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Starcraft 2: Moonglade vs. Knight Light

By Shamus
on Saturday May 4, 2013
Filed under:
Video Games


I don’t pay a lot of attention to the Starcraft 2 scene, but once in a while the mood takes me and I watch a couple of pro-league games. Here is one from late last year that’s probably the best Starcraft game I’ve ever watched. I just discovered it this afternoon and I thought I’d share. Maybe you need to be familiar with the scene to appreciate just how crazy this game is, but the players spend about half an hour in a state where it feels like the game could end at any second.

The full match is just short of an hour, and the whole battle seemed to be balanced on the edge of a knife until the very end. This is pretty unusual when your typical league game is about 15 or 20 minutes, and the winner is often clear the the audience after just 10.

Link (YouTube)

For reference:

The pink-haired guy is Knight Light. (Or Knightlight, knightlite, Knightlife, or whatever. In-game he’s just “Knight”, but the commenters call him Knightlight.) He’s down in the lower right corner playing the red Terran.

The guy in the red hoodie is Moonblade. (Or Moonglade? I dunno. What the game says in the chat doesn’t match what it says at the top or what the announcers say.) He’s in the upper left, playing blue Zerg.

And here is part 2:

Link (YouTube)

You have to watch very carefully at the end to see who wins, because the message goes by too fast and the announcers never officially call it. For the record, Moonblade conceded, making Knightlight the winner.

I usually prefer to watch Korean games. I adore the audience enthusiasm and the fan groups that form around individual players. In this video, I’m really sad we never get to see any audience reaction shots.

On the other hand, I love that we can see the keyboards. Back in the Starcraft 1 days, we never got to see player keyboards. Look at how fast their fingers move. Players are often rated on their APM – Actions Per Minute. Having a high APM is like being a fast runner in football. It’s not a guarantee of success, but it’s a big part of it. At the highest levels players have more than 60 APM, meaning they are making decisions and issuing unit orders faster than once per second.

Generally you group units to hotkeys using the numeric keys on the main keyboard. So, you select one or more units and hit CTRL-2 to bind that unit to the number 2. Then later you can press 2 to select that unit again, even if they’re not on screen. Press 2 again and your view will jump to the unit. Keep all this in mind when you watch their fingers fluttering. They’re rapidly switching units, issuing orders, hopping around the map, and then moving on to other things.

At any given moment a player might have their attention split between three different areas of the map, all doing unrelated things. Maybe they’re building things at their main base, guiding a lone peon around the map to scout for enemy activity, and moving a multi-group army towards something they plan to attack. It’s amazing to watch a battle unfold, with both players giving specific strategic orders to single units (called “micro” management by the commenters) and moving groups around in complex formations. The battle is fast and confusing and as a member of the audience it’s hard just to understand what you’re seeing. Then the view jumps back to base, where a bunch a new units and buildings have been produced, and you realize the player was doing all of this while at the same time managing the battle you just watched.

It’s an amazing display of multitasking and no less amazing to me than watching Usain Bolt be the fastest recorded homo sapien. It really is amazing what people can do.

Comments (112)

  1. Strangeite says:

    I love finally living in the future.

  2. Duneyrr says:

    60 APM? That’s closer to the beginner/intermediate level. Pros can hover around 200-300 APM and can get up to over 400 in big battles like these.

    • sofawall says:

      It depends on what APM standard we’re using. Brood War’s “any click is an action” really inflates APM, while the “Only useful actions” standard can bring it way way down.

      • Brandon says:

        Honestly, even 60 APM seems impossibly high if you demand that every single action must have meaning. During big battles, I could see that, but majority of time spent is NOT in a big battle. I’ve heard that when players aren’t in combat they tend to inflate their APM with a ton of minor, useless moves and such, just to keep their pace up so when the battle breaks out they aren’t caught flat .. fingered?

        Kind of like a jogger running in place at a crosswalk rather than stopping until they can cross, I guess.

        Slight tangent, but I have to wonder: Do you pay any attention to League of Legends, Shamus?

        • Klay F. says:

          I can vouch for this. Back when I played the original. I tried plenty of times to increase my APM because I had the delusion of competing. I hated how having a high APM basically meant uselessly clicking for much of the early game. But, I found that its pretty much impossible to turn on a high APM like a switch. You have to set a pace and stick to it no matter what. Whats more, if your APM dips for whatever reason, your opponent (assuming they are doing their job of trying to beat you) will usually sense it and pounce. If they know what your usual APM is, they will know the timing of your base expansions, and the likely timing of incoming attacks, so a failure to meet that timing will usually be exploited.

