The Starcraft II developer chat concluded a few minutes ago and I thought that I'd give you guys an update on some of the more interesting items. Blizzard devs answered a wide variety of questions, mostly centered around Starcraft II but some dealt with issues relevant to World of Warcraft players and other Battle.net users.
Q. Playing StarCraft II before beta and playing StarCraft II today do you think balance between races is better?
A. The race balance has improved greatly since before BlizzCon of last year and has continued to improve during the beta. Though really we don't even know yet how good the balance really is since the community has been playing for such a short time. =) We are currently looking at the protoss vs. protoss matchup as well as terrans. Terrans are losing a little too frequently in almost every match up and the protoss vs protoss game is currently a little stale with a few strategies dominating both the early and the end game.
As expected, testing is still in the early stages. Terran players need some serious finesse to handle the mid-late game, particularly against Protoss and Zerg air units. Testing has a long way to go yet...
Q. Do you plan to open the Beta to everyone? If yes, when?
A. We have no plans to make an open Beta at this time.
=(! This shouldnt dissuade people from continuing to opt into the beta process. There are still new keys being given out, this just means that you'll need a bit of luck to go along with your effort.
Q. Will there be an option to log into World of Warcraft with an authenticator, but StarCraft II without one? Do I need to protect my StarCraft II account?
A. The authenticator is used to protect your Battle.net account and is NOT specific to the game you're playing. If you have an authenticator attached to your Battle.net account with a World of Warcraft license and then buy StarCraft II, you will use the same authenticator to log into StarCraft II.
This is a bit of a pain in the ass. I kind of wish that there was a way to turn it off just for Starcraft II, because honestly there isn't really the potential for losing anything if your account was compromised so long as logging into your main Battle.net account required your authenticator. Alas, you can't always have everything -- and I'd rather have authenticators than no authenticators.
Q. What is your overall opinion about the beta right now? Have you already achieved what you were looking for?
A. We have not begun to achieve our goals for the beta. For the first week we watched as the community learned the game. As the beta went forward we began to see a lot of the Pylon, Photon Cannon and Gateway rushes. Now we we are starting to see lots of "single unit" strategies. We have a ways to go with the beta before we are satisfied.
The mini-patch updates for Starcraft II are still coming fast and furious, it'll be quite the endeavour to pull off a summer release when they 'have not begun' to achieve their goals. As someone who has spent some time playing the game at a reasonably high ladder level I'll attest to the fact that there isn't alot of grand strategy at play among testers yet. Units past tier 2 are a fairly rare sight, so testing obviously won't be complete until players have fully explored the limits of each race.
Q. Are you still confident about releasing the game in mid-summer?
A. Yes. We are still on target to release the game in the middle part of this year.
Q. Will more than one user profile per account be allowed?
A. At ship we intend to have only a single profile per user. This encourages better player behavior and allows us to do better match-making between players. It obviously causes a number of issues. For example I may want to try a new race as a player but I'm afraid of losing rating, what do I do? We are looking to fix these types of issues for launch.
This one is going to be a real killer. I don't personally share my PC with anyone else, but I have friends who have siblings or kids or parents that play the same games they do using their own personal accounts. Having to purchase multiple copies of the game in order to be able to preserve your own settings and statistics is going to really cramp their style.