#1 Edited by twigger89 (275 posts) -

So with the release of Hots I've been considering getting back into starcraft. I played 2 for a while, and it was a fun but incredibly frustrating experience. It was the first RTS I played online and my micro and multi-tasking skills just weren't as good as I wanted them to be. That being said I still enjoyed the attempt of climbing the ladder (when I wasn't howling with rage) and I really enjoyed the single player and some custom games.

Fast forward a few years and about a 1000 hours of dota2 later, and I'm considering jumping back in. I am hoping that my dota 2 experience will have improved my micro'ing skills enough so that I have a chance of getting out of bronze, but that is just hypothetical. I was wondering if anyone had any idea how well that would actually carry over, and if my game would be improved by a meaningful amount.

I also wanted to know if the game was more strategic at the lower levels than it was before. I lost a lot of games from rushes or all in tactics that really bothered me. Partly because I didn't scout it properly, but also because I didn't feel like I was outplayed, I was just bitch slapped via game imbalance. Is this better now or will I still have to deal with this kind of shit at the lower levels?

Last question, how would I go about learning how to play again? I've forgotten what most units do, let alone hotkey usages, specific counters, builds, timing for units, etc etc. I'd love a video series or a written up guide where I can understand what is going on without having to just dive in and learn from pure experience. That doesn't sound fun to me.

Thanks in advance for any advice, I am cautiously optimistic about my return to SC2, and I'd love any help from you guys to help facilitate that.

#2 Edited by Moztacular (465 posts) -

Glad you're trying to get back into HOTS, it can be a fun if frustrating experience. I dont know if HOTS added any NEW tutorial stuff but I know there were challenge maps and things like that in SC2 that would help you out.

As you likely know, day9 is the guru of choice when you want to learn some things about SC2: http://day9.tv/

Search around his web site and you can find old tutorial style episodes of his show that are still relevant today even with different units and balance adjustments. He has done episodes regarding good habits to follow and general mechanics that will help.

Other than that you just need to play a lot and not be upset about losing, it's just part of the game, you see it happen even when watching grandmaster league streams. Easier said than done as I still can get upset from time to time :) There is also an unranked ladder mode now in HOTS so that might make it more enjoyable for you to play without "stressing" about your ladder rank or something.


I also wanted to know if the game was more strategic at the lower levels than it was before. I lost a lot of games from rushes or all in tactics that really bothered me. Partly because I didn't scout it properly, but also because I didn't feel like I was outplayed, I was just bitch slapped via game imbalance. Is this better now or will I still have to deal with this kind of shit at the lower levels?

I don't know what to tell you there, it sounds mean but if you're losing consistently to that sort of thing then it really is not "game imbalance." Teach yourself when to scout and then as you play more games you will learn what to do with the information you have scouted. Thats probably the hardest part, is playing those first 10-15 games after not having played in awhile. You need those games to refresh yourself and get used to what it all "looks like" as you get back into things. If that doesn't sound like something you want to do without getting super angry, I don't know if HOTS is going to be the answer for you.

Either way, GLHB

#3 Edited by Thule (690 posts) -

There's some overlap between Dota and SC2 when it comes to micro, but in SC2 Macro (making workers constantly, making supply, building units, keeping money low) is simply more important than micro and Dota doesn't teach you how to Macro at all. Therefore, I don't think that your skill at SC2 will be significantly improved apart from maybe spellcaster control. If you're interested in improving your macro mechanics, then I'd recommend you at FilterSC's channel on Youtube. He did a series on how to improve your macro and builds for each race. Most of his builds are out of date now though, but the principles he teaches are still good and very important.

Also, all ins and rushes are valid game tactics and you losing to them had nothing to do with game imbalance, but more with you not mastering the mechanics of the game(moslty macro) properly. It hasn't changed and you will have to deal with that at all levels of the game, bronze or masters.

When it comes to learning the game, just play against a very easy AI or a friend and try stuff out. Hotkeys can be changed and learned in the same way, however simple experience will serve you best here. Also, the aforementioned FilterSC does a good job explaining what you need to focus on if you want to improve.I'd also recommend TheJakatak's youtube channel, he has a similar series where he teaches players how to improve called The Staircase. You can look around Teamliquid's forums as well, there's plenty of threads where people teach others how to improve at the game.

