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Episódio 14

Bem-vindo ao BlizzCast 14! Neste episódio conversamos com o Diretor de Produção Chris Sigaty e o Diretor de Jogo Dustin Browder sobre o beta de StarCraft II e o que os jogadores podem esperar do lançamento.

BlizzCast #14: StarCraft II Special
BlizzCast #14: StarCraft II Special Kevin Yu (RTS and StarCraft Community Manager), Dustin Browder (game director – StarCraft II), Chris Sigaty (production director -- StarCraft II)
[ topo ]
Kevin Yu: Welcome everyone to another episode of BlizzCast! My name is Kevin Yu, your community manager for StarCraft II also known to you guys as Karune on the boards. And with the game on the horizon, we've brought our heavy hitters back, Production Director Chris Sigaty and Game Director Dustin Browder to talk a little bit about the game and what the community can expect when they get their hands on it. Thanks for joining us guys!
Dustin Browder: Hey!

Chris Sigaty: Thanks for having us!
[ 00:18 ]
Kevin Yu: So the multiplayer has been tried, tested, and we've gone through the beta. As far as how the community has responded to the game online, how has this whole experience been for you guys?
Chris Sigaty: From my perspective the beta was probably our best experience yet as far as betas go, certainly in our RTS games. It's been very difficult to get to a balanced point in our previous products and this time through, we put out a number of patches, listened to a lot of feedback from the community and are at a very good launching point for the game.

Dustin Browder: You know what's so great about the StarCraft II beta was that the community was so knowledgeable about not only the game, even before they got to the beta because they knew so much about the original StarCraft, but they're also so knowledgeable about what some of our design goals were in making the game. They understood immediately what we were trying to accomplish so they were quickly able to jump on board, get really good at the game and really help us with some great feedback and great ideas with how to move the game forward.

Personally, playing the beta was probably one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had as a gamer, being able to get online, play with these thousands and thousands of gamers every night, and see the kinds of strategies they were doing. Play through 1v1 and 2v2 games, it was just a lot of fun for everybody here at the studio to be able to play with the fans, finally in this game we've been waiting for, for so many years.
[ 00:39 ]
Kevin Yu: Definitely. So far, speaking more in detail about those strategies, how do you think those strategies are meshing out in the early, mid, and late stage game for each of the different races? Especially, adding all of the new abilities and units from StarCraft II as well?
Dustin Browder: Well one of the things we learned in the beta, very early obviously, was a lot of rush strategies that we weren't quite prepared for that we thought that we had under control before it went live with the beta. And we found out pretty quickly over the course of seven or eight patches, I think, we were still fixing some of the core rush strategies. And it's always sort of a tough balance for us because we want to make sure that rush strategies are possible, that it is possible to overcome an enemy with a rush, but at the same time we don't want the rushes to be unstoppable. And our sort of core design value is a rush should be as easy to stop as it is to do, and we're still sort of working all of those kinks out. I think in many cases we've improved it quite a bit, I think most of those are under control, but we are trying to keep an open mind as to what may still be out there that we don't know about. And we come up with phase two of the beta and we will watch and see how those rush strategies are sort of continuing to evolve and we'll keep watching those going forward.

As far as the mid and end game strategies, we're seeing a lot of variance in a lot of the matchups. Not all of the matchups yet are 100% where we want them to be. Terran versus terran matchup, as the first phase of beta was winding down, we were definitely seeing a lot of the same units used over and over and over again. And we tried to make a few changes to break up the logjam and making sure it wasn't just siege tank and viking primarily used in terran versus terran matchups. We're going to keep watching that matchup very closely going forward to make sure that it does have a wide variety of units used.

