I have an unfortunate confession to make. As of late, I have not been playing Starcraft as much as I should be. However, my reasons for not practicing are valid. I am close to graduating college and therefore I have a ton of work to be focusing on in order to graduate next December. This unfortunately leaves little time to actually just play the ladder, let alone put time into practicing and working on builds, timings, and APM. This got me thinking and here are just a couple of the methods I have come up with to work on your Starcraft skills while trying to maintain a busy schedule of school, homework, and having a social life.
1. Play at least one ladder game a day!
This one is really simple. All it takes is about half an hour out of your day to just keep yourself playing Starcraft. I’m not saying that this will automatically improve your play, it won’t. It takes time. This is just so that you have those RTS wheels turning in your head day after day and are able to maintain some of your basic mechanics even if it means getting a few losses on the ladder.
2. Play the Campaign.
If you are like me, you usually make a decision of what game you are going to play when you sit down at your desk, couch, whatever. If you don’t want to face the hassle of being berated on the ladder, I would suggest that, instead of picking up GTA or Battlefield, you instead play the campaign in SC2. I am aware that the units are not all the same and that there are slightly different things you need to watch out for in the campaign, but it is a great way to work on both macro and micro, as well as your other game mechanics.
3. Get a Coach
This may sound ridiculous, but Starcraft coaches are out there. In fact, many professional players offer will offer coaching sessions for around 50-100 USD per hour. These typically are played while skyping the coach so that they can give you in game advice as well as help to analyze the replays afterwords. Additionally, many of them will stream the sessions on Twitch so you can get feedback from others as well and also use that to determine if the coach you are looking at would be a good fit for you.
4. Watch Livestreams
I cannot stress enough the importance of watching the pros do their livestreams. Most of these are on Twitch.tv and more often than not the pros will be giving advice and explaining how they are doing their build and why they are doing it, as well as explaining the counters they are going for and what they saw that made them go for that particular build. Another great person to watch is Sean “Day9” Plott. Day9 is a former Brood War champion level player turned caster who is currently, so he claims :P, ranked Grandmaster in HotS and is one of the largest names in eSports. Every Tuesday through Thursday he does analysis of pro-level games and breaks down the latest strategies in HotS. Mondays, he breaks down replays of a topic that is picked to be a fun view into cheesy plays in the game. If you go onto youtube and look up Day9 he has a playlist called “Newbie Tuesday” where he helps to introduce ways to practice the basic mechanics of the game as well as how to analyze your play. The best part about this over coaching is…… ITS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyways, these are some of the methods that I use to try and get some practice in during my hectic schedule. I hope that all of you can put at least one of these tools in your belt and keep playing more Starcraft!
Have a great day! – Sky
As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter @j3comics and if you’re ever playing on the NA servers and come across Skycaptain, thats me!
- How to play Starcraft well (zhangzy110.wordpress.com)
- PAR Article: Stadiums and million dollar prizes are old news: the future of eSports is in high schools (penny-arcade.com)