It was very clear after our BWWI play test of Starcraft 2 that not one of us could bring an opinion that would include everything we had experienced. Naturally, we were inclined to write an article that would leave the reader to take the best and worst of our combined opinions and correlate his or her own conclusions. Starcraft 2 has not even entered an internal alpha, yet it is already in good shape. That being said, there are some key changes that we all took issue with. Some were more critical than others but we hope this presents a balanced opinion of the issues we saw, and the respective changes that could be made.
My view on SC2
Note that there is NO WAY for anyone to make a complete and definitive judgment on SC2. Not only is the game constantly changing, two days of playing are just not enough time to get an overall precise impression.
Of course, as you all know, the GUI has been 'simplified'. Rallying a nexus to your minerals makes the spawning probe pick the available mineral chunk immediately. A hatchery even has two rally points, one for workers and one for units. Multiple Building Selection is also active, but in a limited way. Selecting all Barracks and pressing M once will only make one Marine.
I'm not going to sum up all the changes, but am going to give my opinion on how it felt.
I personally feel that macro has been oversimplified. Even with their 'limited' version of MBS things are just too simple. I would disagree with anyone saying this would completely block the development of SC2 as an e-sport though. Base management didn't feel "easy" at all, and I think my APM was still around 200 cause the game still feels so tense. You still get that SC feeling that every action counts, that every millisecond counts.
While there was no real racial imbalance noticeable (although Protoss seemed the strongest to me), some units seemed relatively useless. I, for one, am not a Jackal fan.
When you play SC2, you just know and feel that the game dynamic is different from SC. I'm not only talking about the build orders here, but also resource management and army management. You sense the similarity with SC through high paced gameplay, but it feels like a different game.
One small example:
In SC the static defense buildings (Bunker, Cannon, Sunken) were a lot weaker than they are in SC2. That didn't make for passive gameplay at all though, since the SC2 units in general are a lot more mobile, and you can't be bothered putting static defense everywhere.
One of the downsides of SC2 was in my opinion the hard counters. The fact that some unit type just completely rape the other unit type, make the game seem really techbased. While it makes for both a back and forth gameplay and a timing based gameplay, the counters just seem so hard that build order wins and Rock-Paper-Scissors imbalance occur.
In siege mode, the Siege Tank's attack rips everything apart
High. I can't imagine someone that enjoys the RTS genre not enjoying SC2. Just like SC, it has high-paced gameplay and seemed perfect as a spectator sport.
The Blizzard employees gave me the impression that they did everything to make this game as awesome as possible, and they will without a doubt succeed if they take enough time to do so.
First of all let me say that I did not get to play as much as most of the other TL people. Chill, Kennigit, and especially Nyvone played a healthy dose more than me. However, this was the second time I was able to get my hands on the game after Blizzcon last year, so I think I have a nice perspective.
One thing I am not going to touch on is units and balance, because that is still changing every week. I have confidence that through further testing the queen will find a role, terran units won't all feel the same, and all three races will not be so mobile that terrain becomes a non-factor.
So here are three things I was concerned with:
Let's get this out of the way now. Last time I played SC2 I was pro MBS. I loved the fact that I could actually do the things that I was thinking about and felt relatively freed from the limitations of my 110 apm hands. I am the type of gamer that MBS was designed for.
I'm going to have to go back on my word though. Much like what Chill and Rage have said, the macro is too simple. When I played zerg, my hatcheries had two rally points. One for drones to automine (which I could set directly to the minerals for each separate hatchery) and one for all other units (which I could group together). Thus, my drones automatically filled dutifully to their respective patches, while a single hotkey allowed all my hatcheries to be rallied to wherever I needed my units. No need to go home and manage my economy, no need to manage drones unless I wanted to build something.
The AI of your units is really good, but much of what made BW skillful is gone. Grab all your workers in one pull, attack, and they will do their damnedest to surround the enemy with no help from you at all. It is very difficult to harass early on with such an effective counter unless you are using much faster units (and then you are unbeatable). The things that made BW fun in the first 4 minutes may be difficult to replicate.