In terms of the overall numbers, we started out with win-loss percentages in pretty good shape, within 10% at the beginning of the beta. As the beta moved forward, as we made patches, we got really good feedback from the community. We got within 1 and 2% win-loss on all of the matchups by the time we finally finished phase one of the beta. So, we're feeling pretty good about where we're at with your chances to win. We're feeling pretty good with where we're at in terms of the different types of units you're encouraged to use. Though again, terran versus terran is an example of a matchup that we're not quite 100% on yet or not sure, maybe we're getting closer, we'll have to wait and see. But, it definitely was a wonderful learning experience for the team. Lots and lots of fun to play and we really can't wait to get it back into the hands of the community once again.
[ 02:00 ]
Kevin Yu: So going back to some of those creative strategies, you were saying that you saw a lot of different things. Could you highlight a couple of really cool strategies, maybe some strategies that you guys didn't quite anticipate?
Dustin Browder: : I think examples that I'm sure a lot of the community members have already experienced maybe first hand, was there were lots of protoss warping strategies using gateways built in the enemy player's town. There were lots of and there still remain many reaper strategies, especially against protoss trying to beat that first stalker out which you can definitely do with that first reaper and seeing how much damage you can do before that first stalker comes online and takes you out. But surprisingly, we didn't see that many dangerous zerg rushing strategies at the end of the day. Obviously, seven pool zerg rush is still a very viable strat which we're happy to leave as a viable strategy.

There were some timing pushes that still remain that we're sort of waiting to see how those sort of shake out. Timing push, for those of you who don't know, there are moments in the game where one player may have a core economic or slight tech advantage that they can use to really take advantage of their opponent who, for just a thirty second window, may not be quite ready to go and if you know that timing you can really do some damage. So we're still seeing a lot of those shake out, but I think what we were surprised about, particularly amusingly, a lot of the early protoss building of gateways, pylons, different sort of structures inside the enemy town as a way to early push. Especially against terran, remembering the early days, even almost day one, it was a couple of gateways in your town with the pylon usually built on low ground outside of the town fundamentally and the poor terrans were just seeing zealots in many cases before they had their first marine, which was terrifying for that poor terran player. So we saw that early on which I don't think we had anticipated. We obviously internally are trying to beat each other, but we're not trying to win in thirty seconds or less or four minutes or less quite as much as you are when you're playing online. So by getting it into a live environment where you're suddenly incentivized to just try and win games as quickly as possible, we started to see a lot more early game breaks than we'd ever seen before.

Chris Sigaty: I still think that there are still other things out there.

Dustin Browder: Absolutely.

Chris Sigaty: Even though it is a beta, people still get ultra competitive and they just want to stick with what they think they know wins. So, a lot of people didn't experiment as much as I was hoping they would. I mean there was a lot of innovative stuff and interesting ideas, but I still think, and we were saying this last time we sat down, that there's a bunker strat out there, I still thinks that's there. I think we're going to see things develop after the game launches where people kind of toss aside, playing custom or say, “I don't care about my record that much, I just want to be investigating different concepts.” and we'll see interesting stuff still develop even after launch.

Dustin Browder: Yeah, even throughout the beta we did see some big changes in the way the game was played based on the few players that were using strats that we hadn't seen before. For a long time for instance, the terran versus terran matchup we were really excited about because it was almost every unit got used at one point or another, there were a few exceptions of course, but many, many of the units were used. It was marauders, it was thors, it was siege tanks, it was medivacs, everything got used. And then some more clever players came along and said, “Hey you know what you really need? You need Vikings, you need siege tanks.” and they broke it down to that, so we're sort of waiting to see. In many cases I think this will continue to happen during the next phase of the beta, after launch, and for years to come.

Chris Sigaty: Sure, yeah.

Dustin Browder: We will see the strategy of this game continue to evolve and that's one of the things we're excited about. And part of our challenge as designers on the game is to make sure that we don't try to react to every change. We saw over the ten years plus of StarCraft and Brood War how many times the game changed for people. That the community sort of changed what was the correct and expected strategies. Really almost no balance changes in many cases happened for those changes to occur. So, our goal is to try to create a game that's big enough, that's got enough options to it, that the correct way to play can change multiple times and we're not doing anything.

Chris Sigaty: Right.

Dustin Browder: Right, and the community's the one inventing the game, the community's the one that's sort of in control of the right way to play because they discovered the strategies and the game is deep enough they can keep playing it and discovering new strategies for years to come.

