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News for Feb 08, 2008

That's right, kids. I'm here with yet another Karune Batch (number 29) with some neat gameplay updates. Let's dive right into the nitty gritty for this one, shall we?

First off, Terran infantry can now use their special abilities while inside a bunker. This includes medics healing units outside the bunker, ghosts sniping, stim, and various other game-breakers.

It seems that the Auto-turret isn't the only trick the new Terran Nomad will have. Currently, the Nomad has the ability to create a "Mine Drone" which places four proximity mines around it, as well as a cloaking field for both itself and the mines. More importantly, though, this drone will continually replace mines as they explode, until the drone itself is destroyed.

Also, the Protoss Colossus will now do linear splash damage (like a Lurker) to all units the Colossus is facing, tearing infantry armies to shreds.

This batch we have more exciting changes to update you on, as well as sneaky strategies to use on unsuspecting opponents.

Gameplay Blog: This week I had to learn the hard way a change in our latest build of StarCraft II, which the Devs conveniently forgot to tell me about. As Protoss, I did my standard dual Gateway build, scouting to find that a lone SCV building a bunker outside of my base. In my mind, I thought, OK- a standard bunker rush, no problem! Build 2 Zealots and then hit the Bunker.

As it was a small 2 player map, my opponent was able to bring in a single Marine and Medic very soon, especially with the SCV repairing the Bunker at a very fast rate. As he repaired, I chased the SCV around the Bunker and attacked the Bunker with my other Zealots. To my disbelief, the Medic inside the Bunker was healing the SCV outside of the Bunker. Soon enough, another SCV showed up to repair the Bunker, as well as a Marauder, slowing my Zealots before they could reach the Bunker. At this point I had lost my initial two Zealots, but I had built four more. At the same time, my opponent now had a Marauder, Medic, and Marine, with 2 SCVs guarding the Bunker. These SCVs were impossible to kill since they were both running around the Bunker, being healed at the same time, while my Zealots were slowed and shot at by the Bunker. When my Zealots attacked the Bunker, the SCVs repaired the Bunker. Needless to say, the standard Bunker rush is not so standard anymore. With Terrans Salvage ability, being able to deconstruct Terran buildings for 100% of the cost back, adds to the devastating effect of a StarCraft II Bunker push. On top of that, adding a Ghost in the Bunker, allows for Sniping within the Bunker, as well as huge range, making it an effect pushing structure before you tech to Siege Tanks. Thanks for letting me know guys :P GG.

As always, feel free to give the Devs and I a w00t if your enjoying these Q&As;!

---StarCraft II Q&A; Batch 29---

1. Do the Terrans currently have a purely dedicated anti-air unit filling the role of the Wraith and Goliath? (sc2pod.com)

No, the Terran Viking is currently their primary anti-air unit, which is built from the Factory. The Viking can currently shoot both ground and air when in ground mode, and is able to transform into an air to air fighter, for better mobility and economy raids.

2. Do the Auto Turrets built by the Nomad attack randomly like the bunkers in the original StarCraft or will the player be able to choose the target similar to the Missile Tower? (broodwar.de)

Auto Turrets can be controlled by the player as if it were a stationary unit. You can both group them and focus fire with them. When they are not given an order, they will fire at the nearest enemy within range.

The Nomads second construction option, which is the Mine Drone, will not be able to be controlled by the player as easily. The Mine Drone is a stationary defense structure, which places four mines around it, and then immediately cloaks both the mines and the structure. Similar to the Spider Mines from the original StarCraft, these mines will wreck havoc on an incoming army without the ability to see cloaked units. The mines does a base damage of 50 plus an additional 50 damage to armored units. On top of that, the Mine Drone replaces the mines after they detonate, temporarily revealing the Mine Drone structure. Similar to the Auto Turret, both of these structures will cost energy to build from the Nomad, and will have a very minimum setup time.

3. With the Reaver removed, and his siege role moved to the Warp Ray, what will take his splash role? (TheWarCenter.net)

The Protoss Colossus now has a linear splash damage beam attack, which blazes enemies in a horizontal area of effect, from where the Colossus is facing. Like all area of effect attacks, the Colossuss beam is excellent at annihilating close groups of M&Ms; (Marines and Medics) and mass Zealots.

