It's no secret that StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm will likely be released mid-2012, and Blizzard can only hope it reaches the same acclaim as Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty, which not only won our Best Multiplayer game of 2010 award, but took home a great review and became the fastest selling strategy game ever. Today, developers at BlizzCon revealed 8 new units for the expansion, all of which will change the face of the gameplay as we know it.
It's not all just additions, though - a few of the pre-existing units didn't make the cut, and have been removed from the multiplayer experience.
3 of the new Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm units were revealed to be for Terran, 3 for Protoss, and 2 for Zerg, whom will no doubt be featuring a plethora of new units throughout the campaign. Many new abilities and powers have been added and changed, meaning new strategies are out there to discover. The expansion will also hopefully bring a fresh batch of love and attention for the Zerg, who are often claimed to be 'underpowered' in competition ladders.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the goods Blizzard has brought out for us:
The Terran army is all about durable steel and flaming rubber, and the new units in their repertoire certainly reflect this fact. The changes to medium anti-mechanical area in the army are sure to reset terran strategies, and it'll be interesting to see how they intersect with the energy-type additions to the new Protoss and Zerg units.
The factory-produced Shredder brings a lot of havoc into the battlefield, though it has no attack in mobile form. However, when put into Stationary Mode the Shredder lives up to its name by making a 'whirlwind of death,' which damages any units that move into the area around it. When a friendly unit stumbles into the danger zone, the shredder will automatically shut itself off, making it a unit which will require a lot of macro, but depending on how strong it finds itself against other units, a very versatile defense against zerg swarms.
The Warhound is the much smaller cousin of the infamous Thor, which also went through some changes for Heart of the Swarm. Much smaller in size,the Warhound is a more mobile response to mechanical threats. Able to attack both ground and air, the Warhound will dispense area-of-effect anti-air missiles at a range a little smaller than its larger cousin. It seems this unit is mainly a tool to counteract Protoss and Terran threats, but will likely be easily overwhelmed by organic zerg units. As with the other new addition, it's built at the Factory.
The New Thor
Thor is here! And he's bigger and badder than he was before. The improvements come at the cost of anti-air capabilities, which were picked up by Warhound. Terran units will be limited to having one Thor at a time on the battlefield and he'll pound enemy units with a strong regular attack and the Bombardment power being readily available, though it'll take time to set up the attack and to dismount from it, much like a Siege Tank. With such a hefty piece of tech, you'll need both an Armory and a Fusion Core to build it.
Transformable Hellion (Battle Hellion)
The Hellion has received the option for a mid-battle transformation, where it goes from fast moving vehicle to a walking mech-like unit. When in Battle Hellion mode, the flames will arc over a shorter distance but will deal a bigger punch, making it useful at later points in the game against higher-tier units.
Changed Units and Abilities
Cloaking now functions completely differently, with the option to Clock no longer appearing as an on-and-off button. Players pay a one-time energy cost to activate the clocking shield for a specific time frame, during which energy will continue to be restored.
Battlecruisers, as powerful as they are, aren't the fastest ships in the air. You can now research a Redline Reactor, a cooldown-type upgrade that temporarily boosts the speed of battlecruisers, allowing for strategic maneuvering during attacks. That means when you use it, you have to wait a certain amount of time before it can be done again.
Reapers have been nerfed for their ability to attack buildings, losing the 'molotov'-like attack they defaulted to. Instead, they now have a health-regeneration ability which will come into affect when they're out of combat.