My final criticism is that battles are too messy and slow. The glorious part of StarCraft was that the battles took seconds to play out, the outcome was easy to see, and because the units were so crisp it was fun to watch. Now the battles take much longer, and I had a hard time figuring out if my zealots were going to beat those marines or visa versa. Of course when I play the game I will learn these things, but as a first impression the fights were somewhere between BW and Warcraft 3. Not fast enough for my taste.
Battles in Starcraft 2 felt too long compared to it's predecessor
And now three things I hope for in the future:
The UI is SO much better than last year. The glassy feeling on the buttons is gone, and the mini map looks great. I like the hotkeys showing me what I have selected, as it reminds me to use them! Even the idle worker button is not a big deal, and unlike WC will be much more useful. My hope is they continue to add articulation to the UI so that when I press a button it visually reacts. Two thumbs up for this.
I was foisted on stage to commentate the SC2 matches between Naruto and Blizzard, them with no headphones and me not knowing the tech trees. Nevertheless I still had plenty to talk about. The game will make for great watching and I really hope Blizzard takes to heart the role spectating has played in the success of the original. Give observers more tools in the game. Provide in-game utilities for broadcasting and streaming so the TSL doesn't have to rely on duct tape and baling twine. Provide resources to those who will want to create content. The great thing about StarCraft is that Blizzard doesn't have to do everything, they just have to give support and there are plenty of volunteers who will move beyond what Blizzard could possibly have imagined.
A Closed Beta
Talking with IdrA we agreed on one thing. SC2 needs to be played on a larger scale, and by people who can articulate themselves well. Let them get their hands on the game and the rate of improvement will increase greatly. If this two-day event was any indication, the reaction from gamers themselves will be as valuable as anything else.
Brood War was successful for two simple reasons: Ease of entry and longevity of competition. Knowing this, my comments on StarCraft 2 will largely fall into these categories. I've always played StarCraft to win. I went into StarCraft 2 with that mentality. I wasn't there to look at the landscape, understand the story, or try out all the units. I went there to win, and to see if StarCraft 2 can have the success of it's predecessor in the world of competitive RTS games.
So first, to get this out of the way:
As you've seen from the screenshots, StarCraft 2 looks pretty; Not Crysis pretty, where you know you won't be able to run it unless you have a top of the line machine, but WoW pretty, where it will run fine on an older computer and still look very nice on a new one. Art doesn't interest me too much, so I didn't take time to stop and look at the units. Some of the units were very hard for me to identify with. Because the units clip each other really easily (like workers mining minerals), it's very hard to distinguish what is what. When Zerglings are running through each other, it's hard to tell if he has 8 or 32. The units are unique enough, but I'd like to see a little more differentiation. Of course, once everyone has played thousands of games, I'm sure the difference will be clear, but out of the box the some of the units were not particularly awe inspiring.
Other than that, the art was fine. I don't remember much about the tilesets, I believe there was a Twilight map, a Platform map and a Jungle map. There were all acceptable. I can't reiterate how much I don't look at the art
Ease of Entry
StarCraft 2 is very easy to play out of the box. Everyone from Teamliquid was playing at a "relatively high level" by the end of the second day.
The hotkeys. Oh God the hotkeys. I can't remember specifics, but a building like the "Dark Obelisk" would have a hotkey 'G'. It drove me crazy and needs to change before release. Either make the hotkeys intuitive like in StarCraft, or group them together @ QWERASDFZXCV like in Strifeshadow. It really drove me crazy all day that the hotkeys were so weird.
Proxy gates AND proxy cannons? Typical protoss -_-
All the things you've heard about simplifying the game are true in one form or another:
- Workers auto-split once they reach a mineral patch. This means 20 maynarding workers will reach an expansion, and fan out optimally to the 10 or so patches. It also means at the beginning of the game, there's almost no reason to try to split more than 3 of your starting 6 workers. Some games I would try to split all 6, but they would reach the patch first and fan out, and then I would tell a worker to move over to a patch that another worker had automatically transferred to, delaying my mining.
