Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm April Dev Update Details

Dustin Browder recently posted a developer update on Blizzard’s Heart of the Swarm Multiplayer progress. After the wave of information at Blizzcon about Heart of the Swarm there has been very little information released, so this update is a nice progress report of where the development team is going with the previously announced units and features for the expansion. Below is a quick summarization of what was announced, and below that are my impressions on the changes.

Terran

  • They have scrapped the shredder, an aoe unit that was meant for map control, due to it not being used for its intended purpose in games.
  • The warhound, a new unit similar to the goliath, is not being scrapped yet but they are discussing it.
  • They are throwing around many different ideas for factory units, as they feel that it doesn’t have a wide enough range of units to choose from.
  • They are debating bringing back the spider mine from Starcraft I, which was simply a mine that could be placed by vultures, but allowing Terran players to use it as anti-air instead of anti-ground defense.
  • They are also experimenting with a very long range missile launcher to shake up tank versus tank battles.

Protoss

  • The replicant, a unit that could copy any other unit on the map regardless of race, has been scrapped because it limited opponent unit options in many circumstances, lowering diversity in the game.
  • The tempest has had its main focus as a unit changed. Instead of a splash attack anti-air flyer, it is now a long range anti-air and anti-ground siege flyer.
  • Blizzard is trying out additional powers for the Protoss nexus, including a mass recall ability, allowing Protoss players to be aggressive and still have the means to escape even if they are using a slow army.

Zerg

  • The flying caster and new detector giver unit, the viper, has been made into a pure caster. The overseer will remain as a detector and the viper will now have a cloud attack that reduces units’ vision inside to one. The viper is also getting the interesting trait of being able to gain energy from minerals, locking up the mineral patch it is feeding off of to do so.
  • Blizzard is also experimenting with different variants of nydus worms, including a variant that spews large amounts of creep and a variant that can only attack buildings. They plan to expand on this as they continue development.

Everything announced at Blizzcon previously but not mentioned here is presumably still unchanged and in production and testing. As far as the changes go everything seems to be moving in the right direction, although I really do want to see baneling underground movement at hive taken out. Anyone that plays Starcraft II knows why I say that…invisible underground moving land mines, not fun. I am very much looking forward to seeing more nexus abilities, and the nydus worm idea for Zerg seems fun and original, so I’m looking forward to seeing that expanded on too.

Thanks for reading.

– Dominic

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About Dominic Ricci

Dominic has worked in the industry as both a producer and designer, absorbing many skill sets and branching out as much as he can with his experience to be as competitive as possible. He feels video games are the premier medium for thoughts and expressions in the world, and he wants to help make those experiences as successful as possible. Outside of work, health and fitness are also passions that Dominic holds, and nothing is more fun than going to the gym and then crashing at home to play a game with some friends.
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