How do you tell what units are in Starcraft 2?

I’m not one to usually follow YouTube videos of any sort (outside of Rhett and Link), but dang if Day 9 isn’t absolutely awesome. It is worth playing SC2 just to have a reason to follow his videos.

Yeah, I’m just not getting the game. I watched the Day9 video, and have played a number of games, both against the AI and against humans.

It basically just feels like I’m trying to execute an algorithm faster than the other guy. I do my “build order,” so does the other guy, either his guys hit my base first and get repulsed (in which case I generally win) or kill everything (in which case I lose), or my guys hit his base first and I crush everything (and win) or get repulsed (and generally lose).

Is the magic in the game basically all about pitting prearranged build orders against the other, and seeing whether you guessed right (and executed with maximum efficiency)?

Build orders are actually tree of decisions and should include early scouting, and vary accordingly. Except for ‘all in’ build orders which do work like you describe and if you fail the attack, the game is typically over.

For new players, though, they really are not important. You could literally get to the top 2% of all players building one unit and using it wisely (knowing when to attack or defend, spending money and expanding efficiently).

You might consider “The Staircase” – it’s a way of getting better at the game while maximizing fun and minimizing memorization and build orders:

An analogy would be like a new player who picks up a fighting game. They probably spend hours and hours just trying to DO the fancy moves. Then hours and hours trying to do the build-in combos. They never get to the game part of the game. Instead, they could try ignoring all the moves and focusing on a couple of basic ones. Then you have to fight with positioning/timing/strategy, all the deeper stuff you can’t even see when you start a fighting game. Then over time you slowly learn all the hard-to-execute moves and combos and introduce them into your gameplay.

The Staircase is basically doing that for Starcraft. You self-restrict so that you literally can not get tied up in build order bullshit and focus purely on the other elements, your mechanical skill at handling and building units, raw strategy of identifying the right times to build, attack, or defend.

By the way, whoever said that it tells you the name of the enemy unit in game when you click on it, would you please explain to me how and where?

Because I’m left clicking on shit that is stationary (so that I know it’s not that I’m misclicking), and it’s not telling me jackshit from what I can see.

Don’t play against people.

Here’s what i’d do, if you’re serious about learning. Play some Skirmish games against a very low level AI opponent. Play to have fun. Find some units that you enjoy using and try to use them in crazy, stupid ways. Build a forward base, be inefficient, do things that seem fun to you, just try things out and see what happens. When you can beat that level AI without difficulty, move it up a notch or two and try again. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you need to stop just having fun and start paying attention to the order of things.

Some hard core players might say this is bad because you’re going to have to unlearn bad habits you pick up vs the AI, but if you’re not having fun, you’re not going to care to advance anyway.

I played a bunch against the AI. I pretty quickly got to the harder level.

The problem I’m having with the game is the same against AIs as against humans. I’m not really sure what I’m doing. Again, in each case, I feel like I’m building a ton of shit, sending it out, and it either dies or it doesn’t. (Usually it dies.) I can’t figure out what the hell is going on, because the user interface is pretty fucking impenetrable.

I just sent a mixed bunch of dudes against a bunch of little Terran armored men and tanks. They all got slaughtered. I have no idea why. They just blow up in a couple of seconds. Then, when the game ends and I look at the score, I had more workers (yeah macro), fewer resources, and about the same time supply capped and about the same max unspent resources.

Other games just seem gimicky. I just lost one where a dude built all Protoss air, and just came and fried my workers early. Basically, is the fun in that me scouting him, discovering whether he’s building air, and then building counter units if he is? Or if I don’t discover him, just dying early?

I admit I’m a bit pissy right now, but this game just seems like shit. I know that millions upon millions of people play and really enjoy this game, so I’m objectively missing something, and I’m trying to figure out what it is. I’ve never had a problem like this with any other RTS (well, admittedly, those are mostly historical RTSs, where as I said, I can guess at what something is).

I am learning SC2 right now. The problem is that there is so much going on in a game and falling down at any of it can kill you really quickly. And, of course, you can’t learn everything right away.

Here’s what I do, I go online and play a match and get destroyed. Then I google search for the strategy the guy used and how to counter it. If a guy sends a bunch of unit X I look at how to counter unit X.

There’s a wealth of knowledge out there, and the game is really really good at matching you up with people of similar skill. I find it fun to beat guys by countering stuff that was ripping me up earlier.

For the absolute basic, bottom-of-the-barrel, “halp!” stuff, go on Youtube and watch filtersc’s stuff. I like him a lot better than Day9.

I can do it with strategies (i.e. things that seem to have a plan behind them), but so much of it just seems so quick and random. Big blob A against big blob B.

As stated, I’m just being pissy right now. It’s good advice, and I’ll do some more digging. I’m on a bad loss streak in League of Legends as well, and it’s just all pissing me off. :)

+1 for The Staircase. Play a few games as your preferred race doing the whole 1-unit all-in style play. It really does help, and it is pretty cool when you actually win that way (ignore the cheesy feeling).