- You can select a lot of units. I don't know how many, but it was at least 36, and was probably 48. This is fine and doesn't really affect gameplay much. I support this change. ([i]Editor Note: As far as i know, the unit selection was unlimited. I remember this because i was laughing maniacally as i sent 120 zerglings through a nydus worm into some kid's mineral line with just a couple clicks)
- Your hot keys show up above the menu bar. When you've put something in hotkey 1, a little icon appears of the units with a 1 and the number of units / buildings in the group. It doesn't affect me, but others may have found it nice.
- MBS. More on this later.
- Rallied units are issued the attack command as opposed to the move command, INCLUDING WORKERS. I really do not support this change and hope it reverts back to the old method. It makes rallying too strong. Players should have to choose between watching their macro and supporting their in-base units, or having a harder time grouping up when they return. They shouldn't be able to have their cake and eat it too. Either way, this isn't a big issue. If you rally a worker to a resource, it begins mining.
- There's an idle worker button. I think this is really stupid, but it was in Warcraft 3 so Blizzard's hands are tied. Why not make a "Storm-ready Templar" button or a "Mutalisk-that-should-be-harassing" button? Come on.
So yes, there are tons of mechanics to help newbies learn the game, but above all, it's intuitive. Things work how you would think they do. The only thing I can remember not being able to figure out was how to shift+tab, and what the hell the Queen did.
Longevity is related to competition, which depends directly on racial balance, strategic balance, and difficulty of mechanics.
There's no point in even touching on racial balance until the game has been out for six months. Too much will change.
A DT rush is just as viable as ever. Hi Artosis!
I see the other two points as being huge problems for the longevity of StarCraft 2. First off, I remember Blizzard making a big deal when I talked to them a year ago about bypassing chokes begin a problem because it removes strategy from the game. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way they seemed to ignore their own advice. EVERYTHING seems to jump, flies, or runs super fast. Setting up expansions and defending your base becomes a chore because something is burrowing from a worm, jumping up a cliff, or warping in from a floating Pylon. This needs to change. The races all feel so mobile and static defense feels largely useless. Further, I'm worried about Blizzard's mentality for hard counters. StarCraft is a game of hard counters (Firebats >>>> Zerglings, Zerglings >>>>>> Dragoons, Dragoons >>>> Firebats; etc.), but the hard counter units rarely get used. I picture Blizzard thinking "Immortals will kill Tanks" and then neither unit ever gets used as a result. Again, time will tell.
In terms of difficulty of mechanics, the game has less to do than StarCraft. Things automine, rally-attack, and you have MBS. Melee units run past enemies and surround, making targeting workers a nightmare and using Zealots vs Zerglings an experience in pain. Seriously, you just a-move Zerglings and they flank themselves, it's ridiculous. You drill workers and they fan out and surround Zerglings. This needs to change NOW. Units should go where they're told, this smart AI kills so much of a competitive game.
Also, I was beating someone by playing with one finger while Kennigit laughed and we talking about how imbalanced this build was. Admittedly he was a newbie, but even in StarCraft you needed to grab the mouse to attack (Not in SC2). I know Blizzard is thinking "with all this time freed up, high level gamers will have more time to harass and whatnot".
Before I went to BWWI, I was pro-MBS. I followed this same mentality. Imagine someone having enough time to micro 2 groups of Mutalisks at the same time because they didn't have to macro. It would be incredible to watch. Sadly, the majority of the units' harassment mechanics are easy mode. Blink up, kill something, Blink down. Anyone can do it, and how do you defend it without sitting in your base? This is touching on balance issues so I'm going to cut it off right now.
The early game has been slowed down by new core features like auto-mining.
With macro on easy-mode, the competition is going to be much harder. To make a terrible analogy, it would be like playing hockey with everyone wearing rocket skates. The competition would be much harder because everyone would suck but still would be moving really quickly (or at least as quick as the fastest players). There's no way to differentiate yourself from the plethora of newbies who also have MBS at their disposal. And that is worrisome, because it means people will peak very quickly and get bored of the game. Will that actually happen? I don't know, but I'm not confident in the competitive direction the game has gone.
That being said, two TL players who played the game for 30 minutes took down two Blizzard employees. EASY.
