A Year of Starcraft II

Another Week Down

I honestly can’t tell if this is all going by quickly or slowly.  I’m having fun at least, and had to stop myself from playing Starcraft tonight.  I think a day off should be a day off.  A break is good.  But there wasn’t much else to do when I got home from work tonight, so I watched the latest Day9 daily and some of Destiny’s stream.  I think the whole Judge Judy thing is hilarious.  I can’t stand the show, and the fact that she has more viewers than Oprah is either a great thing or a sad reflection on daytime television.  At least Judge Judy doesn’t have a book club.

Last night’s games went okay.  I’m trying not to worry about winning.  I know the losses are going to keep coming and that wins will be few and far between for a while.  Right now I am focusing on mechanics and getting a few basics down to the point that I don’t have to think about them, I just do them.  My coach gave me three things to focus on in the game yesterday.

First up is the opening setup, which is getting everything from starting the first drone to sending out the overlord and setting rally points done before the first drone pops.  This also included setting up the expansions in control groups and setting those rally points, something I forget more often than not.  I did a lot better at this yesterday, forgetting maybe once or twice, but rectifying it before I had units just sitting there not doing anthing.

Secondly, I was working on learning the new hotkey setup and only using the keys instead of clicking.  There were a number of comments about this, here and on the stream.  I have to say, it is a very intuitive setup.  I had very little trouble switching over and not having to hit the 7 and 8 keys in the late game works better for me.  The highlight of this setup, though, is having better finger groupings.  Putting army units on A, S and D, for instance, instead of 1, 2 or 3, and attack on F instead of A, allows me to hit A-F in quick succession, with two fingers, instead of 1-A with the same finger.  This is one of the main ones that I find quicker and easier to hit.  I know it’s not going to make a huge deal now, but I like the setup and figured I’d go a bit more in depth since people were wondering.  I’m doing very well with this.  The only thing I have trouble with is not clicking the upgrades.  I guess I’m already used to clicking them and did it once without realizing, and had to stop myself another time.  Another day at focusing on this and I figure I’ll have it down.

Lastly is control grouping and keeping all of my army units in control groups.  Not one big blob, but separate groups for separate units.  A big part of this was also adding the units to the control groups as eggs.  I had a lot of trouble with this.  I just did not remember to do it in any of the games.  After the games, my coach set up a game for us to work on it, and he explained the two ways to do this.  He had previously told me about CTRL-clicking the eggs to get down to just that unit, but I had thought he meant the actual eggs next to the hatch.  Whoops.  Turns out, it’s down in the bottom part of the screen.  This is a lot easier.  After a little practicing I was doing much better.  I should be able to keep this up in game with a little focus.  He also showed me that this works with selected units.  So, if I select a bunch of roaches, lings and banes, I can CTRL-click the units and put them into control groups.  This is a lot easier than double clicking them, where I always seem to misclick.  For right now, he has me focusing on adding units to the groups as eggs, so that I can get the mechanic down to where it is instinctual.  He explained when to do this and not in a game, but that I should try to add all units as eggs right now so that I learn the technique well.

It helps immensely to have specific things to focus on as I’m playing.  I know now that even if I’m losing games, if I do what I”m supposed to, it’s a good game because I’m slowly learning the techniques that will take me farther.  Better to learn them now than screw around for three months and have to unlearn bad habits.

I will be back streaming tomorrow night and I’m looking forward to it.

Goodnight and GLHF.



8 responses to “Another Week Down

  1. Dane June 29, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Hey, just a quick piece of advice. As a fellow zerg myself I’m noticing that you are not taking your gasses and saturating them early enough. I find (depending on the situation) that its a good idea to have all 4 saturated by about 45-55 supply. And a Lair immediately after your 2nd or 3rd queen.

    In most all of your games you float to many minerals (not because of missed larvae injects like most new players) but because you’re not building Tier 2 units quickly enough (mutas, hydras, infestors). You need the gas to produce these.

