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A Year of Starcraft II

Category Archives: Gold

Replays For Review

I decided to do a duo of replays from each race, one loss and win vs P and T, and two losses vs Z.  I feel like this will help point out my problems better, perhaps. Reviewing them myself, I see problem areas already.  In the Entombed Valley ZvZ loss, I made too many drones towards the end.  If those were roaches or lings, I perhaps would have fared better.  In the ZvP loss, I had way too few drones until a minute or two before my opponent attacked.  The shorter ZvZ is a classic case of my crappy micro, I believe.  It was also included because a redditor (Rexel) was my opponent and was adamant that I upload it to Reddit.  Hopefully this post and my cross post to StarcraftFeedback will suffice.

It is obvious too, from watching these, that I have decided on a open to use across the board- 14g 14p.  It was suggested to me by a masters player who helped a few times and I have had success with it.  I think that sticking to so much ling/bling/muta is a detriment rather than a good plan.  I thought it would help me focus on my play issues, but don’t know if it’s working.

Thought this new site might make it easier to upload, but was basically the same as simple SC2.  Hopefully it’s just as easy to download.  Could not figure out how to do a pack, so the individual links are:

ZvZ – Loss

ZvZ- Loss

ZvT- Win

ZvT- Loss

ZvP- Win

ZvP- Loss

I don’t expect any incredible revelations from this, really.  I am thinking, though, that the problem most pointed out by those who comment will be worked on for a week.  Then, I will move on to the next most suggested problem.  A sort of coaching by vote.  I’m still at a loss for why I’m stuck where I am.  It is the sum of all the little things that lead to my losses, but why I win one game, but not the next eludes me.  I feel overwhelmed with problem areas, and don’t know how to fix my game, so any suggestions are appreciated.

Still Here

I’m sorry for the lack of updates here, it’s been a rough couple of weeks.  I think it’s strange how much external factors effect my play, but along with the shitload of personal things I’m dealing with, I’ve really been crapping out in game lately.  Still mid-level gold, haven’t even moved up much.  It gets harder and harder each day to start the stream and play for hours at a time.  If I’m not streaming, it’s somewhat easier, perhaps because I’m not worried about people seeing how crap I’m playing.  I am still loving Starcraft, watching Dailies and Gom, but I guess I’m upset with myself at how much I suck.  There have been a some bright days, where I’ll win five or six in a row, but those are few and far between.

I’ve tried to get advice, from one GM player and another Diamond, I think it was.   I feel like I’m missing something.  And I told those players that.  It feels like there’s something in the game, that I’m not doing correctly and that’s what is screwing up my play.  But no one can pinpoint one thing.  Maybe it’s not even one thing.  The answer I’ve gotten is just, “Play more.  You’ll learn.”  I have to say it’s kind of disheartening.  I want to be better.  I can’t say I’ve learned everything (I know I haven’t), but I do know what to look for and what should be coming when for the most part.  I know what the units can do, the muscle memory is there for every single hotkey I have, I have builds I use for specific match-ups, I alter those builds based on what I see coming.  And still I lose.  I am hovering around 50% win rate (using SC2 gears, over all of my games since I started).  Perhaps I’m just a gold level player.

Reading over this, I sound really stupid and whiny, thinking there’s one thing that could make me a better player.  It is really all of the little mistakes adding up to equal crap play.  Missing an overlord here, my army being out of position there, not droning when I could, making drones when I shouldn’t, and all of those things tip the game further and further in my opponent’s favor.  It’s the small things that I’m sucking at and need work.  Instead of being disheartened, I need to pick one and work on it for a week, then pick another, then go back to the first, and repeat.  This is how getting better works, I can’t just keep playing and expect to magically get better. I have gotten out of that mindset and into the entitled, “I should be better than this,” bullshit mindset.  That doesn’t work.

Overlords.  I won’t miss a goddamn overlord.  I will focus so hard on this, I will lose games.  That is my goal this week.

Thanks to those who left comments asking me where I was.  I needed to come back here and actually think about what’s going on.  Through it all, having to write this blog and actually think about what I’m doing has been the biggest help.  Without that, I’m just playing with myself (:O).

GLHR!

 

 

Six Months

The halfway point.  It seems crazy that it has gone by so quickly.  And yet, I feel like I’ve been playing Starcraft II for a looooong time.  My head is packed full of timings, builds, pro games, names, tournaments, and lore.  It has truly become a part of me.  There are very few people in my life to whom I have not mentioned SC2.  Some probably roll their eyes when I bring it up, but I don’t really care.  It feels great to finally have a “thing”, a hobby, a passion.  It is a nightly struggle to turn off GSL, knowing I have to be up for work in eight hours.  My “day off” has turned into a night I look forward to, not to get away from Starcraft, but to be able to watch State of the Game live and in its entirety. I have participated in tournaments (even won a game or two), had coaches, made friends, and been entertained and educated for countless hours (somewhere around 400 I guess).  It’s been great and I’m looking forward to the next six months.  Back to Platinum and beyond (-_-).

