The second step for the revival of Warcraft 3 has just been announced with patch 1.30 – and boy, what a step! The patch contains Hero tweaks, anti-cheat, bug fixes and a whole ton of unit changes. In the article below we’ve highlighted some of the biggest changes to give you crème de la crème of the patch (note that not all changes are included in this article. See the full patch notes here(balance), here(map pool) and here(PTR)). Furthermore, we’ve gotten first impressions for each race from Back2Warcraft caster Remodemo and Warcraft3.info writer RehcraM!
Tip: It's a long article, so use the table of contents on the left to navigate through the article!
Orb of Fire
RehcraM: I’ll start off with my grumpy hat on regarding the changes to Militia duration time (and to some degree Defend). I don’t mind Human getting nerfed one bit, but I believe that Blizzard has slipped up in the way they’ve decided to do so. The Militia nerf will make it significantly harder to capture and secure an expansion, and the Defend nerf will make it harder to subsequently survive on tier 1 until you’ve teched up. My beef with this is, that I find that it’ll affect the inexperienced players much more than the seasoned pros. I won’t dive too much into my reasoning for this as it’d be a long tirade, so I’ll just state that I think Blizzard should’ve found a way to make early expansions less rewarding for Humans instead of making it harder to obtain it.
Alright, let’s talk about the good nerfs now! I think nerfing the Siege Engines was overdue. Partly due to them being a strong unit and partly due to how frustrating it is to play against the type of playstyle they cause. The nerf is very subtle (perhaps even too subtle) so we are definitely still going to see Siege Engines. Increasing the supply cost by 1 only really affects the “mass Siege Engine, Attack-move to opponent’s base and pray”-strategy.
As a general theme for patch 1.30 I’m a big fan of Blizzard deciding to make magic disrupting abilities less powerful. This manifest itself here with the small nerfs to Spell Breakers and Priests.
I’m very pleased to see the change of Flak Cannons being unlocked at Tier 2 as I think it’ll spark a thrill in the matchup against Undead. Maybe this will even lead to Humans being more inclined to play on 1 base! I do, however, think they’ve taken it a liiittle too far with the damage buff – that’s my only qualm with this change
Remodemo: Biggest Buff: Flying Machines. Much stronger and much more supply efficient now for only a slight cost increase. Plus they reach their full potential already on T2. A very curious choice in my opinion. As this will only really affect the matchup vs. Undead. When Human seemed to have the most trouble against the other races. Perhaps the idea is to have a more reliable and earlier answer to destroyers (aside from towers) than in the past.
Biggest Nerf: Militia duration. 5 seconds duration may not seem like all that much, but I believe this will have a massive impact. A lot of early game strategies vs Human revolve around killing as many workers as possible. This will become a lot more effective now. Not to mention that some camps, including fast expansion ones, will be tremendously more difficult to creep. Perhaps even to the point of impossible with enemy interference.
A lot of the other changes make sense. Mortar teams have always outshined the other ranged siege units in the game. How drastic this change actually is, we will have to figure out in game.
But most importantly, the abusive strategies are getting targeted: T2 tower push (Ivory nerf as well as burrow buff), defend, tanks, masonry. For my taste these nerfs are not quite severe enough but at least we are seeing a trend. That makes me hopeful. For I have seen enough mass Tank & Tower games for two lifetimes.
What disappoints me, is that no steps were taken to address the biggest weakness of the race: the reliance on two bases in two matchups.
Scroll of Speed
RehcraM: I’m not a fan of the change to make Reinforced Defenses available on tier 2. I do think the weakness of Orc Burrows should be addressed (especially against Human), but this will allow the Orc to stay on Tier 2 for much longer against Undead and set up an expansion with reinforced Watch Towers before UD can challenge it with their tier 3 army. A better change would, in my opinion, be to split Reinforced Defenses into two upgrades. One that unlocks at tier 2 and reinforces Burrows and one that unlocks on tier 3 and reinforces Watch Towers.
