StarCraft II - Updates and Knowledge

Level 40
Dec 14, 2005
StarCraft II Updates

I decided to make this thread because of the abundance of people posting things in this forum that showed that they really didn’t know what they were talking about, which frustrated me.

Anyways, I reference the StarCraft II forums as well as in here.

Chat with Devs
At the start of every new StarCraft II Q&A, Karune included a little “Chat with Devs” section which gave some additional info about the game.

  • Improving Medic AI
  • Experiments with pathing to see the effects on balance when the pathing maps allow two buildings side-by-side to completely block a path
  • Experiments in balance of having Ghost as a tier 1.5 unit rather than a later tier, and having Stealth researched later on as opposed to being available at the same time as the ghost
  • Starport no longer transforms into a Starbase (as opposed to in the blizzcon build)
  • Bunkers are stronger and bigger, making them more effective defensive structures
    Note: An interesting side-note is that this quote also revealed that firebats are currently back!
  • Firebats confirmed back for the moment anyways, Cobra has slowing lightning attack, Stasis Orb removed, many more units being reevaluated.
  • Cobras have a slowing electrical attack, stasis orb out
  • Protoss orb unit being tested with abilities such as forcefield, High Templar currently has hallucination back.
  • Ghost being tested at tier 1.5, with Cloaking, Drop Pods, and Nuke acquired later. Also has an upgradeable EMP and bonus damage versus light armored targets.
  • Nomads have a deployable turret currently, to replace EMP (which is now on the Ghosts), which should make them much more versatile.
  • Hero and inventory systems will be included in the editor.
  • Remember that units are constantly being added, removed, and replaced. Nothing is final
  • The Thor's role is being tested as an antiair/heavy unit, and will possibly have a half-death stage; the first time you "kill" it, it would instead lose its mobility, but could be repaired back to being able to move again by an SCV.

Q&A Batch 12 said:
Chat with the Devs: The StarCraft II Team is working hard on making Terran Medics 'smarter' so they do not run up to the enemy when you give a move order to a group of Marines and Medics. Medics, if given an attack move order, will scan the area on its path for injured infantry, then break off its limited path to heal those soldiers.
Q&A Batch 13 said:
Chat with Devs: In the BlizzCon build of StarCraft II, small units were able to pass through certain player created barriers, such as a wall of supply depots at a choke point. After experimenting a bit, the Devs are now testing gameplay with true barriers, which prevent all units from passing through, but will require a line of supply depots side by side rather than supply depots blocking a choke point diagonally. This new design will prevent smaller units such as Zealots and Marines from passing through player created barriers, but will be more costly for the player to build these barriers.
Q&A Batch 14 said:
Chat with Devs: The StarCraft II team is trying out what it would be like to have the Ghost as a Tier 1.5 unit without stealth, keeping the stealth ability as an upgrade at a later Tier.

This will be quite interesting since their snipe ability could provide much support to a group of Marines, picking off key units such as Medics, Templars, etc.
Q&A Batch 15 said:
Chat with the Devs: The Terran Starport will no longer transform into a Starbase.
Q&A Batch 16 said:
Chat with Devs: Since BlizzCon, the Terran Bunkers have been increased in size (to 3x3) and given added hit points, making it a more viable defensive structure for the Terrans. The Dev Team really wants to further define the uniqueness of how each faction plays, giving Terrans a strong character of defensive type tools. Watching the Firebats flame from these Bunkers sure do bring back memories!
Q&A Batch 17 said:
Chat with Devs: After bringing up much community feedback from the last Monthly Discussion, Dustin Browder filled me in on the latest role discussions about the current units in game. This is the thought that has lead to the introduction of the Firebat back into StarCraft II.

Furthermore, they have also changed the Terran Cobras abilities to take on what was previous known as the Protoss Stasis Orb (which is now removed from the game). The Terran Cobra now acts as a slowing unit, with an electrical attack. In addition, many of the units already seen in game are having their roles re-evaluated, to again make sure that every unit has a distinct role in StarCraft II.
Q&A Batch 19 said:
Chat with Devs: Since the Terran Cobra took over the Protoss Stasis Orbs slowing attack, the Protoss Orb got a few new abilities including the Force Field ability. This will be very interesting for early team games, as you can use a force field on a choke point to keep an opponent's teammate from arriving to help their allies. The Devs are testing out various abilities on different units as you can see, and even the Templar has received its classic Hallucination ability back.
Q&A Batch 20 said:
Chat with Devs: Terran Ghosts are currently being tested as an effective Tier 1.5 unit, capable of sniping down high profile enemy targets, have an increased attack damage towards light armored units, as well as an upgradable EMP against Protoss and energy using threats. If that isnt enough, these highly advanced Terran soldiers at higher techs can also be equipped with a personal cloak ability, and launch drop pod reinforcements, as well as call down a massive nuclear strike. The StarCraft II Ghost will surely be bringing a whole new meaning to "You call down the thunder and I'll reap the whirlwind." Of course, I should mention, all of this is subject to change.
Q&A Batch 21 said:
Chat with Devs: Since the Terran Ghost has an upgradable EMP ability, the Terran Nomad's has been given the ability to create stationary defenses in addition to its Defense Matrix ability. One of the new stationary defenses is the Auto-Turret, which can attack ground units, and this unit be seen on this screenshot:

