July 20, 2011

Laddering in Starcraft 2

So by the time most people really started playing Starcraft 1, that is about 3-4 years in (when broadband became more widely available), the ranking and ladder system within the game had become basically obsolete. Alternate systems for rankings like iccup and other leagues developed, but Blizzard has ensured that the ladder rankings will retain their relevance in Starcraft 2, unlike its predecessor.

Of course, in order to keep interest and prevent inactive players from clogging up divisions/rankings, Blizzard has implemented different seasons for SC2. To do this, though, they also have season locks, periods when it's impossible to move up and down in rank right before each season resets. This is the ideal time for people to try new strategies or switch races. This is what I've been trying to do on the 4v4 ladder.

I've switched races from Protoss to Terran. My feeling was that warp gate usage (the primary way of utilizing gateways) was not playing to my strengths, as I had to constantly remember to go back and make units. At the same time, I wasn't getting enough units fast enough to justify the investment.

However, it would appear that my Terran strategy is very much unlikely to succeed. My standard 3 barracks build is usually ineffective against opponents who can make large numbers of units that are mechanical. In short, i think I might be going back to Protoss after all.

I'm going to give it a few more tries before I write it off entirely, and it might be that the unique nature of 4v4 means that this isn't applicable once 1v1 reopens (I've not played that as I didn't do the placement match for season 2, and thus would be stuck in placement forever during this lock). It could be, however, that my playing style is better suited to Protoss.

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