(This is part 1 in a series on the multiplayer changes announced for Legacy of the Void at BlizzCon)
I am kind of obsessed with build orders. Since I’m not actually good enough at StarCraft to give real advice and analysis, it is much easier to create content by transcribing builds from professional games. That turned into a much larger endeavor in Spawning Tool, a website dedicated to build orders. And with Legacy of the Void (LotV), I can now throw away everything because players now start with 12 workers.
The worker change isn’t the splashiest part of announcement, but it does disrupt the meta-game in a far bigger way than the new units. With all of the LotV changes, there are 3 different ways that build orders will change:
- Some build orders will no longer be possible
- New build orders will be possible
- All build orders will have to adapt to the meta-game
Eliminating build orders is straightforward. Zerg cannot 10 Pool because they start with 12 workers. Proxy 2 Rax at 12 supply is probably gone because you should have more SCVs by the time you start your proxy.
Adding build orders is also straightforward. As seen in the showmatches, both the Herc and the Ravager can play a huge role in the early game. These build orders were previously impossible because we didn’t have those units.
How the build orders interact, I think, is the most interesting effect because when other build orders are added or eliminated, all build orders must change to remain optimal. Some build orders had safety strategies built in for eliminated build orders, so these can be streamlined. Some build orders are unprepared for new strategies and have to adapt for those.
It’s hard to overstate how meta-game specific builds are. The Forge fast expand is a strange build, and yet, it (and other fast expand variants) is relatively standard because of the threat of Zergling rushes. As Zergling rushes waned, the 1 Gate expand gained popularity. Through several iterations of meta-game shifts, we can arrive in places where “outdated” builds could actually work better against current builds, but modern builds are adjusted for the current context. With a sudden change in possible builds, every build will have to change to react.
I do think most of this thought process will be more natural than it sounds. The radical change in the game will cause players to start from the ground-up rather than tweaking existing builds, and even in tweaking, the reactions should be clear. The general point, however, is that early game looks very different from before. Old school cheese is basically gone. Instead, every build order versus Zerg knows that it has to handle a 12 Pool at the fastest and work from there. The jumpstart means that a player doesn’t even have enough time to scout some of these openings before they have already arrived with a rush.
Despite all of the negativity above, I am actually really excited to get the global reset on build orders. HotS changed some openings, but not a lot. The Reaper Expand became standard, but it is still a 1 Rax Expand. Protoss had to figure out where to add the Mothership Core. Zerg didn’t really need to change much. LotV is a chance to cast away years of strategies and start over again in a fresh world with a lot to explore.
Refining builds is interesting, but I think we have the most fun being surprised and trying to work on completely new build orders. I will try to do my best to provide content and tools to help the community as much as possible, but don’t be surprised if things change very quickly.