The beta for Legacy of the Void has been out for a week now, and it is obvious to anyone that has watched or played the game that it is quite different from Heart of the Swarm and represents a much larger change in the game itself than the jump from Wings of Liberty to Heart of the Swarm represented. I took the time to poll some players and personalities on what they thought of the game as it stands right now.
Image taken from desRow's Twitter
I think Legacy of the Void is in the right direction. The game got a lot more complicated but with the addition of Archon mode, it will motivate the player base to play with their friends. It will faciliate streamers having interaction between each other. The new units have so much micro potential and the game feels so fresh with the new economy that I have no doubt Blizzard will deliver a stellar final product.
Image taken from JaKaTaK's Twitter
Legacy of the Void is fast, exciting and fun. The boring part at the beginning of the game where casters would talk about non-game related topics is gone. Decisions are made from the very moment you start the game. As things get figured out, this may change. Its possible that every game will be 13 overlord 17 hatchery for zerg, but I am optimistic that this will not be the case. The times where a Protoss could stay on 2 base and continuously crank out units against a Zerg are gone. Expansion is necessary, and every all-in is on a significantly shorter timer than it was before.
The thing I feel most optimistic about though, is the apparent philosophical shift in Sc2 development from Blizzard. The time warp change, corrosive bile, and other new units and abilities have a clear message: "If you don't move, you die" They're really pushing for counter play, visually intuitive micro that spectators can appreciate, and more ways for players to display that skill in varying gradients of success. While its easy to pick specific things in the current build that may feel boring, broken, or simply not fun, Blizzard moving in the right direction, and the speed at which they are moving that is the most exciting thing for me. They're making drastic changes, they're iterating and failing, and re-iterating faster than we're used to seeing, and the transparency coming out of community managers is much better. Are we in a perfect place? Of course not, but we're moving quickly in the correct direction, and its uplifting to see a historically slow moving game company demonstrate this kind of increase agility.
Image Credit ESL
I think the new economy changes make that game a lot better. It encourages aggression and expanding, rather than timing attacks and all ins like in WoL/HotS. As for the units themselves, they seem to have a good design thus far. Units such as the disruptor do a good job breaking up deathballs. They still do need some stat adjustments though, as some of the new units seem really strong at the moment.
Image from PengWin's Twitter
Legacy of the Void is in short everything that I (and many others) had hoped it would be. Fast paced, micro intensive and action packed, it's incredibly fun and intense. Archon Mode is an exceptionally fun mode as well, and in my opinion the best thing to happen to the game in a long time.
Zerg definitely seems overpowered in what we've seen so far with ravager rushes being borderline ridiculous in strength as well as several other options, but things like stasis ward / disruptor combos and the Cyclone are also really really strong (and will probably be addressed at some point).
All told, I think the game has the potential to really draw in new players and viewers and bring new wind into the sails of the competitive scene. I can't wait to see how Legacy develops, and really look forward to seeing it enter the tournament circuit.
Image Credit Blizzard Entertainment
Legacy of the Void is absurdly exciting to me. The biggest thing I've noticed is that there's a lot more uncertainty in engagements. In Heart of the Swarm, a large chunk of the time you could look at two armies and the engagement angle and call the fight. In Legacy of the Void there's a lot more actions that need to be taken *during* the fight rather than just before that will have a significant impact. There's also a lot more "power" units that can allow a smaller army to beat a bigger one, which gives me a lot of hope for the end of the deathball. I think deathball armies will still be a thing, but it will be something there's some really solid responses to.
One other effect of this is comebacks feel *VERY* possible in a lot of otherwise down and out situations. A lot of the games I've played, I feel almost dead but a few good disruptor hits, some good ravager shots, some well positioned lurkers, and suddenly you're back in the game. I think this will be really exciting from a viewer perspective, but it may be somewhat frustrating for new players. I will say that Archon mode really does alleviate a lot of those frustrations and stress though so I'm expecting that to take off, in part because there's actual match-making for it.
In terms of the general changes (game time, starting workers, mineral patches) I view them as all positive changes. The game is much faster paced from the beginning; it's a bit jarring to be able to be up to a strong 3 base at the 8 minute mark. There will certainly be an adjustment period, especially with how quickly you need to take more bases because of how quickly (some) mineral fields and gas geysers mine out.
With the race specific changes, there's certainly a few major balance issues but that's to be expected so early in the beta. The Cyclone and the Ravager are both very strong overall units. The Disruptor is very strong as well, but is very make-or-break and can be dodged with good micro.
I feel like Zerg has received the most sweeping changes and buffs, with small to medium improvements to various styles. Lurker to compliment the Hydralisk, Roaches buffed through the Ravager and Burrow, and Ultralisks and Zerglings both buffed significantly in the late-game. Terran has been given one very strong unit in the Cyclone and a number of other minor buffs such as the Missile Turret, Siege Tank drops, etc. However, Protoss has really only been given one game changing unit in the Disruptor, as the Adept feels very lacking at the moment. As a result, it feels as if Protoss is somewhat lacking in a number of situations, with only the make-or-break damage of the Disruptor to rely on.
As for me I'm enjoying the beta quite a bit. The pace of the game is a lot faster, but in a good way. There is a certain feeling of franticness due to how quickly bases mine out. The need for higher a higher base count means that units that highly mobile units that are fun to micro are even more important. Speaking of highly mobile units that are fun to micro, Zerglings feel so much better then they ever have before. With their Adrenal Gland buff they feel like they have a late game purpose aside from holding stuff in place so your banelings and ultras can get on top of it. There are typical beta imbalances, but the core design decisions simply seem a lot more fun than Legacy of the Void.
Did you get lucky enough to get into the Beta? Let us know what you think about it in the comments!