Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Starcraft 2 Review 2012 /w Top 10 Games!

2012 really has been an amazing year for Starcraft 2. The quality of games, in integration of the Koreans into the scene has made the standards go really high. With each patch modifying certain units and/or upgrades, its so interesting to see how it effects the games and strategies that people use.

I've watched so many games and totally been immersed in the scene. The biggest thing that stands out in my mind is the power of the Zerg race in the last 6 months since the Queen range buff. This combined with the fact that Zerg players have improved a lot, have made them a lot harder to beat.

As a Terran player, it makes me shout with frustration that my race seems very fragile and unforgiving in comparison to the other races. It seems that if we mess up an engagement and lose a battle quite significantly, then 90% of the time the race is over. This is because we cannot reinforce as quick as Zerg and Protoss. Zerg having the ability to save up and accumulate larvae means they can respawn their units in huge numbers, allowing them to use up all their money instantly. Protoss can rewarp in their units first, before having a cooldown period, which is the reverse way of how Terran gets their units out.

However, imbalanced players are complaining about, the cream of the crop top top players are always up to the challenge of finding interesting solutions to solve these problems. Whether it being STParting's unstoppable Immortal All in vs Zerg which he has no problem using 3 times in a best of 5, or Polt's TvZ Marauder Hellion Marine timing attack, or even EGStephano's newly implemented switch to using Hydralisks in his composition in ZvT, it always feels like there is something cool and new round the corner, evolving strategies, and back and forth mindgames that renews my love for the game. Its Chess on Meth, its not just a game to me, its Starcraft!

So here ado is 10 picks of games that I loved this year in no particular order! There have been so many cool tournaments streamed on twitch.tv, and its so cool that not just Starcraft but a ton of other games are shown there so that the gamers can expand their communities together. From MLG, Dreamhack, Redbull Battlegrounds, IPL, NASL, Homestory Cup, Iron Squid, Intel Extreme Masters and GSL... there's so much content out there! (Some might say too much)

1. Polt vs Stephano MLG Winter Arena - Amazing comeback in which it seemed impossible considering the amount of bases that Stephano had.




2. Naniwa vs Huk MLG Winter Championships - A really funny game where it all comes down to micro in the end!




3. MarineKing vs Hyun... How can one stop 83 Banelings rolling towards you?




4. MarineKing's super solid macro to win him the Winter Championship MLG final game vs DRG




5. DRG vs MarineKing's (see the bias? =D) hidden Thor/Hellion/Marine play




6. Squirtle's sick vortex on MVP's 30 battlecruisers in the final of GSL. Amazing 7 game series tho.




7. MVP's last game 2 rax play vs Squirtle to win him his 4th record GSL





8. MarineKing's Blind CC First hold vs Hyun's 6 pool in GSL (Sorry its in Chinese LOL). Its the greediest economical build vs the fastest possible aggressive build!



9. Taeja vs Stephano from Dreamhack Winter. Amazing adjusting and readjusting to each other's army compositions. Day[9] also did a cool daily on this game looking at it in detail.



10. MVP vs Nestea at IEM Cologne - Mass Hunter Seeker Missile awesomeness!



Funnily enough, if you play Starcraft 2 you will ultimately have a bias towards liking the games that your race is playing (and winning). I guess its just a natural thing that happens in anything.

All's well looking at the super high level play but there has also been a good amount of games which are just all about having fun and being silly! Redbull's Trial of the X'el Naga was a really awesome event in which modded maps had crazy things happening like nuclear bombs and random explosions and rules which the audience voted that would happen to the players =D




And of course we have the Day9's Funday Monday... playing the game with random contraints, streamchat participation to celebrate his 500th episode!



And some halloween shitting myself screaming gaming! :P Day9 plays Slender


DAMMIT, I was supposed to do shorter blog posts!! >_< Alright lets cut it off here lol, but yay for Starcraft ma favvvvvvve game of all time!! I know a lot of you guys probably have no idea what on earth anything means lol, but I've been meaning to do a kinda newbie explanation blog post on what the game is and why I love it so much later on (whenever that is).

Anyways, y'all have a great Xmas and see you at the tables, or in Starcraft ladder!!


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Rome Sweet Rome

So I'm going home this weekend for Christmas, so I'm gonna try and catch up with some much needed lacklustre bloggin! A lot of things on my mind lately...

Last weekend I competed in a Breakdance Jam in Rome called "Fluido 7". We actually went last year but there wasn't much time to see anything there apart from the outside of the colosseum at midnight in the freezing cold. But this time, we went on the Friday and left on the Monday, so we had some time to check out Rome properly.



We actually managed to rent out an apartment close to the venue. It was a really nice place and for 50 Euros each for the whole weekend it was a bargain comparing it to any hotel or hostel. In fact if you ever go on holiday as a group I'd highly recommend it, one of the best places I've ever stayed in fact. Just the fact that you have the freedom to do whatever you want (within reason lol) and whenever you want. Enjoy the overuse of my iPhone 5 fisheye camera!






We went to the Vatican City to have a look at some romantic European architecture. Unfortunately the Manchester rain (or UK? has it been wet everywhere?) had followed us there and it was pretty wet. The inside of St Peters Church was quite amazing, vast and romantic style statues and high ceilings. The choir humming in the background made the atmosphere holy as well. Even as an Atheist  walking around with my friend who is Islamic, we still appreciated the history and grandure of the building.


