GLHF MAGAZINE is a community-run magazine developed by an international team of StarCraft enthusiasts. Every two months we deliver a new issue ripe with fresh community content, exclusive interviews and insightful editorials.
GLHF MAGAZINE CONTENTS 4 Introduction Message from the Staff EXCLUSIVES 7 A Question of Casters Jacob Harrison CombatEx Talks Dirty Evan Crothers HomestoryCup IV Roundup Benjamin Fisher Matt "LookNoHands" Fink Christopher Kinniburgh Peepmode Breakdown GLHF Magazine Starcraft 2 Mod Tools megabuster The Future of Starcraft 2 as an eSport David Lo 9 10 14 16 20 22 INTERVIEWS 28 DaisyPrime Andrea Chiang KellyMILKIES William Dahlstrom ThorZaIN Christian Hanner Gosu.Rum David Litts 31 34 38 2 GLHF MAGAZINE All artwork and characters are copyrights of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. STRATEGY 42 Ladder Anxiety Joseph Chen Conquering Ladder Anxiety and Becoming a Better Gamer Nick Ippolito On Time in Starcraft 2 Stephen Chiu How To Get The Most Out Of Your Overlords Jonathan Baldwin Why You Should Never Forget To Research Combat Shield Mark Bevan Newbie Corner Jacob Harrison 44 46 48 49 50 GUIDES 54 Roach-Ling Baneling Bust Tim Clark Leenock MLG Finals Build Evan Crothers Positive Mindset Tim Clark Xsplit Casting Guide Ali Haghani Terran Bronze To Diamond Video Guide TeamTrebis 59 63 66 68 3 GLHF MAGAZINE Introduction MESSAGE FROM THE STAFF By Jonathan Lee Hot damn. We finally did it. It is April 2012 and you are reading the very first issue of GLHF Magazine. For our first issue, we are bringing you a mix of articles from many writers who are making their first publishing debuts. We have interviews with pros, helpful guides, build examinations and some features. Before you read on, I want your permission to get on my soapbox for a second and let you know a little more about what we at GLHF are all about. If you're not interested, this is the point where you can skip past this opening feature and begin enjoying the contents of the magazine right away. I'm trying to think of something insightful or witty to say but nothing is coming to mind. Maybe that's a good thing. As a reader, I always appreciate raw honesty more than punchy quips, so I'll be honest are fulfilling a role that the eSports scene sorely needs more of: Independent eSports reporting, especially reporting that really focus on the biographical and social aspects of the scene. When FruitDealer won the very first GSL tournament, he said that he would be using the money to pay for his father's medical treatments. Whatever became of that? Has his father gotten better? When Naniwa performed his infamous probe rush against NesTea during their BlizzCup match, the SC2 community was swamped with statements from both foreigner fans and players. What did the Korean fans and players think about the situation? With Naniwa adjusting well now to life in Korea, has this perception of him changed? These are the stories that GLHF wants to follow up. This is one of the reasons why we love eSports so much. eSports, just like any of the traditional sports, is a vehicle for cultural understanding and heartwarming stories. In return, we promise never to compromise quality for quantity. We will never try to pad our issue out with fluff articles, bland features and sensationalist reporting. If we have a great month, then we'll print a huge issue full of great content for you. If we have a slow month, then we will give you a leaner issue while maintaining the same level of quality. We will never bore you or insult your intelligence with anything less. However, we are human, and we will make mistakes. Sometimes, we'll just have bad months. This particular month might be one of them. All of our contributions have been from unpaid writers looking to get their starts. Please be understanding about their level of skill. We have chosen these articles for our first issue because we believe in their potential, but if the magazine ever begins to turn a profit, we will be adamant about paying our contributors. You can keep us accountable to that right here, right now. We want to reach a point where everyone working and contributing to GLHF gets paid because that is what good content deserves. GLHF has an eclectic staff. Most of us are students. I myself was an editorial contractor at Major League Gaming until I became one of the casualties of the mass layoffs last holiday season, and I have yet to find paying work since. There are some of us who have rebuffed offers of non-competition, salaried jobs from bigger publications because we believe so strongly in the future of this magazine. In short, GLHF is a labor of love, born out of a strong belief that we will deliver eSports content in a way that fans never knew they wanted. Yes, I'm scared. We're all scared. But we're also hopeful. Enjoy the first issue. Shoot us some e-mails. Tell us what you think. And above all, good luck. Have fun. "This is one of the reasons why we love eSports so much. eSports, just like any of the traditional sports, is a vehicle for cultural understanding and heartwarming stories." here. I'm pretty scared. Our ship, still wet from the wine of a fresh christening, has set off and is sailing towards an uncertain horizon. Now our commitment and passion will be put to the test. Like any start-up, there is the constant fear that this will not be a sustainable project. That it will fail. That we might make horrible, horrible mistakes in the future that permanently alienates the community from us. The only thing that keeps us going is our belief that we To the staff, GLHF is our baby. There is no analogy more appropriate, and as they say, it takes a village to raise a child. We were born from the community, so it's only natural that as we keep doing our thing, we will be nurtured by the community. We need your support to bring you content at the high quality that you deserve, in the form of exposure, contributions (writing, reporting, design), story leads, suggestions and donations. 4 GLHF MAGAZINE MISCELLANEOUS FACTS "StarCraft" broke into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the best-selling PC Strategy Game of all time, topping 9.5 million copies sold worldwide. 5 GLHF MAGAZINE exclusives A Question Of Casters CombatEX Talks Dirty Homestory Cup IV Roundup Matt "LookNoHands" Fink Peepmode Breakdown SC2 Mod Tools: An Abandoned Playground? The Future Of E-Sports Jacob Harrison Evan Crothers Benjamin Fisher Christopher Kinniburgh GLHF Magazine megabuster David Lo 6 GLHF MAGAZINE A Question of Casters By Jacob Harrison Day9, Tasteless, Artosis, Rotterdam, Mr Bitter, DJ Wheat, dApollo, TotalBiscuit--what do all these people have in common? There are three possible answers: � They're all casters � You've heard of them all � They, in some way, helped you get into StarCraft If you got all three answers, then congratulations! You can have a biscuit. The point of the question is this: These people are some of the most famous individuals in the StarCraft 2 world. As much as we would like to believe that StarCraft 2 appealed to us because of our natural affinity with the cognitive playing behind real time strategy or because daily life simply didn't require enough brainpower, I really don't think it was either of those things. It's likely that the catalyst that got you involved within the StarCraft 2 community were the aforementioned casters and people like them. Casting is proving itself integral to StarCraft 2 as an eSport. Whether you like it or not, people aren't coming to watch StarCraft 2 just because of the pretty colors or the explosions. Watching StarCraft 2 isn't as simple as watching tennis or some other commonly understood sport. In order to really get the most out of the viewing experience, the audience must possess a level of basic knowledge. Unfortunately, this knowledge is often lacking. Now that's absolutely fine if you're a player of any standard at all, and you follow the professional scene. However, if you're just a frequenter of YouTube and you happen across HDStarcraft's channel, it isn't the game that draws you in, it's HD himself. Casters provide that necessary stepping stone that allows anybody to watch and understand the game. They are, in effect, conscientious middle-men, providing a service that broadens the range of StarCraft 2 as a spectator sport, and enriching the experience for those of us who follow it regularly. Another example 7 GLHF MAGAZINE might be that very first time you watched Husky nearly asphyxiate with excitement, slurring his words into a nearly indecipherable mass of sound. I'll admit that was what got me into the game. The idea that anyone could be so unashamedly passionate about something that most people regard merely as a nerdy pastime was liberating--I won't deny. The quest to become more mainstream has a strange presence in StarCraft 2. It is greeted by most as a pleasant inevitability, but by some as a terrifying worst-case scenario. Either way, casters carry the brunt of bringing StarCraft 2 to the public. Are we, as a community, comfortable with this? Do we think our crop of casters is up to the task? Do we have the right to judge? The answer, to me, comes down to an assessment of what casters today actually are and what they do. What are the qualities that make them so appealing to us as a community? An eye for timing, an ability to give the happenings of the game that extra dimension of drama and consequence. Enthusiasm. A great voice helps as well (TotalBiscuit anyone?). But that can't be everything. There are millions of people out there in the world, and probably thousands who follow StarCraft 2 that fill all of these descriptions. Despite this, there cannot be more than fifteen really high-level casters. What sets them apart from the rest? What quality, or qualities, do they have that allow them to bear so much responsibility, at least in terms of the growth of StarCraft in the mainstream? It seems very difficult to pin down. Perhaps a kind of odd charisma? You cannot deny that Day has this quality in some quantity. But other casters who are what of TotalBiscuit? It's well-known that his knowledge of the game isn't as great as some other casters but still, the community finds him to be a thoroughly worthy and highly entertaining caster. Through trying to dissect what makes a great caster there seems to be only one conclusion to be drawn; that no one thing makes a great caster. In turn, the conclusion we can draw from that fact is that we cannot know if our casters have the qualities necessary to take eSports to the general population. This might be the cue for us to drop everything and start panicking because casters are killing eSports. Don't do that people, it's undignified and there's no use in it. Furthermore, if hundreds of thousands of people can watch Artosis getting "nerd chills" at Major League Gaming and tens of thousands of people can watch Bitterdam affectionately bickering like a married couple at Homestory Cup IV then by Tassadar they must be doing something right. As a member of the community, I'm not in the slightest bit worried - I'm excited. Besides, if being a great caster requires no identifiable qualities, then that means there are countless people out there who can do it, and that only means good things for StarCraft 2. "There are millions of people out there in the world [...] Despite this, there cannot be more than fifteen really highlevel casters. What sets them apart from the rest?" perhaps not quite so obviously charismatic--dApollo or Painuser for example--are both informative and entertaining casters. Perhaps then, it is a knowledge of the game that allows a charismatic person to become a great caster? This is certainly the case with the casting duo Tastosis, who together are possibly the most knowledgeable personalities in the StarCraft 2 community. But 8 GLHF MAGAZINE COMBATEX TALKS DIRTY Bad Manners And Strategy By Evan Crothers Who says you don't learn anything useful at school? I recently had the pleasure of attending a particularly informative lecture at the University of Waterloo. The subject? Abusing Protoss. The professor? None other than the infamous Wasif "CombatEx" Khan. The self-proclaimed "God of Protoss" gave a few hours of his time to impart some wisdom upon the Waterloo StarCraft community. Pen and paper at the ready, I took notes until my hand cramped more than after the longest of laddering sessions. CombatEx covered a variety of topics in his lecture, from the under-utilization of warp prisms, to the best way to engage (or more precisely, to avoid engaging) a Brood Lord and Infestor composition. However, by far the most fascinating--and most controversial-- part of the lecture was a segment on an element of strategy for which CombatEx is world renowned: his bad manners. You see, for CombatEx, BM is an essential part of StarCraft strategy, especially in multi-match sets. It's no secret that the outcome of a StarCraft match is highly dependent on the mental state of the individual playing the game. CombatEx employs a variety of mind games in order to throw his opponent off in his matches. Among the ones he elaborated on during his lecture were "Shit-Talking", "Pausing", and "Cheese". Pausing CombatEx is also a firm believer in using the Pause feature to ruin his opponent's micro during a fight. While this may be frowned upon as poor conduct in a tournament, CombatEx is happy enough to do it during ladder matches--if only for a laugh. The Pausing Game begins simply enough. You Pause the game in the middle of a huge fight. Your opponent hesitates, his finger poised precariously over Neural Parasite. He doesn't want to type, for fear that you will immediately unpause. He doesn't want to unpause because--well, he's too damn nice. A few moments pass, and a baneling tumbles across the Mar Sara desert, before you say "sec". Your opponent starts to relax and moves his finger away from his Neural Parasite hotkey to respond. You unpause. According to CombatEx, the best "counter" to the Pausing Game is to employ the tactic yourself, creating a ten second Pause Metagame, in which both player attempt to throw one another off by pausing and unpausing at opportune points during the fight. While CombatEx is quite proud of his own expertise in this area, he also jokingly saluted a certain RatZDeezer for his mastery of the Pausing Game. ponent to play more conservatively than they would normally. I hope that the fruits of my notes have provided some knowledge into how BM and cheese can work to a player's advantage, or at the very least, provided some insight into the merciless mind of one of StarCraft's most infamous players. Special thanks to Wasif for his contribution to the Waterloo StarCraft community. Cheese Shit-Talking Shit-talking is a simple concept, but it has powerful results. Even when an opponent knows that you are trying to aggravate them, they can still fall into your trap. According to CombatEx, shit-talking causes your opponent to stop thinking about the game, and start thinking about the things that you've said (or how badly they want to murder you). A frustrated opponent is a distracted opponent, and a distracted opponent is a substantial advantage. For those of us without the stomach for BM, the most useful tactic that CombatEx can teach us about throwing off our opponents is to use cheese. CombatEx uses cheese to his utmost advantage during a game, citing its fantastic applications when used in conjunction with shit-talking. A frustrated and rattled opponent is more likely to make poor decisions. Taking your opponent out of their comfort zone through cheese only exacerbates this. Even the reputation for being a "cheesy" player is an advantage in a tournament setting, as it can force your op- 9 GLHF MAGAZINE HOMESTORY CUP IV ROUNDUP By Benjamin Fisher One of the first invitational tournaments of 2012, HomeStory Cup IV ran from January 5th to 8th. Held by Dennis "TaKe" Gehlen, it featured an impressive lineup of both players and commentators. While much of the community's focus has been on interviews, fan-boy inanities and... well, MC, there was some serious gameplay worth analysing and discussing. After all, StarCraft is about tactics and critical thinking, and the pros have much to offer. MC took home first place for Team SK with $7,500 USD from the prize pool ($20,000 split between the top 8). He demonstrated an unmatched mastery of the game, excelling particularly in his blink stalker micro as well as game awareness and timing. Coming in at second place was Sound, representing Korean team StarTale. Sound displayed an impressive ability to adapt to altered circumstances, bouncing back at whatever his opponent had to offer. It is a skill much desired at all levels of StarCraft, but demonstrated with ostensible ease and intuition in higher tiers. In third place was JYP from team Evil Geniuses, an excellent Protoss player whose creativity and versatility never ceases to surprise and amaze. The standings were as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. MC (P) Sound (T) JYP (P) viOLet (Z) MarineKing (T) ReaL (P) DIMAGA (Z) Nerchio (Z) The rest of the match was a back-and-forth showdown between the two, each countering one another's units effectively. Once they were both mined out, Dimaga stood the victor, having spent his minerals wisely, as opposed to JYP, who arguably wasted his on two lost motherships. JYP's take on a FFE is definitely effective. It's not a skill easily mastered, but he seems to have it down pat: He places the cannon behind his buildings, so that they act as a shield. This requires him to place only one pylon to power the cannon, gateway, cybernetThis is definitely a good tactic for all Zerg players to remember, it can be applied in many situations. For example, it could be used as a harass - sneaking brood lords behind enemy lines, taking out production structures in your opponent's