SC2 Beta Impressions (or How I Learned to Love the Zerg)

It’s 2:50AM, on a school night (no, I’m not a student), and I’m just getting out of a 3-hour whirlwind session of Starcraft 2. For some people, this may not be a big deal but for me, let me be clear, this is a really really big deal – the deal to end all deals and bring all deal making to the end of a deal making lifetime! Okay, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic but the fact remains, this is pretty much unprecedented.

You see, I don’t really like RTSes. I’ve tried a bunch of them over the years (oddly enough, not SC) and I’ve never found them particularly interesting. They’re slow, methodical, and once you’ve seen one battle, you’ve pretty much seen them all. Or at least that’s how it seemed.

But tonight I had an absolute blast. It was one of those gaming experiences where minutes slide away into hours and, when you come up for air, you find yourself amazed at how much time has gone by. That hasn’t happened for me in a long time – at least not on the multi-hour level – and if you’d told me ahead of time that I’d get that kind of experience in a real-time strategy, I would have said ‘yeah, right.’

Don’t let me confuse you though, I got killed every time I completed a match. I never said I was good at it, just that it was a lot of fun.

What I think made this experience so different for me was that I didn’t have the option to wuss-out and play single player. It’s a multiplayer beta at this point, so I jumped right into the practice bracket. I’m not the most competitive of players, especially when I know I’ll probably get beat, but knowing that I was preparing for a grand face off added a lot of excitement to the mix; it wasn’t shoddy AI coming for me, it was FurryMonkey. And Furry he was not, I might add.

Once I figured out the units (or thought I did), it became a game of mass spawning units and placing strategic turret guns to defend my base. There’s a lot to take in when you first see all of the unit’s abilities, almost too much without a tutorial, but you begin in a pretty defensible position. I made a routine of enclosing my bases with the guns from all access points – discovering too late that putting your back to canyons was a sure fire way to get air attacked.

But, even against other newbies, I still managed to get my butt handed to me. Even by my fifth match when I thought I had a good grip on my faction (I settled on Terran) and built up a good, well rounded army, my crew still seemed to lay down at the slightest stern glare from the enemy. They died quick, even my Thors (giant mechs that talk like Arnold Schwarzenegger) fell apart when facing other Thors. This leads me to believe that my main issue has to due with utilizing the armor upgrades from the building units.

Then again, the main strategy people seemed to be using was create as many of the biggest possible battleship as you can and unleash hell. So maybe I was thinking too outside the box by deviating from that path.

Note: Terran battlecruisers = boom.

But, despite my utter noobery, it was so much fun preparing for that face off that even seeing myself lose was exciting.

I also learned an important lesson from playing tonight: each loss is a lesson in how to win. Maybe tomorrow I’ll even get one. If you have any strategies to share, I’d love to hear them.

If you missed the post and would like a beta spot (good until the end of July), be sure to enter The Multiverse: Starcraft II Beta-Key Giveaway. We’re accepting entries until next Friday, May 14th. Even if you’re not an RTS fan, I recommend checking this game out. It might just change your mind.

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