 


Our Italian friend who rendez-vu'd with us at the church then took us to a place in which he said had the best Ice Cream in Rome. It was pretty damn cold, but hey, why not check it out. He wasn't wrong. On top of that, it was really cheap as well, 3 Euros got you a massive cup of 3 flavors of ice cream... with added cream on top! Never thought of that but it was really really good. I had hazelnut, vanilla with chocolate bits, and cookies and cream (or something nutty, I just pointed at the brownish coloured one to keep my nutty-ish theme going). Mmmmm


Cream on Ice Cream? So good!!


The next day we checked out the inside of the Colosseum. Thankfully it was much more sunny and so we managed to appreciate it a lot more. It costs like 14 Euros and a little bit of queuing. Outside there are vendors who try to entice tourists by getting like a full tour and they try to scare you into getting it because they say that the queuing will be long, but it wasn't at all.

Inside its really nice, and interesting! I think a lot of us think that the inside is like the inside of a gladiator stadium but its not! There are like tunnels and things at the bottom, which we think are under the actual stage which has worn away over the years.

After checking out the bottom section, we went to like another level higher up. There are cool views there and you can look out from the colosseum to see Rome from a higher view which is cool. I took advantage of my iPhone's new panoramic photo settings and took some good pictures. Its pretty fun taking them actually, kinda like a game. You have to start with a picture and then there's an arrow on the screen which moves when you move, but you have to keep it level with a line so that your panoramic picture wont veer off up.

Click on the picture for a bigger view!



The Sunday was the Jam and it was held near where we were staying. In Italy there are two major Jams and this was one of them. Many international bboys and crews too. The competition was a 5 on 5 crew 7 minute battle. We were invited as one of the top 8 crews meaning that we didn't have to qualify, compared to last year. We managed to beat a French crew that qualified in the first round, but lost in the Quarter Finals to a Canadian crew in the end.


The Jam was awesome and had a great atmosphere. The location of the place is a dance studio place that young people can come to practice. Its really good to see that there is a place where kids can come and build a good community.

I had a great time with my brooo's and a great weekend in Rome. I'm glad we got to spend some time together and more time then last year to actually check out a bit of the city!

Friday, 7 December 2012

GOLDDDDD!

Its been a while since my last post. As always, procrastination occurs and even though I want to, I put it off. Right now, I'm enjoying my progress in Starcraft 2 over Poker.

I have been promoted finally to the Gold League 1v1! Leagues in Starcraft 2 go as follows; Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Masters, and Grandmasters.


Strangely enough, when being promoted I'm like in top 10 of Gold League already. I've actually been in gold for a few weeks now, and still doing quite well.

Like most Terrans, I seem to struggle against Zerg. It seems that the balance between when they choose to cheese or macro is so sudden that it throws me off. When we talk about cheese, we mean a strategy that is "All In". In poker terms, that means putting all your chips in the middle. In Starcraft, it kinda is the same thing, but it means that it is a strategy that has no back up plan. So when someone goes all in, it means that they are trying to kill you outright at a certain time, and if they fail the attack, 90% of the time they will be so economically damaged that they will lose to the defender.

Scouting what your opponent is doing is a way of finding out whether they are going all in or not. If you have 2 base and the Zerg doesn't have 3 base at a certain time, it is a good indicator that he is going all in and you have to build extra defenses to prepare and try to survive. However, sometimes scouting is difficult and it is hard to tell. If you scout incorrectly and use your resources to build the defenses when no attack is coming, you are sacrificing your economy and your opponent can get ahead that way and kill you later on with a stronger army because he has more money later on.

Anyways, a lot of you poker players don't really know what I'm talking about, but I'm sure you can relate to it. Poker and Starcraft are actually quite similar in a lot of ways. Like if you make the wrong read on your opponent in a certain situation it can hurt you in the long run.

I probably will be doing more Starcraft blog posts later on as I progress. I'm thinking about doing a newbie post about what the game is, and why I love it so much.

"I love goooooooold!!"
Please feel free to follow my games at twitch.tv/puyanwei


November Poker Review

A quick word about my progress. Its gone backwards lol. I am able to put in the hours and games but after doing some coaching I've realised that I'm doing some elementary mistakes and inconsistent decision making.

I even tried my hand at Full Tilt but even with their promotion only broke even, meaning that I lost. I'm still kinda not sure about Full Tilt, the traffic is really low but I still love the interface and cartoony style.

I think one of the factors comes from the fact that a lot of the time I don't really want to play and its a real grind. My concentration is not 100%. This month there are no goals, I will chill out and maybe play the same games but not with huge volume. I'll probably do shorter sessions with less tables and work on those leaks found.

Its disappointing to see that I'm making these mistakes after all this time, and its clear to me that I need continuous coaching. I have some of the best poker players around me, so I should take advantage of their knowledge. I'm yet to decide what to do next year, I'm playing with the possibility of getting Supernova but I'm not sure.

I'm just gonna use this month to work on my game and get my confidence back. Its been hit pretty hard right now and I'm struggling to hit that register button these days.

QUALITY > QUANTITY

Anyways lets see how it goes... laters!

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