Saturday, April 24, 2010

StarCraft 2 Newbie Guide: Replays

I wrote earlier that I would share tips as I learn more about StarCraft 2.  Last time I wrote about only playing one race until you master it and about plugging the ramp to your base.  In an off-handed way I mentioned replays in my last post on newbie tips.  It's time to expand on that.

Watching StarCraft 2 replays is critical to getting better.  I didn't realize it at first, but it's of the utmost importance.  To get better at anything you need to learn from someone or something with more knowledge and experience than you currently have.  If someone beats you in a game, they did something better than you did and you can learn from them.  This is where replays come in.  Reading StarCraft 2 tips, tricks, and guides is a great place to start.  They're like a StarCraft 2 101 course.  Replays are the advanced courses.

There are two main types of replays worth watching.  Your own games and players at the highest level.

I like to watch my own games right after I finish actually playing them.  That way the game is fresh in my mind, I know what I did, and I have a general idea about what my enemy did.  Whether you win or lose doesn't matter when it comes to watching replays.  What matters is learning something new.

Watch yourself for things you can improve on.  I noticed in my replays that I tend to have an abundance of minerals in the late game, but no way to spend them quickly.  I also tend to lack vespene gas so I can't build enough advanced units to use my minerals up.

I'm tweaking my play style accordingly.  I build more Assimilators and build them earlier to help with the vespene production.  I build more gateways overall so I can pump out a lot of low level units with my extra minerals.

I guarantee I wouldn't have spotted these things if I didn't take time to watch my own replays.

The other thing about watching my own games is seeing when my enemy or I make stupid decisions with our units.  It becomes apparent in the replay because I get to look at all of the units on the entire map.  I often see times when I could have won if I pushed back at the right time.  I see the opposite too, when the enemy could have won if he pushed me instead of building up more units.  I'm learning, through replays, how to better manage my units.

Watching professional level replays is important because it provides a long term goal.  Not only are some of the matches amazing to watch, but they provide high end strategies that I can aim to learn.  I see things the pros do that I'm not even close to yet, but it still helps me learn about the game.

My brother is doing an entire post series about professional level matches, I suggest you watch the replays he highlights.  One of my favorite players and strategists is Day[9].  He does fantastic daily webcasts Sunday through Thursday on his Ustream.  My favorite webcast of his is this one about improving silver and gold level play.  It's a good place to start if you're looking for some tips that apply to new players.  Another great resource for replays is HDstarcraft's YouTube channel.

The more replays you watch the better your gameplay is going to be.  It's as simple as that.

This replay is a great place to start

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