A Year of Starcraft II

Hard Day’s Night

Fair warning: This isn’t going to be all about Starcraft.  Personal issues will be raised, but I will come back around to Starcraft.

Today was tough.  There’s no other way to describe it.  I am simply drained.  My day at work was long and stressful.  I don’t know if it’s my own fault for taking things personally, but I’m actually getting pissed at customers.  I am not normally one to do that.  On two separate occasions I was told after the fact that someone said I was rude.  I am generally a very mellow, nice guy.  But everyone trying to get a “deal” (I work in retail for those of you who didn’t read that on another post) and lambasting me for things that aren’t my fault, are grating on my nerves.  I mean, when you see that something with a coupon comes to 9 cents, do you think it’s correct?  And when you find out that, no, it’s not, do you then bitch for ten minutes about how you should still get it for that price?  I walked away from that one after telling the lady she couldn’t do what she wanted to do.  Probably a first for me, to just say NO.  And not long after, someone brought something in they said was missing parts.  I opened it up, and yes, they weren’t in an obvious spot, but goddamn it if the parts weren’t right there in the box.  I was very close to getting into a shouting match when she said that was my fault.

Personal issues are no doubt spilling over into my interactions with customers.  I had found out today that something I wanted, and which I thought was headed my way, was no longer available and would never be available to me.  I just cannot catch a break in my personal life.  It’s not that everything’s falling apart, but that nothing’s coming together. My life has been pretty stagnant for a while, which was part of the reason for my “Reddit Pick My Hobby” post.  A change, any change, that would focus me on something that I would have to work on.

And so I came home to play some Starcraft.  I just plain crapped out tonight.  I wasn’t focusing on my goals for the day, I was losing track of what I had already learned, and getting annoyed at myself.  In one game I was hit by early lings plus drones sent to my base, and sat there for a few minutes trying to make it work and come up with something that would help.  And all the while, I just wanted to disconnect.  Or curse out the guy who threw it at me.  Which is just bullshit.  I stopped myself, and GGed out.  I think the only reason I did this was a message someone sent me the other night after an opponent just quit a game.  He said, “No GG, No Class.”  I even repeated this to my coach when he commented on my good manner.  I really did not want to be sportsmanlike, but felt that starting down that road in a game was just silly. What’s a GG?  He won.  It was a good game for him.

I could blame my lack of focus on work stress and over thinking my personal issues, which did actually play a part, but I don’t want to do that.  I think there’s more to it, and here’s why.  After deciding that the night wasn’t going to turn out any better, I logged off.  To complete my daily two hours, I watched Day9 #100.  While I had watched part of it before, I never really gave it much attention even though it was recommended to me over and over again.

Tonight though, watching this reminded me why I wanted to do this year. His emotion for the game and the incomprehensible passion the guy has in general, are exactly what I want.  On a comment I made on Reddit one night a while back, I was talking about the word Otaku and how I wished I could apply it to myself in some fashion (It is a Japanese word used to refer to people with obsessive interests, per wikipedia).  In a reply clarifying my comment, I said, “I want to be so interested in something I never come up to fucking breathe.”  But part of my problem is sticking with things for longer than a few weeks, hence the year of devotion to something.  I feel, though, that I’ve not given Starcraft II its due, and denied myself some of the passion I was looking for.  Playing around for two hours isn’t going to do much.  I could do the same thing with Call of Duty and call it a hobby.  I’ll get better at it, sure, like I’ll get progressively better at Starcraft.  But there isn’t much else I’m doing right now.  Starcraft II is a great game and I enjoy it immensely most days, I may even call it my favorite game, but I’m not working at it hard enough.

My coach has a plan for progression, a very good plan, I think, now that I’ve kind of seen the road I’m being led down.  I’m going to stop a second here and thank him for taking all the time he has helping me.  He has to be putting even more work into it than I am right now.  Which is kind of my point.  Yes, I’m putting in the two hours a day and most of the time I’m focusing on my goals and improving.  But there’s more I could be doing.  A lot more.  And I want to do it.  When Day9 talked about how much he and his brother devoted themselves to it, talking about it and analyzing everything, working on issues and practicing constantly, it spoke a lot to what I want to do.  And the readers here, the in game friends giving advice and encouragement and my coach have given me all the support I need to do it.