main while assaulting his/her natural. Assault on all fronts can be confusing and halting for your opponent; it leaves you in total command. Dimaga v. JYP Game 1 Quarter-finals, Dual Sight This is definitely one of the longest professional StarCraft II games I've ever witnessed, running for a total of 55 minutes. Both players start a standard build: Dimaga droning until 15 for his spawning pool while JYP opts for a forge fast expand (FFE). There isn't much excitement until the 15 minute mark, wherein Dimaga assaults JYP's second expansion from 3 different angles, spurring a long microintensive confrontation: On the other hand, a good tactic employed by Dimaga to get around this was to use brood lords. Later in the game JYP walls off completely with gateways. To break them down, out of range of cannons and other units, Dimaga employs brood lords and their broodlings. ics core and forge, which is good for his economy. In order for zerglings to attack probes or the cannon, they would have to travel around the nexus, and without upgrades, they would be destroyed in two hits. Making them run further while in the range of the cannon means that their numbers will be whittled down with ease. With over 170 match-ups and 32 participants, HomeStory Cup IV is one of 2012's biggest live tournaments yet. 10 GLHF MAGAZINE Violet v. JYP Game 2 For 3rd Place, Antiga Shipyard This was a mid-sized game, running for 20 minutes. Both players begin with the standard starters for PvZ: JYP goes for FFE while ViOLet drones. There is a lot of back and forth: expansions destroyed and rebuilt, with very little consequence. Both players, however, are very responsive, so there is a lot of creativity and flexibility in response to unit composition. For example, being assaulted by zerglings in his natural expansion, JYP warps in two dark templars (DTs) to destroy them. Anticipating that ViOLet will spawn overseers in response, JYP morphs them into archons, and creates a templar archive, researching psionic storm to deal with ViOLet's zerglings and infestors. While there were a lot of random and short-lived counter-tactics employed by both sides, JYP's force-field placement stood out above all else. For example, in one situation after taking ViOLet's second expansion, JYP moves his stalker/zealot/ sentry combo to ViOLet's natural. On the ramp he is faced by two spine crawlers in front and a mass of zerglings from behind. His immaculate forcefield placement allows him to cause some serious damage by prolonging the attack. Not only does JYP block off the zerglings from attacking his stalkers and sentries, but he even manges to squeeze a zealot in-between two blocks! This allows him to reduce the amount of zerglings facing his stalkers by the time the force-fields expire. This kind of placement is very difficult to carry out and requires an immense amount of practice. Dimaga v. JYP Game 1 Quarter-finals, Dual Sight Using a mothership at any level of StarCraft is risky. Costing 400 minerals, 400 gas and 8 supply it's definitely a unit that requires much training to employ efficiently. As mentioned earlier, Dimaga effectively won because of JYP's motherships: JYP threw away 800 minerals, 800 gas and 16 supply - all because he couldn't support it in combat. JYP lost them easily to Dimaga's mass corrupters, which just stripped it apart If you ever find yourself stuck in this situation, for whatever reason, the most important thing to remember is that your mothership is exposed, so it's the likely (in fact only) target for sniping. JYP could have countered the corrupters with anti-air units, or just re-directed his stalkers to attack the corrupters. Nerchio v. MC Game 3 Quarter-finals, Tal'darim Altar This may seem like nit-picking (in fact, it is) but it's still important to note. In their Bo5, a common scouting tactic employed by MC was a feign-leave, with a probe. In the early-game he would scout around Nerchio's mineral line and then back off. He'd wait a few seconds out of Nerchio's vision, and then run around the line again. The purpose is to trick your opponent into revealing their build strategy. Nerchio assumed that the scouting probe had left and responded by building an assimilator. MC scouted this with his feign-leave, and was thus prepared for Nerchio to tech up. It's an interesting tactic to take into consideration, because even little details such as these can have disastrous implications. 11 GLHF MAGAZINE MATCHUP SPOTLIGHT ReaL v. Sound Quarter Finals, Best-of-Five This was one of my favourite match-ups of the tournament. Sound and ReaL truly displayed all that we expect from pro gamers. Each game was just as interesting as the next, all featuring an equal mix of technique and flair. Game 1 Shattered Temple Game one is definitely a match to see, if you can. It had everything: from bunker rushes to DT drops, it really had it all. Sound was the victor, having an advantage with his contain right from the beginning: Unexpectedly, he didn't follow it up with an expansion, but kept pumping out units. ReaL's response, of course, was to send out DTs for Sound's relatively unprotected main: A well played move indeed. It forced Sound to withdraw his units, allowing ReaL to take back his natural. However this minor victory was short-lived, as Sound returned with siege tanks, to resume the pressure, forcing a cancel on ReaL's expansion. Meanwhile, ReaL decided to sneak in a nexus at the field north of Sound's natural, acknowledging that his natural is a lost cause: Much back-and-forth ensues between the two, and Sound's continual pressure proves to break ReaL at 25:17 he calls GG. Game 2 Antiga Shipyard In this game, Sound attempts to set up a contain with a bunker once more. Yet ReaL has learned, and has a zealot ready to take out the SCV and bunker before any marines arrive. ReaL shifts his game plan, expanding very early. By the 10 minute mark he has 2 expansions up and running. However, Sound scouts the second expansion with his factory, sending in a marine/marauder combo to force out ReaL's army. At the same time, he drops two medivacs full of marauders into ReaL's main, taking full advantage of his frontal assault. A rewarding tactic: the drop destroys two forges (both researching +1 shield/damage upgrades) and a twilight council while the expansion assault significantly cuts ReaL's mineral collection rate. The game continues with such marine/marauder drops and frontal assaults until ReaL's main and expansions are slowly destroyed. By the 16 minute mark only the natural is left, until finally it falls, and with it, ReaL. While ReaL resisted valiantly, Sound's macro is to be commended: at one point he set up two expansions while dropping into two separate bases. It's not often that you see that kind of skill. Game 3 Tal'darim Altar Surprisingly, it is ReaL who begins to put on the pressure. At the 6 minute mark he's already putting pressure on Sound's natural expansion. Here, Sound's bunker proves useful, suppressing the push. ReaL persists with his gateway units, massing stalkers, sentries and zealots, while Sound adds marauders to the mix. At the 11 minute mark a confrontation occurs at the centre of the map. ReaL's force-fields allows him to divide and conquer Sound's units with minimal losses. He pushes the attack, forcing a GG from Sound. This match just goes to show how effective early-game aggression can be in deciding the outcome of a game. 12 GLHF MAGAZINE HIGHLIGHT MATCHES Here are a few of our favourites. They're definitely worth a look: � MC v. JYP Semi-finals � Grubby v. Ret Group H, Group Stage #1 � HerO v. HayprO Group F, Group Stage #1 � ThorZaIN v. Nerchio Group A, Group Stage #1 � MarineKing v. ViOLet Quarter-finals Game 4 Terminus SE SCV rush at 7 minutes... enough said. But seriously, a bit of a wacky game on both players' parts. The SCV rush failed, although it did take out ReaL's expansion, which is quite a set back early game. Fighting cheese with cheese, ReaL returns with his dark templar harass. At least this time his micro is better, splitting them up as to force Sound to spend more orbital energy on scans. Not much more excitement occurs, except for unfortunate force-field placements by ReaL, resulting in a zealot massacre: The desired effect was probably to push the marines out of range, but it was ineffective. zealots were taken out as they walked around the forcefields in range of the marines. But 4 DTs were sent in as the payload, so the real damage was done in a greater sense. ReaL won the match by forcing his way into Sound's main. Sound had little defence because he, at the same time, was on his way to drop into ReaL's. Unfortunate for Sound, ReaL's units destroyed much of his main and out-numbered his army. Game 5 Shakuras Plateau Again, ReaL opts for dark templars, and this time Sound knows it's coming. ReaL showed some really good warp prism maneuvering, pulling DT and zealot drops, but to no avail. The ever-faithful marine/marauder/medivac combination serves once more. With three orbital commands and scattered missile turrets, Sound countered those DTs quite effectively. When the final push came by ReaL with sentries, chargelots, stalkers and archons it was quashed with relative ease by the stimpack'd, shield-wielding, shell shootin' M/M/M. ReaL called GG once his army was obliterated - 37 supply to 111. 2. PROS TO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR 1. MC He has once again demonstrated the extent of his skill, upholding the title of most consistent Protoss player out there. ReaL While he didn't get into the top 3, ReaL displayed some really impressive talent. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot more of him in the future. 3. Dimaga One of the top Zerg players out there, Dimaga's confidence and game awareness are always impressive. MISCELLANEOUS FACTS It takes 26 banelings to destroy a pile of destructible rocks. 13 GLHF MAGAZINE Matt "LookNoHands" Fink By Christopher Kinniburgh PLAYER SPOTLIGHT Matt "LookNoHands" Fink is an American StarCraft II Pro currently living in Korea. LookNoHands has been traveling the globe, spending time in Europe and Asia, experiencing the StarCraft II community through interactions with players, fans, and community leaders. Throughout all of his travels, he has had a specific goal--to experience and interact with disabled gamers around the world. Born without a spleen, Matt was vulnerable to infections at a young age. At one and a half years old he had an infection and his arms and legs had to be amputated. Dealing with a disability has been a challenge Matt seems more than willing to take on. He's a competitive StarCraft II player who hopes to eventually qualify for a major tournament and beat a top tier pro player in a best of series. Outside of StarCraft, Matt Fink is a Political Science graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and is planning on studying Public Health in graduate school at the University of Minnesota. I was able to talk to Matt earlier this week. In that hour, we discussed a number of topics, from his time in Korea to his goals in graduate school and beyond. One thing which stood out to me throughout the interview was the level of excitement and joy Matt exuded as he discussed everything he was doing. When I asked him about his charisma, he described how competition had always driven him, and made him more pleasant. He uses competition as an outlet for his over competitiveness and stubbornness, and by playing StarCraft, he is able to calm those features of his personality. He's always enjoyed mental exercises. When he was The remarkable thing Blizzard has done with StarCraft, according to Matt, is that they created an equal playing field for someone with a physical disability. Matt's competitive nature did not start with StarCraft, but it's the first sport he felt was possible to compete at the same level as any other competitor. His previous experiences with competitive debate were still difficult, as he found `flowing', a note taking technique used in debate, took a great deal of effort and he never felt equal to other Matt's travels through Europe and Asia are being sponsored by The Watson Fellowship, "a one year grant for independent study and travel outside the United States." Matt's project with Watson is to travel throughout Europe and Asia to interact with disabled gamers. Though the high language barrier has made it difficult to meet and interact in school and studying for a math test, he would go over all the possible math problems again and again until he could answer them all. Just as he found the mental work of math in college relaxing, he finds StarCraft an emotionally relaxing pursuit. competitors. The power of StarCraft 2, according to Matt, is the game's ability to reward brain power rather than physical prowess. The game relies on the speed of the brain rather than the speed of the fingers. By playing and practicing at a competitive level throughout his travels, LookNoHands has experienced "a journey of self exploration" into the concept of being truly competitive. Matt, as he played a game with Mr. Bitter on ESL TV 14 GLHF MAGAZINE with many disabled gamers, he has still learned a great deal through his discussions with people with disabilities who are not gamers. Despite the small number of disabled gamers Matt has met, he is still excited about his project and its future. He hopes to raise awareness of gamers with disabilities worldwide, an awareness which might lead to the eventual creation of more communities of disabled gamers. One plan Matt has to promote community building is the formation of a BarCraft in Seoul, Korea where disabled attendees could drink for free. Though this would be a great first step, Matt is quick to point out that he doesn't see his yearlong travels with Watson as the end of the line, but rather "investigatory work" for what he might do in the future. Matt's team, Tilt Gaming, is based around the principles of being a competitive, community oriented team championing the causes of players with physical disabilities. The team is in its infancy and Matt has a number of plans for its future. One of the projects Matt has is the idea of setting up a team house in Korea for foreigners without a team to live as they practice in Korea. To pay for the cost of the house, as well as transportation, cooking, cleaning, and other amenities for players, the house would produce content such as streams and other videos. Matt's worried about the possibility of a separation forming between Korea and the West, a problem which existed in Brood War. Matt sees a house open to foreigners as a way to combat that separation. He believes that it's possible to be successful as a foreigner in Korea due to the open qualifications to compete in tournaments and the lack of license requirements. By providing an open house, he could give many players the chance to practice and qualify for GSL who otherwise could not afford to without a team. The challenge currently facing Matt and his ability to continue to stay in Korea is his ability to pay for a Personal Care Attendant. Matt needs assistance with some activities on a daily basis, and the cost of these PCAs is not covered by his Watson Fellowship. As I was finishing up my conversation with Matt, he said something which caught me off guard. He was discussing his upcoming fundraiser and the people he had assisting him--everyone from casters and players to GomTV and Blizzard--and he explained why he thought the community would support him. "I symbolize everything the community wants to believe is true about itself," he told me. He is living proof that StarCraft 2 is a mental, rather than physical game. Through his interactions with them, he demonstrates the kind and generous side of all the casters and players he's met. And through the StarCraft community's support for him, we as a community will prove that despite the gossip and disagreements we may have, we are a great group of people who care deeply about each other because of the common bond that is StarCraft. "Despite the small number of disabled gamers Matt has met, he is still excited about his project and its future. He hopes to raise awareness of gamers with disabilities worldwide..." 15 GLHF MAGAZINE PEEPMODE BREAKDOWN BY GLHF MAGAZINE PeepMode is a melee spectator system that is quickly gaining popularity. GLHF was able to interview its creator IcculusLizard about his experience developing content with the SC2 engine, and how it could extend to full-scale mods. � � Up to 14 players can join a game and participate in standard 1v1, 2v2 and FFA matches while spectators watch, bet, chat and learn. Your project exhibited a unique condition -- it exceeded its direct competitors in features and polish, but still could not break through to the public due to the quirks of the publishing system. Could you explain how you managed to findastrategytobreakthroughthishurdle? PeepMode was directly inspired by Slime's 1v1 Xel'Naga Caverns. I played that map in early 2011 and was amazed that some of the features were possible via modding. I thought it was a great concept but suffered from user experience issues and lack of polish. I tried to contact the author to see if I could suggest improvements or work with him, but I was not successful, so I set out to see if I could create my own system. I originally expected development to last 2 to 4 weeks. It ended up lasting more than 60 weeks (and counting!). During that time, iCJug maps came out (by Rodrigo), which added some cool features, but it lacked a smart cam and also had a few UX issues. In general, I strive to create outstanding work and I don't generally get caught up in thinking about "competition" or "popularity." I just worked on making the system as good as I could, incorporating as many features as possible. I knew that when I was done, it would sort of be in a class of its own. I'm not trying to sound self-important, it's just that I invested much more time than those other authors did, and I think the product � Many tools are provided for observers including an Auto Cam that follows the action, advanced stats readouts, standard Blizzard Replay UI, a betting system, a global rating system and much more. Includes graphical team selection and unlockable avatars, pets and turf markers. Peepmode Features At a previous Blizzcon, Blizzard made statements that suggested the experience you went through should perhaps be typical, that a map maker use a guerrilla marketing campaign to popularize his map. Do you feel like this is a realisticroutefortheaverageperson/project? 