"When the time for an ambush arrives, remember that the Zerg aren't the only ones who can go underground. The Widow Mine packs a nasty surprise, and is ideal for perimeter defense as well as tactical ambushes."
A support unit, the widow mine is a quadrapedal device that represents the next step in Dominion automated weaponry. It is just under half as tall as a terran wearing CMC armor. It is controlled remotely, piloted into a contested area and then set to activate when enemy units draw near. Once triggered, the widow mine launches a missile designed to explode in a firestorm of shrapnel, eliminating its primary target as well as any foes that might be nearby. These Sentinel missiles are of short range and pack a fragmentation warhead, that delivers superheated shrapnel to the target and the adjacent area on detonation. The missiles are assembled in an automated manufacturing plant located in the 'thorax' of the unit. After numerous friendly fire incidents, widow mines were outfitted with a powerful friend or foe identification system, which is loosely based on the operative algorithms present in all Crucio smart shells. Initially, the system worked as intended, but it didn't take long for casualty rates to rise once again.
If the widow mine sustains crippling damage to any of its systems, an advanced heuristics recovery algorithm quickly begins the process of determining what's the best course of action to restore operative efficiency. After executing multiple simulated scenarios, the simple onboard AI reroutes power from affected systems and reprograms the unit's behavioral patterns to either allow it to complete its mission, or return home for repairs.
Mira's Mercs modified widow mines to accommodate additional weaponry and explosives, after a long period of destructive explosive experimentation.
The widow mine was inspired by zergburrowers, and constructed around a modified version of the spider mine pioneered by Victor Kachinsky. Field tests revealed that the burrowing capabilities of the weapon could be improved at a nominal cost. The addition of neosteel carbide tips, and sonic oscillators that allow each leg to vibrate independently at high speeds, significantly reduced burrow times. The enhanced claws have seen much use in "Mine Fighting", a popular (and illegal) sport that pits two of these robots against each other for credits and glory. The design of these mines was further improved on by the research and development of Redell Quinton of Project Blackstone.
Widow mines have been used in diverse scenarios—perimeter defense, tactical ambushes, and political assassinations. An apocryphal record even attests to a single widow mine killing a corrupt colonial magistrate and his entourage of like-minded officials by destroying the dining room they were in. Upgrades in drilling technology later allowed the widow mine to reduce its burrow time by two-thirds, with the implementation of neosteel carbide tips and sonic oscillators.
Under the reign of Valerian Mengsk, technicians were perplexed by the occasional misfires of the past, and added more protective plating to the widow mines to better contain accidents and protect against unintended injuries.
Always fond of robotics, Umojan Protectorate engineers held an exclusive competition to craft the perfect widow mine. They were thrilled to discover the winner was still a student finishing her degree. Their widow mine variant was incorporated into their arsenal.
Dominion marines have been known to pit widow mines against each other in friendly scuffles at the barracks. For the sake of balance, its drilling claws upgrade is disabled for these fights, as well as its missile launcher.
Widow mines are a burrowing assault unit in the terran arsenal. While unburrowed they cannot attack, but when burrowed, they can fire a sentinel missile at opponents, dealing splash damage in a massive area. This makes them effective against clumped low health units like mutalisks, or marines. However, the missile takes time to recharge after a use. It doesn't attack structures.
Widow mines are cloaked when initially burrowed, but become decloaked while their missile is on cooldown. With the Burrowing Claws upgrade, the widow mine will always remain cloaked while burrowed.
The widow mine fires a sentinel missile that deals 125 damage (+35 vs. shields) and 40 (+25 vs. shields]) splash damage to units within 1.25 radius, 20 damage inside 1.25 to 1.5, and 10 damage from 1.5 to 1.75. The ability is automatically activated when the widow mine burrows and can only be deactivated when the mine unburrows.
The attack damages any friendlies except itself or other widow mines
The widow mine was previously a suicide unit.
In patch #8, it lost the ability to autoacquire cloaked units.
For Patch 4.0, widow mines were altered to be observable when reloading their sentinel missile, even if still burrowed. This was done to "reduce certain game ending moments" and make cleaning up unattended widow mines easier, while still allowing the widow mine to perform its splash damage role if properly set up with a terran army or used defensively.