StarCraft 2: Understanding economy & production

Understanding economy & production

Written by Tol

The game of Starcraft has two major parts to it: the micro game, which consists of moving units and using abilities, and the macro game. The macro game is the section of play devoted to collecting resources and producing units. While, micro can definitely help win a game usually, at least in the upper reaches of the silver league, macro tends to really drive a win home.

Whichever team is producing the most units and collecting the most resources will generally win. Building proper counters and scouting is only part of production; numbers play a very large role as well and can sometimes overcome even the direct counter to units.

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In a traditional 1v1 game there is not much that can be done; a single player is in charge of all aspects of micro and macro game play. This does not need to be the case in a 2v2. In a 2v2 responsibility can be split making for a smaller possible force, but one that is much more controlled. This is how my 2v2 team works if one of us is taken out. The dead person will take control of all aspects of micro, and as such our attacking force becomes much more deadly.

This same concept can be applied to macro if the map is Twilight Fortress. This map is unique in that it is not possible for a single player to be attacked. Any attacking force must attack both players. This situation opens up an amazing strategy that can severely out produce even two players combined.

The primary objective is to have one player focus entirely on resource collection, and have the other focus completely on unit production and micro. Due to the fact that after five minutes players are able to trade resources means that any resources gathered technically belong to both players. The player that is focusing on economy should be able to have at least double the resource collection rate of any player, and as such can funnel all of that money to the other player to be turned into units.

The main focus is the first five minutes of game play. During this time the production player must secure enough units to hold off minor rushes while at the same time preparing for the massive influx of minerals. The economy player’s primary goal is to get one of the high yield expansions before the pivotal five minute mark. This gives a drastic increase in the mineral collection rate and allows for the split team to have a severe edge in the minutes following.

As the game moves on, unless an extremely ferocious attack happens between 5:00 and 8:00, the enormous influx of minerals will allow the production player to produce an army that cannot be defeated. Even in the event of mass units, a team that is gathering an extra 1,000 minerals per minute or more will have enough to stop just about anything.

4 Warp Gates at 5 Minutes

4 Warp Gates at 5 Minutes

Already resourcing both gas


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4 Warp Gates at 5 Minutes
585 Minerals and 332 Gas Transfered at 8 minutes

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Further into late game, if the game lasts that long, the mineral and gas levels of an ever expanding economy player can never be rivaled. Even late into the mid game there will be a surplus of resources that cannot be spent due to supply restrictions. The economy player will be stuck holding more than 5,000 minerals and several thousand vespene gas. At this point, the only move is for the economy player to tech for an army, while still maintaining enough resource flow to keep the production player dominating.

The Final Clash at 14:00

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Resource Rates at 14:00 Notice Light Blue

A surprise injection of capital ships can almost always turn the tide of the game in favor of the split team, however this is rarely a case that comes into play as most teams will be unable to handle the sheer number of units pouring into the battle field.

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