The Humbling Experience of Starcraft Multiplayer

Starcraft Multiplayer! I am usually on the losing side.

I suck at Starcraft multiplayer.  The title of this piece most likely gave that away, but I just want to make sure it is clear.  It’s horrible really.  I tend to be pretty good at most games.  I learn quickly and find ways to work within the given system so as to be relatively successful.  But yet, for some reason, I haven’t been able wrap my head around how to consistently win at Starcraft.  There are probably a couple reasons for that, ones which I might just need to accept, but yet I feel like the challenge of getting over them is continually pulling me in.

My experience with SC goes all the way back to the original.  Back then, I would play multiplayer with a friend of mine from school.  We both seemed to fit each other’s play style pretty well.  In almost all our playthroughs we each spent 20 to 30 minutes building up a base and army.  Only then would we start to attack.  In all honesty, this was not an agreed upon tactic.  We just so happened to be thinking in similar patterns.  I did dabble a bit in Battle.Net matches versus random people but even in those my most memorable games were the ones where I got to successfully turtle.  Certainly not the strategy of a champion and I lost a whole whack of matches as a result.  As the losses started piling up, I decided to take a break from it and never really went back.

When SC2 was announced, I decided I was going to give multiplayer a try again.  I knew I had an uphill battle, especially with SC multiplayer developing so much as an esport.  Still, I told myself that I would be ready for the learning curve.  I pre-ordered that game so that I would get guaranteed beta access and I started working on my skills.  It was very clear that I was light years behind everyone else I played against.  My slow approach of thinking of a strategy and slowly making it come into fruition was not going to work.  I employed the help of one of my work friends who turned out to be much more experienced in this than me.  After he handily beat the crap out of me in our first game to, and I quote here, show me how it needs to be done, we talked a bit about strategy.  We also played a couple 3v3 matches with some mutilate friends so that I could get a better view of how they work.  After all of this I felt pretty good.  I jumped into some 1v1 and 2v2 matches in, feeling confident, and effectively got my rear end handed to me over and over again.  No matter what I did to build faster or adjust positioning, it was never quite enough.  I would always miss something; one piece of defense I didn’t get to.  After many frustrating evenings, I decided I wasn’t enjoying my time with this anymore and put Starcraft multiplayer away.

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