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A Year of Starcraft II

Category Archives: Terran

It’s been a while…

I keep trying to make myself sit down and write one of these each night, but, alas, the internet and other games always call to me.  I have not missed my nightly Starcraft II, however.  And, as I near four months, I’m actually kind of proud of myself.  I can’t name something I’ve spent this much time on in the last five or so years.  So, instead of jumping from interest to interest, I’m sitting here close to Platinum in Starcraft II.  It feels so good to keep working at something and see the results.  I don’t win every game.  Hell, there are days when I only win a couple.  But it’s always fun and I almost always learn something.

At times it seems Battle.net knows what I need.  The past few days have seen me playing a steady stream of Terrans, the match-up practice I sorely needed.  I’ve gotten better.  Not a lot, but, still, better.  And while I cursed the three 2-rax bunker rushes in a row, knowing what to look for and when to pull my drones is a good feeling. And having a late-game plan now vs Terran gives me something to shoot for, even if it doesn’t always work.  I have actually started doing a pretty heavy ling/bane/ultra mixture (The ling/banes from one of the pro games I saw on gomtv a while ago.  The ultras just because I like them.).  In the mid-game, I will get 8-10 mutas to harass and take care of any dropships or expos if I can.  It feels very fleshed out now, when before I would just kinda throw down something to see if it works.  Even if this doesn’t work, or isn’t the best mix, I feel confident in putting it together, if that makes any sense.

I took a day off this week from my normal macro play and just went mass ling, with some banelings thrown in to bust down walls if needed, in all the match-ups.  The goal was just to kick some ass.  It worked surprisingly well.  This wasn’t even a six-pool or anything, but a 13 or 14 pool, depending on the match-up.  And I have to say it was pretty fun busting into bases and winning early.  I may throw a cheese build for a day into my rotation, simply to have fun.  I also think this makes me work on my battle micro.  When 20 lings are running around cannons and trying to get into a main, I have to focus or they get caught up in the maze and die.  This, to me, seems like good micro practice.

Day9 continues to entertain and educate me on alternating days of play.  Funday Monday, Newbie Tuesday, and the pro game reviews have all taught me something.  And watching him dance to that song he loves on, I believe it was, last Monday’s live pre-show was hilarious.  Having everyone start up the youtube video at the same time was inspired and hilarious.  I look forward to my days off of work so that I can catch the live show, which is a lot of fun.  Watching him play the demo of Diablo III was fun too.  (The game looks great, I wish I would have signed up for the beta.)

My goal for last week kind of got sidetracked.  I don’t know if I lost focus or just forgot, but I am still working on keeping track of my opponent’s expansions.  Knowing when to grab my third or fourth, or when I’m behind, is important and will lead to better play, so I see the point of it.  I’m still working on when to check, or when to send lings to hang out.  Early game is pointless, I’ve found, so moving it to mid-game, where I can also scout with air if I have it, will be my focus for now.  Perhaps check every two minutes after five?  I’m not sure, but that sounds about right.

That’s it for tonight.  GLHR.

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No, Bro (Or, 100 Wins)

I got a couple of comments on the last blog post about where I’ve been, even one slighting my age and how I work in retail because I can’t follow through with anything.  I may not have posted on here in nine days, or streamed in a few, but I have been playing constantly.  Obviously, I haven’t been on the last three days (like I put in the blog post that was commented on) as I was on a mini-vacation after playing through the last three of my “off” days.  I wasn’t exactly pissed about the comment, but annoyed.  I am aware that I suck at life and that a great deal of that has to do with my not following through with things.  But that’s what this year is about , following through with something.  I haven’t given up.  I’m still working at.  I’m sorry if I didn’t make it clear what was going on, but I’m still here.

About the missing blog posts:  This is really the most difficult part of the year.  It wasn’t a stipulation of success, and I originally said I would do it semi-daily as a way for those of you out there to check up on me.  I have been doing it regularly for the most part, but the last week or so has been a little taxing AFK, so I decided to stop for a bit.  Getting to sleep before 4am, usually, was better than 5am or later after finishing a blog post.  I am throwing myself back into it tomorrow, so daily posts will return.

I finally made it to 100 wins on Thursday night.  This had became my new goal before my vacation after I realized that the leader of my league had 1600+ points and there was no way I could best that in four days, even with my bonus pool. It felt great to hit this milestone, and while playing mostly silvers, with some high bronzes thrown in.  My mechanics are getting better, APM is hovering around 65, which is up from around 45, and the wins are a lot more satisfying.

