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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Desert Strike

We haven't talked about any UMS since we moved the blog, so we're going to plug one of the most popular maps on right now: Desert Strike.

It's a classic tug of war map which focuses on the classic concept of using a worker to build spawning structures which in turn spawn creeps at regular timed intervals. This allows the players to create a constant flow of troops while choosing to focus on economy, tech, or unit upgrades . You can compose an army of your liking, and choose to either counter or out-mass your opponents.The map also plays on some new original abilities which allow you to add additional offensive or defensive measures (as seen in the video). Also following suit with many other tug of war maps, the author (squarelycircle) adds his unique version of sudden death which pits a final wave of each team's army composition against each other should the game reach a point where the critical mass of units causes far too much lag. Feel free to try it out.

I'll also toss out a blog question related to the topic for today:

What's your favorite UMS map that you've played since the release of Starcraft 2? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Potential Starcraft Movie

According to Rob Pardo (executive vice-president of game design at Blizzard), Activision-Blizzard is open to a potential Starcraft film. He stated that "it's really important to us that we find creative people that are really talented but also really excited about our properties. I think if Jim Cameron came to us tomorrow and said, 'You want to make a 'StarCraft' movie?' we'd probably sign that." The director of the 2009/2010 blockbuster Avatar is currently tied up in various other projects, so the chances of this happening in the near future are quite slim. There is a shining light in the distance for Blizzard fans though - a World of Warcraft movie currently being directed by Spiderman director Sam Raimi.


I'm disappointed with the fact that these movies will/would be going in the live-action route, as we've all seen how beautiful Blizzard cinematic CGI can turn out. Would you prefer a live-action or CGI movie? Let me know in the comments.

A Lesson in Starcraft


While university classes in Starcraft were somewhat heard of in many top tier universities in Asia, it never quite appeared to have a practical use, that is until now. Pioneering universities such as the University of Florida and University of California-Berkeley have begun teaching Starcraft classes. Ph.D candidate Nate Poling's (University of Florida) studies suggest the stress and micromanagement aspects of Starcraft have practical applications in the real world. Using his classes, he believes he can teach his students to be better critical and consequential thinkers in situations of extreme stress when in the working environment, making them primary candidates for managerial positions. Do you think this is a relevant and practical application of the skills required in Starcraft?

Starcraft 2 iPhone App.

Soon you'll be able to control your units in Starcraft 2 using either your iPhone or iPad. The application will allow you to perform all basic unit functions, abilities, and movements. This is somewhat ideal for someone who has to leave their computer for a short period of time during a UMS game - not so much for a legitimate ranked melee game.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

HuK Takes MLG Raleigh 2010


HuK (left) took the MLG championship for Starcraft 2 in a 4-2 victory against Kiwikaki in an epic PvP battle. HuK made off with over $7000 in prizes, and the top 8 also received some consolation prize money. MLG Raleigh left us with some great games, great moments, and great learning experiences.


MLG Raleigh Finals Moments Away

We are just minutes away from the MLG finals which will see HuK facing off against Kiwikaki for more than $7000 in prizes. HuK, who had previously knocked Kiwikaki into the losers bracket, is at a 2-1 advantage before the series even begins. In a best of 7 series, Kiwikaki will have his work cut out for him. Best of luck to both contestants.


MLG SC2 Finals



The winner of the upper bracket will proceed to play the winner of the lower bracket in the finals. Stay tuned to the MLG stream as the final stages of the MLG Raleigh Starcraft 2 tournament continues.

MLG Raleigh Loses Its Last Zerg Player

Slush, the final Zerg player at MLG Raleigh was eliminated today by TTOne in a 2-0 match-up with two big all-in pushes. There happened to be quite a small amount of Zerg players at Raleigh, and even arguably the best Zerg player in the world, IdrA, did not show up. IdrA remained in Korea this week with Artosis and many of the best players in the world to play in a qualifying tournament.

Only Protoss and Terran players remain, with one of the big favorites being HuK. An old friend of mine (Cauthonlock) happens to be doing quite well in the tournament as well; so he's my "dark horse" for this event.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Which race will win MLG Raleigh?

A poll on GameBattles heavily favored a Terran to win MLG Raleigh, with Protoss following in second, and Zerg a close third. Most of the community is under the impression that the game is broken in terms of balance, and at a certain point, I was too. That is... until a friend showed me this:


MLG Raleigh is Live!

The stream is live ladies and gentlemen. All of the games will of course be posted on either Husky, JP, or Day9's Youtube channel.