[ 04:25 ]
Kevin Yu: As the players find their own strategies and find what works for them, it seems like each of the different regions have also found this in different types of timing. People are finding certain regions might like a certain particular race a little bit more than the other races. How do you think that's evolved or how that happened, also, how do you guys plan to balance that moving forward?
Dustin Browder: Well it's really exciting for us and we get to see this because we have some really great data that our business intelligence team has given us this time around where we can actually look at what's happening in the beta. We can see some statistics of who's winning and losing by what percentages in which countries around the world.

So in the beta we saw that, in Korea, the zerg were a very dominant race to play, and this would have been around patch eight or nine I think, and they were just very, very powerful. And in the United States and in Europe, the zerg were very, very weak at literally the same time period with the same game being played. We went onto the Korean server and we played a lot of games and we were playing a lot of games already in the United States obviously and we had some people playing in Europe and we could see very clearly that there were some strategies that the Korean players were using that seemed very effective. And we weren't sure for quite a while, had the American players already countered this and the Korean players hadn't learned it, or was this something new? We didn't really know what was going on and as we watched the game evolve, we started to see those strategies then leave Korea and invade the United States and Europe as well and we saw the numbers then swing much as they had in Korea where the zerg became very powerful. This was at a point where you were seeing zerg players building a lot of spine crawlers. You were seeing them just build spine crawlers, zerglings, save all their gas, pop as many mutalisks as they possibly could the moment they had the ability to build mutalisks and swarm the board with mutalisks as fast as possible, particularly against protoss. So we definitely have seen this kind of thing happen.

Thank goodness we live in the age of the internet that we do where these strategies can travel very quickly now from place to place and from community to community. And I'll also say thank goodness that we have the community that we have that's so aggressive about seeking out and finding the strategies from all over the world that is in many ways, especially among the hardcore community, a multinational community that is seeking out strategies from Korea, from the United States, from Europe all trying to compete trying to make themselves better. We have community members all over the world going to other places to find these things so they did ultimately move that strategy I think very quickly, within a couple of weeks. We had real time data so we can see immediately, “Oh my god, this is not what we expected!” but they moved it very quickly over.

Our general goal is obviously always to keep watching in terms of how we're going to balance for this. I think that incident, at least to us, gives us a lot of faith in the community that they will move the information around. That what the best way to play this game will travel from place to place fairly quickly so our general goal is going to be take the feedback, move quickly, but not too quickly. We don't want to make any sudden moves, if we made a sudden move in that case and suddenly changed something to try to balance it for the states and it turns out that the Korean strategy was actually going to be the dominant strategy, that would have been a huge mistake. So we will definitely wait a couple of weeks when we see something, especially if it's only one location to see somehow how it sort of shakes out.

