Review on the Last Three Proposed Balance Patch

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Blizzard has been exceptionally active in proposing changes in the next balance patch. This is a clear sign that Blizzard acknowledges that the current state of the game has to be changed through patches. I will review this proposed changes collectively.

Just a list of the recent proposed changes

2 January 2014

Mothership Core

  • Photon overcharge duration decreased from 60 to 40

Roach

  • Roach burrow move speed to 2.25

The next step for Terran mech

  • Incrase Siege Tank’s armored damage
  • Easier access to EMP for mech
  • Buff mech air

31 January 2014

Mothership

  • Photon Overcharge duration decreased from 60 to 50 seconds
  • Time Warp energy cost increased from 75 to 100

Tempest

  • Resonance Coil ground weapon damage increased from 30 to 30 + 30 vs. Structures

Ghost

  • Starting energy increased from 50 to 75
  • The Moebius Reactor upgrade has been removed from the Ghost Academy

Hydralisk

  • Cost decreased from 100/50 to 100/25

10 February 2014

Mothership Core

  • Vision radius decreased from 14 to 9

Stalker

  • Blink cooldown increased from 10 to 15

Widow Mine

  • Splash damage component deals 40 + 40 shield damage

Tempest

  • Ground weapon damage increased from 30 to 30+30-to-structures

Hydralisk

  • Delay between attacks decreased from .83 to .75

One unit clearly stands out: Mothership Core, and rightfully so. Mothership Core is the single most game changing unit that is accessible in the early game. It feels like a hero-esque unit from Warcraft. As it stands now, it deserves to get nerfed. Given its ability to be extremely powerful in both offense and defense, it is not easy to pin point the area to touch on. Based on the proposed changes, Blizzard does not want to nerf a specific side, but simply minor nerf for both sides. Photon overcharge (duration: 60 to 50 seconds) and time warp (energy: 75 to 100) are both nerfed slightly. I have previously discussed about the minor impact of the photon overcharge nerf when it was proposed to change to 40 seconds. The 10 seconds deduction is unlikely to really make a difference, at least not in a tangible sense. A full energy Mothership Core (200) still can cast two time warp after the nerf, so it is still a minor nerf. On top of these two proposed changes, the vision range is in line to get nerfed too (14 to 9). The community has been shouting for this change for quite sometime, and I’m glad that Blizzard is listening. Just by looking at the number itself, 14 to 9 seems huge. It has several implications:

– Nerf scouting ability of Mothership Core in early game
– Harder to see where the Zerg is coming from when the Protoss is making a push
– Require Mothership Core to “commit more” during blink Stalker attacks

I like all three proposed changes in terms of direction, but the actual number (e.g., vision range) itself may take time to finalise.

Blink cooldown is proposed to be nerfed too. Blink Stalker in TvP is obviously too strong and needs to be addressed. However, the map pool itself has a strong impact on the popularity of this strategy. The problem with nerfing blink is that it affects other match ups, especially in PvP. If the nerf really kicks in, PvP metagame may shift. I’m really unsure about this change. As of the time of this post: the poll on TL is 51% approve vs. 41% disappove (7% neutral).

Ghost buff seems logical from Blizzard’s train of thoughts. They wanted mech to be viable in TvP by making Ghost more accessible. However, it may result in more Scv pull. Overall, I think this is a good buff. Widow Mine buff seems brilliant in my opinion, as it makes the match up more interesting and increases the skill ceiling. Assuming that the buffed Widow Mines are added into the army composition, Protoss cannot A-move their big group of Zealots blindly. A-move is perhaps the most effective way to utilize the Zealots, so you cannot blame the players. Theoretically, it adds more depth in positioning and micro for both sides. If Zealots A-move towards the bio (Mines burrowed), it can go two ways. The Splash damage will hurt the bio too. If the bio stay farther away from the Widow Mines, Stalkers can out range them. Just may be, Terran may end up splitting the bio to minimise the splash damage to themselves. It really adds another dimension to the match up.

The Roach and Hydralisk proposed buffs are intended to promote Roach and Hydralisk composition. I think the biggest issue with this composition is the terrain. If there are few chokes, this composition may even be too strong. For example, Derelict Watcher. The Hydralisk cost buff (100/50 to 100/25) was obviously too much, and I’m sure no one will disagree. The Hydralisk attack speed buff is probably still too strong. It is 10% increase in attack speed, and you multiply it by the number of Hydralisks in a battle. I’m not optimistic at all. All in all, I don’t see a need to buff the composition, as it is not weak.

The Tempest bonus damage to structure is funny. I can appreciate the thoughts behind this change. It aims to break the Swarm Host stalemate game. Mana made a good point regarding this change in the video below. The Tempest are going to kill the Spore and Spine Crawlers anyway. The change may just affect the late game composition to have less Tempest. The proxy Tempest is funny.

What I think will make it to the patch

Mothership Core

  • Photon Overcharge duration decreased from 60 to 50 seconds
  • Time Warp energy cost increased from 75 to 100
  • Vision radius decreased from 14 to 9 (numbers may change)

Tempest (Blizzard is confident about this)

  • Ground weapon damage increased from 30 to 30+30-to-structures

Ghost

  • Starting energy increased from 50 to 75
  • The Moebius Reactor upgrade has been removed from the Ghost Academy

Hydralisk

  • Buff is assured, but I’m not sure if it will be the proposed ones.

What I think may make it to the patch

Stalker

  • Blink cooldown increased from 10 to 15

Widow Mine

  • Splash damage component deals 40 + 40 shield damage

Hydralisk

  • Delay between attacks decreased from .83 to .75

What I think will not make it to the patch

Hydralisk

  • Cost decreased from 100/50 to 100/25
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