We are hoping the Nomad's new abilities will innovate its role, in addition to being a detector.
Q&A Batch 22 said:
Chat with Devs: One of the most popular questions we get when it comes to creating UMS (User Map Settings) games or mods is: Will there be a DotA for StarCraft II? For those who are not familiar, DotA (Defense of the Ancients), is a popular UMS game created for Warcraft III. StarCraft compared to Warcraft III, does not focus on heroes as much, and heroes or units do not have the same experience gaining mechanic as Warcraft III, making it difficult to imagine how a game like DotA could be reproduced for StarCraft. Nonetheless, after chatting it up with our devs, we found out the ability to allow heroes and units to gain experience is built into the Map Editor, though it will not likely be in single player or standard multiplayer. In addition, those units can also be toggled to have the ability to carry an inventory, which is also a characteristic needed in UMS maps such as DotA. With those two additions, we can rest assured that our clever community modders can handle the rest in creating some awesome custom games.
Q&A Batch 23 said:
Chat with Devs: After my chat with Dustin this past week, he wanted me to remind everyone that there are still several new units being created and tested for all three factions. What you have seen of the Protoss and Terran factions are in no way finished and more new units will be introduced, as well as the likeliness of current units being replaced.
Q&A Batch 24 said:
Chat with Devs: The Thor has been the unit that just hasnt quite fit in, in terms of role, but it might have found its own little place it can call home. After the Devs tried out several things with the Thor, including making it a super unit, they have now decided to have it replace the Cobra, as the heavy and air unit counter. Additionally, they may be adding a new mechanic, in which the Thor will need to be killed twice, once to make it immobilized, due to its large size, and then the second time to kill it for good. When immobilized, the Thor will still be able to fire at ground and air units. Additionally, while the Thor is immobilized, a SCV can repair it back to full health, having it regain mobility.
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Level 40
Dec 14, 2005
StarCraft II Q&As
These Q&As are very important if one wishes to pick up information about the game other than unit backgrounds, and often leave future hints as to what units will or will not be in the game. For the Chat with Devs section in the newer Q&As, see above.

I have added some notes at the end of certain questions, these are underlined and start with NOTE FROM PURPLEPOOT:.

Q&As: (in list format instead of quote format)
  1. Batch 1

    1. What is this: - ? It appears to be a drop ship of some type maybe, can we comment on this unit?

      The unit seen is a building add-on, and well be revealing more on the Terran building upgrades in the future.

    2. What type of scripting language is being used? Aspiring map/mod makers would like to know.

      StarCraft IIs editor features a proprietary scripting language that is based largely on C with some special parameters specific to the game. Of course, for most users, they will have access to the more user friendly Trigger Editor which will allow beginner and intermediate map designers to make advanced maps without having to learn the particular details of the scripting language. Well release further information about the world editor as we move forward.

    3. Players have pointed out that the nuke laser dot graphic showing their destination is quite a bit larger and more noticeable than the original games. Is this a finished graphic and are we intending to make incoming nukes easier to spot now?

      In the announcement gameplay video the incoming nuke marker was shown as if launched by the player. To other players it will still be shown as a smaller dot very similar to the classic StarCraft nuke.

    4. The mothership time distortion doesn't seem to stop all incoming projectiles or fire, what exactly does it protect against?

      The Mothership time-slowing ability is intended to deal with all types of incoming attacks, although only incoming missiles were shown prominently in the announcement gameplay video.

    5. Game Balance

      The announcement gameplay video used more than a few tricks to show off each unit. The Mothership for instance was set to be indestructible for a good portion of the time it was on screen, as well as having additional energy so that we could display all of its special abilities in a shorter amount of time than would normally be possible. In addition to the multiple changes made just for the video, the gameplay in the video is not indicative at this time of what the final balance will be. The announcement gameplay video was showing off the game and units in the coolest way possible, and not necessarily in a way that would resemble an actual match.

    6. Game Speed

      As some of you may have seen in the developer panel held at the Worldwide Invitational after the announcement of StarCraft II, it was revealed that the gameplay in the announcement video was shown at Normal speed so that we could really showcase it and let everyone see the detail and work put into the game. There will still be the faster game speed settings many players are used to from the original game.

  2. Batch 2

    1. Will players be able to select multiple buildings simultaneously?

      We are directing much attention to polishing and improving the user interface. On that note, players will definitely be able to select and build from multiple buildings at the same time. You cannot drag-select buildings, but you can shift-click on them and add them to a control-group for ease of unit production.

    2. Will workers auto-gather resources if the rally point is set to a mineral node or a geyser?

      Of course.

    3. Will we be able to select more than 12 units at the same time?

      Currently, unit selection is unlimited, but this may change with further development and testing.

    4. On a given map, will there be one Mothership per map or one Mothership unit per Protoss player allowed?

      We are still testing out many possible circumstances in order to make skirmishes more fun and challenging. At this time, each Protoss player will be able to have only one Mothership at a given time, but as mentioned, everything is still subject to change.

  3. Batch 3

    1. What is the role of heroes in StarCraft II? Will they be the same as in StarCraft?

      StarCraft II campaign heroes will fulfill roles similar to what appeared in the original StarCraft single player experience, but they will have even more unique abilities from standard units, and will be more innovatively integrated into the story campaign. Heroes will not be buildable in multiplayer.

    2. What is the max unit count population for each faction?

      Unit population count for each faction will be very similar to the original StarCraft.

    3. Will there be an in-game option to change hotkeys around?

      Currently it is planned to have this feature, though much testing has yet to be done on it. We are looking into several innovative ways to make the UI customizable to players, to allow flexibility in their style of game play.

    4. Is Karunes Forum Avatar a Protoss High Templar?

      Yes it is.

    5. Will the Robotics Facility have a similar upgrade to the Warp Gate allowing it to warp units in?

      There are no plans for this at the moment. Currently Warping technology is limited to the Warp Gate. Of course, we are still testing and balancing this, and nothing is set in stone.

  4. Batch 4

    1. Are the yellow minerals shown in the trailers harvestable?

      Yes, they will be a harvestable high yield resource, meaning each harvest rotation will result in greater mineral quantities than the standard blue minerals. This gives players more strategic choices when trying to evaluate where they wish to expand. Expand to the high yield but risk easier discovery? Or expand to a safer area but earn fewer resources?

    2. Will resource sharing be allowed between allies?

      Yes, it is our plan to have this in the game, though there is still much testing and balancing revolving around this ability.

    3. Will allied chat be enabled by default for pre-set teams?


    4. Is the Zealot charge ability an upgrade as well?

      Yes, this ability is upgraded through the Protoss War Shrine.

    5. What types of future community updates will there be? will be updated with regular unit and building profiles. Furthermore, there are several projects in the works planned for the Blizzards RTS Community as a whole, which we will share at a later time.

  5. Batch 5

    1. Will you be increasing the max players beyond 8?

      We are exploring this possibility, though currently it is defaulted to 8 max players.

