Well, I got my Beta invite yesterday and got everything installed and patched relatively quickly. As expected, last night was a blur of gaming bliss. Last night Marty and I played against some computers just to get familiar with the game. And I have to say, I am very impressed with SC2.
After a couple or three warm-up games, I went ahead and played a FFA game, which ended up being quite close and a lot of fun. One of my Protoss enemies built around 100 cannons and I had some fun sending waves of zerglings to crash into them. Good times.
I went ahead and played my 5 qualifying matches this morning and I have to say: ouch. I got stomped pretty hard, winning only 1 of the 5 games and was placed in the Copper league (I’m not sure on the division, I’ll check when my game is done patching). I didn’t expect too much, as I am a brand new player and never played Warcraft III or the original Starcraft in straight up multiplayer very often. But damn. I’ve watched several hundred SC2 videos in the last couple of months, so I know the basic idea of what counters what, but it didn’t matter (very much). The competition is pretty fierce. I’ll keep practicing, working especially on my macro (to keep those minerals down) and especially work on keeping my supply count just above where I need it. I don’t know why, but I kept supply blocking myself. Just another thing I’ll have to work on.
Most of the games were somewhat close. I never never just lost in the first five minutes of the game, and all of them gave me a bit of a rush that you don’t get when facing off against a computer. Hopefully I’ll get a little better, so I can win some games. I think that tonight I’ll try another couple FFAs and perhaps some 2v2s (or 1v1s). As Zerg, of course. Because, you know, all those other races aren’t as awesome because they don’t have exploding banelings.
The game itself feels so smooth; I’m not running a super-uber-gosu-elite-haxx0r computer, but it handled the game with decent graphics options on and didn’t slow down during battles or with dozens of units on the screen. The game looks and feels like what Starcraft 2 should look and feel like. Props to Blizzard.
I really like some of the interface/macro changes that were made since the original SC: unlimited unit selection, worker and non-worker rally points from the same hatchery, and auto-mining. I’m a little less impressed with the queen’s Spawn Larvae ability, as it seems more like busy-work than an actual tactical decision. Don’t get me wrong, the ability is very powerful and great; I just don’t like having to babysit my hatcheries (or rather queens) so much. Still, I’m sure that I’ll get used to it.
Oh, one thing to note on this is that I learned a handy trick: you can target the hatcheries from the selection pane. So, I tend to bind all of my queens and hatcheries to a key (typically 5), hit the Spawn Larvae key (R? not sure off the top of my head) and then can target each of my hatcheries without moving my view, and the appropriate queen (the one closest to that hatchery) will go do her thing. I have found it a little awkward in the mid-to-late game, however, when I have say 3 hatcheries and 2 queens. I’m thinking that an equal number of queens may be in order. Especially since I’m usually low on larvae to begin with.
EDIT: This trick no longer works with Patch 9. You can no longer click on the haatchery wireframe to target it. Spawn Larvae is even more annoying to use than it used to be. Ick. I understand that Terran had to go back to their base for mule deployment, but isn’t there a better way to do it? Giving more busy-work to players doesn’t seem as fun. I read on a post that you can still target the hatches on the minimap, though. I’ll have to practice my macro more.
Now there’s a new patch already: the fabled Patch 9. The most exciting part about Patch 9 is the inclusion of the Galaxy Editor. I may tinker around in it over this weekend and post a report about it in the coming week. I made a few basic test Warcraft III maps and things for me and my friends to mess around with, but never dove into the editor and its complex scripts too much. I am very excited to see what kinds of things the GE is capable of and what creative things people end up doing with it.
In short, I like Starcraft 2, like a lot.