So I finally got the new blog up and running today, and this week we saw some big things in the Starcraft 2 universe. In the finals we had Idra vs. MorroW in which Idra felt a crushing 3-2 defeat. I won't go into much detail since this is a bit old, but there seemed to be a lot of controversy on with a few players who many in the community deemed shouldn't even be there, MorroW being one of them. It's evident that those invited were invited for a reason and the backlash from the community was completely unnecessary and unwarranted.

On to some more recent news: MLG Raleigh is right around the corner, kicking off today (August 27th) with a huge single elimination tournament housing hundreds of the best players from around the world. Casters include none other than Day[9], HDStarcraft (J.P.), and HDHuskey.

The rules can be found at:

While the actual live MLG stream can be found here:

The last big thing we saw this week were some significantly game changing patch notes ( Unfortunately these won't be implemented in time for Raleigh, but as long as they're getting it done:

We have two key changes in mind for the zealot: the build time is being increased from 33 to 38 seconds, and the warpgate cooldown is being increased from 23 to 28 seconds. Zealot rushes are currently too powerful at various skill levels, particularly those that rely on rapidly assaulting an enemy base from nearby "proxy" gateways. We feel the window players have to scout for and fend off this rush is too small. We also want to address the problem of protoss being able to dump minerals a bit too quickly with the combination of warpgates and Chrono Boost.
 One major problem with the zealot build time nerf is that conventional non-rushing players will be crippled horribly in the early game, especially when Protoss has a significant inability to defend against early pushes. On the other hand, the warpgate cooldown is completely warranted and while slightly altering the mid-game, has no "major" adverse effects.

There are several changes in the works for terrans. Reapers against zerg are stronger than expected. Due to the zealot build time increase, reapers would be a bit problematic in combination with proxy barracks, bunkers, and/or marauders against protoss. Therefore, we have decided to increase the build time of reapers as well from 40 to 45 seconds. Fast reaper + bunker, or fast marine + bunker rushes are problematic against zerg. Although this rush would never outright destroy the zerg player, we feel zerg suffers too much of a disadvantage from either having to cancel the fast expansion, or getting trapped inside the main base for too long, so we are also increasing the bunker build time from 30 to 35 seconds.

Siege tanks in large numbers are performing too well in all matchups. In the mid- to late-game, siege tanks are too dominant against all ground units. We want a small set of light and unarmored ground units to perform better against siege tanks. With this in mind, we're changing the Siege Mode damage of the siege tank from 50 to 35, +15 vs. armored; to correspond with this, damage upgrades will be changed from +5 to +3, +2 vs. armored. This change reduces the base damage of the siege tank against light and unarmored units, as well as the splash damage.
 This one has been a long time coming, as we've heard from countless players including the infamous IdrA who has pointed out the TvZ imbalance issues countless times. We'll see how this progresses as the patch is released, but this change should greatly contribute to fixing the obvious issues we're seeing in this match-up.
Battlecruisers currently lack good counters from the ground and still perform very well against a wide array of unit types. We're aware that it is not easy to get battlecruisers out for the cost, but at the same time, it is possible in both 1v1s and team games to create stalemate situations to bring them out. Overall, we feel that battlecruisers are too strong for their cost, and the terran-forced stalemate situations are causing less interesting gameplay. We will be lowering their damage against ground units from 10 to 8.
 This on the other hand is completely out from right field, and has much of the Starcraft 2 community baffled. Where this minor change game from is beyond me, and many others out there, but I suspect a large number of lower ranked players have been complaining about the battlecruiser rush as they often have trouble scouting and adapting to situations. This seems like a positive change for the community overall, especially since we hardly ever see any significant battlecruiser play in competition.

Ultralisk damage is being decreased from 15, +25 vs. armored to 15, +20 vs. armored. This reduction is comparable to the changes being made to the battlecruiser and siege tank. Like the battlecruiser, ultralisks are simply too powerful for the cost, even though they are difficult to muster. Also, in combination with other units, ultralisks are difficult to counter from the ground. The ultralisk building attack (Ram) is being removed because the damage rate is too similar to its normal attack, which will be used against buildings instead. When ultralisks target tightly packed smaller buildings such as supply depots, the Ram attack is actually outputting considerably less overall damage than its normal attack, as Ram only hits a single target.
At this point, I feel like I'm getting a bit lengthy, but I'll just say that this is perfectly fine in terms of balance, especially in the ZvP match-up.

That's about it this week guys, and we'll see you next week.