Heart of the Swarm Multiplayer Update

Posted by Eyal "KOKOStern" Stern at 11 April 2012 20:00
Photo by: Battle.Net

Blizzard has been working diligently on SC:HotS and though there is still no date for an open beta, they have released an update about the state of multiplayer. The last time we got a big update was at Blizzcon, and a lot has changed since.


The Shredder - an AOE mine reminiscent of the Lurker from the original Starcraft has not made the cut:

The shredder was very confusing for players as well as being something that was easily used to kill a large number of workers with little to no warning. It was rarely used for its intended role of map control

The Factory is the main focus concerning the Terran, as it was a little thin on options. The Warhound - referred to as an upgraded Golaith or a mini-Thor, is apparently too similar to the Thor to create any new strategies for the Terran. If the original Thor is kept, an anti-air spider mine is in question to assist the Thor with hard to reach areas, such as mineral lines. Other mech options might spice up TvT matches:

We are also experimenting with an extremely long-ranged terran missile launcher that can be used to break siege tank lines to make terran-vs.-terran factory-based games more dynamic.


The Oracle - an expensive scouter/harasser is still in, functioning as an effective raider that can help toss mid-game. Replicants have been cut, as they've been causing enemy players to avoid certain units which was removing diversity instead of making the game more interesting. In contrast - Carriers replacement is still holding strong:

The tempest was a powerful splash anti-air capital ship at BlizzCon. With the addition of the range upgrade on phoenix in Wings of Liberty we no longer feel like a splash anti-air weapon is necessary on the protoss, but we would still like to give the protoss some additional firepower in the air. The tempest is currently a very long-ranged aerial siege weapon that can strike both air and ground targets. This gives the protoss army some real reach to force an engagement on their terms in the end-game.

Another interesting change is the addition of Mass Recall to the Nexus. One of the new abilities for the Nexus might just be the Mothership's old spell.


Zerg is still going strong with the Swarm Host - serving as an interesting siege unit very much in tune with the race's theme. The Viper has undergone some changes:

In addition to Abduct, the viper also has the ability to blind biological units in an area of effect. Blinded units have their range reduced to 1. This is obviously effective against terran infantry as well as zerg roach and hydra armies. The viper can also regain energy by feeding off of minerals. This locks up the mineral patch and prevents it from being harvested, so you want to use this ability away from your base.

The Overseers are still in the game, but are being observed closely to see how diversity can be improve. There are also planned changes for the Nydus Network, allowing different worm types:

The most interesting worms have been a worm that can spew creep across several screens to create a zerg assault highway, as well as a worm that attacks only enemy buildings, meant to be used as a ground-based zerg base raider.