        • Dragomok says:

          Or DotA 2, especially people playing Invoker or Meepo(s). These two heroes are insane.

          • Tse says:

            Invoker can become really easy to control with a good MMO mouse. Just bind preparing each of his 10 spells and going back to his default state to a single button. For example, meteor on a carry Invoker would be: w->e->e->r->e bound to a single key. Tornado would be: q->w->w->r->e->e->e. If you want, you can bind preparing the spell and going to full q/w/e to different keys, though it wouldn’t be needed in lower level games.
            Meepo is a bastard to control, but he is so good, able to farm in all lanes simultaneously after lvl 11 (or 6 with scepter).

            • Eric says:

              For me the really challenging thing about Invoker isn’t really queing the spells but rather 1) using the most effective spells and the right times and 2) using them to maximum effect in the middle of a frenetic team fight 3) using his spells and items (my build typically includes almost all active use items, like force staff, almost always blink dagger, ect…)

              I love Invoker, favorite hero in the game by far.

        • BenD says:

          This is very easy for me to believe, considering that when I was doing raids with a progression guild in WoW I was constantly wiggling my fingers, multi-windowing, etc. while waiting for raid to begin or regroup. If I gave myself a moment to rest, I’d be off my game for several minutes when we got back into the groove; my focus wouldn’t be honed properly. And that’s in a game where you can manage most of your actions with predetermined cycles and macros (or at least you could at the time, I have no idea how it works now), making exceptions to your routine only for special situations. A game where you control only one character at a time (generally) and don’t strategize on the grand scale (usually).

          Starcraft looks outright terrifying to me. If we saw someone doing this at their workplace, we’d assume they were at risk of stress-related health problems later in life.

    • Eruanno says:

      I was confused there for a moment since Battle.net reports me averaging at ~100 APM and I am most definitely not anywhere NEAR this skill level at StarCraft 2.

      But yeah, if we count useful moves, then… I’m not sure where I’m at.

      • Wedge says:

        Note that the APM report on Battle.net is well and truly fucked. It sometimes reports me as having 400+ APM, when I’m a mid-gold player. If you want an accurate APM (reported in real minutes and not BS Blizzard time) use SC2Gears to analyze your replays.

        But yeah, I actually laughed at the 60 APM comment above. I regularly have 100-150 APM in games, and I am orders of magnitude worse than any pro. 300-350 APM is *typical* for pro games, and someone godly like Flash can pull 400 APM for a game.

  3. The Nick says:

    That was pretty cool. I wish I knew more about SC2 so I could understand more of it, but there were certainly some tricky things going on.

  4. sofawall says:

    I heard Machinae Supremacy playing at the start, and I thought I somehow hit play in VLC. nobody I’ve ever met has even heard of the band, never mind listens to them. I’m sure Seamus will turn them down due to actually having lyrics, but I think they’re worth a listen, especially Rise of a Digital Nation (album).

    • Someone says:

      I know Machinae Supremacy and even listen to a couple of their songs, mostly from Jets’n’Guns which is a sidescrolling shooter nobody I’ve met ever even heard of.

      • Dragomok says:

        Well, Jets’n’Guns was included in a certain popular Polish $5 gaming magazine, so I guess you don’t meet a lot of Poles, do you?

        (I haven’t played it, though – SHMUPs are not my thing.)

    • LCF says:

      I heard of that band when I played Iji (which is a great game, by the way).
      A cover of Hero is included in the soundtrack.
      That’s some nice music.

  5. Aldowyn says:

    Hmm, TvZ? I was expecting TvT, those tend to last really long if they make it to end game.

    *after watching* Hmm. There was no doubt in my mind who was winning for most of that match, it was just a matter of how long it could be delayed. Had to burn through that 10k minerals O.O There were only a couple of moments it looked like it might swing the other way. Fun to watch, though.

    • Thomas says:

      I think if Moonglade had ever managed to stabilise before he choked on gas he would have rolled Knight Light.. He was probably a handful of spores, a few spines and some doubled up tech-structures from winning.

