Be like the Pros
Its been a busy time over the past couple of weeks, both personally and with StarCraft 2. With Easter and GSL May starting up I really didn’t have time to post up an article last week on my quest out of the bronze leagues. But I hope this recap will make it worthwhile.
Firstly, I hope everyone had a great Easter. I certainly enjoyed my time off!
Secondly, GSL May is a very interesting tournament this time round. With so many previous Code S players in Code A battling for survival, it shows that new players are on the up and challenging the likes of BoxeR, MC and MVP. I should also mention that this is generating more interest in Code A with big name players working to get Code S status once again. In previous seasons I have been watching Code S exclusively, but with players always improving, it has widened my scope of ‘must watch’ matches. Check my twitter feed for some of the recent must watch Code A games. This brings me onto my first lesson of the week.
Lesson #7 – Be like the Pros
As a hockey coach, I have always instructed my junior and senior players to watch high level games in order to see how the ball is moved about the field and learn to read the play. The more you watch the more you come to an understanding of how an elite or higher skilled players interpret what is going on in the game. You can almost consider this observation as ‘pseudo-mentoring’ where you don’t have direct coaching but develop your skills based on what you see and apply similar thinking in your play. Its a bit like ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do‘.
Now you can’t just wake up one day and say I am going to be a pro-gamer. You need to invest countless hours of practice, determination, persistence and diligence before you can even consider this. But one thing you can do is watch how pros play and how they react in various situations. Top tournaments and freely available replays and VODs give you an immense amount of information in this regard in StarCraft 2 for all races (Nestea, MVP and MC are examples).
Sidenote: When I say ‘watch how pros play’, I am not talking about APM. For new players and low level players, APM is irrelevant. You should be concentrating on your build and macro from what I have read. It will improve over time. Someone with 300 APM does not necessarily mean they are a better player than someone with 100 APM as it can just mean that the player with the high APM is spamming keys rather than doing anything constructive with their key strokes. I personally spam a bit at the start of the match before my first supply depot goes down so that I can warm up my fingers. It then drops off quite a bit as I focus on my build order and what I should be doing in a game rather than trying to improve an inaccurate record of ability.
As for my progress over the past couple of weeks? My sessions have been regularly turning in positive results where I am winning most of my matches. This has seen my win/loss ratio for Season 2 improve to 51%! As you can imagine I am pretty pleased with that. I am now starting to play against the occasional Silver and Gold player and have been winning a few of these rare match ups. I am finding my macro is improving, I can hold off most early game rushes and I am getting comfortable with a couple of different build orders depending on the map and the match up. If I can keep improving on this trend, I may get a promotion in the next couple of weeks. w00t!
Despite this, I got a little annoyed the other night when I failed to deflect a four gate two games running. Nothing got broken or any chat qq rage but a few choice words were said under my breath. Once I had my hissy fit, I took a quick break and relaxed a bit, then went back in more focused. The next game was on Scrap Station against a Zerg who tried a bling bust but failed miserably and had no answer for my cloaked banshees. That was a bit of satisfaction there.
Two games later, I was up against Protoss on Metalopolis and I was determined not to be four gated again. I snapped off my build quite well and deflected a proxy pylon and a zealot charge/stalker rush. I had teched into banshees again and wreaked havoc on his main. This allowed me to expand and tech to Siege Tanks and Thors. Needless to say I stomped through the Protoss denying his expansions and took out the game. Much to my surprise, they were a Gold player. That made me feel real good!
Lesson #8 – Don’t Let Emotion Get in the Way
I believe there is a real future for eSports. Whether it is StarCraft or Battlefield or whatever the game may be. But one thing I see as a problem is the BM (bad manners) in game. Its one thing to be pissed off about something that has happened but its not really necessary to vent your frustration on your opponent. I have seen it a couple of times where I have pulled off a great banshee rush only to be raged at. This certainly has no place in eSports if it is to grow as a recognised professional sport rather than a child’s past time.
Personally, I love it when someone rages. It means I have done something right and am in front so I can then focus on getting further in front. Its an extra piece of information that can set you on your way. On the flip side if someone rushes me, if I don’t scout it properly and they overrun me, they get a ‘gg wp’, and I move on.
This is my opinion, but there is no reasonable explanation for raging. Why put yourself under that sort of stress? Humans are emotional creatures, I understand that. But if you feel hard done by, get up and take a break, get some fresh air and a glass of water. Then come back and analyse why you lost with a clear head. A bit of anger management will see you improve as a player, that is my belief.
To expand on the above, there is always a reason why you lose. It has nothing to do with players using a ‘cheese’ build. In my mind there is no such thing as cheese. There are builds designed for the early game or quick win as there are build designed for mid and late game. All are perfectly legitimate.
oGsMC won the recent DreamHack final against WhiteRA by using an early game build in the final game. He said that he used the build to exploit WhiteRA’s build and that there was a huge prize at stake. It was a risk, but it paid off in the end. What would you do in that situation?
Catch you on the interwebs sometime!