Lair or Hive the Queen can cause the Zerg structure to undergo a startling metamorphosis. The Hatchery starts to throb and green sacks swell up on the structure. Eventually four additional larva burst out of the Hatchery and land next to whatever larva are already wriggling around nearby. While a Hatchery hosts more than 3 larva, the Hatchery will not spawn additional larva, until that number drops below 3.

Razor Plague: with a great breath the queen exhales a cloud of tiny Zerg creatures that create a vast swarm nearby. These creatures attack all enemy creatures within their swarm, doing additional damage to biological targets. What makes it worse is the Zerg player can control the swarm, moving it around to attack whatever enemies he wishes until the swarm becomes exhausted and dissipates.

Screenshot: Incoming Swarm! ... Larvae.jpg ... aHatch.jpg

---StarCraft II Q&A Batch 49---

1) I am very curious... previously, SCVs, Drones, Probes, Vultures, Archons, and Dark Archons hovered above the ground so they were not hit by mines. My question is simple: Are there any hovering units in Starcraft 2? If there are, can they hover over shallow water? -Ancientdefender (

If Spider Mines stay in the game, then there will be hovering units. Shallow waters are currently just a visual effect and will not ‘play’ differently.

2) How does the Mutalisk attack work in StarCraft II, what defines its bouncing pattern? Is it random or not? If not, what is the criteria that defines how it bounces? -Kain175 (

Regardless of the position of the Mutalisk, when its attack hits a target, it will then acquire the next target based on proximity to the first target. The attack will always bounce to the next closest target.

3) Is it possible to toggle off Multiple Building Selection (MBS)?

4) Balancing of 2v2 team play: Roaches + Medivac are too over powered for 2v2 team play unit combinations?

The regeneration rate of the Roaches and the healing of the Medivac will not stack upon each other.

5) What is a good counter for Zerg against Marines, which are upgraded from the original StarCraft?

Zerg actually have a few options that are quite effective. Zerglings can catch Marines out in the open and surround them relatively easily. Secondly, Banelings with the burrow ability are also very effective. There is nothing more gratifying than watching a group of Marines walk over a burrowed Baneling. When it unburrows – BOOM! Another counter that can be used are Roaches with burrow. A player can burrow a Roach at low health for it to regenerate back to full health in seconds, at which point it can unburrow and begin attacking the Marines again.

In late game, Infestor’s with their fungal scourge ability, which causes a biological unit to take damage over time until the unit explodes and does an area of effect damage, decimating groups of Marines easily if the opponent is not fast to react. Additionally, Ultralisks with their new cleave attack as well as 200 more hit points from the original StarCraft also make them an excellent counter to massed Marines.

6) How do you keep the Baneling from exploding on targets that you don’t want them to hit?

The Baneling now has an ‘attack building’ ability now which allows players to have more control over what the Baneling attacks. Players no longer need to worry about Banelings accidentally exploding on a building when they actually wanted it to hit a unit.

---End of Transmission---
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Postby Tenebris » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:35 am

A few questions:
- How does one construct a dark pylon? Is it a separate, more expensive replacement for the original pylons or an upgrade?

The Dark Pylon currently costs 150 minerals (50 more than normal Pylon) and has the Gateway as the prerequisite building. This of course is all subject to change while more balance testing is occuring.

Q u o t e:
- I assume the orbital command is now a replacement of the surveillance center? Does that mean people who opt to upgrade their CC's to a planetary fortress are no longer able to beneft from these new features, even without the use of salvage?

Yes the Orbital Command is what the Surveillance Center used to be. If you build a Planetary Fortress you will not be able to use these new features, but your command center will be upgraded to Armor 3 and have a Ibiks Laser that does 40 splash damage with a 6 range. These stats are of course all subject to change through balance testing.

Q u o t e:
I don't suppose Proton Charge would stack, hm?

Nope they don't stack, but if casted again, it will renew the duration of the ability.

Q u o t e:
Some more questions:

1. The new infestor (pure awesomeness BTW), resembles the reaver in shape and looks rather slow. Is it super slow? Can you tell us anything about its speed?

The Infestor will still be relatively slow, though they have been sped up a bit from when you guys last saw it.

Q u o t e:
2. In 1 screen shot there are 15 eggs hatching. We know the hatchery can make 3, then the queen can make the hatchery add 4 more. So in this shot, did the the Queen use her ability multiple times in quick succession or would she have to wait until the firs 7 hatch before she can use it again? I guess what I am asking is if the hatchery can only spit out 4 extra larva at a time or if you can tell it to do it 4 times and have it spit out 16 larva?

After the original 3 larva, each Hatchery can only be spawning 4 larva at a time. The ability cannot be used again on that Hatchery until those 4 larva have spawned.

Q u o t e:
3. The mules help the terrans by essentially being SCV's that mine fast right? Do they help the other SCV's mine faster as well? Can they build things? Do they cost supply since they are only there for a while? When they "run out of battery" do they shut down until you "recharge" them or do they explode and disappear forever?