      (I hope my spoiler tags are a little irritating for people not reading them :P)

      • Gruhunchously says:

        It’s like Mad Libs…

      • Steve C says:

        I’m not a good SC2 player but why didn’t zerg make a bunch of spore crawlers and spine crawlers when he had that huge mineral bank? Zerg was being ripped to shreds by ghosts and nukes. Those would have countered the ghosts while not costing any supply, nor gas, nor any minerals he actually needed. I don’t get it. Again, I’m not even close to the skill level of these guys so I can’t critique, I just want to know.

        • Tse says:

          Because he’d need a lot of them to cover the whole area. He would have to waste all of his accumulated resources just for that. I would’ve made a wall of overlords with a small mobile force to destroy detected threats. That, of course, would make a lot of his overlords vulnerable, which could severely cripple him.

          • Thomas says:

            All his tech structures were in mainbases, providing he had the air to shut down drops he only needs spores at the ramps which would be pretty standard play.

            Plus a spore and spine only costs 125 + 150 min. He could have built 20 spores and 10 spines in a huge ring around his base and still have had a bank of 5-15k minerals plus all his gas.

            • Klay F. says:

              In all honesty, I don’t think it would have made a difference. Knight should have never been able to get that close the the mains in the first place. Also, with the sheer number of nukes flying in that match, spores and spines would make absolutely no difference. Not sure which parts I should spoiler so I’m just gonna spoiler the whole thing.

              • Thomas says:

                Nukes are expensive though and take time to build, if you’re having to nukes static defence with them that stacks up. But more importantly, it also takes time, whilst Kníght is getting his way through the wall of crawl Moonglade would have had no excuse if he couldn’t get his army back in time

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wow,that was intense.Not often does a game go to late tier units,and watching those nukes in action was awesome.Thanks for the share Shamoose.

  7. Scourge says:

    Personally I prefer the game of BratOk vs Stephano, only because the two are hilarious.

    Backstory: The two are fighting in a tournament and neither of the players wants to win, because that would mean going up against a crazy good player called Sen. As a result both players do impossibly funny implausible builds in attempts to lose.

    Best quotes:
    TotalHalibut: “Whatever the case, we’ve got BratOK going for the Starport here, which could of course be very very indicative of the fact that Stephano has built his Hatchery in his opponent’s natural.”
    Apollo: “Ehh, this is a pretty… standard build, you know, Stephano…”


    And then there is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-3ZrXOrz_0
    What happens when you don’t scout your opponents base correctly.

  8. brunothepig says:

    I’ve often thought about checking out competitive Starcraft, but I should probably try the games (I know, I know) first, so that I have some grounding knowledge. So I really have nothing to say on this, besides that I did love competitive League of Legends. That’s about the only experience I’ve had with competitive gaming. Stopped watching it when I stopped playing the game though.

    • Thomas says:

      If you know how an RTS works, you can definitely enjoy competitive SC2 without actually playing the game (I’ve never played it and I follow competitions, TLO ftw). It’ll take a few games to work out exactly what units do but commentators are pretty good about making it understandable.

      I’ve watched enough that I actually knew more about the game than my friend who plays it :P

    • Brandon says:

      Arguably, competitive Starcraft is a lot easier to get into than competetive League of Legends. You can learn all three races fairly quickly, each has a handful of units, and most of the units have one or two things special about them at most. LoL, on the other hand, has upwards of 90 Champions now, each with 5 relatively unique things about them, and then all of the in-game items, and the masteries and stuff.. Yeah.

      I could be wrong, but I’ve sunk a lot of time into LoL and there are still champions who I have no idea what their skills are.

      • brunothepig says:

        Yeah that’s one thing I actually loved about the game, watching and playing it. There’s an incredible amount of depth, which made things like the character choices before the game even starts actually important. I never played at that level, but watching the pro tournaments, seeing the strategy of one team picking their Jungler to counter the enemy Mid and all that kind of thing was really interesting.

        Maybe I will check out competitive Starcraft if I get bored some time though. :P

      • Trix2000 says:

        To be fair, most if not all champions fall into certain roles (depends on the item build though) and there is a fairly clear metagame that wins out in intermediate levels. Higher level it’s not so cut-and-dried, but you’ll still see pretty balanced teams of AD carry/tank/support/mage/whatever that will have similar playstyles. However, there is also a significant degree of knowing the key strengths of each champion and watching for how well they get used (ie: heavy cc champs making teamfights easier).