It’s been awhile since my last update (I suck, I know), but I’ve been going at it pretty steadily the past week or so, after my vacation.  I have become a bit more addicted to streams and watching games rather than playing them.  It was something I was warned about many times when I started, and I guess it took me a while to finally appreciate the warnings.  I feel like I’m at that point where I can see the differences between great play and my own play.  Rather than getting disgusted at my own games, I watch the pros and higher level players do it all correctly.  I’m attempting to remedy it, playing more games each night, and just letting the streaming take over more of my free time instead of my prescribed playing time.  There has honestly not been a day since I returned where I haven’t watched and played at least 3 hours, usually more.   Take now, for instance.  I have played a couple hours and am getting ready to watch the Blizzard Cup Finals (Awards show is okay, but when are the matches?!?!).  Like I said, I’m loving all of it.

Game wise, I have been feeling a lot better in all of the match-ups, especially ZvZ.  It feels like I’m on my way up, hopefully in this next season.  Once again, I’m trying to focus on droning, with the addition of trying not to spend so much time microing, which was hurting my macro.  It is still hard for me to do many things at the same time and, while I am getting better, it is one of the biggest blocks I have in moving up.  I believe I’ve said this before, but it really is a weird kind of limit I’ve reached on splitting my focus.  I’ve been told it’s something that comes with time and I am better now than I used to be.  It’s just a kind of strange thing I worry I can’t do.  I’ve actually been trying to speed up my play consciously for the last few days and it seems to be working for the most part.  I guess those are the three things I’m keeping at the top of my TO DO list this week: drone, focus and speed.

Goodnight and GLHR.

 

 

Rectification

Working overnights at work this week has really screwed up my schedule (both sleep and otherwise); I have not been playing as much as I should.  I have probably not played more than 4 hours in the last 3 days (and streamed even less).  I’ve kept up with watching Day9, SoTG, and some streams (it’s infinitely easier to throw one of those on at 6 in the am and watch until I start nodding off than playing for some reason), but I don’t feel like I’ve done enough to hold up my commitment to this year.  So, Tuesday, November 15 I will try to rectify the situation.  Normally my day off (I’m just going to move that to today because it’s my last overnight and I am beat), I will instead be playing and streaming for five hours.  From 7pm to 12am central I’ll be on.  Hopefully it will help me reset my schedule and get back into a rhythm.

In actual SC2 news, I’m solidly back in the top of my gold league, playing the random platinum.  I feel better, back to where I was before at least, but still not good.  Working on spending my minerals (now that I’m back to droning well) helps a lot, to the point where the games in which I truly focus on it well are won handily.  Macro, Macro, Macro is the mantra, right?  Why do I suck?  Macro.  How do I get better?  Macro.  Why did my opponent win?  Cheese…  Wait, I mean Macro.  I’m going to keep focusing on this for the week, really trying in every game to spend every last mineral as quickly and profitably as possible.

Good Morning and GLHR.

Working My Way Back Up

After spending another few days raging and being on tilt (as one stream watcher suggested), I had a conversation with Combust (he of being around since the beginning and helping a lot), who, after I told him of my problems, suggested I wasn’t droning enough in the early game.   I realized almost immediately that he was spot on.  It’s not a small thing, certainly, but it was not completely obvious to me. Not obvious, because the games were inevitably quick losses or long crappy games where I had plenty of time to get up to my usual 80-90 drones.  Being low on drones in the early game throws the whole feel of the game off.  Starved is a good word to describe the feeling of my early games, until I built up a good base of drones (if I got there).

This was solidified last night when I watched Day9 go over Nestea’s ZvT.  Drone is king in Nestea’s games, and should be in mine.  I’ve been working on it, maybe even going overboard on the droning, but I’d rather lose with too many than not enough drones.  It is amazing how much my game opened up after doing this.  Almost immediately, I felt back in the zone while playing and started working my way back up the ladder.  It feels good and I am actually really enjoying playing every game, no matter win or lose.

Another thing that kind of struck me this week was a comment someone made on SCreddit (can’t remember post or situation, sorry).  They said, “Everyone starts out on an even playing field.”  I had never really thought about it like that.  I know that sounds strange, but realizing that I was not immediately behind or trying to make up for some deficiency I had, and instead playing with the idea of “stay even or get ahead” helped maybe more my mindset when playing rather than my actual play.

