Hello; and welcome to my perspective of HotS from the mindset of the Average Player (High Plat~Low Diamond)
To start this off; I played each race atleast once while I was attending the Spring Championship.
To start all things off, I'd like to say the Razer Banshee headset was absolutely amazing, and I Really enjoyed playing Heart of the Swarm with all the equipment that was available.
(I have never seriously played Zerg outside of actually playing HotS)
The Viper is a Spire tech unit which was really fun to use, but I can see a lot of Gateway and Barracks timings being the way to go because it has a grip ability, where it... grips units to where it is. That is why I think people will opt in and try to break the Zerg before they get Lair. If you cannot defeat the Zerg, or try to go into a macro game with them, the Viper does not fall off in large fights (200/200 vs 200/200). It has an ability called Blinding Cloud where it reduces all the range of all the units inside the cloud to only one. It'll mainly be used on large clumps of units because it is a large area of effect spell. Blinding Cloud will be really effective against Terran going Marine Siege Tank because with a good Fungle + Cloud will effectively make marines useless against BroodLords, and banelings will have a much easier time connecting with Marines if the tanks cannot target fire them down. Vipers also have an ability where it converts 1 unit into a detector. This was probably implemented because Blizzard has taken out the Overseer!
Swarm Host was a new unit that I really didn't get to test very much, for the simple fact that I somewhat forgot about them TT. Off my very limited knowledge of how they work, I can see them being really annoying during the late game because they spawn Locusts for free and they can quickly stop mining from a defenseless base if you're not careful. That being said, they can also be used defensively if you see a large push coming your way.
Unit Changes: Hydra users rejoice! Hydras will be able to research a movement speed! No long will you have to make a creep highway to make your favorite unit viable! I think this buff was needed; Hydras were just too slow to actually be extremely effective, or even somewhat useful. With the buff, I can say almost with no doubt that Hydras will be used in ZvP and ZvT. Hydras will not only be useful, I think they will also be the main unit of the Zerg army. The only problem with this researchable Upgrade is that it is Hive tech, and most 2 base timings hit before than, so, Hydras become useful after you're making your Tier 3 units. So you'll still be needing to make some Roaches to defend against most of those pesky 2 base all-ins.
Ultralisk! now make the ground tremble, and your units die even faster than they did before. How is that? They now have a burrowed charge! Not only does the charge make your Ultras right next to the enemy, it also does some damage too! I don't think will effect the ZvP match up that much; Immortals will still be able to shred them, but your Ultralisks will be able to destroy the enemy marines faster than you can say "Wow, those Ultras are destroying my marines!"
Final Thoughts: Blizzard is trying to pick dismantle the way Zerg players are currently playing. They're making the least popular units into killing machines, and they're molding Zerg into how they designed the race to be played.
I played Terran a couple of times at Demo of HotS; and I must say, they're units are fun. Heres what I think about the changes.
The Widow Mine are units that are made out of a factory, where you can have a reactor to double the production of them. They have ups and downs, and all around they're pretty good units. They can easily defend a choke point, because if you throw down 2 or 3 of them, and the enemy walks over them and is not paying attention to that squad (or even whole army) they explode into a giant AoE, and that will severely cripple that fighting force! They can also be able to stop drop harass if placed correctly. Oh yeah, and did I forget... They attack Air units!?
The downside... if you notice early enough, microing the unit that the mine has latched onto isn't that hard. The game shows you which unit has been selected by putting a crosshair like symbol over the units head. I believe this unit will mainly be used to stop harassment and maybe used at the enemy's ramp.
I think the Widow Mines are going to just be used for stopping harassment; they could be used at random areas of the map so you might just get lucky with a big hit. They can be used in TvZ to stop those annoying zergling run by, because of the large AoE damage it deals.
WarHounds are a new factory unit that requires a tech lab. Its a different kind of unit, that is okay against biological units, but it also has spell that is autocasting at mechanical units. I don't think you're going to see a lot of these produced in the TvZ Match up; but I can put a large dollar on that they're going to be used for they're unique ability in the TvP game. They can auto-target Colossus and Immortals from a far. I still think Terran are going to have to make Vikings against Mass Colossi, although going Mech will be even more viable, because Immortals will now have to deal with these savage "Hounds"
I believe these will be the core unit in your Mech Army. They're movement speed isn't bad, they're actually quite fast. You will still have to use the Battle Hellion and the Siege Tank, and maybe the Thor, but these will be your go to unit in TvP.
Battle Mode Hellions I was debating putting this as a new unit, but it really isn't. You have to choose either mobility or survivability. These are not permanent choice for that particular game, but you have to make that decision on the fly. When your Hellions go into Battle Mode, their health pools increase and so does there damage, but you're speed is limited. Their range doesn't change from 4, so they're still pretty close quarter combat units.
I believe this change was needed for mech playstyle. You can still harass and destroy mineral lines with these dastardly units, but when the big fight happens, Your hellions actually have a chance of surviving!
Reapers had a couple of changes for them in Heart of the Swarm. I'm sure ThisIsJimmy likes the first change :D
1: Combat Drugs- Reapers will regenerate health when they've been out of combat for a couple of seconds. I like this change, I really do. Once your Reaper takes some damage, he can leave your opponents main and regenerate some of his health. In a matter of seconds, your Reaper can rejoin the fray, and be back to his worker slaying routine. The only problem is that you have to research this upgrade, it doesn't come naturally.
