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.