Blizzard on Starcraft II 1.2 patch, Zerg balance issues
On Wednesday, Blizzard deployed the first major balancing patch for Starcraft II, swinging the nerfbat at supposed Terran dominance. Already, the Starcraft II team are planning their next update, which as Chris Sigaty, Starcraft II’s lead producer explains, “we’d like it out by the end of the year.” Read on to discover what's on the table.
Chris said to PC Gamer that the next patch is “largely our e-sport patch. A couple of big things that will be in there are support for the season rolling, so players can look at the history of how they did in past seasons. There will be bugfixes, balance changes and tweaks, too. Chat is the other major thing we want to get in there next patch. We’ll also add more significant features to the editor.”
The 1.1 patch began to address balance issues within Starcraft II. The changes seemed small - mostly changes to build times. But the community seems convinced that Starcraft II isn’t balanced yet, in particular, there's a sense that the Zerg are underpowered. How do Blizzard respond?
“You can go up and read on the forums at any one time and there are a bunch of different theories about balance and imbalance. We're being very cautious about making large swinging changes right now because at the highest level things are actually very strong. The things that we'll probably be addressing are the 2v2 and larger scale games. Ultimately, the 1 to 1 is what we want to keep as sacred as possible, but as a result right now there are some things that we need to address in the 2v2 at the higher level. We'll be looking at ways to do that without affecting the 1v1 balance.”
Chris is also keen to address the ongoing idea that Zerg remains underpowered - an idea fuelled partly because so few Zerg players made it into the top 200 Starcraft II players in North America.
“That’s not actually the case,” says Chris. “We have fewer Zerg players overall. I avoid playing Zerg as much as possible because I find them to be just more complex in general. Zerg, or rather larvae management is harder for me to deal with, so I don’t enjoy playing them as much.”
But don’t expect the game to perfectly balanced following the 1.2 patch. Balance, explains Chris, “is an ongoing process that, honestly, will take a year of longer to do. Even after Brood War was released we still patched and continued to drive towards a really solid final balance.”