4. With water featured on some of your maps, will this allow modders to try new game ideas that may make use of water? (StarCraftZone.com)

This should be possible, though much of this experimentation will have to be left up to the modders. I am sure there will be amazing mod creations the community will come up with.

5.What is the status of StarCraft IIs AI?(sclegacy.com)

StarCraft IIs AI (artificial intelligence) is definitely superior to Brood War in many ways, though most notably, the AI does a great deal more of scouting, and makes decisions according to what it has found during those scouting missions. Unsuccessful scouting missions, similar to what a player might experience would tend to lead towards a more standard type of army build or continued scouting.

---End of Transmission---


News for Feb 06, 2008

Alrighty, boys and girls, getting back in the swing of things this month, I had a brief chance to speak with Warboards' Raidmax about his upcoming Starcraft Mod, Project: Revival making this the third official .Org Exclusive Interview.

Project: Revival is to include more than just new units, and with an innovative subrace system (creating a total of 6 playable factions) and a new Research Tree mechanic, Raidmax and his team are definitely on to something. The mod follows a war of unprecedented scale, with the European-American Alliance and the New Soviet Union deadlocked in a war of attrition, awakening the ancient Arcane, who, despite their immense power, isolated themselves in Antarctica to escape The Virus - the result of Germ Warfare between the Arcane and even older powers.

As always a full transcript of the interview can be found on Warboards. And don't forget to download the Demo!

Tell me a little bit about "Project Revival."

Basically, it was a project started up by me and a few frineds. We all decided to make a mod together, then bounced around some ideas, and PR came up. One person droped out, and now is just me doing the modding, and another friend feeding me ideas.

Well then, let's discuss a a feature you mentioned as a weapon for the virus. Namely, "mind control."

Ah yes, Of course, its not going to be called "Mind control" it will just have essentially the same effect. The Virus have to infect, and infecting is what they do best. They have special units that will randomly infect a unit with their attacks. This chance is usually slim, but it can happen. The attack will be mostly with projectile weapons, like missiles, due to the Virus can travel on such objects. Only downside is that infected units will usually be damaged, due to the previous attacks from the unit.

If you're including an "infected missile tank" does this mean that the virus army is going to be comprised of both Human and Arcane units and lack virus specific units?

Partly true, they will include infected Human and Arcane units, but of course, they will be different from the original units. But, thats not the only units they get. Remember how I said earlier that they get tech from the race that created them? The Virus will have ancient Derelict weaponry at their disposal.

Well, tell me a little bit more about the research tree you've created for PR.

Ok, Well, if youve ever heard of the game "Homeworld," you know its tech tree is 100% research based. Yeah, I was playing it one night, I got a silly idea, and thats how I got the idea.

As for the tree itself, adding in research plans to make games last longer, and more enjoyable. Units will require buildings, and seperate techs along with it. In other words, it just makes the games last longer, and makes it harder to get tier 2 & 3 units.

How do you intend to implement this for the virus factions?

Not complety known yet, though I plan on them having to have the bacteria evolve to be able to infect heavy armored units, flyers, ect. Another possible factor is the know-how to operate such weaponry. Last one probably wont happen, though. Depends how desperate I am.

Is there any particular point where we can expect a completed product?

Quoting Blizzard Entertainment: "When its done." But definetly sometime before the end of the year Maybe fall, or late summer.

Question: What do you think of the new 'Crucio' class Siege Tank

I like it alot! (71 votes, 38%)
It's not bad, but not as good as it could be... (49 votes, 26%)
Meh. It'll do (19 votes, 10%)
I dislike it (2 votes, 1%)
Hmmm...I prefer the older one (10 votes, 5%)
Needs moar cowbell (38 votes, 20%)


News for Feb 05, 2008

Quick Update regarding the new Blizzard podcast (The BlizzCast).

As when mentioned before it is available for live play or download from the Blizzard website..
but it is also now able to be accessed and downloaded for free from iTunes.

So for all of you iTunes users out there, here's the link to the BlizzCast page.
BlizzCast on iTunes!

Update: You can expect the second installment in the podcast to be released soon.
We'll have the news up on sc.org as soon as it is available!


