Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I wish it wasn’t about the clicking

If you read any Starcraft II site you’ll find this argument. That Starcraft II is a bad game since it is all about the speed and not about strategy. Even on teamliquid.net the hordes of new-comers to the scene will reason like this.

They will say: “It is so unfair that my opponent won. At this point in the game he had so many units simply because he clicked on stuff faster than me. I should have won, since I was better at strategy than him”.

One some level I follow this line of reasoning. Back in the early days of the original Starcraft I was a huge fan of the faster rather than fastest speed setting. I would argue that no one could execute good strategy at the fastest speed setting and the game became poorer due to the too fast speed. I know better now, but there is an important distinction. I didn’t claim that I lost to an inferior  e strategy due to my lack of speed. I claimed that the game became poorer overall. I still sucked back then though!

In the first example the complaining n00b reveals that he does not understand what strategy is. First of all: His opponent is probably not a whole lot faster due to having a set strategy from the start. He who complained had not. Also his opponent had a strategy optimized for getting more units at certain time and the complaining player was looking to overcome that with “tricks”. I.e. doing something sneaky.

The problem with sneaky play is, that they assume that your opponent is bad! He may be, but it is simply not a solid strategy rely on it.  I may suck at the game, but I know better than to complain about the game for lacking strategy. Doing so, would only reveal my own lack of understanding for what strategy is.


  1. I used to think the same thing(that Starcraft was just an APM race) and that it essentially boiled down to amass X number of units, attack, repeat. After watching a lot of pro matches and laddering myself, I've realized this isn't the case in all but the lowest skill levels. The sooner you come to realize this, the sooner you can actually start to improve your game.

    Glad to see you're back home from India?

  2. I think my point was something like this: That amassing X number of units at a certain point of time _is the point_ of strategy and that the strategy is how you achieve that. And that many people do not understand that.

    And I am still in India :-)

  3. I agree, I have been up against higher level platinum players, and i even beat a diamond level player lately, and my apm doesn't go above 50, in fact its actually gone down to around 30-40. i can peak up to about 120-170 Actions some times. Its important to remeber that even though your APM remains low, that first minute of the game not much is going on. its hard to increase your apm when its being bogged down by that first minute of play. So juding ur speed by APM alone isnt very accurate, look at when you Actions at that moment peak, not the average, the Actions at that moment. and then you see what your capable of.

    Its all about strategy and "knowing" what your opponent is doing, Good strategy is based on intel. without the intel you are just shooting in the dark.

  4. @Fafner: Perhaps I should clarify that I believed there was no thought behind the building up of X units. Now I think that X units is great, but what if I had Y and Z units flanking your army from both sides? I didn't see the depth that I do now.

  5. well if you are good at executing and remembering stuff and having basic decent control reach high level diamond, I am not high diamond due to lack of some of the before mentioned basics, even if my apm goes up or down it won’t change that to a large extent, so the clicking part I totally agree
    in regards to strategy imo. What it comes down to is.
    Does good execution equal good strategic sense I’m not sure I would agree that it is, but good execution for at least lower level players is a whole lot more important than having good strategic sense

  6. both players have strategies.. it is really how you execute it..

    you may have a very good strategy but you execute it too slow.


    your opponent's strategy is to rush in.. he needs quick hands for that. if it works, it works.

    a win is a win.

  7. i absolutely do not agree with the apm is not important thing.... for casual play maby for pro level play apm is everything and the only limiting factor. difference between pro and not pro is not in strategy, but how well he microes his units, nonpro with 20 banelings is a joke, pro with 20 banelings will kill 3x larger army.