Since its release in July, StarCraft II has only seen one major game update. Patch 1.1 went live September 21st, and since then Blizzard has been poring over enormous amounts of data, listening to the player community, and reaching out to fansites around the globe.
Today Dustin Browder, the StarCraft II Design Director, published an article on 1v1 game balance and upcoming changes. Browder is quick to note that the data samples he provides in the article are from North American StarCraft II matches exclusively, but the data sets in other regions are fairly similar.
Overall the balance at the upper echelon of players is there -- all races are fairly evenly represented in terms of win percentages. However, Zerg as a race is only played a startling 23.5% of the time across all matches that take place.
The Barracks will soon require a Supply Depot before it can be built.
Protoss have a distinct win advantage in Gold and below, though that can likely be attributed to completely skilless strategies like cannon rushes -- which are obviously most prevalent in the tiers where players don't commonly scout their bases to ensure the enemy players aren't up to something dubious.
Still, even with the win balance being relatively close, Blizzard will be making a number of changes in the next major StarCraft II patch. A sampling of those can be seen below.
- We're increasing roach range. This will allow roaches to be more effective in large groups, giving the zerg more options in the mid to end game.
Fungal Growth will now prevent Blink, which will give zerg a way to stop endlessly Blinking stalkers which can be very challenging to deal with in large numbers.
- The Barracks are going to require a Supply Depot, which will impact a lot of early terran reaper pushes.
- The reaper speed upgrade will require the Factory, which is meant to weaken a lot of the early terran reaper attacks that dominate so many matches, especially in team games.
- We're making a number of increases to the health of zerg buildings, which will make the very vulnerable zerg technology structures more resistant to raids. We don't expect these hit point changes to have a super significant impact on the game, but the current numbers felt way too low.