Beta Restarted

The restart of the beta hasn’t brought many changes, but one major change is the ability to play against computer AI’s with difficulty levels above “very easy”. This means better practice, which I certainly need a lot of. I played a few games versus “Medium” difficulty and won, and met a fellow beta player during a Team Fortress 2 session who offered to help me practice. The games all reinforced what I knew: I need to work on being faster, less distracted and generally get a more settled understanding of the flow. Right now I’m quite terrible.

Because the actual release of the game is so close, and because I’m so far behind in the competitive scene, I’m tempted to wait for the full game and get practice through the Campaign mode. We’ll see!

Beta: ON PAUSE

Today the Beta will be taken down by Blizzard, and stay that way for a few weeks as they prepare a final pre-release test. Interestingly, they’ve finally responded to the massive complaints about Battle.net 2.0 and seem to be promising an update to address them. Does this mean we’ll finally get “chat channels” or some new-fangled replacement? Or is the “comprehensive address” only a Public Relations statement?

I must admit, my faith in Blizzard has been diminishing for a while in the face of their silence, while at the same time interviews like this come off as dismissive and ignorant — very unusual for Blizzard. That, combined with bizarre censorship and map publishing problems, doesn’t bode well.

Oh and they also said that after they come back, all the old Beta replays will be useless, which is why I’m pretty happy that I blogged about them when I did. Yes!

Beta: Stupid losses

I’ve played a couple of games that I would like to have blogged, but unfortunately Battle.net underwent a reset, and thus all of my information was lost. So far in playing this time around, I’ve done rather poorly and I have some ideas why.

This particular game was on a map I’ve never played, and I made a bad assumption right away: that the enemy would always be at the furthest point from my start location. Another thing I assumed wrong was that scouting wasn’t important. Don’t ask me why, though, since I know it is.

Blocked choke, wrong corner scouted

He blocks the choke, I don't even scout the correct corner.

In fact I’ve been making huge terrible mistakes these last games and I don’t know why. My money keeps building up while I sit in the dark and waste time; what’s stopping me from actually taking putting stuff into action? This game isn’t worth analyzing in detail, but for the sake of learning I will catalog a bunch of my mistakes.

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Beta: Win number two under the belt

The Map: Blistering Sands (Novice)
The Players: Shingles (Red Protoss) vs. Mediocrites (Random > Blue Protoss)
The Outcome: I win!

This game was a stressful one, and required me to be more careful. It was intense, back-and-forth, and fraught with tactical punches; at least that’s how it felt to me.

From the moment I spawned as Protoss I decided that my best option would be to rush to Void Rays and pick at his weak spots, forcing him to go anti-air. Why? Because that’s exactly what I feared from him. Thankfully my opponent made an early investment towards ground units, by building Zealots, a Forge, and a whack of strangely placed Photon Cannons:

Meanwhile I went with Cybernetics Core, Sentries, Stalkers, and Stargates. I didn’t even bother scouting this match because I knew I was going air units and the ramps were blocked, and thankfully he didn’t either. As I flew my Void Ray to his main, I discover the cannons, as well as an early expansion. Evidently he thought that he was safe and had time to build up a big economy…

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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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