16 GLHF MAGAZINE I was unaware of these statements made by Blizzard, but it does seem that it is up to the mapmakers to promote their own maps. In my opinion, the popularity system used in Bnet 2.0 was not well designed and makes it difficult for maps that are not already popular to become popular. This necessitates web-based promotion. Although I originally tried to promote my map at sc2mapster.com, very little interest was generated and so I stopped using that site as a promotional tool. I posted PeepMode details on TeamLiquid for many months before eventually making a breakthrough on reddit.com/r/starcraft when a gracious user from TL x-posted my PeepMode The new logo for PeepMode is part of a roll-out of new content, development, and community interaction. Overview video and it was upvoted to the top of the first page. I then launched a reddit-based campaign to popularize "PeepMode Metalopolis", which was very successful and quickly overtook the other "obs" maps. Several things were necessary for this to work: 1. 2. The product had to beat the competition hands-down in features and polish A critical number of hours (~3,500) needed to be played on the map within 36 hours to ensure it made it to the front page on Bnet 3. The product had to be effectively presented, which I was able to do by creating the PeepMode Overview video (on YouTube). My previous promotion videos took the form of "music videos" as other map makers have done. I found that my "talking head" / presentation approach in the Overview video was ultimately what conveyed the product successfully. Promotion of the maps took considerable effort and was, of course, in addition to the hundreds of hours of development time required to create the system. I was able to leverage my skills as a web developer to create PeepMode.com in support of the project and I plan on leveraging more web-based mechanisms for supporting the map (such as voting for map rotations and/or a makeshift laddering system). The existing StarCraft communities right now have a large focus on competitive play. Your map does have some application there as a practice tool or viewing environment. Did you experience any waning in community support over your time pushing your product or could you see similar projects failing to do the same irregardlessofquality? 17 GLHF MAGAZINE In general, I feel that PeepMode is still on the rise as far as popularity goes. I am getting requests to use it in tourney situations, which I am eager to support. I am also going to launch "1v1 Obs � Map of the Day" which will provide a means of rotating the maps on a daily basis to keep things more interesting. My feeling is that if that map can make it to the front page, it has a high potential of remaining one of the most popular customs. The reason for my confidence is that PeepMode honors and builds on the standard melee game, which so many players love already. It is an attempt to enhance the SC2 eSports experience, unlike many other customs that set out to create an entirely new game using the SC2 engine. In a way, PeepMode is in a class of its own. changes. I am also hoping that Bizzard exposes more of the back-end to modders so that I can fix some long-running shortcomings with PeepMode features (such as wireframes not "un-researching" and inability to see other player's fog of war vision). While sc2mapster.com was very helpful in "getting my feet wet," much of the work I did for PeepMode was either original research (outside of Blizzard of course) or stumbled upon by asking many questions from other modders. I'd like to give a shout out to BasharTeg and grenegg on sc2mapster.com. One Any mod/map project stands to be dismissed from having a buggy release. Since making a community impression has been so key for yourself,isitdifficulttoacquiretesters?Ifso, how did you handle this or what issue did it cause? My key to success was being extremely responsive and grateful to early adopters who were my main testers. These were often groups of friends or clans who of the biggest hurdles in SC2 modding is the time it takes to boot up the Editor and to boot up the Client to do testing. In many cases, I have to upload a test map to Battle.net and use a combination of Computer Players, two machines, two accounts, and friends' accounts to properly test a new feature. At ~50,000 lines of Trigger code, the editor takes ~40 seconds to validate my Triggers every time I open a map (and I have a fast machine). This means that to publish 10 maps across 3 regions, you have to multiply that by 30 every time I make an update. And this does not include copy/paste time between maps and saving the maps, which adds several minutes to every map update. Right now it takes me approximately 2 hours just to publish my maps, which is very frustrating. I also had to purchase accounts on NA, EU, and SEA, as I found I could not rely on others to publish maps in a timely fashion. This cost me over $200 just for the privilege of publishing a map to other regions. This process also discourages me from making the PeepMode map pool any larger than 10 at a time so that I don't have to spend hours publishing for every update. There are other approaches to publishing, such as converting Trigger/Data modification to a Library or Mod, but then the developer is limited in his/her ability to make updates readily. Since PeepMode is still in a beta phase, I have not taken that step and will continue to copy/paste my Triggers to propagate to other maps. I'd also like to point out that developers PeepMode had quite a long development cycle. Was this because of the limitations of the map editor? I have been a professional programmer for about ten years now. I work on web applications using Ruby on Rails and PHP. In the past I used more stronglytyped languages like C++ and Java. I am accustomed to enterprise-level IDE's (or the lightweight power of TextMate or Sublime text editors), source control (git), support libraries, documentation, and communities that are well-informed. None of these exist in the SC2 modding scene. I'd also like to mention that the editors crash on a regular basis. The undo feature often does not work. need to be very careful that they open the correct Editor or else all of their work will be unrecoverable since all strings (including variable names, function names, etc) are stored in separate Locales, and when one Localizes these to publish in all regions, all other Locales are overwritten. So if you do a bunch of work in a map on the NA editor, and then open it in EU, then open it back in NA, all the work you did in EU is unrecoverable since all your variable names are gone. With this type of marketing, how important is timing?Youfocuseddevelopmentduringthe competitiveoff-season.Didyoupurposelywork aroundlargeeventtimings?Couldyouseethat beinganissue? During 2011, I was focusing on development and testing and was only moderately interested in promotion as I knew that PeepMode was still in a pre-beta phase.The only reason I was promoting the map in early 2011 on TL was so that I could get testers to give me feedback. It is impossible to test Battle.net functionality on one's local machine (computer players do not adequately simulate real players on Battle.net), which makes testing a map like PeepMode extremely difficult. I essentially had to "put it into the wild" and fix bugs as they were reported as quickly as I could. This makes for a very bad marketing campaign since you're publicizing a product that isn't done yet. As a software developer, it is disappointing and frustrating to face this kind of testing situation. My general feeling is that marketing techniques and promotional timing take a back seat to some of the larger problems of the ecosystem and that real marketing campaigns can't even be attempted until the software development issues are addressed. Blizzard has promised substantial improvements to the testing/debugging tools in the Editor for HotS, so I am looking forward to those used PeepMode for practice. I am very appreciative to these fine folks; without their feedback and support, PeepMode would have died in pre-beta stage. I also want to thank VYEStone for publishing the map under the "1v1 Metalopolis + Koth Obs" slot on EU, which catapulted my de- It is impossible to test Battle.net functionality on one's local machine, which makes testing a map like PeepMode extremely difficult. bugging and optimization efforts. This action allowed me to "take over" the slot of my main competitor, thus giving me the advantage of having my map on the front page on EU. It is a bit sad that this type of action was necessary. I have the utmost respect for Slime, but his maps were dropping players regularly and no fixes were forthcoming, so I didn't refuse when Stone (the publisher) requested my map as a replacement. 18 GLHF MAGAZINE Orphaned trigger parameters are commonplace. I can't use built-in AI anymore because after a certain amount of code being run, using AI crashes the game client. All of these problems slow down the development process. Most sane developers wouldn't deal with this. I must be crazy in love with this game. professional-level work to get the system to a beta stage (by professional-level, I mean I have a lot of experience as a programmer and system designer, although I had no previous experience modding a Blizzard product). Add other team members (and take into account the Mythical Man Month), and development time gets to be so long that it just I'd like to close with these thoughts: I may have complaints about Blizzard's lack of support for the modding scene and may disagree with some of their design choices, but the fact remains that I am very grateful to the talented folks at Blizzard for creating such a wonderful game and to all the players who recognize it as such. I am also grateful that Blizzard provided a means for modding the game, even if they don't provide documentation or support. I will always have fond memories of the hundreds of hours I spent developing PeepMode on monitors 1 and 2 while watching MLG, IPL, NASL, GSL, Day9, and SOTG out of the corner of my eye on monitors 3 and 4. I also look forward to years of continued development and support for PeepMode; I'm not going anywhere, folks. Let's say you had a large scale mod project composed of multiple individuals, perhaps making large time commitments and risks to produce somethinggoodtothecommunity.Withsignificantly higher stakes and pressures involved, do you see any of the issues with StaCraft 2 as a publishingtool? I don't feel that the current state of modding in SC2 is supportive of large-scale projects. I vastly underestimated the time and effort it would take me to create PeepMode. I originally thought that I could implement my original vision in 2 to 4 weeks if I worked hard at it. I am now at week 60 and counting, and it wasn't until week 40 or so where I felt like I had a product that was worthy of largescale attention. I estimate it took me 600 hours of doesn't make sense. You may be thinking `Why would someone do so much tedious technical work for free? The reason is that I truly believe this is one of the greatest games ever created and I truly believe this is one of the greatest games ever created and I am honored to be a part of the community that has sprung up around it. I am honored to be a part of the community that has sprung up around it. I also genuinely enjoy programming for hours by myself on evenings and weekends. I also happen to have gotten out of a long-term relationship a little over a year ago, which enabled me to spend more time in front of my computer. 19 GLHF MAGAZINE STARCRAFT 2 MOD TOOLS An abandoned playground? By megabuster StarCraft 2 has always felt a little lonelier than it needed to. Sometimes it is easy to not completely notice. Amidst a vivid competitive scene full of heroic struggle, and significant intrigue the average StarCraft fan and user has many distractions available to them. If you glance away from the shining lights long enough to analyze, there is some rise for concern. The source of this loneliness lies in the nature of the user experience offered by the current incarnation of Battle.net. 2.0, as its known. Many discussions have been had on why exactly StarCraft 2's online arena is not an ideal sequel to its predecessors. Certainly by now, even those not present to experience a vintage Blizzard multiplayer community have been brought in the fold on its inadequacies. If you hadn't encountered this topic before in summation Brood War's battle.net was a favorite restaurant, full of your best mates, a roaring fire nested in an brick chimney, and the smell of your favorite meal in the air. StarCraft 2's user experience is a sterile doctor's waiting room, The foundation of StarCraft culture happened organically and is a credit to its players, but it needed a fertile environment for that to occur in, which was a success of its developers at the time. The future of the culture isn't in peril however, certainly Had the Brood War and WarCraft 3 battle.net's suffered the same issues as Battle.net 2.0, where would the competitive StarCraft scene be today? My perspective is that it certainly wouldn't be as rich and entertaining. So much of the evolution behind the character of the scene happened in those old hallowed halls. If you enjoy the history between the personalities, the culture behind the competition, the overall sense of community, they wouldn't be the same without the meeting grounds the online component of StarCraft 2's predecessors provided. Every cultural movement has a variety of key destinations where the story began. And in retrospection Brood War/WarCraft 3's custom map systems were to the mid- late 2000s indie gaming boom as CBGB's was to the punk rock movement. These systems are now a locale of legends. Simple design tools and pre-made art assets were made available to a new generation who had instant access to a wide multiplayer playerbase. your chair is moist, the man next to you is coughing up... something. We can move on from pointing out the same flaws. I'd like to pose a question for the purpose of illustration. StarCraft should extend beyond competition and eSports though, its important for its overall livelihood. Iin fact nearly ever title in the storied history of Blizzard RTS has played key parts in another track, that is the game developmental scene. This is the side of StarCraft which has been most threatened by a tepid battle.net iteration. In just a single generation removed from Warcraft 3, Blizzard RTS has moved from an important, fertile development platform a shadow of its former self. the boom of secondary communities such as Team Liquid or Reddit with StarCraft 2's beta and release have given it an environment to grow in. 20 GLHF MAGAZINE as Rampart and Herzog Zwei, but I will leave that Beyond that commercialization wasn't even so much of a thought, there was no way to speculate really on profiting from your creations, it was simply part of the agreement working in the medium. It was the equivalent of "Being all about the music, man". Many things were also equivalently open source. The lack of sophistication in encryption, and its general indesirability for reasons other than ego, made many projects freely reviewable, allowing others to easily pop open your code and learn from what you had done. Projects bore children, copies, and knockoffs all spinning the original concepts. Sometimes this caused improvement, sometimes it trashed the orginal's vision, equivalent to modern music remix practice. These elements in coincidence created something special, a unique, strong, free, pseudo open-source development platform. This allowed creators to well, create. Imagination was abound, and it was oftentimes quite easy to cobble together a game quickly and get it in the hands of some random strangers to test with. Usually a very rewarding and fun process for the designer as well as the player, making sure both parties explored the system beyond a single experience. The impact of this system rippled deeply into the mainstream gaming community. Luminaries of battle.net such as Lurker Defence and Defense of the Ancients gave way for entire genres, that is Tower Defence and the MOBA/Action-RTS. Now its worth noting that one thing gaming in general is fairly poor at is crediting its own inspirations, their are career historians making note of this sort of thing. As such following the genealogy of specific games can oftentimes be difficult. For true history fiends some of the earliest exposed cases of these genres can hark back to games known It's an unusual condition. With StarCraft 2 the tools are hypothetically sharper than ever, in fact what is available should empower creators more than ever. Scripting which finally approaches a realized By no consider the offerings I've mentioned an exhaustive list, in fact the breadth of available custom maps and mods to previous Blizzard titles is perhaps the most astonishing quality, beyond even the potential in certain luminaries. Anyone who has spent time in that space probably has their own personalized list of favorites. Just as anyone who has searched the corridors of battle.net 2.0 for similar spoils could tell you of shocking opposite state of the scene now. Over an exorbitant amount of time this interest eventually attracted professional development. Much like record executives licensing punk rock, allowing it to go mainstream from the night club circuit. Game developers made entries into various genres which had evolved on battle.net exposing what was once in independent and underground, perhaps without the exploitation of its music world equivalent. The influence is indisputable. Tower defence gametypes have been a killer APP for mobile gaming, becoming hugely important in its popularization and acceptance. While MOBA/ Action-RTS's are now the realm of millions of players worldwide, even presenting a blooming sister sport to their RTS sibling. reading to the interested. Nonetheless the rapid development and exposition of these games in battle.net caused explosive growth in interest and innovation in the genres. coding language, opportunity to import fully custom assets such as art, sound, or effect, exportable libraries, and more. Of course there are technical issues that currently make operation much more difficult than ideal, but the age of the platform and promised fixes can excuse this to a degree. Most importantly what has departed is the freedom to demonstrate a project on the open field. Battle.net 2.0's lobby system is restricted to a popularity system akin to what is scene in many modern digital storefronts. The move to the popularity system is built to eventually hold a commercial infrastructure. That is something called the Blizzard Arcade, an eventual market which could offer creator`s an opportunity to commercialize their indie projects themselves. The promise of this service is something that from the onset, alongside the power of the SC2 editor, and the historical allure of developing for battle.net I`ve mentioned previously should have poised SC2 very specially as a development platform. Starcraft could feasibly be a preeminent mod tool in the space of independent videogame creation as a whole. It should extend beyond strong conventional top down capable engines like Unity for its readily available playerbase and ease of marketting. It would outclass other free popular platforms like GameMaker and BYOND in sophistication. As well its pedigree for indie development and softly available commercialization options would set it ahead of FPS oriented environments like UDK, Half Life, or anything conceivably down the pipeline. The lack of an expensive developer license would be an absolute plus as well. Battle.net 2.0's lobby system is restricted to a popularity system akin to what is scene in many modern digital storefronts. 