Also, experience is the best way to learn even if you think that isn't fun. HotS introduces training scenarios specifically targeted at players like you which help ease you into the game and will allow you to gradually learn more about the game. You can also play unranked matches if you're anxious about ladder or worrying about losing ladder points.

#4 Posted by Chibithor (574 posts) -

Dota 2 micro is very different from SC2 micro. Important stuff like quickly selecting and controlling multiple units in different parts of the map and doing stuff in your base simultaneously aren't really a thing in Dota. But you might be more comfortable with the general control scheme and interface. There's a minimap, you click on stuff and press keyboard hotkeys.

As for bronze level rushing I will say that it's the RTS equivalent of mashing in a fighter, in the sense that if you can't handle it strategic play is largely out of your reach.

#5 Edited by twigger89 (275 posts) -

@moztacular: @thule: I guess I should be clear, when I say game imbalance I don't mean that there is actually something broken or unfair, I just mean that I lost to a hard counter not necessarily to my build or unit choice, but to my play-style. Ie I know a 6 pool zergling rush is a fair and valid tactic, but when I lost to it it didn't feel like the other dude outplayed me, it felt like I was an idiot.

Definitely appreciate the advice, I used to watch day9 a ton back when I played, I think I check out his and the other mentioned youtube channels and see if it reignites that itch!

#6 Edited by MentalDisruption (1618 posts) -

Micro will help a little but macro is far more important in SC2. Knowing how to macro alone will get you to platinum-ish levels. Micro doesn't really become much of a benefit until you can throw it on top of excellent macro. In the lower leagues it won't matter how well you can move your units if the other person is simply out producing you. Not trying to discourage you, I just don't want you to get too focused on something that isn't going to help you move up the ladder initially. The same goes for strategy. Don't focus on anything too fancy. Focus on easy to execute standard/safe builds and out producing your opponent to win if you really want to be serious about ranking up. If you're just playing for fun, do whatever you enjoy most.

Hard to say whether lower leagues will be more strategic or not. I'm playing gold and platinum players and they're using a fair amount of strategies I recognize. A buddy of mine is playing silver and I've seen him run into more random nonsense, but the majority of his games I've seen have had the basic strategic framework on both sides. I can tell you, however, they changed up the distribution of players in bronze, silver, and gold. It used to be 20% in bronze, 20% in silver, and 20% in gold. Now its 8% in bronze, 20% in silver, 32% in gold. Not sure what effect that'll have yet, but there you have it. There'll probably be plenty of cheesing, but usually its executed so badly that eventually you learn to overcome it after some dumb feeling losses.

As for ways to learn, Day9's Newbie Tuesdays are excellent and Apollo's video guides are a good source of info as well. Day9 also has some great videos about the mental checklist and improving your mechanics. For the basic of the basic, Blizzards online game guide on battle.net will tell you what each unit is and does. If you need to see some broad strategies and ways that the units are used there are also tournament games going on. (mlg is this weekend and has been doing HotS matches the past few weeks. Day9 also did a king of the beta tournament.)

Finally, I recommend finding a practice buddy. It's more of a fun way to improve than playing ladder, and its a more controlled environment so you can focus on what you want to focus on.

#7 Edited by StarvingGamer (7557 posts) -

In some ways I think that DotA micro would be more harmful than helpful to a game like SC2. In terms of sheer speed and accuracy then yes, you'll be accessing those skills while playing SC2. But in SC2 you're not just controlling one unit, you're controlling dozens of units. And building units. And managing an economy. In 5 different places at once. DotA micro is developed in a situation where you're focused in on one thing the entire time. In SC2 you need to be able to do that while focusing on a dozen other things simultaneously.

