May 19, 2024

All you need to know about the new ‘Starcraft 2’ massive balance update

image:Blizzard

It has been a while since Starcraft 2, Blizzard’s iconic RTS esports title has received a big balance update. There are still a lot of gamers who enjoy competing in Starcraft 2 or watching big esports tournaments, as the game is, in our opinion, still the best RTS around after all this time. This week, Blizzard released a surprising, huge balance update to Starcraft 2.

All Starcraft 2 balance changes

The developers have made dozens of balance changes to all three races, namely: Zerg, Protoss and Terran. The 5.0.11 update also includes a host of quality-of-life changes and bug fixes. 

These balance changes were created by the Starcraft 2 community, from content creators to modders, tournament organizers and, of course, pro players. Blizzard thanked all the efforts from the community before dropping the massive patch notes. You can read all the balance changes below.

ZERG

Creep Tumor

  • Cooldown increased from 10.71 to 13.57 seconds.
  • Sight range reduced from 11 to 10.

Developer Comment: Clarifies where the vision provided reaches for the Zerg, as the sight range now matches the creep spread created by the tumor. Slightly reduces the amount of Creep Spread in the early game from the Zerg player, especially in situations with multiple Creep Tumors in a small area, or builds without units such as Hellions to delay the Creep.

Hatchery, Lair & Hive

  • Creep spread interval decreased from 0.3 to 0.25 (Increases the rate of Creep spread from these structures by 20%. Does not affect Creep spread from Creep Tumors).
  • Sight range increased from 10,11 and 12 to 12.

Developer Comment: Increases the vision to match the Creep spread radius similar to the Creep Tumor sight change. The Creep spread rate is increased to allow for more consistent wall-offs as well as help with early game defense.

Viper

  • After casting Abduct the Viper can not move or use abilities for 0.57 seconds.

Developer Comment: Prevents the Viper from being able to simultaneously abduct 2 units, as well as makes the Viper more vulnerable to being killed after abducting.

Ultralisk

  • Reduced size by 12.5%.
  • Increased distance target can move before Ultralisk’s attack is canceled from 1 to 1.25 (Range to begin the attack is unchanged).

Developer Comment: Ultralisks often get stuck against the Zerg’s own units due to their large size and slower movement speed than other Zerg melee units. This should help them get into a fight more easily.

Hydralisk

  • Muscular Augments move speed bonus off Creep increased from 0.79 to 0.98.
  • Damage point reduced from 0.15 to 0.1 (Damage Point is the time it takes for a unit to complete it’s attack. Reducing it allows more time for movement in between attacks.)

Developer Comment: Hydralisk’s high damage point combined with it’s fast attack caused kiting to not be very effective. The speed is increased of creep to allow for easier retreating from engagements and repositioning of the army, as retreating from an engagement on the map would often result in many Hydralisks being picked off.

Brood Lord

  • Move speed increased from 1.97 to 2.24.
  • Duration of spawned Broodlings reduced from 5.71 to 3.57.

Developer Comment: Brood Lord’s slow speed forces the Zerg to play defensive until the map is mined out, causing games where it is used to become very slow paced. The duration of Broodlings is reduced to weaken the unit in engagements where there is nothing to quickly clear the Broodlings, as well as preventing the Zerg from continuously sending waves of Broodlings from a longer distance than the Brood Lord’s attack range.

Ravager

  • Build time increased from 8.57 to 12.14 seconds and removed the random delay of up to 0.36 seconds.

Developer Comment: Forces the Zerg to prepare slightly earlier to defend attacks, as well as reduce the strength of morphing Roaches into Ravagers during fights to heal them. Should make Roach based all-ins slightly easier to defend in ZvT and ZvZ.

PROTOSS

Shield Battery

  • Battery Overcharge shield recharge rate bonus reduced from 100% to 50%. (Reduces the total shields recharged from 1440 to 1080)

Developer Comment: Previously Battery Overcharge made it difficult to take an engagement regardless of army difference until it expired unless the Shield Battery could be destroyed. This should give the attacker a chance to take an engagement if they have a significant army lead.

Observer

  • Move speed increased from 2.63 to 2.82.
  • Gravitic Boosters move speed bonus increased from 1.31 to 1.41, maintaining a 50% speed increase.
  • Model size increased by 10%. (Visual size only, does not affect interactions with range or vision)

Developer Comment: Rewards use of Observers for active scouting and creep denial, and allows them to keep up with the Protoss army easier. The increased size helps the opponent be able to see when an Observer is present if they are actively looking for it, as it can be incredibly punishing to make a decision under the belief that the opponent is not aware of your action.

Archon

  • Reduced collision radius with structures from 0.75 to 0.56 (Allows Archons to pass through single tile gaps between buildings. Does not affect collision with other units)

Developer Comment: Makes the Archon better at defending within the Protoss base, against units such as Mutalisks. Also helps prevent frustrating scenarios where the Archon’s can be stuck after being Recalled.

High Templar

  • Move speed increased from 2.63 to 2.82.

Developer Comment: Increases the speed of ground based armies with High Templar support, allowing more effective map movement. In combination with the Viper’s Abduct nerf, should help at reducing the amount of value generated by Viper’s over time when combined with Protoss air armies.

Disruptor

  • Purification Nova’s radius reduced from 1.5 to 1.3575.