Chris Sigaty: Actually, for a beta, this is unprecedented for us to do it in multiple locations. We usually set up a beta server and have all communities connect to a single location. We'll definitely take that into account the next time. Dustin's totally right as far as the time and that it did eventually come over and we still wouldn't, whether everybody was playing on one or not, want to react immediately to any particular tactic that comes up unless it's just a given that we should immediately react. But, in general that challenge is interesting, but it takes additional time away from us basically sitting and reacting to the game if we have to wait and see is it going to come across, is it exclusive to that one region, and it was really shocking actually as Dustin started to discover it happen like “Whoa, this is a big challenge”. So, in the future, we'll definitely be looking at that. What it means for future betas, I don't know, but it's possible that in the future, for our betas, that we would unify and have different languages connecting to a single location so that we definitely see the strats all in the same location.
Kevin Yu: And these will obviously be very good learning experiences especially moving forward since we will probably still have additional betas, right?
Dustin Browder and Chris Sigaty: Yeah, absolutely.
[ 08:37 ]
Kevin Yu: So looking on the other side of the spectrum with the map making community. So far, since you guys have released the galaxy editor, how have you guys felt about some of the things you guys have maybe seen on YouTube or online with custom games?
Chris Sigaty: Super excited. There's amazing stuff out there, I'd encourage anybody who hasn't come along and looked on YouTube or looked on any of the resources out there. There's just some amazing stuff coming online and it's still an early version of the editor. Like the game itself, we intend to add a lot of features over time as we go into the future, as we patch the game. It's already super exciting what we're seeing and I think down the line the potential is massive.
Kevin Yu: For a lot of our listeners too, we've seen racing games, first person shooters. It seems like there are new types of maps that weren't possible in the original StarCraft as well right?
Dustin Browder: It's definitely the most powerful editor that this team has ever produced so yeah, you're seeing action games, you're seeing the classic tower defense games, you're seeing side scrollers, you're seeing first person shooters in some cases. Just some amazing, amazing game types done by this unbelievably creative community, and I think we're all just waiting to see how these guys do when it goes live. They have better tools, they have more time ultimately to embrace and understand all the power that's been put into their hands. I think we're going to see some really fun stuff over the next many years.
[ 12:54 ]
Kevin Yu: Should be very exciting. You guys also mentioned before that created maps by the community could possibly end up in the map pool one day. How is that something that is decided, is that based on player popularity online or is it based on the actual StarCraft II team?
Dustin Browder: I think it's a little bit of both. I think when we see maps that are very popular then we take a look at those maps and then we decide if that's something we want rolled into the match maker or is it something that’s better kept as a custom map experience. Our custom map pool is very specifically chosen, at least at this point, to try to give us a very specific set of balance and very specific set of information. We've had a couple of incidents even in the beta where we pulled some maps that we felt were not giving us the balance that we wanted that were kind of abusive for certain races. So we're definitely evaluating these maps going forward. As we see maps in the community we'll be pretty excited I think to roll them in if they meet the criteria we think is right for the balance of the game.
[ 14:19 ]
Kevin Yu: Challenge mode is another new feature added to the game. [Editors' Note: Challenge mode is now called Challenge Missions.] Having challenge mode maps, what was the intention, the design goal for that, and how do you think that will play out in the community as far as helping people out.
Chris Sigaty: Challenge mode is something we've talked about in the past, but I think it's one of the most exciting features that we have in the game from my perspective because I feel like we've finally admitted that single player, the campaign itself, does not teach you how to play online, it does not teach you to be a good multiplayer player. And I think challenges are an attempt to bridge that gap and give players the opportunity to learn some of the things that they weren't paying very close attention to in the campaign. The campaign does teach you some basics, it teaches you that you have to build up units, that you have to acquire resources, but it doesn't tell you how to do that well. And in fact, we really tried to stay away from it because you're already overwhelmed. There's so much to learn there, we're throwing a lot at you with new things in the campaign, with a lot of player choice in there, so we don't want to get you caught up into these things like, “How many workers should you have harvesting minerals or gathering gas?”. In putting challenges in there, they start to get into the specifics and let people understand what they may want to be paying attention to when they get up into competitive play, so, super excited about seeing that do its job hopefully here after launch.

Dustin Browder: Right, yeah it definitely gives players an opportunity to learn the things they need to learn. So it gives them a chance to practice some of these things as well, but more importantly it exposes a wide group of players to some of the basics that maybe they didn't understand. The importance of resource gathering, how powerful it can be if you will use hotkeys. How much more dangerous you can be if you understand some of the basic unit counters in the game. It won't turn a brand new player into a diamond player by any stretch, that's not its goal, but it will give you a view into the world of competitive gaming and give you some ideas as to the kinds of skills that you need to work on and give you a chance to practice some of those skills. But it will give you a view of those types of skills and give you some practice with those skills to get you online so that you can one day become a much better player.
[ 15:13 ]
Kevin Yu: What are some of the challenge modes that you guys have played recently that you guys find at the cusp of your skill level right now?
Dustin Browder: I don't know if any of those are still at the cusp of our skill level, we've played these so many times now that there's really not a challenge left that I don't think we can just play all the way through in the first time out. I still have a lot of fun playing through some of the combat modes. We have some spell caster combat modes where we ask you to destroy as many enemies as possible within a time limit with a set group of units. So you might have some high templar and some sentries and we give you a few minutes to kill as big a base as you can. We have some ghosts with some nukes and some ravens with their full energy and all their upgrades and we say kill as much stuff as you possibly can. And those are always fun to play even though I've gotten the highest score that we sort of track, it's always fun to go for a little bit of a higher score to see if I can beat some of the guys in the office that play them. And the hotkey challenge is always fun too. A lot of these are open ended, we have bronze, silver, and gold level play that you can win by playing with achievements obviously associated with each of these levels of play. But you can always go for a higher score, right? So what we do in the office at this point is try to get the highest score possible in some of these challenges. Using only hotkeys, how many units can you kill in three minutes with this protoss force? You did 250, can you do 275? It always keeps it kind of fresh.
Kevin Yu: Or if you're having a rough day you can have a little psi storm practice, always pretty fun.
Dustin Browder: Absolutely, absolutely.
[ 17:19 ]
Kevin Yu: Going along with challenge mode there's also going to be tutorial features. What's different about tutorial features and how are those going to help new players get up and running?
Chris Sigaty: Well there are a couple things about the tutorial from my perspective that makes this our best attempt yet for new players. One is, it's in your face, it's right there at the beginning. Our whole menu system presents it so that new players that get into the game see it right away. The other thing is there's an immersive tutorial that's playable where you can pick the different sorts of things you want to learn about. If you know how to select units and move units you can skip that and move onto the more advanced, and when I say advanced we're really talking about the basics for players, the more advanced, basic things you need to know to play.

