Blizzard announced the new multiplayer units that are coming to Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. Although the next expansion will focus on the Zerg, all three races will be getting new units. We've detailed those for you here, and we'll be getting some hands-on time with the game soon to let you know how they feel.
Blizzard's Dustin Browder did stress that, "This is absolutely a work in progress, and this could all change at any minute. If it doesn't meet our players expectations, we will take it out". So, we aren't even sure if they'll be in the final game. There will be a Heart of the Swarm beta, although Blizzard did not announce when that will be. With that in mind, here's what's new:
Oracle: This is a harassment unit that you can use to affect the play field. It has an Entomb ability that can prevent minerals from being harvested. It can cloak all friend units and nearby buildings. And you can use it to case Preordain on an enemy or a friendly building, which will give you detection. This is a sneaky way to spy on your enemies, or quickly detect enemies in your own base.
Mothership Core: Protoss will now have the Mothership Core available immediately, and later you will be able to transform it into a full Mothership. But, it has its own abilities as well. It can only be located over a Nexus, but it can jump from that Nexus to any other Nexus. It can activate Purify, which is a powerful base defense that will be good for defending against early anti-Protoss strategies. You can use Recall which allows you to return a large number of units back to the base. The Core also have Energy Transfer, which allows you to give energy to any unit.
Tempest: This is a heavy, expensive capital ship that can attack ground and air units, and it does single target damage. They are considering having an upgrade for the Tempest that extends the Tempest range to 22, making it the longest-ranged unit in the game. To put it in perspective, the Terran Siege Tank range is 13.
Battle Hellion: This is a transformable unit that can either be in a "speed" mode, or a "tough guy" mode, meaning you'll need to plan your transformations accordingly. When in it's transformed, hardened mode, it has more hit points, an area of effect cone in front of it, takes less damage, and is very effective against short-range units.
Warhound: This is an anti-vehicle unit, armed with both a primary cannon and missiles that fire every few seconds. But the trick is that the missiles only target vehicles, which is the first time that Blizzard has experimented with specific targeting. This way you don't have to micromanage units to only target vehicles and mechs.
Widow Mine: This special unit burrows into the ground, and leaps up to attach itself to air and ground units. Once attached, it will explode after roughly ten seconds, and do 200 points of damage to the unit it was attached to, and splash damage as well. But if the unit your mine is attached to dies, the mine dies with it and won't explode. They are considering having the ability to attach it to friendly units as well, so you could send out a suicide bomber.
Reapers: They are taking away the little bombs that the Reapers throw. Instead, they will be able to regenerate life while not in combat. This allows them to attack, check things out, and then retreat and regenerate. According to Browder, "This is the way we always hoped that Reapers would be used.
Battle Cruiser: They are experimenting with a speed boost ability that costs energy to use.
Swarm Host: This unit spawns free units: endless by burrowing into the ground and releasing locusts that can target both air and ground units. The locusts only have a timed life, but the Swarm Host can spawn them forever. This is meant to be a Zerg artillery unit that doesn't feel anything like a Siege Tank.
Viper: This is a battlefield manipulation unit with two new abilities.
Abduct: this captures targets, and pulls them towards the Viper. It is very effective against the Siege Tank, Archon, and Colossus. Blinding
Cloud: this ability excretes a cloud that reduces enemy weapon range to one. Talk about your fog of war, this is the real thing.
Ultralisk: The Ultralisk now has a Burrow Charge ability that allows you to burrow into the ground, and charge forward for a fast assault.
Hydralisk: The Hydralisk is getting a speed boost while at the Hive, and according to Browder "This is the smallest change we have shown you, but it has had the largest impact on the game." This is because it allows the Zerg to be a lot more mobile.
As always with Blizzard, there's more to come soon, so stay tuned!