Want to be a better StarCraft II player? Want to boost your APM? Want to know what APM means?
While chatting with StarCraft II lead designer Dustin Browder last week, I asked him to send over a few basic tips to help Kotaku readers master the challenging real-time strategy game. Since his APM (actions-per-minute, a metric used by advanced StarCraft players to measure their multitasking speeds) gets all the way up to 90 (that’s good) on his best days, I figured he might have some solid ideas.
(Check Kotaku tomorrow morning for more from my interview with Browder.)
Here’s what he wrote:
1. Get resources! Always be building a worker. Most players don’t keep up enough on workers. You need 24 workers on minerals and six on gas to max-out a base. Even then, you can keep building workers because when you create a new expansion you can transfer extra workers to that expansion.
2. Spend your resources! You should almost always have very little resources “in the bank.” This isn’t real life where more money in the bank earns you interest. Here you want to spend! Every resource not spent is a unit you don’t have on the map to defend or attack. If you can’t seem to spend resources fast enough, it’s time to build more unit-producing structures like barracks, factories, or gateways.
3. Play challenges, practice against the AI! The challenge missions included in Wings of Liberty will teach you hotkeys, how to handle a rush and give you the basics of some of the game’s counters. Use them. You can also practice against AI opponents to optimise your build strategies.
4. Have more than one plan! Don’t decide what you are going to do when a match starts; decide what you are going to try to do but be prepared to change your plan if the enemy does something unexpected. You need a different plan for every enemy race you face, and you need different plans depending on how far away you start from the enemy.
5. Learn from the community! Check out Day9, and watch eSports from professional leagues like the Global StarCraft II League (GSL) or Major League Gaming. Watching pros play or listening to experts can give you a greater awareness that may allow you to dramatically improve your game.
6. Have fun! You will never win every match of StarCraft II. Even very skilled players win about half their games. That’s how the matchmaker works. It makes sure the games are fair for all. So relax. Have fun, and try to enjoy your defeats as much as you enjoy your victories.