Blizzcon took place during the weekend, and many exciting new things took place. Today, however, we’ll be going over Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. The next game for Starcraft II focuses on Zerg, and with it comes several new units and changes to Starcraft II to differentiate it from the first part.
One of the many things that will make Heart of the Swarm different from Wings of Liberty will be the units involved. Blizzard has introduced several new units for each race, Terran, Protoss, and Zerg, along with a few changes for existing units. To begin we’ll go over Terran, the humans.
For Terran, Heart of the Swarm brings several changes to existing units. The Hellion, a ground vehicle known for spewing fire to roast infantry is getting an upgrade. A new feature involves it transforming into a bipedal vehicle that spews fire in a wider arc, but with shorter range. This allows for the focus to shift from harrassing units, to a more direct, frontline approach. The next unit is the Warhound, which is sort of replacing the Thor. The Warhound has a solid ground to air attack, with a powerful ground to ground attack, making it similar to what the Thor was, but less clunky. The Shredder is the next new unit, which focuses more on zoning. It does high damage to units that get close to it, allowing for great positional defense. While the Warhound replaced the Thor in the mass producing area, the Thor isn’t being removed. It is instead being changed to a massive unit, that you can only have one of. It will have more health, do more damage, and have a very power area of effect ability. A small change to the Battlecruiser is the addition of a new ability that will grant it a speed boost; something useful for getting into combat, or getting out of it.
Protoss also has a few changes coming its way. The first is a new tactical unit called the Replicant. It has the ability to copy another unit, and gain all of that unit’s abilities, and damage. The next unit is the Oracle, which has 3 abilities. The first of which is Phase Shift, which makes a building immune to damage, but also stops all processes, excellent for both offense and defense. The second ability is Preordain, which allows the player to gain vision of a structure, and see what it is doing; if it is building anything, or researching an ability. The final ability is Entomb, which allows the unit to prevent mining from a single mineral patch, effectively hurting the enemy player’s economy by denying currency. The next unit is the Tempest, which is replacing the Carrier. It has a large area of effect attack against air units, and a powerful single target attack for ground units. Last is a change to the Nexus, allowing for more options to use chronoboost. One option is the Arcshield, which gives a structure a defensive cannon, to help protect it. The other option is, in place of the mothership, a base recall. All targets in a selected area are warped back to the Nexus, allowing an excellent way to use excess Nexus energy.
Zerg gains a few new units and changes as well in Heart of the Swarm. The first unit is the Viper, which has the ability to cover an area with a cloud that lets zerg units run under it, making it an excellent siege-breaking tool. Another ability is the Ocular Parasite ability which lets the unity turn any other unit into a detector unit. The Overseer has been removed, and this might be its replacement. The last ability for the viper is Abduct, which allows it to pull a unit towards it; something good for rescuing an allied unit from harm, or pulling a siege unit from behind enemy lines into the waiting army. The next unit is the Swarmhost, which burrows into the ground and spawns Locusts, which are tough melee fighters. Exisitng units are also getting some changes, such as Banelings, which can move while burrowed. Another change is for the Ultralisk, which is gaining an ability to charge under ground towards a unit. Both changes could be excellent in bypassing siege lines and barriers. The Corruptor is gaining an ability that allows it to damage a building, but also gain income from that building.