Blizzard: Community Feedback Update - March 8

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Blizzard: Community Feedback Update - March 8

Post by Slayer on Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:10 pm

http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/20742745125

I hope everyone enjoyed watching IEM and all the other StarCraft II events going on in Korea these days. We’re definitely keeping up, and it’s great seeing so many exciting games!

Balance at different points of the game
Our communities in Taiwan, Spain, and France have recently been discussing what “game balance” means for StarCraft II, and whether StarCraft II is technically not balanced because at different stages of the game different races/strategies have advantages, and should every race be equal at every point of the game? This is an important topic, so we wanted to get into our high-level game design philosophies in this area.

We truly believe in the importance of alternating the strengths per situation or strategy throughout the course of the whole game. The easiest way to see this stance in StarCraft II is when we evaluate Legacy of the Void—the majority of us will agree that this game is much better to play and watch than before because it’s so action packed. This is possible because there are certain advantages at specific moments for each strategy, and this constantly changes throughout the game. If the strength of every strategy during every moment of the game were equal, we would see a much greater percentage of games where players simply build up without attacking, as we saw during Wings of Liberty.

Having advantageous moments per side is also important because it leads to greater gameplay diversity. In the past, we’ve seen times when the game was mostly just about accruing 200 supply and fighting a few times at that stage to determine the winner. In these instances, games all felt the same. We’ve also seen this same sort of thing when all the maps in the map pool were of the same type: you play the exact same strategy capitalizing on the exact same timings on every map, so every game felt too similar. By creating more action-packed moments throughout the course of the game, and also pushing this further through map diversity, we can make sure that each game we play feels more unique.

Siege Tank change
Internally, we tried the changes proposed in recent weeks and they may have felt better than just removing Siege mode pick up entirely. We also tried the popular suggestion of picking up Siege Tanks in Siege mode, with them reverting to normal mode while carried by the Medivac. This wasn’t as good of a solution as increasing the delay before firing because it provides fewer knobs to tune. With this method, we have to make the delay before players can unload Siege Tanks equal to the unsiege time to prevent Medivac pickup from being the main way players should unsiege their tanks. Instead, we can adjust the firing delay upon being dropped to what feels best after testing, from where it is now to the same time it would take to unsiege.

Terran compositions
We’re also listening to discussions around whether we should be pursuing the complete split between bio and mech, or should we instead explore strategic diversity in mixed bio and mech compositions? This was a fresh way to look at Terran unit compositions, and we have some thoughts to share that can benefit from further discussion.

Some of the staler, more boring games (to play and watch) have been mech only.
When you compare bio-only (back when it was just Marines/Marauders/Medivac) compositions vs. those with Siege mode tank drops, Widow Mines, and/or Liberators, it’s pretty clear that the more diverse comp produces much more exciting games.
Should we be pushing an even greater diversity of mixed armies, rather than going for a complete split again? Have we evolved into a better state?

   For example, fast Banshees with bio all utilizing an even heavier mobility-based strategy could be interesting, or Cyclones and Thors could also be looked at in having a clearer role in mixed armies.


Let’s discuss, and see if our goals on this front needs further polish before we look into solutions.

Ravager change
As suggested, we’ve been playtesting an increased cooldown on the Corrosive Bile ability with no damage tweaks. We feel that this could be a good direction to go, especially to help out PvZ. If we’re good with this change, let’s get it in the balance test map, and we could hopefully turn around the patch soon after.

Overlord drop
We would also like to discuss the strength of Zerg drops in PvZ. We definitely hear feedback, especially from our KR community, and are keeping a close eye on this strategy as well as having regular discussions on what the best move is here.

While this is another good hook to help out Protoss in PvZ if needed, we worry that it won’t be easy to do a minor nerf where we can still see this strategy happen. There are only so many building requirements that we can place to this, so it won’t be easy to target specific areas with a slight nerf. Still, we need to ensure that this strategy remains viable because this type of diversity helps makes the game fun. Zerg macro play has often relied on defending and droning up, so it’s quite cool seeing more offensive options from Zerg, including this strategy and the early Ravager options.

Obviously, if there is a clear balance issue, we would definitely have to address it, but we wonder if we can do the Ravager timing nerf first, and then discuss this one if further nerfs to Zerg are needed in ZvP.

Zerg strength vs. Zerg weakness
This one has been an interesting topic over the last couple of weeks. There have been many posts pointing towards stats saying Zerg has a slightly higher win percentage, while many players have also pointed out that in Korea, Zerg struggled in the past week or so, especially vs. Terran. We definitely see both sides, and we believe that it’s important to analyze and gauge the big picture.

We agree with both sides, largely due to this year’s WCS changes. It’s pretty clear that even though similar strategies are being used on both sides, of the game results have the potential to turn out differently, like we saw in recent weeks. Obviously, we want to make the game balanced for both of these different pro levels. However, games happening outside of Korea have been showing Zerg strength vs. Terran, and last weekend’s WCS championship showed how well Zerg is performing outside of Korea. On the other hand, we do agree with people giving feedback on the Korean scene regarding Zerg slightly underperforming both in GSL and Proleague games. We also understand that Zerg looked very strong in SSL, but it is also true that the majority of the SSL games are not recent due to how that tournament is set up.

We’d like to stress that no one data point is a perfect measurement of the state of the game. For example, the win/loss stats can easily be skewed due to the fact that a lot of mismatches happen, even at the pro level. Just looking at the lower stages or qualifier stages of tournaments, it’s pretty easy to say that no matter the matchup, certain players will just dominate others due to the players’ skill being a bigger factor. This is why we try to measure the state of the game using many different factors such as stats, pro player feedback, community feedback, tournament results, analysis on quality of matches, meta game analysis, and so on.

The current plan for us is to proceed with exploring and preparing for Zerg changes, especially those that will help in ZvP. This side is definitely looking clearer as time is passing, and we need to be prepared for a balance patch in this area. For TvZ, due to the split in different regions, we would have to put a focus around both discussions and game analysis in order to figure out exactly where it lies. Let’s talk about both of these areas this week so that we can get things moving at a good pace.

That’s all for now - thank you everyone!
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Re: Blizzard: Community Feedback Update - March 8

Post by Desired on Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:41 pm

I agree and disagree with his logic.

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Re: Blizzard: Community Feedback Update - March 8

Post by Slayer on Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:20 am

Desired wrote:I agree and disagree with his logic.

I agree with your logic regarding his logic.
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Re: Blizzard: Community Feedback Update - March 8

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