#8 Posted by AiurFlux (899 posts) -

Playing DotA 2 might improve your micro with the mouse accuracy and overall APM, but macro is the sole thing that matters in SC2. You can spend all the time in the world trying to keep a Zergling alive, and you can succeed, but if you're not building shit behind that Zergling and are floating 2000 minerals/1000 gas it won't matter. A guy on Reddit awhile back did a challenge where he went from Bronze to Platinum or Diamond, I can't quite remember, just macroing with Protoss. He only used Gateway unites and only waited until he hit 200/200 supply then just attack moved to his opponent. That took him from Bronze to a relatively high league just by itself. Zero micro.

As far as being more strategic, yes and no. I can't speak for Platinum or lower but the general strategies are out there and well known. However every once in awhile you will come across somebody that 6 Pools and tries oh so hard to get an easy victory. If you know how to defend it you're fine, but if you don't and can't then you can still expect it. Balance is generally better. During the HotS beta it was all kinds of fucked up with the Warhound, which was so overpowered it actually required them to remove it from the game. But there will always be some things more powerful than others. It's the way it should be. If it was perfectly balanced it would be perfectly boring. But if you weren't scouting then you shouldn't complain about imbalance either. Map information and information in general is the most important resource that you never see a stat about.

As for learning how to play again I suggest watching videos, replays, and just playing. Play 1v1's against the computer and slowly work up your macro skills if you feel more comfortable. Your goal should be to take a strategy and play it over and over again trying to max out your army in as quick a time as possible. Then go against people that will try to fuck you over with early cheese.

#9 Posted by Fattony12000 (6350 posts) -

#10 Posted by twigger89 (275 posts) -

I decided to pick it up, my copy should be arriving today. I just wanted to thank you guys for answering my questions and boosting my enthusiasm for the game. I'm frankly a little nervous to get back on the sc2 ladder horse, but I figure if I focus more on macro and general strategies and less on specific build orders and timing pushes I think I will enjoy the game more and probably learn faster.

#11 Edited by Fredchuckdave (4475 posts) -

Since you can select all units at once DoTA micro is quite useful in SC2; if you could only select 12 it would be a different story; base micromanagement is important of course but there's only a handful of people in the world that are able to do both simultaneously without error; probably only like 5 in this hemisphere; so that's not really a huge issue (the best time to attack enemy workers is while they're attacking you, almost universally); generally there's some degree of breakdown no matter the skill level unless you're talking old school insane AI but they removed that from the game and replaced it with an AI that can't cheat; insane AI in Brood War is still pretty nuts; if you really want to practice getting better at base micro then go do that without using siege tanks. An extremely good rush is almost unbeatable; but most of the rushes you run into are going to be fairly incompetent in some respect; as long as you survive you'll likely have a huge economic advantage.

#12 Posted by YI_Orange (1071 posts) -

I'm gonna piggy back on this thread. I wanna get back into the ladder, but I'm just lost. Experimentation isn't the fun part to me, execution is. So what I'm asking is if there's anywhere I can go to get a good feel for the current meta. Openers, general game flow, stuff like that. I had a good handle on all the matchups in WoL, but feel like I know nothing anymore. Or maybe I just need to wait for the game to shape a bit more?

As a side note, I'm not interested in the "this works until X league"(I was diamond/plat in WoL). I like to try and mimic high level play to the best of my ability.

#13 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3626 posts) -

@yi_orange: Keeping up with the Team Liquid threads and stuff like State of the Game would probably help a lot. I think jumping in now is a good idea because there isn't really any set strats everybody's figuring the game out at the same time. The only absolutes right now is Terran is way OP (kidding)

#14 Posted by Thule (690 posts) -

I'm gonna piggy back on this thread. I wanna get back into the ladder, but I'm just lost. Experimentation isn't the fun part to me, execution is. So what I'm asking is if there's anywhere I can go to get a good feel for the current meta. Openers, general game flow, stuff like that. I had a good handle on all the matchups in WoL, but feel like I know nothing anymore. Or maybe I just need to wait for the game to shape a bit more?

As a side note, I'm not interested in the "this works until X league"(I was diamond/plat in WoL). I like to try and mimic high level play to the best of my ability.

There's no current meta right now, everyone is still figuring stuff out. If you want to see what the pro's are doing right now have a look at the MLG Dallas games or see if a pro is streaming.