SC2: 5 Ways to improve your game

Do you want to get better at Starcraft 2? Sure you do, that’s why you’re reading this article, right? Here’s 5 ways you can improve your game. You might be surprised to see that practicing for hours on end, isn’t on this list. Some of these, don’t even require you to play the game at all. Crazy Hunh? Each of these 5 methods will help you to increase your overall game play. Put them all together and you will become a MUSH better player.

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Play with a friend!

Starcraft is a LOT of fun. Even more so if you have a buddy to play with, and the more friends, the merrier! This not only increases the fun factor, but also makes you WANT to play more (friendly competition), and may even FORCE you to play more (e.g. if you all have scheduled a certain time to play after work). Having a friend to play with will also allow some low-pressure games where you can try different things out (e.g. different build orders, different strategies, new micro tricks) and you won’t feel as pressured as if you were playing a ladder game.

Having a friend also allows for good team games, where you both can agree on strategies beforehand, talk thru the game, and discuss the game after. Talking about the game after will also allow for you to see where your flaws are, so you can improve. If you have no-one to talk to about Starcraft, you might not be as excited to play, and may likely not play as well as if you did. So if you’re the lone warrior trying to battle it out online, get one of your friends a copy of the game – games make GREAT birthday gifts, and you’ll have someone to train with.

If none of your friends are interested in games, it’s almost impossible to NOT find a friend online, or on battle.net – join a forum, a chat-room, or a channel, and you’re almost sure to find someone of your skill level who wants to get better too – maybe even from halfway across the globe! Battle.net is also great at putting you up against opponents who are about the same skill level as you are, and it’s hard to not make a friend sooner or later. Some of the most raging battles can produce some great friendships, as many pro-gamers will tell you.

2. Have fun!

You’ll play much better if you relax and remember that despite the sophistication, it’s a GAME after all, so sometime it’s good to just play for fun, and not worry about winning or losing. Talk in game, try some ridiculous builds (like high templar only) play some tag-team matches, knockout matches, play with a different race or random, or even try to rush with your workers or float all your buildings over your enemy just to have a laugh. You’ll find that you play better and more focused, once you’re more relaxed.

Many players are afraid of losing, and will shy away from playing ladder matches, 1v1 or even multiplayer at all, but it’s the BEST way to get better – no pain no gain, and even the best players lose matches on a very regular basis – SOMEONE has to lose right? So don’t be afraid to just have fun even if you lose – you’ll end up with a lot less grey hairs!

You don’t even need to be in-game to have fun – be creative – youtube is full of good laughs with people doing things like unit impersonations and impressions. You don’t have to be a great player to enjoy the game and have fun, but you’ll become a better player doing so.

3. Spectate or download replays

If you just don’t feel like you’re getting better, spectate a match or two! You’ll get to see things from the perspective of both players, and you can observe some of the mistakes that they make. Perhaps you make the same mistakes too and never realized it! It’s always different when you’re on the outside looking in. Spectating also lets you appreciate other aspects of the game that you’d be too busy to appreciate when you play, like the game’s graphics and physics.

You can also download replays and observe how others play. You may well find yourself thinking ‘hmmm maybe I can use that build’ or ‘wow, that’s a really interesting way to fight off that cheese tactic’. Replays in starcraft 2 are amazing in that there’s so much in game information you can pull up (and they’re hot-keyed too!) to see what’s being done at what time, how many workers/army a player has, resource count, apm and much more. You can even see where a player clicks and what he sees with player camera control and vision.

Download one now and see what you learn!

4. Read more

You’ve just lost 4 games in a row to the same strategy. You just can’t seem to figure out what you’re doing wrong. Well somewhere out there, there’s another player who has had the same problem as you, and has probably written all about it, or has invented a perfect counter strategy to it that you can read about online, like at mmoexploiters.com.

‘It’s all been done’, and it’s probably floating around online somewhere, waiting for you to google it. You can learn a lot by just reading more and immersing yourself in the Starcraft environment. You can even put together a compilation of some pro tips that you might have found online and stick it just below your monitor so when you’re in game you can glance down and remember things that you would have otherwise forgotten in the heat of the battle (who hasn’t at some time or the other become supply blocked?).

5. Watch the pros

These days, it’s easy to find replays of the pros, and you can even view matches online, complete with amazing commentaries from pro players, even if the game being broadcast isn’t played by pros. Starcraft commentators these days are arguably even better and more informative than most of the sports commentators you’d find on tv, and you can have a lot of laughs listening to some of the good ones.

You’ll also hear critique on what is going on (even if you haven’t a clue), both the good and the bad, and you can apply some of what you learn to your own game. There is a wealth of pro-level starcraft 2 material all over the net – replays, live streams, youtube, interviews, and much more. Look up your favorite player and watch some of his/her replays. See what they’re doing that you aren’t, or how they deal with situations that you may have thought were totally hopeless. Many of the pro players spend just as much time looking at replays as playing themselves, so why shouldn’t you?

 

Written by klesk an old Starcraft/Brood War player who recently made the switch to Starcraft 2. He is making lots of mistakes but learning quickly from them as he goes along, so feel free to take advantage of his general n00bishness if you see him there.

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