Alright, the old thread is dated, the codes aren’t up to date anymore, and interest had died out. But we’re on the brink of Heart of the Swarm, a much needed update to the game.
At launch, there will be an SRK clan created, if you’d like to join. You get an SRK tag, and access to chat/help/etc from other SRK players. Possible clan matches, tournaments, etc to come.
What is Starcraft II?
You’d have to be a hermit not to have heard of Starcraft, but in a nutshell it is the undisputed king of Real Time Strategy games.
Starcraft: Brood War was released in the late 90’s, and it was immensely popular. A thriving pro scene grew in Korea, leading to hundreds of players in a professional league, with drafts, contracts, schedules, stars, fan girls, stadiums, and drama. Top players were earning 500k salary per year, plus any tournament winnings. When people talk about esports, they’re talking about the game at this level.
However, outside of Korea and these training houses, the game died to age. Hardcore players thrived on learning the mechanics, increasing their APM (Actions per Minute) to be over 300 in order to get around the limiting interface of the game. New players moved on to the more shiny games, including MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota, which blew up in popularity.
Enter Starcraft 2.
If Brood War was Super Turbo, Starcraft 2 would be Street Fighter 4.
There’s no denying it reduced a lot of the overhead required to play, lowering the bar of skill required to entry. However, the upper limits of skill required remains out of reach of the average player, leading to a still thriving pro scene. Now lower level players can jump in and enjoy the game. Much like SF4, a new community of players entered the scene, and old grizzled vets denounced the game as too easy.
If you haven’t gotten into it yet, give Heart of the Swarm a try. It has good features getting new people to play the game, including training, vs AI modes, unranked modes, and finally the ultimate mode in Ranked, where you get sorted into divisions and fight your way from the bottom of bronze league, up to the top tier of grandmaster league.
What if I just want to watch?
Starcraft 2 casting is awesome. There are infinite types of tournaments and leagues to follow, from small local competitions, larger regional events, to professional leagues. Here are the ones to watch if you’re new:
GSL (http://www.gomtv.net/) - This is the Evolution of SC2 in terms of importance. The first real league, players move up to the top league (Code S) where the top 32 players in the world face off in a semi-monthly tournament. There is also Code A, the bracket of the tournament where Losers of Code S are sent. The winners of Code A get a shot for the spots of the early losers of Code S, creating an interesting dynamic of players advancing/dropping from leagues. Then the illustrious code B, which is basically everyone else in the world; a semi-open qualifying tournament (qualifying is based on your ladder ranking) get the best players, and gives them a shot at Code A. This is the best individual league, that carries the most weight. Downside is it can be costly for a season ticket ($20ish dollars), but the production quality is top notch.
They have released their older leagues VODs for free, 2011 videos, so you can get an idea of what to expect.
Pro League (http://www.twitch.tv/sc2proleague) - This is more of a team orientated league, with 8 very well defined teams, each having corporate sponsor. They just transitioned from Brood War to Starcraft 2. These are the cream of the crop as far as players go; they train 10+ hours a day in structured houses, with coaches helping them reach their fullest potential. They play in defined seasons, with 6 rounds each season. A round is about 1 month, and involves each team playing each other team one time. In this format, the league determines the maps ahead of time, and the teams decide which player will be sent out on each map. Thus, for each match, you know your opponent and map ahead of time. This leads to interesting dynamics, where builds are prepared for specific players, roles like “Snipers” develop (players who train just to beat specific races/players), and overall you get much more varied type of play. You also aren’t pigeonholed into developing maps that have to necessarily be “Balanced,” as you can just avoid sending out races on that map if need be. As far as esports go, this is what people tend to talk about at its highest level. The biggest downside is that is a korean centric cast; they have hired 2 english speakers to do commentary (who are very rough around the edges), and all they do is put english voice over a korean stream and throw it up on twitch tv; however, this league is cast on TV in Korea, so the production levels are pretty high. At only $5 for the current season on Twitch, this is an amazing deal.
MLG (http://www.majorleaguegaming.com/) - Most people know MLG from their dabble into fighting games, but this is more of a global tournament, akin to Regionals in the fighting game community. People descend into 500+ player tournaments over the course of a weekend, playing multiple matches in one day, leading into a finals day. You get a champion over a weekend, not over a month. Definitely a different feel than the above leagues. Since it doesn’t require a life commitment of living in Korea for a month at a time in order to compete, you get more weekend warrior types in these events. Typically Korea sends a few of their top players over to sweep this, whereas the rest of the world tries to keep up and give a good showing. Simply being a foreginer, and making a top finish in this event against Koreans, is enough to gather a very big fan base.
Plenty more information/discussion to come. Post your battle tag in the thread (or PM it to me) and I’ll invite you to the SRK clan. Use the in game clan for finding others to play with.
Any more questions about the game, where to start, etc just ask, and me or somebody else will help you with it.
My life for Auir!