        There’s definitely a significant learning curve, but if you start by considering champions based on their role rather than exactly what they can do, its a good place to start. At least until someone picks a so-called AP carry and gears them to be a tank…

  9. Ben says:

    It’s definitely “Moonglade” if you care to fix it (I’ve never heard of a “moonblade”, and http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Main_Page hasn’t either)

    • Cordance says:

      Yes it is MoonGlade a player from Australia on team Nv. SEA (South East Asia)is where the games came from it was WCS (world champion series) Oceania finals last year. Knight has since changed his handle is an New Zealand player, light is his clan/team name.

      In random related news Moonglade will be playing in the round of 16 of the current America WCS.

  10. Deadyawn says:

    Ugh, nothing like watching professionals at their job to make you feel inferior. I’ve never been very good at multitasking under time pressure so RTS is a genre that I’m fairly terrible at. I do enjoy it though when I can play against someone as terrible as I am. Since the AoE 2 HD edition came out me and some friends have been playing together pretty regularly and we’re all pretty bad so it’s quite fun.

    I can’t imagine ever getting that good at it though.

    • HiEv says:

      Apologies for hijacking this thread but…

      Zaxares thread below is a huge SPOILER! Do NOT read it unless you want to know who won or already know!
      Zaxares thread below is a huge SPOILER! Do NOT read it unless you want to know who won or already know!
      Zaxares thread below is a huge SPOILER! Do NOT read it unless you want to know who won or already know!

      Seriously people, please use the spoiler tag if you want to make comments like that.

  11. Zaxares says:

    Dang it… How come the Zerg never seem to win at these grandmaster level matches? >:(

    • Cordance says:

      Don’t worry moonglade did quite well that day. If you follow the WCS series you may have noticed he attended 2012 of which this was a qualifier to enter. If you want to see Zerg winning stop my the SEA scene some time. http://www.sc2sea.com Most of the tournaments from this site have a large zerg population.

    • Shamus says:

      I’m not sure if the complaints about spoiler tags above were done in jest, or what was being spoiled, or what. But just to be safe, I added spoiler tags to Zaxares comment.

      • Thomas says:

        Well it’s a genuine spoiler because he implies pretty heavily who lost by naming the race. Cordance’s response is a bit of a spoiler too but at least it’s buried in text a bit more so you can’t accidentally read it whilst skipping

      • HiEv says:

        Thanks. That one little word spoiled it for me. (Though to be honest, Cordance spoils it too.)

        I’m the same way with commercials for movies or TV shows, just one wrong second of video and I can jump ahead of the story and figure out the ending. Nothing like knowing how a show will end 15 minutes into a ~60 minute TV show. :-P

        • Zaxares says:

          Eeep! Sorry! :( I’m used to forums where it’s kind of expected that all manner of spoilers will be talked about and discussed in the comments, and that one should not scroll down to the comments without reading the story/watching the video first.

          Thanks for adding the spoiler tags, Shamus.

  12. Zukhramm says:

    This post basically explains why I don’t like Starcraft, or most of the RTS genre. To me, it really looks that exact opposite how I’d expect something called a strategy game to look.

    • Nawyria says:

      Well, to be fair the Starcraft games are first and foremost about mechanical execution. You can basically pick a particular build order to execute blindly game after game and as long as you can do it quick and efficient you’ll beat 90% of the playerbase. Just having a plan and sticking to it and making sure you Have More Stuff More Quickly ™ than the opponent wins games.

      As far as strategy goes, there is only a limited amount actually going on in-game. People do ‘a build’ or ‘a strategy’; they go into the game with a particular plan. While it is vital to keep think on your feet and reacting to changing circumstances, most of these reactions are pre-planned based on earlier experiences.

      In that sense most of the ‘strategising’ is done BEFORE the game even starts and the rest is a matter of proper execution and reaction.

      • Thomas says:

        It’s actually the same in chess. Any person whose spent weeks and months pouring over the various combinations of moves a person can do in response to a certain combination of moves they make is ultimately going to have a strategic advantage over the person whose trying to calculate those variables on the fly as the game progresses.

