A Year of Starcraft II
Monthly Archives: July 2011
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.
I started today off with a tournament I found on reddit, a Quad tournament. It wasn’t a planned thing to join up. As it turned out, the guys running it knew my backstory and decided to stream my first matches. NO pressure. They only did the first two (LQ streams in links- by the way, I was not stream cheating. It was brought up occasionally, and my opponent even answered a question asked on the stream I discovered. Apparently it’s common.), I guess they had problems with stream and most likely were bored to tears watching bronze leaguers play. It was a fun experience. I went 4-5 in the games, taking 2 off the first matchup, and one each off of the other two. I didn’t do as badly as I thought I would, coming in 3rd in the quad I was in.
A word on the tournament setup and how it was run now from someone who has never played in one. The guy running it seemed overwhelmed. I can understand. It has to be a pain in the ass to deal with 50 people when you’re expecting like 20. He did a lot better than I would have. I probably would have just said screw it after everything started piling on. So good on him for sticking with it.
The whole quad setup was confusing. There were six people in my group, I only played three. I guess I should have understood this at the beginning, but for some reason I couldn’t get my bracket to show up right on the webpage. Likewise, the whole when do we start, what maps do we play thing didn’t go smoothly. I couldn’t find, after seeing it once, where the first maps for each round was. I think I was just overwhelmed with all the games. In my last matchup, I was sure I had played three games already, but had only played one. Nine games in a row like that is mind boggling. I don’t know how players do that and more at tournaments with all the pressure too.
The guy running it knows that everything didn’t go great, and has asked reddit for some advice on how to keep the tournament running smoothly. If you have some ideas, here’s the post. But I will say thanks for putting it together ChairYeoman. It was fun and I will try to play in as many as I can.
For anyone interested, here are the replays:
I played a number of other games tonight, a few ladder and some customs. I was working on three things today. Getting my lings to the watchtowers and keeping them alive, focusing on the minimap for as much of the game as possible, and getting my bases saturated in the correct way with the right amount of workers. I didn’t do these in the tournament much, which was really just a fun thing to do after my plans for the night were cancelled. (So Starcraft is now my entertainment of choice when bored.) But in the rest of the games, I really focused on these tasks and improved a lot. Base-wise, I no longer put 30 drones on my first base and leave 10 chilling on my natural. Doing this correctly also lets me know, I discovered, when I should expand naturally if I don’t have to fend off attacks. So macro wise I’m moving on up.
I was usually keeping my lings at the watchtowers, forgetting a couple times, but have yet to save them when attacked. This also points to me not looking at the minimap enough. If I was, I would see my opponent’s units moving into vision and be able to move the ling in time. When I get this right, I should at least be able to save the lings some of the time.
I know the minimap is important, yet its hard to focus on it. When I do, I have better games, like the second game match vs sudoscience. The casters even commented on my map control (in between telling me to get a damn overseer). I only had that because of the lings task and my habit of sending overlords to different mineral patches to keep an eye out. So, the tasks my coach is giving me are all working towards better play for me. I realized this last night and today proves it well with my not getting 0-9ed in the tournament.
That brings to another long day of Starcraft II to a close. Goodnight and GLHF.
I had some plans for tonight that were cancelled, so I signed up for the Quad tournament from over at Reddit. I had been approached for a couple other tournaments to enter, but they were all at times that I couldn’t commit to. I really wanted to try one of these, and luckily I can play in this one! I will be streaming the matches. Should be fun!
“Says he’s done with ladder for the night. Ladders 2v2.” I thought this comment in the stream chat was hilarious. I meant done with 1v1 but it didn’t occur to me that laddering still applied to 2v2. But a good laugh at the end of the night. And then after reading through the chat, I went on Reddit for a bit and laughed for 2 straight minutes at a dancing dog. So, I know I’m already pretty tired and I’m going to make this update pretty quick.
I really feel like I’m progressing well. Despite being dropped down to silver and then bronze in consecutive games last night, it really feels like I’m moving forward on all of my tasks. When I focus on them exclusively, I do pretty well. So, I’m not going to worry about leagues or wins. I keep saying this so I keep thinking it. If I allow myself, I’ll get frustrated with it all. And it is pretty frustrating to lose to early lings over and over again. I know I’m missing some small things that would help me, but I’m still working on learning what I need to before I focus on builds and the like.
The 1v1 observer match tonight was fun. I actually got a win this time, albeit with a roach rush. It was pretty funny because everybody had bet on my opponent to win, and he had been doing the roach rush for a lot of the games. So, ironic? Maybe. I can never tell if I use that word correctly.
Tonight, like the chat commenter said, I played some 2v2 after laddering 1v1. My partner was Espera, a Protoss player who is around my level. He’s in Bronze, but beats me constantly and I think is at least a Silver level. We played through all the placement matches and come out Gold. We’ve been playing where I build, build and build while he controls my units. It really allows me to work on my macro and keep pumping units out while focusing on supply and the like. The first two were pretty easy and the last three harder. He said at least one of our opponents was Diamond in the game we lost. I like playing these and am hoping to do this more. I think it could also be beneficial if we switch roles when I start focusing on units and micro later on in the year.
Like I said, a quick update. It’s 5am here. Tomorrow I’ll be starting the stream late, probably around 1 or 1:30am.
Goodnight and GLHF.