    2. If you have multiple casters selected when you cast a spell, will they all cast it or only one? (ex. will 8 ghosts all use lockdown on a unit or only one?)

      Currently, unit abilities are set as smart casting, meaning when you have a group of casters selected, each time you wish to cast a spell, you will either have to click the icon or press the hot key and follow it with a click on the designated place on the map for it to cast. This will obviously prevent locking down a single unit with more than one ghost, though we are also still exploring possibilities to have different methods of casting for casters in which players would want to have multiple casts executed in a single command.

    3. Will building placement still be grid based?

      Building placement will be grid based.

    4. What races will be playable at BlizzCon?

      This will be revealed at BlizzCon! See ya there!

    5. Why do marines have shields now?

      The shields seen on marines in screenshots and videos are an upgrade that can be purchased through research, increasing the marines' overall hit points[/b]

  6. Batch 6

    1. Are Photon and Phase Cannons 2 different buildings?

      The Phase Cannon is the new version of the StarCraft Photon Cannon. There will not be a Photon Cannon in StarCraft II.

    2. Will carriers (Tempest) produce more than one drone type?

      Not at this time.

      NOTE FROM PURPLEPOOT: Currently tempests have been axed in favor of traditional carriers.

    3. Fans noticed in your art video that thye Colossus ground unit was under fire from missile turrets. Is this due to the Colossus's exceptionally high attack profile (tall stature) or a ground-to-ground attack feature/option for the turrets?

      Because of the Colossus's height, it will be susceptible to Anti Air defenses like the Terran Missile Turrets, as well as both ground and air attacks. It is possible for the Colossus to be hit by ground and air attacks at the same time.

    4. Will there be critters units and can they attack?

      There will be critters, but they wont attack. If they did they would be creeps.

    5. Will holding the Alt button show unit/building hit points overhead as they did in Warcraft 3?
      NOTE FROM PURPLEPOOT: Apparently there was a copying error when Karune reorganized this question or something, the answer was missing. I think it was a Yes, but I can’t verify it. (The old copy has been down for over a month, after all)

  7. Batch 7

    1. Will the look of the siege tank be changed for the final version?

      In response to much fan feedback, the siege tank has indeed been redesigned, with a much more powerful look to it. This visually redesigned siege tank will be shown at BlizzCon 2007.

      NOTE FROM PURPLEPOOT: The siege tank in all the more recent videos is this new one.

    2. Will there be a ctrl-a key stroke to select all your units on screen?

      Not at this moment, but the hot keys have not been finalized yet for StarCraft II.

    3. Will we get to hear the return of some of the original melodic themes from SC1 (like the Terran themes), or will the music for StarCraft II be completely new?

      There will mostly be new epic theme songs with similarities to the original faction music. Music is still definitely in the works, thus we will not rule out a reprise of one of the original songs.

    4. Will the High Templar still be able to create hallucinations?

      In the current version of StarCraft II, the Hallucination ability will be back, but not as a High Templar ability, but rather a Star Relic ability.

    5. When will you release a StarCraft II Fan Site kit?

      The Fan Site Kit will be released around BlizzCon.

      NOTE FROM PURPLEPOOT: It’s released, and you can get it over at www.starcraft

  8. Batch 8

    1. Will there be upkeep in StarCraft II?

      No, there will not be.

    2. What will be the highest number of upgrades for the shields, armor or weapons?

      Currently, the highest number of upgrades per weapon/armor/shield type will be 3, which is the same as the original StarCraft. The values of each upgrade will be determined through much balance testing.

    3. Will the StarCraft II Editor be easy or hard to use?

      Blizzard game editors have always been aimed at empowering the community to create a huge variety of fun game modes and maps. This editor will be no different.

      The editor for StarCraft II will be very easy to use for new players to create their own custom maps and games. Furthermore, this editor will have many more scripting options available to players, to allow for even more player creativity in their maps beyond that seen in prior RTS titles such as Warcraft III.

    4. Will the Zealot charge ability cause more damage on the initial attack than on all other attacks?

      No, the Zealot charge will close the distance between the Zealot and its target, which will be a significant advantage in many situations, compared to a Zealot without the upgrade, but will not actually give it more attack power or an initial stronger attack.

    5. When selecting the Phase Prisms I noticed they have a 3rd, yellow meter below their shields and health. Is this meant to represent mana or storage capacity (warp-in capacity)?

      This bar represents the Phase Prisms storage capacity, as it also serves as an aerial transport unit.

  9. Batch 9

    1. In the gameplay video the UI is toggled on/off several times. Will that be an option in-game?

      Currently, the UI will only toggle off during game cinematics. There are currently no plans to implement this for single-player or multiplayer as it would give some players an advantage over others.

    2. Will the Twilight Archon have abilities?

      Yes. In the BlizzCon build, the Twilight Archon had the feedback ability. We are still doing much work on this unit, so none of this is final.

    3. Can Protoss Units be attacked during the Warp-In process?

      Yes. When units are warping in, the unit will increase in hit points until they are at max hit points and at that point youll be able to control the unit.

    4. Will there be some old units from StarCraft be included in the Map Editor for StarCraft II?

      There will be units included in the Map Editor which will not be in the standard multiplayer skirmish mode. These will include various units from the original StarCraft, such as the Protoss Dragoon.

    5. Will different races have different max-squad caps?

      Currently all 3 races will have the same maximum population cap at 200.

    6. Can the Planetary Fortress lift off?

      Once the Command Center has been upgraded to be a Planetary Fortress, it can no longer lift off. Furthermore, the Planetary Fortress cannot be changed back into a normal Command Center with lift off capabilities.

  10. Batch 10

    1. What does the "Intercept Missiles" function of the Predator do exactly?

      The Predator is equipped with a point defense laser system which destroys incoming enemy projectiles. This ability makes the Predator an excellent support fighter to help defend slower capital ships, such as the Battlecruiser.

    2. Can the Radar Tower also detect invisible units even in Fog of War?

      No. On the other hand, Sensor Arrays and Radar Towers do allow all Missile Turrets in its range to also detect invisible units within those Missile Turrets range.

    3. Can the Thor defend itself against air units well?

      The Thor unit can attack air units, although it has a relatively slow rate of fire. It is always still better to escort your Thor units with additional support units.

