Updated Starcraft 2 Multiplayer impressions

So Starcraft 2 has obviously been out in the wild for a while now, and now that my review has been featured on the front page (woot!), I thought I'd give some updated multiplayer impressions.  In short, I've been sucked in, and I did indeed end up buying a new rig so that I could get better performance.  But the real point I want to make is that the multiplayer system that Blizzard has put in place for this game seems to work.  I'm usually skeptical of matchmaking systems in general, and that wasn't exactly helped initially when I beat a Protoss opponent rushing to void rays in the silver league and came out rank 10 platinum.   I didn't play a game for a day after that because I was certain I'd just get destroyed by the competition.  
 
Turns out...that's not the case.  At least for the time being, Platinum league seems completely manageable for a casual player like myself.  I've watched some tutorials (I can highly recommend  ForceSC2Strategy as well as day[9] and the like for those of you looking for some good info on improving your game) and learned some hotkeys.  That along with getting a general sense of counters and standard strategies has been more than enough to make me feel competitive in Platinum league.   Apparently there's still a significant skill gap even between a lot of upper diamond league players and the pros, which is understandable.  After all, this game has a much larger audience than the first, so it just makes sense that there will be a lot more "good but not great" players filling up the leagues, and that's exactly the category I like to think I fit into. 
 
There's been a lot of complaining about Terran's being overpowered in the current game build (and as a Terran player, I don't disagree), but honestly, even in the upper platinum league, general player skill is still the biggest determining factor.  Starcraft is an intensely macro focused game (by that I mean economy/base-building), and the best advice I can give to newer players who may be struggling in bronze and silver leagues is never stop building workers.  Mo' money, mo' units.  Until you get into the higher leagues you can really get away with minimal micro (army control) as long as your macro is good.  Hotkey your production buildings (I have all my unit-production buildings set to 1 and all my command centers set to 2) and get used to periodically switching back to queue up a new set of units.  It's really much better to only have one or two units queued up at once so that you don't have money tied up in units that won't be out on the field for another 5 minutes.  Instead, use that money to build an expansion or grab some unit upgrades.  You want to keep your unspent resources as low as possible, but you also want them to be doing something for you right now, not 5 minutes from now when that 5th siege tank you queued up finally pops out.  
 
Anyway, I guess the whole point is, even for a guy who never really got hardcore into SC1 multiplayer back in the day, Blizzard has found a way to make SC2 all that much more appealing. They've streamlined enough that I don't feel like I'm completely clueless as to how anything in the game works, and even though it's only been a few weeks since the game came out, I've definitely gotten my $60 worth.  It's a shame school's starting back up :)

10 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by Juvenfly

So Starcraft 2 has obviously been out in the wild for a while now, and now that my review has been featured on the front page (woot!), I thought I'd give some updated multiplayer impressions.  In short, I've been sucked in, and I did indeed end up buying a new rig so that I could get better performance.  But the real point I want to make is that the multiplayer system that Blizzard has put in place for this game seems to work.  I'm usually skeptical of matchmaking systems in general, and that wasn't exactly helped initially when I beat a Protoss opponent rushing to void rays in the silver league and came out rank 10 platinum.   I didn't play a game for a day after that because I was certain I'd just get destroyed by the competition.  
 
Turns out...that's not the case.  At least for the time being, Platinum league seems completely manageable for a casual player like myself.  I've watched some tutorials (I can highly recommend  ForceSC2Strategy as well as day[9] and the like for those of you looking for some good info on improving your game) and learned some hotkeys.  That along with getting a general sense of counters and standard strategies has been more than enough to make me feel competitive in Platinum league.   Apparently there's still a significant skill gap even between a lot of upper diamond league players and the pros, which is understandable.  After all, this game has a much larger audience than the first, so it just makes sense that there will be a lot more "good but not great" players filling up the leagues, and that's exactly the category I like to think I fit into. 
 
There's been a lot of complaining about Terran's being overpowered in the current game build (and as a Terran player, I don't disagree), but honestly, even in the upper platinum league, general player skill is still the biggest determining factor.  Starcraft is an intensely macro focused game (by that I mean economy/base-building), and the best advice I can give to newer players who may be struggling in bronze and silver leagues is never stop building workers.  Mo' money, mo' units.  Until you get into the higher leagues you can really get away with minimal micro (army control) as long as your macro is good.  Hotkey your production buildings (I have all my unit-production buildings set to 1 and all my command centers set to 2) and get used to periodically switching back to queue up a new set of units.  It's really much better to only have one or two units queued up at once so that you don't have money tied up in units that won't be out on the field for another 5 minutes.  Instead, use that money to build an expansion or grab some unit upgrades.  You want to keep your unspent resources as low as possible, but you also want them to be doing something for you right now, not 5 minutes from now when that 5th siege tank you queued up finally pops out.  
 