Now that I’m droning so much, my minerals are skyrocketing.  Seriously.  Long games can hit over 5000 minerals banked.  This is what I’m going to work on this week, trying to keep myself droning and spending at the same time.  I know it’s okay to stockpile some gas if I’m waiting on mutas, but I’d rather play with the mindset that anything over 500 is bad.  It’s a reversion, I know, to go back and work on this again.  I remember doing this a couple of months ago, but I think it’s the best thing I can think of to help me get better while playing the way I am now.   I may be better at it than I was a couple months ago, but I’m still not good.  So, that’s what I’ll be working on this week.

I will be doing some more overnights this week and the next for work, so my schedule will shift around a bit.  I did a four hour day (of play, then 2+ hours of watching Day9 and State of the Game) to make up for missing a day last week, but I don’t really want to do that again.  I don’t like missing a day, so I will instead be playing earlier, from 7pm to 9pm, on those days coming up.

Goodnight and GLHR.

The Suck

It’s been a week since I’ve updated this blog, but it seems even longer.  It has been a hell of a week, SC2-wise and other.  As I, a retail peon, head into the holiday season I find myself more and more tired at the end of a day’s work.  Which sounds like I slack off all year otherwise, and is probably correct.  But, hey, I put in work when it’s needed.  Speaking of work, my schedule is about to do some weird things, as I do a few overnight shifts to get ready for Christmas (-_-).  So, I will go ahead and take Tuesday off like normal, but may stream either Wednesday morning, evening, or Thursday afternoon for four hours.  I can’t honestly say what will happen, it depends on how I react to the shift.  Late nights are normal for me, but I have a strange habit of needing like four hours after getting home from work before sleep.

In Starcraft 2 news, I suck.  Seriously.  I have been playing crappily for a while, and my placement match confirmed it by placing me into Gold.  I was more pissed off at this than I should have been, and have been consistently raging at my sloppy play and stupid losses for this week.  I didn’t post a blog about it all because I didn’t want to sound like I’m whining.  I’m not upset at the game, at the other players, or the ladder ranking.  I’m pissed at myself.  I don’t know what’s going on with me or my play.  It’s as if I went to sleep one night playing one way, and woke up to playing a different and crappier way.  Any idea I had of learning timings and builds and suddenly being a diamond player are completely gone.  I know part of the reason I have been playing badly is my annoyance at myself is making me play less.  I will get pissed off at doing something stupid (in one game I somehow cleared my main hatch’s way points so that my drones just sat there at the base) and stop playing and instead go watch some more of MrBitter’s 12 Weeks with the Pros.  I am about halfway through, have learned a lot that has helped in some match-ups, but some of it seems out of date, because of the patches.  But it’s like I said, I know that I’m playing worse, but I couldn’t tell you why.  I watch replays and I can see the mistakes, but it’s as if I’m missing something much larger.  I guess all that I can do is keep on playing, trying to make something work.

Goodnight and GLHR.

On Progression

I feel like I’m back where I was when I was sitting in the top 10 of Silver, like I’m stagnating again.  And, really thinking about it, I don’t know that I actually am, or even was, stagnating.  It’s more of reaching a cusp, and then just playing through it.  There’s no real big mystery that will instantly catapult me into a higher league.  I’m not going to find a build or way of doing something that will make me into a better player.  I just have to keep playing, keep spending my $, keep my supply up, make units at the right time, and make small adjustments to my game and I will get better.

As it is, I’m thinking more about the game.  And not in a vague way, either, but specifically, situation wise.   It’s helped me somewhat, realizing that I should be getting higher tech more often and expanding more often.  Thinking about specifics and what my opponents have done vs. what I have done is letting me react when those situations come up again.  I guess this is what everyone meant when they told me just to play a lot of games to get better.  I’m still surprised sometimes (twice tonight, in fact- a lot of marines and marauders in one and then a lot of Immortals pretty quickly in another), but usually I can respond to what I scout.  And scouting has become a bigger part of my game.  I still don’t understand it all, but I can generally find out what I need to know.  And it feels good to be getting to that point.  I’m not annoyed with the cusp I seem to have reached, but just looking to see what I can improve.

I think a lot of improving is going to be learning the timings of the races.  I read somewhere that the main difference between Gold and Platinum is knowing those timings.  I don’t really have a head for numbers, and have been kind of dreading this part of learning.  I’m going to have to sit down and figure out what I need to know about these, and how to apply the knowledge in a game.  That’s my next vague goal.

