Widow mines in Zerg versus Terran

Okay look, I understand the idea of giving Terrans some kind of way to control an area with something else than Siege Tanks. I get it, the concept makes sense. And yeah, I’m happy that the idea of this thing called the Shredder didn’t get through but is the Widow Mine really the answer?

It’s fun to have a unit that can turn the game around. I get it. One ‘amazing fungal’ and a game will turn itself around just like the Widow Mine does but does it make for fun gameplay? No.

Please note, I’m not talking about the unit balance wise, I’m talking about fun. Do I think the unit is a fun unit in its current state? Nope. Could the unit be fun? Possibly.

 

Blizzard tries to defeat the purpose of Death Balls in HotS

Oh I love this! For sure! I have always thought that death balls, be it Protoss with colossus or air, or Zerg with Brood Lords and Infestors or Terrans with maxed out mech is stupid. Every army should be killable. Allowing players to sit back on 2 or 3 base and maxing out with an unbeatable army is very very bad game design. Having a specific unit that hard counters a certain composition is good.

Now the Shredder was this building that kind of had the purpose of the Widow Mine. But, the key difference is that you could not move the Shredder. You simply had to make it somewhere, and leave it there. The Widow Mine is kind of like the Shredder in the sense that it blocks movement and that it controls space, but you can move them.

The Widow Mine gives the Terran ball of death more strength than ever before, not less, like the original plan used to be. Currently what loads of Terrans do is simply sit back all game long and just sit. All possible attack avenues are covered with Widow Mines, spread out Siege Tanks don’t allow for any kind of ground army to come in so what do you have to do to counter it? Either drop the Main Base (once again, if mines are positioned correctly this shouldn’t be much of a problem for the Terran), use Nydus networks or tech straight up to Brood Lords. In pretty much every situation the last option is the best one, because it has the highest success rate. Now does this make the game balanced? Probably. Does this make the game fun? Absolutely not. It is no fun for both the observer nor the player to sit back, but if it’s the option that gives the highest win rate (like BL + Infestors were in WoL) it’s what pro gamers will be doing most of the time. Simply sit back, max out your army, then eventually slowly push out.

 

It does not make the game more fun

Why I dislike the Widow Mine

Widow Mines versus Mutalisks

While I do see the idea of controlling space being fun, all of a sudden 20 Zerglings or Marines or Zealots that are being blown up is very cool to see for the spectator, but like mentioned earlier this also instantly allows for turtle play, which makes the game way less fun and interesting. However, the unit is luck based and not skill based.

Turn the game around is fun to watch. Especially if it would be incredibly hard to do. Burrowing a Widow Mine and units actually stepping into them is all 100% luck based. It involves 0 skill, besides knowing the best locations.

 

Let’s compare the amount of actions for Z and T

In general, I think all races should have the same amount of actions required to do something. Let’s take a look at what a Terran has to do to burrow a Widow Mine.

Create Widow Mine -> Shift Click to location to Burrow it. Done.

 

Now, let’s take a look at what a Protoss has to do to counter this Widow Mine.

See or scout widow mine (either by losing Units or having vision of it) -> Create or bring Observer -> Make sure you suicide in a unit to counter the Widow Mine -> Kill the Widow Mine.

 

Zerg?

See or scout the Widow Mine (usually by losing a group of Zerglings) -> Create Observer -> Bring observer -> Suicide in a unit -> Kill the Widow Mine.

 

Now it’s obvious that to counter a Widow Mine you have to work way harder.=.

 

How to fix it?

Why I dislike the Widow Mine

Heart of the Swarm Widow Mine

I honestly don’t have a solid answer on it, I don’t like the unit on the whole. I do have a few ideas how the unit can be more interesting. How? Make it harder to use or easier to counter. I don’t think the professional StarCraft II players will have all that many problems with dealing with Widow Mines, but especially lower league Zerg and Protoss playeres will spent way too much time and attention to countering them. It takes about 1 second for a gold level Terran to shift-burrow a Widow mine across the map, but a similar gold level Zerg, Terran or Protoss will take at least 10 seconds to counter it. For example, after it shoots once, make it visible for 3 seconds, so you have time to pick it off before it shoots again.

 

Final thoughts

Any unit that promotes turtle play and denies agression in most forms is bad. I don’t like it as it allows for extremely undynamic and boring gameplay. I think the Widow Mine does exactly that: It allows players that like to turtle to turtle harder. This makes the game boring and should be changed.