Well, little Zerglings and wanna-be Zealots, the time of the Beta (ver 1.0) is almost at an end. As of June 7, 2010 this thing is supposedly shutting down, but is scheduled to open up again before the game itself see the light of day.
Back on June 2nd, Blizzard released patch 14 for the Beta, tweaking (in large part) the friendly and gregarious Zerg. There were more Ultralisk buffs added, including greater out-of-the-sac movement speed, and some of the upgrades for Roaches and Infestors were removed and instead included in the purchase price.
Since the sunset of the Beta was rapidly approaching, many assumed that patch 14 would be the last patch any of us would see before the Zerg Sheriff rode (slithered?) off into the sunset.
Working themselves to the bone, Blizz released patch 15 as of June 4, 2010. This one included changes (supposedly improvements) to the placement system for leagues and ladders, and made it so that you can’t place into the Diamond League no matter how hard you try. After doing your placement matches and getting recognized for your skills as a Platinum club member, you can be promoted to the Diamond league on the basis of good performance, as well as sales numbers.
This of course came with another server wipe, depriving many young men of their hard-won Beta ePeens, but that’s just hilarious, and doesn’t really affect us since we’re always low silver or high bronze.
But the main thrust of patch 15 seemed to be to kick the Terran Siege tank in the proverbial nuts.
A few patches ago, Blizz changed how splash damage worked. Instead of originating at the front of a target, it now comes from the middle. Under the old system, if you shot the leader in a group of 50 Marines, you might only get a few of them – say 5. The new way allowed for mass devastation of Marines and other light Biologicals with Siege Tanks. Trust us, we know, and not from being the side that had the Tanks.
When Sieged, the Tanks not only did 60 damage, but did it nice and rapidly.
Now, they’re only going to do 50.
In practice, this means that Combat-Shielded Marines will take two hits to kill instead of one, Zealots will take four, and Roaches will take three. It will also now take four shots to kill an enemy Siege Tank.
So although Blizz is packing up its things and getting ready to leave Betaville, at least for a while, they remembered to leave their Nerf bat out in case they needed it.
Frankly, we’re on the fence about this one anyway. When we play Terran and use tanks, we love the damage they do – not so much when we’re Zerg or Protoss though.
We realize it’s all about balance, and while the Siege Tank does need to be one of the pre-eminent ground units on the battlefield, it can’t be the game-killer for any fielded ground force. Sure, everyone loves to own their opponent in one quick strike, but being owned that way gets tiring after a while.
Blizzard is seeking balance, and apparently Yoga, Tai Chi and Chai Tea aren’t doing the trick. Unless they’re out there, swinging that damn Nerf bat around, they’re just not happy campers.
While we’re sad to see the Beta go, we do think they’ve made significant improvements to the game in the last few months, and are looking forward to trying out the (almost) finished product when the Beta returns.
And while we know that our Tanks won’t be as powerful as they once were, that won’t lessen our enjoyment of watching our squad of 15 destroy any incoming ground force sent their way. So what if it takes a little longer? It still looks awesome.
You know what they say – Siegeing is believing.
Ok, they don’t say that.
(Siege Tank hits you for 50! You die.)