Developer Comment: Reduces the maximum potential damage a Disruptor can deal against an unaware opponent, while not significantly affecting it’s usage of zoning away enemy ground units, or picking off stationary units from a distance.

Carrier

  • Interceptor attack target priority reduced from 20 to 19. (Attackers now prioritize other units over Interceptors)

Developer Comment: For the majority of players across skill levels it is too difficult to engage into Carriers with an army that is more focused on destroying the Carriers themselves (such as Vikings and Corruptors). This should allow players to use units intended for fighting Carriers to actually be used effectively and even the micro requirement in engagements between the players.

Sentry

  • Build time reduced from 26.4 to 22.9 seconds.
  • Move speed increased from 3.15 to 3.5.

Developer Comment: Allows for a slightly earlier scout in the early game with hallucination, as well as helps the Sentry keep up with the Protoss army when using Guardian Shield.

Forge

  • Level 1 upgrades research time reduced from 128.6 to 121.6.
  • Level 2 upgrades research time reduced from 153.6 to 144.6.
  • Level 3 upgrades research time reduced from 178.6 to 167.9.

Developer Comment: Recently Protoss have been heavily relying on Disruptors in ground engagements. With the nerf to Disruptors as well as Battery Overcharge, earlier upgrades should give some compensation for fighting strength on the ground.

Dark Templar

  • Shadow Stride attack delay reduced from 0.75 to 0.71 seconds. (Standardizes the time at Normal game speed)

TERRAN

Viking (Fighter Mode)

  • Damage point reduced from 0.12 to 0.04. (Fighter Mode is the flying mode of the Viking)

Developer Comment: Vikings have a slow speed and high damage point for a flying unit, making it hard to effectively micro them other than simply shift clicking the enemy air units. This should allow for more effective micro when attention is given to them.

Liberator

  • Cost reduced from 150/150 to 150/125.

Developer Comment: Liberator usage has fallen off over time as Zerg’s have built more Queens in the early game, and the transition into Liberators against Protoss later in the game is too expensive.

Ghost

  • Enhanced Shockwaves upgrade removed.
  • EMP radius increased from 1.5 to 1.75.
  • Steady Targeting is canceled if the target moves more than 14 range away from the Ghost while casting. (The cast range of Steady Targeting is 10)
  • Steady Targeting can now be manually canceled.

Developer Comment: The maximum potential of EMP is reduced, weaking the Ghost against lategame Protoss armies and spellcasters, while giving it more power immediately, before the Enhanced Shockwave upgrade would have been researched. The Steady Targeting range cap reduces the punishing effect that Ghosts can have against biological units, where moving anywhere near the Terran army would require a full commitment, as retreating units would always die in combination with using Scan for vision. The ability is now manually cancelable to give more micro potential in situations where the Ghost is in danger, especially when it is clear it will not be able to finish casting regardless.

Banshee

  • Hyperflight Rotors research time reduced from 121.4 to 100 seconds.
  • Hyperflight Rotors cost reduced from 150/150 to 125/125.

Developer Comment: Reduces the investment to research the Banshee’s speed upgrade, as it was too ineffective for the investment.

Cyclone

  • Mag-Field Accelerator damage bonus changed from +20 vs armored to +10 vs all.
  • Lock On will now prioritize Air Units that threaten the Cyclone (Air units with an anti ground attack, spellcasters)
  • Lock On Auto-Cast range increased from 7 to 7.5 (Similar to the change from Heart of the Swarm to Legacy of the Void with weapon ‘Scan Range’, the auto cast range is increased so attack-moved cyclones do not move below the actual Cast Range of Lock On before it acquires a target. The ability is still cast at 7 range)

Developer Comment: The Mag-Field Accelerator damage change attempts to make the unit slightly more well rounded, as many of Terran’s Factory units are too specialized into certain roles. The Lock On prioritizing air units will help when engaging armies such as Mutalisks and Zerglings, preventing all the Lock Ons from being wasted on Zerglings and the mech army being overwhelmed in the air.

Sensor Tower

  • Radar range reduced from 30 to 27.

Developer Comment: Sensor Towers slow down the game by making it impossible to catch the Terran out of position defensively, especially in TvT. This will give less warning time for attacks or force the Sensor Towers to be built slightly more forward, giving the opponent a chance to destroy them more easily.

Raven

  • Gas cost reduced from 200 to 150.
  • Build time reduced from 42.9 to 34.3 seconds.
  • Corvid Reactor upgrade removed.
  • Anti-Armor Missile armor reduction reduced from 3 to 2. (Debuff color tint on affected units is reduced)
  • Auto Turret duration reduced from 10 to 7.9 seconds.
  • Auto Turret health reduced from 150 to 100.
  • Auto Turret armor reduced from 1 to 0.
  • Auto Turret is no longer affected by Neosteel Armor.

Developer Comment: Increases the viability of a Raven to be used as a detector unit, by reducing the investment. Some of the strength is removed from Anti-Armor missile as a result of the smaller investment, and Auto Turret durability is significantly weakened to prevent mass Auto Turret strategies from being too strong in TvT, while not significantly affecting the ability of the Raven to use Auto Turret for harass in TvP.

Well done for making it to the end of this massive wall of text. It is awesome to see Blizzard still releasing updates for Starcraft 2, and these balance changes are sure to shake up the meta.

Header image via Blizzard.