So, now, almost a month into my year of Starcraft II, I’m going to devote more to this.  More time, more thought, and more focus.  I may never be great at it, but I can sure practice enough until I’m good. For starters, the two hours is a minimum, not a goal to be met.  And while most days I have spent more time in game, this little tweak to the wording will I think encourage me to do more like read forums, watch games and practice goals.

I have also decided to go to the MLG Orlando, which is the closest tournament I could find.  It was suggested to me before, but I felt it would be kind of strange to go to something like that on my own.  I want to go even more now after watching Day9 talk about them, so weirdness be damned.  I think this will also instill in me more of the community aspect of the game that is so amazing.  Sitting in the audience and watching matches with people who like this game even more than I do will be a great spark to inspiration and a reward for the work I’m going to be putting in.

Lastly, I’m going to start doing more analyzing of my games.  I will at least watch the replays of my games at the end of the night and note what was off and what I thought I should be doing.  Specifically in this blog, I will pick one game a night to analyze.  I will post and go over the replay, seeing what I did wrong and right, how I met or failed to meet my goals, where I can improve and how I could have responded to my opponent differently.  This is probably something that will help me improve a lot, and I had been thinking about doing it before, but it required that little bit more effort that I was hemming and hawing about giving.

I apologize for writing a book tonight, and don’t expect it all to be read, but if it’s not out there pointing at me, saying, “Hey, you said you’d do this,” I would find a way out of it.  Which I don’t want.  The whole point of my year was to change myself a bit by devoting not just time, but effort to something.  And if it all seems a little too intense or over the top, good.  I’ve felt the obsessive itch since I started playing and want more of that.  I’m not neglecting life outside of the game, I am not Cartman shitting into a bedpan and gaining 100lbs so I don’t have to move from in front of the computer.  A little extra effort and focus can’t hurt me too much.

On that note, Goodnight and GLHR.




17 responses to “Hard Day’s Night

  1. Ill0gic July 5, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Any purpose is good purpose. Life needs purpose, not just meaning. If you find purpose in the competitive arena of ANYTHING, that is purpose enough. Starcraft 2 is a metaphor for challenge. Be challenged. Be proud to be challenged. That’s a good enough purpose if you ask me.

  2. lykkin July 5, 2011 at 5:45 am

    hey man, it is good to hear you are feeling good about the game still.

    the analysis of the games and forum reading (i would suggest personally) are steps in the right direction; a few more things you could try is getting the people in your day to day life into it. i know my interest in the game came from when i first came to college. i had a friend who went to school with day9 and was really really into the broodwar scene (this was around the time of tsl2); this friend did wonders for getting me into the scene and getting psyched up for sc2. but something i noticed is we fed off each other’s excitement and it just made playing and learning so much more fun. it is great to sit and talk about the pro-scene (maybe pick a favorite player and follow them through tourneys and stuff like that) and the different strats, anything that can keep your head in the game even if you aren’t actually playing is awesome in my opinion.

    if you have any questions, or need a practice partner, don’t be afraid to ask!

    • Garg27 July 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

      I think this is my biggest problem. I don’t play the game (yet), but I get really excited watching some of the bigger tournaments. However, none of my friends or family play or watch the game, so it’s just me getting excited on my own. For people who actually play the game, I can only imagine this feeling would magnify tenfold.

  3. Playaction July 5, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Don’t apologize for ranting on your blog. That’s why i return. 🙂
    Would you consider commentating on your stream – even if it’s just between matches? Just being able to tell if you’re annoyed, tilting or happy would make the viewing experience much more enjoyable.

    • Garg27 July 5, 2011 at 11:34 am

      I would totally have to agree with this. I would love to hear your thoughts during stream. After the year is up, you could go back and hear some of your earlier thought processes and see just how much progress you have made, as well as entertaining your fans ;).

