Friday, April 9, 2010

SC2 - What I'm working on

Every day that I’m at work I watch Livestreams of StarCraft 2 beta and replays on YouTube. I have a note pad and I’ve been taking notes. At this point I’d much rather be in the Gold League to practice but it is what it is, for some reason I manage to hang on near the bottom of my Platinum League.

So far I’ve come up with my 3 major weakest aspects of gameplay that I need to overcome.

1 – I don’t macro well enough. I need to constantly be spending my money and creating units while teching. I can’t just say, pay attention and be automatically better. I need to plan ahead to prevent stock piling of minerals while doing something else. I think that is my major macro issue is I don’t know what to do until I should have already done it. If I can get my game awareness to increase by 45-60 seconds of doing what I need to do prior to now I think I will be in a much better position.

2 – Don’t be too aggressive. This is a major reason why I wasn’t good at Brood Wars. I’m still of the mindset that I must kill their army to win, which isn’t the case. I’ve been learning two different variations on why I’m too aggressive. I don’t tend to get much base defense and when I attack I go all in. I’ve been learning to harass more and leave something to defend the counter.

3 – I learned this from HD Starcraft on Youtube. It is more of an overall mindset but I think it is a general idea of how to win any SC game. Harass, contain, expand. You don’t have to beat the other players, as most games don’t end with you killing off every one of your enemies units. You have to make them quit. By destroying their economy, then containing them to their main base you can expand and create a huge economic advantage. This basically smoothers them until they give up due to a lack of units.

Sure I’m still learning basic strategies, build orders, and counters; but I think an overall understanding of how games are won will be just as useful in beating my opponents and in turn getting better.

PS Sorry for no video. I’m going out of town tomorrow and will be at a buddy’s place watching the UFC fight tomorrow night. I won’t get to play much SC2 until Sunday. I will “try” to get a decent 2v2 I did up. I got destroyed but we still won.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

StarCraft 2 and blogging

I have been getting away from blogging. It just hasn’t been in me. Video games should be fun, or you should stop and blogging should be the same. It felt like blogging was a chore more than an outlet for my opinions. I was trying to keep up a post a day which given my fairly hectic life was a bit much. I did it for a decent amount of time though, so I need to be happy with that.

I’m going to blog my StarCraft 2 beta experiences. This is entirely for me. The reason I have decided to do this is because I learned a lot about what I want in a MMO from blogging my time in WoW. It enables me to go back and read how I felt about the game at an earlier point. I think that is a valuable asset and can prevent the long dreaded nostalgia people tend to use as a scapegoat for positive previous game designs.

As it stands I love StarCraft 2. It feels like StarCraft: Brood Wars but with positive improvements. The unit AI has been greatly improved and I think playing the basic game is a lot easier. The units have enough good AI to facilitate menial micro tasks such as splitting up among your minerals in an efficient and timely manner. They changed some unit hotkeys and macro commands so that you can control unit production and allocation easier too. It’s been said that a great game is one that is easy to learn and hard to master, so far that has proven the case for SC2.

I’m currently not very good at it though. This isn’t to say I suck. I placed in the Platinum League, though I wish I would have thrown a placement game now and ended in the Gold League. Since being the Platinum League I’ve gone about 7-10 with a total score of 12-10 since they count your placement games as total games played. I guess that isn’t bad, but I have higher expectations of myself than this. Three of my friends are in Beta with me and given certain living situations and roommates with certain Beta Keys there are up to 6 people who can play on some of these accounts at any time. So we typically 2v2 against each other when everyone is on.

What I’ve found is that they are MUCH better than I am. I know where I’m weak, I just can’t seem to overcome my gamers block in game. After about 40-50 supply and my first assault I don’t know what to do. I typically lose a lot of troops on my first push and then I get countered with nothing to fight back. I have tried waiting to counter myself and it always seems like my enemies can re-mass units faster than I can. Practice, practice, practice… That is what I need. I’ve been watching LiveFeeds from Team Liquid and 4 or 5 SC2 channels on Youtube. I know a lot of what I’m supposed to do, I just need to implement it.

If I get better that is all that really matters. I’m not a pro gamer and I’ve never been the best among my friends. I’ve always been competitive and good, but never the top. This is going to take some patience and practice to break through this wall I’m hitting so I can improve.

Monday, April 5, 2010

StarCraft 2... I has it

I'm in the mood to post because of StarCraft 2. When Blizzard said the game was ready for launch last November they weren't lying. Other than some on going balance issues, which are minor unless you play Protoss, the game is ready for launch now.

The new is cool but since we are in Beta I can't tell if they don't have all the features implemented yet or if they are simply not going to be there. The biggest red flag for me is no chat room so far. I think that was a huge part of the original B.Net community and I think Blizzard would be very unwise to leave it out. I'm hoping it's just not implemented in the Beta yet, there are currently alot of buttons on the Menu that you can't access yet. I will look into it more later.

SC2 it's self is exactly what you would want SC2 to be. It takes everything that worked in SC and just builds on it, this is why Blizzard is the king. My only bitch thus far is the game is really dependent on counters. You have to know which units are good against what enemy units and be willing to completely change your strategy and army makeup at the drop of a hat. It isn't bad because of how much the battles change, and if you don't change you will lose, but I don't like that certain units just have NO chance against their counter.

I've currently played around 50 games since Friday night. I just started on the Ladder and I'm 7-1. I was ranked 12th in my Platinum league when I logged, which doesn't mean I really good just everyone else is really bad.

As far as playable beta's go and fun factor. SC2 gets a 5/5. I've played it until 1-2AM Friday and Saturday night and after succumbing to exhaustion I went to bed around 10:30 last night only to wake up at 3AM wanting to play. I'm sucked in, just as bad as the first time I played SC or SC:BW.