Looks like Blizzard is working hard to change up the multiplayer scene in StarCraft II. As the infamous RTS is now traditionally known for providing some of the best balance in competitive pro leagues, the studio is now hoping to change up the stalemates they’ve been observing late in long winding matches – particular the ones where players are playing the same race (i.e. Protoss vs. Protoss, Terran vs. Terran and Zerg vs. Zerg). In the following video, new units are being introduced. At first glance, some of the new units seem extremely powerful but upon closer look, the weaknesses become more obvious. The video also doesn’t touch on where the units and upgrades show up on the building tree nor do we know the cost of the units. However, the video does talk about the build limits on some of the units. While there’s also some minor updates like the Protoss Base – which can now defend for itself through a “Purify” beam. Then, there are major upgrades like the Ultralisk that can not only deal damage to multiple units but stun them by toppling smaller units, like Marines, during battle.
In StarCraft II:Heart Of The Swarm, the biggest upgrade to the Protoss has to be Mass Recall (which allows you to teleport groups of units in one shot). Their upgrades are then rounded out with two very interesting units: The Tempest and The Oracle. The first of these is a powerful air unit that shoots long range at both air and ground units but it also seems to have a very slow rate of fire. We also don’t know the cost of these units nor do we know if the units are lightly armored. The Oracle is the more interesting of the two as you get to harass opponents by shielding minerals from enemy camps and stifling their economy in the early game. The Oracle also has the ability to cloak friendly structures and units within range.
The Terran race who are best known to adjusting to different battle situations has continued to carry the tradition with their Helion units. Helions were mostly super fast 4-wheeled scouts and throw away units that harassed slower units and ran for dear life. Now, they can transform into “Battle Helions” where the pilot converts the vehicle into battle armor and their attacks resemble those of the oldschool Firebats. The second unit is the Warhound, which looks like a tribute to Mechwarrior. The unit is designed to attack with LRMs (long range missiles, you’re reading this Andrew?). Lastly, the other new “unit” is the Widow Mine which is pretty hilarious. It can attach to BOTH air and ground units and indicates a death timer on the enemy unit it’s attached to before it explodes with splash damage. This suggests that gamers who have to deal with this unit will have to be pretty damn good at micromanaging their armies.
The Zerg has some serious upgrades with their new units that make the race alot more enticing and more tactical versus just outnumbering their opponents. The Swarm Host is a building-like unit that produces Locust – free bugs that are not only free from cost but attacks both air and ground units. The question now is, how fast are those produced and at what limit? The Viper is a “Battlefield Manipulation Unit”. It doesn’t shoot or capture things but it “pulls” enemies into firing range. Perfect for Siege Tanks and other long range, slow firing rate units. Blinding Cloud is an upgrade that looks like the revisit of the Zerg’s Dark Swarm upgrade from StarCraft I – meaning it reduces weapon range. And finally, The Ultralisk, which we mentioned earlier.
As StarCraft II:Heart Of The Swarm reaches its release date (which has yet to be announced) look for the game to be hitting a fever pitch with RTS fans. Also, don’t forget to check out our hands-on impressions on the single-player portion of the game.