How To Play Starcraft 2

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In honor of the new Starcraft 2 Trailer, I’ve decided to post a Newbie’s Guide to Starcraft 2.
A lot of you people out there on the Interwebs are totally jazzed about Starcraft 2. Well, you should be–it’s a sequel to an awesome game that you probably played in, like, grade school. In fact, it was probably one of the last PC games you touched before leaving gaming altogether in favor of trying to get laid.
Now gaming is sufficiently widely accepted that you can spend a few hours every day playing Modern Warfare 2 without taking a vow of chastity, and you’re chomping at the bit to drop some nukes online.
Starcraft 2: You're gonna get raped.

Starcraft 2: You're gonna get raped.

Fun fact: You’re gonna get raped. I’m talking painful, excruciating, humiliating ass-beating. People will beat you to death with SCVs just because they can. And once you’ve lost every single placement match and ended up in the copper division, you will get raped by hungry scrubs who have watched a few pro replays and kill you dead with cannon rushes, early Reapers, and 6-pool zerglings

And that’s because the nerds who really liked Starcraft have kept playing it for the last 12 years. If that doesn’t sound like fun, cancel your pre-order right now–or keep reading for some tips that just might help you earn a “GG” from your opponent.

Here’s what you have to know.

Playing Terran? Block off your ramp. Just do it. A barracks and two supply depots should work fine–you can lift off the barracks or lower the supply depot as necessary. If you don’t block off, your ass will be owned early on–marines can’t really hang against zerglings or zealots without some kind of fortification.

See that ramp in the lower-left? Block it or get devoured by The Horde.

See that ramp in the lower-left? Block it or get devoured by The Horde.

Build a lot of first-tier combat units. New players often try to build up their tech tree as quickly as possible because they want the big flashy stuff. This will get you killed by the guy who decides to build just two or three more marines than you have. Think of it this way: you have to earn those big flashy units by living long enough to get them without losing, and for that you need zerglings/zealots/marines.

Spend your money fast. Money in the bank is money that isn’t winning you the game. If you have more than 300-400 minerals on hand, you’re not spending fast enough.

Keep an eye on your opponent. Scout the living shit out of your opponent. Send an SCV out to look for him maybe a minute into the game, and check up on him periodically. Sacrifice overlords, build observers, use comsats–just do what you gotta do to know what he’s building before he kills you with it. Don’t be that guy who goes mass zealots and loses to a single mutalisk.

Key term: “Macromanagement” or “macro”. This is all the stuff that falls under building your army up. Your skills at maneuvering your army don’t matter if your opponent’s army is 3x the size.

Build more workers. Workers give you money. You need money to make an army. Constantly build workers. If you think you have too many workers, build an expansion at another mineral patch and send half your workers over there, and continue building workers from both Command Centers.

This guy needs more workers.

This guy needs more workers.

Attack their workers. You don’t have to take the opponent’s army head-on. Harass the worker line and it’ll make it harder for them to rebuild their army or research better tech–and you can catch the army out of position when they come back to defend.

Build more supply depots. All the time you spend waiting for your supply depots to build so you can build more units is time your opponent is, well, building more units. Don’t give him that.

Build more barracks/gateways/whatever. The more unit-production buildings you have, the faster you can rebuild your army. And they typically don’t cost much, either.

Don’t worry about towers. Towers are great, except they can’t move, and no dipshit is going to walk his troops in the way of a photon cannon when he can walk around it. Most of the time, they’re not going to help nearly as much as the stalker or whatever unit you could have built instead. Bunkers and Spine Crawlers are a bit more useful because you can salvage them or move them around, though.

Use the back door. Your guys will get killed going in the enemy base from the front. Use dropships/Nydus Canals/warp-in/whatever to get your army in a favorable spot, or use highly mobile units to dictate where the fight happens.

Key term: “Micromanagement” or “micro”. This is how you control your army to maximize each unit’s battle potential. Don’t worry as much about this until you’ve got your macro down. As long as you’re not walking into turret fire or getting owned by units on the high ground, you should be okay.

Build a detector. Observer, comsat sweep, Overseer, whatever. Build a detector that can move, so you won’t get totally owned when your opponent builds ONE unit that can cloak.

Don't get killed by these guys.

Don't get killed by these guys.

Start every game with “gl hf” (Good Luck, Have Fun) and end every game with “gg” (Good Game). Just do it.

-patrick miller

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13 thoughts on “How To Play Starcraft 2

  1. Sigh… you say to build a wall-off, which is sound advice, but you show one of the hardest ramps to do it on, and a bad wall-off at that.

    On larger ramps, use higher HP buildings, like a Barracks or a Factory. It’s very important vs Zerg to do this, since Banelings can bust down Supply Depots quite quickly.

    As for worker count, you want to stop around 24 workers or so on minerals unless you plan on expanding. That leads to full saturation, meaning that all mineral patches will be in use all the time.

    Since you’re giving advice mostly to Terran (Zerg don’t really wall-off, Protoss only worry about it against Zerg) you may consider advising your readers to upgrade Command Centers to Orbital Commands. It’s a necessary mechanic for Terran. The MULE Calldown ability gives you around 270 minerals over its lifespan, and breaks down when another is able to be summoned. The Scanner Sweep provides on-demand detection and scouting. The Supply Drop instantly gets rid of supply blockage so you can continue to build an army as additional Supply Depots are being built.

  2. Not Me

    Many people use “gg” as an insult — a sarcastic knife jab at the end of a one-sided match.

    I personally only say “gg” if I mean it, which is to say, it really was a good game.

    Similarly “gl hf” is half-assed. If you don’t feel it enough to type it out, don’t bother. “gl hf” is the equivalent to “meh whatever, homo” for all the feeling it conveys.

  3. stuchka

    ‘gg’ is said by the loser first, it’s a sign of good sportsmanship. When a winner says ‘gg’ first or doesn’t reply with a ‘gg’, he’s a jackass. At the beginning of game ‘gl hf’ is a polite way of saying ‘hello’ also. You do reply with a ‘hello’ when somebody greets you with a ‘hello’, right?

    Please keep in mind that this kind of etiquette worked in beta and it was a much more polite and skilled community (true Starcraft fans). Don’t really expect that from the influx of baddies and kiddies that release will entail. :<

  4. “Start every game with “gl hf” (Good Luck, Have Fun) and end every game with “gg” (Good Game). Just do it.”

    stfu noob. “eadh”

  5. Edgar Dung

    It’s impossible to find a casual player on Battlenet. Instead, all you find is hardcore gamers who spend their nights playing video games instead of fetching pussy.

    But they are so cool…online. What losers. LOLLLL

  6. Ahaha, that Blocking off the ramp (for terrans) is heartily agreed by.. moi! Can’t tell how many times a zealot/4 zerglings waltz into my mineral in the early game for fun~ Nice write up btw, cheers~!

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