        I’ve been trying to think of ways to make a strategy game that nullifies the idea of a build order and it’s almost impossible. Either you make it very mechanical so the skill is all physical, or you add in a huge amount of random elements or you try to make the set of responses your opponent has so large it’s impossible to calculate. (Here I was thinking an RTS where you select the units you can make and use in that game League of Legends style from a huge pool of possible units. I think that has the best chance of actually working because people can counter-pick and ban your pre-made strategies)

        • Trithne says:

          Eugen System’s RUSE is good like this, since it was designed with preventing micro as a design goal. The Tech Tree is extremely horizontal, and the game is made of soft counters with positioning being more important than what units you bring (Tanks massacre infantry in open ground, but infantry in woods or towns are extremely hard to break). Units don’t have health, only morale, routing units flee by default to recover. Build orders aren’t a thing since you can open with just about anything and transition into anything. You can see the entire map at once, and can always see enemy unit positions and numbers (but not details on what they are), unless the unit is hiding in some way. It takes out all the APM bullshit and makes it a game about planning and responding.

        • MrGuy says:

          Diplomacy’s “Pure” variant does this very well (a strategy game where there’s very limited focus on a “build order” concept)

          Of course, Diplomacy is a 7 player game, and as the game implies is driven by players’ personal interactions off the board, so the strategy is of a very different type.

      • Scourge says:

        Sorta like this: http://www.nerfnow.com/comic/505

        And then you go up a rank.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      If you are referring to having a few predefined paths that should be followed,Im always confused as to why people think this somehow negates strategy.Just because you learn it before the conflict doesnt make it less strategic.After all,real military teaches the officers a bunch of predefined tactics to use and when to use them.

  13. Tohron says:

    If you want to go a little retro, here’s a really neat Starcraft: Brood War game from about a year ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNrlTHtF0BY

    Not only is it action packed from start to finish, but it’s the deciding game of the last season of Brood War Proleague.

  14. Spammy says:

    Starcraft is not my cup of tea. I got burnt out on the “Build your strategy before the game, click and mash frantically through your build order” twitch type of RTS when I played Empire Earth’s multiplayer in my younger days. When I finally got a copy of Starcraft I just didn’t have the energy left to try to do it. And besides, I prefer Total War type RTSes over Starcraft anyway.

    However, when it comes to competitive gaming, watching competitive TF2 is my cup of tea. Especially Highlander. Everyone says that 6v6 is the higher skill level and I can see where they’re coming from, but Highlander just feels more TF2 to me, whereas in 6v6 only the more Quake-like classes shine. Also for all their skills 6s players never turn around, only there will you see a highly skilled Medic just standing still.

    But Highlander means you have to not only know your class inside and out but know every other class inside and out and where they’ll be and what they’ll be doing. And to me, that’s where the higher skill is, in playing and mastering the full game, not a slice of it.

    Also they don’t play Payload in 6s and Payload is my favorite round type.

    • Thomas says:

      I’m always a little shocked by how high the skill level can get so quickly. It feels like even silver leaguers have got build orders down to the exact worker, for the beginning at least

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Its not about starcraft,but Shamoose did a post quite a while back about how the gap between tiers of players in unreal tournament is about an order of magnitude.Thats about right for most multiplayer games.

        • Thomas says:

          Starcraft probably has way more tiers too, only LoL and maybe some tournament fighters because SC2 has a whole country that’s a tier of it’s own. It’s insane to think that people who can reach #1 European Grandmasters without even having to think about it only get ranked mid masters in Korea

      • MrGuy says:

        I guess that’s true. However, I’d argue that even pretty low level chess players have a pretty detailed understanding of their preferred opening, including “canned” responses to opposing moves, for the first 20 moves or so.

        Basically, if you’ve decided you’re going to play “for serious,” have a clearly defined opening that maxes your output is one of the first (and easiest to control) things you’d want to do.

        • Thomas says:

          It’s definitely powerful in pretty much any strategy game to have opening build orders and you’re right that they probably the easiest way for newbies to jump up the rankings, but I always figured that bronze/silver league would still be full of people who’d never even heard of the idea of a build order.

          I’ve got a friend who owned SC2 who thought that EMP hurt tanks because, you know, they’ve probably got a load of circuits that could be conked out and I always thought that bronze/silver would be full of variations of that level of knowledge, followed by people with intuitive understanding but no formal build order plans, but no, even in Bronze people seem to know how to 4gate/6pool

  15. swenson says:

    I just don’t do RTSes–I’m not capable of doing the micro/macro/manage eight thousand things at once thing–but I always enjoy watching them, even more than watching games that I actually enjoy playing (FPSes). Not really certain why that is, but I suppose it’s no different than a couch potato watching sports games on TV when they don’t actually play any themselves.

