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Blizzard Plans 'StarCraft II' Unit, Economy Changes

Blizzard constantly updates StarCraft 2 as part of its ongoing efforts to improve the gameplay experience. At the end of the year, the company will introduce yet another major patch that could change the way you play the popular real-time strategy title. Specifically, Patch 3.8 will change the behavior of some units so that they’re used more efficiently, and is also supposed to “reduce sudden game ending moments.”

Blizzard's changes affect all three playable factions in different ways. For the Terran forces, the M.U.L.E., which initially gathered minerals, can now harvest Vespene gas from a refinery at a higher rate than the traditional S.C.V. gatherer. However, it’s best to use only one M.U.L.E. per refinery, as multiple copies of the same unit will reduce efficiency. In exchange for this newfound ability, the developers will weaken the MULE’s mining rate for minerals. In terms of combat, the Raven will change into a “more supportive caster role.” This means that current abilities will be eliminated and replaced by new commands such as Scrambler Missile (which temporarily disables weapon and unit abilities), Repair Drone, and Shredder Missile (a redesign of the old Seeker Missile ability).

For the Protoss, the developers will eliminate the Mothership Core unit from gameplay, but some of its abilities, such as Mass Recall, will transfer to the Nexus (the main base for the Protoss). The main structure also has a new ability called Shield Recharge, which was initially based on the Mothership Core’s Photo Overcharge skill. Unlike Photon Overcharge, however, Shield Recharge is better suited for defensive situations such as an enemy attack on the home base.

The Zerg’s Infestor offensive unit will not receive any new actions, but some of its current set of skills will see some changes. Fungal Growth, which initially stopped enemy units from moving within a specific radius (which will increase as part of the update), no longer affects aerial units. In addition, if it catches any opposing units outside of the Zerg Creep area, those enemies will only be slowed down instead of frozen to their spots. However, foes caught by Fungal Growth within the Creep will still suffer from the ability’s original effect. In addition, the unit’s ability to create Infested Terrans will change in that the foes it convert are more suitable against enemy air units.

In addition to the sweeping changes above, the developers also modified the resource system. When the studio released the Legacy of the Void expansion, the amount of resources in your initial starting area was bountiful, which encouraged you to quickly expand your foothold on the map. However, this also created a downside in that it was almost impossible to mount a winning offensive without a third or fourth base at your disposal. With the upcoming patch, the developers will once again increase the amount of resources available in each area. For instance, large mineral nodes initially held 1,500 points of resources, but now they have 1,800 points available. In the past, you could deplete a Vespene Geyser after extracting 2,000 points of gas from it, but the limit will increase to 2,250 points.

Because these are major changes to the game, the studio will hold an extensive testing period so that die-hard fans can try out and provide feedback on the new mechanics. You can access an early version of the patch now through the Testing section in the StarCraft II Multiplayer menu. If all goes well, the final version of the patch will be available after the tournament season concludes in November. If you want to read about the patch in detail, be sure to visit the game’s blog.

NameStarCraft II
TypeReal Time Strategy, Sci-Fi
DeveloperBlizzard Entertainment
PublisherBlizzard Entertainment
PlatformsWindows, Mac
Where To BuyBlizzard StoreAmazon (opens in new tab)Target (opens in new tab)Walmart (opens in new tab)GameStop (opens in new tab)
Release DateJuly 27, 2010