The changes to Tauren Totem is a hefty modification, and I’m anticipating it positively. I find that it brings one relevant nerf and one relevant buff that I think will counterweight the nerf. The nerf being that Orcs will now be forced to make an early War Mill, which is 205g that they’ll need to put aside in the early game. I don’t view the loss of accessibility to Shamans and Witch Doctors as a nerf as they were used next to never. Having already built your Tauren Totem will make Taurens a better unit in the sense that it’s much easier to get. I doubt that they’ll become meta, but I think we’ll see the quite a bit more often at least. All-in-all, this change seems fairly radical, but I doubt it's going to change too much in the meta.
Remodemo: Biggest Buff: Reinforced Defenses. How happy they must be! For years and years the green skins and their humble dwellings have been getting abused. No more! Well, at least as long as you're Tier 2, have a war mill and 150 to spare. Against Human especially this will have long reaching ramifications. Against the other races, I'm not quite certain. Since against Undead you tend to get that before any real danger anyways and in the other two matchups every bit of resources, especially gold, you spend needs to be wisely invested.
Biggest Nerf: Liquid Fire? Of absolutely no consequence for the pro scene. But I know many a ladder player will rejoice over this.
It seems odd, that the Orc's Units and Upgrades are the only ones of the four races, that receive not a single nerf this patch. No relevant part of their arsenal, anyways. Perhaps this is a response to all the players lamenting over the blade master nerf. Which, to be fair, has been very noticable.
Or perhaps Blizzard chose this approach because the community had for years been saying that Orc units are no threat without their supporting cast of Heroes. Which I can agree with, I suppose.
The Orcs may have received a few slight buffs here and there but I don't imagine any of them to become too impactful. Where they do end up scoring big is in the fact that they are the only faction not to get considerably weakened. And in comparison, become stronger. They are the beneficiaries of the others' misery.
Haunted Gold Mine
Orb of Corruption
Disease Cloud (Abomination)
Remodemo: Biggest Buff: Disease Cloud. And then we doubled it! Matt Morris seems to be going full Jay Wilson on this one. This is potentially an insane amount of damage.
Biggest Nerf: Destroyers. A lot of players over the years complained about them. Not only for being too powerful but also for making for unenjoyable games. Anyone who has ever watched a Destroyer mirror will know what I'm talking about. Going mass destroyers will certainly be less desirable now. But I still believe a healthy amount of one to two will remain a staple in most undead armies.
Undead had numerous weaknesses in the past. Of economical nature mostly. The changes to Ziggurats and Acolytes will are designed to strengthen the race in that department. Along with the other structural buffs this will certainly help in the effort of turning the Scourge into a competitive two base race. However I'm still not certain that it's good enough.
To compensate for the nerfs to the powerful aspects of the race (Statues, Orb, Destroyers, Wyrms) came buffs to the underused cast. Expansions, Cannibalize and first and foremost the Necromancer.
Oh, the Necromancer. Not only is this unit weak (or has been), I think it's also poorly designed. For casters to be good and – just as importantly – fun to play and play against, they need to be good on initiate and as the only one on the map. One single curse, spirit link, heal, slow, or fearie fire is very strong in the midgame. Whereas on Raise Dead is the exact opposite. And not only is the skill Raise Dead complete trash, there even is a prerequisite for it: there needs to be a corpse. But however bad they may be, we did see them from time to time. Alright, what were those games like? I can tell you. It was an Undead turtling on one base, rushing T3, getting all the upgrades and then all-inning either expansion or main of the opponent. By then you are hard commited to mass necros. Which you cannot really support without wagons and statues. So you're shoe-horned even more into one type of play. And again, it's an all-in. You either win or lose the game right there on the spot within two minutes after early and mid game without actual player interaction. It's almost poetic, I suppose. The crap unit makes for a crap game. And don't even get me started on Cripple!
The Necromancer needs a lot more than just some tweaks. Either he or the corpse mechanic needs to be redesigned for this unit to get out of the dumpster.
