Beta: First win, feels good

My third game against a real opponent begins with some friendly banter. I went Random and got the Zerg, while my opponent went Terran. I was expecting to get hammered again, but I decided to try my best anyway, unlike the last time when I threw the game for jokes.

I didn’t have any “build” in mind but I kept thinking of the basic rules I had heard commentators repeat: Spend your money. Build workers. Expand. Use aggression. I felt frantic, and could feel my adrenaline going at times, but apparently my opponent was even less organized…

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Beta: Game two, I make a funny

This is a screenshot of my second game versus another player, about 14 minutes into it. As you can see I chose to float my base (loaded with SCV’s) into the corner and turtle until he came and molested my innocence. Yes it was a joke match, and I need to start trying, even if it means getting beaten badly. Joke matches won’t entertain anyone for long.

However… I must say that since the ladder reset, even the Practice League is filled with all of the really good players who simply need to  go through the process again. In SC1 it became a huge problem that veteran players started over and demolished newbies for fun, but this system is supposed to make that impossible. Of course this is Beta, and they reset the stats in order to test the capabilities, etc. so I’m not complaining.

I’m just saying, until I actually get to play against somebody on my level it’ll be hard to even take it seriously.

Beta: Popular Opinion Right Now

Since the point of this blog is to  chronicle my experience with StarCraft2 I thought it would be a good idea to preserve the “atmosphere” that I dealt with when I first started playing.

I began shortly after Patch 13 was released, just a little while ago. This patch caused Battle.net to reset all of its user data, leagues, ladders, “Character” names, etc. Due to (I suppose) this stress test, Battle.net was buggy and its servers kept being unavailable. Many angry players took to the forums to vent their righteous fury:

As you can see at the top of the screen, the administration had to make a special note telling people to stop making threads about the issues Bnet is having. Keep in mind this is a very rare case, since I’ve never seen such a note made at the top of the website. It felt like a flood of hatred, all directed at how terrible Battle.net is.

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Beta: First 1v1 Practice League

Having completed my rush practice versus the Very Easy A.I., I decided to try out some practice league 1v1. I knew I was going to lose, and I did, but I find it hard to tell how big the skill gap between my opponent and I was.

As you can see, I admit that I’m terrible (left screen, bottom). In my defense though, I didn’t realize it was the “Novice” version of Desert Oasis, where these big rocks block the path between you and your foe (right side of the right screen) so I was trying to block off my ramp and prepare for a ground war. Probably the most unorthodox and unrepresentative map you can possibly play, but hey, that’s why I especially don’t feel bad about getting hammered.

If I had known that I would have played my cards differently, you see. For example, I wouldn’t have built a factory, or continued trying to block my ramp while wondering where the enemy scout was:

The game proceeds with me trying to harass with a Reaper and successfully killing three of his SCVs, only to be counter-attacked by four of his Reapers and having my whole economy smashed. I produce a Marauder and fend that off, but another wave shows up and continues to demolish my base. By this time, however, I’ve built a Starport (the reason I got a factory in the first place) and have no money to do anything.

So I float my Orbital Command, land my Starport in his base for fun, and wait for his Reaper army to find out that I landed my base by the High Yield minerals and have begun mining again. When he finally does, I summon the courtesy to say “gg”, to which he says “u”. Watching the replay I can see that he went directly for Barracks and Reapers… and that’s it. It’s only once my base is destroyed that he spend his extra money on a Factory and Starport, but we both knew it was over.

Overall, a fun game that will no doubt set the tone for my StarCraft 2 career! At least I’ll know to check what kind of map it is next time.

Beta: A Few Games, Many Problems

I’ve been playing a few games (just versus computer A.I.) in order to familiarize myself with the very basics and test how I fare. The good news is that I consistently outproduce the computer and end up on top; the bad news is that it takes me far too long to make this worthwhile.

There is so much to do in SC2 that I sort of feel proud if I can just keep up with the most routine stuff. Building workers, supply buildings, researching and making the occasional fighting unit occupies my whole time, meaning that I don’t do other important stuff like scouting, control-grouping, using my race’s macro ability, et cetera. I never have my mind on the “big picture”, or feel like I’m in a war. My resources tend to pile up like crazy while my workers sit around. I might expand now and then but having two bases means that my attention is split even more than usual. When I see that I have tons of money I want to just mass produce the most familiar fighting units rather than intelligently construct an army.

Still, it’s exciting and I have some ideas for how to improve.

First of all I want to practice rushing and winning without even increasing my supply once. This means not building any workers, but just using the initial bunch to get enough to make fighters and attack. Then I want to work on making a “build” that will dictate the order of construction in a routine way. That way I will always know what to spend my money on, theoretically. I don’t imagine the computer will be able to put up enough of a fight to stop any of this, but once I have my routine down I might wander into actual multiplayer and get my ass handed to me.

In my most recent match I was Zerg, playing on Scrap Station, and I was constantly making workers and building my economy, but with a small army. The enemy hardly attacked at all and I could have wiped it out at any point, but instead I wasted time with gimmicky scouting tricks and researching. I want to be able to definitively demolish the Very Easy A.I. with any race in order to practice.

Beta: Naming While Waiting

As I write this, the servers for Battle.net are down for maintenance, so I’m thinking of what name I want to use for my character/account, since I hate it when a name doesn’t have a ring to it. I haven’t been able to log in at all yet, since I just finished patching this afternoon.

I want a name that communicates a message: I know I suck at this, and I’m okay with that because at least my name is better than yours. In the early days of Supreme Commander I created a guild called The Bad Guys, which was exclusively noobies and terrible players only; I liked the double meaning of “bad” and so did everyone else. We were the most popular guild early on, in fact. Our guild thread on the community page was several times bigger than the others. People enjoyed the confidence with which we were amateur.

Of course, being amazing at something can cause your name to be respected, even if it sounds stupid/boring on its own (ForGG and Yellow?) and at the same time, there are plenty of players with great names who are stuck at the bottom of the ladders. No matter what you’re name is, you’ll only become respected if you’re good at the game, so it’s best to pick a name that reflects your style or personality, not your supposed ‘skill level’. Personally I like something understated and simple, but a bit clever.