Thursday, 12 April 2012

Life in the Middle: Terran Update

I have been playing Terran for a while now and so I thought I would update my overall thought of Terran as a race and how I think it compares to the other races. When I first started playing Terran I thought it was going to be the easiest race to play and that I would be able to do anything I wanted as them and still win; this turned out to be far from true. In my opinion Terran is the hardest race to play effectively with a higher skill cap than the other races. It can be very gratifying to play as Terran as skill is rewarded with increased efficiency and this allows some Terran units to be extremely cost effective. I will be talking about what I do and don't like about Terran as well as discuss their units and what I would miss if I switched from Terran. I hope I don't come off as too negative in this piece, I do love playing Terran I just want to be thorough in discussing what I consider their merits and drawbacks to be.

The main thing I like about Terran is how mobile the units are and how a small group of units can change the course of a game. A Terran army has the potential to split an opponent's attention like no other, as most builds include a Starport, and stimmed units can be very effectively used to get in, do damage, and get out. Whilst a Terran army caught unawares is easily dissolved, a well controlled one can be very cost efficient, and an entrenched one can be almost impossible to remove. The Marine is probably the most dependable unit in the game, with their ability to shoot ground and air targets and to do bursts of high DPS with stim; it is also cheap and quick to produce, especially with reactors, so is easy to use for the bulk of the army. Being able to build expansions elsewhere and fly them over, or recycle your main, is great for peace of mind; and being able to lock down expansions with Planetary Fortresses and bunkers also helps in that regard.
Bunkers are great at stopping attacks but I think Terran can be a bit over reliant on them, especially in early TvP.
There are also a couple things I dislike about playing as Terran though, such as their over reliance on harassing units, their lack of game changing late-game units and their extreme susceptibility to area of effect units. In my opinion many of the counters in SC2 are too strong and the Terran army can be too quickly and too easily dissolved by an enemy. I also dislike how the opponent doesn't have to constantly micro just to trade even, and can think about using spell casters after the engagement has started; instead of moving in units to counter aspects of the Terran army. I think that AoE attacks should either be for area denial or do higher, but more concentrated, damage. At the moment the other races do too much damage over too large an area, meaning they don't really have to place their spells precisely. One bad engagement can easily cost a Terran the game and it can be over so quickly that tactical thought doesn't matter.

Like I said above one of my main problems with Terran is their lack of game changing units; Broodlords, Ultralisks, Colossus and High Templar require you to drastically change your army composition, whereas Terran can bring out no units that can do this. Thors and Battlecruisers are Terrans only real tier 3 units (not that StarCraft really has tiers) but they are weak against cheap units and require a lot of teching to reach. I think that the main problem with high tier Terran units comes from how Terran and Protoss fundamentally work; large Terran units have to be armoured as they are machines driven by humans and Protoss has a lot of anti-armour units. Protoss can also feedback both of Terran's late game options, instantly taking away up to 200 of their health extremely easily. The problem with Zerg is that they can mass produce a counter to anything quickly, so any element of surprise is short-lived; also, Corruptors effectively counter Battlecruisers and can then be usefully turned into Broodlords, unlike Vikings they don't become useless.
I've been doing well against Protoss lately, but I'm frustrated with the standard MMMVG.

If I switched races there are a lot of things about Terran I would miss. I would sorely miss stimmed Marine, for their versatility, as a small squad can be game changing and a large force can take out almost anything. Marines takes a lot of skill to use effectively as, despite all the jokes,  they are very weak in a lot of situations and requires a well balanced amount of backup to prevent them from being easily killed. Often information is just as vital as resources or units and the ability to instantly scan anywhere on the map is definitely something I would miss; I do not envy the other races for having to send a unit to scout and having to wait for a response. Building queues are extremely useful, and whilst I try not to rely on them too much, they are especially helpful at restarting production at all facilities after a supply block. Obviously M.U.L.E.s are great in the mid to late-game for an extra boost of resources when you need them most.

In my opinion Terran has too few AoE units that are don't become a liability in the mid or late game; this is especially true versus Zerg. Against Zerg the Ghost does no AoE damage and against Protoss EMP is limited by the amount of shield the opponent has and it's small radius. In a straight up fight the Hellions are only effective against the light units at the start of the game and workers. In TvZ as soon as Broodlords start to appear Siege Tanks become just as deadly to you as the Broodlords are as their friendly fire means that you lose your own ground supply in exchange for supply-less Broodlings. In TvP Siege Tank use is limited because Protoss has so many good counters to them. The only other ground AoE unit is the Raven, which it is hard to get many of because you want a Reactor on your first Starport and because they are so gas intensive. Seeker Missiles costs a massive 125 energy and has to be researched first, on top of that Ravens only start with 50 energy, unless you upgrade that too, so you have to wait a long time to use it. Storm and Fungal both only cost 75 energy and Infestors can even be upgraded to have Fungal straight away.
In my opinion fungals and Banelings are too easy to use in conjuncture with each other and so devastating.
Overall I think that one of Terran's greatest strengths is that they have a lot of units that complement each other well, and can be terrifyingly effective if you know how to use them. In around six weeks I will finish all of my university work and will be dedicating a lot more time to practicing than I have over the last academic year, which I think has severely limited my progress through the leagues. As I look for a job in video game journalism I will be dedicating a lot more time to this blog and I hope you will follow and support me in this endeavour; you can follow this blog from the pane to the right and find me on Twitter hereThank you very much for reading.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked that summ up , i also agree in a lot of points i myself play terran and i feel like we lost if we don't watch our army constantly.
    For example if you lose your ghosts in lategame tvp , good job keep it up!