Damage point is a variable that affects every attacking unit in Starcraft 2. It represents the time between when an attacking unit attacks, and when it can receive new commands. It may be easier to think of it as a sort of front swing or attack delay. The Ultralisk has the highest damage point in the game at 0.3332. This is an example of damage point working with the animation of a unit, so that the damage is only dealt when the tusks of the Ultralisk actually hit the unit. This high damage point gives the Ultralisk a distinct sluggish feel that acts not only as a weakness of the unit in gameplay, but adds to its character as this massively powerful but slow unit. In contrast, the Mutalisk has a damage point of 0, this means that there is practically no delay between when the Mutalisk is told to attack, and when it can take on another action, such as a move command. Simply put, damage point is a variable that affects how agile and responsive a unit feels.
Currently Damage Point for approximately 75% of all attacking units is set to 0.167 (the default value). It can be very clearly seen on the viking as it looks at the unit it for a bit before firing. It’s like, “The colossus they are coming, fire out shit” “but I am le tired” “alright take a nap, THEN FIRE ZE MISSILES!” A high damage point for an Ultralisk may make a lot of sense, but for the majority of units, damage point could be lowered to 0 to allow for a sharper, more responsive feel across the board.
Maybe even more importantly, lowering damage point also allows for air units to better utilize “Moving Shot”. Moving Shot is a micro technique that takes advantage of an air unit’s deceleration time. By issuing a move command right after the attack command, the unit can shoot while moving. Losing only a little speed instead of coming to a complete stop each time it fires.
This image illustrates how damage point cuts into a unit’s ability to execute an attack and maintain speed. By removing damage point, (and potentially reducing rotation time for units that are intended to feel more agile), moving shot becomes more useful.
This allows players the opportunity to be rewarded for paying close attention to and controlling their units. Making each attacking air unit scale more in power with skill.
An example of a unit in Sc2 that currently scales in power with the skill of the player controlling it is the blink stalker. Some of the most exciting moments in Sc2 games have come from a player with phenomenal blink control allowing them to win fights where all seemed lost by focusing their effort into their control. Fights that any lesser player would easily lose.
Units that can properly execute a moving shot have the same effect, they scale with skill, and they create a display of skill that is easy to notice and understand, even to a spectator new to Starcraft.
When I spoke with Aaron Kirkpatrick about damage point at Blizzcon he mentioned that while some damage points were chosen for specific gameplay reasons, other damage points were chosen to match the attack animations of the units. This is why currently the hydralisk has a different damage point when using its melee attack animation than when using its ranged attack animation. Lowering the damage points of units like these would create strange, non-intuitive scenarios where the damage would be dealt before the attack animation finished. However this does not mean that the hydralisk is stuck with its high damage point. It just means that lowering its damage point would require an adjustment in the attack animation.
My Wish for LotV is:
That damage point is reconsidered from the ground up. Starting with all damage points at 0 and making adjustments in animations when the unit feels right but looks wrong, and making adjustments in damage point to intentionally make the unit feel more sluggish as either a necessary nerf to the unit or as something that adds to its character. This has probably already been done from the standard 0.167 damage point, but not from 0.
A responsive unit ought to be the rule, not the exception. But currently in Sc2 the opposite is true. Making 0 damage point the default and then making specific exceptions from that point will increase the capacity for visually apparent micro, give players more opportunities to differentiate their skill in a way that all spectators can intuitively appreciate, and make gameplay in Sc2 feel better for everyone.
The first two are:
Zero damage point and zero damage point mod - in these, all units (even the mighty Ultralisk) have 0 damage point. It is very important to keep in mind that the animations can be adjusted to match the damage point so it won’t look so strange. The important part to take note of here is the feel of the unit. Who knows, maybe you’ll really enjoy and hope for 0 damage point across the board after trying it out.
The second two are:
delayed damage point and delayed damage point mod - in these, all units have a 0.7 damage point, more than 2 times greater than the current damage point of the Ultralisk. This is helpful for people having a more difficult time noticing the difference between 0 and 0.167 damage point. Its also moderately silly.
The purpose of this discussion is to come up with more specific examples and reasons why certain units ought to have a lower damage point. To begin with, I personally think that all air units ought to have a damage point of 0 to enable moving shot. The hydralisk ought to have 0 damage point for both its melee and ranged attacks as it is a low hp light unit which in my opinion ought to feel more agile. Finally, all other units currently at or below the standard 0.167 damage point ought to have 0 damage point.
Keep in mind that a lowering damage point is a buff to a unit, while raising damage point is a nerf. Because of this it may be necessary to tweak a few stats to compensate. Overall what this does is make the unit slightly stronger for players with good control, and slightly weaker for players with poor control.
Big thanks to Lalush and decemberscalm for helping me understand this variable and its effects on the game.
Zero Damage Point Unit Tester:
AM - battlenet://starcraft/map/1/253921
EU - battlenet://starcraft/map/2/177771
Delayed Damage Point Unit Tester:
AM - battlenet://starcraft/map/1/254140
EU - battlenet://starcraft/map/2/177944