    • swenson says:

      On a side note, I finally was able to sit down and watch all the way through this, and it’s really quite amazing how quickly time flies… it definitely didn’t feel like an hour!

  16. Rodfsb says:

    There is almost no harass in this game, that is why they got an almost 1 hour game. Those matches where players just macro until late game are kinda boring. Recommend to watch matches from Flash, Life or Innovation, specially when they play against each other. What those koreans can do is really amazing. Unfortunately, there is no occidental player that can play as well and consistently as them.

    • Thomas says:

      I don’t know if you could say there was no harass. The one guy was banking the entire game and yet the supplies were 100-150 for most of it. His manufacturing and tech structures were almost constantly being destroyed, otherwise he would have maxed out and won the game right there and then without it being taken to the 1 hour mark. That counts as harass.

      Most of the game was harass really, what there wasn’t, was a big engagement. I’m sure there were some opportunities for the one person to take the win early on if he’d just pushed out across the map, instead he kept skirmishing and retreating

      • Rodfsb says:

        There is almost no workers killed in the initial 20 min mark. Both players failed to exploit the weak spots of each other defenses. The zerg guy makes a ton of mutalisks and fail to use them on a productive manner for the first half of the match, the terran guy almost didn’t used drops in the beginning and when he tried it was just weak attempts. If you really want to see a really crazy game watch Live vs. Innovation on GSL 2013

        • Thomas says:

          But Zerg went muta-ling. Unless you’re Korean dropping is BO fail pre HoTS medivac boost. Terran’s initial attacks and timings were weak and way too hesistant but by the time Z took a fourth he was attacking consistently and efficiently enough that he was actually keeping up on supply against a 4 base zerg. 15-20 minutes I agree with you and they both missed opportunites, but after that the second T lets him build tech structures and larvae for a 300 supply army the game is over. And that never happens because of the harass.

          It’s not Korean level skill but there weren’t many period of inactivity until that dead zone around 15 minutes

  17. kdansky says:

    I can recommend the finals (top 8, actually) of Dreamhack that was two weeks ago, with an epic Korean vs Sweden (Home country of the tournament). The new version of SC2 (Heart of the Swarm) is also way more interesting to watch than Wings of Liberty. It’s less about massing up a 200-supply army and trading it with the enemy, and more about attacks in multiple spots, super-efficient harass and constant aggression.

    As for this game: I knew it, and I’ve seen it before, but judging as someone who has seen hundreds if not thousands of games (and played nearly as many), I’ve seen better. Moonglade made a giant mistake in the middle when he didn’t bother to attack for about 25 minutes. But that is with hindsight, because that would be a very modern style (as seen at dreamhack) where you relentlessly attack in ZvT, and this game is already 9 months old, which means the meta has shifted significantly. Still, when he got above 10k minerals, he should have done a “300-push”: attack with a 150 supply army, then instantly rebuild everything and do it again 30 seconds later, generally including a crazy tech switch (e.g. from Corruptor/Infestor into Ultra/Ling).

    But it’s certainly an entertaining game, especially if you don’t know as much about it, because you can see such a broad number of strategies, units and tricks.

  18. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I largely suck at competitive games, which is why I generally keep away from multiplayer in most of its forms. I do like me a good cast every now and then though, even if professional level Starcraft plainly scares me.

    Still, far as RTSes go I prefer the replays for Dawn of War, especially the first one (up to and including Soulstorm), probably because that’s one of the few games where I can actually grasp more of the strategy, what counters what and all that. I don’t think there were many actual tournaments of those sadly.

  19. nerdpride says:

    I used to love Starcraft. These days, I can’t get over how Blizzard didn’t do anything really new with it. Also progaming–I got tired of that by the time the Broodwar scene was over.

    These days I like watching Zero-K and Achron. The first because who could not want to support an awesome open source game. Achron because it’s still developing in interesting ways IMHO. They’re scrambling to try to balance time travel, hehe.

    • RCN says:

      I’m with you on being disappointed with SC2. It all started when my brother saw one of the first gameplay videos over my shoulder and honestly confused it with Starcraft 1.

