Saturday, 8 October 2011

Macro: The Difference Race Makes

The diversity of the races is part of the reason why StarCraft 2 is such a great game, when you switch between races it quickly becomes apparent that you need to change your mindset to succeed; especially when playing as Zerg. In this article I will be discussing the differences in how the races macro. Macro is the encompasses the management of your economy, the building of your units and your overall strategy for the long term of the game. For the leagues up to platinum macro is the most important aspect of the game and above that it's still absolutely vital.

Terrans start the game with an economic disadvantage compared to the other two races as Protoss can chrono boost to get workers out quicker and Zerg can build multiple units at the same time. Shortly into the game however Terrans can build an orbital command which takes the same amount of time to make as two  SVCs but at the end gives an instant M.U.L.E. which effectively mines as much as two SCVs would over 90 seconds. Going through the maths it turns out that it only takes about three in game minutes to build a new command centre, upgrade it to an orbital command and get enough energy for two M.U.L.E.s; instantly covering the cost of the whole thing. Protoss and Zerg have no equivalent to the M.U.L.E., which quickly outweighs the economic advantage the other races have over Terran in the early game. Late game when a Terran is on four to six bases they can massively boost their mineral count, if they aren't scanning, whereas the other two races would have to use up supply on workers. In my opinion giving M.U.L.E.s an associated supply would limit their effectiveness in both the early and late game.
Mass M.U.L.E.s can boost the Terran economy 

Terrans can save their expansions by repairing them or flying them away, so it's not as big a risk for them to expand as it is for a Protoss player to. If a Terran player puts down a planetary fortress with missile turrets they are pretty much safe from any form of harassment and it then takes a decent sized army to destroy a planetary without taking unacceptable loses. With the addition of siege tanks and bunkers Terrans can keep areas protected very effectively. On the other hand it's not such a big deal for a Zerg player to lose an expansion in the mid game onwards as they are cheaper to rebuild and Zergs often have a lot of spare minerals floating. In fact a Zerg will quite frequently sacreifice a base if it means that they can get better positioning or allow them to get more forces to attack. Zerg can also transfuse hatcherys to keep them alive if they have spare energy on their queens. The reason Protoss are often the most reluctant to expand, and have a lot of one or two base strategies, is because they have a harder time keeping their expansions safe. Regularly you see Protoss players throw down a couple of pylons and four or five cannons to defend an expansion, this costs a lot of money up front but still isn't very strong. Also Protoss armies are relatively immobile compared to the other two's so it takes longer for them to respond to drops or run-bys. A Zerg can send a lot of zerglings to keep the harassers busy before the main force arrives and the Terrans can stim marines to get them to defend quickly.
Siege tanks, bunkers and turrets lock down expansions pretty effectively.

It is quite often said that Zergs have to fast expand just to be even with the other two races and it's only when the Zerg is more than one base ahead of you that you should really worry. Zerg need to get up as many expansions as they can early game as their production is directly linked to how many hatcherys they have and how many Queens. Having an early expand instantly doubles their early game production. Also Zerg mid to late game units are relatively gas heavy so they need the extra bases to get up the extra extractors. Early game Zergs have to choose between making drones or making offensive units so their style of army building is different to the other two races. Zerg make units from larva at the hatchery, which is naturally replenished up to a maximum of three. Queens have an ability called inject larva that after a short time gives four more larva each time it is used. Because of the limited amount of larva early game it is very important to use it will. The Queen injects add an extra layer of micro that the other races don't posses. Normally the majority of a Zerg army will be constructed in a very short period of time with saved up resources and larva in response to either what they scout is coming at them or what they decide to attack with. Zerg should really have map control which is why they can leave production so late; because it will take time for the enemy to get to them and because Zerg can build so many units at the same time. It normally takes a Zerg player 3 bases with Queens and excellent micro to be able to produce a continous stream of units to send to the front line.
Zerg can produce a lot of units at the same time.

Early game Protoss have to decide whether to chrono boost their nexus to get quicker probes out or to  warpgate research as fast as possible. Later in the game Protoss has to decide whether to get out fast probes, more units or quick upgrades. Terran and Protoss both continually produce units throughout the game, though in slightly different ways. Protoss ground units are warped in over a short period of time but require some time in-between warp-ins. Protoss robotic and air units as well as all of a Terrans units require building over time at structures. Terran production facilities can build a reactor that allows them to produce two units at a time but only from the lower tier of units, so they have to choose between tech and quantity.
Protoss can warp in a lot of units quickly if needed for defence or for quick pushes.

Check out my other piece on macro strategy and as always thanks for reading and please fell free to leave a comment and/or follow me.

No comments:

Post a Comment