A Year of Starcraft II
Monthly Archives: August 2011
I took my day off for the week today (Tuesday), getting myself back on the original schedule and taking a break from beating up on myself. I had a kind of crap day yesterday, play wise, and wasn’t in a good frame of mind. Honestly, yesterday I was just bored. I was tired of doing the same thing over and over again. I had one of those crawling-up-the-wall feelings while staring at yet another loading screen. So, I jumped to the challenges for a while to finish off my two hours for the day. After that I checked the blog, ostensibly to write a post, but instead found a comment by Lykkin pointing me to a newer Day9 video about gold league improvement. Once again, Day9 has the answer.
On a side note, there is something about Day9 that instantly puts me in a better mind frame. His good cheer is incredibly infectious and never fails to pull me from a slump. I for some reason just envisioned a portrait of him like the virgin mary (golden halo behind him, etc.) with the tag-line “Patron Saint of Gamers”. Perhaps that’s just too much reddit talking. I digress.
For the next week, I’m going to put supply at the top of my prioritizing list. This has been a constant problem, and incredibly annoying to say the least. So, no matter if I lose every game for the week, I will not become supply blocked. This includes not making six overlords at a time and making an extra before I sacrifice one to scout. In all honesty, this is really kind of going back to what my original coach had me do, focus on one thing, but I’m having to keep track of myself instead of someone scolding me after each game. So, even if I lose, I will consider it a win if I can keep up with my supply. After the week of not caring about the wins, I will try to work my way back up to top 8 gold for the next week. After that, I’ll pick something else to move up in prioritization. Probably keeping an eye on opponent’s expansions, as Day9 made a big deal about this in his video, but we shall see.
I will be back at it tomorrow, so goodnight and GLHR.
After my day off and cooling off, I jumped into this weekend both watching a lot of MLG (great once again) and playing some more SC2. I didn’t stream it all, I was trying to take some of the pressure, I guess, off. It seems to have worked, at least I’m not getting pissed off anymore. I have also been thinking a lot about where I’m going in Starcraft 2 specifically, and what I need to do to get there.
It was suggested that practice solely by laddering may be at the point of diminishing returns for me. I guess I can see that. I mean, solely playing random people and never knowing what I’ll face, is that a way to improve? But I am sort of stuck on how I would actually practice. Getting practice partners was suggested, and I can see that this would help, if they were around my level and moved up as I did. But what would I be practicing? Learning every build order perfectly? Responding to every P, T, & Z build order perfectly? Is this how to do it? Do I need to know every single build order out there? Or do I stick to my general build orders and just learn to defeat each of their build orders?
Like I said at the beginning of all this, I’ve never really stuck with anything long enough to get where I’m at now. I don’t know how to go further, or what going further would even look like. I can see the holes in my game, usually. When I lose, I know I did something wrong. When I get supply blocked, I know I’ve screwed up. But fixing the small things is a lot harder, because I don’t always know what it is I’m looking for. Like when I would watch replays to figure out what I did wrong at the earliest point, I generally don’t know. There are so many variables, it’s hard to figure out what the best option is.
I’m going to keep ruminating on all of this, and try to figure out what my best next move is. As it is right now, I’m going to keep laddering.
Goodnight and GLHF.
I don’t know why I got so upset tonight, but I did. I mean, I’m aware that it’s just a game and doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But in those few minutes at the end of an absolutely horridly played game by me, I got all flushed, my brain ceased to want to actually think about anything helpful, and I started to tense up. It was like all the patience and not-giving-a-shit that I normally have drained right out of me. I almost threw my mouse across the room. I wasn’t upset at my opponent, or any perceived imbalance in the game, but at my own shoddy play. I mean, for christ’s sake, how many times was I going to dump 100 supply into his deathball? Why did I wait so long to build the goddamn corruptors? Why the hell did I not have a ling or overlord scout at each and every base on the map? Where are the fucking overseers, you dumbass? His DTs are killing your drones!
I’m annoyed at how much I suck at this game. I try to work on my weaknesses, but every time I shore one up, another pops up or returns. Maybe I’m tired, I don’t know. I’m bored in general, so I’ve been retreating to Starcraft. It’s been ten days straight of play (I thought I didn’t get a day off this week and kept playing, but that was last week, actually) and I may be a little fried. I’m going to take tomorrow off, if I can.
As annoyed as I am with myself right now, I still want to get back on and play. I know I can do better. I, in general, know what I have to do, but constantly don’t do it in the heat of a game. My build order can work perfectly, but it’s as if my brain ceases all critical thinking in the middle of a game. I see a four-gate coming, I build drones. He’s got a deathball? More hydras. It’s immensely frustrating because there’s no one to blame but myself.
I’m going to try and chill out now. I’ll be back at it Friday. I’m not giving up. Not by a long shot.
Goodnight and GLHF.
I’m really not in the mood to be writing this, but figured I should at least put down a few thoughts on the last two days.