    4. Can the Thor be attacked by the Missile Turret like the Colossus?

    5. Will phase cannons dissipate if they travel outside influence of pylon matrix?

      No, phase cannons will not be destroyed if they travel outside of pylon power. However, phase cannons caught outside of pylon power will still be able to move but will also be stuck in energy form. They cannot redeploy until they are back in range of pylon power. Also, while in energy form, phase cannons have no shields and are extremely vulnerable to enemy fire.

    6. When a player in a team game leaves will the computer AI take over? Or, will the remaining players be given control of that person's team?

      Computer AI will not take over if your ally leaves in a team multiplayer game. Although, if you have allied control set, the player will be able to control their allys units after they leave.
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Level 40
Dec 14, 2005
  1. Batch 11

    1. Will map sizes in StarCraft II be similar or larger than the maps in the original StarCraft?

      Map sizes can fluctuate on a per-map basis, but generally the playable area on maps are about the same. The terrain cells were converted over into the new editor to proportionally match the original StarCraft (i.e. 128x128 SC1 is about the same as 128x128 in SC2 ).

    2. Will StarCraft II Heroes have unique abilities?

      Heroes will have unique abilities different from regular unit abilities. Heroes will be playable only for single player and will not be a part of the multiplayer skirmish experience.

    3. Will the Terrans be weak to melee without the Firebat?

      Dont worry, the Terrans will have plenty of other counters to melee units. Nonetheless, because we know there are so many people who do love the Firebat unit, it will be in the map editor.

      NOTE FROM PURPLEPOOT: the firebat is currently in the build, so it seems, as I mentioned back in the Chat with Devs section.

    4. Will Mutalisks attack still hit multiple targets?

      Yes, the Zerg Mutalisk unit is currently designed to hit multiple units with a single attack.

    5. Will a submerged supply depot still be able to be attacked? Will it have more hit points while submerged?

      Yes, the submerged supply depot will still be able to be attacked, and no it will not have more hit points. The ability to submerge a supply depot is designed to allow units to move over them strategically. Players will not only be able to keep enemies out, allow friendly units to pass through, but they are also powerful roadblocks in separating incoming armies in 2.

  2. Batch 12

    1. How useful will tier 1 units be in the late game? (

      As a staple of the original StarCraft, which we intend to carry over to StarCraft II, is that every unit has a specific role in that factions army. Every unit will fulfill a unique role, which complements the other units, some better than others of course. In subscribing to that idea, tier 1 units will be quite useful in late game as well as early. Many of the tier 1 units will be able to be upgraded to keep up with the later game units as well.

      For example, the Terran Marine currently has 3 upgrades available to it, as well as its standard attack and armor upgrades. New upgrades such as the combat shields, increasing the Marines health will be important in having the Marine deal with later game units.

    2. Can we expect units to replace the Reaver and the Soul Hunter? (

      Yes, we are always testing the addition of new units as well as the removal of older units. For instance, in our current build, the Terran Firebat is back in the game, as we test how he interacts with the new additions into StarCraft II. Of course, nothing is final though.

    3. What was the reasoning behind axing spell X (lockdown, mind control etc)? (

      As mentioned above in question 2, much like with units, we are also testing several new abilities for StarCraft II. If these abilities do not work as we would intend, it is always possible for a reintroduction of original abilities from the original StarCraft. We are constantly striving to improve and complement what has already been very successful with StarCraft for StarCraft II.

    4. Will there be a black player color? (

      We have tried using black, but it was too difficult to differentiate units on the mini-map from the fog of war.

    5. Will you be able to use custom army colors in the game? (

      In custom maps created through the Map Editor, players will be able to select any color for their factions. In multiplayer games, players will be able to choose between approximately 12-18 colors.

  3. Batch 13

    1. Are the Ultralisk making a return in SC2? (

      The Ultralisk figures heavily in our current plans, but as with everything else relating to units and balance, this is subject to change.

    2. Will there be in game voice chat supported in SC2? (

      Yes, there are plans to implement voice chat into, but details beyond that are yet to be announced.

    3. What are the system requirements ? (

      We are still optimizing the game and do not have minimum system requirements yet. Nonetheless, StarCraft II will require pixel shader 2.0 and at least 128mb of dedicated video RAM.

    4. Will we be seeing any hybrid units in StarCraft II? (

      We are planning to explore the mysteries surrounding the Xel'naga for the single player campaign. In the campaign you will encounter several unique units that would not otherwise be seen in multiplayer. At this time, you'll just have to wait and see.

    5. Does the Thor burn out like Terran buildings if it is damaged? (

      No, the Thor does not burn down like the Terran buildings. It will be like the other Terran vehicles, which are able to be repaired by the scv.

  4. Batch 14

    1. Will there be Vespene Gas deposits that yield better rates, the same as yellow crystals? (

      It is very likely that there will be higher yield Vespean Gas deposits, though we are being very careful in balancing this, since gas collection is based on a more linear rate of collection (3 collectors) versus mineral collection.

    2. What happens if you initiate the warp-in of a Protoss Stalker but the pylon providing power is destroyed before warp-in completes?

      If you lose the pylon providing power for the unit warping in, you will lose that unit, and the purchasing credits will likely be refunded.

    3. Could the Colossus be transported by the Phase Prism, since the Prism's crystal can turn any matter into energy? (

      Yes, the new Phase Prism now transports by changing the unit they wish to transport into energy, which is stored in the Phase Prism for transport. This allows the Phase Prism to be able to transport even gigantic units such as the Colossus.

    4. What happens if a Terran Battlecruiser targets a Protoss Stalker with the Yamato Cannon but the Stalker blinks away before the shot is completed?

      Currently, the shot from the Yamato Cannon will still track and hit the Protoss Stalker.

    5. Will Dark Templars be invisible when warping in, or susceptible to attack for a few seconds before it fades out?

      No, currently the Dark Templar will be invisible the instant it begins to warp-in, though of course we are still testing this for balance as it makes the Dark Templar quite strong in back door drops.

