5 Tips for a StarCraft II Beginner

5 Tips for a StarCraft II Beginner

The multiplayer aspect of StarCraft II is without a doubt one of the most intimidating things to try to jump into.  So to try to ease players into the complex world of StarCraft II multiplayer, I’ve laid out 5 fundamental building blocks that any newcomer should utilize.  Although you’ll probably have to learn much more than these 5 tactics to try to win Blizzard’s World Championship Series, this guide will help you climb your way out of dregs of Bronze League.

1. Focus on macro

StarCraft can be split into two opposing ideas: macro and micro.  Macro is more about the general base building aspect of StarCraft.  Deciding which tech tree you’re going to use or maintaining your economy all fall under the overarching theme of macro.  Micro is the controlling of individual units to perform more specific actions.  That would include splitting up your marines to try to avoid banelings or continually moving your stalker and shooting to minimize damage.  While focusing on micro may seem to be flashier and create cooler plays, it is paramount that beginners pay more attention to the macro.

Although watching the pros perform their insane micro is definitely exciting, newcomers must learn their macro before trying to perfect their micro.

Although watching the pros perform their insane micro is definitely exciting, newcomers must learn their macro before trying to perfect their micro.

If your macro isn’t up to snuff, then you probably won’t even have the money to make the units you need to micro with.  It’s more vital to learn how to build an army quickly and efficiently than it is to know how to control them.  Focusing on your economy, workers, and overall game plan are the ways that will help you win in the beginning.  In fact, macro is so essential that the rest of these tips are pretty much strategies on how to improve your macro.  It’s just that important.

2. Keep your money low

Having an overabundance of money is fantastic in real life, but not in StarCraft.  Carrying an excess of resources means that you’re not spending it, and that in turn means that your army or base isn’t currently at its maximum potential.  If you find yourself forgetting your macro and see a large amount of minerals/gas at your disposal, spend it quickly!  Throw down some barracks or gateways so you have more unit building structures, or create new bases so that your future income will be that much greater.  Never save your money while playing StarCraft.

Having too much cash is the bane of all newcomers.  Always remember to continually use your resources.

Having too much cash is the bane of all newcomers. Always try to spend all your resources.

3. Never stop building workers

Remembering to consistently build workers throughout the game is key.  A sufficient amount of workers will give you that steady influx of resources needed to create your initial army, as well as additional reinforcements.  In Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard implemented a handy new feature that tells you how many workers you should have to reach the maximum amount of income at that particular base.  Hit that number as quickly as possible, and don’t forget to keep it that way.  Also, periodically check the idle worker count on the lower left corner to make sure all of your workers are doing something.

Work, work.

Work, work.

4. Scout

Knowing what your opponent is going to do should dictate what you’re going to do.  Although it’s good to have a strategy beforehand, don’t be afraid to abandon your initial approach if it isn’t apt for that situation.  If your plan is to create a lot of zealots that only attack ground units, it’s probably not a smart idea to stick with that if you see your opponent building air units.  While most people will scout early on to try to sniff out cheese, beginners forget to scout throughout the course of the game.  Whether it’s throwing down a quick scan as Terran or flying in a sacrificial overload as Zerg, it is extremely beneficial to constantly be aware of what the other player is doing.

Remember: knowing is half the battle.

Remember: knowing is half the battle.

5. Try not to care so much

Although playing StarCraft competitively can be stressful at times, it’s important to remember that it’s still ultimately just a game.  Yes, trying to recognize all of the infinite number of things that can possibly occur during a single match of StarCraft is taxing, but worrying too much will hinder your performance.  This is probably my biggest weakness, as playing the multiplayer component of StarCraft often stresses me out.  As a result, I often get discouraged when I lose a single game.  But with the addition of unranked games that have no bearing on your ladder placement, it’s easier than ever to simply jump in, relax (to an extent), and play some matches of StarCraft.  And continually playing is the best way to get better.

Maybe it's only me that gets stressed out.

Maybe it’s only me that gets stressed out.

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Jason Kwon () was born and raised in Southern California, so he is of the mindset that 70 degrees can be "chilly." As a full time student, he always manages to stay busy, whether it be through playing video games, writing about video games, or not studying. He loves all genres, so don't ask him to pick a favorite, as he'll probably just give you a blank stare and shrug.  Feel free to contact him at [email protected]
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