21 GLHF MAGAZINE THE FUTURE OF STARCRAFT AS AN ESPORT Has it had its fifteen minutes of fame? BY DAVID LO Considering the fact that Starcraft 2 will be two years old in just a few months, its growth has been incredible. Since 2010, there were tournaments in the beta and VODs of games released on YouTube, but there was no real way for the masses to be exposed to Starcraft 2. The Brood War scene still dominated a lot of the Starcraft community and many people were skeptical about who would switch over to Starcraft 2 and whether or not it would be worth it. Even the names seen in beta tournaments were all mostly established professionals in Brood War. At a financial standpoint, it did not make sense to switch over to Starcraft 2 as it was too new and 22 as a result, the number of Starcraft 2 supporters was confined to a niche community. Fast-forward one year to 2011, a year that many called the "year of e-sports". Not only did 2011 mark the first full year of competitive Starcraft, it set the standards that we have come to expect from Starcraft as a spectator sport. The year was filled with constant tournament coverage around the world. MLG, GSL, IPL, Dreamhack, Homestory Cup, IEM, and Blizzcon all provided us with countless hours of entertainment. Tournaments were being hosted at least every month and as often as every other week. From a spectator point of view, we had everything we could possibly want. But aside from watching our favorite players duking it out on the battlefield, something more important was happening behind the scenes. Production crews, casters, and tournament organizers were actually responding to the community. Take MLG for instance, we all remember the disaster that was MLG Dallas and if the same performance had been repeated at Columbus, I'm sure MLG would not have as much support as it does now. If the organizers of these tournaments did not try to fix the problems that plagued their streams or events, Starcraft as an e-sport would cease to grow. 2011 was also a year of streams, in terms of the sheer numbers of players streaming their ladder games. Apparently streaming is the cool thing to do nowadays, even the Koreans are getting into it. It gives players that extra little bit of income and gives the viewers GLHF MAGAZINE a chance to watch their favorite players outside of a tournament setting. It also increases the fanbase of Starcraft 2 in general in that people who have friends that are interested in playing can watch a Day Daily or watch Dragon doing crazy shenanigans on stream. The great thing about streams is that they aren't confined to a certain date. They're on basically all day every day except tournament weekends. 2012. A whole new year. Is the growth of Starcraft going to stagnate? The short answer is no, but here's why: happen or will happen. The anticipation continues to grow and so does the excitement. What makes Starcraft 2 such a great spectator sport is the fact that the audience can relate to what is going on. Whether it's eagerly anticipating a hidden nydus or cringing at a whole base full of harvesters getting nuked, Starcraft provides a lot of entertainment both visually and mentally. is. If something is wrong with a tournament or with a player's behavior, rest assured it will be heard. While it might lead to potential drama, it always dies down and at the end of the day we all learn from it. The fact that mistakes do not continue to repeat themselves proves the fact Starcraft has the potential to continue growing as an e-sport. 3. HISTORY 2. COMMUNITY No, not the show on NBC, although we sometimes get carried away with drama. As a community, we are one of the most helpful and friendly groups around. Pro-gamers actually interact with their fans on a daily basis, whether it is at meet and greets or through stream chat. While there are the occasional trolls and ragers on ladder, most people would love to offer advice on how to improve and possibly offer to be practice partners. At the end of the day, it is the cohesion we have as a community that allows us to develop connections with other players and professionals that strengthens the foundation of Starcraft as an e-sport. What I think is amazing about the Starcraft community is how vocal and helpful the community If you listen to State of the Game at all, one of the things that frequently comes up is how to improve on tournaments. With the sheer number of tournaments that have happened over the past year, we have begun to see story-lines develop. The history of MMA, the rivalry between Hero and Puma, the American hope Stephano. With every tournament, players develop even deeper story lines and spectators cheer for their favorite players whether it is based on skill, personality, or previous matches. With these story-lines comes a greater fanbase for the proplayers. After Homestory Cup IV, the spotlight was on Grubby, the incredibly mannered protoss from the Netherlands. After IEM Kiev, the spotlight was on Kas even though he didn't win the tournament, 1. RELATABILITY Starcraft 2 as a game is not only aesthetically pleasing, it is quite easy to pick up. There's plenty of guides to help people get into the game plastered all over Reddit and Youtube. But there's also the excitement factor. People who play the game can appreciate the incredible amount of skill the pros showcase. The audience also gets to see the entire game unfold while the players themselves can only guess what will happen next. This creates a sense of anticipation in that we as spectators think about scenarios that could 23 GLHF MAGAZINE his run was incredible. What Starcraft 2 lacks iin comparison to Brood War is this history. Brood War players would spend months training for an MSL or OSL and in that time, fans were anxiously waiting to see their favorite players battle it out. Now Starcraft 2 is nowhere near as rich in history as Brood War, but with so much coverage, we as spectators are exposed to players more frequently and our opinions of them begin to develop. This history helps the growth of Starcraft 2 in that more fans will tune in to watch their favorite players in hopes that they make a deep run or see the beginnings of a rivalry develop. that the foreigner community in America, Canada, France, Sweden, Ukraine, and many other countries are going to have a vested interest in Starcraft 2 namely because their players represent their country. It also creates a sort of David and Goliath situation in which fans want to root for the underdog. If the foreigner wins its an incredible upset but if the Korean wins, it is to be expected. Either way, it provides a reason for people to watch while in the process creating a more enthusiastic community. If you want more proof, just take a look at the numbers. On average, the most popular streamers have a couple thousand people watching them at any point in time, and it is sure to grow. MLG reports that attendance records are being broken at every single event they hold. Starcraft 2 is making headlines in the news in America, Sweden, and Germany. What we need now is time. Time for all of this to unfold. I'm not saying that Starcraft 2 will become mainstream overnight, but the factors that are influencing its development are strong advocates of it. Ultimately it comes down to the community and what we are doing to fix problems with tournaments or even what we're doing to spread the awesomeness that is Starcraft. 4. SKILL DISPARITY When I say skill disparity, I don't mean that there is a huge gap between top Koreans and top foreigners, it is quite the opposite. If tournament results have proven anything, it is that foreigners have what it takes to conquer the Korean powerhouses. Compared to the Korean dominated Brood War scene, foreigners have proven that they can compete. Huk winning MLG over MC, Naniwa tearing Nestea a new one in the Blizzard Cup, and Stephano's win over Lucky in IPL 4 are just a few of the examples of foreigners taking down Koreans. But what does it mean? It means "With every tournament, players develop even deeper story lines and spectators cheer for their favorite players whether it is based on skill, personality, or previous matches." 24 GLHF MAGAZINE MISCELLANEOUS FACTS A roach will survive a nuke if it is in the outer radius. 25 GLHF MAGAZINE EASTER EGGS While you play the Liberation Day mission on Mar Sara you will see a STOP sign when you move Raynor and his troops to East. Near the sign you can see 8 crashed vehicles in a chain accident. 26 GLHF MAGAZINE INTERVIEWS DaisyPrime Andrea Chang KellyMILKIES William Dahlstrom ThorZaIN Christian Hanner Gosu.Rum David Litts 27 GLHF MAGAZINE Up and Coming Pro-Gamers Credit: DiMano from TL DaisyPrime by Andrea Chiang P ro gamers like Tt eSPORT's White-Ra and Evil Genius' HuK seem to have effortlessly climbed to the top of the StarCraft 2 scene as some of the most talented and popular players of the game. They started playing during the beta and became well known for their prowess and play style by dominating the tournaments they were invited to. Now, there seem to be so many more people qualified to play professionally, especially with the introduction of the Grandmaster league on each server. So how do you find people who are truly qualified? How can a small28 -time gamer make it to the big leagues? There is a relatively unknown gamer who is on a quest to become a professional in order to spread awareness. Winning events helps pro gamers show up on the radar, but the most important and popular events are often live, such as the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit. FXO's sixteen year-old Zerg player Leenock demonstrated just how quickly a gamer could become famous. He tore through all of his opponents in the open bracket and defeated NaNiwa to take first place at MLG Providence. Having a charismatic personality can also help you gain viewership and popularity, as QxG.Destiny and EG.iNcontroL demonstrate on their streams. We hope to continue featuring players on the rise, and note players that the community should keep an eye on. And so without further ado, we will be introducing our first featured player. His name is Jong Hyuk Lee. He is a Korean Protoss player on Prime, and the teammate of the legendary MarineKing. In-game, he goes by Daisy. DaisyPrime is a very friendly guy who tries to interact with his viewers as much as he can, though he speaks limited English. He is currently trying to find a foreign team in order to travel to and compete in foreign tournaments. In the interview we conducted with him, he explained more about his play style and his goals for StarCraft 2. When in a tournament, or match, what types of strategies do you useoften? Against Protoss, I send a scout and get a cybernetics core. It's quickest for me to get 4 warpgates. For a slower build, I'll go the safer way of getting up 3 gates, robotics facility, and then twilight council. Against Zerg, if it's on a map where double nexus is possible, then I go double nexus without question, and maps where it's not I usually fake going GLHF MAGAZINE Credit: From Daisy's Facebook double nexus and then cancel. I'll build 3 gates with sentries or 1 gate with sentries if I have to. After double nexus, I'll get a stargate up and then after sending a scout, I adapt my game according to my opponent. Against Terran, I'll send a probe scout and if I see he's not doing a 2 Rax cheese or an all-in, I'll go 1gate, 1 zealot, 2 stalkers, and double nexus. After that I'll gradually work up to 3 gates and get up my robotics facility, then just adapt to my opponent's play. What are the reasons for wanting tojoinaforeignteam? It can be hard to compete in foreign tournaments. In Korea, the GSL is the only tournament scene, and only the star players get invites to foreign tournaments through it. I also want to learn English because it is a required subject in Korea. For the most part, Korean players don't get paid a salary right now. The funding is really bad. So basically, I want to join a foreign team to compete in lots of foreign tournaments and because I want to learn English as well. As a SC2 player, do you a desire for further progress and achievements?Whatplansdoyouhave in order to achieve these goals forSC2? Yes, I have a lot. A while ago, I received an invite to CPL and went to China to play there. I heard the deafening roar of the crowd and felt a shiver go up my spine. I want more fans so I can experience that feeling again. My plan is to get good tournament results through lots of practice and to join a foreign team... Hahaha. Thank you for your time. Are there any last comments you wouldliketoadd? I feel good after doing this interview! I'm sad that I don't have very many viewers on my stream, but even so, I'm very grateful to the viewers who always watch me. If you would like to check out DaisyPrime and encourage him as he works towards breaking into the spotlight, check out his Twitch TV/ DaisyPrime stream and Twitter@ DaisyPrime. (See next page for Korean translation) 29 GLHF MAGAZINE DaisyPrime Interview (Korean) Effie: , ? Daisy: vs p 4 , 3 ->-> Daisy: vs z , 3 1 . Daisy: vs t 2 1 1 2 3 Effie: ? Daisy: GSL . , . Effie: 2 , ? 2 ? Daisy: . CPL . , ... Effie: . ? Daisy: . . 30 GLHF MAGAZINE GLHF MAGAZINE 31 The Multi-talented KellyMILKIES By William Dahlstr�m Credit: DeL from teamliquid.net forums S he does it all. SC2, WoW, CS1.6, Rockband, DotA 2, HoN. She's a player, commentator, and a Zerg. KellyMILKIES everone. What got you into gaming in the firstplace? I started when I was five. My dad was really into video games, like Sega Saturn cartridge kind, Atari, GameCube type, so I got into these games really young. When I grew up, I just happened to have high school sweethearts boyfriend types who plays games, really smart. I've always loved nerds. Could you walk us through a typicaldayforyou? Right now, when not travelling as much: I wake up, drink very hot black coffee, brush my teeth, have orange juice while checking e-mails, replying Skype messages about work that I had missed, read a few gaming forums, check a few social forums, start replying e-mails and non-work related Skype messages, continue conversation and work for the whole day, optimally spending one or two hours at the end of the day watching TV shows/anime, play some guitar with my boyfriend, play some games, and go to bed. Next day, same. What was your favourite part of castingfortheGSL? It's all about the backstage baby! During GSL, before every single day it starts, everyone has to go at least an hour before to get make up and hair done, including all the boys. So all of us will be in this make up/ hairstyling room sitting on plastic chairs, all Korean, English, players, commentators--chilling, busy on phone, being awkward and gossiping. Before I came, the makeup/hairstyling ladies only had the Korean female commentator Lee Hyun Joo and she usually had the same style. 