    6. Do the bunkers have any visual indication as to whether or not they're occupied?

      Currently the bunkers do not have any visual indications to whether it is occupied or not, but this is something we would like to change.

  5. Batch 15

    1. Can an upgraded command center be salvaged? Does it lose its mobility when upgraded to a surveillance station?

      No, the command center cannot be salvaged, nor can it lift off after it is upgraded to a Surveillance Station (allows the use of the Comsat ability).

      NOTE FROM PURPLEPOOT: for those people who don’t know what salvage is, it basically allows SCVs to ‘mine’ some buildings for resources.

    2. In Starcraft 1, when you cancel a nuclear launch that is in progress, you lose the warhead. Will Starcraft II make any changes to this setback? (

      Currently, if you cancel the nuke while it is firing, you will still lose the nuke. This outcome has not yet been finalized and may be changed in the final version.
    3. Can a Ghost be equipped with both a Nuke and Drop Pod simultaneously?

      Yes, any Ghost can launch either a Nuke or a Drop Pod, making the Ghost highly effective at responding to multiple battle circumstances.

    4. Will "caster" units, such as the Protoss High Templar, have a regular attack, like Tassadar had in SC1, or will they only be able to attack through their spells? (

      Currently, there are no plans to give the High Templar a physical attack, though High Templar Story Characters will have additional abilities beyond that of the standard unit. At the moment, the High Templar is one of best support units in the game, with the ability to cast a devastating Psi Storm or choke off crucial areas of the map with the force field ability. Once youve used up its energy, no worries, convert it into an Archon with another Templar.

    5. Can Marines be Stimmed while in a bunker? What about a Ghosts snipe ability?

      In the current build, abilities cannot be activated while inside a bunker, but you can activate abilities before entering a bunker. For example, if you activate Stim Pack on a few Marines, then enter a bunker, they will attack at the higher rate of fire from inside the bunker. The Stim Pack effects will still wear off as normal though.

  6. Batch 16

    1. Does the Time Bomb ability of the Mothership stop a Nuclear Missile (just like other missiles) when used on the area where the Nuclear Missile is about to explode? (

      The Time Bomb ability of the Mothership is designed to stop a Nuclear Missile if used at the right time, making a powerful counter in the hands of a skilled Protoss Player. This ability has still yet to go through the needed balance to make sure this is not over powering, but it is our intention to try and get that ability in the final version as designed.

    2. In the UI there are little boxes just to the right of the minimap that have numbers on them. How exactly do these function? Different gameplay screenshots suggest different functionality. (

      I believe the small boxes you are referring to are the Control Groups used to select multiple units at a time, making it faster to give attack and move orders.

    3. Does Drop Pads make new units or use this recruited before? (

      There are plans to have the drop pods be manually loaded with units created by the player, to better allow the player to adapt to their current tactical needs.

    4. What was the design team's rationale in adding a second siege style unit (Thor) to the Terran race? (

      The Thor's role compared to the Siege Tank, is more of an assault unit rather than a siege unit. The Thor is much more exposed when attacking an enemy location, while the Siege Tank has a much larger range and is able to hit the enemy at a larger distance.

    5. How do the Yamato and Plasma Torpedo upgrade work? Do you have to research these things only once or will you have to pay for each battle cruiser? (

      Battlecruisers can be upgraded individually with either a Yamato Gun or Plasma Torpedoes, but not both. After the Battlecruiser is upgraded, it can then use that particular special ability as long as it has enough energy to do so.

    6. "With MBS (Multiple Building Selection) and automine in the game, what macro-specific features are going to be added to make sure that the player always has as much to do on the macro side as he does micro? Will a player still be able to favor macro or micro according to his own style?" - FrozenArbiter (

      It is our goal to allow players to micro more vs. macro more. This is something that was great about the original StarCraft and it is something we want to maintain while we add new mechanics as well as interface features. We are still evaluating such features as automine as well as MBS. We don't have an answer for this at the moment, but we are working on it.

  7. Batch 17

    1. Will the defensive matrix of the Terran Nomad apply to enemy units within its AoE (Area of Effect)? (

      Yes, the Terran Nomads Defense Matrix ability will affect both friendly and enemy units, thus using this ability on a position that the player can hold will be wise.

    2. What helps to delineate the Thor and Battlecruiser as both being high-tier support units? Lots of concern over this duality? (

      Currently, the Thor has splash damage, whereas the Battlecruiser has direct damage in its attack. We definitely agree with most of the community that the Thors role overlaps with various other roles on the Terran Faction, thus we may modify that role or possibly cut the unit.

    3. Will there be any consideration of having an oceanic server? (

      Unfortunately, this has not been decided yet, as many aspects of has still yet to be implemented.

    4. Will the Protoss Colossus be able to walk over Supply Depots like over cliffs? (

      This is an issue that is still being discussed quite a bit. We like how when enemy units enter your base, they are forced to deal with the layout of your base, but at the same time we are also dealing with the realism factor, where cliff climbing Colossuses ought to be able to step over Supply Depots. Many issues we face are similar to those debated amongst the community, and for this particular topic we dont yet have a final answer.

    5. An obvious goal (among many) for Starcraft2 is to maintain the profile of being an E-Sport. What facet do you consider more integral to the growth of that ideal: An extremely high skill ceiling that demands years upon years to achieve mastery, or an extraordinarily large base of interested players to provide the attention that such a sport needs in order to succeed and grow? Obviously both are important, but when it comes to design ideals, what has more pull? Accessibility or Longevity? Mora (

      I think for e-sport we need the high skill ceiling. Though really as you say, both are very important. As designers we have spent years focusing on accessibility. Ideas must be accessible to even be put into the game. So we are just not as worried about making the game accessible. That will happen. What we are focused on, what is the more challenging problem is making the game last for years and years and years. So in our development cycle at the moment, longevity definitely has the larger pull. Longevity is the harder problem to solve, so we put way more effort into making the game as challenging as possible to master. Dustin Browder, Lead Designer of StarCraft II

    6. How will unit collision and stacking be handled ? Can flying units pass on top the Colossus or is it blocking ? (

      No, the Colossus will not block a flying unit.

      In terms of collision and stacking, units first always follow your order, and when it completes your order, they will stop and spread out. The area in which those units spread out will be slightly less than in the original StarCraft.

