Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bordering the Sea

So I played three games against a Protoss called Veramar. Thanks to my eternal suckiness I lost the first two and only managed to secure the victory in the third and final game.

5 minutes into the first game, I realized that I was a better player than him and yet still managed to loose to a reaver drop in my mineral line. Pathetic play!

The second one was slightly better. He basically pumped zealots from two gateways and I tried to hold my ramp using scvs to block and marines behind them to hit the zealots. I think I could have managed this better by using 3 scvs. Two to block and the third to repair what ever was being hit. But I was to nervous to pull that many scvs from gathering resources. That was a bad judgment call. When I finally had enough troops to secure the ramp he gave up attacking with zealots alone and I countered. When I reached his base he had dark templars and I had to flee. This basically sealed the game in his favor, although it went on for another 5 to 8 minutes.

In the third game I decided to be a chicken and block the ramp with buildings. He then went for a reaver drop like in the first game, but I had suspected he might and I had units to defeat it. I still need to work on placing them better when anticipating a drop. When the drop failed I went for a contain and slow tank push up his ramp. This was a very safe victory for me. Surprisingly enough I had gathered the least resources when the game ended. Impressive how even a failed reaver drop can set you back!

Since iC Cup rewards a win with 130 points and punishes a loss with -50, I ended up gaining 30 points total. I'm not so sure I deserved that given how badly I lost the two first games.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What can a Starcraft Player Earn?

When I talk to people about the Korean Starcraft scene I am often met with a lot of skepticism. First: Can it really be true that eSports is more than a teenage boy's fantasy in any part of the world? Secondly: How much can a Player really earn, playing Starcraft. I've often wondered about that myself and it is not easy to find a solid number. An article in the Herald Tribune specifies that top players can earn in excess of $100.000 a year. I don't know if all pro-players earn that, but I do know that the KeSPAs (Korean eSport Association) official numbers of Starcraft Professionals in Korea is around 600.

julywins40miowon This picture is from the Starleague 2008 final, showing July winning 40 million Korean Won. That is about $40,000, which I think is a pretty hefty sum.

Best, the second place got half of that amount. Still a lot without being high stakes Poker.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

OSL 2008

The OSL 2008 finals are insane.I highly recommend watching the July versus Best games. The link I provided there is to an article named "OMG did I just watch that? The OSL 2008 finals". The games really are that exiting.

The first two games are so cheezy, that you'd have to see it to believe it. One of the commentators claims that the second game could be a candidate for "the pimpest play 2008" and I wholeheartedly agree. The first game could be one too!

The best of it all, is when the camera switches from the action in game two, to show Bisu among the audience. He just looks shocked and awed at the same time. Speaking of the audience: If you haven't see a Korean Starcraft Finale before, you have to see the images from the first game that really demonstrates how many people have shown up to see the matches. It is just sick.

The final game shows some amazing use of scourges in the early game and demonstrates just how unfair ultralisks are.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Defeat frenzy

I've not been playing much lately. I blame real life and work, but mostly I've been avoiding logging on to iC Cup. The defeats were getting to me and it was no fun.

But today I have played a series of games. All of them on Tau Cross: a map I don't really like, but all the other bonus maps this week are worse. I've played a few Terran vs. Terran games where I have lost very fast. I don't understand why, when I go fast wraiths against a Terran I loose, but when a Terran goes fast wraiths against me I still loose. That does not seem fair.

I even lost a regular game against a Zerg. The only match up I am reasonably confident about. He harassed me with mutalisks, then did a switch to lurkers and zerglings. The harassment set me back a lot and the lurker containment had me locked up in my base for awhile. Just when I was ready to break out, he switch his remaining mutalisks into guardians and killed me.

My final game was against another zerg. When I scouted him, I saw that he was going 9-drones, spawning pool and even when his second overlord spawned he did not make drones of his larva. I take a little pride in deducing the obvious: That he would attack me with 6 or 8 zerglings right away. When they arrived in my base I had one marine and a bunker. With that and my scvs I fended the attack off. He tried a few follow up attacks and then quit. That was quite stupid as I had not really used my advantage much and I think he could have survied my counter attack and gone into mid game. Pretty weird.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Starcraft II coverage sucks

It just does and I am annoyed by it. In fact the Starcraft I tournament at Blizzard's World Wide Invitational almost got more coverage that the new game (and by the way: Stork won the tournament and no Korean lost a best-of-three-games match to a non-Korean).

The best articles to come out of WWI are the following:

All in all, not a very impressive coverage. Some key observations are:

Gas is radically different. It means that you now have two geysers, but with only 1000 gas. They can be replenished by paying 100 minerals. It seems a bit weird, but will probably work out.

20 min limit to games. One article mentioned that games that last more than 20 minutes stop there and end in a tie. I really, really hope this is temporary while they work out the balance of units so that they balance between the sides is kept, all the way to late-game.

Not out this year? During one of the streamed interview a Blizzard employee said something like:

The campaing is about 30% done, so obviously I can't talk much about it. This is something I am looking forward to talk a lot about at the end of the year.

I think this is a clear indication that they don't think the game will be out come Christmas. I'm not really surprised, but I had hoped it would be out sooner.

Zerg looks truly scary. This is something one has to see in a video. Look at how the creep is disgustingly alive. Amazing.

Protoss nullifier. It is my new favorite unit. The force field this supporting spell caster can cast is awesome. Something that has to be seen.

Terran medivac. I didn't like that the medic was gone and replaced by a healing dropship. But the game play seen so far, looks very promising.

Overall the game looks faster than the original and visually stunning. I'm very impressed and look forward to wasting a couple of years playing this game.