The Shokz Guide, Starcraft 2 Guide

StarCraft 2: Meta Game Know yourself - Chapter 6

Meta Game Know yourself - Chapter 6

This chapter gets a lot more personal than the previous chapters, as a lot of it goes back to personal experience.

Now, I know it’s pretty cliché to say that you need to know yourself, but in gaming and any competitive profession, it’s more true than some might like to admit. There are two archetypal goals in which you need to change the way you play or even think, in order to get results. Those two things are Self Improvement and Competitive Success. There is a big difference between playing to improve, and playing to win. If you want to become successful, you need to know how to improve yourself most efficiently, and you need to know how to get the right mindset to win.


Self Improvement

Self improvement is not playing to win, and you should expect to lose a lot. Losing is fine, and you have no reason to be upset or embarassed by a loss. Frustration is understandable, but just remember that you aren’t playing games to prove anything, and you aren’t playing to win. You are playing to improve, so you can play to win later, when it matters.

If you lose a game, take a break, maybe get a drink, and let your mind settle on something else, then come back and watch the replay. Find out exactly what happened. Don’t just look for the big obvious reason that you lost (if there is one), look for other more subtle things you could have improved upon to, perhaps things that directly lead to your defeat, or not. It’s important, though, to not feel emotional or biased when watching the replay. It’s also important to look at things you weren’t looking at when you played the game. Don’t watch the battles if you already know how they go down, or if you already know your micro is fine. Watch your production facilities. Did your macro slip? If you got hit by a surprise strategy, look at all the times you could have scouted, and try to next time.

How to improve yourself most efficiently is a subject not covered by almost any guides on SC2, or gaming in general, but is essentially the most important topic of all. Everyone learns in different ways, but there are some very important facts about the physiological way humans learn that you should know.

  • Grinding out games is likely not an efficient method for you to learn the game. Learning proper macro and micro is a system that your brain has to learn to adjust to. Excepting specific build orders (which vast repetition helps to perfect), grinding out huge amounts of games as fast as possible will likely make it harder for you to learn to play.Starcraft 2 is an extremely complex game, and there is a lot of information to pick up on. You have to give your brain time to “chew on” all of the information it’s taking in. This could mean a few seconds, or minutes of break after each game. It will also almost certainly mean that after every several games, you should take a significant break (an hour or so, depending person to person), or even stop for the day.
    • Personally, I have always been a grinder as far as learning a new activity. When I learned to play any game in the past, such as WoW, and when I learned to play guitar, I did it by spending many hours each day playing. This wasn’t by design; I just enjoyed playing.However, when it came to SC2, my goal was to become as good as I could as efficiently as I could. What resulted was a lack of motivation to play large numbers of games, and instead focusing significant amounts of brain power to thinking about SC2 all day long, every day, even while not doing anything related to it. I’m sure you know what it’s like, where a subject “feels” relevant just after doing the activity. Not specific thoughts, just a lingering feeling, all day long.If you can maintain this feeling, your mind will adjust to the system of macro and micro within SC2. However, practice is always vital to self improvement. The key is moderation. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”, or in this case, “Don’t bite off more than your mind can process”.
  • Another extremely important key to improvement is very similar to the above, and it’s sleep. Sleep is what allows humans to write temporary “on the top of your head” thoughts into permanence, which is where you want it. I wouldn’t advise forcing yourself to sleep when you aren’t tired, but I would advise going to sleep when you are.

These things may seem a bit abstract and unrelated to the actual game, but these are real physiological mechanics to learning a new activity. Learn how your brain works and you can learn SC2 twice as quickly and efficiently as the next person.


Playing to win

Playing to win is simple in concept: Do everything you can to maximize your chances of victory. Give yourself no arbitrary metagame rules. Nothing is “cheesy” if it makes you win. If you think it will lead to your victory, then do it. There’s more to it than that though.

    • Play with the right mindset. Your mental state is extremely important to your success.
      • Don’t invest your emotions in the outcome of the game.
      • Don’t expect to win.
      • To play at your best, you have to give up the intent or confidence to win. You must invest all of that intent and confidence in making the right decisions and playing well. You’re playing to win, not playing to want to win. Victory is an abstract concept which is achieved through a combination of many other smaller goals. Intend to achieve those goals, and you will achieve victory as well.
        • You shouldn’t feel happy that you’ve won a game; you should instead feel happy that you played well enough to succeed. The same way, you shouldn’t get upset if you lose either, and instead analyze, objectively, the cause (which goes back to the improvement section).
      • Don’t feel confident or unconfident about beating any given player. I don’t care if you’re going against the “best player” in the world. Don’t let it bother you, because if you win, now you’re the best player in the world. All that matters is that you play well, not you or your opponent’s history.

How to take a frustrating loss: There are two steps.

      • 1) Breathe.
      • 2) Do nothing.

We all know what it’s like to play well, feel like you did everything right, and then lose in the end anyway, after a long game. It’s frustrating. However, you always lose for a good reason. Always remember that there is enough room to improve that no matter how you lost, there was a way you could have avoided it. So, when you are frustrated and have lost, just breathe and do nothing. Don’t say something you will regret. Just don’t act at all until you have calmed down. For some people, this happens in a fraction of a second, and for many, it can take minutes or longer to get over the frustration. Personally, years of forcing myself to think logically instead of emotionally has conditioned me to get over the frustration before I physically have a chance to speak. What it hasn’t done, however, is remove the emotion. No matter who you are, the emotional effect of frustration will linger for some time and will always hurt your performance. This is an extremely important concept to accept if you want to win.

Don’t play while frustrated. Take a break for as long as you need, or for as long as possible, before playing the next game. You might be in a tournament, but they will give you a 5 minute break (or longer) between two games, and you should take it. You might just be playing the ladder, and there’s always the urge to queue again instantly and try to avenge yourself for the loss. Don’t give into this urge. The importance of this can not be overstated, as frustration almost always leads to unnecessary losses and more frustration.

How to take an exciting win: This can be significantly harder than taking a frustrating loss. There are two steps.

      • 1) Breathe.
      • 2) Do nothing.

Again, there is always a reason your opponent lost, and you always have room enough to improve significantly. Don’t say or do anything for at least a few moments, as again, the excitement of an important victory can affect even the most disciplined of minds into taking less than optimal actions.

This is much less obvious than with a frustrating loss, but playing immediately after an exciting victory is not a great idea. Give it at least a minute’s break, so you can gather your thoughts again, and start thinking wholly objectively again, instead of thinking about how well you just played. You need to play well in the next game too, and even positive emotions will throw you off your game.
Have fun. As with any activity, you have to be self motivated to improve and to succeed, otherwise it simply will not happen.

Source: CraftingStars

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