Problem Units / Themes
Without touching on balance, here's some things that are terrible / too good in SC2:
-Mutalisks. They have to be on top of units to attack them (no Muta micro), they turn like a spaceship (rotate and then move forward) meaning you can't run quickly, and I believe the Spire was 300 minerals. Idra tried to 3 Hatch Muta me and it was the biggest disaster ever. They're terrible. I never built them after that.
([i]editor note: Dustin Browder has noted a few times that they are looking for a solution to this. They have to "break" the engine in order to do it)
-Cobras (ground-attacking Terran air unit). They 2-shot workers and move faster than a Scout but slower than a Wraith. They cost 100 or 150 minerals (so little that it didn't matter). The majority of my Terran games I opened with 2 of these and killed 15 workers as they tried to run. They must be changed.
-Jackals (Vulture). You can still micro them. They were good, but not too good. I'm just putting this here to tell you that you can still micro Vultures.
-PsiStorm. It's like a third the area as before. I stormed one opponent's workers and killed 2. Storm is terrible and needs to be changed.
-Queen. The Queen is a Zerg "hero" that used to make defense structures and have a beefy attack. But now, it's beyond terrible. It dies to 4 Marines. It's expensive. It can mutate Larva, making a Larva that separates from the Hatchery and can walk, leaving me to ask why I wouldn't build the unit and then walk it, instead of spending 50 minerals to do it in the backwards order. The Queen needs to be revamped because there's no reason to get one. Ever.
-Overlord. Yes, Ovies are imbalanced, hahaha. Once you have a Lair, you can spew out Creep from your Ovie. We didn't confirm if it goes away after awhile (like 2 minutes) but I'm pretty sure it did. Anyways, the new Sunken Colonies can uproot and walk, meaning you can turtle up with 90 Sunkens, uproot, and Sunken push into his natural. Which is what I did, and it was imbalanced. This "cute" Ovie creep-spew needs to change. Or make Sunkens not be able to walk. Either way.
-Nydus Worms. Ok, imagine a Nydus colony that you can connect everywhere. Now if one of those exits dies, you can rebuild it somewhere else. That is the Nydus Worm, and it's so imba it makes me cry. Ovie creep-spew + Nydus Worm = EZ MODE. This is how I killed someone with one finger. It needs to change. ZvZ would turn into Nydus Worming your opponent over and over and over and over. Every time it doesn't work you get another chance to try again. Maybe I don't understand how they work, but from what I saw they need to be changed.
-The Medivac. It's so stupid I cringe every time I think about it, but it's good in the game. I hate it but it works. They should keep it.
In the build we played Archons felt underdeveloped due to their high cost. Using them late game was anything but necessary
From what I've heard of the latest build before BWWI, the game has come a long way. It's fun as hell to play. It's intuitive and quick to learn. No one is doubting that this is going to be another epic RTS that will break sales records.
But will it become StarCraft or Warcraft 3, in terms of competitive longevity? It's still much too soon to call.
I cracked a smile as I started my first game of Starcraft 2. This game presents itself in much the same fashion that its predecessor did with the first peon units lined up beside your starting base structure. My immediate reaction was to select/move these units and begin splitting them to different mineral patches – an admirable technique of any good Broodwar player (and one I am yet to fully master). However, in Starcraft 2 I would learn that this is not really necessary. Broodwar players, for years were forced to adapt to the simple AI and it was essential for a player to fully control their forces lest they be lost due to sloppiness. In Starcraft 2, when I incorrectly split, I felt like the AI said “hey no problem!” and finished the process for me. Maynarding peon units is very easy as they automatically split to the best mineral patches. Despite being the worst Broodwar player on Teamliquid Staff, having my hand held felt a bit weak, but I would find it to be a recurring theme of the AI.
Thinking I was super clever and cheesy, I 1 zeal 1 probe harassed my first opponent. Even with my sick micro, the opponent laughed in my face as his entire peon force instantly surrounded my two units and slaughtered them. I believe this to be an issue with clipping and AI that is just too smart - i'm not a game designer but something needed to change with that.