Sometimes changing your keybindings can help too. There is some interesting stuff out there (check out “The Core” by the makers of the Staircase if you want to see all out crazy), but just switching to the in-game ‘grid’ style made a lot of sense to me over the default layout.

EDIT: Well, my reply is a bit late and it sounds like you might have macro concepts down so the Staircase may not be a huge gain for you. Yes, early on, blob vs. blob is the norm, and trying to have the ‘right’ blob is key (aka., scouting - though even then, better macro will usually win). One thing to check: you mentioned same workers/resources/etc, but check if they are out-upgrading you. A few upgraded units will slaughter non-upgraded units, which it sounds like could be happening in your case.

The hardest thing of all to develop in RTS games in general - and which through sideways parentage, League of Legends and DOTA 2 - is that sixth sense or blind sight of knowing what’s going on without actually seeing your opponent.

The best way to think about it is in this manner. I know my opponent is not an idiot and is trying to win, and i know he’s going to be doing “something” to try and win. If i only see two zergling s, that tells me a little, if i see 40 zerglings, that tells me a lot. Every thing he does or does not do is information because he has limited time and resources just as you do.

What this means is that you can never sit back and be passive, because they passive player will always be countered, bottle up and destroyed. If he’s doing “X” that doesn’t just mean you need to counter it, but also that there might be a window of opportunity to attack before his plan is sprung.

This is a hard skill to develop and takes a lot of playtime. But wondering what your opponent is doing is step 1. Finding out is step 2. Knowing what to do THEN is step 3 :).

You’re not alone! This has been my feeling about all Starcraft games. I feel like I’m punished for experimentation or trying to have some fun with the game - it feels more like a job. This is especially true in 1v1, which I basically never play - when playing 2v2 or 3v3 with a couple friends then sometimes you can get a little more creative because there are more combinations of units.

I admire the games a great deal but there are other games that are to my tastes much more and that may be the case for you as well.

I get what you guys are saying about guessing and build orders and all, but, honestly it only seems that way at first. The fact is that at low skill-levels you are playing REALLY REALLY slow. Often your opponent is too, but that’s pretty much irrelevant.

You probably haven’t worked out how to be constantly producing workers(I mean constantly, no 10-second gaps between them or anything like that, not forgetting to chrono/inject/mule, etc.), while also building units constantly, not queuing up units in your production buildings, and getting your tech up, while keeping your minerals and gas constantly spent.

Until you can play like that(I’m only gold and still slip, so like plat/diamond?), and ESPECIALLY in bronze, it can just feel so random. Once you are able to play at a proper speed, then you start finding room for experimentation, proper scouting, clever traps, army positioning and all that. Right now your build orders probably don’t even matter, in fact what your opponent does almost doesn’t matter at all(barring some cheese/rushes). It may feel like you need the proper counter to his units, or he perfectly countered yours or whatever, but it doesn’t matter, right now you just need to play better and build more stuff.

Just keep practicing playing faster. You WILL get better, and the game will begin to open it’s possibilities up to you slowly as well. It really is a great game!

But I know that my teammates are idiots, and the matchmaker thinks we belong in the same game, from which I can deduce that I too am an idiot. Thus, it follows that my opponents are in fact idiots.

Or alternatively, play a game that doesn’t rely on build orders and microing workers =) Then you can skip straight to the ‘experimentation, proper scouting, clever traps, army positioning and all that.’

Unless you like microing workers and enjoy the build order stuff. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

Myth and Homeworld were alot like that. Less resource-gathering and money/tech management, and more army positioning. Starcraft is just a very specific type of game. The main thing is that I don’t think most RTS’s are played at the speed that Starcraft is. An when first playing competitively I think it’s easy to think that it’s got varous design flaws and is unfair, and takes guessing, or is just build orders against each other, or any of a million other fallacies, when the fact is it’s just FAST, and you have to play it fast too, otherwise you lose and that’s that. Forget build orders, forget worker micro, if you play slow you will have a small army and you will lose. But yeah, different strokes. Personally I always liked the more “thoughtful” rts’s until I finally kind of spent some time last year to see if I could see just why SC was so popular competitively, and it really is a whole different beast.

Yup, plenty of room for both types of games to exist. I grew up on the standard RTS games like SC1 & 2, and I find as I move towards slower / no peon games, I can’t go back. I don’t really enjoy the first X minutes and trying to maintain that breakneck speed and the overall minutia of controlling peons – which is only exacerbated by all the peon dancing that can go on*. I went from Kohan to Company of Heroes to Airland Battle, and I couldn’t even go back to Company of Heroes 2 after that.

*One of the things I liked about the Age of Empire series, is you didn’t take your workers out scouting, they were relatively slow and would die to wild animals. You scouted with scouts. And you didn’t really have that annoying early harass phase either because of the bell and ranged towers.