Balance Test Map (03/01/2014)

balance banner

The new season has kicked off with Proleague and a proposed balance test map. The production of Proleague looks very promising, while the proposed balance test map seems to move in the right direction. I will give my thoughts on the proposed changes.

Please keep in mind that these are proposed changes and they are not final.

Photon overcharge duration decreased from 60 to 40

We believe the the Mothership Core is very well-rounded unit. We like the early aggressive options the Mothership Core provides, such as being able to recall back at the right moments, but we wonder whether the defensive nature of the Mothership Core can be toned down a bit. We’d like to see more options for Terran and Zerg to attack, skirmish, or harass a Protoss player who plays defensively.

photonovercharge

The community would go for a strike if the next balance test map does not address the advantage that Protoss have. However, the issue is not “should there be change?” but “what to change?” I have been patiently waiting for an answer from Blizzard as this is not an easy task.

The community mainly focuses on the discussion of how difficult it is to know what type of all-in is incoming, and how hard it is to defend them. The train of thoughts then moved on to being aggressive instead of playing passively to defend an all-in. However, such ideas are usually trashed because of the almighty photon overcharge. This is evident in the choice of openings Terran have in their disposal: Reaper expand or 14CC. Perhaps TaeJa and Supernova are two notable players who tried to bring something different on the table in this match up by playing aggressively. The most referred and discussed aggressive opening is perhaps TaeJa’s gas first harassment build, but its effectiveness has dropped significantly in recent months when it got figured out. Thus, changing the early game defensive capability of Protoss seems like a promising direction to address the state of TvP. It opens up new possibilities for both sides. Protoss have to considered if Terran are going to be aggressive, and not simply choose what harassment or all-in to use.

Following the above thread of thought, Mothership Core or/and Photon Overcharge should be changed. But how? Blizzard propose to reduce the duration of Photon Overcharge from 60 seconds to 40.

This is an interesting change. The trigger criteria remains the same (no increment in cost or energy requirement). The damage and attack speed remain the same too. In another words, what can be defended by pre-change Photon Overcharge are still covered after the change. With that being said, the change still can have impact on the match up.

Photon overcharge cannot buy as much time as it used to for Protoss to prepare for against a push. It is hard for Terran to punish Protoss for losing more units than they could when Protoss have 60 seconds to prepare. They can warp in units, and then chronoboost the warpgates to warp in another round of units under the protection of the Photon overcharge.

warpgate

20 seconds difference equates to another round of warp in. This is then multiplied by the number of Warpgates. That is quite a change.

Roach burrow move speed to 2.25

Of the various changes we made in the last balance patch, this one seems to be the one that didn’t do much. We’ve rarely see any roach burrow-move games, and we’d like to bump this up a bit more with the hope that we’d see it. Considering the few games we did see this strategy being used, they were really fun and different compared to other strategies that Zerg use. Perhaps we can move in small steps in order to see some more burrow move speed usage in various matchups

I’m not sure if Blizzard is pushing this a little too hard. Roach burrow move speed basically increased from 1.41 to 2.25 in two patches. That is more than 50% increase. I doubt this buff will kick in since the change may be too drastic of a change.

The next step for Terran mech

We believe we can push mech usage more as well. Some options we’re looking at here are: higher armored damage for siege tanks, easier access to EMP when going mech (such as building the energy upgrade into the unit), buffing mech air, and so on. However, this is the area in which we’re the least certain. Detailed feedback based on good reasoning is greatly appreciated.

Blizzard said that they wanted to make mech viable even in TvP. That was very ambitious. Given this statement, it seems like they are serious about it. Let’s look at mech in all match ups.

Terran:

Most viable among the three match ups. I think the balance of viability between bio and mech is just right now. Personally, I love the current state of TvT.

Zerg:

If you remove Swamp Host from the picture, mech is definitely viable. However, as it stands, mech does not have a good answer against Swamp Host. Watch the following game:

This makes buffing mech a difficult task. If you do not buff it to the extent that it is more playable against Swamp Host, it seems a little meaningless. At the same time, once the “Swamp Host issue” is overcomed, mech may become too strong. Perhaps changing Swamp Host is a better choice overall. Swamp Host is problematic in PvZ too, as it often results in long stalemate games.

Protoss:

I’m not sure if Protoss is mech’s worst match up or Terran’s worst match up as a whole. It is hard to pin point why mech doesn’t work well against Protoss. Protoss have too many answers? Terran mech-ball is not as strong as Protoss death-ball? I don’t see mech working in the near future against Protoss. At least not without major changes like the introduction of Legacy of the Voids.

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2 thoughts on “Balance Test Map (03/01/2014)

  1. I think the reason why mech doesn’t work against protoss is best demonstrated by Mvp’s game against Cjentus Hero at IEM Singapore in the quarterfinals. He went for a mech timing on Whirlwind that got completely shutdown because Hero scouted it and just chronoboosted some immortals. Because mech production costs gas, it is hard to get ghosts out to counter the immortals. I think Blizzard said they would try to do something about this in the future.

    1. I’m not sure if Mech vs. Protoss is not explored, or is it just not worthy for further exploration. Assuming that it’s the latter, it might require too many changes for mech to be competitive that it hurts the balance of other match ups.

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