      But ok, if that’s what Blizzard wants (or Activision), that’s their deal. What gets to me is when people come defending this by saying Starcraft was already the perfect game, and that even the most minors of changes they did introduce to the game only made it worse…

  20. Eric says:

    I was really hoping SC2 was going to be like WCIII–a set a new mechanics that really pushed the envelope, and a really awesome modding scene. While there are great modders for SC2 (I used to make maps for Cortex Roleplay, Yeti434 is my sc2 tag if you want to check them out), unfortunately the scene as a whole just wasn’t what it was in WCIII.

    Shamus and Co, if any of you would like to try DOTA2 I received a bunch of passes from steam awhile back ago and would love for you guys to do a podcast on it. DOTA/DOTA2 are interesting in that, in an industry of simplification of mechanics, they went the exact opposite way by layering small mechanic upon small mechanics to make games that, when you get down to it, are mind boggling complex but also very fun.

    If you guys have never tried DOTA I highly recommend you do with this preface: it takes about 2 years casual gameplay for any level of system mastery. What amazes me the most is just how rewarding a set of mechanics can be within themselves.

    • RCN says:

      You do know Shamus and crew abhors toxic multiplayer communities, right? And MOBA games are the most toxic of them all, with DOTA2 standing tall as the cesspool king.

      My opinion is often that, in random games, it is not team cohesion and skill that wins, but team morale.

      I’ve seem many teams that were doing okay until one of the players does a small mistake and then all the team jumps on the guy, resulting in the team going worse and worse until they irrevocably and definitively lose. And on rare occasions I’ve seem teams where a couple of members underperformed but the team still won because the other players gave tips and encouragement to the laggers. (Rare because almost never you find decent human beings on a team). The worst is that it usually takes one team member to be an ass for the rest of the team to follow suit…

      And then I hear that even professional players in both DOTA2 and LOL are horrible, horrible human beings to their teammates when playing random…

  21. I’d probably watch, or at least be interested in, an American (or global) video game competition with something like Starcraft or Civ or an equally robust strategy game.

    FYI to those who might want to start up a league in the U.S.: I just found out that professional sports leagues (like the NFL, NBA, etc.) are 501c-3 organizations. Yes, that’s right, those guys making billions off of sports are able to get away with being “charitable organizations.” It’s to do with way back in the day, those who started the leagues claimed that they’d be helping to promote amateur and local franchises/teams, or just “promoting the sport.” Which, of course, they really don’t do.

    So vidya game pro league with no taxes. Any takers?

  22. Will says:

    You know, I can’t help but think about how RTS like this almost need the ability to create other brains just to control your different armies.

    I mean really. If you send your Blademaster in to murder some peons WHILE you distract the enemy with your army…then why should you have to split your attention between micromanaging your army so you have all of your units dancing when they are focus fired and know when to retreat and micro managing your hero to ensure he’s attacking works instead of the stupid lumber mill and hitting the wind walk macro at the right times.

    In any real war, you wouldn’t have mindless insect-brains that are helpless without the direct orders from one single overworked central mind (…then again, the Zerg Cerebrates work *just* like that, but I digress…). You would have a briefing in the morning and then put each division of your army in the care of a Lieutenant who worries about the particulars of HIS army and its role in the grand plan. And all of them do what they think is best with the facts on the ground. And on top of that, you would put somebody else in charge of allocating funds to production and defense.

    I mean, Moonglade built up a giant amount of minerals and gas that he just wasn’t using because he was mentally stretched too thin. I know that feel. It happens to me in every single game.

    • Rodfsb says:

      It isn’t impossible. Multitasking is a skill that is developed, no player can multitask like the best pro players without playing a few thousands matches before. The first few games are horrible, you always forget something but after while it becomes second nature. The first few matches is you losing half the time if not most of the time, you need kinda a zen mindset and just deal with the massive frustation, after while it becomes really fun defeating newbies after newbies and more newbies, even losing to players that have the same level as you becomes fun because you didn’t lost because you forgot the hotkeys but because you made a tactical mistake, you feel you are in control and can correct that mistake next time. You stop fighting the interface and your brain and start to fight your opponent.It is a pity that most people give up before reaching that point, thinking that they are never to become good, don’t you think? I had the mindset that I wasn’t playing to win but to become better. Those guys are reasonable players but any decent Korean can kick their ass without even really trying hard, they probably know this too but they just don’t care and keep playing.