  8. Batch 18 - About ScumEdit - Answers from Brett Wood, the coder of the various Blizzard World Editors

    1. Will doodad placement values increase? (ie, more than 256)
      We expect the doodad placement value will be on the same order as Warcraft III, which I believe was something like 10,000, so definitely way more than 256.

    2. Will the number of available locations/triggers increase? The current limit on locations really cramps some ideas.
      Any limits on both regions and triggers will be at least in the thousands.

    3. Will the new map editor include ALL the triggers in the program unlike Staredit?
      Yes, even more so than Warcraft IIIs WorldEdit. We've been making a point of ensuring that ALL script functionality is also exposed in the Trigger Editor UI.

    4. Will max unit limits increase? The current unit limit on maps is quite a crimper, and nobody likes CCMU (cannot create more units).
      I don't recall the exact unit limit in the original StarCraft, but the StarCraft II limit will likely be a healthy boost over the limit in Warcraft III. The exact value hasnt been nailed down yet and will depend on optimizations near the end of the project (i.e. shortly before release).

    5. Will the new map editor include unused units such as the crashed scouts, turrets, eggs, nukes, scarabs, crash command center, etc? Third party programs were needed to use these.
      All units defined in the data files will be usable in the editor. I believe this was true in Warcraft III as well.

  9. Batch 19

    1. Will the Protoss be getting any mechanism for healing their units or repairing their buildings?

      There are no plans to give the Protoss any healing abilities, especially since their shield regeneration rate when out of combat, is more than twice the rate of the original StarCraft.

    2. With the new physics engine, can explosions affect surroundings? (like hurt or push units, destroy doodads, etc ) (

      Explosions will not be able to push units, but they can destroy doodads. In fact, destroying certain doodads will be vital on certain maps, to get access to expansions or other strategic locations. Furthermore, explosions will not be able to push units because it would affect gameplay and balance negatively, in having units be knocked off cliffs, be stuck in unplanned locations, or ultimately have units disoriented where the player cannot control them.

    3. How long does a unit typically take to make from concept to playable unit?

      With a finished concept piece, it could take from a few days to a few months, to create it for the game. Much of this time depends on the priority of the unit amongst other development goals, as well as the iterations necessary to perfect the unit. The Zerg Baneling is an example of a unit that took only a few days to complete after the concept, whereas the Protoss Stalker has gone through several iterations, and has taken 4-5 months.

    4. Are the units on the official site finalized, or is everything still up for grabs at this point? (

      We are still heavily in the development phase of StarCraft II, thus none of the units on the website are 100% final. We are also still testing out several new units, abilities, and mechanics, to create the most fluid StarCraft II experience.

    5. What do the Protoss eat? (where do they get energy and mass?) (

      Protoss gain nutrition from sunlight, or at a pinch, moonlight (which is just reflected sunlight anyway) by absorbing through their skins. They can go for extended periods without absorbing sunlight. What little moisture they need is also absorbed through their skin.

  10. Batch 20

    1. Will it be possible to give more fluid and realistic movements to small aircraft with proper banking and turning rather than just abrupt sprite-style direction changes?

      We are currently in the process of implementing banking animations for flying units, but playability always comes first. If the animations affect playability negatively, it could get cut.

    2. With the Reavers no longer in the game, will the Protoss have any units capable of performing brutal worker raids? (

      The Colossus is an excellent choice for worker raids, since it is able to attack from higher elevations, and can be transported by the Phase Prism. In addition, we are exploring some ideas for the Twilight Archon that would allow him to make devastating attacks on enemy workers.

    3. Will there be a escort ship for Battlecrusier because Protoss have like many kinds of capital ships?

      With the Predator unit cut, the Viking is now the primary Terran air to air fighter. In addition, the Viking no longer requires an upgrade to transform between a ground and air unit and is also built directly from the Starport rather than the Factory.

    4. Will there be units who can trample opponents (such as an Ultralisk)? (

      Currently, there are no units that trample, but have discussed this idea as a possibility. Nonetheless, we also hit the dilemma of having a trample unit that is able to destroy enemy unit assets far beyond its own cost of the trample unit, with relatively little micro.

    5. Will siege tanks be able to shoot at targets in the fog of war picked up by sensor towers, but not yet confirmed by visual sighting?

      No. Siege Tanks will only be able to hit targets within visual range. In addition, Siege Tanks firing from the fog of war, such as on an unseen cliff, will not reveal its location from the fog of war to its enemy, thus will not be able to be return fired upon.
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Level 40
Dec 14, 2005
  1. Batch 21

    1. Do you have any plan to put the auto-casting ability into StarCraft II units, just like in Warcraft III?

      At the moment, Medics are the only units that we have deemed fit to have an auto-cast ability. StarCraft II, compared to Warcraft III, has fewer abilities but are much more potent when executed properly, thus making them manual cast will give players a huge opportunity to demonstrate much skill in the game.

    2. Would you make it possible for players on observing mode to check various information including a mini map, upgrading status, and resource status on a personal window? If not, would you consider developing this function?

      These are all great ideas and we will work to get these in for observing mode. We will be working hard to have the observing mode innovative and comprehensive, building upon all the features that were in our previous RTS titles, as well as other titles in the market.

    3. Will the story of StarCraft II be continued right from where the original StarCraft story ended? Or, will it begin at the moment after some amount of time passed since the last time of the original StarCraft?

      The StarCraft II storyline will continue 4 years after the events of Brood War.

    4. It is not possible to watch how a mouse was moved in a saved replay game. Could you make this possible to see the movement of mouse?

      We would also like the mouse to be viewable in saved replays, however, it may be more likely that well have the options to show both the view of the players playing as well as selection icons of the units being currently selected in the replay.

    5. When grouping units to a control group, how many units could be added to one group?

      Currently, players are able to select more than 150 units in a single control group. The final actual number will be determined by hardware performance tests on the game, but should still be close to that number.

    6. Players often tend to stack up workers and air units looking as one group in original StarCraft. Will this still be possible in StarCraft II?

