Yussshhhhh I got in!
So here is my perspective towards this upcoming expansion for Starcraft 2.
In Wings Of Liberty, I am primarily a zerg player ranking in mid diamond to high Platinum league. Now that I'm playing the closed beta for HOTS, there are significant changes that I noticed right off the bat.
1. Dramatically better performance at higher settings, which makes the game even more enjoyable. The art team really went all out with the new environments (especially the snow maps), and with all the VFX turned on ultra settings, it was still giving my pc around 60+ fps!
2. UI slightly changed, now you can see the worker count at your CC, Hatch, and Nexus, meaning you know exactly how optimal your mining really is. Noob friendly? Why not?
3. Quick Option for 'Playing ranked or unranked' directly in the Quick Match window is a fantastic and easy option for switching between practice and ranking ladder matches.NEW UNITS and my thoughtsZERG
1. Swarm Host: mannnn these things look disgusting!!!! but they are really really great additions to zerg. From what they demoed, the SH was primarily created as siege units for zerg. However I found that they were not very effective as an offensive unit that provided instant damage from afar. Rather I used them to generate the little babies as meat shield for my primary army.
My main concern is that when the SH burrow, they pop out their eggs, and there's a slight delay before the Locusts come out to do their thing. So in essence it's technically not a true siege unit, but it's great for generating free units for meat shields.
2. Ultralisk Burrow Charge: Makes them a lot more desired in pack situations, where as before due to their slow speed and huge size, they'll lack behind all your smaller and faster units, making them useless in a funnelling situation. Now with the smart-cast burrow charge, set it to an area and they'll go under and up to do an AOE damage against ground units. Pretty handy!
Downside of this is that the speed of the charge is very slow, as it is just slightly faster than burrowed Roaches. Hope they will make the charge speed a lot faster, as it can be easily dodged.
3. Hydra Speed upgrade: About time this was implemented. Pretty much hydras were used very seldom as offensive units UNLESS you had the entire map covered in creep due to their snail like speed off creep.
4. VIPER: THIS idea is very... VERY great. Remember when the enemies try to hide that 1 colossus in the middle of that death ball, and when you tried to force fire at it, they just micro him to safety? Or those stupid siege tank groups where your lings or hydras can't touch? Well now you can by bringing them to you one-by-one. People might say it's an unbalanced ability, I think it is fair because of the high amount of energy required to cast that abduct spell. Plus the fact that the Viper is extremely expensive, and is only available late game as a Hive tech unit makes it worth the time and resources to make.Terran
1. Warhound: This unit may just be my favorite unit from HOTS, just because it LOOKS SO FUCKING COOL!!! All the memories of playing MechWarrior just came back to me. What I find interesting about this unit is that, it pretty much BEEFS up the mech build, essentially a tougher and faster Marauder. It's Haywire Missile ability really lets you destroy other mech builds such as mass stalkers and immortals, and going 1 on 1 against mass Thors. Though I'm surprised to see that they still kept the Thor around.
2. Transformers Helion: Is a lot more fun to play with, if you want to go pure mech build. you'll have the Thors in the middle doing the primary damage, the Warhound doing the extra damage against armored units, and the beefed up helion against any lightweight units. I especially enjoy the way they walk around while in robot mode, the way they waddle around made me chuckle. Chargelot builds better watch out for this one.
3. Widow Mine: I didn't really get the chance to use these as much. But from what I find so far, they DO A LOT of damage for something that only costs 75 minerals and 25 gas, and builds at the speed of a worker. The burrowing speed of these guys are also quite fast, almost the same as sieging a tank. Hopefully they'll figure a way to make their costs reflect their usages.
Another minor thing I noticed is that Terran buildings in HOTS lift up slightly faster than in WoL, where as they no longer have that slight dipping animation right before going into the air, which probably saves half a second : /Protoss
1. Mothership Core: This idea is really interesting, as it provides Protoss with their own early-game version of a Planetary Fortress with its Purify ability. What I'm not particularly fond of this though is that they made the MC mobile from when they first demoed it, as the MC then was fixed to a Nexus but was able to teleport to another by spending energy. Now it is an extremely, extremely slow giant eyeball orb thing. It moves slower than an overlord, and really I don't see the point of having it mobile if the distance between your bases are so vast, I think they should just have kept it teleporting between bases, until you can upgrade it to a full Mothership after getting Fleet Beacon.
2. Oracle: Awesome fast economy harraser for the Protoss. The entomb ability can potentially cause mining to stop completely, and they made it more fair by setting a timer for each prison so that your minerals don't stay locked forever if you chose not to destroy the forcefield. The Preordain ability could be tweaked though, as the time frame for that lasts 125 game seconds! Wayyyy too long for a scan-like and production spying ability.
3: Tempest: I honestly first thought these units were SO stupid and unbalanced due to their sheer amount of range. However when I started using them, they were not too great as I thought. Firstly they are, VERY expensive. They are fairly slow air units, and they do not pack a lot of health, so making 3 cheaper anti air units can easily take them down. Thirdly, their attacks do not deal a great amount of damage, so having the extreme range could potentially be a viable skill. Plus the fact that you do need to vision-spot for the Tempests makes the unit less useful on their own. Essentially it's got the sight of a siege tank but the range of.... across your screen.Closing thought
So far I'm very excited to play more matches against other players, hoping that they won't spam tier 1 units like in WoL, and really utilize all the new units so we can fully get a sense of making the game more dynamic! Funny thing is that because this is an early Closed Beta, I'm playing against a lot of Grand Masters, and.... all they do is make tier 1 units and kick my butt : C Hopefully more and more people will get in so we can have some fun!!!
As always thanks for reading and have a good one!