  23. Deadpool says:

    I end up watching western games more often than not if only because I enjoy the announcers… Husky and TotalBiscuit are quite entertaining.

    I quite enjoy watching HuK games. He isn’t the best player, but he is innovative at least. There’s a video of him Mothership rushing that’s quite hysterical… If only because he TOLD his opponent he was gonna do it, and it worked anyways.

    • Thomas says:

      I’m terrible I follow TLO and more often than not if he gets knocked out a tournament I stop watching it. He might not have Huk level BM but he also gives you pretty much the highest chance of seeing a nidus actually being used in a pro-level match.

      • Deadpool says:

        TLO is quite fun… His HotS beta play in particular was impressive. He tried some INTERESTING stuff…

      • Cordance says:

        You might like looking up a SEA zerg player Tgun. He often uses things out of the ordinary when he is streaming games. He has pioneered such builds as the hatch spine crawler rush vs protos forge fast expand. As well as other great one of late nydus, swam host. He is also very well known for his tactical knowledge and understanding which he will share on stream. You wont see him in many comps outside of online ones due to him living in Australia

  24. Lanthanide says:

    This game actually wasn’t that good, as many people above have said.

    Here is probably the best SC2 game I’ve ever seen, and it’s in the expansion pack too. Utterly non-stop:

  25. Wulfgar says:

    i ended my adventure with SC2 last year. the player pool shrunk so much you couldn’t find players on your skill level. with expansion out it’s even worse, people migrated to Heart of the Swarm. i’m not going to buy it. i don’t care about single player and multiplayer changes are not that significant to justify spending 40$ on it
    this is should be just a DLC

  26. krellen says:

    This made me want to play StarCraft II. Then I remembered the always-online thing and Activision lost a sale.

  27. BrokenLute says:

    Made me look, then browse through other casts all afternoon. It comes close to football, if you’re not careful enough, you start shouting like the players can hear you.

    I’m largely oblivious to all the e-sports shenanigans, but it’s reassuring to see that the “games as sports” thing works just fine with this sort of coverage.

    • Rack says:

      At the LOWEST levels players have an APM more than 60, there’s a tax of 70 APM to do literally nothing in that game, meaning at my APM of 50 I literally can’t even play in Bronze.

      60 APM is equivalent of a football player being able to walk at 1.5 miles per hour.

    • Rack says:

      At the LOWEST levels players have an APM more than 60, there’s a tax of 70 APM to do literally nothing in that game, meaning at my APM of 50 I literally can’t even play in Bronze.

      60 APM is equivalent of a football player being able to walk at 1.5 miles per hour.

      Oh and in theory you can play Starcraft II offline as long as you’ve played online in the last 30 days. That hasn’t ever been the case for me, there’s a “bug” that means that timer expires after 30 seconds not 30 days.

  28. Rack says:

    At the LOWEST levels players have an APM more than 60, there’s a tax of 70 APM to do literally nothing in that game, meaning at my APM of 50 I literally can’t even play in Bronze.

    60 APM is equivalent of a football player being able to walk at 1.5 miles per hour.

    • Thomas says:

      What you need sir, is Ketroc’s Sky Terran build:

      Masters NA player, rarely manages to get above 50 APM (also once hit masters EU to prove that NA isn’t lagging that badly

      • Rqack says:

        That’s still way faster than I can move. I think this is where the concept of apm gets a bit vague, when I queue up a dozen units and buildings in quick succession because I’m falling behind on managing building those still count, as does all the times I’m just clicking around trying to find my buildings or just trying to herd my units together. I can barely manage building drones but any more is pushing it. Handling two bases, dealing with harasses, scouting, building an army. It’s just way too much before I even get to combat.

  29. AlecW says:

    Advanced players of SC rarely ‘spam’ their keys after the opening minutes of a game. This is a misperception (one that Blizzard apparently has, with their ‘EPM’ statistic idiocy).

    A pro-player who is tapping back and forth apparently fruitlessly between his base buildings is actually repeatedly checking on the progress of various actions/research/construction while managing his army in the field. This means he knows the instant when an upgrade is about to finish so he can use it tactically, or when a unit is about to be completed production so he can queue another one at the optimally efficient time.

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