Beta closing on Nov 2nd
We wanted to talk a little bit this week about the beta ending. Balance updates aren’t coming to a close after the beta ends or after the game launches. As we’ve said many times before, top level pro players haven’t fully joined in yet, so while we got great feedback from the community throughout the beta, there are still unknown factors at the highest skill levels. We will continue to keep an open channel on feedback so that we can react to potential issues that come up. While we would like to respond quickly to possible issues immediately following the release of the game, we’d also like to be careful to avoid a few pitfalls as we work together with the community:
1. Not overreacting too quickly to potential issues
a. It’s easy to laser in on 4-5 games that happened in 1 weekend and base all your decisions on those salient games. However, if a particular mechanic is cool and has potential, we shouldn’t be too quick to nerf it.
2. Making hard conclusions.
a. At times it’s easy to make hard conclusions on things, like: “This race is completely broken and unbeatable” or “This race is so bad that it can never compete ever.” However, it’s rare for balance issues in a game to be so extreme.
b. Similarly, we should take note that it’s difficult to judge whether there is an issue. We’ve seen many times that even top tier pros can make hard conclusions that turn out to be flawed as time passed. As others have pointed out, it’s just not possible to know with 100% certainty all the time.
c. Finally, we need to focus on keeping an open mind on issues and evaluating them fairly. It’s not about who “knew” what will happen, it’s about working together to find the best solution for different issues.
3. We can be more aggressive with balance test maps, but perhaps not with actual patches.
a. We do plan on testing potential issues a bit more aggressively in LotV. The reason for this is to be more quick to react on solutions once something is determined to be an issues.
b. Feedback regarding this line of though is greatly welcome, since now is the time to be discussing this plan.
4. Working together as we have all throughout the beta
a. The same things apply here that we’ve been doing together for so long: It’s not about who was right and who was wrong, and we shouldn’t care who called what and who didn’t know what would happen, extreme statements are often times wrong statements, etc.
b. Our main goal is to correctly identify issues to make sure that they’re actual problems that players can’t fix on their own, and finding the best solution.
With that said, we’d like to thank you guys once again for so much help during the beta. It was a great learning experience to be able to work so closely with many smart, dedicated, and talented people out there. It was also clear that a negative minority out there won’t change, but it was awesome to see so many people who were constructive, positive, and helpful towards the better of Starcraft 2 – we appreciate it, and we know the community does too.
We strongly believe that due to community collaboration efforts, there are clear improvements to how the game turned out for release. Thank you so much. And while we know that LotV isn’t a perfect game yet, we’ll continue working closely with all of you out there who are willing to contribute so much as you have throughout the course of development. Next balance update
We’re not doing another balance update this week, due to how little testing time there will be even if we put one out. After the game releases, the current plan for the next balance update is to mostly focus on issues that are game breaking first. Because players will need time to explore and learn new tools, we don’t want to be too quick to make hard judgements on issues unless we have to.
From past experience, we know for a fact that timing based all ins or strategies will be easily identifiable in terms of extremely difficult to stop all ins or early timing based attacks. For example, if Nydus all in like many of you point out is really unstoppable, we’d easily see a huge amount of games where Nydus is being used in major tournaments + opponents not being able to counter them. This is the sort of issue that we will need to react as quickly as possible on. As compared to if Lurkers are a bit powerful, but Protoss players are going 45% win ratio against them, maybe we can give Protoss players the time to find their own solutions before doing a balance update.
With that said, these are the things we are currently looking at internally:
- Photon Overcharge tweaks
- Lurker morph times
- Nydus strength
- Recent Liberator changes
- Siege tank drops in TvT
We wanted to talk about new 1v1 maps going into release. We’ll be releasing a map blog on these maps as well, but we wanted to talk a bit more in detail about this topic before that happens. We know that there are many of you out there including top tier pros who prefer the same, standard maps every time. As we’ve discussed many times over and over again, it’s much more exciting in terms of playing and watching to have map diversity which leads to strategic diversity as well.
As we’ve mentioned before, the reason why we wanted to reiterate further is because we’re aiming to push map diversity even more for the launch of LotV. We know that there will be some tournaments that happen right after launch, but the actual tournament seasons will begin early next year. That makes this the best time to explore new ideas, since we have an opportunity to change out one or more of these maps before the major tournament season begins in LotV early next year. Starcraft 2 panels at Blizzcon next week
We know that there’s so much going on at Blizzcon these days. Therefore, we wanted to give you guys a heads up on what each panel will cover, so that you guys can plan your time accordingly among all the things you’ll be doing and watching during Blizzcon. Future of SC2 panel
Here, we will talk about our plans on each department of the SC2 development team and what our focuses are going forward. This includes the future plans for campaign/story, multiplayer systems, co op missions, and answers to miscellaneous suggestions. This will be on Friday right after the opening ceremony. Multiplayer panel
This panel will be going over the goals we had for LotV, as well as examples of what actually made it into the game due to these goals (as a summary for people who haven’t been keeping close attention). We will then go into our community collaboration efforts we’ve been putting into Void, and what it means in this area going forward. Finally, this panel will go in depth into thoughts behind the ladder system revamp as well as the current ideas and solutions we have on the design side. This will be on Friday afternoon around 4:30pm. SC2 Launch Celebration
This isn’t a panel, but we’ll be celebrating the launch of LotV on Saturday morning on the WCS stream. This will include looking back through both the development and the life cycle of all of Starcraft, and there will be discussions with SC1 developers, various pro players/influencers to Starcraft, as well as SC2 developers.
We strongly feel that many of you out there have clearly been an integral part of our development team throughout the beta. We hope this process continues even after the launch of the game in less than a couple weeks! Thank you so much, and we’ll see you at Blizzcon next week!