A StarCraft 2 Viewer Guide
While it can be difficult to learn how to play, StarCraft 2 is much easier to watch and understand for newcomers. Esports Vikings breakdown ...
Often revered as the “World's Most Competitive 1vs1 Game” StarCraft 2 is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game that has held its own and evolved competitively over the soon to be last decade since it’s release. This game by Blizzard Entertainment features three unique Races, the human representative in the Terran, The technologically advanced alien race Protoss, and the hungry terrorizing Zerg swarm.
Each race has their own pros and cons, regardless of what Redditors will tell you. Mastering each one isn’t very likely as this game requires a lot of dedication to time played in order to climb the ranks.
If you want to play Protoss then play Protoss, If you want to play Terran than play Terran, same goes for Zerg. There isn’t one race that is the sole optimal race, there is only optimal levels of play for each race and whoever is the faster and more efficient player is going to win in the matchup.
Before jumping into competitive play, the game has a predecessor and there are nine campaigns in total between the two games and their expansions. Before you make a decision on which race to play, I would suggest playing through the campaigns and choosing your favorite race in the Narrative to take into the competitive scene. This however, isn’t necessary, you can play ranked and casual and even arcade without playing any of the Campaigns.
StarCraft offers the player a game with more depth than likely any other, Strategy comes in at every facet of the game. Knowledge is power and knowing what counters what is super important, being able to react to what your opponent is doing will increase your ability to play as or against any race.
StarCraft 2 is available via the Blizzard Launcher, the most played mode is Ranked 1v1. There is also Ranked 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4, although they are less prominent and don’t factor in to Competitive modes at all. There are non ranked versions of these modes as well which offer a more carefree way to practice.
For more casual players StarCraft has a lot to offer, on top of the initial game modes Casual versions, there is a Co-op mode where you select a major Character from the game to play as and team up with a friend or random person to complete a random mission at varying difficulties.
There is also a huge arcade that features community made games, some of which are just absolutely worth checking out such as Direct Strike, Micro Battles and Marine Arena just to name a few. With that in mind make sure to check into the Arcade to find a game that's more your style, there are plenty of maps and mods that there is something for everyone.
StarCraft’s pro scene is a little different than the normal esport. It has evolved over the years and while there are Esports Organizations that host StarCraft pros, it normally isn’t more than one with the exception of a few such as Jin-Air and Psystorm. Tournaments host the initial qualifier rounds that follow into a group stage then a bracket stage. Qualifiers have a huge amount of players usually in the range of 64-128, and whittle down to 6-64 for the group stages depending on the tournament. Tournaments like the Global StarCraft 2 League (GSL) in Korea have multiple group stages and filter into their bracket stage when only eight players remain.
It used to be that some tournaments hosted squads of five or seven players and teams would battle it out in 1v1’s, when a player loses they cannot play again. It’s worth it to go back and watch some of these matches if you’re interested because the level of competition was slightly lower, but led to some intense matches.
Nowadays it really is just Best of Series 1v1 games the whole tournament which allows for some strong storylines and upsets.
There are a lot of units you can build and use on each race, which is why one of the best ways to grasp how the game works is playing the campaign. Terran’s have units suchs as Marine’s, Marauders and Reapers which work like infantry, as well as Mechs like Hellions, Cyclones and Tanks. Each set of unites servers a specific purpose and these are just the basic units. The Zerg Swarm has a lot of Bio heavy units that are meant to overwhelm the opponent such as Zerglings, Banelings, and Hydralisks but also hosts armored units that can tank a bit more damage like Roaches and Ultralisks. Protoss have a lot of Casters that do loads of AOE damage such as High Templars and Disruptors, but also use heavy single target hitters like Stalkers and Immortals. Again there are a lot more units but these are all the base level for each race. There are also some special units and Air units that add more to the experience and offer some other counters.
StarCraft 2 Ranks are based solely off of Match Making Rating (MMR). There are seven Ranks and the first five, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond contain three tiers while Masters and Grandmasters are based off of the highest MMR players have. Even at the Grandmaster level, between regions there is a marginal discrepancy where it is often recognized that people such as Joona “Serral” Sotala and Cho “Maru” Seongju who have sat atop the European and Korean servers respectively have such a high MMR that none of the players below them really compare. Of course this changes when it comes to tournaments where we’ve seen them drop games, but they play the most consistently and that is consistently better than anyone else.
Once you reach a certain MMR threshold you will be promoted to the next rank, reversely if you drop below an MMR threshold you will be demoted in rank. Those playing at the Masters and GM ranks move up and down positions out of the top 250 players or so.
This game changes rather frequently bringing new balance to the game and forcing players to adapt to new situations, this is vital for the survival and growth of any esport as when the same thing happens over and over again people tend to lose interest. With that in mind before making a dedication to StarCraft make sure you are ready to make a dedication to an ever changing environment that comes with fast paced games and split second decision making. Nobody becomes good overnight.
With the amount of depth and rapport htat StarCraft has gained over the last two decades, it remains a genre staple and should be played by anyone who has a competitive side and likes to challenge themselves. When deciding to play this game, remember that there is a deep history and narrative that is worth checking out. The initial game is free along with the multiplayer but you would be missing out on a lot of great content if you pass up the first StarCraft game and expansion as well as the SC2 expansions.
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