The Shokz Guide, Starcraft 2 Guide

Starcraft 2 Collector’s Edition Announced

Special edition of Blizzard Entertainment’s epic sci-fi real-time strategy game includes exclusive art book, flash drive, soundtrack, behind-the-scenes DVD, and more

IRVINE, Calif. – April 8, 2010 – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, StarCraft® II: Wings of Liberty, will be available both in a standard edition and in a limited-release Collector’s Edition packed with exclusive bonus materials. Players who purchase either edition will be able to play online for no additional fee through the new version of Battle.net®, the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard Entertainment gamers.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will be available on DVD-ROM for Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 and Macintosh®. The standard edition will sell for a suggested retail price of $59.99 and will also be available shortly after release as a download through the online Blizzard Store. The special Collector’s Edition package, which is priced at $99.99 and will only be available at retail stores, will include the following bonus items in addition to the game disc:

  • The Art of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, a 176-page book featuring artwork from the game
  • An exclusive 2GB USB flash drive replica of Jim Raynor’s dog tag, which comes preloaded with the original StarCraft and the StarCraft: Brood War® expansion set
  • A behind-the-scenes DVD containing over an hour of developer interviews, cinematics with director’s commentary, and more
  • The official StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty soundtrack CD, containing 14 epic tracks from the game along with exclusive bonus tracks
  • StarCraft comic book issue #0, a prequel to the comic series
  • A World of Warcraft® mini Thor in-game pet that can be applied to all World of Warcraft characters on a single Battle.net account
  • Exclusive Battle.net downloadable content, including special portraits for your Battle.net profile, decals to customize your units in-game, and a visually unique version of the terran Thor unit

“We’ve been looking forward to revisiting the StarCraft universe with our players for over 10 years, and we wanted to offer an epic collector’s edition that commemorated the occasion,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This special version of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty — easily our biggest collector’s edition to date — does just that, and we think StarCraft II gamers will really enjoy all of the exclusive contents.”

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s 1998 hit StarCraft, which has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. StarCraft II will once again center on the clash between the protoss, terrans, and zerg, with each side deploying favorite units from the original StarCraft, along with numerous upgraded and brand-new units and abilities that allow for fresh tactics and strategies. The game’s new 3D-graphics engine maintains the speed and responsive control of its predecessor while rendering hundreds of units onscreen for massive battles.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty‘s solo campaign will continue the epic saga where it left off in StarCraft: Brood War. The storyline chronicles the exploits of marshal-turned-rebel-leader Jim Raynor and features both familiar faces and new heroes. Players will be able to tailor the experience, choosing their own mission path and selecting technology and research upgrades to suit their playing style throughout the 29-mission campaign.

Several challenge-mode mini-games will also be included, with focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies. In addition, dozens of multiplayer maps will be available for competitive play through the new version of Battle.net, which is launching alongside StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. This new version of the service has been built from the ground up to offer an unparalleled online play experience, with new features such as voice communication, character profiles and achievements, stat-tracking, ladders and leagues, cloud file storage, and more.

Additional information about StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, including the release date, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Earning Platinum Rank in Starcraft 2

Making the Platinum League is what everyone is going to aim for once Starcraft 2 is released. While only few will be able to make it there is not reason why you cannot. I’ve been playing Starcraft 2 Beta since it was released and since then I’ve entered the Platinum League and I’m currently Rank 3. With only a victory away from being ranked #1 in my Platinum league.

As I’ve said in a previous post, the new League system really adds a sense of fulfillment to the rankings and give you something to aim for. It also makes for a great match making system allowing the top players to play among each other and also see who the top players are in the game. While we are still in beta I can only image the match making system getting even better when you add hundreds of thousands of players to battle.net once the game is released.

The Rankings are based off a point system which you earn based off your victories. Once you enter into a league after your placement matches you will start off at 1000 points. Each time you win a game you get points based off the skill level of your opponent compared to yours. If you beat a player who is favored in the match you will earn more points compared to when you beat someone who you are favored over.

