Thursday, September 30, 2010

Its time we parted ways...

Dear Inspiron,

You have been my companion and friend for four years. When we met, I thought it was love at first sight. We could play and work wherever we wanted! You were never shy and always were brave, and when you began to slow down and the quality of your work diminished, I stood by you and encouraged you to do better. With those new attachments you were better than ever and I was proud to call you mine.You helped get me through college, work, difficult times in my life, and much more. When you had that massive concussion when I dropped you on your head, I promised to stay by your side and nurse you back to health, but mostly because you had that 25 page Research paper you were holding for me. Sadly you remember nothing of it, but I forgave you and we moved on.

However, over the years you have again not been able to keep up with your peers. Younger models are coming out left and right and your age is beginning to show. I am a fickle creature who demands the best from my subjects and you have not been able to keep up like I had hoped. I promised I would always be there for you and when you saw me stare at those newer models at the store, I assured you I was only staring at the very exquisite marketing ploys. Now I must admit to you the truth. I was staring at those new models. Their sleek and smaller size was very attractive to me. When I found out the different positions they could be placed in, and they work faster and harder than you could ever dream, it took every ounce of my willpower to not buy one right then and their saying to myself, " I have a Promise to keep."

Our love was special and pure 4 years ago, it is nothing but regret and remorse now. The child we conceived, Microsoft Mouse, will be living with you for I cannot bring myself to look upon him and not remember all that we once had. My new Computer, LAN Warrior II is stronger, faster and more capable of protecting and helping me than you ever were (and his silent running drives me crazy with lust). He even has two kids whom I will love and cherish as my own.

So this is Goodbye my dear Inspiron, I will always remember what we shared so long ago.


P.S. I think I gave you Herpes

Friday, September 24, 2010

Zomg Hyrdras!!!!

So I have been pretty busy this week with work and projects and have had little time to sit down and even play Starcraft. I love writing these blogs, but if I havent played me some Starcraft matches recently, I feel like I don't know what I'm talking about in the blog. So I am going to pose a question out there and see what people do when encountering this unit mix.

Mass Hyrdralisks. How do you handle them? I played a Zerg player who did this to me, and in the past its also happened so lately its been bugging me on how to effectively engage a mass Hydralisk army. My best thought has been to mix some Archons with my unit mix to help absorb some damage while my zealots and Stalkers get into position, maybe even a collossus or 2. Zealots are very good against any unit when they get in range to attack.

What are some ways you have found to hit a MAss Hyrda Army?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking for a few good men...

Im looking for a high-Gold to mid-Platinum level Terran Partner to practice with.

Must be enthusiastic, energetic and able to handle the occasional customer coming in complaining about how Zerg are at a disadvantage because they look like the aliens from Starship Troopers.

Organization of building placement a must. Consistency also key, but also needs the ability to handle whatever is thrown at him/her.

Good communication of your workflow to the other team members is a must.

Required Education:

At least a 2 months degree in Day(9)'s School of Better Gaming and Pwnage

Must have Experience in the following: 

    4 gate rushed Phoneix Rushed Dark Templar Rushed Void Ray Rushed Protiss Sniper Rushed..... Pylon Rushed Immortal Rushed Scouting

Compensation will be given but not limited too as followed: 
    Colossus Lazers up the Ass Immortal Shields Up the Ass Free Zealot Slumber Party Free game of Hide and Seek with a Dark Templar Playing Keep away with a Phoneix Playing Tag with a Stalker A reservation at High Templar (dude look at me hands) Karis's Hookah Bar. The occasional usage of ,"Nerf Terrans" ,"Your mom goes to college", and ,"Why dont you love me?" can and will also be used as compensation for services rendered.

Medical Benefits include: 
    Free Colonoscopy from a Void Ray. The longer hes there...well never mind. 1 free Vasectomy a year from Dr. Zealot's office. Usually once is enough though... $100 Laser Eye correction from Dr. Collossus, Once you get corrected, youll never have to go back!

Ok seriously, im looking for a terran player gold-platinum level to help with my game. I primarily 4 gate and i want to break my habit of that to see whats the best way to hit a MM bio ball. with my schedule i can only play around 8-10pm on weekdays CST. f your avaialble around this time let me know.

Hit me up with your character code and ill add ya :) 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plugging Leaks

So lately I have been on a win one lose one streak. Kinda good, kinda not. But I have noticed that the ones I lost, could have been avoided if I did some small changes, like make sure I had Pylons, robe Production didn't stop, I was scouting, getting information I could use and applying it to my build. These things I need to plug to fix the leaks.