I can finally feel a little more of a progression in my game the last couple of days, today especially. With some help, and a lot of play, I have really worked on Spending and Scouting. It is not as often as before that I hit over 1000 minerals unless the game drags on and I hit 200/200. As a result of this, and the scouting, I have been steadily winning more games. Supply is still an issue. I can’t keep my focus on it for whatever reason. I end up supply blocked, make 6 overlords, then get supply blocked in five more minutes. I keep yelling at myself to do them in time with inject cycles, and it works for the beginning (for the most part), but goes downhill after about 85 supply or so. I’m not going to add or subtract anything from my focus, the 3 S’s remain. I want to get it all down well before I move on.
I started a new build I have been playing with and am liking. I didn’t get it from anywhere, but I’m sure it’s been used before. I do 13 gas, 14 pool, 15 hatch on all of the match-ups (usually). It works surprisingly well. I can’t tell you why it works, but I started doing it to have ling speed earlier, and still get my hatch up relatively quick. Also, on a lot of the games, there is a point early on where I throw down a macro-hatch. I don’t have a set supply point that I’m shooting for, but generally, before an evo or roach warren, I will throw down the hatch when I get to 300-400 minerals. It comes with some hassles, like I have to be sure and drone enough after doing this, but I think it is helping me deal with early aggression. Writing it out like this, I’m wondering if it really is helping. I mean, the pros go through so many builds and have them down to a science. I do something, it works, and I keep doing it. It could, conceivably, be not helping me at all and I’m just getting lucky. How does one know when a build actually works? If I had a set supply for everything up to 50 and did that over and over again, and it still worked? I guess that is the thing to do. Write out exactly what I’m doing, and when, and keep trying it and adjusting. I’ll have to analyze a few replays and see when and how I’m actually doing all that I’m doing.
Okay, now my head hurts.
Goodnight and GLHF.
I figured I’d try writing these before I actually started playing for the night, so this is referencing my playing yesterday.
I got home from work last night to discover that djWheat had talked about me on his show yesterday. The video is here, it’s around 45 minutes in. I was kind of awed at this, and felt incredibly nervous when I finally got on to play last night. I was jittery, and playing pretty crappy for a while. I guess the idea that he could be watching gave me a bit of stage fright, or something similar. I am not one to be nervous on the ladder or while streaming, but, yeah, this did it. I got over it by reminding myself to harden the fuck up, as it were. I mean, dj-freaking-Wheat is cheering me on! After that I was cool, and even more inspired to get better at this game.
Last night, after a couple ladder matches, I played a number of ZvZ matches vs a friend to practice the match-up. It was fun and informative. Informative, as in I suck at ZvZ. It is very difficult to play someone who knows what they’re doing. On the ladder, I can out-macro most Zergs if I get past the first few minutes. It didn’t happen much last night. I will continue to work on this match-up and even found a great article on the exact subject after going to Screddit after playing last night. It’s something to work on, but at the same time as focusing on my 3S’s.
Speaking of those pesky S’s, I was still having trouble with supply. After being yelled at by an observer a couple of times (nut-punches were threatened for each instance of blockage), I had a couple of games where I did a lot better. Apparently threats work. Spending was better but still not great. Scouting also needs work. I was faked out in one game, my opponent going banes after I saw his roach warren going down. This wouldn’t have happened if I kept up with the scouting. So, they all still need work.
Now, time for some laddering. Goodnight and GLHR.
Thank you all once again for the outpouring of congratulations and help. It was so exciting to actually hit Gold, and I’m glad it’s not weird to be so happy about being promoted. I know it’s a long way from Masters, but it felt like proof that I’m improving. I am also having a lot of fun with everything. Playing, streaming, watching games and I finally caught State of the Game for the first time last night. Hilarious, informative and very interesting to see the players and casters interacting and joking around. I have a new found admiration for both Artosis and iNcontroL.
Now I want to watch even more of everything surrounding the game. It’s kind of like I have been thrust into the very thing I was looking for: an all consuming passion. Starcraft 2, whodathunkit?
Tonight’s games (in Gold :p) went well. I had a few games where my spending kept up with my producing and overall thought my scouting is starting to improve. I may lose more overlords, but it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. Being supply blocked otherwise, though (as in, when I didn’t lose an overlord), is still a problem. I can remember trying to focus on this last month and I’m still having the same issues. I should be checking every time I inject, but it is something I haven’t been doing. On the list it goes.
Where am I at on that list, I wonder? Supply, spending, and scouting all need work. Micro, especially with infestors, needs work. There’s so much to do if I want to keep progressing, that I feel a bit overwhelmed. It’s so much easier to just play. But that’s only going to help to a point. Those 3 Ss are my big focus for the next month. It’s basic, but so important. Supply- never block myself. Spending- never go over 800. Scouting- know what’s coming. I’m going to try and find a few articles or posts about these, to see if that may give me some ideas on how to improve. I’ll keep the builds I’ve been doing (15 hatch, gas, and pool for T and P, 14 pool and gas, hatch when I think I can get away with it for Z) and just try and keep myself glued to the top right and bottom left of my screen. When I’ve got that down to a point I’m comfortable with, I can move to the micro. For now, for the most part, I’ll stick to the A-move.