The same goes for a lost, when you lose to people who are higher skill level then you, you’ll lose less points compared to if you lose to someone who you are favored to win over.

StarCraft II Leagues and Ladder FAQ

Starcraft 2 adds a new element to battle.net with its Leagues and Ladders. Instead of the traditional level system in Warcraft 3, Starcraft 2 places you in a League based on your skill level. Within these leagues you’re able to move up and down in rank depending on how many games you win / lose.

Winning a game against a stronger opponent will earn you more points to move up in rank, while winning a game against a weaker opponent will earn you less points. While playing the Beta for over a month I find the League system work great and place you in some very competitive matches.

The current Leagues go as followed

Copper -> Bronze -> Silver -> Gold -> Platinum

1v1:

Q. How do your placement matches calculate which league you will be joining?
A. During your placement matches we match you against players from a wide variety of players and skill levels and we watch the results; whether you win or lose. From this, we are able to determine your ability and place you in a league that we believe to be appropriate for your level of play.

Q. How do we move up in rank in your division? For example, from rank 51 to rank 44.
A. Simply by competing with other players and winning. However, it is important to remember that the individual matches themselves can vary in points awarded based on the rated difficulty of your opponent.

Example: Player A may have a win-loss ratio of 19-17 and be ranked in the Silver League at 35; while player B may have a win-loss ratio of 18-19, but because of the difficulty of some of those matches (say playing against Gold League players) he either received more points for a win or lost less for a loss.

Q. How do players move down in rank on the ladder? For example, from rank 44 to rank 51.
A. This is done simply by losing matches. You are ranked relative to everyone in your division within your league. The amount of points you lose per match is comparable to how points are calculated when you win. If you lose to someone who is rated higher than you, you should lose less points then if you were to lose to someone who was rated lower than you.

Q. What is the relevance of the Favored indicator and how does that effect the points distributed from winning or losing a match?
A. The Favored indicator helps give you an idea of whether the contender you’re pitted against is considered to be even with you, challenging to you, extremely challenging to you or not a challenge.

Currently there is a known bug where the score screen will display a level of you or your opponent being favored that’s incorrect. The loading screen however shows the correct level of ‘favoritism’.

You can use the level of ‘favoritism’ to gauge the number of points you are likely to gain or lose after the match depending on the result.

Q. What are the league ranks?
A. Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum. In that order. There is also the practice league for player’s starting out and there may be other special leagues created in the future, such as an invite-only pro league.

Q. How does a player move laterally from one division to an adjacent division in the same metallic league? (For Example, From Division 5 Silver League to Division 4 Silver League.)
A. In theory, they shouldn’t. There have been some select cases where this has happened, but this is a known issue in the current beta build and is being looked into.

Q. Do the different numbered divisions indicate various levels of skill; is 4 a slightly tougher division than 5?
A. No. The divisions are sectioned off so that we have the appropriate amount of people in each.

Q. How does a player move from one league to another? (For Example: from Silver league to Gold.)
A. After you’ve finished your initial placement, the system continues to review your performance and determines what league you should be placed in based on those reviews. The time and frequency of these reviews is kept hidden.

Q. Are matches ever made between different leagues? (For Example: A Gold league player playing against a Silver league player in a rated match.)
A. Yes, you may be matched up against players from different leagues to test your skill. So be on your guard and play your best in every match.

Q. What is the bonus pool and how are bonus points acquired?
A. The Bonus Pool (incorrectly called “Rested Points” in some parts of the UI) is an accumulation of points that every player receives whether they’re online and playing or not. They’re essentially used as a means to help give a player a catch-up boost if they haven’t played in a while. The pool does have a cap but it increases slowly until the end of a season.

Q. How is the bonus pool used in competitive play?
A. When you achieve victory against another player, you are awarded a certain number of points. The Bonus Pool points will match the number of points you received for winning.

