Pro opinions: Proposed Changes (July 17 2014)
In the past six months, Blizzard has made a series of proposed balance changes to StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. While not all of the proposed changes eventually get implemented, the TL Strategy team is always eager to reach out to Professional players to get their opinions on the changes Blizzard informs the community of. If you are interested in seeing our previous interviews regarding proposed balance changes you can click the following links: First Article; Second Article; Third Article; Fourth Article
The changes Blizzard are looking at were described by David Kim on the official Blizzard forums as follows:
Widow Mine going back to full splash damage and a 1.75 radius. (But they would still keep the +shields damage)
Changed to prioritize their AA weapon over the AG weapon
Time Warp duration decreased from 30 to 10 seconds
Do you think the widow mine splash radius change is good or bad? Does this properly address the issues Terrans are having?
EG_Xenocider: I think the widow mine splash radius is good, however Zerg over time has learned to neutralize widow mine shots. It will require testing to see whether the radius buff actually has an impact. If it works, then it can help address the problem T has (lack of T AoE vs Banes)..
BBoongBBoong: It's better than not having it but I don't think this will help out Terrans at all from the late game bio unit composition problems they're facing.
ROOT_Illusion: A widow mine buff is helpful and will help vs Zerg, but I can't help but think about the widow mine splash killing all the marines and medivacs again. I wish it did less splash damage to allied units but I'm not sure how that would balance out..
RagnaroK: It's not a bad thing that the widow mine is getting a buff, but it doesn't make sense to me that they are going back to the old widow mines. Due to the widow mine nerfs in the past, they tried to balance it out by buffing Terran mech and buffing hellbats, but if they go back to the old mines then it's going to be really difficult for Zergs to win since Terrans will have the old mines + mech buff + hellbat buff.
ROOT.Iaguz: Back before they were nerfed, widow mines were one of the few ways Terran were able to come back in TvZ. A careless Zerg could easily muck up and have a large section of their army disappear to a handful of the little buggers. And that's good for Terran, who lack a bit in this area. We're still going to have to be wary of mine dragging shenanigans but I feel for the most part this is a very positive change for Terran.
Doesn't matter much in TvT since tanks are better than mines and the unit is already good enough in TvP thanks to +shields damage. Currently you don't see the mine too much because Protoss prefer to go stalker/colossus in the early-midgame and the purpose of mines is to ensure templar openings remain mostly unusable by threatening to explode all their chargelot/archons.
mYi_StarDust: I'm not sure. I know that Terrans need a buff, but I'm worried that this may make them too strong. I won't know for sure until I play first. What I know for sure is that it will be even more difficult to utilize zealot plays and this will force out even more colossi-related openings. Actually, since the widow mine is useless once the Protoss has secured a certain composition, this will only buff the early and mid game for Terran, and do nothing for late game.
Empire_Happy: Good. In TvZ, it may help to play against ling/bane/muta. Will need to check that out though. Mines are still random and hit any amount of units, after all. In TvP, I personally don't see a mine as a viable unit versus Protoss in midgame, as getting mines makes you unable to go 2 starport or faster ghosts, for example. You simply wont have enough gas. But that buff will help those who like to do early marine/mine drops to harass Protoss economy, though it still doesn't change the fact that a mine can kill 1 probe or 10. It's pretty much luck based. I would not like to rely on strategy that is mostly based on luck.
With the full revert, it's quite big change. I think overall it's a bigger buff than before because vanilla (before full-splash nerf) mines were very strong, especially in TvZ. Though, I'll be surprised to see actually see it, as Blizzard usually never reverts their changes.
Neige: Yes. I think that this will at least help out a lot for TvZs.
Liquid_Snute: Very slightly. It can help when dealing with mass banelings, but it can hurt the Terran army just as well. It's a very subtle change when it comes to dealing with a 4-5 base Hive Zerg and it might have very little impact in the late game.
SuperNova: I think that the widow mine buff is good since it solved the power struggle that Terran faces against Zerg. But the biggest issue that Terran deals with has to do with the late-games stages in TvP. Even if we do gain additional damage against shield, widow mines are rendered useless against thermal lance upgraded colossi. I feel that the late game issues for Terran will remain the same.
mYi_Balloon: Widow mines are not good at all in TvZ so I felt that a patch was necessary. I think they did a good job. I haven't played any games with this new patch yet so I have no idea how much stronger widow mines got but I think they did an appropriate patch. But the problem with Terran is the late-game stage, so I think that this patch made the mid-game stronger for Terran so that late-game will become easier. Even though they didn't improve Terran late-game, I still think that the patch was a good call.
IM_Squirtle: I think things got more difficult for Protoss with this widow mine buff. The issue is that the fun of going zealot/templar no longer exists since we can't use that composition because of widow mines. I do not feel that this is a good change. I actually feel that things would get more fun if they would buff something else and give Terran more diversity in unit compositions.
Do you think the Thor AA weapon priority change is good or bad? Does this properly address the issues Terran is having?
EG_Xenocider: Thor weapon change is essentially useless since every competitive Terran player focuses the mutas w/ thors anyways.