31 32 GLHF MAGAZINE almost all of it. Mostly it is thanks to me recognizing the people I can trust and learn from who has been advising me wisely along the way. Who's your favourite person to castwithandwhy? Every person that I have ever casted with before. Shout out to all the boys and girls whom I've worked with before from start till now! Each person I have casted with had many traits that I pick up (the good ones), and the ones that I get wary of thus avoid (the bad habits). I am still improving and learning every time I cast. You're currently working as the community manager for Own3D. tv. What has been the most exciting or interesting part of your job? The most exciting part has been getting the job itself. At the start Credit: ESL "...no one mentions that working in eSports means no time for eSports. I haven't had much time to play...!" Me, being the newbie, unwillingly became their tester for all crazy K-Pop related hairstyle/makeup. I think if you watch the season when I was casting again, you can see I had a different style every day. I was too shy to say no and also curious to what they could think of. Towards the end I even came in with pictures of Hollywood actresses' hairstyles and they obliged happily to trying some crazy stuff out. While all this happening, them yelling at me in Korean and me speaking excitedly in Konglish (Korean-English pidgin), everyone is filing in and out of the room. Most people tendrf to leave us be, some watched warily, and others just start coming over and talking together as well. That was where I mostly first met all the foreign players who were playing at that time. Loner was really shy even though I spoke to him in Mandarin, Nada was really friendly, that was also the first time I met Chris (EG HuK) in real life and spend many fun times with. Also met Jinro and Ret in the backroom. I always tried 32 to get the hair stylist to change Chris's hairstyle. One time he said I could tell them to spike his hair up like Super Saiyan. When the day came, he chickened out and refused to say yes when they asked if they could do it! Whenyoufirststartedcasting, you received a lot of criticism. Doesthisstilltendtohappen? Howdidyoudealwithitbefore? Howdoyoudealwithitnow? I think the general shock of Tastosis not being on every single GSL SC2 match for the first time since it started had a lot to do with the massive amount of criticism. This doesn't happen as much anymore. Before, I think I've done a few things wrong. At the start I got really upset by a lot of it, and I wishthat I learnt sooner that ignoring it and listening only to my mentors was enough. I think the gossip and rumors affected me more than criticism. I hated dealing with unnecessary drama. Now I usually just laugh about Credit: DivinO from teamliquid.net forums GLHF MAGAZINE of 2011, I promised myself that if I didn't get a real career in eSports, I was going to just stop and help with my family business. I felt really lucky and happy to get an offer for the job in Own3D. The most interesting part is how no one mentions that working in eSports means no time for eSports. I haven't had much time to play games for the last three months! You are of course best known for your work pertaining to StarCraft II, but what other games do you play? I used to compete in CS1.6, then DotA for a while. Played WoW mostly PvP for a year, Rock Band, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, then SC2 and now Dota 2 as well. Wheredoyouseeyourselfinfive yearsfromnow? Owning a professional gaming team. Hopefully by then eSports has become one of the biggest sports in the world and America has a new "Favorite Pastime." It's still quite uncommon to see female gamers in the competitive gaming scene. How can we, as a community, help get more girls involved? Stop shitting on them. Stop blowing things up. The community tends to often overreact to any news about a female. Be it relationship drama, being picked up by pro teams, commentators, laptop stealers, pro players. Ever heard of, "If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything?" In the community, the rule of the thumb should at least be, "If you have nothing constructive to say, don't say anything." Most girls are actually scared of breaking into become a competitive player because of all the trolling and bashing. Credit: dota.uuu9.com "Stop blowing things up. The community tends to often overreact to any news about a female." What do you feel is the biggest obstacleforfemalegamers? The misunderstanding that most female gamers get what they do because they are female. Many female gamers end up having to work twice as hard or more as male gamers because they are forced to "prove" themselves. Do you think in a few years female professional gamers could becomecommon? At the rate the eSports and casual community is going at the moment, I honestly doubt we can use the word common to describe it. What would you tell other aspiring female gamers about the stigma generally associated with onlinegaming? Video games are really really fun. It is definitely one of the best hobbies to pick up for any girl. Just remember if you ever want to go pro then be ready for whatever might happen and remember you should be looking to gain respect more than the want of gaining attention. If you could say leave one message to the girls who are interested in the gaming scene, what wouldyousay? Hi girls! You and I are not much different. I like most of the things you do too--I go shopping, eat way too much coconut yogurt, and spend too much time looking at pictures of Ryan Gosling. But on top of that, I love playing video games, too. It's a great way to spend your time, whether it's by yourself or with your friends. I have made so much friends and met so many of them all over the world. I hope to one day meet you too! 3 3 GLHF MAGAZINE ThorZaIN By Christian Hanner Speaks His Mind Credit: IPL3 T 34 his month we went up close with 21-year-old Swedish Terran player Marcus "ThorZaIN" Ekl�f. Marcus is an former professional Warcraft 3 player who made the switch to Starcraft 2 during its beta phase. Marcus is mostly known for his 4-3 win over NaNiwa in the 3rd Team Liquid StarLeague finals. During Marcus's stay in Korea he received the nickname "Spoon Terran" for the slow methodical way he plays out his games. In this interview we get to know ThorZaIN and his thoughts on the future of Starcraft 2. First of all, nice to meet you. How areyoudoingtoday? I'm doing fine. Thank you. How did you get the ID, "ThorZaIN?" I don't exactly remember. It was during my Counter-Strike days. I just remember that the nickname that I used before Thorzain happened to mean something in Japanese, so I changed it. I don't know why i ended up with Thorzain GLHF MAGAZINE though. It doesn't have anything to do with the Norse god of thunder, Thor, which many people seem to think is the case. Whereareyoucurrentlystaying? In Sweden. I still live with my parents. What does your practice schedulelooklike?Isitallstreamed? Haha no, I don't stream it all. I think I only streamed like five times. It would be strange if I played so little. It depends on the day. But I generally play maybe 4-5 hours per day. Doyoupracticeonallladders? No, I play almost exclusively on the European server. How would you compare it to the Koreanladder? It's easier but it still provides a lot of practice. The quality of the top players are almost the same (Korea still ahead though), but the quantity of good players is much bigger in Korea If you have a set opponent in a tournament, what do you do to prepare, and who do you usually practicewith? I would practice a style suited to do Credit: MLG Winter Arena "Iprefermarine/tank.Ithasthemostflexibility and works well vs everything." well against the player I have to prepare for, but also take into consideration things as how he thinks that I play and such. About my practice partners, I basically just ask anyone that is online of the desired race. There are too many to actually list them. Do you plan on going back to Korea to train more and perhaps qualifyforCodeA? I don't have any immediate plans on going back, but I would like to go back sometime in the future. I like Korea very much, it's a very nice country. We've seen you play mech, bio, and marine/tank in TvT. Which styledoyoupreferandwhy? I prefer marine/tank. It has the most flexibility and works well vs everything. Bio almost only works against mech, but since i generally don't have any problem with mech with marine/tank I don't use bio at all TvT. Sometimes I can mix it up with mech however. Do you feel the same way about TvZ? I think that marine/tank is the best, but also that mech is too unexplored for a game that has been out for so long. I think that if both mech and marine/tank would be of the same exact strength, I would play mech in TvZ, and marine/tank in TvT. Credit: R1CH from teamliquid.net forums 35 GLHF MAGAZINE What is your favorite match-up atthemomentandwhy? I think that all match ups are equally fun at the moment. They all have something appealing. For example in TvZ you can basically never die until brood lords come out, unless you fuck up (though you can be behind). I know the TvP match up quite well. TvT is fun when there is a lot of running around with marine/tank and trading armies while macro-ing like crazy behind it. You've been to one MLG. Can we expect to see you at more this year? To be honest, I have no clue. I guess I will go to at least one, but that's just a guess. As of now I've no plans to go but no plans not to go either. Credit: R1CH from the teamliquid.net forums Photo Credits: PUT HERE think you would be today if you weren'taStarcraft2progamer? Well I would still be studying, I don't know what or where though. There's not much more that I could guess to what I would be doing. What are your goals for your progamingcareerthisyear? "...battle hellions. I am just excited to how they will be used...I think that mech might become too strong though." Credit: Silverfire from the teamliquid.net forums I don't really have any big goals. Just take it as it comes. What unit are you most excited about in Heart of the Swarm, and why? The battle hellions. I am just excited to how they will be used. Also, I think that the tempest will be a very interesting unit. I think that mech might become too strong though. Why do you think mech might becometoostrong?Becausethe additionofnewunits? Because every new terran unit is a factory unit. Well, thank you so much for the interview ThorZaIN. Any last shout outs for your fans and sponsors? Thanks for the interview. Also a shoutout to Mousesports and our sponsors. Razer, GeIL, Medion, Intel, Sansibar, and Thortech. As a former WarCraft 3 player, what do you think about Moon committing to Starcraft 2 fulltimeandjoiningFnatic? I'm very excited about it. I wasn't really a huge fan of him in WC3, but I think that he has what it takes to become great at SC2. Also, I lived and practiced with him in the WeMadeFox house when I was in Korea. Even though he was mostly playing WC3 at the time he still was on of the best players I played against during my month in Korea. In another interview you said you would keep studying if Starcraft 2 didn't work out. Where do you 36 GLHF MAGAZINE EASTER EGGS On Planet Xil you will play The Dig mission. You will gain access to a laser and you will be asked to use it to dig for an artifact. If you zoom in the view you can see the control panel of the laser. One of these screens shows the blue screen of death from Windows 98. 37 GLHF MAGAZINE Interview with GoSu.RuM By David Litts It's Gosu started out as an eSports community site, hosting tournaments, forums and publishing articles articles. In June of 2011, It's Gosu acquired ALL4ONE Gaming and formed It's Gosu eSports, fielding teams in League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and StarCraft 2. Players like Kyhol, dde, ViBE and HwangSin make up It's Gosu's 14-man StarCraft 2 roster, all coached by caster/player Gretorp. I had the pleasure of interviewing It's Gosu's team manager, Scott "GoSuRuM'' Ball. Could you state your name and your position with It's Gosu? My name is Scott Ball. In-game I go by GoSuRuM. I handle business development and team management. I guess I don't really have an exact title but these are the roles I am responsible for. So what are your day to day responsibilities with the team? They vary every day, generally they consist of reaching out to and speaking with companies we are interested in working with. I also deal with the players on a regular basis, anything from handling their invites to events, to making sure they are training the way they are supposed to be. The main thing that never changes day to day is the communication, the most important and regular part of my job is having a constant flow of open communication between my peers, as well as companies we are speaking with. I also make our clan war lineups and take care of an issues that have come up. On top of managing the SC 2 team, I also manage our Dota 2 team as well as oversee the HoN and LoL teams. What are you feelings on how It's Gosu grew in 2011? I think overall it was a great year for us. We could have done better in some ways, but overall I am very satisfied with this last year. We are a really new organization when it comes to team in professional eSports, we are also into multiple games. The fact that now many people know who we are, is wonderful. I do know for a fact that 2012 is going to be twice as big for It's Gosu as 2011 was. People can expect big things from our organization and our players this year. How big was the acquisition of Gretorp for It's Gosu? Having Gretorp come on board was huge for us. Gretorp is a good friend of mine and someone that has the ability to analyze and dissect games at a very high level. This is a wonderful thing to have because he can actually show the players what they are doing wrong, then help them to understand it to improve. After all, one of the most overlooked things is not just knowing your mistakes, but actually understanding why it is a mistake. Gretorp is also someone that has a great deal of respect 38 GLHF MAGAZINE from our players, which I think is very important for a coach to have. Really, I can't say enough about Andre, I am just so happy to have him here. What's your team to watch in 2012? It's Gosu. Duh. Just kidding. I think there are two teams: Light and Vile. Both of them are training really hard and have many very underrated players. Light has Xeris behind them to and I don't really know of anything Xeris has done that hasn't done really well. So I'd say keep an eye on Light and Vile. They are both incredible teams that deserve more credit than they get. How do you feel It's Gosu will continue to grow in 2012? I think our players will have even better results then we did last year. Last year at pretty much every MLG we put 2-4 people from the Open Bracket into the championship bracket. Our best finish was WBC, who cracked the top 20. That being said, this year all of our players aren't looking for top 20 anymore. They are looking to push into the top 10 and really get themselves out there to the community. On top of that, we have an incredibly talented Dota 2 team that is competing with all the best teams in the world. We also have a HoN team that is doing the same thing, attending Dreamhack and showing that they are one of the best on a regular basis. We are running a ton of events, whether it be HoN, Dota 2, SC2, or LoL we are creating events that people will want to tune into and participate in. I expect that with all the hard work every one puts in here, the growth is exponential this year. Whats something you would like the community to know about It's Gosu that the majority of us aren't aware of? Just how much we care. All of our players and staff put so much effort towards becoming bigger and better each day. It's incredible. Keep us on your radar and please cheer us on when we make some big things happen. The amount of heart that is poured into everything we do is really amazing. If you could fantasy draft anyone to It's Gosu right this minute who would it be? Wow, probably Hero. Hero is one of my favorite players and I had the honor of getting to know him at the NASL finals this year. He is someone that handles himself very well, is an amazing player and a fan favorite. He is so humble and puts forth a great deal of effort to his play. One thing I will never forget, is after he lost in the finals, he actually apologized to me for not winning, purely because he eliminated HwangSin, one of my players. That just showed me how much character he really has. Will It's Gosu become more competitive in 2012 at major tourneys? I don't really know how to answer this question other then by just saying yes. We were competitive last year. We will only be showing better results this year then we did in the previous. Our motto is to always be improving, never declining, never being content with the current level we are putting out. We are also planning on attending more international events this year. Once again thanks for taking the interview, any shout outs? Which player on It's Gosu will have the most impact this year? Ha ha, I can't answer this question at all. We have so many players between the games we are competing in that all work so hard. I think all of them will one one way or another be making an impact on the eSports seen this year. I want to say thank you to our sponsors, MAXX Integration and MAXFrag. Also thank you to all of our players and staff. Without them, we are nothing. Every person here plays such a key role to our success. 