This week, Blizzard Entertainment released a new patch for their popular Real-Time-Strategy game, Starcraft 2 Wings of Liberty. This patch, number 1.4.3, did not have a lot of changes, however, some of the changes were still very interesting. As with every patch, a lot of bugs were fixed for both the PC and Mac client, but the interesting changes come from changes made to race balance.
The first balance change is for the Protoss race, in particular their flying Phoenix unit. This patch introduced a new upgrade that is researchable from the Fleet Beacon building. It is called the Anion Pulse-Crystals upgrade and it increases the range of the Phoenix’s attack by two. This may sound small, but Protoss players have been lacking the ability to have quick, strong anti air units to deal with Mutalisk harassment. This upgrade makes the Phoenix more viable against Mutalisks, while not making them so powerful that they will be used more often against other unit compositions.
The second balance change is for the Terran race. This change regards to the Ghost units, particularly their Snipe ability.This change reduces the damage of Snipe from forty five to twenty five damage (It still does the twenty five additional bonus damage to Psonic units). This change has become very controversial, and it has sparked much conversation on the Starcraft 2 forums as well as other Starcraft 2 fan sites. Those in favor of this reduction to Snipe’s damage claim that the ability made Ghosts too strong against late game armies. If controlled properly, an army consisting of mostly Ghosts could go toe to toe with late game armies and come out on top. This is not the purpose of the Ghost unit, as it is designed to be an anti spell caster unit. However, many claim that the twenty damage reduction makes Ghost’s almost useless, which is a valid point since Snipe will now only do fifty damage to Psonic units, the units they are meant to be a hard counter to. Both sides of this argument have valid points, but the change has not been around long enough to tell whether this change will be as bad as some players claim it will be.
The final balance change made in patch 1.4.3 also changed a Terran unit, or rather a Terran building. The Orbital Command has the ability to call down MULEs to harvest minerals at a faster rate then regular SCVs. The change made to MULEs makes it so that the amount of minerals that the MULE collects on each trip, 30, is not changed by the type of mineral field they are harvesting from. This means that MULEs collect the same amount of minerals from regular mineral field and from the yellow Rich Mineral Fields. This change may seem odd but the ability to call down a lot of MULEs late in the game on the Rich Mineral Field would sometimes give the Terran player a much larger economy boost then what was intended. This change seems to be much more understandable then the other change implemented to the Terran race.
Patch 1.4.3 included many new, and some controversial changes. Though these changes have caused much discussing on the Starcraft 2 Forums, it is still too early to tell how this patch will change the game in the long run.