December 7, 2012 by solomonlutze
On Wednesday, Blizzard launched a new patch for their upcoming Starcraft II expansion, Heart of the Swarm. The patch’s biggest non-balance change is the implementation of Groups. Groups behave like a more casual form of clans (already implemented); groups are more loosely associated along interests, and a player can join a number of groups, as opposed to just one clan. A number of tweaks and bug fixes have also been applied to the UI and general user experience.
Additionally, a number of significant balance changes have been implemented. The full list can be found here, but a number of the highlights are below:
-Medivac has a cooldown ability that increases its speed temporarily and can research an ability that increases its healing rate
-The Oracle’s Pulsar Beam ability, which previously was meant for destroying buildings, is now an activated, energy-draining weapon that deals extra damage to light units. Meant for harassing worker lines.
-The Zerg Infestor has received numerous downgrades, including limiting the range of its Fungal Growth ability and having that ability cast via projectile (instead of instantly appearing at its target).
The interesting thing to note about the balance changes is that a lot of them are buffs, and a lot of those are quite substantial, meaning that all races now have numerous units whose abilities have been strengthened. As a Zerg player myself, I’m a little uneasy at some of the improvements to Terran, and worried about how that might affect the new Zerg army, but I think these changes stand to make mirror matchups (especially Zerg vs. Zerg and Terran vs. Terran) a lot more interesting. In the past, Zerg vs. Zerg was a fairly dull metagame because Infestors shut down a lot of options on either side; hopefully, these changes will liven things up a bit for the expansion.
Heart of the Swarm is due for release on March 12, 2013.