Goodnight and GLHF
So, I’m back after a bit of a break. It was a good two days off, not playing any games at all. I did keep reading, mainly Screddit, and was constantly curious like a lot of people about EG’s big announcement. It’s pretty cool that two of my favorite players are on the same team now, but I don’t know how much I really care. Perhaps if there were team tournaments like I’ve seen they have in Korea. That would be cool, probably have me pulling for a particular team and actually giving a crap about stuff like this. But it’s not like I’m going to buy a t-shirt or anything. Although getting them to sign one at MLG Orlando would be cool. Damn, I just realized Idra might not be there now if he’s going to Korea. That kind of blows.
I was playing pretty good today (I started early so sorry to any who missed it). I didn’t lose anything (I am always worried about stopping for a few days and sucking when I return) but it was a bit harder. It feels like I’m going up against harder opponents, but it could just be my imagination. And, really, I shouldn’t care about that, only getting better. Spending is still not in my control. When I’m floating 1200 minerals at the 12 minute mark, something’s wrong. I need to spend, spend, spend. Macro hatches if I hit 500. Drone hard and upgrade until I need an army. My problem with this is how bad my scouting is. I don’t know what’s coming, most of the time, or when it’s coming. So, how do I do this? Overlord’s sacrificed into the enemy’s base more than just once. Perhaps make an extra every 4 minutes and send it on in immediately. Throw a few lings at their front to see what’s coming and how close they are to pushing. I have been keeping the Xel’naga towers, usually, so I’m doing okay on that. And I’ve almost gotten a broad idea of what they could be doing based on what I’m seeing.
I like my early hatch vs. Terran and Protoss and feel it suits me well in almost all situations. I can hold a 4 gate probably 50% of the time and am good with working on that and seeing what will hold it vs what won’t. Vs. Zerg I’m still a bit behind. I don’t know when to throw down the extra hatch or pretty much anything else. I may just try the 15 hatch on every match-up and see how it holds. It could probably work on everything but six-pools and the like. I will go ahead and give it a go tomorrow.
I am doing better on the early parts of my build, in keeping with what I’ve been working on. Like I said, it’s still a struggle if I try to micro at the same time. I can end up with a very late pool or filling the gas if I’m not paying constant attention. So, I’m not going to say I’m done with it yet. It is still what I’m working on right now specifically.
Goodnight and GLHR.
So, all in all, I’ve watched a crapload of the tournaments this weekend (LiquidSheth is awesome, those 3 best of 3s vs Select were exciting as hell) and played I think over 40 games. I am currently sitting at the #1 spot in my silver league and playing golds 90% of the time. It is driving me crazy that I haven’t been promoted yet, but I can’t play anymore tonight as my head is literally pounding, maybe from staring at the computer for so long. I had to literally tear myself away to go eat when the Blizzard tournament was on today. But, holy shit, a tournament stream you can actually pause! Greatest invention ever! It was great with Day9 casting and all the exciting games. I felt bad for Huk, but I do have a new Zerg player to follow in Sheth. I was sad to see Idra get dropped out of both Blizzards and the IGL (I think it was called). Although his “f*ck you” was hilarious.
My own playing is progressing, albeit slowly. I probably win 60% of my games, usually long, drawn out macro heavy games. I don’t have the ability to just kill them early, I guess because I’m not cheesing much. It is very rare for me to cheese, I have to be pretty bored or annoyed to throw down a six-pool. I’ve been working on my timings for the first 15 supply and do well when I focus on just that. If I try to keep a drone alive or kill a probe, I’ll forget to fill my gas or throw down the pool at the right time. It is going to take some more work, so I am going to keep working on this specifically.
I will be off the next two days. I’m going to put two week’s worth of days off together so I can help a friend move. I will be back playing on Tuesday night and will resume the stream that I didn’t do yesterday or today. I just wanted to focus on laddering (when I wasn’t watching tournaments) and sometimes having people talking about and to me is distracting. It’ll all be back up on Tuesday night, so until then, Goodnight and GLHF.
I watched two replays tonight, looking for the earliest mistake I was making. In the first one, I saw that my hatch (at 15 is when I’m doing it in P and T games) was about ten game seconds late. I started correcting this in the next game I played and then reviewed that game. In that one, I was late on my 13 and 14 drones. There were 20+ extra minerals when I did each of them. I should probably pick one of these to work on, but I think that getting the exact timing on this early hatch build will be beneficial. So, in that vein, I will be working on the timings from the beginning to 15. It’s small enough, I think, that I can pick out when I don’t do this in my games tomorrow and it’s not going to make me lose focus on the game at hand because it’s so early.
So, for tomorrow: Exact timings up to 15 supply.
Goodnight and GLHF.