Supply is nearing it’s end at the top of my focus, though it won’t drop down too far.  I have gotten in the habit of checking it and my minerals a lot more frequently, after these two weeks of kicking myself every time I forget.  My next specific goal is continuing to check for my opponent’s expansions.  Day9 made a big deal of this in one of his videos I watched, stating that is was near the top of his mental checklist, so I figure it should be at the top of mine too.  Right now, it’s sort of a vague, “Oh, I should check that” when I have a few seconds and a free unit or two.  I try to keep overlords on the expansions, but don’t always.  A few lings burrowed at the closest expos to my opponent was a suggestion given to me and I will try it out.  I also have been wanting to give the Nydus worms a try. I don’t think I’ve used one yet in a game, and I’m going to try to find an excuse.  Maybe a day of Nydus worms next week.  Should be at least fun to try.

Goodnight and GLHF.

I Hate Thinking of Titles (Gold, Passion, 3 S’s)

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

 

 

 

He’s Back… In GOLD!

Damn, I don’t know why I’m this happy.  But it feels good.

Couldn’t go to sleep so I figured I’d play a few. Of course it would happen when I’m not streaming.

Anways, yeah.

GLHR.

Gold!

I was placed in the Gold League!  Here’s the video from justin.tv.

Stream-wise everything went smoothly, although at first I had the webpage running in the background, and someone had to tell me to turn it off.  I was trying to keep it open so I could read the chat later, but no worries.  I was surprised there was very little lag (I remember one stutter), and my processor stayed below 60C so all in all a good first try at streaming.  I was told that there were a lot of viewers, over 200 at one point.  It did not help that I was told this in game, as it made my hands shake even more than they already were.  The support and interest boggles my freaking mind.

Game-wise, I know I  didn’t do great.  I also don’t know if I will last long in gold.  It was just very cool to get placed there.  As soon as the screen came up and I read it, I was stunned.  If you watch the video, my mouse even stops moving all together for a bit.  Then I let out a “Hell Yeah” and circled it with my mouse. Like Day9 said to, I celebrated my victory and I like to think some of you celebrated with me.  But I will keep what I did wrong in mind.

I won’t go into detail on the matches, there is a video of it, but I will point out what I thought were my biggest mistakes.  The most annoying for me: I KEPT forgetting to set my worker rally to the minerals.  I don’t know if it was the nerves or what, but that has never happened to me before.  Certainly not in three games in a row.  I raged a bit every time I noticed it.  Also, my macro is still very far off.  I was missing injects (although not as many as I used to) and, if the first push didn’t succeed, was generally behind on everything because my focus had gone to the attack instead of keeping up with the macro.  I had been working on the stutter step with the roaches the past two nights and had gotten it down pretty good.  I think I like doing it too much, if that’s possible. But while doing it, I completely forget about tapping to check injects or building.

This brings me to the build.  I started with this roach rush build two days ago.  It fit well with what I was looking for: something easy to remember, an attack point to shoot for, and it seemed to work well.  I won’t be sticking with it, though.  My main “tutor” has another, more zen guideline for Zerg that focuses on learning how to adapt and play a better Zerg game.  I guess I was initially overwhelmed with having to do everything he suggested and so jumped at the first strict build I was given.  I know the roach build works, but it is a bit cheesy, and it doesn’t give me much room to grow or learn.  By that I mean, if that first push works, the game is over and I didn’t learn anything.  If it fails, I’m kinda screwed and have to pull something else out of my ass.  The last match vs. the Terran really highlights this point.

I won’t completely abandon it, but it won’t be the build I do over and over again.  I will instead focus on keeping my macro going which includes expanding and building what units I discover I need with scouting.  This will probably come with a lot of losses, but I think I will be better for it over the long run.  I could probably go pretty far with the roach build, but at the end I’ll just be stuck doing one thing well and not be very good at much else.  The point of this year is not just to win, but to learn something and have fun doing it.

It was pretty goddamn fun to win though.

After the placement, there were a number of people online talking to me and we started an impromptu pick up game on the betting Metalopolis map.  A fun time was had by all.  There was even talk of having a King of the Hill match like this every Friday.  I for one would love that.   It was great to see how others play and have some fun while doing it.  There was cheese, some interesting builds (the Queen Swarm, ahhh!), and a bunch of “Holy Crap” moments.  I think it would also be pretty cool if I stream a match like this.  So, those of you there tonight, and anyone else who wants to play, let’s do it.  Let me know what you think time wise and how to work it, I’ve never done anything like this before.

Goodnight and GLHF.