Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Starcraft 2 Adventures - Vol. 1

In the words of Jim Raynor, it's about time. I jumped on the opportunity to purchase StarCraft 2 from Blizzard over the Thanksgiving weekend at half price, which is a reasonable investment into a game that is high quality by all reports. However, this will be my first true RTS, as the closest gaming experience I have had is my lifelong obsession with chess. 

However, the moving parts are much more dynamic in an RTS like Starcraft, and my friend Tom's long term love of the game compels me to give this a run. Blizzard proves their worth to me in World of Warcraft, but I am taking a break from that and blogging about other things. Now that college football season is over except for 35 bowls, I am back to my gaming pursuits and this new game will join L.A. Noire on the top of my list.  More about L.A. Noire later, but Starcraft is the new kid on the block and I plan to write about how I experience this new type of gaming. 

The tutorials were fairly easy to figure out, but the complexity of the game was immediately apparent. Tom instructed me that if I wanted to learn the ropes and be moderately prepared for multiplayer play, then I should play the campaign on Hard. This is a scary decision for someone not used to RTS let alone the original StarCraft, but I put it on Hard and played the first couple of missions. 

The first mission is all about leading Raynor and a small crew of Marines through an easy line of defenses. The second mission was far more what I expected from the game, as I built up my army and resources to take on a similarly building CPU army at a digsite. I believe that I could have done a better job of disrupting the production on the other side of the map earlier, as I really did not attack until the 20 minute mark. 

It took a couple retreats and rebuilds of the army (soldiers and medics), but eventually my advantage in resources became a victory. I love that medics are the seocnd unit introduced in the campaign, and I may have struggled a bit because I focused too much on having a bunch of healers instead of guys who actually kill things. If you read this blog, you'll immediately understand why the medic will be one of my favorite units in this game. 

It is also clear that I need to do a better job of multitasking. I need to use the minimap more as you can click between areas of the map much more quickly using that than by scrolling across the map as in Diablo II. There's no reason to waste time scrolling across the screen except perhaps at the leading edge of the battle, but even then it is slower than just moving the pointer and clicking on the new area. 

Listening to the second episode of the Creep today, I realize that I will need to have a more focused build order or plan once I move along in the game and have more options. But for now, I am simply focused on getting faster and more efficient with my army building process. The game doesn't have me hooked like WoW did, but I am wanting to play the game again and feel more connected to this style of game than Diablo. Who knows, before it's all said and done, I might be fighting my way up the ladders of multiplayer.

That's enough for now. I look forward to getting back in the game bringing more impressions as I move through more campaign missions. It's about time, indeed.

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