Over the past week, Blizzard has released patch 1.5.3 for Wings of Liberty and a balance update for Heart of the Swarm. The balance update of December 4th introduced only one drastic change for Zerg players. This balance update will see Fungal Growth’s range reduced from 9 to 8, making Infestors more susceptible to EMP, Psionic Storm, and Feedback. In the past, Fungal Growth’s range allowed Infestors to stay safely behind the Zerg army where it was free to Fungal as much as it needed and then burrow to run away. Now Infestors are vulnerable, thus making them a harder unit to use effectively.
In addition, the Infested Terran eggs that Infestors are able to spawn have had their health reduced from 100 to 70. When on the field with a 200/200 army, an Infestor is able to spawn additional units that don’t factor in the supply count; they’re not overly powerful but a 200/200 army going up against a 200/300 army is just crazy. This nerf allows players to kill the Infested Terrans, which can easily sway a game, before they have a chance to do a lot of damage.
These changes address the growing feeling of Zerg being imbalanced and a bit overpowered. Ideally Infestors will no longer be the answer to every unit composition and this helps ensure they are only effective if used intelligently.
In addition to these changes Blizzard also introduced a plethora of balance changes to the HoTS beta. Here’s my list of the worst 3 changes:
- Medivac ability Emergency Thrusters. This ability gives Medivacs an 8 second speed boost, allowing them to get in and out with very little cost. As if Medivac drops weren’t potent enough, here’s a way to make them even more effective!
- Dark Shrine cost has been reduced to 100/100. Who doesn’t love Dark Templar? Do you hear the sarcasm yet? DT’s are very potent for harass and little else. This change allows them to be a game-ender. So much for “when behind Dark Shrine”. If it’s so cheap why not just Dark Shrine all the time?
- Mutalisks have had their speed increased from 3.75 to 4. Mutalisks have always been pretty useless and maybe Blizzard is trying to change that but I feel it will have much the same effect as increasing the speed of Medivacs. This change makes Mutas more effective and less susceptible to death.
These questionable changes are just a few of many balance changes. The majority of these balance updates seem good or at the very least intriguing. There are many changes that make more unit compositions or transitions more viable and allow players to be more reactive. Overall I would say the changes seem more positive than negative, but the overall effect remains to be seen.