39 GLHF MAGAZINE MISCELLANEOUS FACTS Many conveniences in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty that were not available in StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War were actually carried over from WarCraft III, rather than separately developed 40 GLHF MAGAZINE STRATEGY Joseph Chen Nick Ippolito Stephen Chiu Jonathan Baldwin Mark Jean Ladder Anxiety Conquering Ladder Anxiety and Becoming a Better Gamer On Time in SC2 How To Get The Most Out Of Your Overlords Why you should never forget to research - Combat shield Credit: Starcraft 2 fansite kit 41 GLHF MAGAZINE Ladder anxiety "The horror, the horror!" I don't care about what terrifying sights you've seen during your trip around the world. I don't care if you've survived jumping from a burning building or fended off an armed robbery in your home with the rest of your family held at gunpoint. I don't care if you're Samwise Gamgee and you repelled Shelob with a pretty-looking dagger and a lightbulb. That's all fine and dandy, but if you have ever played StarCraft, at some point or another, this has been your greatest fear. Ladder anxiety is something we've all experienced. For some of you, the anxiety grew inside of you like a slow-growing cancerous tumor, losing game after game before finally succumbing to your frustration. For a different crowd of players, maybe your ladder anxiety was onset by an opponent who completely destroyed you, demoralizing you from ever playing the game again. But it doesn't have to be this way. The Button is merely a graphic, made up of pixels. It only elicits anxiety because we give it the authority to do so. By the time you finish reading this, I will have convinced you why the ladder (and ladder anxiety) should not be any reason to dissuade you from playing one of the most challenging and exciting games of this day. numbers that exist solely so Tasteless can take them away from you. In fact, I would find it much more stressful to continue playing if I had a page full of wins rather than losses (an event which has admittedly never happened), because I risk the possibility of having a single instance of minus points and a skull interrupt a perfect run. However, the problem with this hypothetical is that I will inevitably fall victim to the ladder system's workings and be matched with an offracing Korean and lose. Games are supposed to be fun, not something to worry yourself over. StarCraft, however competitive it may be, is Be Cool Remember to take a chill pill once in a while. StarCraft 2, a career for some, is just a game for the masses of casual players. Even with a Match History page full of lost games and ladder points, one must realize that these statistics mean nothing. Your win/loss ratio and your continually growing bonus pool are arbitrary Frustrating. 42 GLHF MAGAZINE no exception. So relax, just play your heart out. of knowledge. You'll be able to respond to situations better and faster than before. overcome an obstacle. Think of it as if you were back in high school. We can try however hard we want to try to succeed in our classes, but there's always a concept or piece of knowledge out there that we know exists, but can't understand at the moment. Through structured and stepwise learning, like the methodical advancement through the ladder system, we eventually gain the knowledge and skills necessary to surpass what was originally too daunting to understand. Losing is okay. It's extremely gratifying to pull off a difficult win over a skilled opponent. Conversely, it can be demoralizing to lose a long and close game. But we must realize, as Ukrainian progamer White-Ra famously stated, that with "more GG, more skill". As with mostly everything in our lives, we learn from our mistakes. Just like how we learn to check for ample toilet paper before we use the bathroom, we slowly learn from our mistakes playing StarCraft. Blindsided by a 6gate? You should've sacked your overlord to scout those extra gates. Lost to a baneling bust? Now you know what that extractor before spawning pool means. In fact, if you find yourself losing pretty frequently, you should play even more games to increase your ever-growing pool The ladder is your friend. The ladder is a measure of your progress and your current skill level, crafted specifically to pit you against players who are statistically just as good as you are. No amount of correcting mistakes and strategizing will convince a bronze-level player to continue laddering if he gets matched with grandmaster-level players every game. This is exactly why the different tiers of leagues exist. It might make you feel bad if you're in gold league and you feel like you should be in platinum and unable to find that promotion, but you'll get there eventually.But remember, someone out there is always going to be better than you. This statement isn't meant to scare you. If anything, it should motivate you, because you can always Be nice. This one is probably the hardest to do. Bad manner (BM) and ROFLstomping your opponent can be very fun, but never are when you yourself are a victim to a foulmouthed player's antics. That being said, players should be nice to each other. Sure, trashtalking is a necessary part of any sport, but people become generally happier when complimented instead of ragged on all the time. Haven't you ever found yourself in a situation where you decisively defeat your opponent and he responds with a "gg wp"? It feels incredible. With the minimal effort it took for your opponent to type an extra "wp" after his "gg", you now feel lighter than air and brimming with confidence. More games means more points. More points means promotion. Play more! 43 GLHF MAGAZINE Conquering ladder anxiety and becoming a better gamer Want to move up on the ladder, but having a tough time hitting that find match button? Well, you're not alone, but you probably already know that due to it being the number one question amateur players ask pros. Pros are not suited to answer that question because they are, in fact, pros. People tend to just mass games and assume it will make them better, but that is not the case in anything. I know you may think you are playing a macro game, but once you smell blood you go for the win. Going for a forge fast expand in PvZ and notice the Zerg trying hatch first? Sucks for him; I will just build a cannon and win the game. I'm not cheesing; he is just stupid. Well, congratulations. You won the game, but did you really win it? Do you consider that knowing how to win is actually a measure of your skill? How do you know that you earned that win? Your opponent made a mistake and you said, "get out," and you got a little bit higher on the ladder, but you gained absolutely nothing else in terms of your skill set. Do you really consider it a win if you cannot measure it? I don't. Look at real sports Do you think a professional basketball player like Gordan Hayward got to where he is by just setting up a lot of skirmishes? No, he worked on each aspect of what he thought would make him a better player. Bit by bit, he improved his game. Of course, having a friend to practice against helped him, but he still would practice dribbling and shooting by himself. Did this make him a better player quickly? Again, no, but eventually the pieces would come together. I am a very analytical caster but last year I was stuck in diamond and scared to hit that button. Since then I have completely changed my mindset and have hit master with every race on three of the big servers: NA as Terran, EU as Protoss, and Korea as Zerg! How did I do that? The simple answer is that I changed the definition of a loss: just because I lost all my buildings did not mean I lost the game. I had a goal for each game, and as long as I accomplished that goal, I was perfectly happy. Your current StarCraft mindset is to just win games. The system is rigged; Battle.net is designed to keep you at a 50% win rate. So if the system is going to force you to lose, why would you ever use it to measure your skill? Additionally, you don't know how you place against the entire continent. A gold player is better than 50% of the people on battle. net. If your goal is Masters, then you'd have to be better than 95% of the people on your entire server. If you want to be the top 5%, you are going to have to learn how to train. Let's compare IdrA and Stephano, the two biggest Zerg names. When it comes to balance, Idra says Zerg is not meant to beat Protoss while Stephano says it comes down to player skill. Which player do you think is going to succeed? The one who accepts defeat before playing, or the one who says "I just have to play better?" Over the past few months, I would say the person who mass-gamed (IdrA) has not 44 GLHF MAGAZINE increased his overall skill nearly as much as the person who just trained for a few hours a day (Stephano). A good mindset is all you need to improve. You lost a game on ladder? Who cares? You were working on improving and can measure that; winning doesn't mean anything. Losing should be good; it means you are pushing yourself. No pain, no gain. Here are some example goals that I created for myself. Start off with just one bullet. Multitasking � Kill one of your opponent's workers with your scouting worker. This is easiest to do against a Terran player. As long as you have done this, it is a win. If you are having trouble doing this, play the "Multitask Trainer" on Battle.net. Just 30 minutes a day, for a week, and you will notice a huge improvement if you are anything below Masters. � Never attack in a ball; if you want to attack or harass it must be from multiple areas. If you don't botch up a double pronged attack or drop, you win. However, if you end up losing units because you are not looking at them, you lose. Macro � � � If you go above 1000 resources, you lose. Once you get decent with that: If your resources differ by 400 at any point in the game, you lose. If you have too many production buildings, you lose (until 200/200). Oftentimes when people get use to keeping their minerals low, they will end up having too much production being on 12 gates on 2 bases. If your energy on any of your "macro mechanic" goes beyond 125, you lose. Speed: Have double your normal APM redundancy. This is, by far, the hardest one. This means you have to SPAM the entire game; you can check your redundancy using SC2Gears after the game. I found this to be the best way to become faster; eventually that redundancy will go down as you will be finding more actions to do instead of mindless spam. Also note, this one will make you lose the most games and take the longest to notice any results, but if you want to work on your speed this is the way. � Micro/Macro: Build only 1 unit that requires micro. I prefer marines, lings, and stalkers (blink) and don't attack until you are on 2 bases (3 for Zerg). This is by far the hardest one. � Scouting: Predict when your opponent is going to attack, watch streams, and note the times certain things finish. � � TvZ: 9 to 10 minutes, this is just before mutas would come out. PvT: 6 Minutes, warp gate finishes Misc � Feel free to make up your own scenarios, just remember to ensure it is measurable on yourself and not your opponent. Trying to measure your progress by Blizzard's ladder system is like measuring your overall intellect via simple math test. Sure, there is a correlation between smart people and mathematician, but learning math is not the only way to become smart. Remember, you are going to lose while trying to improve; if you need motivation, forget about goals one day a week. That is the day you go back to doing whatever it takes to win, and you should now have massive winning streaks. 45 On time in Starcraft 2 In StarCraft 2, time is the measure of how a long a game is. It is also a tool that can be used by both observers and players in order to deepen their overall understanding of the game. Generally there are three types of time I've categorized while playing SC2: supply time, actual time, and relative time. a catch-all build with limited scouting or aggression. An example is a 1 rax expo into double gas against Protoss. General timings a player should know have mostly all been chronicled on the Team Liquid forums. Relative Time The third type of time is relative time. Relative time is time defined by how far along you are militarily, economically, and technologically compared to your opponent. This type is probably the most helpful in learning builds, in scouting properly and most importantly in helping you recognize your position in the game. Relative time is also one of the easier ways to learn a build after the 30 supply mark as generally there are too many things to deal with. Basically, the best way I've found to remember a build is to plan the next step of the build relative to the previous step. I used this method to learn Nada's TvZ build Supply Time The first type, supply time is generally used to map out build orders. These are the most useful in the early game, but generally lose importance around then 2040 supply mark. The exception to this is a specific 2 base all-in such as the 6-7 blink stalker +2 timing attack, where a forgotten pylon will make the difference of 1-2 extra cycles for a Terran or Zerg opponent. Actual Time The second type is actual time. I feel this is the least important of the three types, but it is useful when doing 46 GLHF MAGAZINE from the Open Season 2 when he tore off his jacket and beat Leenock. Each part of the build is logical. After the 1 barracks expansion into double gas, you go double factory blueflame hellions because you need a way to gain map control at the same time as denying a possible third. Then you get an armory and start to upgrade +1 vehicle weapons as this makes hellions a serious threat, while at the same time the armory is a cue to start making thors as the general timing of mutalisks is coming up. At the same time, the next logical step is that mutalisks will take map control, therefore I need to prepare for a third base and you start building the command center. At this time, money is building up, so you need extra production to keep up with Zerg, in this case you add 2 more factories for hellions, and then 4-5 more barracks and get the infantry upgrade for a super powerful push as you take your third and secure your fourth at the same time. Of course if I was using this build now, I'd probably get a faster third off of the backs of the hellions and instead of teching back to infantry, I'd tech up to air to pre-empt the eventual drop tech or brood tech. Then I'd go into 5 barracks ghosts after securing the fourth. But the thought remains the same. You change the build to accommodate the current trends of the matchup and use logical steps to plan out the next steps of your build in an easy to remember way. shenanigans and go into the mid game. But if the Protoss does not get the third or fourth gases after a FFE while chronoboosting the forge, then the Zerg knows that he has to drone 10-20 less drones as compared to a toss that gets both the 3rd and 4th gas. At the same time the Zerg must also get a roach and evo chamber up. By doing this, Protoss has forced the Zerg into the mid-game earlier but with less drones or optimally with one less base. On the other hand Protoss is going into the mid game with less tech, and therefore must gain some advantage out of this attack. Another example is when a Terran scouts a half-finished spire. Generally speaking a Terran will make a blind engineering bay and turrets against Zerg. But if the Terran sees that the spire early or late, the Terran knows how fast the mid-game is coming. If the spire is early, there is a possible chance to push and cause some damage to the Zerg, since Zerg is trying to force the mid-game early. On the other hand, if the spire is late, then the Zerg is probably droning up more, while getting more units and upgrades and is therefore delaying the mid-game, and generally a timing attack at that point is harder than if the Zerg got an early spire. The best example I know of is the six pool on Tal'darim Altar. The general PvZ standard here is FFE vs 3 hatch Zerg. But a Zerg can 6-pool and delay both players midgames and instead forces the early game to extend by an extra 4-5 minutes. By doing this, the Zerg throws out all of the general timings that can happen on this map. At the same time, Zerg is at a slight advantage because of the lings in the Protoss base, which gives him constant scouting and he can therefore rightly assess at what stage the game is in. Relative time can only be used for scouting and determining position in the game when scouting is possible. For instance, in standard PvZ Protoss will forge fast expand (FFE) and zerg will get 3 base hatch. The current standard of the matchup is to skip early game 47 48 GLHF MAGAZINE How to get the most out of your overlords Art: Nathan Boyd (nathanboydart.com) The overlord. Misunderstood, the overlord is often branded slow, bloated, and useless. However, while denying his lack of speed is futile, the overlord has many uses and abilities that many people overlook. As a Master League player who has played over 2,000 games as Zerg, these are my favorite tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your overlords. On maps like Metalopolis, The Shattered Temple, and Shakuras Plateau I would always recommend sending your initial overlord to the closest possible spawn location of your opponent. If they spawned there, your overlord now has a front row ticket to watch your opponent's opening. This information will prepare you to know if you need to continue to build drones or prepare for a 6-pool attack. Just make sure your overlord makes his great escape before a marine, stalker, queen, or sentry comes out! After you've seen and understood his opening, you can rest your overlord outside his expansion to see if he intends to take it. If he does, you could take your own, or punish him for taking his. Having a wide overlord spread is a necessity for Zerg players. Zerg relies on map vision, so having overlords conveniently placed around attack routes or expansions will ensure you're never in the dark. Also, use 4-5 overlords to secure the vision of the entire perimeter of your base. This way, you wont be caught off guard by a medivac drop, warp prism, or nydus worm. Using overlords for vision effectively is critical to playing Zerg, and is a skill that all high-level Zerg players share. What's better