The AI seemed to make attacks like this just a little too easy.
There is a Broodwar mindset that I had to get rid of in order to truly appreciate what Starcraft 2 was presenting. For months many of us roared curses at the design team for "destroying" our keenly tuned macro. It’s a fun game to play and I loved abusing how terrible my opponents were. I went 47-3 all weekend and I had to really think about whether things were “imbalanced”, flawed or if it was just a result of my terrible opponents. After discussing it with other Teamliquid members however, we did discover recurring themes and all came to agree on one key fact – the Starcraft 2 build we played is just too easy.
Now that is a very blunt statement and one that deserves a lot of support. The best description I can give is that what made Broodwar so beautiful in that it was easy to learn but required so much dedication to master. There is a rich gradient of skill levels that can take years to climb, but the changes that have been made to Starcraft 2’s core play have made that gradient much more shallow. Neither automining, nor MBS are particularly bad, but together with a few other key additions and changes, they are just completely ridiculous. I would like to present a few scenarios to support this.
1) I was very interested in the nydus worm, the powerful roach and some which kind of combination I could perform – I hit the jackpot. In the build we played, the nydus worm is little more than a proxy nydus canal. Imagine being able to drop some new creep with a cliff overlord and sneak your entire army into someone’s base. When I first did this I squealed like a girl scout at this new found power – I could focus on base defense and leave my army in my base until the time was right. Once I hit lair tech I simply put all 6 hatcheries on one hotkey (18 larva now at my disposal) rallied them all into the worm and rallied the worm to my opponent’s mineral line. Despite my opponents being terrible, it just seemed too powerful to be able to press 5aaaaaaaaaaaaa to make Roaches and then 6u to unload them all (they would automatically attack).
A sneaky nydus worm like this will ruin your day
SUGGESTIONS FOR THIS PROBLEM
i. Creep drop for the overlord needs to be an upgrade
ii. Nydus tech should be hive tech. One can not be expected to have their base surrounded in cannons or turrets that early in the game and risk missing a sneaky cliffed overlord.
iii. From what I could tell, the worms themselves were relatively weak but it mattered little if you lost a worm – all your units survived. Perhaps in the event of a lost worm, a player loses 25% of his units so there is more risk involved.
iv. If I had needed more focus on an attack like this, (perhaps multiple worms that couldn’t be so close to each other, giving my opponent a better chance of seeing it), then it would have seemed less like an instant win because I had snuck a worm in. If a worm could only hold say 10 units and they had to be spread out more (makes sense given their massive size) perhaps there would be more balance to this.
2) I am a D- Broodwar player, but I had IloveOov style macro in Starcraft 2. For my first day I felt mineral starved as each peon unit was only bringing in 5 units – this same problem happened to Chill until I flat out told him in the middle of a game “yo, automine and mbs”. Once we harnessed the power of automining, it became apparent that what made good macro in Broodwar has been dumbed down – that skill gradient has been shallowed.
One key point id like to make is that none of us (save the progamers I talked to) found MBS to actually be that bad. Its quite clear when you play SC2 that tweaks have been added to the MBS process so its not simply spamming units. However, the problem with macro in Starcraft 2 lies in the ability to MBS, automine, que buildings (ie tell 1 scv to build 20 supply depots) and mass rallying. Yes some of these are standard in the modern RTS, but together they make Starcraft 2 just too easy.
SUGGESTIONS TO THIS PROBLEM
i. Get rid of automine – While MBS can be tweaked, I cant think of any way that one would “balance” automining and everyone I spoke to agreed with this issue.
ii. Perhaps some tweak to the queing of building production – im not a game designer so I don’t know what the solution is, but hitting 80 pop and not having to worry about supply depots for the rest of the game is just one more subtraction from the necessity of macromanagement.
Early game management has had it's finese lessened. Not due to a single new feature, but their combination.
Thoughts on Competitive Play
The pro gamers and coaches I talked to were not happy about MBS but this is too be expected. Even at my D- skill level I had muscle memory to click through factories, gateways and other buildings to macro when it wasn’t necessary. I think once a player gets out of the “broodwar” and goes into Starcraft 2 level headed, it is much easier to appreciate the changes that are being made. I still dont think automine is conducive to competitive play. If i wanted to sit on top of my units all day long, i would go play Warcraft 3 - SC2 is coming along, but the macro is not there yet.
