I've played a total of 4 matches on the HOTS demo.
This blog is my INITIAL REACTION to the various changes that I saw during my time playing the HOTS demo at MLG. Bare in mind that I am a random player and I did get a chance to sample all 3 races.
1. Battle Hellions are amazing, potentially TOO amazing. The Battle Hellion is everything it was advertised to be and more. No research required, same tech as a normal hellion, and same mineral only cost.
The addition of +45 hit points and the cone flame thrower makes the Hellion absolutely devastating vs Zerglings, and the increased durability makes it a superb mech unit for absorbing damage for siege tanks.
It did appear to me like the base hellion speed was lowered a little bit while in vehicle form. I'll have to make a mental note to write down what the base hellion movement speed is tomorrow.
2. The warhound still seems a bit meh. Without its anti-air capability (which was given back to the Thor) it really reminds of just a bigger, more expensive marauder that only does real damage vs mechanical units.
Its rail gun does 25 damage a shot and shoots at a decent rate, and it comes equipped with secondary missles which only attack mechanical units. I can see this unit being devastating vs Stalkers specifically in the TvP match up and obviously their role as a tank line buster appears to be set in stone, but other than that I don't really see much use for them. With the battle hellion, siege tank and Thor, there really isn't much place for the warhound in a mech army in TvZ, especially since vikings are going to be almost mandatory vs Zerg now if you use mech thanks to the Viper.
3. The Viper is a weird unit. Its grab ability could be potentially game breaking in PvZ especially but its cloud is a lot less effective than it looked at Blizzcon. As opposed to working like Disruption web, instead it operates like Dark Swarm now in that it protects biological units underneath it from enemy fire.
4. The Swarm Host is just frustrating to use for me personally. I just cannot imagine using it without massing it. The locusts don't have much health at all, and don't do a lot of damage (although now they can attack air which is a nice plus) and the cooldown on the attack is rather long. The Swarm Host itself costs as much as an Infestor, which makes it a pretty heavy gas investment. When massed up to a number around 12 or so, the locusts come out in pretty large swarms and I guess can be used to harass expansions or to buffer for armies, but in small numbers the Swarm Hosts are almost not noticeable.
Did I mention they have very low hp? I was very surprised to learn how quickly they died by even battle hellions once I scanned them.
I would really love for some way to stockpile locusts in a swarm host to unleash them in larger bursts, but that's a personal opinion based off an initial impression. This is a unit I definitely need to play with more.
5. The Ultralisk Burrow Charge was one of those things that I shouted OP about when it was revealed back at Blizzcon. Turns out it has a 30 second cooldown and cannot be auto cast. This makes me feel a lot better about it.
6. The oracle is everything it was advertised to be and more. The addition of a cloaking field ability which mimics the one the mothership had only activated for a period of time as opposed to constant is a really nice addition to the unit. It still has no real combat role, but it's a great Protoss support unit.
The mineral block has a HUGE radius. The other ability (turret disruptor thing) is roughly identical to what it was at Blizzcon.
7. I don't like the Tempest. Period. I don't like what they've done with it. It's essentially a Guardian only bigger, more expensive, and with a LOT more range. It fires EXTREMELY slowly, and lacks any sort of splash damage that I could see.
I just don't see the usefulness of it . I'd rather keep the Carrier, and not just because I think the Carrier is a much cooler unit, but because I think the Carrier would mesh better with the Oracle than the Tempest will.
8. The new Mothership Core is going to be very difficult for new players to get the hang of, but it's really really useful.
Like the original Mothership, you can only have one out at a time but you can swap it to different Nexii for an energy cost I think.
The only ability I really experimented with was the Recall, which works brilliantly. The radius is pretty large and it's great for pulling your troops out of a bad fight.
I'll have to remember to test out the other abilities. The cannon ability that was displayed at Blizzcon has been changed so that it only works on the Mothership Core itself. You can't use it on any other structures.
Once again I have to remind anyone that reads this that this is all just INITIAL reactions. I'll put up another blog post tomorrow with some of my revised reactions as well as Sunday with my final conclusions from the weekend.