2: They lost their destructive charge against buildings. They're no longer going to able to absolutely destroy any building anymore. A Reaper in a bunker doesn't pose as much as threat anymore to a hatchery, even when he is all snug up in that bunker.
I think these changes were needed, even though I'm sad to see their destructive abilities removed. But hey, they can still jump up and down cliffs. I'm glad Reapers will have the ability to keep doing damage as the game progresses, its no longer "Well, my reaper took 3 shots from that Stalker, he is now absolutely useless."
I'm not 100% sure on this one, but my friend who mains Terran told me that BattleCruisers will now have a dash like ability, I'm kind of hoping for this because I've always enjoyed hearing "Who called in the Fleet?"
Final Thoughts: From these changes, I'm thinking Blizzard is wanting people to move away from the traditional M.M.M style, and they're wanting a more mech style to be brought in Heart of the Swarm. I'm assuming players like LiquidJinro and Empire.BeastyQT are happy about these changes.
This is the race I mainly play, and of course, I played the most at the Heart of the Swarm Demo at Anaheim.
The Tempest is a high damage, kinda fast, flying unit, and has 22 range, which is the furthest range in the game by 9. That is CRAZY! The starting range of the Tempest is 10, but than you can get an upgrade that gets it to 22.
The damage the Tempest does is okay, but it really isn't the most cost efficient if you're trying to destroy everything in your path. It has a long cooldown in between shot, and it does bonus damage against Massive units.
That being said, you cannot create a whole army of these. I tried.. and it really didn't work because they lack splash damage. If Tempests shots also had a small splash damage radius, I think they would be great units. In their current state, I think they're going to be used just as much as the Carrier is now. The reason I say this is because I keep hearing people say you can just a Tempest behind the enemy's mineral line, and start blasting away at the harvesters. This is crazy, no way you would send an expensive unit alone. The thing is that they're speed isn't that bad, but not fast enough to run away from a pack of Mutalisks, and because the Tempest lacks the splash damage it needs to deal with it, it would just wither away and die.
"So, my idea is; since they have 22 range, and the highest range in the game besides that is the Siege tank which is 13, that means you can make 9 rows of cannons in front of it can can still shoot anything that can shoot the front cannons and so, whats going to F&$# with 9 rows of cannons and a Tempest?" ~iSAxSlav (I had no affiliation with the Axslav interview, I just found a quote that made me laugh really hard, and it had to deal with Heart of the Swarm)
The Oracle is a crazy unit. It is built out of a Robotics facility, and it is a caster unit. This unit can grant cloak to every unit around it for the next 60 seconds. I really like this spell, it acts like a Mothership with the cost of 1/4 of the supply, except for it can't vortex, or recall. It has another spell Entomb, where it stops mining on certain mineral patches for a short period of time.
I'm glad we still have an army cloaking unit. We also have the ability to delay mining at an entire expansion? Thats always something Protoss needed!
Speaking of which, the Mothership Core this unit has a lot of abilities; it also uses energy.
1: It has mass recall! That's fantastic! I personally have only used mass recall once or twice in my whole latter experience, but I know it has a lot of use! Watching Axslav against IdrA was a fun experience because killing hatcheries and recalling back to the Mothership was just a fun experience.
2: Purify is the name of the ability (I think) but it can apply a cannon-like ability that does an exceptional amount of damage. I remember a game against complete stranger, where I had an enormous lead, but because I wasn't paying attention that he had that activated, and I almost lost the game because of that.
3: It can also fully energies a unit! Energy for Energy, kind of a crazy trade. This has a lot of potential, because it can delay more mineral patches from the Oracle, it can make sure you have enough Force Fields for the next engagement, or you can always have a storm ready in your back pocket!
I think the Mothership Core is an exceptional addition to the Protoss army. It gives you everything that your Mothership had, and even things you've never thought of. The only thing I would change is the damage that it can deal.
Edit: The Mothership core will be able to actually turn into a Mothership! I'm not exactly sure what spells the new Mothership has, or really anything about this new and improved version. All I know is that Protoss never lost their beloved unit.
Foremost, the Carrier was actually taken out of the game. This is completely understandable. The Carrier has actually no purpose in the current game. You rarely see the Carrier in competitive play, or even in ladder games to be honest, so why keep a unit in the game where you can replace it with something better; like the Tempest!
Final Thoughts: Protoss lost one of the most valuable units to their army, and gained units that we would've never dreamed about. The chance to give your units their energy back will make the Templar even more valuable. Having the mass recall is going to keep the Protoss army mobile and still bring fear into the opponents heart.
Extras: I didn't add cost of the new Units because those are all subject to change, so I didn't see the point in adding them. I feel like that was the right decision.
Blizzard has added extra death animations for some of the units! That was a fun and enjoyable thing to see, just because they're not gloating that they did that, they just added it and watched others figure that out about that on their own.
Creep Tumors also have a new animation, they don't just appear where you click, it looks like its weaving its way to it, and you can a vine-like following it. It looks really cool, and once again, Blizzard isn't like "Hey look! We made a crazy new feature you're going to love!" They're subtle about those kind of changes, so I'm happy about that.
Final-Final thoughts on Heart of the Swarm- I enjoy all of the changes they've added to the game. There is no reason for anyone to dislike this game! I'm hoping with this game we see some some new Heroes for our races appear! This game will bring E-Sports to new heights and that is absolutely amazing!
Thank you for your time for reading my summary of Heart of the Swarm; anything I have wrong just let me know and I'll fix them as soon as possible !