    • redditpickedmyhobby July 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Yeah, I’ve been on the fence about the mic. I keep saying I’m getting one, but haven’t ordered it yet. Mostly out of a desire to not look like an idiot. Believe it or not, I’m not a very open person. This blog is the most public thing I’ve done. So adding my voice to it and opening myself up to the possibility of looking like a moron scares me for some reason. But you’re right, it will add to the personality of the stream and enable me to talk to everyone on skype or the like. I’ll go ahead and order one tonight. Thanks.

  4. Hank July 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Playing zerg is getting to you, start playing protoss, you will be much more relaxed 🙂

    Seriously though, nice blog you have there, keep it up.

  5. Justin Etchell July 5, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Hey broski! justice here! As part of my ‘Play StarCraft II for fun and not as a chore’ plan i made it a rule not to play when I am in a bad mood or exhausted, which is generally after work 😛 I work in Video Games Retail and some of the customers are incredibly difficult to deal with. Regardless of what ‘they’ say, the customer is not always right, usually they are wrong and laws in most areas state that you don’t have to honor most things 😛

    You are not rude, customer just wanted a place to vent their own inadequacies.

    At the end of the day, just throw your arms up ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Ill have to jump on NA sometime and maybe do some team games with you or something 🙂 I find chatting to SC2 friends on skype while i play to be pretty fun.

    Keep on keepin’ on man!

  6. Jay July 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I wouldn’t feel bad for ranting about personal stuff if I were you. For what it’s worth, I’ve been reading for the start of your blog, but I only feel like I *connected* with what you’re doing with this post. Injecting your personality into your content can only strengthen your appeal – look at Day9.

    As far as attending MLG Orlando goes – I guarantee that even if you turn up on your own, you wouldn’t remain alone 🙂

    • redditpickedmyhobby July 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      It is extremely hard to actually put my personality out there like this though. I almost deleted this post last night after writing it. I’m glad I didn’t though, and you were able to connect with what I’m doing. I’m going to try to do more of letting out exactly what I’m thinking as opposed to bland recaps of the day. Its more fun and cathartic for me and it sounds like more interesting for those reading. Thanks. 🙂

  7. Mauricio Romano Ibarra July 5, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Your best post to date. This really touched me and showed that even you are a real person. It’s tough sometimes man, especially on personal life issues and I can relate on escaping through Starcraft. I want you to know that you always have loyal followers and supporters in the community here, if you go to MLG there will be a lot of fellow redditors that would love to hang out with you too.

    Keep at it man, this post was very inspiring.

    • redditpickedmyhobby July 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. It’s starting to sink in that the process of this year is not really the focus, but my own actions and thoughts in relation to the journey. I’m really not used to people being interested in me so it’s something I’m slowly getting used to. Ill have to try and do a reddit meetup at mlg orlando or something, it would be great to talk about the games in person with fellow reditors.
      Thanks again.

      • ZiggyD July 6, 2011 at 12:27 am

        I love that your doing everything you can to become a part of the Starcraft 2 community. You could have mades this just playing the game for 2 hrs a day but you have made it a true hobby and play/study/watch like many of us do.

        I hope the game gives back to you what you put into it.

  8. Henk de Slager July 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Attending MLG is an excellent idea. HF!

  9. blargarargharagha! July 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Hey man, did you see the latest link on /r/starcraft?

  10. Chibi Jennifer July 7, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Keep working at it and try not letting other people’s rudeness get to you 🙂

  11. Amandil July 7, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Getting a mic isn’t just about giving commentary on the stream, its really a necessity to join the community. Make friends, skype/vent/mumble with them. It helps keep the motivation when you actually have people to talk starcraft with. Chances are there aren’t many people in your real life you can do that with.

    And yes, you are an interesting figure apart of the community now with your own story to tell. I see it as kind of an experiment, we pulled you into the starcraft world and now we get to see how someone who is a stranger to the game will react to the game and community. It gives me hope for the growth of esports to find someone actually find it interesting rather then laugh at it. Hopefully once you get a mic we can get you on a show with DJWheat, I know he commented he’d be interested in doing it. Keep up the good work and we’ll keep reading!

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