Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blizzcon - Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm New Units

Heart of the Swarm 2011 Trailer
In my second batch of Blizzcon impressions, I'll be talking about Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. There are lots of new units for Heart of the Swarm for each race. Let's see about it.

  • Battle Hellion: A transformation for the Hellion that gives is more defense in exchange for speed. It's attack also becomes stronger and the attack becomes a slight cone instead of a line.
  • Warhound: A mini-Thor with an AOE anti-air attack and an anti-mech ground attack.
  • Shredder: a mechanical unit that emits a radiation field that damages any non-Shredder units, including your own.
  • The Thor will become a much stronger unit that you can only have one of. It also requires a Fusion Core.
My biggest complaint about the Terrans is that the factory level tech was quite underwhelming. Siege Tanks are very good, but the others are very situational. This gives the factory some much needed variety. I'm really looking forward to the Battle Hellions.

  • The Ultralisk is gaining a burrow charge to help it deal with its bulkiness
  • Viper: a flying caster that's replacing the Overseer. Has Dark Swarm and a Death Grip like ability that pulls a unit towards the Viper. 
  • Swarm Host: A ground unit that releases waves of timer-controlled small zerg units when burrowed. Used for siege.
Zerg mid-game has had big issues and these are meant to address that problem. The Swarm Host will hopefully be the Lurker without being the Lurker. The Viper may be hard to adjust to where it's useful, but not too useful.

  • Tempest: An large air unit with and AOE air attack and a non-AOE ground attack. This replaces the carrier.
  • Oracle: A caster air unit designed for harassment w/o damage. Can shut down buildings and cover up mineral patches to stop mining. No attack. Mothership removed for this unit.
  • Replicant: A ground unit that can transform into any non-massive unit that's in vision, including enemy units. Expensive.
I'm really not sure about the Replicant. It seems like the only way they really have to tune this unit is to change the cost. It will either be too expensive to be useful, or too cheap and too useful. I don't imagine this one will make it to the live game. It seems like a really cool idea that they really love, but it just doesn't seem viable. I really like the Tempest, I felt that the Carrier was too powerful. The Oracle will make an interesting addition for the Protoss.

In general, I worry about them adding too many units. Will they be able to add units again for the second expansion, Legacy of the Void? I was really imagining one new unit and one transformation ability or unit replacement/unit redesign. The Protoss are getting a pretty even trade, but I worry that the Terrans and Zerg are getting too much with not enough lost.

I'm still SUPER psyched for Heart of the Swarm, particularly the single-player campaign. I loved Wings of Liberty's campaign mode.