than knowing exactly when your opponent is trying to expand? Not letting him. Spreading creep onto your opponent's possible expansions is an incredibly underused tactic that separates good Zergs from great Zergs. With the optimum amount of creep you can drop on one expansion, you can delay an opponent from expanding for almost a minute. Burrow a zergling there too and you'll have your opponent breaking his/her keyboard in frustration. At first glance overlords may seem slow and weak, but learning how to use them efficiently is what makes Zerg players great. Using overlords to scout, for vision, and to deny expansions are three tips that have helped elevate me to Master League. Incorporating them into your gameplay could put you on that next level. So get out there, ladder, and always remember that one of your bloated, balloon-shaped supply could potentially win you a game. 48 GLHF MAGAZINE Why you should never forget to research combat shield I've noticed in many lower level games that combat shield never gets researched as much as it should; it can easily get forgotten but is totally worth getting. You shouldn't underestimate the power combat shield can grant you. Don't believe me? Read on. With combat shield, marines take an extra hit from banshees and unsieged tanks, and an extra two hits from a marine which makes it extremely useful and in most cases better than stimpak in early game TvT. Okay, so firstly let's see what the upgrade actually does. It gives every marine an extra 10 hit points and a cute little shield. Number of marines 5 10 20 Total cost of marines 250 500 1,000 x Added HP from CS 50 100 200 x/5 Example scenario: Say you're playing against a forgetful Zerg opponent who for arguments sake only builds zerglings and forgets to upgrade their units, with 3/3 marines with combat shield they will take an extra 5 hits! And because of the +3 damage, that's an extra ~36 damage per marine there just between the time it took a zergling to kill a 3/3 marine with combat shield than if it wouldn't. It's also important to note that a baneling will one-shot a stimmed marine without combat shield, so opting for stimpacks without combat shield is a somewhat risky maneuver against Zerg. D'aww they upgrade up so fast! As you can see there is a relationship between the amount you spend on marines and the added HP from combat shields you get x/5 added HP. e.g. If you spend 850 minerals on 17 marines, you'll get 170 equivalent additional hit points. That's a little over 3 marines for 100/100 in terms of hit points. Here's another reason why this upgrade should never get forgotten... Unit vs Marine Zergling Zealot Marine Roach # of hits to kill a 3/3 Marine 23 7 8 3 # of hits to kill a 3/3 Marine with CS 28 8 10 4 I hope you enjoyed my article and if you have any comments, questions or ideas you can contact me at email@example.com Just goes to show if you get ahead in upgrades you'll benefit not only just from the upgrade itself but also make combat shield exponentially better in this matter. Unit Fact: Did you know Terran's average unit distribution for marines is 54%? 49 GLHF MAGAZINE Newbie corner Can any of you split harvesters?No?Good. Come in to my humble abode, sit down, and make yourselves comfortable. This is Newbie Corner, and I am your host, Faydra. Now I'm sure many of you consider yourselves dedicated players - followers of StarCraft! Sons and daughters of the StarCraft 2 community! But perhaps you're a family man, who can only play late at night when your kids are in bed. Perhaps you're a student? Perhaps you're simply a lonely nerd in a basement? Never fear, you're all welcome because when you're with me, we all have something in common. We're terrible Noobs. Now I know what you're thinking � you're thinking "PAH! Who is this Faydra? Who does he or she think he or she is? I hate these Master-level players always roflstomping me with their greater knowledge of the game." Stop that thought right there. I am no Master-level player, I'm a top 8 silver, and do you know what? I'm damn proud of it. And you should be too! The point of all this is to introduce to you this article, which will cover everything that concerns all you bronze-to-gold level players out there, with a lighter spin on things. I'll make something clear straight off � if you're going to be a jerk or any other of the assorted types of troll I see out there on the internet on a regular basis then you can leave, you aren't needed or wanted. This is just light relief for those who, like me, find blink-stalker micro difficult. But enough! I suppose I better get to it before I waffle on any further. realms of playing random (and my ladder rank suffers because of it). This week was one such, and it hasn't gone so well. I knew from the beginning that my Protoss was bad. And I don't just mean bad, I mean Bad (notice the capital B?). I mean bad as in building colossus to counter thors because I thought bigger units meant more damage. I'm not exaggerating; I have actually had this thought process before. So I needed practice before I was goingv to go into battle against my fellow Noobs, and the obvious answer was to go up against the AI. Through the hours I spent playing against the AI I felt an epiphany come upon me. It seemed to me, that if you could beat the "Very Hard AI" with your race, then you could beat any but the best of silver and bronze leaguers. Why? Because after I beat "Very Hard" for the first time as Zerg I went to on to get promoted to Silver. This was some months ago. Thus, I had it in my head that there was a link between the two and if only I could beat the Very Hard AI with my offraces then they would both be silver-league standard! This week on the ladder This section will be regular, and will cover my own and others' experiences on the ladder. Now I'm no Artosis, but I can chat about things that I've seen, things that I've been trying, and holes I've noticed in my own play. You can do the same. There will be an e-mail address you can send all your stories, hints and tricks to and I'll fit as much as I can into the article every week. So, what have I been up to this week? Well, most of the time I'll play Zerg on the ladder, but a couple of times a month I'll foray into the 50 GLHF MAGAZINE Flushed with the victory of this knowledge, I promptly spent around a dozen hours trying to beat the Very Hard AI not only with my Protoss but also with my Terran. I succeeded. By now I was positively wetting myself at the anticipation of the ownage I was sure to hand out on the Noobs that would bow down before my might. So what have I learned? I've learned that people are often more inventive than the computer, I've learned that people like to macro and not just all-in at ~7:30 as the AI seems to enjoy doing. Also this: mutalisks are really annoying aren't they? Didn't work out. How on Earth am I supposed to ever take a third as Protoss? Maybe you guys could let me in on the secret. This week I intend to stick to my Zerg, repair the damage done to my ladder Rank and then, hopefully, embarrass myself by going Random again. Absolute basics: Zealot The Zealot. His meditation is over. He's warping over millions of miles just to serve your needs, and he's damn good at it. The zealot is the melee mainstay of your ground army. With so much health and shields he tanks a ton of damage as well. He owns zerglings, and all this for only one hundred inerals? For these reasons alone you should have plenty of them knocking around. A great use is to finish your wall-off with them, but be SURE to put them on hold position. They're also great for dropping in your opponent's mineral line, as they slice straight through harvesters all kinds � be sure to target MULEs! There is, as always, a downside. To start with, they're slow, so slow. roaches are faster, marines are faster, marauders are faster, and zerglings are faster. In the first ten minutes of your games, you're going to have to worry about all of Art: Blizzard Entertainment 51 those units. Furthermore, they don't "shoot up", meaning they aren't anti-air. In the short term all this means is remember to get stalkers GLHF MAGAZINE and sentries as well as zealots. Not too hard right? Zealots are at their best when they can slash through an army without having to chase after them on their little legs. Because of this, you should always be conscious when using forcefields with your sentries � can you trap some units? Can you slow them down? sentries and zealots go well together, my protoss friends. Zealots don't do well against fast units or air units. If there are mutalisks in your base don't send your zealots back there, they'll just get nom-nommed into oblivion � send your stalkers. On the other hand, if you get a Terran drop in your base and you can snipe that medivac? Get those zealots in there because your opponent has nowhere to run. For next time, tell me your funky zealot uses! The extractor trick (Zerg) As I'm worried most of you aren't aware, drones take up supply (It's true, check it if you don't believe me). Now, economy is important. If you take nothing else from reading all of this then it'll still be worthwhile. So, have you ever wanted that one extra drone? Those few extra minerals to get that slightly faster queen and hold off that slightly meaner 10-pool? Well now you can! By reducing your supply by from 10 to 9, you can squeeze in another drone at the beginning of your game. It goes like this: Cancel extractor after starting a drone Supply 10 9 10 Steps Extractor Drone Cancel Extractor You will now be at 11/10 supply! Where I slide my overlord in here changes every time I play, though I'm sure there is an "economically correct" way of doing it which is way beyond my ken. You should all bear in mind that this technique may only be useful for certain builds, or for countering certain builds. If you want to play it safe, always go 9 overlord, 14 gas, 14 pool! Notice the supply afterwards. 52 GLHF MAGAZINE GUIDES Tim Clark Evan Crothers Tim Clark Ali Haghani TeamTrebis Roach-Ling Baneling Bust Leenock MLG Finals Build Positive Mindset Xsplit Casting Guide Terran Bronze To Diamond Guide � 2007 Blizzard Entertainment Credit: Starcraft 2 fansite kit 53 GLHF MAGAZINE Roach-Ling Baneling Bust by Tim Clark We're going to look at the following timing attack: 8 Roaches, 6-8 Banelings, and 30 Zerglings by 8:20 Now I know what you might be thinking..."How the heck can you get that strong of a push at 8:20 without being all-in?" Well, surprise surprise, this is an all-in build - you will not go beyond 22 drones with this attack. There will be some exceptions where you do the push and decide to drone afterwards, but for the most part this push is designed to outright win the game. I know that many players frown at all-in aggressive builds, but it is my opinion that all serious StarCraft 2 gamers should experiment and perfect a few all-in timing attacks for two reasons: it does improve certain skill sets and it does add an element of unpredictability to your play. Should you make it your exclusive style of play? Of course not - but don't ignore it either. I encourage you all to keep an open mind to new strategies that deviate from what is considered "standard". There is more than one way to play successful StarCraft, and you're putting yourself at a disadvantage if you limit your arsenal of strategies to exclusively macro builds. 15 15 15 17 Hatch (Drone Scout) Gas Spawning Pool Overlord When the spawning pool finishes, you should have already determined your opponent's opening build. Against any build with gas, you're going to skip spine crawler defense and go right into 2-4 zerglings and 2 queens. The only time you will build spines is if your opponent is putting on 2 barracks pressure. Builds like 1 barracks "light" marine/SCV pressure, reaper pressure, hellion openings, etc. can be shut down with proper queen/ zergling/drone micro until roaches are out. However, if your opponent has proxied his barracks or both his barracks finish by 3:00 (11/11 2rax) then you will immediately need 2 spines at your expansion. The Build: Opening Step 1: "Scouting and Planning" You want to keep very precise timings on your buildings, overlords, and drones to ensure maximized mineral income. It's also very important to scout to determine whether Terran is planning to pressure you so you can plan the response to hold that pressure without losing drones. 54 GLHF MAGAZINE NOTE: If you struggle with early pressure because your drone micro is weak or if you for some reason don't get the scouting information, it's not the end of the world to build one spine to be safe. Opening Step 3: "Preparing the Push" At this point, you've scouted your opponent's opening, you've easily defended all early pressure and you've kept all your build order steps the same so your roach warren is already on the way. Everything is in place for you to execute a well-timed all-in, you just need to start the upgrades and build the units. 28 28 44 43 44 Zergling Speed (Delayed) Overlord x2 Baneling Nest Additional Drone Overlord x2 1) Kill his scouting SCVs with zerglings/queens. - Use yourUse your opening zerglings to NOTE: opening zerglings to make sure he he doesn't sneak an SCV make sure doesn't sneak an SCV into your main. (See example 1 on into your main. (See example 1 on following page) following page) 2) Build your warren in your main and your baneling nest at your expansion, he's less likely to scout both. 3) Don't show him all 8 roaches. If he's pressuring with hellions, don't reveal all of your roaches - just use 3-4 to push the hellions back to his base and then move out with your roaches 4) Plan to move your roaches out so that they arrive near the Terran front at 8:00 and morph the banelings right away so you can move in to attack at 8:20. 5) Don't morph banelings too close, try to morph them outside of your opponent's vision. You want to Opening Step 2: "Responding" You should now have an idea of what your opponent is doing and planned your response accordingly. You should be practicing thin early game defenses while sticking to the following steps. There are a few tricks to make defense easier (against hellions, for example). 17 21 23 28 27 Queen x2 Ling(2-4) Drone to 28 Roach Warren Additional Drone 28-44 Roach x8 44-60 Mass lings, rally to roaches Morph as many banes as you can in front of the Terran base at 8:00 8:20 - 8 Roaches, 6-8 Banelings, and 30+ Lings NOTE: Between 5:30-6:20 reactor hellions are a threat. Since your roaches don't spawn until 6:20 and you haven't built zerglings or spines, you could potentially be in a hazardous situation to even 2 hellions. It is never a bad idea, when you scout the hellions on the way, to wall your expansion ramp with your 2 queens and bring any drones from your expansion to your main. You will lose some mining time and you will miss a bit of larva-inject time, but no drones/queens will die before your roaches are out and that is the most important thing. The Execution: Execution Part 1: Disguise your Attack Whenever you're executing a build like this, you want to make it as much of a surprise as possible for your opponent. Here are a few ways to deny his scouting: group up as close to the Terran front without giving his units/buildings vision of the impending attack. 55 GLHF MAGAZINE Execution Part 2: Micro your Attack The micro of this push is fairly easy, but you do have that constant element of keeping up with larva injects and producing constant zerglings rallied to your roaches. The first thing you must do is scout with a zergling before engaging. Determine where his bunkers are placed, where his units are, where there are gaps to run through, etc. Each time will be different. Kill those annoying scouts before its too late! As a general rule if they've taken their expansion, aim the banelings into either groups of clumped up units, clumps of SCVs either repairing or attacking, or even through bunkers themselves while your roaches absorb damage and your lings surround units. If he hasn't taken his expansion and he's walled the top with a depot/bunkers, you can either break through the depot with the banelings and then break the bunker with the roaches or break the depot with the roaches and the bunkers with the banelings. The latter requires a bit more micro and is a bit harder to do, but can be very successful. Ready for some micro? 56 GLHF MAGAZINE Transition: Because you commit so much to this attack, your best option if your first push doesn't work is to essentially commit to an all-in by continuously stream lings off your 2 hatcheries with 2 queens, then morphing as many banelings as your one gas geyser allows. Proceed to constantly zergling/baneling bust until you win or lose like in the games between Smaug and OscarMike: http://drop.sc/98510 http://drop.sc/98446 If your opponent somehow holds your early push and gets 2-3 tanks out, you're sort of forced to start pumping drones off 2 bases and 2 queens. He probably hasn't expanded, which means theoretically you could transition into a macro game from here (it'll be in very rare circumstances and honestly you're probably behind). In this example, I see a sturdy marine/tank/bunker defense. The bunker is placed close to the depot on the left, so I decide to lead with banelings through that depot and then flood in with the roaches and lings. Terran Responses: This build is incredibly difficult for Terran to stop, even if they know it's coming. It's not impossible though - here are a few examples of some top level Terran players putting me in my place. The end result. 