Anyway, I guess the whole point is, even for a guy who never really got hardcore into SC1 multiplayer back in the day, Blizzard has found a way to make SC2 all that much more appealing. They've streamlined enough that I don't feel like I'm completely clueless as to how anything in the game works, and even though it's only been a few weeks since the game came out, I've definitely gotten my $60 worth.  It's a shame school's starting back up :)

Posted by strangemodule

Glad to see you're enjoying it. I too have slowly found myself having fun with the multiplayer and impressed by the matchmaking, even though I'm in bronze.

Posted by Juvenfly
@strangemodule:   As long as you're having fun, that's the whole idea :)  I'm by no means an expert, but if you'd like, you can upload a replay or two to a filesharing service, PM me or post the like here, and I'll take a look at your play to see if there are some easy improvements you can make.  I've been addicted to watching replays lately.  This does not bode well for my studies (or for my students' studies for that matter) this semester :p
Posted by ComradeKritstov

What race do you play? I play Zerg and am in mid Silver and repeatedly get owned by void ray rushes or just mass void rays. They just seem to focus fire down my units so quickly its hard to do anything, especially when he goes straight for my hydralisk den so I can't produce more hydras. Definitely the thing I lose to the most at the moment.

Edited by Juvenfly
@ComradeKritstov:    I play Terran, so unfortunately I don't quite know enough about Zerg builds to tell you exactly what's feasible.  Generally any time you're playing Protoss you want to scout early to see if he looks like he's going to tech straight to Void Rays.  Don't be afraid to just send a drone over and cruise around his base.  If you see him getting double gas early and only one Gateway, you're probably going to want to start getting some anti-air.  
 
Some quick googling around the interwebs seems to point towards having two queens to fend off any early Void Ray rushes (just don't let them pull you off the creep) while working your way to hydralisks.  If you've got two queens you should have no problem spreading creep (remember that creep tumors can spawn orher creep tumors too), which will make chasing them down easy peasy.  If he's just massing void rays off of one base, chances are he's got nothing in the way of a ground army because they're so expensive, so once you've got a decent force of Hydras, push out and apply pressure to hit main.  If you time it right that could end the game right there.  If not, remember that the best time to expand is while you're attacking as your opponent will be forced to concentrate on fending off your attack.  You should also have some spore crawlers set up around your mineral lines to help fend off harassment.  
 
Edit:  Also, don't forget infestors...fungal growth means the void rays can't escape your hydras and/or mutalisks once you've got 'em on the run.
Edited by endless_void

Yes, this game is ridiculously awesome. First game in a long time multiplayer is actually something that doesn't feel like a waste of time. I've been doing the same as you, and been watching LOADS of replays, and I have to say it helps ALOT. I'm currently mostly getting achievements though, as 1v1 is great fun, but I wanna get the FFA (hate!), Challenge mode, Campaign, among a few other achievements out of the way first before I start 1v1 all the time.
 
I really have to stop myself from constantly doing 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 though, I'm a pretty good player, but for some reason I just freak out when it comes to 1v1. :| I'll get use to it though.

Posted by Azrail
@ComradeKritstov: get hydras sooner, scout with drones to know how they are techong 
expand fast 
zerg it out!!!
Posted by Juvenfly
@endless_void:   I'm currently spending a little extra time trying to get the campaign achievements because so many of them are just fun to do.  As far as the trepidation about 1v1 goes...it's all I've played.  It's definitely a little intimidating when you know that if you lose, it's your fault and no one else's, but as long as you're conscious of what you're doing and willing to go back and watch your own replays to see where you went wrong, you always feel like you're getting something out of every match.  It also helps to just say "fuggit" and not care about your win/loss ratio since it'll even out over time no matter what.  The whole point of the match-making system is to keep everyone around 1:1 win loss unless you're just leagues ahead of everyone else, which, let's face it, most of us aren't by a long shot.
Edited by endless_void
@Juvenfly: I'll keep it in mind. And you guys know any good commentors? I know Husky, Day9, Psy, HDStarcraft, AskJoey, and thats it. :(
Posted by ComradeKritstov
@Juvenfly:  Thanks for the help, I think the main problem I had was because after he took out my hydralisk den I focused mainly on corrupters which didn't work out too well. Next time I think I'll try just massing as many hydras as I can.