[Updated Oct 2012] – For sanity’s sake, I’m only posting major changes. Check out StarCraft 2’s Beta Discussion for the lastest changes to supply, build time, requirments, etc.
Blizzard released a video showcasing the new units of StarCraft II’s expansion, Heart of the Swarm. Things may still change as they recently did away with the new Terran Shredder and Protoss Replicant. The Zerg Overmind has been returned to active duty after initially not making the cut. And lets have a moment of silence for the Protoss Carrier who will not be returning for the expansion. [Sept 2012 Update] The Carrier has returned.
Here’s the video:
So here’s the breakdown:
Sorry, the Protoss isn’t my favorite race. With such expensive units, I feel there’s too much pressure on early game unit choice. Mid to late game though, they’re a steamroller of advanced alien death.
And here’s some reasons for me to play them more:
The protoss get a nice defensive unit. This non-moving Nexus upgrade adds some power to bases or new expansions. [Update] the Mothership Core is now an independent mobile unit. Purify now casts on the Nexus and grants the Nexus the ability to attack, no longer requiring the Core to attach itself. Mass Recall allows you to telelport a group of units back to your base. Teleport lets the core move to another nexus which has new expansion defense written all over it. Energize refills one units Energy to full so keep your casters close. Tranform turns the core into a full on Mothership, nuff said.
The protoss’s new flying caster built to scout and harass. It’s been going through some serious changes lately. Entomb places a barrier on enemy resources that lasts for 1 minute. Mix this with the Phoenix’s Graviton Beam and the Sentry’s Force Field and you can create some serious havoc in someone’s base. [Sept 2012 Update] Pre-Ordain and Cloak Field have been removed. Pre-Ordain shows you what enemy buildings are making and more importantly, you inherit the buildings vision which aids in long range attacks. Cloak Field cloaks nearby units and buildings for 1 minute which is great for both defense and offense. Phase-Shield ability added and then removed, it did protect friendly units for 5 seconds. Void Siphon ability has been added that allows the Oracle to fire a beam that deals 3 damage and harvests 3 minerals from an enemy structure every second. Nice. Revelation ability has been added which reveals cloaked units in an area for 45 seconds, think Terran Scanner Sweep.
The Tempest appears to be the Carrier’s replacement. It’s a long-range flying unit that attacks air and land. It’s the siege unit that the Protoss have been in need of. I can see these getting worked into build orders everywhere.
I always like the terrans for the nuclear missile silos. Pulling off a nuke hit is still one of my favorite tactics. With StarCraft II, the Reapers became my new favorite unit. These fast little bastards are priority 1 on my build order. I’d send 5-6 to the enemy’s base to harass resource gathering while I hot-keyed additional units. This would leave me nearly defenseless against an early rush but it was so worth it to take out an enemy’s gatherers and usually a gas refinery. Unfortunately I hear that the Reapers building attack is being replaced with non-combat health regeneration. Bah, there goes my tactic.[Sept 2012 Update] Reapers have been given a new Combat Awareness ability that allows them to see up cliffs.
I’m not terribly excited about the new Terran units but I think its hard to improve on their current arsenal. The new units aren’t ground breaking but they will offer some nice new strategies:
The Hellion has been turned into a Go-Bot. Now its comes out of the factory in robot mode. It has reduced speed in this form (of course) but makes up for it with a wider cone-like version of it’s flamethrower for close combat.
Another mech, sorry I’m not excited. This one has missiles for mechanical units and cannons for smaller units so it sounds great for expansion assaults and seige-breaking, like a lightweight Thor. Actually, I hear the Thor is being revamped to be a super unit. It’ll be more powerful but you can only build one. [Sept 2012 Update] The Warhound has been removed from the game. Read more here.
I like this one the best. They brought back the Spider Mines, changed them a bit and are now known as Widow Mines. These guys borrow and cloak and then attach themselves to an unsuspecting enemy walking by. The best option for an opponent is to run the doomed unit as far away from his squad as possible. He has about 10 seconds prior to a detonation that causes 200 splash damage. I can see some frantic button-clicking in store when a 40+ pack of zerglings accidentally tromp over these. Sorry, this is actually a image of the ex-Terran Shredder but it looks like a mine. [Oct 2012 Update] The Widow Mines have gained the Unstable Payload auto-cast ability. This arms the mine with a missle that can attack just about any unit in the game within 5 range, cloaked or uncloaked, for 160 damage to a single target and 40 splash damage. Missles take 40 seconds to rearm. This changes their tactics considerably. Maybe this is a result of the Warhound removal.
I love the Zerg. Call me a newbie, I don’t care. Tons of cheap units, burrowing, fast regeneration, huge bladed elephant-like Ultralisks, they’re great. Zerg compliment my two styles of play; harassment and war by attrition. These new units will fit right in:
These nasty things fit both the harassment and war by attrition categories. Its a big bug with eggs on it’s back that burrows and hatches 2 locusts every 25 seconds. That’s free continuous units bombarding your opponent until he either goes nuts from these things chewing away at his base defenses or has to shelf his offensive plan to deal with them.
As if the Swarm Host wasn’t enough. Blizzard threw in a flying caster who soul purpose is to cause people to rage quit games. Abduct pulls units to the Viper. So you can save your Ultralisk who wandered where he shouldn’t have or pull those Seige Tanks away from a well-turtled base. Yet another reason I hate playing Terran with a Zerg opponent. I’m starting to think that Blizzard must have a problem with Seige Tanks, each race gets a new unit that harasses them…Protoss Tempest, Terran Warhound, and the Zerg Viper. Hmmmm. Anyway, next is the Blinding Cloud that reduces biological units range to 1. You Terrans better think twice about assaulting a zerg base or you’ll end up with all your marines unable to shoot past the end of their rifle. And lastly, the Viper can Consume or damage a friendly structure for 50 energy so it can pump out these evil abilities even more often.
I thought the ultralisk couldn’t get any meaner. Now they can Burrow Charge which allows them to hurl through the ground and popup in the middle of the action. I’ve had way too many situations where my Ultralisk would get caught up in a pack of zerglings instead of leading the charge into enemy fire. Now I can finally can get those big bastards where they need to be.
That’s it for now. Again, all this may change prior to the actual release. Whatever happens, I’m sure Heart of the Swarm will be a damn fun time.