After ordering my very own copy of SC II so that I could get my in game WoW pet, after learning that I wouldn’t be able to snag Brade’s (DON’T JUDGE ME!!!), I decided that I’d go ahead and install SC II and give it a go. I mean why not? I used to play all kinds of RTS games before I started my fairly monogamous gaming relationship with WoW. Not only that, but I was actually pretty good at those that I played. But, I never really got much into Starcraft. This would be my first foray into this world.
As Brade and I sat down last night to start up the SC II campaigns I felt pretty rusty with my RTS skills and mildly uncertain about what I was about to do. So, after watching the introduction, as Brade was debating over which difficulty to start with, I went straight to the “Tutorial” section of the game. I figured I may as well get some guidance before getting started.
Now, some of what was in the tutorial was pretty basic, and I was like “I get this!” and some of it I, quite honestly, just kind of tuned out. Of course, I partly blame that on my passing notes during class via the in game Real ID system (which by the way, is pretty cool!). However, I went through all eight or so tutorials, and then decided it was time to start the game.
The first hurdle that I needed to cross was selecting a difficulty setting for myself. And let’s be perfectly honest here, even though there were technically four options, for me there existed only two: Casual or Normal. After giving it some serious thought, and reading the descriptions associated with each setting, my pride got the better of my brain and I decided to go with “Normal”.
On starting my campaigns, my first big shock came when I realized that I didn’t get to start as the big blue guy that we saw in the opening cut scene. No, I was some sentimental, seemingly alcoholic guy that hangs out in bars and doesn’t even smoke cigars! WTF. Ok, I can deal with this. I’m sure if I had some knowledge of the first game I’d know a bit more about the back story here, but when all of the advertising seems to show the protagonist of the game as this totally bad ass, mean looking, cigar smoking beast of a man, a girl has her expectations set. Y’know?
Alright, no biggie. I don’t get to be the blue dude (yet?). Let’s carry on.
As I enter my first campaign, I look to see what my objectives for the mission is and get started on my way. Now, in the tutorial, they tell you to select your troops and move them by right clicking on the ground where you’d like them to travel or on the mini-map. This will instruct your troops to go from point A to point B. (I was paying attention for this part!). You even had to move your troops in this fashion in the tutorial in order to complete that segment.
And so I looked at my map, and my mission, and I gathered up all my troops and started right clicking on the map with my non-blue suited guy. However, I was quick to learn that if you don’t move your dudes with the attack command, they will not stop and fight any enemies that they find along the way. Nope, not at all. In fact, they will just continue trooping along as your enemies gleefully shoot at your backside and deliver headshots (BOOM!) destroying your, seemingly oblivious, troops.
This is very bad.
And so, as Raynor approached the final objective of the first mission alone, and with a whopping forty life, I was eternally grateful that the captives, uh, assisted, with the completion of my mission. I actually speculate that it is impossible to fail this first mission, there is no way I should have made it to the end with my four health.
Lesson One: Always Attack While Moving!
As I am barely not failing my very first mission, Brade is completing his second. I kindly request (read: beg) that he hold off on starting the next and help me with the second, more involved mission. I am more comfortable with this mission as it starts with gathering resources and building. I can create until I feel like I am awesome enough to completely annihilate the enemy when they should have the misfortune of crossing my path. Because, honestly, is there any other way?!?!
But it’s here that Brade teaches me about how to create “groupings” of units that I can separate and monitor outside. Of course, as he’s trying to tell me what to do, I am all “I took the damn tutorial, they didn’t say to do it this way!!!”. Or we could just call me stubborn. So it is in this fashion that I learn that I can gather a specific unit of my troops and via the use of CTRL + 1 (or 2, 3, etc) create a setting just for them. And that if I double click 1, it will take me directly to those units.
Ok, I’ll admit to you (as long as you promise not to tell Brade) that is pretty damn handy!
This mission feels more comfortable to me, and I build a massive army that is most certainly overkill for my given objective, and then go and annihilate my foes. I feel the rust shaking off.
Lesson Two: Creating set units to monitor saves time, and streamlines your command of the forces.
Feeling somewhat confident, I enter my third mission. This is a timed mission with the objective being simple survival. And lo and behold, it’s another building your forces up mission. Only I get more toys to build and play with! Oh, and they already started my base and I have reinforcements in place.
And so, with my first barracks, I attach a “Reactor”. I have no idea wtf it does…but hey, it’s new!
As I’m training up my completely overpowered army, I hear a call for assistance from people stuck in different areas of the map. I know straight away that I need to take a force (using my newly acquired ctrl + 1 ability!) to rescue them, and start my preparations to leave my completely, no one is getting in here, fortress of awesomeness. It is then that I realize I can’t make any of the medics to heal my marines. And, I panic.
Brade calmly points out that the reason I can’t train any medics is because I haven’t built the right things (um…wtf, I have a reactor! A REACTOR!). He tells me to attach a medic creating thingie (that is a blizzard trademarked term…just in case you were wondering!) to my barracks, which then causes more panic because HELLO I DO NOT HAVE THAT OPTION! But apparently, I do. I just can’t have a reactor and a medic training thingie on the same barracks.
I finally get some medics trained up and head out (all the while adding more bunkers, rocket turret things and lots and lots of marines!). I remember to utilize my “attack” command to direct movement so that my people don’t have zerglings hanging from their asses as they move. And I easily rescue the appropriate people. I was able to hold the front until the rescue arrived and continued to build and stockpile.
Oh…and I learned what a reactor did. It makes two marines at a time instead of one!
Lesson Three: Know what you are creating and what it does before creating it!
After all of that excitement, it was sadly time for bed. Which I was actually a little sad about, because I was starting to have some fun!
However, I thought that I would share, and impart on you the knowledge that I learned that the tutorial didn’t teach me. Three key lessons that I am sure will help me along with my next missions.
Now comes the real challenge…let Brade learn all my strategies as I work my way through the campaigns, and expose my weaknesses to him, or go top secret so that I can totally kick his butt in the 2v2? ;-)