Why is Starcraft 2 so much more deathball-y than Brood War?
We believe armies as a whole are easier to move around and control because of the better pathing and unlimited unit selection.
As far as deathball goes, we believe having to micro armies and their positioning correctly to win major battles is a good thing. We don't like seeing games where two players both just sit back and mass up to their composition before engaging. This is why we're currently looking into the EU late game PvZ issue.
We feel like we've done a lot in this area in HotS, especially compared to the end of Wings. If you recall towards the end of Wings, especially in PvT, both sides often just defended and macroed up for 1 final battle.
We don't think we're completely there yet and will continue working towards a more action packed game where there's a lot of action leading into army vs. army battles sometimes. The end goal in this area in our opinion is not to get rid of mass army vs. mass army scenarios, but more so to have a lot of action, a lot of harassment opportunities, and have each game feeling different.
Do you believe that the swarm host is proving to be used in the way that you wanted it to when you designed the unit for HotS?
The first question in our minds don't matter as much at this point. At this point of the game, with the game having been out over a year, changing a unit or a strategy to be used exactly how we hoped isn't very relevant. What's more important is how they are currently being used and how good or bad that is for the game.
The answer for the second question is yes in some scenarios and no in others. The easy no is the late game PvZ situation where both players refuse to engage and the game drags on for a long time. We'd really love to come up with an awesome solution to this problem without hurting the good uses of Swarm Hosts. The good use of Swarm Hosts: games that we see where there's constant action due to Swarm Hosts. For example, it's not uncommon to see games where Protoss players perform amazing multi-pronged attacks. Sometimes, they are really successful and just win the game, other times the Zerg player defends so well, and anywhere in between. Games where Swarm Hosts are used and there's constant action everywhere including Swarm Hosts aggressively moving around often after spawning locusts leading into each side's victory are really fun to watch.
We don't generally do unit design changes with patches (only exception here I can think of off the top of my head was when we added the Phoenix range upgrade back in Wings), but for the Swarm Host in the long term, we are also internally discussing if it's a bad thing that locusts keep spawning automatically. The main reason being often times Zerg players just leave Swarm Hosts rally pointed at a location, and it's very common for the observer to go and watch nothing happening because there are no units to attack. But this isn't as big of an issue as the issue mentioned above.
When are you going to nerf the mothership core vision or at least make a balance testmap to try it out.
We wouldn't do a patch without at least testing the change first even if it's only for a few days. We do try our best to talk to pro players every time we do a test map, and our stance is that getting at least a few pros to test a change before we patch is always good. As for when the next balance test map is, we're currently gathering feedback including feedback from the community forums, and we hope to start laying out the actual change list for you guys to have an input on sometime next week.
We don't believe tanks suck. Tanks seem to be a lot more effective in TvZ since the last buff, in TvT they were always very core and still are, and in PvT we do currently agree they're not being used much. But our stance on every unit is that not every single unit has to be used in every matchup. For example, Widow Mine especially before the nerf was considered one of the best units for Terran even though it was only really core in one matchup.
With that said, I'd like to add that exploring mech play possibilities in PvT is still important. We've actually been getting feedback from a few different pros on the KR server in this area, and they've been seeing it a lot more on the ladder. We're hoping to see more of it in tournaments to confirm where mech is at right now in PvT.
Late game Swarm Host PvZ is one of the things at the top of our list to look into right now.
What are your thoughts on the current state of ZvZ?
We do agree ZvZ is probably the fastest paced matchup in the game, and it really comes down to every little decision and fast action. We believe this is very unique to the ZvZ matchup and is a good thing. Better players still seem to win out overall, and just the big difference of ZvZ compared to other matchups is cool, the same way TvT is interesting for a completely different set of reasons.
As far as specific strategies and tools go in ZvZ, we do feel like players are favoring mass Roach play a lot more recently. That's why we've been exploring potential Hydralisk buffs. We believe a Hydralisk buff in this matchup could bring the Roach/Hydra mix in quicker to combat only-Roach compositions. The advantage of this: in Roach vs. Roach the defender's advantage is smaller than in Roach vs. Roach/Hydra. Therefore, we could potentially see units that counter these compositions such as Ultralisks or Broodlords a bit more.
We believe each matchup in SC2 is not only about the matchup being fair, but also about each matchup being unique and fun.
What are your plans in order to make "forgotten" units such as Battlecruiser, Broodlord, Viper, etc. usable in high level matches?
We've learned that capital units such as BCs, Carriers, or Motherships are rare and lose their cool if they were built every game. Imagine every PvT ending with BCs. We are discussing ways to make captial ships more interesting to use and watch so that we can bring these units into play more often in the future. But I wouldn't say there will be changes coming to make this happen any time soon, as this is a tricky area that potentially requires delicate design changes. As I said earlier today, we prefer not to do design changes in a patch if we can, because changing how the unit functions completely will be very confusing to players.
Why are the developers so resistant towards the idea of changing Warp Gate and Forcefield?
We feel Warp Gates are very race defining for Protoss. It's a completely different way to produce units. Because we want every race to feel unique and asymmetric, we like the design of Warp Gates.
Warp Gates were problematic in the past when 1 base or 2 base all ins were too common. We've addressed this a lot in past years.
We've talked about our stance on Force Fields in the past, and it still remains unchanged. We feel like we get a lot of feedback from forums saying there's no micro anyone can do against Force Fields. However, we just don't see this. For example, why do Zerglings or roaches try to bait out Force Fields if micro against them is not possible? Terran players picking off units on one side of Force Fields and dropping them on the more favorable side is another good example. We believe Force Fields are a very unique ability that sometimes feel there was nothing you could do, but that is okay because there are varying degrees of successes and failures. That is just StarCraft: If DTs come in when I have no detectors I'm dead, but that doesn't mean there was nothing I could have done.
Are you planning on helping terrans with blink allins?
The patch yesterday we believe should help. In case that's not enough, we will be testing other changes soon in the next balance test map
Is there any chance of reverting the oracle speed buff and making it an upgrade at the fleet beacon?
At first, right when we made the change we saw a lot of Oracle play, but that has toned down. We got some "Oracle OP" feedback from pro players up until the end of last year. However, when we put it like this, most seem to understand our stance a bit better:
Harassment options such as the Oracle harrass get weaker over time due to players learning how to defend better against them. Think back to when everyone was convinced that the Medivac speed boost was completely broken and OP. Almost no one says this now. Then look at Oracle usage right when that patch was released, look at how much they're used now, then how much less would it be 2 months from now even without nerfs. Another good example is Banshee cloak change in TvT: almost every TvT when the patch was made utilized it, but that's not the case now.
What are you guys thoughts on the raven.
We like the unit as a whole. The main thing we're watching for with this unit is the mass Raven case in TvZ that allows Terran to just turtle the whole game while making a ridiculous number of Ravens. If this becomes a common trend or one of the best ways to play, we would need to address that.
Do you see any problems with Zerg of lacking Anti-Air especially early and lategame?
In PvZ, we don't currently think Phoenix openers are problematic. It is a very core opener for Protoss, but doesn't cause major problems. Late game mass Raven/BC turtling play is something we're watching for. If it becomes clear that it's an issue, we'll take steps to address it.