But Protoss players aren't the only people who will benefit from the latest patch. For starters, StarCraft II’s latest update finally brings the game in line with its 1998 predecessor with the addition of player-created chat channels. Finally, you can join a large group of friends and tell them exactly how badly you’re going to kick their ass! Or you can join a public chat and get yelled at by random people. At least, I think that’s what happens. I prefer to lose games of StarCraft in 1v1 matches, thank you. But, if you are looking to chat it up with a big group of StarCraft players, you'll be able to integrate that chat into your games (just like the messaging from players on your friend's list).
== TEASER ==Beyond the chat channels, Blizzard has also introduced a brand new tier of difficulty to StarCraft II’s online leagues. The masters of the macro and the micro—those who have proven themselves to be the best players in the Diamond tier—can now advance to the Master League. As Blizzard explained on their StarCraft II community site, the Master League exclusively house the top 2% of StarCraft II players in each region. The competition for this league will be so fierce that, as Blizzard points out, being the top ranked player in your Diamond League division is no guarantee of earning a spot in the Masters. So, if you've got the chops and the drive to make for the Master League (and, eventually, the Grand Master League, made up of the 200 best players in the world), then good luck to you. You have my blessing, and, also, I'm afraid of you.
But let’s face it. You didn’t read this story—and certainly, I didn’t write it—to learn about chat rooms and new leagues and bug fixes to the map editor. You want to see the balance changes. You want to revel in (or complain about) those adjustments. In this regard, I can oblige. Here’s the full list of balance changes—and, in this case, Protoss buffs—that are currently live on the StarCraft II servers.
- Players can no longer block off ramps with two 2x2 buildings.
- Hallucination research time decreased from 110 to 80.
- Cost decreased from 50/100 to 25/75.
- Build time decreased from 45 to 35.
- 20% more damage dealt to massive targets.
- Flux Vanes speed upgrade removed.
- Repairing SCVs now assume the same threat priority as the unit they’re repairing.
- SCV construction movement has been made more consistent.
Our own Brad Shoemaker could not have been more thrilled with these latest Protoss improvements. Between the reduced mineral and gas prices for Observers and the decreased build time for Phoenix units, the Protoss now have three effective ways to scout out the opponents base and adjust combat tactics accordingly. And the lower Observer costs will help the Protoss be much more effective against cloaked units (stupid Ghosts). And the Void Ray damage increase is just the icing on this army-improving cake.
So, Protoss players, now is the ideal time to gloat and put these new found buffs to good use. Enjoy these buffs while they last; if the previous patches (and 12 years of StarCraft I support) have taught us anything, it’s that Blizzard can easily introduce a new patch that completely negates this latest series of adjustments.