(More T/N : Due to much rages, I'm including this line so more people will remember the fact that this interview is a translated interview, and above that, I have no guarantees about the grasp of English that the original interviewers had when they talked to Dustin or when his answers were translated. If there's still rage after taking this into account, feel free I guess )
This interview was taken and translated from s.163.com.
The original articles in Chinese can be found at the following pages :
At Blizzard's 20th anniversary, game.163.com sent out an interview team to interview some of the executives and leaders of Blizzard. The following is the interview between the team and Dustin Browder, the Leader Designer of Starcraft 2 at Blizzard.
This first part of the interview was conducted on 27 April.
Thank you Mister Dustin for this exclusive interview with game.163.com. As we all know, Starcraft 2 is a competitive game, an eSport. As a result, balance is especially important. However, some of the top players from Korea, like Nestea and fruitdealer, complain that the Zerg race is very weak. What does Blizzard have to say about this?
Dustin : There is a chance they might be right, but most of the time, our views on balance have to be supported by data, As of now, from the data that we have, we are unable to support the view that the Zerg race is very weak.
In the Grandmaster Leagues and Master Leagues of the various battlenet regions in the world, the win ratios of all 3 races are between 50-55%. If we look at any one region, Protoss might be the top race one week, but they could also very well be overtaken by Terran the following week. These patterns might also show up differently in different regions. Therefore, based on the data that we have, we do not agree that there is a problem with the balance of the game.
Furthermore, you have to understand that the players of the different races are saying different things about the situation. Terran players are also complaining that Terran is hard to play. Similarly, Protoss players are also complaining about their own race. We do not acknowledge that there are signs of imbalance in the game. Our view is that the balance situation in the game is quite good as of now.
Apart from balance, the situation where one unit counters another unit is quite serious. This makes it very hard to stage a comeback in games. In Starcraft 1, players could make comebacks through the use of various strategies or through some other means. However, it is very difficult to do make combacks in Starcraft 2. What do you think about this issue?
(T/N : I have no idea how one unit type countering another unit type makes staging comebacks hard, but that's what it seems to say in the article. Perhaps someone could explain it, or look at the original article and see what it really is talking about and translate it better than me.)
Dustin : That is actually not the case. This situation where one unit counters another unit is not as serious as it was in Starcraft 1. Let's say we have a templar fighting a zergling, and the templar always loses. That's a situation where we really see one unit countering another unit. As of now, the balance between unit-counters and micro is better than in Starcraft 1.
I've watched quite a number of tournaments. We have lots of situations where player A wins the first game, and player B comes back to win the second game. Within the games themselves, we also see the advantage keep swinging from one player to another. This shows that the state of Starcraft 2 is not that one sided. Perhaps, the situation in these tournaments are not completely accurate, but from what I see now in the top tournaments, unit counters are actually quite relative.
(T/N : I have a feeling this paragraph was translated pretty badly, but I translated it to the best of my abilities. If anyone can do a better job with this question, please don't be shy to contribute.)
For example, let's look at a situation where we have banelings fighting against marines. If they were to just clash against each other without any micro, the banelings will definitely kill off a lot of marines. However, if the marines have stim, I believe you can use micro to come out ahead in the engagement. Let's look at another situation, where we have banshees against marines. In a straight up fight, the marines will definitely win the fight. Yet, if the banshee has cloak, the situation would be different. Let's look at yet another situation, marauders against stalkers. If both sides a-move, clearly the marauder will win. However, if the stalker has blink, and uses blink well, the situation might turn out different as well.
Regarding Blizzard All-Stars, can Blizzard reveal any more details about it?
Dustin : (Dustin starts laughing at the mention of All-Stars) As of now, we are unable to reveal anything more. There is a lot of balancing we need to do, and a lot of details that we are still working on. In addition to carrying the name of Blizzard, this map also carries with it the name of DOTA, and because of that, we will definitely remain true to our reputation. Until we feel that the map is perfect enough, we won't be revealing any information about it.
What I can reveal though, is that we are in the process of fleshing out the details and contents, as well as testing the balance of the map.
Does Blizzard have any future plans regarding custom maps and ladder maps?
Dustin : As far as custom maps go, it will just be the few that we have for now. For ladder maps however, the plan is that every season will have new maps, and each season will last for about 3 months.