What we've also done is we put videos into the game as well and those are available so that players even if they've done the tutorial or they've skipped it and they get into the middle of playing the campaign and get stuck and they're not quite understanding how do I move units and how do I attack. We actually have videos available that they can watch for reference so that they can understand that as well. I think the sum total of those things presents the best roll out of information to new players coming into our RTS games for sure.

Dustin Browder: We also have a really extensive tips system that we use throughout the game to bring up information that you may need about maybe how certain mission objectives work or maybe some strategies you could use to complete those objectives in a couple of cases. For the very newest users, we have a lot of text popping up on the screen in key moments. We did some usability testing with people here in our studio, not as sophisticated as some studios I know do it, but we did do some usability testing where we watched new users play and we could see where they were getting confused or making mistakes and we tried to provide them with some additional tools especially on some of the easier difficulty settings that will show them what they need to do to succeed.

I guess the final thing that we have that is our last attempt to help players new to the experience, is we have now four levels of difficulty in our game which is more than we've had before which will allow users to select the difficulty level that's hopefully appropriate to them. You can also change the difficulty throughout the campaign at any time you want, you can go up or you can go down to try out different difficulty levels. We have the ability to replay the missions you've played already at a different difficulty level if you want to as well so you can test and see, “Am I really ready for hard or do I want to just stay at normal and that's my skill level?”. So we've given them a lot of tools to help new users out. We know that strategy games can be challenging to play and learn. We've watched enough new users to understand how scary it can be for a lot of people to do this, but we've put a lot of stuff out there to really let you get into the campaign and understand it and hopefully give users enough tools through challenge mode and through our matchmaking system ultimately to allow them to, at some point, when they're ready, graduate into online play.
[ 18:44 ]
Kevin Yu: How many guys at Blizzard so far have beaten the campaign on the hardest level?
Dustin Browder: I don't know if I can count that.

Chris Sigaty: That's a good question.

Dustin Browder: I've beaten it on the hardest level at least five or six times now, and I know a lot of the designers have done the same as well. We've all been through it so many times at this point just looking for mistakes, balance problems, bugs, anything we can do to improve the achievement system. We're constantly playing as much of the game as we can from top to bottom.

Chris Sigaty: I think what's interesting, going back to the tutorial question, Dustin was talking about the tips and the information. One of the things that I've realized and that I think we've realized as a team across this is, that there is so much information to tell. It's balancing what's too much, what's too little, between the tips, between mission specific and mechanics that you need to explain to the player. It starts to become a lot of information, and it is a difficult tightrope to walk to see what information needs to be presented and not, because we can actually overwhelm the user and that can be almost worse.

Dustin Browder: Than doing nothing, right, you can present too much information.

