Welcome everyone to the StarCraft II: What’s Next review. Were hoping to follow up on that exciting announcement that StarCraft II would be moving to a free play model. We’ve got the panel walking out to the stage with Day9 leading the panel tonight. Chris Reed, David Sum, Michael Scipone, Valerie Waltrise, and Travis Castillo on the panel.
Chris begins the panel, thanks everyone on the team and the fans of SC2. Opens by mentioning that SC2 is evolving. Clarity was a big priority for the team. They will be simplifying everything starting with the name. No longer Legacy of the Void, it will just be Starcraft II from now. Multiplayer is now called versus, to clarify between that and co-op.
They move into chat about F2P, they talk about just wanting to give you more stuff. Talks about the free stuff in the Starter Edition. Wings Of Liberty will be entirely free in the F2P model. Day9 asks about ranked, and Chris mentions that you will have to earn your way into ranked play. You will have to complete “First Win of the Day” 10 times in order to open up ranked ladder. A very interesting concept. Talked about not wanting to introduce a currency into the game to unlock options in the F2P model. Mentions Co-Op and all commanders will be free up to level 5.
Day9 moves onto the new commander, Han and Horner with David. Shows some video with Merc Tech, seems to upgrade mech and air units. Makes a comment on this commander is unique based on their backstory. So he provides the basic buildings and she attaches upgrade buildings to them. New Unit, Bomber Platform, the new units can be shot down. Buildings will rebuild automatically. Another unit, Assault Galleon, functions as Han’s building structure, seems like a super version of a Protoss Carrier. Very interesting unit for Co-Op. Moves onto the Horner’s ultimate, Call in the Fleet, which seems like Raynor’s Battlecrusier in Heroes of the Storm. Horner’s is called Space Station Reallocation where she teleports a space station into an enemy grouping and lots of explosions.
They move onto a new mission, thanks to the community participation competition, Rock the Cabinet, named Part and Parcel. Talks about wanting to stay true to the original map, adding new bosses, and new effects. Mentions that Val wrote the script for General Davis and talks about it going into the map pool soon. Talks about the new boss fights. Both maps are available on the blizzcon floor at this point. Moving onto next part of commander and the next patch will include random commander and mutation challenges needing level 5 removed. Still looking at leaderboard and future war chest to give XP boosts and even more commanders.
Day9 moves onto the design patch, mentions it not being a balance patch with Michael directing the conversation. They want to see what the gamestate is and make targeted changes. Things they look to change are sudden game ending moments, making support units effective in smaller numbers, promote player control over game state and ensuring units having a unique role. Goes into changes, Protoss: Mothership Core removed, and shield battery added. Talk about wanting to diffuse defensive options for Protoss into other units.
Raven for Terran, has new abilities, the missle has changed and it now reduces armor instead of massive damage. Adds repair drone, seems pretty obvious. Also interference matrix will disable mech and psionic units can stuff protoss warps, single target.
Fungal on infestor is a slow instead of a hold. Infested marines now have an anti-air role as well. Talks about moving onto the future and how design patches aren’t the end but the start of balance tuning. They don’t want big yearly patches but only as needed, as the same with balance, and obviously respecting player time investment.
Day9 moves onto the shadow wars comics in the first war chest with Valerie. Gives a brief rundown on what was going on with what the comics. Talks very deep story in the comics, Day9 asks about the characters, which center around Urun for Protoss, Elms for Terrans and Niadra for Zerg. She mentions that there will be bigger issues and a new artist for the next few issues. Talks about how the comics will have far reaching consquences for everyone and we’ll seem some familar faces. They show some teasers which seem interesting.
Day9 moves it onto skins with Travis. Want to incorporate lore, fantasy, and functionality. Travis talks about how they try not to limit themselves in the beginning and modify things to reality in the StarCraft Universe. Seems like a pretty decent way of working things. Mentions that their process can be slightly haphazard at times, shows an example how they transitionied to the Aquatic Broodlord. Mentions that they also have to respect things like hitboxes when modifying a look for a unit. Move onto the Purifier Protoss, mentions they were very fun to work on. Wanted to keep them sleek and clean looking. Move onto Primal Zerg and wanting to keep them like dinosaurs, which really make a lot of sense, finally moving onto Terran and the Miras Maruaders and wanting to get a bit of a junker/Mad Max vibe to them. They gave giant exhaust to everything, even talked about utilizing a muscle car’s exhaust for SFX. Talks about adding new particle effect as well as sound effects. Day9 talks about it being in the 2nd War Chest.
Q&A Round, a Mira Han comes up. Asks about Matthew. Nice joke. Next question. In light of F2P, what work if any will be used to give players feedback over time for new players. Day9 extends to new players. They have nothing to announce at the moment, but are looking into way to help new players and its a goal for them moving forward. Next question. Wants to know if random commander will give extra XP, wants to know if free commanders will bank XP. Short answer is no for both questions.
Next question is a story question, wants to know if they’ll see anything from shadow war in game. Val mentions that their focus is on co-op, but mentions to watch for the comics. Next question is there any changes to install since the game is so huge. They’re looking into streamlining the experence. Next question is about the editor, like server side banks. No plans. A Stukov walks up with a question. Wants to know if 2 in 1 will be more often or if its just a one shot. They answer it’s just a one shot unless, Day9 jokes there should be a Tasteless and Day9 co-commander. Next question is about the ETA for War Chest 2, an announcement is coming very soon.
And that wraps up the StarCraft 2: What’s Next panel. Thanks for reading everyone!