RehcraM: With the 50 HP buff, Ziggurats no longer die to a single Goblin Sapper! This was an issue that Undead players, in my opinion justifiable, have complained about for a long time. Ziggurats will only barely survive the explosion now, so a Blademaster will be able to break the wall-off to the Acolytes open unless the Undead reacts quickly with repair.
I dislike the cost and time reduction of Necropolis. We already see Undead players (in the pro scene, specifically Lucifer) build a Necropolis to get 10 extra supply instead of a Ziggurat to reach a faster tech. I don’t think Blizzard intends for this to become meta, so I’m afraid the change might give them unwanted adverse effects. That being said I like that Blizzard is making it more attractive for Undead to expand with the buffs to Necropolis, Haunted Goldmine and Acolytes.
The buff to Disease Cloud is massive. Not only is the total damage output increased by 50%, but the duration has also been reduced so the damage taken is more noticeable. Not only will it make them better in the rare instances we already see Abominations, but I could very well see them being played more frequently. I think it’d be neat to have Abomination become un-devourable by Orc’s Kodo Beasts (like Resistant Skin for Mountain Giants) as this would give Undead more flexibility in a matchup, where they are in dire need of it.
I don’t have much to say about the nerfs to Destroyers and Orb of Corruption. I simply think that Undead was much too reliant of both. As I’ve insinuated above I believe Undead needs much more elbow room in their playstyle. This is a step in the correct direction to give them this, if the buffs can make up for the nerfs.
Druid of the Claw (Bear Form)
Druid of the Talon
Ancient of War
Keeper of the Grove
Remodemo: Biggest Buff: Glaive throwers. Their damage has been buffed by 34%. 34!!! That is absolutely insane. If this doesn't bring the T1 siege vs Human back, I don't know what will. They had only really been relevant in that one matchup before. Perhaps that changes with this buff.
Biggest Nerf: Bears. Only makes sense. They far surpassed their melee T3 counterparts. In stat efficiency as well as versatility.
There are a lot of sleeper changes for this race. Adjustments that may turn out to be rather irrelevant yet on the other hand could prove to become massive game changers. The Mountain Giant being much more attractive in costs, Moon Wells healing (oftentimes the only way of healing) increased by 20%, T1/T2 Buff with Archers, Hunts and Hippos.
All in all I like the changes. If I was to nitpick, I would have liked to see some difficult to perfectly utilize unit abilities added (like raider ensnare). To compensate for the fact that the micro potential for Elf in the highest echelons of competition is more limited than the others'. And I don't quite see the Mountain Giant filling that gap.
RehcraM: The nerf to Ancient of War is a hit on Night Elf's early game creeping, but as the creeping is so fast, the opponent can't really interrupt it anyway. Hence it's still be very strong - just a little slower and you'll need an extra repairing Wisp for some camps.
Glaive Throwers has received a massive increase in damage. I think the buff is justified considering how bad that a unit they were before the buff, it might turn out to be too much, though – it’s hard to tell. It gives Night Elf a better answer to defending against Huntress push in the mirror matchup and might very well be used aggressively together with Huntresses against Humans to opts for fast expansions. Another bad unit that’s gotten a significant buff is Mountain Giants. As I think we all can agree that flexibility and variety is healthy for the game, so I’m very pleased to see that Blizzard makes it more alluring to use the now very underused units.
With Druid of the Talon they ended up changing the cost. I think they should’ve changed their build time instead. The problem with them is how insanely quick a Night Elf can replenish its forces against Orc. This allows them to stay in no upkeep for waaay longer than the Orc. Making them more expensive is also a reasonable change, but I don’t think it was the optimal.
Boots of Speed
Naga Sea Witch
Breath of Fire
Map Pool (1v1)
Patch 1.30 will deployed on the Public Test Realm before going live on the battle.net servers. You can play test the patch yourself by downloading the PTR right here!