News for Feb 04, 2008

Karune's back this week with yet another batch of fresh Q&A;'s, and some major factoids. First on the list is the New Terran Unit dubbed "The Marauder." Apparently this dual-grenade wielding infantry unit does bonus damage against armored units and can slow the movement of biological units. Built simply from a Barracks with a Tech Lab add-on, and stim-compatible, the Marauder is looking to be a formidable early game unit.

Second on the list is a new High Templar ability, which utilizes anti-gravity to immobilize units. Not only will units be unable to move, or even attack for that matter, they will be physically lifted off of the ground while the spell is in effect. That's not all however, as this spell is said to affect even buildings.

Finally, the Terran Viking is once again produced in the Factory. But I'll leave the rest of Karune Batch 28 to you

Hope everyone had a great week! Make sure to keep that Q&A; Questions thread packed, as we are making plans to tackle Q&As; both in these batches, as well as the BlizzCast. Post your questions to be considered for Q&As; here: http://www.battle.net/forums/thread.aspx?fn=sc2-general&t;=9620&p;=1&#post9620

Chat with Devs: It has been a busy week, in which I had a chance to talk to multiple Devs this and I am happy to say that we have finished recording for our second episode of BlizzCast. We have also added a mini Q&A; section to the show, to get direct answers straight from the developers!

Gameplay Blog: Following up on the last game I played in Batch 27, I had mentioned the Terran Marauder being a huge factor in my defeat. This new Terran unit visually looks similar to the Firebat, but instead packs the punch of dual Concussion Grenades (also able to be Stim Packed), which slows the movement rate of biological units, and also does additional bonus damage to armored units. These units are excellent at supporting any pack of Marines & Medics, with the ability to slow charging Zealots, as well as fast moving Zerg units. Playing as Terran, there is a sense of relief, when you watch an incoming army slowed down considerably, to be mowed down by your Stim Packed Marines. In addition, because the Marauders are able to be built at a Barracks with a Tech Lab, they are considered formidable early support units, able to pick off units of a weaker early game army.

As always, feel free to give the Devs and I a w00t if your enjoying these Q&As;!

---StarCraft II Q&A; Batch 28---

1. I noticed the Stalker "Blink" ability looked as though it was on a cooldown (similar to many abilities in World of Warcraft). This seems appropriate for some abilities, but is this restricted to the Stalker or will other units have abilities on cooldowns rather than energy? (Battle.net Malorn)

Currently, the Protoss Stalkers Blink ability is on a 15 second cooldown and is one of the only abilities that do not require energy. One of the reasons this was done for the Stalkers Blink, was to make sure that players wouldnt have the problem of having only part of their Stalker army blink up on a hill with some left behind. The Protoss Phoenix also carries an Overload ability, which is based on a cooldown timer rather than energy. Whether the Stalker or the Phoenix will use energy or not, will be mostly determined through much more balance testing.

2. The Thor now is anti-aircraft unit, but will it continue to have surface-to-surface attacks? (www.Sc2-esp.com)

In the current build, the Thors role has been changed to exclusively hit ground units, putting the transforming Viking back in the primary role as an air to air fighter. The Terran Viking is also now built from the Factory rather than the Starport.

3. In the original SC, powers like Irradiate and Psionic Storm affected cloaked units and killed them even if you couldn't see them. Will the Phoenix's Overload ability target cloaked units as well? (Battle.net DrakeClawFang)
Yes, the Phoenixs Overload ability does affect cloaked units, such as Terran Banshees. The Devs are all for these types of soft counters.

4. Does energy regenerate at about the same speed as in normal SC? Since the game goes faster, has that been speed up too? (Battle.net nerdpride)

Energy regenerates at the same speed as the original StarCraft. At the fastest game speed, both StarCraft II and the original should feel the same in terms of speed.

5. Now that the Force Field ability has been moved to the Nullifier, what other abilities does the Templar have? Does he still have Hallucination? (Battle.net Blazur)

The Hallucination ability has been cut from the High Templar. Instead, it will have an Anti-Gravity ability in addition to its classic Psi Storm ability. This ability will allow a High Templar to lift up buildings and units in the air, disabling their movement and attack, while also making them an air target. This ability can be cast on Supply Depots blocking choke points, as well as incoming Thors, or other threatening units. This has been the first ability the Devs have been comfortable with, in giving players a real choice to be made, to use Psi Storm or the Anti-Gravity ability. This ability is still being balanced, in terms of the duration units and buildings will stay in the air, energy cost, and if it will be a channeling spell (which means the High Templar will be unable to move or cast other abilities while casting the Anti-Gravity ability).