Chris Sigaty: Exactly.
Kevin Yu: I think you definitely gained a new appreciation for pro players operating at 300 APM now too, with all of the tips that are probably going off.
Dustin Browder: Absolutely, absolutely.
[ 21:34 ]
Kevin Yu: Also introduced in Beta as people got online, was the achievement system and they saw they were able to win lots of in-game awards, avatars, decals. What are some of your favorite achievements and what overall is the design goal for the achievements?
Dustin Browder: There are a lot of different things it does for us, as it's done for many other games that have come before us who have used similar systems. The goal is to get players to try things they haven't tried before, to learn a little bit about the game because they're perusing the achievements. They might learn things that exist that they didn't even know were possible in the game. It's also to give players rewards for having done behavior that hopefully is already fun for them. We are definitely trying to provide players with achievements that are focused on things that we know are fun for players to do already. We are definitely trying to keep away from achievements, I'm not sure we've been 100% successful, but we're working to be as close to this as we can, to get them doing achievements that are already fun experiences. The goal is to just get them out there and get them playing lots of different ways and get rewards for doing that.

In terms of my favorite achievements, I am always shooting for the 1v1 and team-play portraits. The best looking portraits we could find we put into that area of the game to really encourage a lot of the players to play the competitive play. There are a lot of really great portraits and rewards to be had just by playing through the game. There is one really great portrait for the challenge mode.

Chris Sigaty: Which one would that be?

Dustin Browder: The Spectre portrait actually, it's really, really cool.

Chris Sigaty: [laughs] Oh, I thought you were going to say something else.

Dustin Browder: [laughing] No, no. There is a great portrait of a mercenary Goliath out that everyone I think should get at some point, but I think that's high up on the team-play list it's going to be hard for people to get.

Chris Sigaty: Are you talking about that really scary looking one?

Dustin Browder: It's the scary looking one, yeah the scars. Yeah, absolutely.

Chris Sigaty: The one with a professional model guy that we brought in.

Dustin Browder: [laughs] Yeah, that's the one. We're really hoping players will get out there and try to get a lot of these different portraits, there is a lot of really fun stuff in the achievement system. Certainly, the achievement system for us hasn't been online the whole time, we've been working on it as we've been developing the game. We've played for many, many months or even years in many of the game modes without any sort of achievement system and now we've been able to play with the achievement system now that it is online. It really does change the way that you want to play the game, it really makes it a lot more enjoyable. I know for me, playing through the beta, I was obsessing about my win-loss ratio, worried that I wasn't winning enough games and just freaking out about this. But when the achievement system came online, I became much more interested in getting one more win so that I could get closer to that next achievement.

For me, it was a much more positive experience because I knew I was going to win about half my games. That's the way the ladder and matchmaking is set up, we try to match you against evenly-skilled opponents which means, if we're doing our jobs correctly, and you're playing as hard as you can, we should be able to give you a fifty-fifty win-loss record, which can sometimes be a little scary. Playing through, I kind of wish I could win 70% of my games and I don't care what happens to the other guy. I kind of just want to win more than my share. But now with the achievement system it's much easier to focus on trying to get that next portrait, trying to get that next decal, trying to get that next reward, and I think it's just a much more fun experience.
[ 22:44 ]
Kevin Yu: So, looking at one more of the large pillars of StarCraft II, being single player, something that people talked about a lot. I know a lot of people hoped it would be in the beta, but, of course, you know we wanted to save a lot of surprises. How do you feel the new features for single player have added to the game, and what are some of your favorite new features that have gone into single player that makes it really different from other RTS games, as well as the original StarCraft?
Chris Sigaty: The biggest thing about it, and we've talked a lot about this, is player choice. The adventure is your own, you go and look at our previous efforts in RTS and it's a linear experience. We just present you with information and then you play. Now, the player gets to explore, play the missions they want to play, and then pick the way they want to play them through the armies that they build up, whether it be mercenaries or the technologies they choose, research in the lab. And then the whole experience of going through learning more about Jim Raynor, the different characters, their motivations; that whole thing is a very different experience.