For example: If you were to have a Bonus Pool of 30 and you win a match that would normally give you 10 points, points will then be pulled from your Bonus Pool to match those 10 points and you’ll be awarded 20 points for winning that game. Your bonus pool will then sit at 20. (We’re aware of an issue your bonus pool not displaying properly in some parts of the UI). 

Starcraft 2 Beginners Guide & Strategies

Learning Starcraft 2 from the very beginning.
A help/information thread for new and beginner players.

Intro: You may be in the copper league, struggling to point and click to get a few units to build, wondering why your enemy is in your base with 3 zealots before you can even manage to get a gateway built… You might be into your 3rd placement match thinking, “am I just not capable of playing this game?”… You may be playing a very easy CPU, shy and afraid of challenging an opponent to a 1v1 quick match…. You may have just been cussed out by your ally in a 2v2 match because it’s “your fault that we lost!”…

Regardless of your situation. This is a potentially pivotal moment in the Starcraft franchise, maybe even in the RTS Genre. With the beta test of Starcraft 2 already underway, and the official release of the retail version sometime ‘soon’. The hype is at new levels, not only from old-school pros, but from new members of the community that have recently taken interest in not only playing SC2, but in becoming actually decent at it!

After all, this is a great time for competitive gaming. In the past few years we have huge competitive titles like Street Fighter 4, Quake Live, and now Starcraft 2 emerging. Taking old school, traditional e-sports into new territory, This is the age of streams, where everyone can witness the spine-tingling action of competitive gaming live from their own homes! Where gamers from all over the world can interact with each other in new ways. When SC1 came out there was no youtube, there was no livestream, there were no ‘blogs’ or ‘vlogs’ or internet gaming media outlets. Times have changed and the general interest in e-sports (as well as gaming in general) has increased many times over.

So this may be obvious, boring, or a wall-of-text (which it is), to most intermediate and advanced players. But for you, Mr(s). First-Time-RTSer, hopefully this will be able to lead you into a direction where you will begin to understand that it isn’t out of your reach to be become a decent Starcraft 2 player, and it isn’t out of your reach to become a good Starcraft 2 player, or even a GREAT Starcraft 2 player, if you put in the time and work required to hone your skills! (which can’t be much more time than you put into your lv.80 undead rogue… or your popsicle-stick collection… lol =P)

Want to get started? Well then you have to…

[Absolute Beginner's Guide]

…Start of from the very beginning. I can guarantee that you can not, and will not, learn the complexities and intricacies of Starcraft 2 from ONLY reading posts, watching replays, or playing against a computer. Before these things can become of any use to you, you have to learn the basics.

1.) Pick your main race!

Learning Starcraft 2 has to start here. Give Terran, Protoss and Zerg a try. Figure out which one you like, and which race you think best fits your style. You absolutely can not learn them all at once. It takes time to get at a level where you can play ‘random’ as your main race. One of the most interesting aspects of Starcraft 2 is the magnitude of uniqueness of each of the three races! Find the race that you like, that you think is cool and that you feel comfortable playing! Once you have made that difficult choice you have to…

2.) Learn the units and abilities of that race!

Now, when I say this, I don’t expect you to master the usage of every unit and ability. It takes time to learn to psi-storm. It takes time to learn to use siege tanks effectively. It takes time to learn the complexities of micro-ing different units (many units have different methods of micromanaging, there is no one-size fits all micro technique). So what I mean is..

Learn the basic functions, abilities and upgrades of EVERY unit that you can create. In the same way that you can’t build something in real life very well without knowing exactly what every tool in your toolkit can do, and should be used to do. You have to learn the basic ‘purposes’ and ‘functions’ of all your units. You have to know that siege tanks are vulnerable to air. Or that you have to fuse two templars together to make an archon. Or that ghosts can EMP to deplete Protoss shields, and so on.

