My Journey to Diamond League: First Issue!
By Mohammad Abubakr, OnRPG Journalist
Be sure to check out Kluey’s Starcraft II Review if you’re not familiar with the game! http://www.onrpg.com/MMO/Starcraft-II/review/Starcraft-2-Wings-of-Liberty—RTS-Perfection
This is the beginning of a new series here at OnRPG, “My Journey to Diamond League”. These bi-weekly articles will record my matches and progress in Starcraft II. My goal is to advance from the bronze league to diamond. Due to the length of this article, the first column will be split into a 2 part series.
I believe that I am good at video games. I can rank high in various genres including FPS,MMO and MOBA. What makes Starcraft different from the other genres is that you must manage more than one unit at a time. My one gaming weakness is multitasking; hopefully I will improve by playing Starcraft II.
While it is true that I have not played a lot of Starcraft before, I did play a couple of hours of Starcraft II when I bought it a couple months ago. I did not find myself playing it a lot because I was not enjoying myself. After seeing the pros play at MLG with their incredible speed and unique play styles, I was tempted back to the league.
When I first did my placement matches I was surprisingly placed in silver league but due to my lack of knowledge, I got kicked down to bronze. That is the point at which I quit playing because I was busy with other games but frustration might have been a factor. I do not like losing.
After watching MLG, I hopped back on Starcraft and used some of the new tricks I learned from the players and streamers. Now I am rank 8 bronze in my division, this is where my journey will begin.
In simplest terms, Starcraft II is a game where the player must build up an army to take out his opponents buildings. Once all buildings have been destroyed the player loses. However, games will rarely get to the point where you are destroying all buildings. Players simply concede upon realizing the game is lost.
The ranking system is divided into seven leagues. These are bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond and masters. You might notice that I have only listed six; we will come to the seventh league later on. You may be promoted to these leagues based on your hidden matchmaking rating. This rating goes up or down depending on your matches. It does not increase by a set value so it is nearly impossible to calculate. A victory over a better opponent will award you with more points while a loss to a worse opponent will result in losing more points. When you begin the game, you must play five placement matches. Your initial rank will be decided based on your performance throughout these games. You may not view your win to loss ratio until you achieve master’s league. Also, each league is divided into separate divisions which each include 100 players. The final league is called the grandmasters league and this league only includes the 200 top players on the server which are selected by Blizzard.
Now, let us dive right into the games.
Games played: 4
Initial Rank: Bronze – 8
Final Rank: Bronze – 8
Being in bronze league means you will rarely play epic matches because they are often full of all-ins and cheese. This means they will pump out units very early and not focus on developing a good economy. I play as a Zerg who is not very aggressive early on and hopes to create longer macro oriented games. This means that I will quickly setup multiple expansions and develop many workers early on to maintain many bases. Army units are seldom built until later on unless necessary to counter an aggressive opponent.
If an opponent is aggressive early on and continues attacking the same base it is considered to be an all-in. If I am able to hold off these acts of aggression, I will be able to overrun him with high quality massed units produced by my stronger economy. Sometimes opponents are smart and continue to develop an economy while forcing you to build army units to hold off attacks. This results in them getting ahead of you economically while throwing you off your game. This seldom happens in Bronze league because this league consists of new and less skilled players.
I employed one of the key strategies in Starcraft II during my first game; build up a good economy. My opponent was also a Zerg player but he did not want to develop his economy. His aim was to end the game quickly so he can move on to another match. Since bronze players often try to finish games quickly, I had setup static defense in the form of spine crawlers. His zerglings fell one by one to my superior defensive structures while my army of workers brought in huge hauls of crystal. I used this to my advantage and continued to enhance my own economy.
My opponent tried his best to delay his inevitable defeat by hiding buildings and setting up a lot of static defense. If he was really in such a hurry to progress to his next game, he should have surrendered sooner because the writing was on the wall early on.
So many spines!
My second game that same day was versus a Terran. While he did have a good plan to harass me with reapers it was not well executed on the micro level. He stood around with his reapers for too long to the point where I could easily fend off any harassment. Since he only focused on constructing one base and poked me ineffectual harassment, I continued to develop my economy. I achieved victory by destroying his main base with zerglings and banelings. I might have lost the game if he attacked me with his reapers because I was not building an army at that time. Keep in mind that reapers can jump over walls, so he could have easily harassed me multiple times without losing any units.
There goes his base!
Two days later I was put up against a Terran. I almost pulled an Idra (In case you did not get the reference, Idra is a professional player that left a won game because he thought he was behind.)
I was minding my own business mining on my three bases when the Terran decided to send some banshees my way. Keep in mind that unlike Terran and Protoss, Zerg have limited options to counter air early on. Air units appear frequently in bronze league so I built some evolution chambers early on just in case. These allow me to build spore crawlers which are the static air defense for the Zerg race.
Roaches do not help against banshees
I was sure I had lost the game because almost all my drones at my expansions were gone but thankfully he was still on one base. He did not quit coming at me with banshees and eventually Vikings, so I thought it was a good idea to build some mutalisks. This way I could harass his only base which would drastically reduce his income and kill off his air army. With my ground and air army, I marched to his base, broke his wall and went right for the starports. I did not want to fight more air units, I hate them. He conceded after losing his starports.
My final game this week was against another Terran. After learning that I should always scout with overlords and run up his ramp from time to time, I saw that he was just getting mass marines and marauders. I later found out he also had tanks. Since he was only on one base, I had a big economic advantage. He did not bother attacking early on, as most people do when on one base so I went ahead and setup four bases.
His marine, marauder and tank army was no match for my roaches and banelings. While he did hold steady through my first assault, I was able to reinforce my army because of my massive income from four bases. The second assault overwhelmed his remaining defenses.
I am not happy that I did not gain any ranks this week. I was busy with school exams so I did not have a lot of time to play Starcraft. In part 2 I will cover my second week and the beginning of my rise to Silver League! Look forward to seeing it early next week!