The statements below are almost indisputably factual, and I am confident that 95% of professional players would agree with them.
Bunker time needs to be increased to at least 40 seconds. Siege tanks should be able to “overkill” units, rather than smart-targeting other units and not wasting shots. Siege tank range should be nerfed by at least 3. Marine build time needs to be increased at least 5 seconds. Colossus need to lose the range upgrade. Forcefield should cost 125 energy per sentry. Protoss should not be able to warp in away from their base.
These statements seem pretty radical, but how else can Zerg possibly win the game? Marine rushes are unstoppable. 4gate is impossible to stop. The game is flawed and unbalanced on so many levels that it makes playing Zerg a joke.
Do these argument seem relatively unreasonable? Not as unreasonable as you may think. In fact, these statements are perfectly reasonable, provided that our map pool is Steppes of War, Kulas Ravine, Delta Quadrant and Lost Temple.
One thing that people seem to forget sometimes when speaking about Starcraft 2 balance is that a lot of the progress we’ve made in arriving at this relatively balanced point in the game has come from a better map pool. Close positions have been stricken from all but blizzard maps. The absurdly small maps no longer find themselves deciding tournaments. Rocky thirds that only hurt Zerg are gone. Open naturals that make it impossible for Protoss to safely expand are unwelcome.
Starcraft 2 can be an entirely different game based upon what the current map pool is. It can be incredibly unforgiving to certain races (Zerg and Protoss are the two that are most affected by the map pool), or it can provide countless entertaining and closely-matched games. Even though people might not talk about it anymore, a lot of people would agree with these points, especially members of the mapmaking community (I’m looking at you, ESV.Diamond).
So why do I bother bringing it up?
Heart of the Swarm is currently being balanced on maps that would be laughed out of the Wings of Liberty community.
Let’s go over just a few of the basic problems with these maps.
This is the only moderately balanced map in the map pool.
The natural has two entrances. This makes walling off or defending Zerg all-ins as Protoss disproportionately harder than any other map in the pool.
Rocks in front of the natural favors two base play. Chance for close position spawns absolutely ruins some matchups. Gold base favors T in TvZ, and Z in ZvP.
Third base is incredibly exposed, making it very hard for Protoss to defend Z all-ins. Close spawns (horizontally) destroys some matchups.
Internal natural expansion make defending as Protoss and Terran incredibly easy, makes for much greedier play than ordinary. Large ramp makes for boring ZvZs as ling/baneling becomes incredibly powerful (remember ZvZ on Tal’Darim altar?)
Obviously we don’t expect Blizzard to make perfect maps, and we know that once HotS is released the community will be releasing maps that are much more suitable for tournament play, but the main problem is that Blizzard is trying to achieve balance through patching on fundamentally bad maps.
No one wants to play a SC2 where Zerg is strong enough to hold off all-ins in close position, because that would make them absurdly powerful in far positions. If Protoss are able to cover open naturals and open thirds in close positions, imagine the impossibility of destroying them in far positions. The only way to balance races on such broken maps is to essentially make them “too powerful” for more conventional maps.
I really, truly hope that Blizzard doesn’t make any more significant patches to HotS without importing some maps from WoL, or at least inviting members of the mapmaking community to create some new maps for HotS. It’s impossible to know how good Swarm Hosts, Reapers, or the Mothership Core actually are without seeing them on maps that don’t grossly favor certain races in certain positions.