So for whatever race you pick, go in to a CPU game, make a few of every unit that your race can make. Make at least one of every building that your class can make and start to familiarize yourself with the abilities and capabilities of your race. Memorize your race in and out, so that you don’t do something embarrassing like sending a group of immortals in to fight a group of mutalisks without knowing that immortals can not attack air… (hehe) It will take time, but it will drastically improve your ability to make decisions in game. From there you have to…

3.) Learn the hotkeys for your race, as well as the general game command hotkeys!

Start off with the simple (yet common and VERY important) hotkeys first…

Its crucial to be able to create unit groups (cntl+[1-9]). I commonly keep my main nexus/cc/hatch grouped under #5, for easy access at all times. Also, please learn that double pressing a unit group hotkey will center your camera around that unit or group of units. For example, if i’m fighting in my opponents base with an army bound to unit group 1, and my nexus/cc/hatch is bound to unit group 5, i can quickly move my camera between my home base and my fighting units by double-pressing 1 or 5 respectively.

Learn how to build all your buildings and units with your hotkeys. Start with the most common units first and move on to the others soon after you have them memorized. For example (using Protoss) you need to know that [B -> E] will get you a pylon. That [V -> C] will get you a Twilight Council. That [B -> G] will get you a Gateway. That [W] will quick select all of your warpgates, so that something like [W -> Z -> Click in the Pylon's 'Psionic Matrix'] will warp a zealot in from your warpgate!

Take time to master that! From there, it gets increasingly complex, but also somewhat more manageable. You shouldn’t really bother trying to learn build orders, if you aren’t able to use your hotkeys correctly and control the game proficiently. Next…

4.) Learn the ins and outs of the other races!

I won’t go to in depth on this one, because its not a whole lot different from #2. Just make sure you know what the other 2 races in the game (that you aren’t using as your main) are capable of doing. That may require you to open up a CPU game and build one of each unit for each race and figure out what type of things can be used against you. For example, if you don’t understand/know what reapers can do, you might be very surprised when you seem them jump over the cliff into your base and clear out your mineral line before you even have time to react!! This takes a lot of time and experience. However, once you have a basic understanding of all three races and what are and are not potential occurrences in a match of SC2, you have to…

5.) Learn your match-ups (MUs) and corresponding build orders!

The way you play against a Terran, is not going to be the same as the way you play against a Zerg.
The way you play against a Zerg, is not going to be the same as the way you play against a Protoss.
The way you play against a Protoss, is not going to be the same as the way you play against a Terran.

With this in mind, you must now realize that the psychology and the strategy of Starcraft 2 starts from the loading screen! You can’t make any big decisions at this point, because SCOUTING is the fundamental and essential building block of your overall strategy. However, when you see that your terran has picked Zerg, Terran, Protoss, or Random, it actually reduces the amount of possible occurrences! If you know what each race can and can not do, (which you should by this point ~.^) you will have the ability to narrow down the list of things that you need to consider when starting a game..

Once the game actually begins, most build orders start out the same for the first minute or so of the game. You build workers, you build supplies, and most importantly… you SCOUT your enemy. The timing and the frequency of scouting trips can very, but do not neglect it!!! Especially not in early and mid game. Once you have a worker in the opponent’s base, you can learn to analyze exactly what is going on and what they may be planning. You will learn to recognize your opponent’s build orders in time. You will check to see if they are getting early Vespene Gas (a sign that they intend to move quickly up the tech tree), or if they are preparing to mass basic units and rush your base (a sign that you may be in for some action sooner than you think!), or if something fishy is afoot (you dont see a pylon and a gateway at the Protoss players base? Chances are they are building a proxy gateway!! Craaaaap!!!)…

The early game is a very important time for deciding what to do, and how to get it done. Do not neglect to consider the possibilities of various matchups! Do not neglect to scout! And do not neglect to learn various build orders (the order in which you make structures and units) to deal with various situations.

