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A Year of Starcraft II

Early Morning Update

I started late, so I’m only going to write a bit here seeing as how it is almost 6am.

I started tonight out by watching a Day9 video, specifically #252.  It has been suggested to me often, and I was in the mood to watch a video before playing.  It dealt with mouse and keyboard control, hotkeys and, funnily enough, stretching.  Fresh off of my complaining yesterday of a sore arm, the first thing he brought up in the video was stretching before playing.  Sweet Jesus did that feel good, especially where you twist your arm inward while pulling back on your hand.  I will now be doing this constantly.  And if that was the only thing I got from the hour long video, it would have been worth it.  It wasn’t however, and I got a lot of different tips to practice as I keep playing.

I made myself go back to the lava level in the campaign, knowing that if I started on anything else I would just skip it.  Going with the tips I got, I kept a bunch of Reapers moving, and called in some mercs when I thought I needed them.  It worked, although not very quickly and only by a slim margin.  After having stupidly lost a command center (I had it lifted while waiting for reinforcements but some of the ranged Zergs took it out when I wasn’t looking), I had maybe four hundred minerals to go.   I was down to the one command center and a few marines when a bunch of zerglings started to attack.  I didn’t want to reinforce with units because I was so close, so I took my chances.  With about four orange bars left on the command center, I got the rest of the minerals I needed.

The next mission was a similar one, where I had to get the Taldereen (sp?) gas before the Protoss closed them off.  I got down to only one more needed, but couldn’t build units fast enough to stop them.  It was my own damn fault for not building enough drones throughout the mission.  I kept getting mineral blocked (I guess it’s called) and couldn’t build the units I needed to protect the gas and my SCVs.

After losing I was ready to quit, but wasn’t sure I had fulfilled my two hours of Starcraft II yet.  So I played the Zerg challenge to do something quick and fun.  I still could not get to silver or gold, and don’t really know how I would do so.  Unless it takes an ungodly amount of micro, I don’t see how to prevent that many units from dieing.  I can usually keep it under 20 for the first two rounds, but am always over by the last.  I tried burrowing the near dead roaches on one round, which worked to a point, but it seemed very slow.  I also did some of the moves that Day9 talked about in the daily, like slicing off the front units and moving them to the back.  Even with all this, I still lost about 15 units on the last round.  I think I’m probably just not quick enough yet.

Tomorrow I will do three missions, no videos or challenges.  I need to keep myself going and power through if I want to finish this game.  Multiplayer is calling…

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19 responses to “Early Morning Update

  1. disinfoagent June 12, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Not gonna lie, I fistpumped a lil bit when I read that you had finished that fucking lava level. The taldarim gas level is definitely tough, I remember having to do it a couple of times myself before quite getting there. My advice: don’t get greedy and try to take two gas geysers at once, it’s much more trouble than it’s worth…

  2. Timo T June 12, 2011 at 6:39 am

    It’s called “getting supply-blocked”, because, you know, the 2 x/y numbers up there are x=your actual supply, and y=maximum supply 😀

    The zerg challenges do indeed need very good micro for gold and average micro for silver. With perfect micro and unit splitting it is possible to lose 0 units. The key skills here are realizing which of your units is attacked by the enemy units and having a fast reaction and mouse precision to pull those back before they are killed. Also hit’n’run micro should be utilized where appropriate, for example with the roaches you let them attack and directly after the green goo exits their mouths you send them walking back and then you attack again after their attack is ready again. Basically you fill the gap between shots with movement. Also with roaches you can, instead of pulling them back, burrow them so they regain hp, like you did. Of course you need to unburrow them after they regained hp 🙂

  3. Travis June 12, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Marines marines marines. Don’t get supply blocked, build SCVs, and pump out as many marines and medivacs as you can. Hopefully you purchased the stim and combat shield upgrades from the armory. Marines and medics completely trivialize most of the campaign, especially on normal.

  4. ArturosII June 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I tend to barely get gold with the challenges and that’s usually with the minimal micro of pulling back wounded units when I can. Usually if you start with good positioning and the right units you won’t get any losses with the bigger units and not many losses with smaller units.
    I also hate that gas mission because it was the one that gave me the most trouble. I usually leave it for one of the last I do in the campaign so I have uber units to just steamroll it :P. For any advice getting a nice ball of goliaths, marines and medics and then sitting them at entrances of areas then mining 3-4 of the terrazine at once works for me. Just remember to keep producing those scvs and supply depots! =D
    Thanks for the good reads too. It’s interesting seeing the game through the eyes of a proper newbie :). You seem to be learning quick enough though!

  5. jackhammeriv June 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

    It’s not speed. Hand speed is a useful advantage but you can do reasonably well in this game with low speed. I personally have low hand speed (average 40-60 APM) and have gotten to Diamond on EU. It’s what you use your few actions doing. Also if you haven’t already try adjusting the mouse movement speed(how fast the mouse cursor moves around in SC2) and mouse scrolling speed (how fast it moves when you put your mouse cursor on the edge to move the screen).

