Blizzard on StarCraft 2 Balance: We Just Have Too Many Good Terran Units

Visit any StarCraft 2 forum and you’ll see complaints about every race being overpowered. Did you just lose a game to Zerg? Zerg is obviously too strong! Mutalisks — they’re too versatile! Obviously, it is impossible for everyone to be correct — but does that mean everyone is wrong? In a recent interview, leader designer Dustin Browder gave his thoughts on StarCraft 2′s current game balance.

There’s currently a concern with the Zerg Infestor’s power fungal growth. I still hear a lot of complaints about the Zerg still not being strong enough, as well as Terrans still being too flexible. The latter’s the most persistent one for the longest time. That’s almost a design flaw not a balance flaw. We just have too many good units in that race. It’s hard to cut units in that race and say “I know you have a lot of good units, but we’re killing two because [your race] is too good.” (laughs) That’s not going to work. And it’s not fun to go “Hey, you know that unit that was fun and useful? Well, we ruined it, so now your race is balanced.” That feels terrible too. Those are some of the hot areas I’ve heard.

It’s great to have Blizzard acknowledge Terran’s superior versatility. As a Protoss player, I always had my suspicions. But I’m glad Blizzard won’t cut units — I would rather gain new Protoss units than have Terran lose some of theirs. Players rage any time their race receives the slightest nerf; I could only imagine the reaction to losing a unit.

The other complaint we’re coming back to that was frustrating was the four gate rush in Protoss vs. Protoss. We’ve done some fixes and it was great. Within the first three days, everyone stopped doing it and it was like “Arrgh, Blizzard nerfed it! Don’t do it anymore.” We were like “we don’t think it was that bad.” Sure enough, a week later the community were fine with it. PvP was still not as diverse as we wanted it to be; so we’d like to fix that. We’re still studying this stuff.

Just about any Protoss player will tell you that Protoss-versus-Protoss is their least favorite match-up. We can take solace in the fact that Blizzard is still working on ways to diversify these matches.

I don’t know how much balanced the game is six months from now to a year, but our internal members checked the win/loss percentage in all regions are very positive except for Grandmaster Korea, which shows an advantage to Terran.

However, we’ve heard from Korean pro gamers and casual players that this is more of a cultural issue than anything else. Part of the factor is that Terrans do the easiest early-game rushes and they’re the most defendable against them too; Koreans do the most rushing when compared to the rest of the world. But I don’t know; it could all be lies. It could be “oh, it’s broken, but [the dev team] did not know that yet.” The Europeans, the Americans, and the Chinese haven’t figured it out yet.

That’s an interesting dichotomy… On one hand, amongst the population of players at large, win/loss ratios are balanced between the races. On the other, stats from the best players in the world suggest Terrans are superior. How should Blizzard balance the game? Toward the top competitive players, or towards the rest of us?

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1 Comment on Blizzard on StarCraft 2 Balance: We Just Have Too Many Good Terran Units

Giovanni

On February 22, 2014 at 12:15 am

Win/loss ratios can’t determine a balance issue either.