StarCraft II gets new balance patch and more ladder maps
Blizzard has reaffirmed their commitment to keeping StarCraft II popular, despite the game’s obvious decline in recent years. It remains the most played real-time strategy game and it also has the best paying professional tournaments for this genre. To maintain the interest for StarCraft II intact and to keep it in the spotlight, developers are constantly applying balance patches. A new one has just been announced and it will bring major changes to key Terran units, such as the Marauder, Raven and Viking.
The Raven will have its anti-armor missile splash damage reduced, but the auto-turret cast range doubles. Meanwhile, the Marauder will have its armor upgrades modified, and the damage of Punisher Grenade attacks reduced. The Viking suffered the smallest modifications and they are all for the better, as its health was increased from 125 to 135. Other changes were made to the popular esports maps, which had all the known bugs addressed.
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Five new 1v1 maps for professional StarCraft II players
Blizzard came under fire from Terran players for their decision to make major changes to StarCraft maps. In spite of their best intentions to level the playing field, these changes were criticized for giving Zerg players an unfair advantage over their Terran counterparts. The developers have announced the arrival of eight new maps for StarCraft II and in this case there seems to be no reason for criticism. Five of them are for 1 vs 1 matches with the emphasis on esports and the other three are reserved to 2 vs 2 games.
16-Bit LE is one of the maps that Zerg players are likely to appreciate, because of the ease of claiming new bases. Stealing high ground and using nydus canals to ferry troops could give Zergs an advantage mid and late game. High-tech visuals make the map appealing and help it stand out from the crowd.
Dream Catcher LE has two starting locations and minerals in each quarter and it is covered in lush vegetation. Savvy StarCraft II players can use terrain to defend the base or establish fortified positions. It is one of the maps that favor players who build flying units and use them to harass and attack the enemy base. This is also one of the maps where players can use simple strategies that involve proxies.
Lost and Found is a map that should have plenty of fans among Terran players. That’s because of its excellent combination of low and high ground that can be exploited to control the battleground. It is also relatively easy to defend many bases because of the tight areas, which also is an advantage for Terrans.
Redshift LE is one of the most beautiful maps of the new batch, but also a really difficult one to master. That’s because players are exposed to harassment and they also need perfect timing to take new bases. Those who are able to take control of the watchtower will get the heads up when enemy troops are moving around the main bases. Constant scouting is essential when playing on Redshift.
Darkness Sanctuary is the fifth and final 1v1 map designed specifically with esports in mind. Players can spawn in any corner of the map and it favors those who take an early expansion because it’s easy to defend the secondary base. It is also the only four player map currently available in the 1 v 1 pool and probably the most challenging one. Players need to be prepared with different micro and macro strategies, based on their starting position and the distance to the opponent’s base.