This past Tuesday Blizzard ended Season 5 of the StarCraft II Ladder, locking every player in their current league until next Tuesday (Feb 14th). Blizzard will use this week break to make several significant changes to StarCraft II.
One of these changes is a new map pool for Season 6. Blizzard is removing two maps, the age old Xel’naga Caverns and the recently added Arid Plateau. According to Blizzard, both of these maps were removed because they have fallen out of favor with the major tournaments. In their place, Blizzard will be adding in two new maps: the extremely popular Cloud Kingdom and Korhal Compound. It’s important to note that, while these two new maps are two-player maps, they are pretty large promoting longer “macro” games.
Along with a new map pool, Blizzard is also releasing a new balance update, patch 1.4.3. This patch should bring a smile to Zerg and Protoss players faces because it generally weakens the Terran race. The changes being made are: “MULEs now harvest the same amount of minerals on both high yield minerals and normal minerals,” “Snipe damage changed from 45 to 25 +25 Psionic,” and “Phoenix now has a range upgrade at the Fleet Beacon.” For the Phoenix upgrade, Phoenix will now have a range of 6, significantly increasing their usefulness versus the popular Mutalisk play seen in the current metagame.
One last change being made in path 1.4.3 is that Blizzard will revert back to the old method of calculating APM. According to Blizzard:
There was a lot of concern and debate regarding whether APM should be an accurate number or it should be a fun, play style distinguishing factor like it has been traditionally. After hearing a lot of feedback from both sides, we decided to bring back classic APM, and change our current APM (that doesn’t count spam clicks) to be called Commands Per Minute, or CPM.
These are some pretty significant changes that will probably shift the current metagame in a major way. These next few weeks are sure to be interesting as we will see both professional and amateur gamers adjust their play.