I have been trying to make myself tech up quicker, and farther, while still playing without a specific build order.  I worked on the Ice Fisher (or Spanishiwa) build for a few days with a coach, but didn’t think it worked well where I’m at and vs. the opponents I face.  I can see the benefits, and will most likely return to it later, but playing more of a counter game has worked well for me.  Generally speaking, this means lings/banes, with mutas and, later, broodlords vs Terran, and ling/roach, corruptor (screw you, Collossi) and broodlord vs. Protoss.  Zerg is more of a crap shoot right now.  I will play an earlier pool and generally base what I do on what I’m facing.  Vs. a faster zerg (like quick mutas) this results in losses if I don’t pay enough attention.

I’d like to go ahead and have particular builds, but need to do more research to figure out what the best for each race would be for where I’m at right now.  I think I’m ready, and will start looking in the next week.  I foresee a lot of TL browsing.

I’ll most likely play tonight, so look for a stream later if you’re interested.

Goodnight and GLHF.

On Lava, Challenges, and Leaving Work Early To Play Starcraft

Sometimes, work is just annoying.  I mean, there’s only so many times I can call somebody an asshole in my head as I smile at them and give them what they want.  And with the holiday day this pay period, I wasn’t losing anything by leaving early.  So, with Starcraft II on the brain, I left and figured I could get home early and play my two hours in time to get some sleep.  Hah!  About four hours later, and the only reason I quit was because my arm hurt.

I seriously think I do need a desk and chair.  The weird position I play in was more noticeable today because I was trying to use the hotkeys (4s 4sz 1a, etc.).   Too many days of that and carpal tunnel here I come.  Although perhaps it is just the muscle I need to build up, since it is my left forearm…

On to the game:

I started off with two games vs. the AI.  I played as random, which were me as Terran and the computer as Protoss for the first and me as Zerg vs. computer Zerg for the second.

I won the Terran vs. Protoss game the same way I did the last time (bunkers + marines and tanks).  The only thing that was really different, I think, was the timing.  I felt quicker, and as soon as the Protoss force was repelled by the mix of tanks and marines in bunkers, I launched the army and took out their base.  It was good to win, and improve a bit, but not very satisfying to play the same game.  It will be hard not to just do that if the match comes up again.  I am left wondering what a Protoss force in the multi would do and how I would counter it.

The Zerg vs. Zerg game was a fun one.  I employed extensive use of the hotkeys in that game (thanks for the tips in the comments), popping out drones and zerglings like I had been doing it for months instead of two days.  But it took me a while to realize I needed to make different units.  I only started making roaches after my first three zergling attacks didn’t yield any results.  I also started using queens to inject larvae so I could have more units to make.  That is a very interesting and, it seems to me, very useful ability.  Someone mentioned Zerg’s ability to not make many units until you actually see a rush coming, at which point you can start popping out your units (that’s what she said).  The injecting skill must be what they were talking about.  I believe my lack of variety of units is the reason I lost.  After expanding, plus having an extra lair in my main base (I hit the wrong key and didn’t realize until it was already finished), I should have been making some of the air units.  That was what defeated me, at least.  My three queens couldn’t hold them off, and those plus roaches destroyed my base.  I definitely felt much better about playing Zerg that game, though.  It wasn’t so alien.

After that, I decided to play the challenges, as a few people had suggested them to me as a way to learn the countering units.  I enjoyed this part of the game a lot.  Setting up different mixes of units and seeing how they fared against the others was challenging and very interesting.  I lost repeatedly on the first one of Terran vs. Zerg.  I kept sending my tanks against the Ultralisk, thinking it needed that much firepower.  But, no, it turns out the Marines, with the stim ability, are better against those.  I probably should have expected that, seeing as how the ranged Zerg unit kept killing my marines over and over again.  However, it never occurred to me that the range vs. range was the correct thing to do. At least, not until I finally looked at the hint.

The Protoss vs. Terran challenges were easier, and I liked using the psionic powers of the High Templar.   Although the Protoss Carriers don’t seem to be very powerful.  I had a hard time with those vs. the Terran Battlecruisers.  But all in all it was a relatively quick challenge.

I tried to at least get silver on one of the challenges, but couldn’t do it.  I may end up going back to them, but not until I finish the others.

On the campaign side, that lava level kicked my ass.  I made it about twenty minutes in and didn’t have more than 500 of the 8000 resources I needed, so I stopped for the night.  I couldn’t get the hang of moving everything around.  I just sat there, as the resources dwindled, building units (which wasted the resources I needed to complete the level) when I should have scouted more. That would have allowed me to  find the other spots with resources and keep moving as the resources were depleted.  Hopefully this works when I try it tomorrow.

