Blizzard calls: balance testing

General Eyal “KOKOStern” Stern
Blizz%20Balance.jpgPhoto by: Battle.Net

Blizzard once again calls upon its players to test the new balance changes before they are applied. "Akilon Wastes (2.0.7 Balance v1.0)" has been released and players are call upon to test.

Spore Crawler damage increased from 15 +15 vs. biological to 15 +30 vs. biological

As the overall balance for HotS is in a proper position according to Blizzard, most match-ups don't require extended attention. With that in mind, the Zerg mirror match saw heavy Mutalisk use and so a specific nerf to the strategy of Ling-Muta was called for.

With this change Blizzard hopes to deter players from using small packs of Mutalisks while still retaining their use. In addition players will be more likely to try different ground based strategies and taking a third or forth base should become simpler as air defenses will be easier to create.

Burrow research cost decreased from 100/100 to 50/50

Burrow play has seen very little use since it was re-introduced in HotS at the first tier. In an attempt to diversify Hatchery play and give players more options at that stage, this change will be attempted. Note that it is just an attempt and might not make it through to the final changes. In addition - this is by no means a buff to Zerg early game, simply an attempt to bring diversity.

Oracle movement speed increased from 3.375 to 4 and acceleration increased from 2 to 3

These changes are meant to make Oracles take a bigger role in most matches and reward players for proper micro. This is the most controversial change that has already been discussed in length. Following are Blizzard's notes on the matter in answers to the discussion.

We’re already seeing proxy Stargate openers, and we’ll see these tactics more frequently with this change.

In general, we’re not seeing proxy Oracles ending games, nor giving huge advantages to Protoss players. We feel that proxy strategies or hidden tech strategies are fun to watch, and we don’t think this change will have a negative impact on the game—even if players have to scout for proxy Stargates a bit more carefully.

Oracle all-ins are really strong and a speed increase will make these strategies even stronger.

Oracle all-ins are usually backed up by other units. If we increased Oracle health or damage, the all-in would be stronger, but a movement speed increase doesn’t buff a one-time all-in attack.

Oracles will be near impossible to counter with ground units if the Protoss player micros perfectly.

This actually sounds pretty cool and helps differentiate the Oracle from other harass units in the game.
Oracles can also be one of the easiest harass units to deal with, depending on how you choose to fend them off. All you really need to do is place static defense in the center of your mineral line and an Oracle will be unable to deal too much economic damage there.
We also feel that the Oracle becomes increasingly interesting as a unit in situations where it is constantly threatening to pick off small groups of workers, scout bases, or track army movements with Revelation. That said, a Viking or a few Mutalisks are all it really takes to shut down Oracles in these situations.

As always it is important to note that these changes are not final. Play testing is the final and most important step in the balance process, and only through continuous testing a conclusion can be reached.

Eyal “KOKOStern” Stern
Writer, eSports devotee, Dota 2 caster, blogger, video creator, serious gamer, opinionated jerk, coder, game designer, tea and cookies enthusiast. Website: [URL=]srslyGames[/URL] Youtube: [URL=]KOKOStern[/URL] Twitter: [URL=]@KOKOStern[/URL] Stream: [URL=]KOKOStern @[/URL] Contact: [email protected]