ROOT_Illusion: Doesn't really affect too much in the grand scheme of things but now thors will finally shoot mutas instead of struggling between each zergling as a target.
RagnaroK: I think the thor buff is a good one. As of right now, thors tend to attack zerglings during battles so mutas can evade them with ease, but if they start attacking mutas now, then even if a Zerg wins the 200/200 battles, a similar amount of damage will have been dealt to the Zerg since the muta number will have decreased.
ROOT.Iaguz: I feel this is probably a good change but I am going to have to play with it a bit. Currently in TvZ, when Terran is moving around his bio/thor army and the Zerg rushes in, they are often too occupied splitting bio to target the thor onto the mutas, especially if the zerg has surprised him and he hasn't done much pre-splitting. Often the thor keeps trying to shoot lings and banes during all this, which is rather undesirable.
What concerns me is that Zerg will react by using overlords/seers or corrupters to soak up thor volleys which means the thors spend most of the time being bloody useless. So as I said, kinda need to see it in action before I can comment, but it's helpful.
Empire_Happy: Good. I would like to know, though, how will Blizzard make it work in reality. Either thor will be prioritizing ANY air that is ahead of them (like priority for overlords instead of ground lings), or it will be prioritizing only offensive air (priority for muta, instead of ground lings). If its secondary, which is the only "adequate" way that i can think of, should work very good. In TvZ it may help for mech mass thor vs broodlord, and, most importantly, for sudden muta ambushes, unless Zerg does a magic-box; a lot of mutas may die instantly. In TvP, I don't see any change, as mech does not work vs Protoss. But, if it will be the first option I said (not just offensive, but general air), it will be stupidly bad.
Neige: This change is something that I had hoped would come through when I was playing against Zerg with a bio + thor/hellbat composition in the past. I think this change needs to go through.
Liquid_Snute: Not sure. I know of experienced Terrans that were able to target-shoot mutas and split very well with the regular targeting priority. I haven't tried the change in the test map yet, so I don't know.
SuperNova: I think the thor attack priority change is a patch that obviously had to go through. I think this will help Terran players who have to deal with an excess number of mutas.
mYi_Balloon: I felt that Terran always had to do so many things when it came to handling TvZ battles, so I feel that this patch is a good one since it will also force Zergs to have to do many things as well. But when you decide to mech, sometimes it's not a good thing to have your thors target air units first so I won't know for sure until I play first. Still, I think it's a good patch.
IM_Squirtle: The thor change doesn't really have anything to do with Protoss so I don't really know what to say other than that I think the change is fine.
Do you think the time warp duration change is good or bad? Does this properly address the issues Terran is having?
EG_Xenocider: Time Warp duration is useless because the impact is often times felt right away, e.g. during the middle of a fight or used on a ramp during all-ins, etc.
ROOT_Illusion: I would've preferred a decrease to the amount slowed rather than the duration, but helpful nonetheless.
RagnaroK: I think 10 seconds is good. It can have a lot of influence on short battles for SC2 and I feel that MSC spells should have short durations since they can be created right after your cybernetics core finishes. I also think Terrans will now be able to handle and evade Protoss spell combinations like time warp + force fields + storm better. I also think that the blink stalker + time warp composition will be better handled by Terran as well.
ROOT.Iaguz: Well it's a Protoss nerf so, by default, I think it's good!
Definitely one of those weird changes Blizzard likes to throw out every now and then despite no one particularly asking for it (which isn't a bad thing, mind you). I feel that 10seconds is still enough time during an engagement for it to have been decided. Time warp on bunkers or ramp during a blink stalker attack, time warp outside a natural whilst stim bio or an scv pull is attacking all are mostly decided within a 10 second window.
I guess it makes it a more skillful ability since Protosses have to time and place it a bit better, but I reckon they'll get used to it quickly enough. Don't see this one making too much of a difference in TvP.
mYi_StarDust: I feel that 10 seconds is too short. It's 1/3 of the original duration. Perhaps a gradual decrease to somewhere around 20 seconds might be more proper. Maybe a rollback in mana cost might be good as well.
Empire_Happy: Good. Nerf to protoss is always good! That can help in general!
Neige: In the case of TvP, since it was so easy for Protoss to hold against mid-game Terran cheese rushes with time warp, I can't help but wonder if this will stop Protoss from being able to hold as easily.
Liquid_Snute: It depends on the problems across all match-ups. A nerf to the duration would imply that there's nothing wrong about the initial power of the time warp, but that whatever happens afterwards is too strong. If this is true, the duration has to go down. If this is not the issue, the radius and/or slowing power of time warp should be reduced for units to escape, pass through and chase more quickly.
AI_Patience: Timewarp is fine now.
XMG_Socke: 30 seconds always seemed a bit long for a spell like that. 10 seconds seems a bit too short. I think this does not address issues Terran might be having. In PvT, this change would only make blink all-ins (which we hardly ever see anymore anyway) weaker as well as make it harder to defend SCV pull timings. I think strengthening the already very strong SCV pull all-in is not a proper way to "address the issues Terran is having".
