Sunday, October 25, 2009

eSport reporting

I have had a really weird weekend and have not gotten around to get into weekend mode at all. I tried desperately and turned on my TV early this morning. While I was channel surfing I ran into "eSport '09", a program on DK4. I tried to watch it, but apparently they only cover Counter Strike.

I may be totally wrong here, but the only game worth considering as an eSport is basically Starcraft. It is so for two reasons: 1) It's top-down perspective makes it a better spectator experience and 2) the level i Korea is so high, due to the professional league. It can be interesting to cover the local Stacraft scene as well, but mostly because of the Korean level it aspires to.

Speaking of eSport coverage. I have been around for ages and remember surfing the net on NCSA Mosaic around 1993. And I remember all the sites that sprung up while Blizzard and Wacraft II fans were eagerly awaiting Starcraft i 1997 and 98. Especially Station17 which were the first fan-site I became addicted to.

Now while we are waiting for Starcraft II I see the same thing over again. Maybe a bit different since the time and technology change, but in spirit it is just the same. I absolutely love the enthusiasm that people display and do understand why people want to contribute to the community, but I really wish that people would create more original content - think independent thoughts. There is too much copying going on.

If you follow Starcraft on twitter (which I do) then you probably follow all the big sites and celebrities as well. Retweeting any of the major sites should be punishable ;-).

I also tried to check out Husky's newest show. "eSports Report" I think it is called. So far I am not convinced. I like Artosis's show better for the sole reason that he offers more insight. I think that is what we are missing - not better production quality.

But some of all the new sites, video shows etc. that have sprung up will develop into something cool over time and others will perish. That is probably the natural order of these kind of things.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Learning 2v2

I haven’t figured out how to study and become better at 2v2. I don’t think that it is as much a question of timings and build orders as in 1v1, but on the other hand it is. At least in the beginning where you have to know how to defeat a dual-Zerg-5 pool-rush (not even sure that it is possible to counter that).

Part of the problem that either your ally should be very good or at least have the same attitude towards learning the game. A team can’t significantly improve by one of the players getting better. The weakest link is what defines the overall quality of the team.

parking-ticketLately I think playing 2v2 is about as satisfying as the parking tickets I got Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

I want the satisfaction of playing with someone as well as the satisfaction of the 1v1. I don’t know how to get that? The closest I can come is hanging out in the chat taking breaks with your friends while you all try to do some 1v1s. I don’t know that many people who are up for that.

If that is not possible then I would like to improve my 2v2. Are there any resources available on the net to do that? Most seem focused on 1v1s.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Epic Failcall

I have been experimenting with recall harassment in late Terran vs Protoss and with some success. Vulnerable expansions and the place where the Terran keeps his factories (and armories) are the prime targets. It does not always work as intended. Usually because I have a wrong estimate of the number of turrets and units.

epic_failcall_small Yesterday for instance in a 2v2 with Darkan (replay) I did such a recall in to the mineral line on the east most expansion on Gaia. In less than 2 seconds I went from having an arbiter and a ton of units to having blue goo in another players base. It was epic and probably what lost us the game.

Gaia is, by the way, becoming one of my favorite 2v2 maps. In a way it is just another variation over the Lost Temple/Python template, but it is still very cool.

And the game taught me that PPvTT is even more unfair than PvT already is. Late game there are so many tanks and vultures that there really is nothing that the two Protoss players can do.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Setting a Goal

I’ve been thinking a lot about Starcraft and goals lately. I’ve just reached D+ and want to think about what goals I could realistically have. I’ve also been playing a lot of 2v2s on iccup without, I am sorry to say, improving my game much.

I’m usually around 105 APM, and I can see a lot of mistakes I make in every single game. I don’t really have time to play a whole lot more than I already do. And I am not getting younger either. When watching the top foreign players and the korean pros, it seems so obvious that you ought to be 16 years old and dedicate at least 4 hours a day to playing the game. I can’t do that. I was already too old when “Warcraft II: Humans and Orcs”" was released.

But I suppose you can have goals lower than that, that will still bring a lot of satisfaction. Being a solid C level player? Is that out of reach?

I have also been doing a lot of community work. Especially by running the Starcraft community site that later turned into I hosted a ton of tournaments back in the days, but I really don’t have the time to do that either anymore. Or at least not while still playing the game.

What will happen when Starcraft II is released? I’ll probably take a week off from work just to play, but even with an influx of new players, I will probably be left behind quite early anyway. How do I come up with a goal I can be happy about? I enjoy this game to much to quit and just be a passive spectator.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

D+ in 16 games

I finally made D+ on iccup again. It took me a long time, but only 16 games to do so. 17 if you count that wretched game I lost watching a replay :-(!

dts_in_action_CroppedI have been following some of Michael’s advice in that I have (almost) only been playing one match-up on one map. So it has been 15 Protoss vs. Terran games and most of them on Neo Medusa 2.

I must admit that I used to consider it a Terran favored map and to some extend I still do. It is especially annoying how fast they can tear down the stack of temples and how their tanks can protect the entrance to both their natural expansion and one of the “arms” that leads to yet another expansion.

I’ve been relying on stopping and delaying their first gas expansion, getting ahead in expansions and then tech'ing straight to Arbiters. Basically holding a line in front of their natural expansion to keep them contained and relied on recalls to harass and delay them.

recall_in_action_croppedMost of the good games have usually only ended when they have mined out their main, natural and mineral-only expansion. A Terran can do much with no more resources than that. The 16th and last game that made me D+ is a good example of that. The previous one was too.

I will probably have troubles just staying in D+, but I assume that should I fall back to D, I can make it back up again.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Most Depressing Loss

So yesterday I ventured online to play a game or two on iccup. I played one amazingly tough 1v1 on Neo Medusa and won after close to 40 minutes. I was exhausted after that and somewhat impressed by CttWalla for holding out so long and even putting me under pressure up until the very end.

I hung out in chat afterwards and my friend X-Rated came online wanting to show me a replay of a game he had just played. It was an interesting replay and about 15 minutes into the replay my computer froze up as it sometimes do. I had to reset, which I did and then I logged back onto iccup.

X-Rated was still online and laughing out loud: he had received a win for watching the replay with me and I had received a corresponding loss!

All my exhausting playtime vs. CttWalla was negated by watching a replay! I was so annoyed. I don’t consider myself a stat-whore, but setting a goal and trying to accomplish it is part of the Starcraft experience. It is very demoralizing to have it all be in vain.

I’ve tried to have the game annulled, by posting on the forum on iccup. By making a manual complaint with another replay (you need a replay to make a complaint and as I played no game, I have no replay to complain about) and I have tried to complain by filing a complaint for the game actually listed. So far: no response. I am still waiting…