6. Will there be an icon on the left hand side of the screen to alert the player of idle workers? (Battle.net- Elminster)

Yes, we currently have the ability to select idle workers built into the UI.

---End of Transmission---

We haven't been giving this story much coverage, but figured now would be a good time to fill in those of you who haven't heard about or been following this across the various SC fansites.

After brainstorming between myself, Steven over at fftcomics, and Lipton from starfeeder, we organized and have been in the middle of a tournament between 32 SC fansites. Some old, some new. Some you may know or visit, some you may not have seen around before.

Thus far, after finishing three rounds and preparing for our 4th, the Starcraft.org team (our own Ahzz and lammas) has advanced through maintaining a record of 9-0 throughout the tournament. We will be facing our next opponents (reps.ru) this week, and will be sure to keep you up-to-date with the outcome of that match-up.

You can download all of our replays thus far in the tournament: here.


News for Feb 01, 2008

What? The results of two months' contests in one week? That's right! In preparation for The February Melee Mapping Contest, both the November and December Contests have been accounted for.

The December Melee Mapping Contest was the 4th incarnation of .org sponsored mapping contests, introduced by Titanwing. The contest was judged by Protogod and SilverCrusader with the following criteria: 10 points possible each for Positional Balance, Racial Balance, Aesthetics, Creativity, and Focus on the Theme, averaged together into a final score out of 10.

The theme of December's contest was the phrase "Bigger is Better" accounting for expos, number of ramps, length of ramps, number of bridges, length of bridges, number of doodads, size of doodads, design of maps, and myriad other interpretations. Without Further adieu, I leave you with our surviving contestants.

Our Champion

December saw a return to clear cut victories, with First Place going to Dem0nS1ayer's two-player map, Scattered Ruins. Dem0nS1ayer was tied for first in the November competition, but this time he has separated himself from the pack due to his masterful interpretation of the theme, which combined an artfully simple giant center bridge and massive detail in doodad usage.

Dem0ns1ayer; (2)Scattered Ruins

Positional Balance: 9.5/10
Racial Balance: 9.25/10
Aesthetics: 9.25/10
Creativity: 9.25/10
Focus: 10/10
Final Score - 9.45

Our Runner Up

TitanWing's two-player Orpheus came in Second Place by combining superb balance with great usage of wide ramps and incredible straightaways, leaving him 0.15 points behind first place.

Titan; (2)Orpheus

Positional Balance: 9.75/10
Racial Balance: 9/10
Aesthetics: 9.75/10
Creativity: 8.5/10
Focus: 9.5/10
Final Score - 9.3

Our Honorable Mention

NeoBowman stole Third Place yet again with his enormously wide 2-player map, Kylma. This time with 0.35 points between him and 2nd place.

Neobowman; (2)Kylma

Positional Balance: 9.5/10
Racial Balance: 7.75/10
Aesthetics: 9/10
Creativity: 9.25/10
Focus: 9.25/10
Final Score - 8.95

Other Contestants

Newcomer to .org, Friedleaves, came in Fourth Place with his map Agorix. Finishing the December edition of our contest, Freidleaves did surprisingly well, touting loads of wide bridges & ramps alongside tons of pathways and the single highest score in the Balance categories.

Friedleaves; (2)Agorix

Positional Balance: 10/10
Racial Balance: 9.5/10
Aesthetics: 9/10
Creativity: 7.5/10
Focus: 8.75/10
Total - 8.9/10

Sadly, December also saw the indefinite departure of prominent mapper Mjolniir and temporary departure of Kawagata who had intended to participate. Also absent from the grading was Polkaman who misplaced his map Wings of Sector 21 and failed to correct it during the grace period, receiving an automatic disqualification.

Download the December Mappack Today! Also, don't forget to Sign up for the February Contest.


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Which StarCraft II race appeals to you most at the moment?

* Terrans
(40 votes, 35%)
* Zerg
(24 votes, 21%)
* Protoss
(42 votes, 37%)
* Night Elves
(8 votes, 7%)

There have been 40 comments on this poll.
Click here to read them.