I’ve been playing a lot of Starcraft

In fact, it’s something of a resolution of mine (new years or otherwise) to get pretty good at Starcraft 2. It started around the time of the Blizzard Cup, back in December ’11 but it had been nurtured by the When Cheese Fails series which I’d become  slightly obsessed with earlier in the year. If you’re new to the series start here, give it a few episodes, then see if you don’t feel compelled to keep watching all the way up to the end of the fifth (!) season.

But I heard about the Blizzard Cup via my brother, and as December is a pretty slow time, I watched the majority of the games live through the week, with growing interest. The games were really watchable, in no small part due to the stellar commentary combo of Tasteless/Artosis (aka Tastosis), and the players themselves were phenomenal. The last game of the final was utterly unforgettable. I’d never really had an entry point into pro gaming/SC2, so the Blizzard Cup was my reefer that got me hooked on heroin.

So I started playing Starcrtaft 2 again and I was seriously rusty. But it started to come back, and I more or less arbitrarily resolved to play a lot and get better. And that’s all it really takes, which funnily enough is pretty much the same sentiment Frank Lantz  tweeted a couple of weeks later:

So with that goal in mind I started to take my playing a little more seriously, and I also started to educate myself a bit. I watched a bunch of Day[9]’s newbie tuesday daily videos that go over a host of newbie friendly topics, from the very basics of where/how/why you should be looking, clicking, moving, etc to a few encouragingly simple strategies. The key so far seems to be a combination of practise and planning. Which is all pretty neat.

I’ll be honest, I still get mad nervous about playing online and at the end of a match the adrenaline is always making me shaky (like, literally shaky) but at least now I’ve trained down some of that panic response, so I screw up less from panicking now. It’s probably only been… a month? About a month of pretty beyond-casual play. I haven’t really played a lot of other games in that time, but that’s okay, this is kind of what I’ve always done anyway –  I like playing only one or two games at a time for a long time, and I sincerely hope SC2 keeps my attention for much, much longer. I can certainly forsee it doing so, with the combination of the GSL (which I bought a year-long ticket to – that was one of my tricks to forcing myself into playing SC2 more, I at least have to watch the GSL now to get my money’s worth!), Day-9’s daily growing number of excellent teaching resources (Start here, if you’re interested – the one on ‘the basics’ is just terrific) and a reasonably committed 2v2 partner (Hey Alex!) and an kind of unstated goal of wanting to get into Gold league by the end of the year… and yeah, I can see myself playing a lot of SC2 this year.

Which is great, because I am really enjoying it. I might talk a little more about the specific delights a bit more later, when I write about some games I’ve played. I’m hoping to do a little bit of post-game research blogging about my own playing, and do some of Day-9’s refinement tips. Watching replays is good but it’s better if you know what you’re looking for and what to do about it. One of Day-9’s videos went into how to do that, checking timing s of when your build macro slipped, making notes of timings, etc, etc. I want to do that, and talk about some games after I’ve played them but while they’re still fresh in my mind.