So I have been paying against the medium AI over and over again doing the same thing, over and over again.  4 Gate build with a proxy pylon, and a backup in case he finds the first. It took me 8 games to get it down pretty well but I am still not comfortable with it. I think I'm going to avoid playing some match ups for a few days and work on getting my play up to par where it needs to be. Also, since I am a Achievement Whore(2000+ and growing) I found that playing against the AI will get you some points, may as well do it right? Im plugging my leaks and getting some achievements to boot!

I encourage you, if your at this point where you notice small things you can do better, or lose to things you know you wouldn't lose too, take a break, do what I am doing and see if it helps. Doing your build order over and over agian can help you realize when you should be doing something. And its important to note, if you start having more trouble with your build order in matchups, than you are reaching a point where that one strategy you always used isnt going to cut it. It is now time to expand your horizons, think of ways to improve against that type of matchup, knowing what to look for in your scouting to expect it, and keeping an eye on him in general to know when hes making that push. At this point, the small things do matter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Unofficial Patch Notes 1.1 Starcraft 2

I dont know if thhese are true or not, so lets assume they are, alot of sites, i know day9 mentioned some of these thins in a recent daily that WASNT on the situation report.

Some very intresting changes coming this week....

Im personally not thrilled about the Chrono Boost Cooldown.

The Patrol

So i read this forum post on Patrol when using your probe to scout, i never knew this worked!

A lot of games , I notice players microing their scout probe with queued move commands around an opponent's base.

I have found the joys of the shift + patrol command. It basically works the same as the move command, except you press shift + p (for patrol) and you make a loose box, triangle... whatever, and preferably connect your last patrol point the the start of the first one, so there is a "route". I usually prefer an hourglass or a rough box.

This way, I don't have to micro that scout probe as frequently and I can focus more on my macro and responding to the intel I'm getting. The probe will not attack any enemy it encounters while on patrol.

I think you can queue up to 5 or 6 points before it maxes out.

I posted this because I mentioned this in an earlier post in another thread and it seems to have been overlooked.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Common Cheese and how to defend against them.

For me, Cheese is considered to be a strategy that will give you a win by taking advantage of the fact your opponent will not expect certain things that early in the game and will have no reasonable way of defending against it without a Spawning Pool, Gateway, or Barracks. People will argue that this includes early aggression, it doesn’t. Certain things just hit below the belt and I for one don’t like it, so I’ve come up with ways to defend against cheese so I don’t lose to it. Now just so you know, the cheese I mention here is what’s happened to me in matches, I’m sure there are more different kind of cheeses, but there is no point in me telling you how to defend against it when I’ve never experienced it myself.
Protoss 2 Gateway in your base.
This is one I’ve seen a few times. I hate this one the most. The thing that tips it off is the scouting probe. You need to keep an eye on it. The last time this was done to me, I noticed the probe a little early (I was on Desert Oasis, and the probe got there just as I was finishing my pylon). That did raise my awareness a bit, but what gave it away was the fact that he didn’t even scout me, he just went south, I let him go to make him think I wasn’t paying attention, I quickly made sure that the gateway I was making would get a zealot out ASAP. Sure enough when I pretended to discover the 2 Gateway and Pylons coming up I had a zealot on the way, but so did he. The most important thing to remember in this case is that even though he may have caught you off guard, his economy is pretty shot. It becomes a game of who can macro better. Buying enough time and splitting his forces up is key. Don’t try to take down the gateway, take his units down one by one, as soon as they are all down, he can only build 1-2 at a time. At this point his economy will catch up to him, but the key to winning this engagement is spotting that probe scout early on and keeping an eye on him.
Protoss Cannon Rush.
This has to be one of the easier ones to approach. Spotting that probe scout early on and keeping an eye on him is key, if you know he’s doing it, Continue as you were build a few early units, lings, zealots, marines, and send them at your opponent. His resources are being consumed by cannons, which are immobile and cost 1.5 zealots. His base will most likely be undefended leaving your small attack force to have some fun. Now the strategy isn’t over, he can simply decimate your mineral line and your Nexus/Hatchery/Command Center and it will end with him technically winning as your small force won’t be able to take down his cannons. So do your bst to conserve resources and get an expansion going as this will be your new main base. With his resources gone, and no units to defend, you can simply build up your base again. Get more units to finish him off, if he hasn’t already left after realizing your building an expansion.
Void Ray Rush
This has to be one of the more difficult strategies to deal with. Some people consider it Cheese, some don’t. There is a way I personally think that decides whether it is cheese or not. If the Protoss player was expanding and still getting ground units, I don’t consider it cheese. The player is preparing himself to go into the later stages of the game. A cheese play is meant to end the match soon, so all resources go into making those Void rays. The best way to counter this is to see if the player has walled himself in. Protoss do not completely wall themselves in unless they are buying time to get those Void Rays. One easy give away is a PvT match up. Terran players normal wall themselves in anyway so the Protoss player usually doesn’t. If you see him walling himself in, expect a Void Ray rush. Getting a lot of Marines can help counter this, or teching up to Vikings can also help. Keep an eye out for the common spots to place a Stargate, remember, you only need to take out the Pylon to render the Stargate useless.
6 Pool Zergling Rush
This has to be the most annoying as it causes you to change where you build. There is no realy way to spot this early on unless u send your probe over on 7 food. The only way to be safe is wall yourself in when you are up against a Zerg. Leave a small place for 1 zealot to fit and put him there on Hold Position, then tech to some Stalkers to hold off any advance until your economy and unit production are stable to push back. With this cheese his ability to tech up and macro well are shot. Hang in there and wait until you can push back.

