I’ve reached an interesting position with my Protoss ladder play down here in the Bronze league in that I win pretty much every match I play that lasts more than ten minutes, and lose pretty much every match that lasts less: I can’t respond well to early pressure, but my macro is good so I tend to just macro up a classic Protoss deathball and march right into their base. The build I use is either three gate expand or a forge fast expand (which I really like). I don’t know my counters very well and I essentially scout for practice, not knowing much about what to look for: but I can get that deathball out pretty effectively beyond that point. Since I seem to be able to out-macro all the bronze players I am matched against, I suspect that I would be silver league if I could stop losing to early pressure.

This has made things start to get a bit dull. Sure, I could learn how to counter cheese and I could learn when it’s a good time to do drops and such, but the way I learn means that I’m not comfortable with doing clever things until I’m super-comfortable with the basics. And while I’ve said that my macro is ‘good’, it’s probably really not that great at all, and it certainly doesn’t come naturally, and I don’t want to start using actual strategy until it is.

So I thought: I want eventually to play random—the idea attracts me—rather than having one fixed race, so why not start now? I don’t think it’ll affect improving on the basics, I thought, and it’ll add variety to the game, help me soak up more varied knowledge and allow me to get more out of watching pros play; atm, I get far less out of games with no Protoss players. Originally my plan was to switch to random once I was good with one race, but now I know more about how one improves at the low levels I’m not so sure. I made a reddit thread to see if I was completely wrong about this and it seems I wasn’t, so this is what I’m doing.

Obviously I’m now going to progress more slowly overall. But I don’t think the hit will be that great at this level, because what makes you better is your basic mechanics. I expect to hit a ceiling around gold league or so, where it’s much harder to advance while splitting your efforts between races, but that’s fine—I can always settle on a race then. It’s more fun for me not to for now.

My plan is to learn a few basic builds for each race and try them against the AI for a while rather than jumping straight into the ladder as random; I’ll probably ladder as Terran and Zerg for a while first. This is because while it’s bad to be afraid of laddering when you’re experimenting, there’s no point in laddering when you barely understand how larvae work and when you don’t realise that you need a lair before you can build hydralisks—you’re not really playing at all. So right now I’m trying to figure out how Zerg opening builds work (it’s just gas and pool timings?), and then after that I’ll probably learn a few safe Terran builds.

So tonight I’ve been playing with Zerg, before Terran, because I think they’re really cool. I love the importance of map control with both creep and overlords, slowly growing your way across the map and then releasing the swarm. And of course this means I have to learn how to larva inject, yay! I’ve got the technique for actually doing it down using the hotkey changes I already have set up, and I can inject all my hatches in less than a second, but knowing when to do it is the problem: they’re all coming off cooldowns at different times, and it’s even more brutal than missing a warp-in if you forget for ten seconds, it seems, because you can’t spend your money. Any tips on this appreciated.

I think part of this is that I think all three races are pretty ‘cool’. Protoss because of shiny deathballs, blink and forcefields, Zerg because of map control and macro’ing it up, and Terran’s stuff with marines and tanks steamrolling across the map, containing etc. Looking forward to being able to do cool things with all of these.

comment QJH3FAG69NZ21SAJ

I was going to reddit!stalk you, but it seems to never comment. Post moar :P

Comment by jr512 Tue 13 Sep 2011 17:02:11 UTC