StarCraft 2

StarCraft 2 balance changes: Dustin "Destructible Rocks" Browder speaks

T.J. Hafer at

Team Liquid recently caught up with StarCraft 2 lead designer Dustin Browder at the Blizzard World Championships in Shanghai. Over the course of the 30 minute interview, Browder revealed his team's plans to address the current balance and metagame issues in Wings of Liberty and the upcoming Heart of the Swarm expansion. You can check out the video above, or if you're in a hurry, we've tl;dr'd the main points into a paraphrased list, organized by race, below.

General

  • The community is calling for big changes, but Blizzard is continuing to take a conservative approach to balancing. The devs worry that sweeping changes could throw off the existing, fairly balanced win ratios that exist in most match-ups just to fix some very specific issues that only affect portions of the very high-end metagame.
  • Heart of the Swarm should open up greater variety in map design by correcting issues with some match-ups forcing certain builds or making certain attack timings indefensible without specific chokes.
  • The devs aren't afraid to nerf units out of the competitive metagame (as they did with WoL Reapers) if they are too hard to balance, or if they make certain match-ups boring or predictable.
  • The design of the new HotS units is mostly finalized at this point, and the team is focusing on changes to existing WoL units to create a balanced metagame for the expansion.

Zerg

  • Blizzard is considering making psionic units immune to Fungal Growth, a spell largely seen as the biggest balance issue in the game right now. This would allow Ghosts and High Templar to effectively counter Infestor play.
  • Neural Parasite will probably be removed altogether. It's rarely used, and it's too powerful in the few weird cases in which it is used.

Protoss

  • The Mothership was never meant to be a unit that plays a role at the high-end competitive level. It will likely be getting a redesign in HotS to put it back in the category of a "just for fun" novelty.

Terran

  • Blizzard recognizes there is a significant skill gap and playstyle difference between general Terran players and top-level Korean Terran players, and would like to see this gap shrink.
  • Seeker Missiles and Thor Shoulder Cannons might be seeing a buff in HotS. Blizzard doesn't want the Shoulder Cannons' appeal to be their ability to stun, as they feel there are enough stuns in the game already, but they want Thors to be good at something aside from countering Mutalisks.
  • Medivacs may be getting a buff as well, and late game static defenses may be nerfed as top-level players have become so skilled at shutting down the once dominant Terran drop play.