      In StarCraft II, this is harder to do than in the original StarCraft, but still possible. Units tend to group together more and more with each manual attack order. As long as you keep giving that manual attack order upon a target certain attacking units of the same type will group closer together. When the unit attacked upon is destroyed or the units become idle, they will naturally spread out again.

  2. Batch 22 - Map Maker Series

    1. Will you finally be able to mix and match terrain types instead of being stuck on jungle, twilight, etc?

      [Dustin Browder] Yes terrain texture is mixable now. Also tilesets are also mixable.
      [Brett Wood] Essentially, you can define your own tileset in the editor, something that wasnt really supported even in Warcraft III.

    2. Will the new StarCraft II Map Editor support text coloring, unit coloring, player "12" (i.e. neutral player) units?

      [Dustin Browder] Yes, all of these features will be supported.

    3. Will maps be larger than 256x256?

      [Brett Wood] The maximum map size will still be 256x256, and we have no plans to increase that.

    4. Will the new map editor support locking maps? People hate losing credit for a map.

      [Dustin Browder] Yes, we are planning to support this feature. We hope that this feature will give the modding community more incentive to create their own original maps.

    5. Will the new map editor support "square" terrain building as well?

      [Dustin Browder] Yes. In the editor, users can adjust the footprint of buildings to whatever shape and size they like.

  3. Batch 23

    1. Will the Campaign have as many videos as the original Starcraft? (

      There will be several more in-game cutscenes, which are at a much higher quality than the original StarCraft pre-rendered movies. And while StarCraft II's single player will likely feature a few less pre-rendered movies, they will be much longer and more epic than anything seen in the original StarCraft.

    2. Is the ghost unit going to be able to use the EMP Shockwave and -within short time interval- the Nuclear Strike as well? (

      Currently, there is no restriction to when you can follow up a special ability with another, as long as there are available energy points.

    3. Will the Ghost's EMP affect building shields and energy? (

      Yes, the Ghosts EMP ability currently affects both building and unit shields, as well as casters energy. It is important to note that there is a possibility the Ghost may lose its EMP ability due to balance.

    4. Will there be some sort of wall structure in StarCraft, for any of the races? (

      Aside from building current structures close to each other to form walls, such as a line of Terran Supply Depots, no, there will not be walls that can be built. On the other hand, there will be some new wall structures in the single player mode and these doodads can also be accessed in the map editor.

    5. Will the game feature a mechanic similar to Warcraft 3 where if a selection of units contains more than one unit type then the whole selection will move at the speed of the slowest unit to maintain cohesion? (

      No, units in the same selection will not move at the same speeds. The slower units will need to be micromanaged by the players to keep up with the larger group.

  4. Batch 24

    1. Will there be a way for fan sites to parse replays uploaded to their website so they can pull information such as race, player names, map, etc.? (

      Exact details have not been finalized, but we do plan to create a much more robust way of being able to search and share replays in game.

    2. The Soul Hunter was considered a good counter unit against the Zerg; why did you remove the Soul Hunter from StarCraft II?

      There were a couple of reasons, but one of the more important ones is that it was difficult to make it easily readable in big battles when the Soul Hunter had upgraded. Another reason is that this unit was way too targeted against the Zerg, since they have so many low hit point units, as opposed to other factions.

    3. Has the Merc Haven been removed since the Reaper is built from the Barracks? If so, whats replacing it (if anything)? (

      The Merc Haven has been brought back in for the current build. It currently needs a Factory as a prerequisite, and is a prerequisite building to build Reapers from the Barracks.

    4. Will "Unlockable Content" be included with the game, such as Art Packs, Secret Maps and Missions, Extra Units, and Special Sounds and Movies? (

      We are exploring the possibility of having various types of art unlockables, which may include some in-game decals.

    5. Is it possible to build Phase Cannons, turn them into energy and then move them across the map to your opponents base or an expansion, redeploying them using a Phase Prism? (

      Yes, this tactic will be possible.

    6. How does a Zerg Overlord fly? (

      To fly, the Zerg Overlord uses gas sacs (filled with helium) combined with a weak telekinetic psi-ability for lift and motive power.

  5. Mini-Q&A: Happy Holidays thread

    1. Can the Nomad's auto-turrets attack air units?

      No, the auto-turrets currently only attack ground. Nonetheless, with their rapid fire rate, they are excellent for worker raids and supporting an engaging battle.

    2. Will the Nomad build other mechanisms besides the auto-turrets?

      Yes, the Nomad will be able to build multiple stationary defenses. We are currently testing a few of these, to see which will fit the best for the Nomad.
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Level 40
Dec 14, 2005
This section will briefly describe the units of the various races (Terran, Protoss, Zerg), as well as give links to longer explanations and images of those units in action.

Note: Only units listed on are listed here, more will come as the site is updated.


  • Zealot: Seems to move faster initially than in StarCraft, can upgrade a Charge ability which allows it to rapidly close in on targets from range (passive)

  • Stalker: Much like StarCraft’s Dragoon, an upgrade to acquire Blink adds a new and potent weapon into the Stalker’s arsenal. It also seems to have different Ground and Air attacks meaning it can fire one after the other.

  • Immortal: Effectively a Dragoon whose air attack is scrapped in favor of an enhanced shield; it does not seem to protect the Immortal against small attacks, but powerful attacks are hugely reduced in damage versus the Immortal’s shields.

  • Phase Prism: The Phase Prism is StarCraft II’s Shuttle unit for the Protoss, and comes with a catch; it can channel an ability that maintains power in an area around it, as if a Pylon were there.

  • Phoenix: The Phoenix is an air superiority fighter which can also combat ground to a lesser degree. It has considerably average health and damage, with a special Overload ability, which allows it to fire at several enemy air units nearby at the same time, at the cost of being completely paused for a few seconds after the channeling completes.

  • Colossus: Fulfilling similar roles to StarCraft’s Reaver, the Colossus quickly and effectively massacres small ground targets. It can switch targets very quickly, and its ability to walk over cliffs (and other units) will add some interesting new tactics to it. However, it can be attacked by both anti-ground and anti-air attacks, and presumably the stronger of the two will be used to determine which is fired at it.