57 GLHF MAGAZINE Terran Responses (cont.): Game 1: Tang vs SiN SiN is a top-master/GM Terran on the NA server. His build utilized bunkers, banshees, and mass hellions to defend his expansion. http://drop.sc/98443 Replays: "Big Bust" Roach/Ling/Bane Stream Tutorial: http://www.twitch.tv/tangsc/b/306466364 Tang vs Frego (Reactor expand) http://drop.sc/98513 Tang vs Svane http://drop.sc/98444 Game 2: Tang vs YoonYJ This Korean pro made me look silly. He took a very fast 3rd base, and with solid defense and micro he held the attacks and counter attacked me later with marines and marauders. http://drop.sc/98445 Tang vs OscarMike (Mass Marine Expand) http://drop.sc/98446 Tang vs Jray (Bunker/Hellion/Marine/Banshee) http://drop.sc/98447 Tang vs Pulimuli (Marine/Hellion Expand http://drop.sc/98448 Tang vs Smaug (Tank/Marine/Bunker Defense) References: To perfect your opening build up to 44 supply, I suggest reading Step 3 of the Zerg Guide to Macro-Aggression: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/ viewmessage.php?topic_id=301616 http://drop.sc/98510 Tang vs bnYParadise (Hellion/Marauder) http://drop.sc/98449 Vanrake vs FreeWare (2Rax) http://drop.sc/98514 Special thanks to Tim "VPTang" Clark for submitting this article to be adapted for use in the magazine. Please check out tangstarcraft.com for more of Tang's excellent Zerg strategy guides. 58 GLHF MAGAZINE Leenock MLG Providence Finals Build by Evan Crothers Credit: wellplayed.org N aniwa is clearly telling us that if you want to win [in Protoss versus Zerg], you can actually fast expand all the time. Zergs that the world had to offer � including the renowned IMNestea. Due to extended series regulations, the champion of the MLG Global Invitational was one game away from winning his second tournament that weekend. The only thing left in his way was a 16 year old Korean from the open bracket under the username "Leenock" � and having already lost the first game after a failed roach all-in, things were looking grim. But after his roach aggression failed the first time, Leenock did something that nobody, least of all Naniwa, had anticipated. Leenock did it again and again. With that, Leenock turned a series one game away from defeat into a best of 7 with an advantage of 2-1. How did Leenock decide to play from this advantage? A six-pool into roach pressure to decide the fifth game and one last rendition of the roach all-in from - Nicholas "Tasteless" Plott during the MLG Providence finals after Naniwa won game 1. Naniwa looked invincible. Reaching the championship match in the winner's bracket, Naniwa had plowed through some of the best 59 60 GLHF MAGAZINE Naniwa holds Leenock's all-in in game 1 and is poised to win a quick BO3 finals. the first game to finish the sixth. And in an instant it was done. Leenock swiftly won 4 games in a row and became the youngest ever champion of MLG Providence SC2, and he relied on very similar strategies in 4 of the 5 games he played. Below are the roach pressure builds that Leenock used versus Naniwa. Game 1 � Cross map on Shakuras Naniwa goes for 17 Nexus 10 Overlord 14 14 15 19 20 19 19 60 Followed by: 1. Hatchery is cancelled 2. Roach warren finishes, injected larvae available. 3. 8 roaches 4. Buckets of speedlings his wall is zergling tight at all times to ensure a buildup of mass speedlings don't finish him off. Naniwa won this game when he scouted the roaches coming across the map using a lone zealot. This highlights the importance of hiding the all-in and denying scouting. Game 2 � Close Air on Shattered Leenock hits at 6:50 using his roaches to bust the wall so that his speedlings can flood in. When the attack appears to not be working, Leenock drones hard, takes his natural and uses roaches to poke down buildings to get token damage. Naniwa held the all-in using additional cannons. He makes sure that Naniwa goes for 17 Nexus 14 Extractor 14 15 15 19 20 Pool Overlord Lings(4) and Queen Drone Hatch Extractor Pool Zerglings(4) and Queen Drone Hatch Overlord x2 Roach Warren 100 gas Metabolic Boost 100 gas Metabolic Boost Due do his expansion being blocked Leenock droned to 22 supply, while losing his initial 4 lings. GLHF MAGAZINE 20 19 18 Hatch Roach Warren Drone x3 Game 3 � Dualsight Naniwa opts for a Forge Fast Expand After his six-pool is repelled, Leenock conserves his surviving zerglings and makes 7 roaches to pressure down Naniwa's expansion at 8:20. Naniwa is stuck on one base and an economically ahead Leenock seals his victory. Game 4 � Positions 11 and 5 on Tal'Darim Altar Naniwa Builds 17 Nexus 10 14 14 15 19 20 19 19 Overlord Extractor Pool Lings(4) and Queen Drone Hatch Overlord x2 Roach Warren Followed by: 1. Build 8 roaches ASAP 2. Drones behind it 3. Hits at 7:00 minutes 4. Use roaches to focus down cy ber or other valuable buildings (delay warp gate) 5. Build a beautiful economy behind it 100 gas Metabolic Boost Followed by: 1. Hatchery is cancelled 2. 8 roaches 3. Plenty of speedlings Leenock handily broke the wall for a quick win as his speedlings poured through. Leenock safely exerts pressure on Naniwa's expansion, sniping warp gate before it finishes. 61 GLHF MAGAZINE Game 5 � Xel Naga Caverns Naniwa Builds 15 Nexus 10 14 14 15 19 20 19 21 33 32 Overlord Extractor Pool Zergling(4) and Queen Drone Roach Warren Drone x2 Overlord 6 Roaches Hatchery Zerglings(4) Leenock expands and drones up as he already destroyed the forge with his first four lings. Rather than going all-in, Leenock uses his 6 roaches to destroy Naniwa's nexus and returns to a defensive stance. From here, his economic advantage and constant poking allows him to handily secure a victory. 100 gas Metabolic Boost Leenock safely exerts pressure on Naniwa's expansion, sniping warp gate before it finishes. 62 GLHF MAGAZINE Positive Mindset by Tim "VPTang" Clark As some of you know, I'm an experienced and professional StarCraft 2 coach. A lot of people ask me: "What's the one thing you can tell me that will most drastically improve my game?" Now, there's a million subtle in-game tips and tricks I could tell you about, but perhaps the most crucial yet oftenoverlooked idea is your MINDSET. You've probably all heard certain sayings repeated over and over like "The Power of Positive Thinking" and "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind", and there's a reason they're repeated: they're true! Think about IdrA, he's among the most phenomenal StarCraft players of our time. His mechanics and game-sense are on a whole other level than the average player, but you still see him struggle in tournaments and make bad decisions when he's in pressure-filled situations. Anger, you'll find, is a StarCraft player's worst enemy. So, how can we apply this to our game? It's simple: 1) Be Good Manner Oftentimes, people get so caught-up in the stress of the game that they forget to have fun. At the start of every game, don't be mute and don't be rude: put out the GL HF. If he doesn't respond, that's fine - you're probably in a more positive mindset and now you know you have that edge over him - so smile to yourself. Take it a step further every game by wishing your opponent the best of luck and telling him to have a blast, and leaving every game with "GG nice timing push" or "GG wp, that harrass was killer, man!" If you stay good mannered, you're more likely to stay in a focused and positive mindset. Then, instead of rage-quitting and queuing another game while you're angry, you can take the reasons you lost and apply them to your game to further your growth. And who knows, maybe that player to whom you showed respect in your gracious exit from the game will provide you with a couple tips and practice games to really help you overcome that flaw in your game. 2) Be Confident Now, I'm not saying everyone should point at IdrA and do the throat-slash like oGsMC did at MLG, but StarcCraft 2 is competitive and you have to know you have an edge over your opponent to play your best. When I play a game, I use positive self-talk to stay pumped and focus. Yes, it sounds like something an insane asylum resident would preach, but I assure you it's been proven effective. There are two types of self-talk I recommend. The first is motivational selftalk: say something to get yourself into the zone like "I'm going to win this game" or my personal favorite "The way I see it, those are my ladder points - you're just holding them for me". The second type is instructional self-talk. For example, say "I'm going to get my speed up early, then expand, then I'm going to drone to 27 get a warren down and grind this guy's front door with ling/roach. Man, I'm going to force the issue until he makes a mistake, and when he does, I'm going to capitalize on it." Therefore, 63 GLHF MAGAZINE talking to yourself doesn't mean you're crazy - it keeps you focused on your specific goals in the game and gives you that oh-so-critical mindset advantage. 4) Be Healthy This last tip isn't absolutely necessary to success, but if you want to play at your best you have to be at your best - both physically and mentally. I have celiac disease, so my diet is heavily restricted, but ever since the diagnosis I've paid very careful attention to what I eat and I feel and play the better for it. I'm not going to lecture you on working out and eating right, but you will notice a difference in your focus if you're properly nourished and you will notice a difference in your stamina if you're in better shape. Something I do frequently is workout in between games. You don't need a strict routine - but do some pushups, situps, planks, whatever - get the blood flowing and the heart racing in between games and snack on blueberries and yogurt instead of nachos and ice cream. There's no reason someone who plays 12 hour days in StarCraft 2 can't be in excellent physical condition - try to apply your in-game dedication to other areas of your life! to offend you, bear with me). You start to lose and you think "I need to get my money back." It's like in poker when you're playing well for an hour, and then you lose a huge hand (or get bluffed) and you go on tilt. You start thinking about that hand and how you should have played it, and your overall focus deteriorates. You start to bluff too much and you don't stick to your planned strategy. The same things happen in StarCraft when you're losing. People start to blindly all-in and they deviate from the gameplan that usually leads to success. People place a lot of importance on points/ladder rank/win-loss ratio, so there's a certain level of stress when you start losing. You'll start thinking about the game where you got cheesed and lost while playing new games, and that's basically like a poker player being on "tilt" - you won't be "In the zone" so your timings/execution will start so slip. That's why you need to GG after every game and review (with an open mind) the games you lose, carefully looking over your mistakes and your opponent's build/thought process. 3) Focus on YOUR game How many times have you heard someone complain about how strong colossus are, how slow hydras are, or how this guy or that guy is a maphacker. Ignore this type of thinking. Every StarCraft 2 playerwouldlearnandplaysignificantly better if they considered imbalance, hacks, and cheese non-existent. If you stop focusing on things you can't control, you'll start focusing on the things you can. When someone cheeses you, treat it like you played a 30 minute game and still be polite and goodmannered. When someone marine/ scv all-ins you, avoid thoughts like "What a cheesy noob" or "Can he not win a real game?" When you get cheesed, exit the game with class, and pay attention to how you could have scouted a little earlier, how you could have reacted a tad faster, and how the execution of your defense could be improved upon. Cheese is a part of the game; you can't get rid of it but you can be adequately prepared for it. Question: How many losses do you usually go before you needtowalkaway? I think what you experience is similar to the psychology behind a gambling addict (I don't mean that 64 GLHF MAGAZINE If you find yourself rage-quitting games, being bad-manner, or even just having those familiar "Ugh this guy sucks, what a cheeser" or "I suck, I should be winning, what's wrong with me?" thoughts, it's time to take a break. It doesn't have to be a long break - just do something that'll renew your confidence/focus. Coffee and a light workout do wonders for me. Some players save replays where they perform really well, so they can watch that and remember how well they're capable of playing. When you sit back in front of the screen, you should be focused on your strategy and your mindset: the only thing you should think about yourself is "I'm a great player and I'm going to win these games; nothing is going to stand in my way." If you make these changes in your game, what's the worst that could happen? Thank you all for reading, I wish everyone the best of luck in their games, and hope you all have a blast! Special thanks to Tim "VPTang" Clark for submitting this article to be adapted for use in the magazine. Please check out tangstarcraft.com for more of Tang's excellent strategy guides. Near the top center of the map during the Zero Hour mission, you will find a unit called LVL80TSM. Click on him and he will retreat into a porta-potty. Continue to click and it will countdown before launching into space. EASTER EGGS 65 GLHF MAGAZINE Xsplit Casting Guide by Ali "iAligator" Haghani Streaming Guide: Starting up a stream can be difficult if you don't know what you're doing. This video guide accompanied by a written article will walk you through the basics of starting up your own stream. There are two programs that are generally used for streaming games: FMLE cannot capture your screen itself and it requires a separate third party program in order to achieve what XSplit can do on its own. FMLE can be downloaded from adobe. com/products/flashmediaserver/ flashmediaencoder. 4. Login with your XSplit account. 5. You now have a blank presentation, click add on the bottom left and select `Add screen region...' 6. Box your whole screen by holding down click from the top left corner to the bottom right, now you may release the click button. 7. Double check to make sure the resolution under the scene sources matches the resolution of the screen you'll be streaming from. 8. Maximize the preview of you see of your screen to fill up the whole screen in XSplit. 9. Now we will add our account from the streaming site of choice by clicking `Broadcast' followed by `Edit channels...' 10. Click `Add...' on the right side of the window and select your stream provider. 11. Type in your username and password to your streaming account. What you'll need: � A computer capable of running the game of choice and streaming it simultaneously. (Minimum: A dualcore processor with a clock speed of at least 2.3Ghz and 4GB of RAM) � XSplit (by Splitmedialabs): Currently in beta, XSplit is the most user-friendly streaming application for Windows. It has all the capabilities of its competitor FMLE and more. XSplit is specifically designed for streaming games and it's an allin-one package for all your streaming needs. You can currently download XSplit in beta stage free from xsplit.com. � An account on a streaming site. (TwitchTV, own3d, Ustream, etc.) � Upload bandwidth sufficient for streaming. (Minimum: 0.7mbps) For this guide, we'll be using XSplit. Let's get you broadcasting: 1. First, make an account to join the Beta Crew and download XSplit from www.xsplit.com. 2. Once the download is finished, install XSplit. 3. When installed, run `XSplit Broadcaster' from the start menu. � Flash Live Media Encoder or FMLE (by Adobe): FMLE is also a great program that can be used for streaming but it does lack some of the features XSplit is equipped with. That is to be expected with the "Free" price tag. For example, 66 GLHF MAGAZINE 12. Click "Test Bandwidth" on the bottom and wait for the test to finish. 13. Once the test is finished, you will get a recommended total bandwidth for your video and audio bitrate combined, remember that number and close the Bandwidth Test window. 14. Set the maximum bitrate for video and audio so that the two add up to the number you got from the Bandwidth test window. (About 80% of total for video and 20% for audio, so if you have for example 1000kbps total, ~800kbps max for video and ~200kbps max for audio.) 15. Your stream properties should look something like this. 16. Click `OK' to close the properties window. 17. Click on the resolutions tab on the top and check off the desired resolution(s). Make sure the aspect ratio matches that of your screen. 18. Click `OK' to close the resolutions window. 19. You're pretty much done! You can set your frame rate and resolution from the view menu, play around with these to get the best performance in-game and best quality on the stream. 20. To broadcast, simply click `Broadcast' and select your channel. Send me your questions and streams with the times you usually stream and you may be featured in a future issue! (Twitter @iAligator!) Happy Streaming! -Ali "iAligator" Haghani @iAligator video: http://vimeo.com/35280829 67 GLHF MAGAZINE Terran Bronze To Diamond Guide By TeamTrebis Team Trebis is a YouTube channel and community of gamers dedicated to helping each other own noobs and school noobs at the same time. This week, they will be offering advice and analysis to help you get from the Bronze League all the way to the Diamond League using the Terran race. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOaQpBoFmCw Menu Video Day 1: Bronze League -- Decisiveness and Macro www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnDz3c_Z7wI Day 2: Silver League -- Build Orders www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKQH4T_kWsM Day 3: Gold League -- Engagements and Unit Comp. www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvaxfZdC6Y4 Day 4: Platinum League -- Aggressiveness in TvZ www.youtube.com/watch?&v=axskwJ_sgwk Day 5: Diamond League -- Scouting and Reacting in TvP www.youtube.com/watch?&v=1Cr7Skuzo1g 68 GLHF MAGAZINE DUMB JOKES Why did the Zealot win the staring contest? Because the Stalker blinked first. 69