    Unit micro is simple in its idea but difficult to master the execution. You basically can look at the screen at your units and recognise “Those 5 units at the back aren’t attacking anything. I have to get them attacking.” and “This one unit is gonna die soon. I have to move it away before it dies but not move it too soon.” and “That one enemy unit is low on health. Let me kill that one first.” It gets easier the more you do it.

    Good luck with your endeavour.:)

  6. Ill0gic June 12, 2011 at 9:56 am

    A lot of people want you to play multiplayer and that is understandable, its an awesome project what you are doing here.

    Having said that, you are right about finishing the campaign, although perhaps for the wrong reasons. Doing the campaign is not going to give you a better understanding of which units counter which because most of the action is scripted and the AI is fairly simple. What it will do though is it will ease you into the basics of the gameplay – namely the multitasking aspect of the game. The Lava level is a good example, as are others. It will push you to play faster, and be situational. This pays dividends in multiplayer games.

    Another positive thing about the campaign and about the AI is that it is not as infuriating to lose games. This might not make sense now, but after a 10-15 game losing streak in multiplayer your motivation does bottom out, even if you are only playing for 2 hours each day.

    As for ergonomics – starcraft 2 is demanding on your setup. You NEED a desk. A good desk. And a good chair, with armrests. A gel pad to avoid RIS is key, and I reccomend a mechanical keyboard so that you don’t have accidental keystrokes.

    Good on you for keeping at it thus far.

  7. narrowuser June 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

    The challenges are exactly that, but by the time you complete the campaign you’ll find you can complete the silver goals with no problem. Keep working at the campaign as you’ll learn some really important basics. It’s laid out as an 8-10 hour tutorial for multiplayer, each level teaches you something new. You can take the lessons in the gas level as an introduction to how to apply early pressure. Build quick units, and get out as quick as you can. Assuming you’re playing on easy/normal and not jumping right at hard/brutal set up a few missile turrets (4-6 should be more than enough) spread around the perimeter of your base. Fill two bunkers at the entrance to your base and you should be good on primary defense (buy you time to get your force in position). Don’t bother with goliaths, just leave them in your base as defense and don’t build any more.

    The BIGGEST tip I can give you when it comes to the campaign is take a tip from terran multiplayer. Marines/Marauders/Medics(Medevacs when you get them). In this particular mission a team of 15-20 marines 5-10 mauraders and 5 medics should be enough to storm through the mission. This tip applies to most missions as well, build those marines/marauders/medics(medevacs). When you have a great “bioball” you can supplement it with hellions/tanks for ground and banshees/vikings for air. Getting this basic strategy down pat (good basic unit force) you can focus on macro/micro without worrying about getting crushed.

  8. Yeison June 12, 2011 at 11:31 am

    When you do multiplayer, I think a good way to practice is to have people observe your games and give you some pointers in game. Let us know when you go multiplayer! Play some custom games and get some practice in before you do your placement matches. I think this will give you a better chance of being placed in gold/platinum straight off the bat.

  9. coolstorybro June 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Fastest way to learn hotkeys is this:
    Go to the ‘Options’ menu,
    Open the Gameplay tab, and,
    Check the ‘Command Hotkey Text’ box.
    This shows what key you have to press in the bottom right next to the squares of the various structures you workers build.

  10. RokB June 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Keep up the good work. If you’re having trouble memorizing hotkeys you could use “Grid” or even create your own hotkey stye. Also, this might have been a spelling mistake, but it’s “Reapers” not “Reavers.”

  11. Chris June 12, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Consider watching YouTube videos of some of the challenges or levels to see how other players deal with them. They might give you some ideas you hadn’t even thought about.

  12. gokens June 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I suppose you might not ever read this… But if you do… The campaign isn’t too bad once you get the hang of it: just build tons and tons of whatever new unit you were just given. Maybe some extra of something else, to patch up a weakness, but I don’t think that’s ever really necessary (e.g., when they give you helions and firebats there are no air units).

  13. jacob June 12, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    For you challenge problem, it’s most likely because you’re picking the wrong counter units rather than bad micro. You should be able to get at least silver with little micro if you pick the right units. To get to gold, you probably need to have a good round of micro.

  14. TheRedComet June 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    The lava one and the Tal’Darim gas one were the two missions I probably had the most difficulty with, just off the top of my head. So just slug through those.

    Advice for the Tal’darim one, just make marine, medic, marauder, and kill everything on the map. It is so easy to rove around and kill all of the Protoss bases with this composition. There is an expansion (small Protoss base) that’s easy to kill that’ll give you a resource boost to the north too. Don’t bother getting Goliaths. Using this I managed to kill every single Protoss on the map on hard difficulty, which leads to an instant win whether or not you collected gas.

    It’s a great opportunity to practice stutter-step micro too. Instead of just a-moving, move forward a sliver and a-move, let your troops attack once, then move forward again and a-move. This way, your units move closer to the enemy but still deal damage. It also ensures that your entire cluster of men get to fire, not just the people on the front line, greatly increasing your damage output.

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