The Zerg, right now

Right now, a few weeks after release of StarCraft II, there is a growing awareness that Zerg:

  • Has units which are relatively weak for their cost
  • Requires unfair amounts of management to be effective
  • Should be simplified to allow players to focus better
  • Should be made more powerful to reward such focus

Any combination of these points. I say that it’s a growing ‘awareness’ and not a growing ‘opinion’ because I think it’s undeniably true. I have no doubt that the Zerg will be made stronger in the next balance patch, despite the fact that Blizzard is refusing to seriously acknowledge that there is a balance issue at the moment.

Zerg problems

Most popular topics on StarCraft II Official Forums

According to Blizzard there are promising statistical changes depending on the region the game is played in. They essentially say that North Americans are narrow-minded about how to play and haven’t discovered the right strategies to using Zerg effectively. They reference their own internal data to support this.

American players aren’t buying it, and have been accusing Blizzard of everything from just being greedy and not caring, to purposely making Terrans more powerful so that the Zerg expansion will boost Zerg and make the expansion feel more powerful. Blizzard’s representatives have actually denied the latter accusation.

In any case, this is Blizzard’s general stance on balance patching:

Dustin Browder: Yeah, absolutely. In terms of balance, we’ll do whatever is necessary at the time. Obviously, we’re going to continue to be as cautious as we dare, where we want make sure the community has had the chance to play with new stuff, and they get a chance to play with it, and that they are, in fact, identifying a problem for us correctly. But, the minute we know a problem is real, you know that we’re convinced that it’s got to be changed, we’re going to try to get a patch out there as soon as is humanly possible because we don’t want people playing with stuff that we know is broken. It drives us crazy as much as it does the guys playing it because we’re playing with you guys every night too.

Personally, as I’ve been trying to get better with Zerg, I’ve found that they are extremely difficult to play with. Perhaps this is because I have been making bad assumptions, but the question always boils down to how tricky or difficult it should have to be to simply play a race properly. Spreading creep tumors, building replacement Drones to fill the void left by morphing them into buildings, spawning larva every half minute, being unable to queue build commands due to to the fact that Drones are sacrificed upon building, being unable to queue the production of units due to the Larva aspect of production, as well as upgrading the Hatchery/Lair are all added trickery that the other races don’t have to worry about. They are a very frustrating race that — according to the latest supporters — are designed to utilize “trick strategies” and “map control” above actual combat and attack forces. In a one-to-one ratio of fighting units, Zerg loses.

Protoss literally warps in a building and then goes back to work. SCVs can not only repair buildings and units, but can be set to “auto-repair”, meaning that they will act as medics for mechanical units in the field! They can be loaded into the Command Center or Bunkers for protection in the early game, while Drones need to have a Lair before they can research Burrow, which allows them to simply become invisible without detectors.

All in all, I have found it much easier and more fun to play as the other races, which is too bad. I look forward to the patches, because this game needs them.

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About Mr. Wolfe
Mr. Wolfe has earned somewhat of a reputation due to his commendable feats of self-restraint while discussing and analyzing the world around him.

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