Despite my earlier complaints, Starcraft 2 was very entertaining to watch on stage and there were many breathless moments that carried over from Broodwar (Naruto fending off a 10 pool with 2 marines and a few scvs and slaming the Teamliquid hammer down on the Blizzard employees). The question that remains then is once the novelty has worn off, will Starcraft 2 remain competitive and revitalize the esports community? Most likely. I have little doubt that Blizzard will fix or compromise the “key issues” and that it will be a great game to play and watch – during our Teamliquid dinner I talked to many good and bad players who agreed that Starcraft 2 in its current build is in better shape than many RTS games released by other publishers. When one considers the amount of time and dedication Blizzard will put into this game before its final release, there is a great sense of confidence that it will last as long as its predecessor.
In Starcraft 2, the AI of units has been significantly altered. One prime example of this is the surround AI most notably exhibited by speedlings and also workers. A single attack move from the speedling user will surround zealots on the ramp within 2 seconds (that is not an exaggeration). Right click past, then attacking onto the zealot is no longer required. When I first did this to Meat using a 10pool speed build, I was extremely shocked at the results.
The scv AI was demonstrated during my 1 zealot 1 probe rush against Xeo. In a situation where the Terran player usually struggles to deflect the zealot pressure and protect his scvs, he was instead able to simply select 8 or so of his workers, attack move in a general direction, and if I had any inclination to engage the scvs, my zealot would be surrounded immediately.
The Surround AI is extremely powerful, and makes early worker harass obsolete, as well as making certain defense situations extremely difficult.
In the current build, rallied units from gateways and other production facilities come out with an attack move command. What this means is that an early rush where every second counts can be easily interfered by a scouting scv lurking around near your gateways. This should be a simple fix, and should be fixed in order to uphold the integrity of the game.
IdrA commented that his retreat command (right click) away from enemy units was overridden when they were engaged by hostile fire. I myself do not think I experienced this (or at least it was not clear), but any possibility of this issue should be looked into. Units should do "exactly as told" in a game like starcraft 2 and currently there are certain areas where this is not exactly the case.
One problem some of us encountered was having our units not retreating properly. If they were attacked while moving back, they would return to counter. A simple but desperately needed fix.
Automining AI is incredibly smart. it will find the optimum mineral patch to move to and rally the worker to it, maximizing efficiency with minimal user control. Furthermore, it seemed very difficult to disrupt mining with buildings, although I did manage to mess up pathing once with a couple buildings that were impassable.
As you know, in SC2 workers gather 5 minerals at a time and 6 gas at a time. The mineral income rate causes some awkward worker cutting early game. I am a Protoss player in Starcraft 1, so I was naturally inclined to test out my main race more than others when actually constructing build orders for SC2. What I found was that you must cut probes constantly even from the early game. Cut probe, 10 gate, make one probe, cut probe assimilator at 11, cut probe, etc. Perhaps this is not a big deal, and will be part of the overall schematic of SC2 - managing your worker production more than ever before, tweaking exact timings and priorities - but at the current stage, as a SC1 player, I must admit it felt a bit unnatural.
Gas geysers will deplete at around 7 minutes of harvest time. There are abilities that restore healthy gas production, or increase mining rates in general, but to be honest these functionalities seem more contrived than necessary. The existence of 2 gas geysers in every main and natural seems to have a positive effect on decision making on when to take that second gas and what tech route to pursue. In the current setup, players of any race are strapped down by gas limitations, and must manage the timings very carefully. Units are gas heavy, buildings are gas heavy, and your gas income is low in both rate and quantity. Double gasses and restricted gas income are concepts that could very well add another dimension of economy management to the realm of Starcraft - which is exciting without a doubt - but in its current incarnation, there are clear holes in the dynamic.
These golden minerals are a favorable addition to the economy of Starcraft 2. They create new strategic locations which will likely be hot spots during high end play.