If you notice, the key element is early spotting of these actions. If you don't take the effort to actively watch your base and his, then you only have yourself to blame.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ways to control your opponent.

One very effective strategy to gain the advantage is too attack him with certain units that force a building or training or action from him.
Example: If you simply get some Dark Templar and very obviously send them to a spot and start harassing, that forces your opponent to start building detection, thus wasting some resources and time in getting it. If you time it right, you can even attack him while he is in the midst of this transition. Attacking while your opponent is teching to a new unit, researching a vital upgrade, or building defenses is very important. You can catch your opponent off guard while he is waiting for that upgrade to complete before he pushes.
Another way I found was through a match a few weeks ago on Scrap Station. The ground distance to our bases was far, however I like to take advantage of the short air distance by sending in warp prisms to deploy and warp in troops. He saw this and began to build Missile Turrets, EVERYWHERE. I’m not talking about 2-3 here and there, I’m talking about at least 5-10 for each of his expansions (he had 3 by the end of the match). I didn’t have a backup strategy back then so I continued to try and do the same thing with little success. What I should have done is take advantage of the fact that he was pumping in at least 2k+ amount of resources for this defense and started just mass building units to try and break this Terran who was by now turtling. Its important to remember this key fact: If he starts mass building these defenses, he is not building units. With all those Missile Turrets, an army consisting of mainly Gateway units and Immortals could break the line and would have probably won me the game.
The game ended with him building up several Battlecruisers and sending them at me after I attempted to use a Mothership and Mass Recall inside his base.
The key to begin to start controlling your opponent is scouting. If you don’t know what he is doing through scouting or early aggression, it is very difficult to gain the advantage. I am interested to learn other ways of controlling your opponent. I’ve only played a total of 40 games so I still have a lot more to experience.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Know thy Enemy….

Being aware of what your opponent is doing is key in all games, especially in bronze and silver level play. Most non-diamond league players will not even bother putting in the effort to kill your scout (Overlord, Observer). Knowing what your opponent is doing effects what you should be doing.
That first scout you send in can tell you more information than any other scout for the rest of the game. That first scout tells you effectively what you should be doing and preparing for.

If you scout your opponent and see 2 Stargates coming up pretty early on, then that means you need to build some anti-air, and fast. Terran always wall themselves in, so being prepared for a bio ball, or Viking push is a possibility, however to properly defend against it, you need to find out what.

If your Terran, then putting a well placed scan can help, if your toss, most Terrans don’t put up Missile Turrets unless they see air coming in so sending in an Observer can be a huge help, and if your Zerg, you should always have an overlord or two nearby keeping an eye on things, again most Terran do not put up Missile Turrets and most Bronze and Silver level players won’t make the effort to kill that overlord off.

It is important to remember that there is no perfect build that can hold out against everything. All strategies have their weaknesses. If your opponent is smart and scouts right, he will know what he has to do, and it is up to you to anticipate it and be prepared for that eventuality. It’s better to be safe in some cases than sorry. Always know what your limitations are.
The Xel’naga watch towers are a huge help in a lot of cases. They give you extended sight of what your opponent is doing before their units get in range to attack.