    I think doing this will help you better spend your mins (counter intuitive I know) and get out more beastly units. Also, throwdown an evo chamber and get those upgardes going as well.

    All in all though, I’m very impressed with how well you have played so far, and love what you’re doing.

  2. Tetelestia.936 June 29, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I’ve been haivng problems figuring out the advanced rally from eggs on my own, I was unknowingly prerallying and hotkey assigning the units I was making ‘and’ all unspent larva, which was disasterous. Drones do not tank well. Thanks for sharing your learning!

  3. Vincent June 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

    While pre-emptively adding units to control groups through eggs is nice, it’s not that crucial. I’m in diamond league, and I just add units to my control groups once they’re at my rally point.

  4. Joakim June 29, 2011 at 10:08 am

    All this specific stuff is good, but focus to it to much and you miss the big picture. Also am skeptical of this coach, I want you to go as far as masters, and then you cant be coached by anything less than that. And it is extremly important that you find you own ways and your own style of handling ingame stuff, this coach has “tricks” that work for him, that doesn’t automatically means its good for you to do the same.

    GLHF WP!

  5. jake June 29, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I agree with Joa. The things that work for your coach might not work for you. Honestly, I would not even bother with trying to learn tricks yet. There are more basic things that you could be practicing like build order, positioning, etc….

  6. slacker June 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Learning things like hotkeying eggs and extractor tricks and crazy hotkey setups at this level of play is like learning to heel-toe and powerslide in driver’s ed. Get the basics down, like making shit constantly, macroing during battles, and not getting supply blocked first.

    One specific example I recall is Day9 coaching djwheat. He would have wheat make a batch of roaches, tell them to attack-move to enemy base, then forget all about them. djwheat wasn’t even allowed to look at his roaches the rest of the time. The game was macro, macro, expand, make units, send them out, macro, macro, macro.

  7. ArturosII June 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    To echo what others said above you’re trying to learn very specific things early. The main stuff you should be focusing on are not being supply blocked, knowing when more bases should go up, keeping your money really low and as a zerg when to drone and when not to drone. The learning to use the hotkeys is really good though.
    I’m not quite sure from what you said but if you’re not I’d advise using the grid set up as it’s really really easy to learn and use and makes it easier to switch between races if you want to. Most people who don’t use grid used to play SC:Broodwar and so have muscle memory from that but if you’re new to it then grid is much more intuitive. It keeps everything together too.
    Until you get much further in the ladder just learning basic macro and winning with more stuff is the way to go. If you can keep having more bases than your opponent you don’t really need to be cost-effective either as you can just throw stuff at them then mass more and as zerg you can switch the tech you throw at them fairly easy.
    And lastly about the winning/losing. The ladder is designed to try to keep people at around a 50% winrate. That means you’re going to lose and probably a lot. Everyone is. It’s good that you’re trying to not let it bother you and after every game it’s useful to just stop and think of the biggest reason why you won or loss. Was it because you had no army and lots of drones? Did you just have less stuff than them? Did they just have less stuff than you? Were you struggling for funds? etc. etc. If you find a common reason why you’re losing then you can start working on improving that.
    Thanks for the blog though and I’m glad you’re enjoying this 😀

  8. HTMC June 29, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    “Learning things like hotkeying eggs and extractor tricks and crazy hotkey setups at this level of play is like learning to heel-toe and powerslide in driver’s ed. Get the basics down, like making shit constantly, macroing during battles, and not getting supply blocked first.”

    I’m gonna agree with this, although I do think having a set hot-key set-up is important for later. I do think your coach should be focusing on the bigger picture issues, like other people have said, rather than focusing on adding control groups from eggs… I you had no other things (like scouting, different build orders, microing multiple control groups, etc) it would maybe be worth it, but having your army in a control group a couple seconds earlier isn’t going to win you a game, while other things will, and I assume those are areas that could still use work, since most people aren’t perfect with that either.

    Keep it up though!

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