SuperNova: Protoss all-ins that depended on time warps were really powerful so I feel that this nerf is a good change.
mYi_Balloon: I think the decrease for time warps from 30 seconds to 10 seconds is a little too much. Honestly, I felt that 30 seconds was too long, especially during late-game battles, but I feel that early-game and mid-game will become too difficult for Protoss due to this decrease in duration. Although I do feel that the time warp needed a patch since Terran struggles in the late game, I wonder if maybe they couldn't have tried a different approach.
IM_Squirtle: I think the time warp duration decrease from 30 seconds to 10 seconds is way too drastic. I think the correct call is to decrease the duration by about 10ish seconds but 1/3 of the original is too much. I guess the patch will somewhat fix the late game issues Terrans face but I feel that this nerf is too much from a Protoss perspective.
Does the time warp change affect other Protoss matchups?
BBoongBBoong: I think it will be great for Zerg.
ROOT_Illusion:Protosses will have to use the spell more decisively now, rather than just throwing it down and playing around it.
RagnaroK: I feel that other races will be able to somewhat fight now with the time warp duration decrease. I think this is a good patch.
AI_Patience: I think the Mothership Core is fine right now, if the Mothership Core gets nerfed, it will be hard to win vs Zerg. In PvP, timewarp is very important, maybe an energy change would be better.
Neige: I think that perhaps this change will make a bigger influence in PvZ than TvP.
XMG_Socke: The biggest effect this change has is probably in PvZ. Any kind of early pressures, as well as 2-3 base pushes would be quite a bit weaker for Protoss. In PvP, this change should strengthen colossus play over the immortal/chargelot/archon army composition a bit.
SuperNova: Since time warp was a spell that could be utilized both offensively and defensively, I feel that all three racial matchups will now find a little more room to breathe.
mYi_Balloon: It feels like they did this time warp change to try to help out Terran late game but since time warp is also used during the early-game/mid-game stages, I feel that warp gate related pushes against Zerg will weaken. But I honestly can't think of a way to decrease the influence of time warps for late-game stages without influencing other racial matchups.
IM_Squirtle: If time warp utilization decreases then this means that build orders that were strengthened by time warps will decrease in frequency.
Is this round of changes heading in the right direction?
EG_Xenocider: Perhaps. The patch could ultimately be useless. When widow mines were first popular pre-change, Zergs did not really know how to deal with them; with the knowledge they have now, things could be different.
BBoongBBoong: Honestly, this patch feels like there was no reason to release it. But then again, this is something that can only be told for sure after a lot of games have been played. I guess there's a difference in which stance each side is taking.
ROOT_Illusion: I guess a help to Terran is good. Too early to tell if the changes are going to help much because the games will play out a little different now that we have a different map pool.
RagnaroK:I feel that this patch is fine as long as the widow mine rollback doesn't occur.
ROOT.Iaguz: Yes and no. If you want Terrans to win a bit more, then yeah. I'd say these changes are okay, at least for TvZ. But a patch shouldn't just be about adjusting win rates. A patch is an opportunity to also try and change up how the game is played on some level, and I don't see this patch doing that.
Whilst this patch doesn't change much to TvZ, that is a matchup generally considered to be the most exciting non mirror matchup anyway, so it's not that big a deal that it won't change too much about it.
Empire_Happy: I actually believe that most of those changes won't change THAT much, as, in my opinion, Terran does not need any sort of buff, or a nerf either. Other races need a nerf: significant one for Protoss (colossi damage, storm damage, Mothership core overall, blink-stalker allin's), minor one for Zerg (so that queens won't be able to battle hellions just as fine as roaches). But since I have never seen Blizzard revert their once-applied changes (big ones, at least), I don't think it's ever gonna happen.
If I would try to make it short: with whatever balance, Terrans still win tournaments (TaeJa for example), and no person that is not playing Terran, not even Blizzard, will ever agree that Terran players (especially the very top) are a lot better than their Protoss/Zerg counterparts. So if you would just buff Terran a lot (or nerf other races), Terran domination will come, and people will complain, not realizing the main point.
Neige: Yes, I'm generally satisfied.
Liquid_Snute: Yes, a little. I'm unsure about the thor change, but the others should not be game breaking and seem like minor improvements.
XMG_Socke: In my opinion, these changes are not heading in the right direction. The changes to widow mine have already banished almost any Protoss opening but blink/colossus. Buffing them even further does not make much sense to me. They are already very good at what they do. Also, watching and playing the game, as well as looking at various stats, I don't really see that Terran is having issues against Protoss right now. Can't comment on the non-Protoss matchups.
SuperNova: Honestly, the biggest issue with Terran right now revolves around the balances regarding TvP, so I am disappointed about this patch since it seems like it is catering to fix TvZ balances. It is really difficult and challenging for Terran to win against Protoss in the late-game stages. Personally, I feel that we need some kind of unit that can tank damage even in the late-game stages. I feel that Blizzard needs more groundbreaking changes. Also, I think an oracle and warp prism rollback in speed is a necessary change.
mYi_Balloon: I feel that they understand where all the big issues lie but I feel that they keep patching to the point of no return.
IM_Squirtle: I'm not sure... Honestly, I'm not really in favor of this patch.