Q. It's unfortunate that everyone hates you due to the balance issues in this game. Tell us what other people are there in the balancing team.
A. There's Matt Cooper and Dustin Browder in addition to myself, and there are additional people who give us feedback. I don't think negatively about the hate people have due to the balancing. I think of it as that, since players are interested about the game that much, they are giving us the feedback. We do take note of a lot of different information, play at the high ranked ladder games, and through those, we try our best to get feedback from the users as much as possible.
Q. Matt Cooper? That is the guy that showed up in the old battle reports back in the closed beta?
A. Yes, that is him. I shouldn't have to mention Dustin Browder, he's pretty famous as it is.
Q. Been thinking that Dustin Browder says things about balance in-depth.
A. He is our boss (team leader).
Q. Is 'dayvie', the ID at near top of NA ladder rank, you?
A. Yes. Around ELL rank 200th skill level, as a random, I'm the best.
Q. What kind of things do you take in consideration for balancing?
A. We take teamplay seriously as well as 1v1. Recent 1.1.2 patch changed Reapers. While Reapers had no problem in 1:1, if you look at the top of the 2:2 team ranks, almost half of them are Terran+Zerg, and they all use Reaperling. This problem is same in NA as well as in Korea. This means that you can't succeed all that well in teamplay unless you play a Terran+Zerg combination, so we try to fix it if the problem is as big as that. If not, then we try to balance around 1:1.
Also, forward proxy gate Zealot rush was popular for a bit after release. This didn't get much use among the top players, but it was near impossible to stop at silver-level play. So we pondered how to fix this balance issue without affecting top players, and in the end, we decided to increase the time required to build Zealots to get it balanced.
Q. How do you decide the 'good point' to start balancing from?
A. First, I play at pro-level, and mostly receive feedback from top players. Matt Cooper plays at below ELL 200th rank, and Dustin Browder plays at lower ranks of Diamond. Balancing is done through combining different feedback across different ranks. There are times when progamers personally contact us, and we do receive a lot of replay files. We also watch e-sports tournament replays and note the ladder percentile data. Of course, we do look at the feedback from our forums.
Q. Recent patch changed how Void Rays work?
A. A Korean progamer, who played a Protoss although his main race isn't Protoss, sent us a replay showing a weakness of opponents in a certain specific period of time when a Protoss is using a Void Ray. Through the replay, we gave Void Ray the change that it received.
Q. Do you play often with other progamers?
A. I do not get to much nowadays. I do not have Korean citizenship number, so I cannot connect to the Korean server (David Kim is an American citizen). I plan to talk to the Korean branch to get me an account so that I can play there.
Q. Does GSL's race matchup statistics cause any changes in balancing?
A. The matchup statistics do not have much impact in balancing. We are more interested in the games themselves. The match result itself is impacted by not only the game's balance, but the player's skill level. Therefore, we focus more on the games themselves rather than the match results.
Q. Were you surprised that Fruitdealer won as a Zerg?
A. The balancing team thought it was possible, but other teams were very surprised. Sammy even drew a fan art for him. That's how much he was excited. We (balancing team) think that Zerg race might be a bit hard to play with, but it's not impossible to win. With skills, we expected it to be possible.
Q. There are opinions that Zerg is difficult to play.
A. That is right to a certain extent. A lot of new players find it difficult to manage larva and timing of producing offensive units. But, this doesn't really impact much at the top level of play. Pros already deal with this through high level of skill. So, balancing is more or less done around the pros.
Q. Do you separately produce statistics reports for GSL?
A. We don't produce each league's statistics, but we do produce a lot of ladder statistics. For example, we produced statistics around Diamond top ranked players. It will be revealed tomorrow in BlizzCon, that there will be a new "Grand Master League", a step above the Diamond League. It's going to be the league for the pros, where only top 2% of Diamond League, or top 100 overall, or something like that will be playing at.
Q. So the "Pro League" that were talked about before is becoming a reality.
A. It's the same thing. Just the naming has changed.
Q. But, is it okay to tell about things that is to be revealed tomorrow?
A. Ah... Oh. Haha. I'm not supposed to?
Q. What do you think of SlayerS_BoxeR making it to RO32 of GSL Open Season 2, personally?
A. As it is with other people, we are excited. We can't wait for tomorrow's special event match either.
Q. What changes do you think, would come to StarCraft 2 with SlayerS_BoxeR winning GSL?
A. We think it'll impact e-sports fan culture moreso than StarCraft 2.
Q. We had a Zerg winner in GSL Season 1. Will that have an impact in balancing?
A. We can't do balancing patch around just 1 game or 10 games. While Zerg won the Season 1, recent patch buffed Zerg and nerfed Terrans. As you can see, what race won is not important, but the match content themselves are more important. We check tournament replays, and watch replay files sent in by progamers. In other words, finals don't really mean much in terms of balancing.
Q. Anything about patching Marauders?
A. Marauder is one of the units that we are looking at through various data, and we think that we nerfed them indirectly in the recent patch through nerfing Medivacs. We don't think Marauders are, either unit stat wise or statistics-wise, strong, but we are continuing to check the feedback. So, if we find any special overpoweredness, we are willing to provide a solution. For now, we are watching.
Edit: Wording in regards to Void Ray Q.