  • Warp Ray: An anti-capital ship air unit, which deals increasing damage the longer it attacks a single target. Very effective against buildings and large ships (such as Battlecruisers), but not as effective versus smaller targets such as marines.

  • Twilight Archon: Formed by either merging: Two Dark Templar, One of each of a Dark Templar and High Templar, or Two High Templar, the Twilight Archon is a combination of StarCraft’s famous Archon and Dark Archon. It will wield stats and an attack similar to that of the Archon (relative to global stat changes of course), and will wield the Feedback ability of the Dark Archon. However, the Feedback ability is not confirmed; it was present in the BlizzCon build, but there is no guarantee we will see it when StarCraft II hits the shelves.

  • Dark Templar: Mostly the same as the original, there’s really nothing different to say about the Dark Templar. If you haven’t played StarCraft, it’s a high-tier infantry unit that deals massive damage and has low life, and is permanently invisible.

  • Mothership: While controversial, the current build of the Mothership is a non-unique build. It cannot attack air but wields a powerful anti-ground attack. It has three abilities.
    The first, Cloaking Field, allows it to channel this ability to cloak nearby allies, not including itself (but including buildings!).
    The second, Time Bomb, presumably slows movement, and completely stops enemy projectiles in a small area. Much like a buffed-up Disruption Web, Time Bomb will most likely even stop Nuclear Missiles.
    The last, Planet Cracker, causes a beam of high-powered energy to be channeled downwards from the Mothership; as the Mothership moves this beam will go with it, devastating all in its path.

  • Carrier: Same as in StarCraft, the Carrier is back and ready to rock. For those of you who didn’t play the original, the Carrier has no attack of its own, but unleashes swarms of interceptors (built inside it) to do its work for it, meaning it has very nice range and is devastating to small targets, while not as effective versus larger ones. It’s a capital ship.

  • Observer: Same as in StarCraft, the Observer is a cheap flying unit with no attack, sporting low health and shields, detection capability, and a cloaking field.

  • Gateway: Standard troop production facility.

  • Stargate: Standard airship production facility.

  • Warpgate: Upgraded from the Gateway, the Warpgate may warp in units anywhere on Pylon power, with a cooldown. These units can be attacked while “building” much the same way as a Protoss building may be attacked while warping in.


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Level 40
Dec 14, 2005


  • Marine: He’s back from StarCraft, packing as much of a punch as ever! Still has Stim Packs, and can now upgrade a Combat Shield for +15 health. Still the basic Terran infantry.

  • Reaper: Wielding anti-ground dual pistols, Reapers may jump over cliffs and thus get around much faster than most units. They can toss a special explosive charge which detonates after a set time, dealing heavy damage to an area. Secondary infantry unit.

  • Ghost: Even more the stealthy sniper than he was in StarCraft, the Ghost has lost Lockdown but has gained two new abilities to make him even more of a force to be reckoned with. Snipe allows him to deal lethal damage to infantry targets after a set channeling time, while Drop Pods allow him to call squads of infantry down on the battlefield, much like a Nuclear Strike (which he still has).

  • Viking: Half goliath, half wraith, the Viking is an amazingly versatile unit, able to adapt to many situations with the click of a button. In ground mode, it can only attack ground targets, but has powerful double chainguns. In flying mode, it can only attack air targets, with powerful air-to-air missiles. Thus, in both forms, it is a force to be reckoned with. It’ll really be a pain to have a few of these guys in your mineral line!

  • Banshee: A fearsome air-to-ground fighter, the Banshee has a personal cloaking field at its disposal and unleashes streams of rockets at enemies. Its attack does not do huge damage to any single target, but deals damage to a large area as it fires, much like the Valkyrie from StarCraft, but anti-ground only instead of anti-air only.

  • Thor: A giant behemoth of a machine so large that it must be constructed by an SCV, allowing for incredible flexibility in production. The Thor can attack both ground and air targets, as well as having a special channeled Bombard Cannon which deals massive damage to an area. Its main weakness is its slow turn rate, which allows quicker enemies to take advantage of this weakness to overpower it without much loss.

  • Battlecruiser: The Battlecruiser is still the flagship of the Terran armada, however instead of having one pathetic-looking but powerful attack, it shoots a stream of (what look one-by one pathetic) lasers that in total deal massive damage. In addition to the ever-popular Yamato Cannon from StarCraft, Plasma Torpedoes may also be researched which deal significant damage to an area. Each battlecruiser can be customized to pick which of these two upgrades it uses.

  • Nomad: Replacing the Science Vessel, the Nomad is in many ways a flying SCV. As of current community knowledge, it has a nano-repair ability which instantly/rapidly repairs a large amount of health (much like a bigger version of the medic's Heal, but not used as often), an area of effect Defensive Matrix which also protects enemies in the area, and the ability to build various types of stationary defences, such as Auto-turrets.

  • Siege Tank: It's back, and it's bigger. People who played the BlizzCon beta said it costs 3 food now, and more resources. The new "Crucio" design (StarCraft 2) also apparently has a larger turret and heavier armor than the "Arclite" design (StarCraft), and thus will probably be a lot more deadly than the original Arclite Siege Tank already was. Also, it is better in 'Assault' (movement) mode than the traditional Arclite, making it more valuable than just an artillery siege/defence unit, as a mobile combat unit.

  • Command Center: Still the center of a Terran base and economy. Now, the Command Center flies faster and may carry five SCVs, allowing for rapid transit while lifted off, or simply to protect your precious workers during a raid. The Command Center now has no addons, but may be upgraded into either a Sensory Station or a Planetary Fortress. The Sensory Station has a scanning ability much like the ComSat Station from StarCraft, while the Planetary Fortress has a powerful attack. However, neither of these upgrades may lift off, be salvaged, or de-upgrade themselves.

  • Sensor Tower/Radar Tower: Provides detection to nearby missile turrets and can detect enemies itself. The sensor tower can be upgraded into a Radar Tower, which allows it to detect nearby enemies that are in the fog of war. Rather than showing which enemies these are, it will simply show a red exclamation mark surrounded by a circle, and a glowing dot on the minimap. For now, it is unclear whether the Radar Tower has been preserved or the Sensor Tower will innately have all its bonuses.


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