Mules will not help other SCVs mine faster. They will also not be able to build anything, but will be able to repair buildings and units. Furthermore, they will not cost supply. Multiple Mules can be dropped at any given time as long as you have sufficient energy available. When the Mules run out of battery, they will not be able to be recharged, and new Mules will need to be dropped.

Q u o t e:
4. Is the fungal infestation a long range attack (like parasite and spawn broodling were) or does he have to be rather close?

It will be a ranged ability. This is one of my favorite abilities, it really wrecks mass Marines which are quite a force to be reckoned with at the moment with Medivac support.

Q u o t e:
A few more questions:

- Can the mule defend itself?

Yes. It currently has the same attack value as a SCV.

Q u o t e:
- Can the drop pod be placed anywhere with line-of-sight, leading to the mule being used as a scout?

Yes, this can be quite helpful in some circumstances. Originally, each drop ship spawned 3 Mules, but it became a bit too advantageous in scouting 3 places at once.

Q u o t e:
- Does razor swarm damage both ground and air? What about friendlies?

It does currently damage both ground and air, but not friendly units.

Q u o t e:
- Can null shield be cast on non-Protoss allies?

Currently, yes.
Yes, this also means cloaked Siege Tanks are possible...

Nonetheless, remember all things are still subject to balance.

Q u o t e:
The Dark Pylon and Queen are tier 1 tech. IIRC the Surveillance Station required the Shadow Ops to be built (making it tier 2), is this still true of the Orbital Command?

The Orbital Command requires a Barracks first to be built. The Planetary Fortress requires an Engineering Bay first to be built.
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Postby Tenebris » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:41 am

With the queen you can build up larva. Say you don't have a tech building up yet but you want a ton of that units, you build up larva (you can see 15 in that screen shot--that's 5 hatcheries!), then when tech finishes, you get a ton of that high level unit.

Also, mutant larva hatch faster.


These are no longer 'mutant larva' so they will not hatch faster, but everything else is correct

Q u o t e:
Is there anything that would prevent you from offensively dropping mules in the thick of battle? (For example it *might* be useful to drop near units that would then cause things like siege tanks to attack them and while ultimately leading to a very short lifespan for the mule, could lead to splashing a player's own units with damage)

This is theoretically possible, but the animation of the drop pod that hits the ground is a bit long (roughly 5-10 seconds), so it isn't like an instant drop.

Q u o t e:

/misses mutant's hoping they come back in beta!

Also, Karune, does that then mean that these larva do not cost supply? If that is the case then another advantage over a hatchery is if you mess up and forget to build enough ovies (or you just had a bunch of ovies get sniped), then instead of having to wait for more ovies, you can build mutant larva and not lose unit making time in the end.

They do not cost supply, they are just normal larva. The concept of Mutant Larva with timed life seemed more tedious and much harder to grasp in gameplay than the current reincarnation, which has definitely sat much better with the team and testers.

Q u o t e:
1) Was the new infestor art looking so much like a Reaver done on purpose? Maybe a joke to all the guys asking to put the reaver back?

The Infestor has a completely new model different than the Reaver, but does coincidentally have the same shape as a Reaver. Don't forget, Reavers will still be seen in single player as well as the map editor.

Q u o t e:
2) Terran and protoss now have abilities to both increase they're income temporarily (mules + dark pylon) as well as abilities to increase they're offensive production (reactor + warp gates). Zergs only have a production ability (mutate larvae). Are zergs getting something to fill the temporary income role? Or is the mutate larvae supposed to just pump drones to make up for that?

Being able to spawn additional larva can potentially help Zerg production quite a bit actually. Prior, when a Zerg player hatched offensive units, they were always sacrificing the creation of more drones. This ability allows more bandwidth to create even more offensive units for a big push, build more balanced with more drones and additional units, or double up on the teching effort with all drones. There are a lot of options to play with that will surely inspire many new strategies.

Q u o t e:
1) How far in tech is the dark pylon cloak?

All 3 abilities are available right when the Dark Pylon is created.

Q u o t e:
2) Can dark pylons be used as a warp-in end that gives energy to your HT's?

Sneaking a cloacked probe and placing a pylon in the back of the enemy base for warp-ins and hidden cannons sounds like fun ^^

Yup, everything a Pylon can do, a Dark Pylon can do better but of course at a cost.

Q u o t e:
Are queens still unique? What about motherships?

What tier are the lurkers? Are they still late-game units?

Are hydralisks still better anti-air than anti-ground? What are their damage stats?

Have a nice day, by the way Thanks for the huge attention you've been giving us today!

1) Neither are unique.
2) Lurkers are tier 3. The Lurker Den requires a Hive. Banelings are much better for earlier AoE, and Lurkers are a good siege type unit in addition to its previous uses. They have a range of 9 which outranges Protoss cannons and have an attack of 15 + 15 to armored (including buildings).
3) Hydralisks are still slightly better against air, with ground to air attack stats of 10 + 6 armored and ground to ground attack stats of 10, both with range 6.
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Postby Tenebris » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:42 am

jesus christ. 9 range on lurkers? Even though they are tier 3 now.
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Postby Sulmar » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:08 pm

I like the graphics, they're very unique
tired of all the rts games with C&C graphics
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