The interface had the feel of Starcraft 1 while upgrading its capabilities big time. For instance, above the center bottom box, it would show you what buildings were bound to your hotkeys, which I thought was a cute addition (though not too relevant to the more dedicated players).
There was some "jitter" of the building preview grid when trying to place a building in certain locations, most notably near a ramp. It would jump back and forth between the two locations until I nudged the mouse a bit to settle it down. Obviously this would be fixed by release.
And finally, MBS. The current incarnation of mbs is one where you can bind all sorts of buildings together and tab through them, like in War3. Notable is the fact that a Rax with no addon, a Rax with Reactor, or Rax with Tech lab are treated as different buildings altogether. To queue units - for example with a control group with 3 raxes - pressing 'm' once makes one marine in one rax. Pressing 'm' again makes another marine in the 2nd rax, etc.
This is actually the most powerful variant of mbs possible. You can control the number of units created, as well as the type and ratios perfectly. The best example is with zerg larvae. In the initial form of mbs, going '5sd' would have created 9 drones when selecting 3 hatcheries. While offering the power to create many units with minimal user input, this would have been very inflexible in sitations when you would want, say 6 drones and 6 zerglings. It would have encouraged the better player to perhaps bind his hatcheries individually, or in groups of two, etc in order to allow better control over his unit production. With the current, most powerful variant of mbs, the player can enter in 5sddddzzzhhh and get exactly the unit mix he desires. *Easy Button*
There are certain areas regarding strategy I'd like to address - not many, but some key points.
There is "brush (tall grass)" present in some areas of the maps at bwwi that prevent vision from the other side. Xeo was able to exploit this nicely in tvp, building a factory outside my scout path vision behind some grass, lifting it into my main and doing a nice jackal harass. The move was enabled by the tall grass, as well as the faster floating speeds of Terran buildings in Starcraft 2. Such features should hopefully allow for some creativity in Starcraft 2 that was lacking overall in Warcraft 3 when I was playing seriously.
Detection seems to come very late for all 3 races, making them vulnerable to dt and lurker rushes more than ever. While I did not have the opportunity to test timings of detection vs invisibility rushes against another competent player, the overall consensus amongst us was that detection was indeed high up in the tree, and that they were too far out in the branches, if that makes any sense. To clarify, what I mean is that if a player opts to play it very safe in terms of detection and does the equivalent of a 1 gate observer build pvt in SC1, then that player is set back quite a bit unless his opponent went for a dt/lurker rush. The problem is particularly dire with Terran, who must get a rax, a factory, a merc haven, and then finally the scanner upgrade for their cc. Overall the timings and sacrifices combined in achieving detection and achieving invisible ninjas seems to be at a discord with 'strong' overall builds.
Carrier micro is impossible as they are unbelievably clumsy and do not stack. I heard similar complaints about mutalisks, but apparently mutalisk control is something Blizzard does want to maintain into SC 2 so hopefully air unit control can be revamped to reward players who can control them well and upkeep their economies simultaneously.
To me the overall feel of the game and its atmosphere wasn't quite SC1, wasn't quite War3, but somewhere in the middle. Overall, the feeling I had that differed greatly from SC1 was a sensation of "floatiness".
The best example I feel is the siege tank, which didn't feel nearly as 'grounded' to the terrain as I felt it should have - they are tanks after all. They looked and felt light, as if they weren't really connected to the grounded they were trampling over.
Looking back, much of the preceding may seem very critical and only focus on negative aspects of the Starcraft 2 build we played. However, thats why we went to WWI - if you want to hear how amazing and "cool" every new feature is, you should read a main stream gaming news site. Starcraft 2 is a very fun game to play and we have little doubt that the solutions to the addressed issues will have been found by launch.
In an industry where RTS games are routinely released incomplete, Starcraft 2 is a breath of fresh air - we all agreed that in its current condition it surpasses anything that major publishers have released to this date. Huge steps have been taken since the first play test at Blizzcon 07 and it is evident that the game we have been waiting for is finally taking form.
Nyovne's BWWI SC2 Review - http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=75527