For example, we released quite a number of maps for 1v1 for season 2 which just started. In that case, we might release more 3v3 or 4v4 maps in season 3. The more popular maps will then be kept in the map pool.
Taking another example, there is also a possibility we might see some maps from season 3 reappearing in season 7 or something like that.
Chinese players are grumbling that they are unable to buy a full retail copy (T/N : They have to pay a montly fee to "rent" the game), and Asian players are grumbling that they are unable to get a Collector's Edition of the game. Are there plans to release the Collector's Edition in Asia when Heart of the Swarm comes out?
Dustin : Firstly, I'm not the right person to answer this question. Someone from the marketing or sales department would probably be able to answer this question more accurately.
Furthermore, we are unable to reveal much regarding this, but we can assure you that we are looking into this problem and listening to the views of the players. We are very open and receptive to the comments by the players, and we are going to start looking into the situation regarding this issue.
Is Blizzard going to add a clan system into battlenet? If there is going to be a clan system, what benefits can we expect from it?
Dustin : We have heard about this idea, and it is definitely something we want to do. Perhaps, players would be able to have their clan tag in their names while playing, or we might be able to have clan wars. However, we do not have a specific plan or timing to go into this, and we are unable to give you any specific details. Only one thing can be sure, that this is the direction we want to head towards in the future.
One final question. Starcraft 2 has amazing CG. Can it be made into a movie?
Dustin : We are happy and proud to be able to hear such good comments about it, but I do not know of any plans to do that.
In the end, we are still a game company. There is about 40 minutes of CG in Wings of Liberty, and that already took up quite a substantial amount of time. That being said, we will be putting in even more effort in producing the CG for Heart of the Swarm.
This is the second part of the interview, conducted on 28 April.
Thank you Mister Dustin for this exclusive interview from game.163.com. The topic on everyone's mind has much to do with Heart of the Swarm. Blizzard is going to release part of the storymode of Heart of the Swarm for testing in May. Are you able to reveal any new elements or details or contents in Heart of the Swarm now?
Dustin : We are currently working very hard in creating Heart of the Swarm, but as of now, there is no confirmed information that we can give you. The only thing we can say is that Heart of the Swarm will differ from Wings of Liberty in many many different areas. Much of Heart of the Swarm will be talking about the story of Sarah Kerrigan, and many things will be happening to her, and she might be attacked quite a number of times too.
Wow. That's not a good thing for Sarah Kerrigan fans!
Dustin : Haha, I guess you could say that. However, it allows the story and the character of Sarah Kerrigan to be more fully developed.
In the website for Blizzcon this year, Sarah Kerrigan appears in a "purified" state. Will she be appearing in this state in Heart of the Swarm?
Dustin : She's changed a lot. You should know if you've played Wings of Liberty before. At the end of Wings of Liberty, she underwent many changes due to the artifact. Her character and how she appears will undergo many changes, and we might see many different versions of Sarah Kerrigan. However, the final image can only be finalised and confirmed at the release of Heart of the Swarm.
This year, Polo went to Korea to deal with the issue of intellectual property rights with Kespa. As a result, both parties entered into a lawsuit. After that, GomTV chose to return their rights for Starcraft 1 to Blizzard. Does this mean that Blizzard will continue to maintain this attitude with regards to intellectual property right?
(T/N : Sorry. Another tough question to translate because I do not know too much about the situation.)
Dustin : Yes. In fact, I specifically went to Korea to deal with the intellectual property rights of Starcraft 1. There's one thing I want to say here. GomTV and Blizzard has a very tight and solid relationship. Both parties will do their best to create a top environment for Starcraft 2 as an eSport. Even though Starcraft 1 is still going on, we will still be placing more emphasis on Starcraft 2. This will be our main focus from here on.
Finally, can you say something to the players in China?
Dustin : We are very grateful and thankful to the players from China. I hope the players will enjoy this game and be able to really invest themselves into it. We have many amazing plans in the future, including Heart of the Swarm and many programs like Battlenet (T/N : Need some help here. Don't quite understand the Chinese)
I hope the Chinese players will continue to support Starcraft 2, and continue giving us their support and feedback.
If you see anything that can be improved with this translation, or any comments or corrections about it, please feel free to let me know.
Hope you enjoy the translation