Blizzard breaks it down: balancing, double Vespene geysers in StarCraft 2

Blizzard's StarCraft 2 - Image 1StarCraft II has been blessed to be an official part of professional gaming league matches, but with the great honor came great responsibilities. The sensibilities, mechanics, and tactics present in StarCraft prompted that Blizzard should pull their weight in levelling the playing field for players in StarCraft 2. And that’s no easy task either. Blizzard’s StarCraft community manager Karune takes on most inquiries on the issue of balancing.

Blizzard breaks it down: balancing, double Vespene geysers in StarCraft 2 - Image 1 

Updates coming straight from the StarCraft discussions at announces that Blizzard‘s about to make double Vespene geysers a standard, especially for the official maps that’ll come with the first release of StarCraft II – whenever that is.

Most custom maps from the community incorporate double geyser setups for starting positions, while minimal resource availability for firebase points in the map.

All the while, Blizzard’s about to toss in a little extra feat: if you gobble up the final fart from a geyser, you could refill it at the cost of 100 crystals – 200 for both. Why do that? Well, you know that depleted geysers only extract a few units of Vespene gas per worker unit, unlike the full 8 unit spill when the Vespene geysers are full.

Blizzard says that the depleted geysers will provide 2 units per haul (subject to balance), and if you decide to spend crystals for more gas, the vespene geyser will shut down for 45 seconds, and go online with 600 units per 100 credit purchase (subject to change). And yes, you could purchase more to keep a healthy flow of Vespene.

Now here’s where things get a little hairy. Of course, this Vespene mechanic helps a lot for gas-heavy investments. Blizzard designed most of the unit tree to be split into two major types: those that cost more crystal to build, and those that pinch more gas to get. Karune says that the developers planned the new gameplay mechanic for added depth in strategy.

StarCraft 2 battles - Image 1 

Other professional players and third-party strategy theorists believe the new mechanic will be definitely detrimental to itself, as crystal is a non-renewable resource, and Vespene gas virtually doesn’t run out even if the geysers spew little puffs.

Crystal therefore becomes the primary goal as to why players would hoard resource spots for extra firebases, and spending crystal to spur Vespene income is still a no-win choice.

A few also foresee matches being played out on cheaper units, since now there’s a possibility to stay locked in your first base for much longer than usual. 

Tier 1 and upgraded Tier 1 units would populate most battles, since they can be produced by many mini-firebases strewn across the map.  One in particular, craftmatic2, puts the disadvantage of the Vespene mechanic so vividly – yet so plausibly:

With the new ratios you have given at 600 starting gas per geyser and 600 “extra” gas per 100 minerals, and given the 2 gas “fumes”, then in this case 100 minerals gives a net gain of approximately 400 gas(minus 45 second down time worth of fumes.)

As stated previously, the more minerals you spend in this manner to get “extra” gas, the few total units you can build. This greatly increases the relative cost of teching up, as well as the relative cost of building high gas units once you have teched up.

What you will see is nothing but tier 1 and 1.5 units, plus a few “one ofs” such as a medivac dropship, or one or two high templar.

Wow, at 50/150 with a tech [requirement] of what? 400 [additional] gas? You can’t even afford to make high templar at all off one geyser…

Too technical for you? Well, StarCraft has always been a technical strategy game for many, especially those who dedicate practice sessions to improve their APMs (or actions per minute). As we’ve stated earlier, StarCraft 2 has to be no different to be instantly adopted by the professional gaming leagues.

There are plenty more issues raised from the gamers at, but to enumerate all of them here would be killer. We’ve linked the original thread where the announced changes were made, but there are plenty more discussions around on the changes. More updates as we get them.

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