Home Editorial Balance Starcraft 2 patch 1.40 PTR notes: Read’em and weep

It’s that time again! Blizzard has gotten bored with things on Battle.net and decided players needed to relearn all their favorite strategies. And while these changes aren’t effective immediately (they’re on the PTR servers), the majority of PTR changes have, in the past, gone into effect.

So, what’s in store for the most only popular competitive online RTS? And, more importantly, will this change the fact that I’m still completely garbage at Starcraft 2?

The answer to both questions is a decided no.

Starcraft 2 PTR Patch 1.40 Balance Changes

Protoss

Mothership: Acceleration increased from 0.3 to 1.375. The Mothership’s Cloaking Field no longer cloaks all units instantaneously, but rather adds units to the cloak field over time (maximum of 25 per second). This should alleviate “Mothership Lag” issue when a Mothership comes online.

Let’s face it, “Your mothership’s so fat…” jokes are fairly common because they’re pretty much true. The Protoss’ capital vessel is a gigantic, slow-moving target. While an acceleration buff of approximately 333% is more than welcome, I wonder if it’s really enough to make this expensive, attention-drawing behemoth worthwhile. As for the second change, it seems more of a user experience fix than a balance change.

Warp Prism: Shields increased from 40 to 100.

If there’s one unit that doesn’t see nearly enough play in all levels of Protoss gaming, it’s the Carrier. But if there are two such units, the second would be the Mothership. But if you really, really had to pick three, the third least utilized unit would be the Warp Prism. Although it’s cool in theory, Robotics Facilities tend to be reserved for pumping out Colossi and Observers. The Warp Prism’s notoriously frail form certainly hasn’t helped its popularity over these powerful units, but another 60 effective HP might be a persuasive argument for inventive pros.

Immortal: Attack range increased from 5 to 6.

Everyone knows the most annoying aspect of Immortals is that, barring perfect micro, they easily get stuck behind Stalkers, unable to fire at anything due to their short range. Considering the whole point of Immortals is to make a mockery of death tank up-front damage whilst dealing massive strikes back, this largely defeated the purpose of this unit. Hopefully this range change will mean that even if Immortals can’t race to the frontlines, they can still deal some major DPS when they do arrive. As long as Blink doesn’t get nerfed, you can still always just Blink your Stalkers behind your Immortals once they’ve caught up, anyway.

Stalker: Blink research time increased from 110 to 140.

Well, fuck.


Terran

Barracks: Build time increased from 60 to 65.

This may cut down on 2-Rax play or all-in cheese, but for the most part this minor delay probably isn’t going to destroy any Terran’s build. Next!

Hellion: Infernal Pre-Igniter damage upgrade decreased from 10 to 5.

Hahahahhhahahahahahahha. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, some folks in various forums have done the calculations, and it seems that this nerf will keep upgraded Hellions as effective as they currently are against workers, but will drastically drop their long-term scalability against units like Zealots. Will Hellions still be useful? Sure. Will Terrans be as keen at dropping Vespene on Blue Flame upgrades so early? Perhaps not.

Raven: Seeker missile movement speed increased from 2.5 to 2.953.

The Raven is a strong but underutilized unit, so Seeker Missiles aren’t exactly the most common spell on the battlefield. It’s expensive, slow, and puts your Raven in harm’s way a good deal of the time. With this change, the Seeker Missile will now be able to successfully catch a greater number of units than before, even from maximum range. And while your opponent can still micro it away from its comrades, anything that steals his attention has at least some value in battle.

 

Zerg

Infestor: Fungal Growth damage changed from 36 (+30% armored) to 30 (40 vs Armored).

Some people think Infestors are overpowered, but I’d argue there’s just so versatile there’s no reason not to get them. With this change, Fungal is a little less of a death sentence to most units, though it’s a minor, minor change. Much more important is the full change list, which mentions something about Neural Parasite stealing upgrades à la Mind Control in Brood War. Why pay for research when you can just suck it straight out of your adversaries’ brains?

Overseer: Morph cost decreased from 50/100 to 50/50. Contaminate energy cost increased from 75 to 125.

Overseers are arguably much to expensive, making it relatively easy for Zerg to insta-lose to certain types of cloak based cheese. The cost drop is a huge boon, especially for late game play when Zerg forces are maxed at 200 supply, and the Contaminate nerf only makes sense when you consider the swarm can now pump out flying spellcasters at two times the previous rate.

Ultralisk: Build time decreased from 70 to 55.

This isn’t nearly enough to fix the Ultralisk, which is still approximately as wide as the Berlin Wall. And while any upgrade to the much-maligned massive menace of the Zerg is welcome, the unit could much more directly benefit from collision or pathing changes that would allow it to more easily push its way to the frontlines. Until that change come, everything else is window dressing. After all, you can put lipstick on an Ultralisk, but it will still die to ramps and Infested Terrans.

For a full list of changes, including UI and bug fixes, please visit the official Battle.net PTR forum.

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