We've never rolled out the single player in our betas previously. We won't likely do that in the future, so we never intended to do that. I know the community was excited thinking we would, but that wasn't ever part of our plan. But ultimately, we've had press out now, we had a lot of players that have played it, we've heard a lot of internal feedback on it. I think it's a really new and fun experience. We're really excited to see what the world thinks once it lands.

Dustin Browder: I totally agree. I think the player choice is really, really key, and I think what's really fun about it—you know, I've obviously played it way too many times at this point—but what's really fun about it, still for us now, is that I can still play through it in a different way. I'll get to a mission with different technology. I'll get to a mission with different research I've never had before, and I'm suddenly presented with a new tactical challenge that I have not yet seen, and I've played through this game so many times. So, I know that many players will play through it once, and that's great, but I think for those players who do want to play through it multiple times, they will find that the order they play the missions in, the types of technology choices they make, the types of research choices they make, the types of mercenaries they choose to hire fundamentally sort of alters some of the basic challenges you're facing and keeps the game very fresh after many, many play-throughs.
[ 25:50 ]
Kevin Yu: For my final question, what are your plans moving forward? Are there going to be a lot of mini patches? Are there going be more infrequent, larger patches? What can people expect as far as post-game support?
Chris Sigaty: Well, we're definitely going to patch. I think that's one of the things that is part of Blizzard's magic, is we continue to support the game for a long time. Obviously, we have expansions coming out, along the way, we'll be releasing patches. Some will have features in them, some will only address balance, they'll ebb and flow as far as how big they are. We have something planned probably a month or two out already with some minor features being added in there, just tweaks to things. There will also, I'm sure, be some balance reaction in there. And then, before the end of the year, we're intending to put out a fairly larger size patch, which has some things related to tournaments or, really, the eSports community. So, the specific features we're still working on for that patch, I don't have any specifics to go into, but that's something we hope to drop before the end of the year. Something every two or three months will definitely be coming out.

Dustin Browder: Yeah, absolutely. In terms of balance, we'll do whatever is necessary at the time. Obviously, we're going to continue to be as cautious as we dare, where we want make sure the community has had the chance to play with new stuff, and they get a chance to play with it, and that they are, in fact, identifying a problem for us correctly. But, the minute we know a problem is real, you know that we're convinced that it's got to be changed, we're going to try to get a patch out there as soon as is humanly possible because we don't want people playing with stuff that we know is broken. It drives us crazy as much as it does the guys playing it because we're playing with you guys every night too. So, if I'm getting Zealot rushed and I can't win a game as terran, you can better believe I'll want to make a change tomorrow morning.

So, we'll definitely be looking to do whatever we can when it makes sense for us to do, so we'll try to be as aggressive as we can with problems. And then, like Chris says, making sure that we are keeping up a consistent patch structure to solve bugs and add little features and that kind of stuff.
[ 27:58 ]
Kevin Yu: So, is there anything else you guys would like to add or leave with the community before they actually get the game that you guys have been working so, so hard on?
Chris Sigaty: Well, it's about a month out and we couldn't be more excited that this is real, we're finally there. We've been waiting a very long time to share this with the world, and the beta was a first step in that. But now here comes the real game and it's about to launch. So, for me, at least, I'm super excited. I can't wait for the public to actually get their hands on single player, get out there and enjoy it, see all these things that we've been working such a long time and so hard on, and see the reaction and start getting involved with everybody.

Dustin Browder: Yeah. I'd like to just thank all the beta players, as well. Whether you were a low-ranked Bronze, or the top of Diamond, or somewhere in between, I guarantee you that you helped us by playing our game. You provided feedback, you gave us data whether you meant to or not, that we got by looking at your win-loss records, by looking at how your play affected the community. Everyone who played in our beta helped balance StarCraft II and made StarCraft II the game it is today.
[ 29:58 ]
Kevin Yu: Awesome. Thanks so much for taking the time, guys.
Chris Sigaty: Thank you.

Dustin Browder: Alright, thanks.
Kevin Yu: And a special thank you to our listeners, as well. If you love the insider perspectives and all things Blizzard, subscribe to BlizzCast on iTunes or via our RSS feed.

This concludes BlizzCast 14, and we look forward to seeing you all on Battle.net soon.
[ 31:00 ]