It’s better to know that your opponent is nearby than be paranoid that he is always right outside your field of vision. This is especially true against a Terran player using Siege tanks. The right time to strike would be when he is moving his tanks. Instead of attacking an entrenched position, you can possibly get close enough to hit his tanks or his units before the tanks have a chance to morph and get a shot off. Two armies of equal supply, one being Terran the other anything else will most likely lose to an entrenched Terran with Siege Tanks.

Suntzu said it, and it is a well known fact, as well as rule in a lot of strategy board games, “The defender always has the advantage.” Whether it is high ground or knowledge of an incoming attack, a player who is ready for an attack tends to win. That’s why you attack when he’s not. Watching and waiting are key. Watch him until he begins to move or get complacent, wait until he is in a vulnerable position, make sure he has no way of seeing you ahead of time, and then strike!.

Monday, September 13, 2010

When is it a good time to play the AI?

One of the best times to play against the AI is to test a build order out you have been trying in the Build Order Tester. By the way, if you haven’t heard of this map, it was created by QXC, a very well known Terran player from the States.
The Build Order Tester allows you to see the time it takes for you to build certain things in a certain amount of time as well as a number of other things. Try it out here, and practice to see how fast you can build things. One thing to note, the only way to play the map is to load it in the Map Editor and test it from there. Once in, you can press Shift+1,2, or 3 to switch between the different races and start the timer over. It helped me game quite a bit in its early stages.
So back to the discussion of when to play the AI, the problem with the Build Order Tester is that there is no lag in issuing commands. You may think that this is ideal, but in a multiplayer situation, there is going to be some lag, a little bit or a lot, it’s there.  This is where the AI comes into play. Create a multiplayer game, add an AI opponent, set him to very easy, and start the game with your build order to practice how it is with the delay. This way you are more comfortable playing on battlenet.
Another time it is useful is when you want to practice your micro skills. The AI tends to follow a group of units if they feel they are a better match in a straight fight. This is where you can practice hitting that Zerg Roach ball with some Marine Marauders with concussive shell and kite them back, or even with some Stalkers. Of course you will have to set the difficulty up.
 However, it’s important to remember that only do this after you are comfortable with your build order and the units in your army. Know their abilities, hotkeys, and what can easily kill them. You should have the ability to look at your opponent and be able to give a good guess as to who will win in a straight fight. If you feel it would be very close, begin thinking of ways to turn the battle in your favor. Perhaps Microing units who tend to get hit the most away from the front line, or luring your opponent into a choke point to limit his forces, or even luring your opponent into an ambush and cut off his possible escape routes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Last few Days...

The last few days I've been trying to get back into multi-player. I have been a little wary to get back into it largely due to having unreliable internet and computer at home. I decided to go for it.

Ive played 6 games in 2 days and won 4. I am really proud of myself :) I lost my first one and almost gave up for the night, but I kept my determination up knowing that if I lose again I probably will stop for the night. I had botched my my first games' build order up so I had it coming.

I fended off the dreaded Zergling rush and a 2 gateway cheese in my own base. By far the most entertaining match was against a Terran where I catch him completely off guard and annihilate his MMM ball with 4 tanks without him even shooting at me. And no I didn't use air units, I used Zealots and Stalkers. It was completely intentional and I kept in mind what my opponent was thinking the whole time instead of what I needed to be doing. I waited until he commanded his troops to move while not in siege mode, little did I know, he told them to move and not attack move! It was a lucky break and I quickly finished him off. I am going to be doing a post about it soon analyzing what I did and why I did it, and why it worked.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dont play against AI

Just as the title says, playing against AI can seriously hurt your game. A lot of people, including myself, created matches against AI in hopes of improving your skill. But all it does it get you into a rut where you expect certain things at certain times. You know that attack will come right after you get that twig light council, and you will need at least 8-10 units to defend successfully. You also know that the computer will have a force defending his base. I tried practicing build orders against Very Hard AI in hopes of improving my game by getting attacked while building my base up. 

When I felt comfortable with it, I tried going back into multiplayer matches. Needless to say, I lost about 5 in a row. I had gotten so use to preparing for that first attack I completely forgot about the key element in multiplayer matches, the human element. AI can get you into a rut where you know they are going to attack, but a human player more than likely will not. An AI player wont try to reaper rush you(unless its on insane, ive seen them do it), or void ray rush you. So don’t play AI it will do nothing but hinder you.

