Here's the patch note I'm discussing:
However if you don't feel like watching the VOD this essay you're about to read got you covered. Keep in mind the first few minutes was actually muted because of twitch muting videos automatically so unfortunately no way for me to extract that first part. Keep in mind some things (ok, a lot of things) I write here was not actually said in the video ) lastly I want you to take note that this is more of a design discussion than a balance discussion (LotV is not balanced right now, a patch like this doesn't try balancing the game). I try to keep it short here so apologies for not going into too much detail on some things.
Terran Mules being Removed
I like this change overall mostly because I think scanning feels too expensive. Wagering supply drop or a scan feels like a better balance compared to a scan and a mule. More scanning = less random game (good). Keep in mind the difficulty of dropping a supply is arguably harder mechanically than dropping a mule (this change does not make Terran easier in that regard)
Terran will no longer have the possibility of sacrificing all their workers to match up against the other races. Feels good overall to get rid of that unnatural process but I wish Terran was compensated with an army that puts up a good fight rather than being relatively fucked in such situation. Pretty certain the viper bomb and new ultralisk will favor Zerg in late game more so than the new tools Terran get.
Feel sort of indifferent about Terran claiming a new base from mined out to gaining 3000 mineral per minute income from a design perspective. Not mentioned in the video but I feel also pretty indifferent about Terran having the edge most base trades because mules get your income skyrocketing.
Protoss Chronoboost being Removed
Protoss will become more like Terran in their build orders, less extreme and more "watered out" in the sense that you can't go completely in 1 direction or another. The ranges of possibilities go down and will be especially noticed in timing attacks.
There are good and bad parts about chronoboost. The good part is the difficulty and beauty of seeing builds being planned and refined to the extreme (optimizing a build order becomes a lot harder when you have chronoboost than not. Hearing naniwa talk about 2 or 3 chronoboosts on his cybercore throughout the years has really made you respect the complexity this has)
The bad part being that Protoss can naturally become easier or more forgiving in the fact that you can line up build orders and timings as you go along in the game. (pushing out storm in time for a Terran timing with chronoboost is arguably less impressive than pre-planning storm in time for the Terran timing in the first place). Or realizing halfway through you started storm and archives too late for your 1-1 storm timing to finish you start chronoboosting where as without your timing is fucked and you need to wait (punished instead of forgiving)
I like this change but completely removing chronoboost might not be the best move. There are parts about chronoboost I like which I think is reason enough to keep it in the game. The "improvised" chronoboosts to forgive yourself from the original mistakes you've done is the part that I don't like. I think having the best of both worlds might be a possibility just by making chronoboost more exclusive (cooldown, energy cost, resource cost?).
Having chronoboost at 25 energy makes it sort of a throw-away ability in the sense you always kind of sit around with a chronoboost to toss at whatever you need (read the earlier examples). However an "expensive" more impactful chronoboost will require more planning to get the most benefit out of it. This is an idea of my own thought on the spot, it might be a terrible idea.
Zerg Inject Larva Being Auto-Cast and Reduced to 2 per Inject
The Protoss and Terran changes both change the way the races operate in a pretty drastic manner, this change doesn't do any of that.
The prior changes are not making their races strictly "easier", where as this change does. I say it with full passion that I believe having every race in a game about as hard to play is more important than the game being actually balanced.
Another note on this topic is dropping mules were never as hard as injecting was, this change alone takes away a big chunk of what a good Zerg player can demonstrate.
Just like with chronoboost I have an idea of my own, however one that I've had in mind for a longer period of time. I think hatcheries should spawn larva quicker and larva inject to be less impactful. This will allow lesser Zerg players to not make their race so centered about hitting every inject while very high level Zergs will still aim to hit all of those injects.
My thoughts on the importance of mechanics in Starcraft
Not only on topic about inject larva but mechanics in general (I'm not talking about your headquarter ability here) is that I think a lot of players are undermining the importance of Starcraft 2 being mechanically demanding.
When people talk about mechanics they make it sound like it is the beast that keeps the casuals from playing it but they don't see our (hardcore players) perspective. mechanics is very important for the better players to win, a strategy can be copied by other players so strategy alone doesn't cut the skill-ceiling that we want Starcraft to have. Mechanics is great in that regard because it allows players to simply "play better" so they can consistently win from even situations or from slightly behind(!), mechanics is the underlying factor which keeps the "worse player" from challenging the "better player" in macro games. This had a much bigger impact in a game like Broodwar and we could see that in the results too of top level players performing.
Simply knowing a game has high mechanics makes it THAT much more impressive and entertaining to watch, whenever you as an observer feel like you could re-act the same fight or game as a progamer could, that's when you know the game isn't hard enough mechanically.
Injects, building supply depots, sending 3 probes into a geyser when it's done are not fun things, they are not very strategical yet we don't want to remove these aspects of the game. When you look at a game like Starcraft you should take it as a whole. While you're moving around with your army dropping here and there, scouting etc you gotta keep in mind to do the underlying mechanics parts, keep the rhythm flowing. THAT'S what make it so fun to play.
One thing that's so beautiful about Starcraft is that you can excel at so many different things. Some people are great at macro, some at micro, some have great mechanics while others make stellar decisions. Dumbing down or "nerfing" any parts of this list of branches you can be good at removes persona from the players. Already today I feel like players are too similar. Maru? Oh well he's a great aggressive Terran who has sick mechanics and multitasking. Cure? Oh well he's a great aggressive Terran who has sick mechanics and multitasking (I see the similarity, do you?). Of course the most the involved people will be able to deviate their styles to differentiate them but in general I feel there is a lack of "personality" in players play. So back to mechanics - making it easier is going to dumb down areas where a player can show who he is.
Devils advocate about mechanics
There is a good counter-argument to why macro mechanics (base management) should be easier in LotV. The reason is that Legacy contains of new complicated units that take a lot of babysitting and a lot of skill to manage.
The overall game is faster phased because you have to expand faster you're starting with more workers and so on.
Talks about more harassment, medivacs getting drop-upgrades, Zerg dropping warp prisms becoming "a must". This general direction will make Starcraft much harder (possibly more volatile as well but that's another topic for another day)
Final thoughts on Blizzards direction as a whole and other things..
I do like what Blizzard has been doing lately, for the first time in 5 years it actually feels like they are doing their job properly. Starcraft 2 has always been a badly designed game (there - I said it.) with multiple eras where it really shined through (broodlord infestor, swarm host, nothing happening for 15 minutes lets fight and now the game is over kinda games)
the stuff they are talking about these days are not centered about "how to fix this current error right now" rather instead being "how to properly design our game from the ground up so it wont be shit after 2 years" makes me very happy. Keep this up and brainwashed Broodwar nerds like myself wont be be making snarky comments about how its predecessor was so much better.
I think its very important to always question and revisit how hard a race or something is to do. When adding new units that you always ask how difficult is this unit to use and how difficult is this unit to counter-act.
I think mechanics should be the underlying skill in RTS games that keeps in check that the "worse player" is being the one having to act rather than react as a whole.
One of the reasons I love RTS is because of the depth is has. There are so many different things to excel at! Why dumb down skill assets from players forcing them to be great at everything when you can let them wager its importance themselves during the game? (strategy, micro, macro - spend your time wisely during the game )
After all, time should be our out-most important resource and having time to do everything would remove the T from RTS (brilliant send-off)