Thursday, July 29, 2010

A stone killer

That is what Starcraft II single player is. I’m about two thirds through and enjoying it far more than I anticipated. The story is a little boring (but that is basically because a video game will never tell a story as well as a good book), but the missions are really varied and do not encourage turtling nearly as much as I feared.Screenshot2010-07-29 15_32_25The midnight launch event was great as always. I’ve tried to photograph similar events before, but it is really, really difficult. Especially when you are also eager to get your copy and get home to SC2MidnightReleaseplay. I tried nonetheless, but don’t know well this photo conveys 40+ young men waiting in line at a Gamestop shop about 10 minutes walk from my apartment.

I saw about 4 girls and maybe one of them was actually there to pick up a copy for herself. The 3 others clearly weren’t. I, as usual, was the oldest guy around and I was even wearing my 12 years old Starcraft I t-shirt (which is pretty worn down by now). In other words: I took the liberty of geeking totally out this one night.

Right now I’ll concentrate on completing the campaign and then play ladder. It may take a couple of more days.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Zealot Rushes – Final Beta Game

I don’t know how many I encountered in the Starcraft II beta. A lot. I never really tried one myself as I considered them a bit cheesy. I don’t mind cheesy plays; I just feel that I don’t improve a whole lot doing them myself, so I don’t.

But I was online the final Monday night of the Beta and didn’t really feel up to laddering. On the other hand no one I knew was online for a 2v2, so I entered a 1v1 and ended up Protoss vs Protoss on Kulas Ravine. One minute into the game someone messaged me asking for a 2v2 and I really wanted to do that much more than just play my 1v1.

Tempted to get my game over quickly I just zealot rushed and won. Amazing. But what I learned here was much more valuable. My opponent tried to counter my rush with zealots too. The scene was set for a massive zealot battle. At first my thought was that this was a losing proposition for me as he had less distance to travel (I didn’t proxy as it wasn’t my initial plan to do a rush), but it turned out to be a good thing.

In previous games I had tried with zealot pressure plays and often been countered by the defenders stalker micro. With no defending stalkers it much more became a question of who had the most zealots and I had 3 gateways to his two and a cybernetics core.

The best thing was that I even had good enough macro to get my tech up while attacking and the finishing touch to the game was the arrival of my own stalkers in his base. Beautiful!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Beta Waves: Down - Status

What a night and what an end to the Starcraft II: Beta. My phone is broken. I hate IP Telephony. It just doesn’t feel as robust as the old school analog version. I want it back. In sheer frustration I broke my keyboard and had to play my last few games with an extremely wobbly keyboard and a broken S-key. Sigh.

So what is the status of the game. Whether 2 is up to par compared to the version that shipped with the original Starcraft is still up for debate. On one hand, the automated matchmaking is extremely nice and just about everything else is worse. Except I do remember the chat room splits and frequent disconnects that plagued for the first year of vanilla Starcraft.

Race balance-wise I expect many more play styles to be discovered and patches to come. I primarily play Protoss, but have more than 400 games as random behind me in the beta. I’m not sure that makes me qualified to speak about balance, but I’ll do that anyways.
Protoss vs Zerg is probably slightly in Protoss’ favor. I' like that, but don’t know what to change about the game to fix it. Maybe buff Hydralisks slightly? Protoss vs Terran is just ridiculous in Terrans favor. I expect that once people at large figure out how to play Terran they will have an out-of-this-world win rate against Protoss. Basically too few Terrans at the moment understand when to expand and how to transition from the early harass into a solid mid game. That will change and hopefully there will be a patch :-/ How Zerg vs Terran play out I don’t quite know. I suspect that the early game is more fair than in PvT, but that the mid-to-late game is still in Terran’s favor.

I like the smaller national scenes we have here in Denmark and probably in other small countries too. I especially like how we already have and, who are active and covering the scene as it is. And of course, which have been here for 10 years or so. Amazing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Climbing the Ladder (Again)

I’m massing games this weekend. Okay, that just means that I plan on playing 5 games or more, but just the same: I’m trying to make an effort to climb the ladder that so unjustly placed me in Gold Division.

imageI play all 1v1 maps (except Desert Oasis) and I am always Protoss. Are the above 6 games a coincidence? All opponents were Terran and at least four of them reaper rushed. Blizzard can’t of course predict  what strategy a given player will employ, but it seems to be a stretch that this is all random.

There are 6 maps I play. The likelihood of getting the same one 6 times in a row is about (1/6)^5 if I remember my math correctly. Or 0.012%. Getting Terran opponents on all matches is even less likely.
My theory is that Blizzard wants more hard data on certain match ups and maps and are deliberately stacking the matches this way.
Tinfoil hat on!

Thursday, July 15, 2010’s 3rd Tournament

I’m eagerly following’s 3rd tournament. I’m not playing myself, but I wish I was as the first couple of rounds definitely looks like a level I could compete in. The most exiting thing is trying to guess who will make it out of which bracket.

Among the obvious favorites are Mywa aka Phobos. Hein has won the first two tournaments and is also a good candidate although I think Mywa is a clear favorite.

And then there are the players “I know”, but where I don’t have any idea of how good they actually are. Combi aka Larry-the-Weird is the one I’m watching the most.

Exiting how it will al turn out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Placement Matches Gone Crazy?

What has happend to placement matches after beta phase 2 started? They seem to have become seriously harder. In fact Sklent and I managed to go 2-3 in our 2v2 placement matches due to us mostly encountering Diamond league teams. I don’t mind losing, but the end result seems to be a pretty bad indication of our level as a team. Now we are in bronze, and surely we are a lot better than that?
In fact I managed an perfect 5-0 in 1v1 and another 5-0 with Qvist in 2v2. Both landed us in gold. It seems fair that you can’t place into the very best league, but it kind of leaves all those who are truly bad at the game in an awful situation: Stuck in bronze with a ton of players who are actually decent.
I wonder what Blizzard is up to.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recommended VODs while SC2 on hiatus

There really isn’t that much to write about while we are waiting for us being able to play Starcraft II again.

I watched Husky and HDStarcraft’s 2v2 commentaries here. I’m normally not that excited about the stuff they do, cause I think they are to colorful and not analytical enough, but those games are not that serious anyways.