There is not a 1-size-fits-all build order solution!!! When you realize this you are ready to step your game up to a higher level, and you’ll probably be able to get some wins under your belt! Now you can move on to becoming a player that is a 100% total noob, to a intermediate player. For that, you have to…

7.) Learn how to “micro” (a.k.a.: advanced unit control)!

Basically, you need to know how to get the absolute MOST out of your units that you create. If you have 5 roaches and your opponent has 5 roaches, who will win the battle? Easy, the person that micromanages their units better. This means using every advantage you can at your disposal. Such as focus firing, dancing (moving your damaged units back so they go out of range and then back in so that they can continue to do damage without dieing), using special abilities (like burrow with a roach to regen health) to the best of your ability, as well as taking advantage of the terrain (blocking units on a ramp or gaining high ground).

I would consider macro and micro to be - ‘techniques’ - as opposed to - ‘tactics’. But that’s just a bit of semantic knit-picking… The reason for this is because learning how to macro and micro correctly isn’t really an option in RTS games. It’s not something you choose to utilize or not. The fact is that what separates the weaker players for the amazingly powerful players is the ability to do macro and micro at an amazing level… Think about them like playing a musical instrument. You can’t really play guitar without interacting with the strings. But what separates the 12 year old in the garage next door from jimi hendrix? The level of control and proficiency with the tools at hand.

Have you ever wondered what the significance of the terms upper-hand (english), gao shou (chinese), gosu (korean) and jyouzu (japanese) are? (If you’re not a language geek like me you probably haven’t… lol D=).

All these terms refer to a higher degree of skill. But they also all consist of the words for “HAND” and “UP”, or their linguistic equivalents. What does this mean? That knowledge of the game is only half of the equation, which execution is the other half. This goes for everything, competitive games (Street Fighter, Quake, Starcraft, etc), music, art, sports, etc.

If you want to get the complete upper hand over your opponent in a game of Starcraft 2, you have no choice but to improve the capabilities of your MIND and your HANDS. It is this which all players constantly attempt to improve. The clarity of our minds, which leads us to make all the right decisions at the right times. As well as the dexterity of our hands, which allows us to gain superior control of the tools available to us. These two things combined are what allows us to surpass what limited us before, and also what limits our opponents. It comes down to knowledge and ability.

8.) Review and React!

Often, knowing what to do doesn’t result in actually doing what everything right. An intermediate players knows all of the above (macro, micro, MUs, builds, units, etc.). But the thing that separates them (myself included) from the pro players, is the ability to do the right thing 100% of the time with maximum efficiency. Because of this, you should watch all of your own replays (and even other people’s) to discern how you can improve. This will allow you to continue to do the things that you do well, while improving the areas in which you need to work hard to improve. The SC2 replay viewer is very very potent… Analyze your mistakes and you are likely to fix them later!

I would also highly recommend that all SC2 players that want to get better find a group of in-game friends that you can routinely play against and review matches with. Being buddies with another player can provide you with critiques and insight in to how you can improve your game specifically. This guide can not do that, because each player is different. You may be lacking in one area and strong in another area so you don’t understand why you are losing matches. Peer review will catch mistakes in your game that you may not see!

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Source : StarCraft II Beta - English (NA) Forums -> Absolute Beginners Guide & Info Thread.
Source : Kat.swordfish

Starcraft 2 Beta Audio Commentary Platinum League 1v1

I was studying a few Starcraft 2 Strategies the other day and I came across this great Starcraft 2 Beta Audio Commentary video by Endrick. Endrick is a Platinum League player who mainly plays as Terran. In this video he plays 1v1 vs Zerg, I wanted to share this video as it gives good insight into what he is thinking while he is playing and is a great video for Terran players to watch.

Part 1

Part 2

I’m continuing to work on the Starcraft 2 Guide and I hope to have it ready a week or two before official release of SC2. I will continue to post these great Starcraft 2 videos so you can get an insight on how to play on a platinum level. I’m currently in the Platinum League and will be adding a post about my experiences thus far in the beta later this week.

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