Instead find a friend, and begin playing matches with him, let him know that hey, I want to see how early I can get 4 zealots up, can you send 8 speedlings at me as soon as you get them using the standard 14 pool or whatever it is. Just keep playing matches like that. Can break a particular build order that antoher player is throwing at you? Review the replay, check how much time it takes, then get your friend to do that to you. And try multiple ways of countering it. Here is a helpful tip, if you cant seem to hold out or break it unless you completely screw up your normal build order, than at that point it takes some very good and early scouting to see it in advance.  By just doing this, you just realized the importance of scouting and different ways to counter build orders.

In a future post, I will be talking about when it is acceptable to play against AI.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Do what feels right…

So today I’m just going to talk about how you play a match. If your like me, you like to watch matches from pro and amaze at their micro and macro skills. This is a good technique. You can pick up on stuff you may have not think about, after all some of the best strategies are circulated by the pros. I remember watching a Day9 Daily about how he was trying to beat Terrans early on as Protoss. He found that using Immortals was the best way to break the defenses and get an early lead.

 I began trying to incorporate them into my build to give me the extra edge, but it wasn’t working. It felt forced and I never had enough units. My original strategy involved a 2 gate opening but not utilizing it the way I should, I would wait till I get a Robotics Facility and then warp in 4 more, so 6 total, get a warp prism, and hopefully finish the game. I just kept doing this over and over again.

So I was looking for a change. But the build just didn’t feel right. So I abandoned it. If you’re not comfortable with your build, don’t force yourself to use it. In a way you have to feel your way through it. There is that inner voice that is telling you what you should be doing. Listen to it and learn from it.

Right now I have been trying to incorporate my favorite unit, the Dark Templar, into my builds. I don’t see this unit too often in matchups. People say that if your enemy brings detection then they are just zealots without charge. I have been working on using them as a support unit for my bigger army. Most players don’t being detection with their main armies, and a Dark Template can do some serious damage on one swimg.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mothership knows best...

So the Mothership has to be one of those units that are difficult to add to any build order or situation. They cost more than a Battlecruiser, have a built in cloaking field, can move and fire, and have 2 spells, Mass Recall, and Vortex neither of which can damage another unit. The Mothership acts a lot like the Arbiter from Brood War, however the Mothership packs quite a bigger punch and take much more punishment.

 The issue with the Mothership is that a lot of resources have to be spent just to get the tech into it. Not including the Cybernetics Core, it would take 450 Minerals and Gas to be able to build it. Add another 400 to build it and add 100 for the pylon to supply it. It’s a very expensive investment.  Now I haven’t tested this but people are saying in a battle against one Battlecruiser, the Battlecruiser would win.

The most popular ability it has is the Mass Recall which can instantly teleport all your units in a given area to your Mothership. Great for warping in behind those heavily entrenched Terran Turtles we keep seeing. But is the Mothership useful in other situations?

Here is an example of a match that I used this in. Mothership Madness

When a Terran masses 10+ Battlecruisers, how can they be countered? A Carrier Mothership Armada is a good way to take them down, but by the time you find out they are building Battlecruisers, you don’t have time to amass that big of a force. Your only option? Use your Motherships’ Vortex ability to thin the lines for a short amount of time, giving your anti-air force time to pick them off. If the Battlecruisers decide to run, then the ones trapped in the vortex can be easily surrounded and picked off optimally.

I have a hard time using them in any other match ups. The cloaking field can be countered by having a detector in the area. It can’t detect cloaked units itself so bringing an Observer with it is a must. It can easily be countered by multiple units such as Stalkers, Marines or Hydralisks. It’s slow moving and fires slowly. None of its abilities actually do damage. On top of all this, we can only build one. Now I’m no advocate of a super unit for every playable race, I’ve played Red Alert and Command and Conquer and know what that can do to a game. But some more usability needs to be added to the Mothership.

One thing I’ve heard being circulated around is to add the ability for units to be warped in to the Mothership, This sounds very interesting. We take the abilities of a Warp Prism and take away the transport. I think giving them the ability to power buildings is a bit too much, but perhaps the field is automatically generated like the cloaking field. This sounds like a good idea, but Starcraft 2 is still in its early stages. We probably haven’t seen all the many uses for the Mothership yet, and it will probably take awhile before we will.