The swarm host is a boring unit. Burrow it in the ground and free units come out, concaving around bases and armies, blocking pathing and forcing retreat. Its boring and one-dimentional, and I really dont see the skill cap that they have with micro and builds that center around them. Most builds that do that, mainly just in ZvP, are boring and macrofests. I also think that Locusts kind of overlap with the roach, as they are a ground-only ranged unit (mind you free) that lasts for a short time. You need at least 10 swarmhosts to snipe a base and lay siege to one area, but they are not that mobile around the map. Not much micro at all, besides burrow micro.
What do you think needs to be done to the swarm host to make it a more usable unit in all three matchups?
I think the unit needs a complete overhaul. I know that this is a bit of an extreme change, but it would be cool to see this happen in a later version of the game.
Lets say the swarm hosts keep their mechanic of spawning free units. Unupgraded, they can burrow and act like the current swarm host, spawning locusts that shoot missiles. Enduring Locusts is the same.
But there is some potential for more here.
One idea, seems rough, but would it be interesting to have locusts benefit from tunneling claws/burrow. This would lead to more harass potential and micro necessary and strategic capability. Obviously not a huge change to the unit, but I thought I could take that idea a bit further -- a new infestation pit upgrade for the swarm host: something like Razor Hide.
Razor Hide: est. cost 150/150?
Locusts and Swarm Hosts gain razor-sharp zerg hide(?) that damages any unit standing above them while burrowed. 5+4 to light damage per second, benefits from Ground Armor upgrade - raises damage by 15%/30%/45% (rough).
While burrowed, you can see the spikes of the Razor Hide coming out of the ground, but the units can not be detected without overseer, turret, etc.
Since the swarmhost itself isn't seen in the thick of battle unless its one-sided and they all get sniped, being able to see the unit's spikes would not effect the unit, while giving more of an indication as to where locusts/swarm hosts are positioned while burrow, replacing its current status of being able to see the egg sacs being spawned from the ground.
Basically what I am thinking is that swarm hosts could be borrowed and micro'ed underneath ground armies with a the same base speed as a marine, mineral lines, etc. It adds necessary micro of the locusts to do damage, raising the skill ceiling on the unit. It also requires more micro It also has the potential for builds to incorporate builds around it. Something like a +2 Swarm Host timing to take out expansions/economy (burrow in and get kills before someone can react and retreat, then unburrow and snipe base, making defense and offense more based on skill than just camping in some cases, and it seems like it would fit in pretty well with infestors, hydras, etc in a core army, forcing detection to be around where the locusts are.
They also resemble the lurker in its upgraded form, giving more utility to the unit, while keeping its free unit/siege unit image that the swarm host has.
Since balance in the game is pretty steady now, fixes to some of the game mechanics, small or big, can impact the game positively still. Obviously the above stated idea is probably too radical of a change to implement now, but maybe could be an idea for future unit changes.
I'd like to hear your guys' opinion on not only swarm hosts, but any other unit you would like to see changed in order to affect the game positively in a strategic and variable way, whilest not compromising the balance of the game.