I really, really want to try the multiplayer, but I know if I do I will never come back to the campaign.  So I’m gong to finish the campaign and the challenges before moving on.  I have kind of skirted around this, saying I would play the campaign for a week or so before moving on, but I do think I should finish it.  Someone said that after the first five, and learning the basics, it’s really not that important.  I think that perhaps this is partially right and while the campaign won’t make me any better at the tactics of the game, I will have a greater grasp of the controls when I finish.

All of the offers of games are very tempting, though.

I almost didn’t update this blog tonight, but it felt wrong not to write.  There’s something to be said for going over everything I’ve done, and most of the examining and realizing what I did wrong happens when I’m trying to explain my play here.  So, I will try to keep this an every day thing.

For tomorrow, more challenges and I will at least finish the lava level, if not one more.

A FULL Night of Starcraft II

I have finally begun playing Starcraft II, and for more than 20 minutes.  My mac can play the game, with the additional memory and at low settings.  I am returning the graphics card I bought, and will be purchasing another next week.  Hopefully that is the problem (I’m 90% sure it is).

So, I played for almost three hours (minus a small break) and I have to say it is a very fun game but I don’t understand much of the story.  It seems that I would have to know a lot of the lore to know what’s going on.  But I only played the first four missions, so maybe I’m just not far enough in.  The rest of the time I played a few games vs. the AI on Medium (I was told Easy and Very Easy are a joke).  Four games, to be exact.  One as each of the races and an extra of Protoss.  I lost the first two (I played as Protoss and Zerg) and won the last two (Terran and Protoss).

I think I’m beginning to understand what everyone was saying about how much of the game is macro.  Once I’m about five minutes or so into the game, I don’t know what’s going on.  I just blindly build shit, trying to send out a force if I have what I think might be enough to kill some of the opponent.  And I don’t really know what to build yet.

I remembered hearing about a Protoss Deathball on r/starcraft, so I made my own with a bunch of stalkers and void rays plus some zealots thrown in there and sent that out on the last game.  It was cool to watch my little army destroy the enemy Terrans.  I had also realized how much extra cash I had available at the end of the other games, so I was trying to keep up building units and buildings so that I didn’t have too much money just sitting there. But after five minutes, like I was saying, I lost focus and couldn’t keep up.  I laughingly kept building probes, which turned into more money, which I spent building more probes.  But I won, and thought it was a good game to end on.  I learned a little bit and had fun doing it.

Zerg… Zerg is confusing as hell.  It took me way too long to figure out that I had to change the larvae into the different units.  And how do you keep clicking on those little things when other units start to stack on top of them?  I think I built my first zergling at around four minutes.  I also wish I had known that the overlords were the “supply”.  I made one to go check out the enemy (like I had seen almost all Zerg players do on the streams I have watched) and then forgot about supply until all of the sudden I couldn’t make anything.  I don’t think it helped that the AI played Zerg also on that game.  It was over quickly.

I believe I won as Terran simply because I had been playing it all night in the campaign.   I knew what to make (in the beginning) and grabbed some bunkers to keep my base locked down, which destroyed the AI’s Protoss force that was sent.  I even made some tanks, but didn’t realize I had to research something to get the siege bit (or even what it did, really).  Then I had to figure out which building did that research.  By then, the army I had sent out had already arrived at the enemy base and taken out the little Protoss defense left.  I don’t know what I did right there, other than build those bunkers.  It was probably the longest of these games, and I never even expanded.  I had the new base unit sitting in my main base for about the last minute of the game (I was trying to figure out how to make it fly and move it to an expansion like I had seen the pros do in MLG).

As of tonight, I would say I’ll be playing either Terran or Protoss when I move on to the multi, unless I can somehow figure Zerg out and it is as fun as it looks.  Tomorrow I will play a few more missions of the campaign, then move to the AI games.  I think I’ll just play on random, forcing myself to at least get used to all the races.

I also wanted to say thanks to everyone who expressed their support in the comments here and in the game.  It was very cool to have twenty or so people pop up as I was playing with GLHFs  and offers of games.  Sorry if I didn’t respond quickly enough to all of you, I couldn’t figure out how to pause the game and chat at the same time.  I thank all of you for the advice and help, and look forward to playing, and maybe beating, you in the coming year.

TL;DR:  Herp, Derp, Starcraft II.