The Escapist Presents: Starcraft 2 101: Tips & Tricks

Slycne

Tank Ninja
Feb 19, 2006
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Starcraft 2 101: Tips & Tricks

With the Starcraft 2 bug continuing to spread around the office, Team Escapist offers some tips and tricks for players new to the series.

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Sir Bob

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Jan 14, 2010
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4 workers on a gas is a nono as far as i'm concerned, 3 is the most effective.
As you can see in your movie, you always have 1 probe standing and waiting outside of the geyser.
 

Slycne

Tank Ninja
Feb 19, 2006
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Sir Bob said:
4 workers on a gas is a nono as far as i'm concerned, 3 is the most effective.
As you can see in your movie, you always have 1 probe standing and waiting outside of the geyser.
Yes, but that one probe still gets in faster and you usually want to get as much Vespane as you can quickly for all your higher tech. I'll try to go find the math on it.


Edit:
Research done by Xiphoris.xiphoris

I ran some rough experiments measuring the number of minerals and gas measured per unit time as a function of the number of gatherers, to determine the optimal number of workers to maximize efficiency and to maximize gathering income.

Methodology:

I measured the numbers according to the statistic reported during the replay, that is, the Income statistic. It's pretty noisy, unfortunately, which made gathering this information difficult, but you can see the general trend. A better experiment could be conducted by measuring the actual income over time, rather than relying on the Income statistic reported by the replay viewer.

I measured each data point for about 5 mineral trips from a worker before adding another.

As a general observation: If two workers are harvesting from a mineral, they spend almost half full time on it. It appears that there is a slight amount of downtime, which is why more than 2 workers per mineral is productive in the results below. Although adding workers beyond 2 results in the significant visual appearance of wasted effort, income continues to increase.

The base in which I ran the experiment has 8 minerals. Where there is one number, that appeared to be the average. Where there are two numbers, it's roughly the average and the max value I saw for Income. Where there are three, it's min-avg-max.

Data

1 worker: 38 income
2 : 76 - 95
3: 114 - 133
4: 152 - 171 - 190
5: 210 - 229
6: 248 - 267
7: 286?
8: 324 - 362
9: 381
10: 400-149
11: 438
12: 476 - 514
13: 533 - 552
14: 571 - 590
15: 630
17: 667 - 765
18: 705 - 725 - 743
19: 705 - 762 - 800
20: 743 ?
21: 781 - 800
23: 800
25: 800 - 819
26: 800 - 819

Results:

Adding workers past 2 workers per mineral continues to increase income, but with diminishing returns. Income increases steadily until around 2 workers per mineral. At 1 worker per mineral, income is about 324. At 2 workers per mineral, income is about 667, roughly double. At three workers, income is about 800.

I additionally ran an experiment with gas. 3 workers produced an income of about 91 - 107. 4 workers produced an income of 107 - 122, consistently slightly higher.

Conclusions:

As the most precious resource, vespene probably deserves 4 workers per vespene geyser. Assigning 4 workers yields about 14% - 17% more income than 3.

The most efficient number of workers per mineral is about 2, while income continues to increase (with decreasing marginal income) until about 3 per mineral. 3 workers yields about 15% more minerals than 2 workers. In a competitive match, it is probably worthwhile to build workers until 3 per mineral, and then transition a third of them to one's expansion as it becomes available.

There are certainly variables and situations that will make you want to adjust, but I felt those were solid numbers to offer to new players as a rule of thumb. I don't know about everyone else, but I found that starting out I was always resource starved.
 

Sir Bob

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Jan 14, 2010
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Slycne said:
Sir Bob said:
4 workers on a gas is a nono as far as i'm concerned, 3 is the most effective.
As you can see in your movie, you always have 1 probe standing and waiting outside of the geyser.
Yes, but that one probe still gets in faster and you usually want to get as much Vespane as you can quickly for all your higher tech. I'll try to go find the math on it.
I think Starfeeder had a graph for it.

Maybe 4 is better in the long run, but until you have 3-ish bases and its late game, or a few K's of spare minerals, you will want to send them off to get minerals I believe.

*Edit: Nice one on the graph!
 

Eldarion

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Sep 30, 2009
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I loved Dark Templar tactics (My name implies this) in the original starcraft. I wonder how they have changed in the new game?
 

Nimbus

Token Irish Guy
Oct 22, 2008
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4 huh? I've always went with 3 per geyser. I guess you've done the working out though...

What's the easiest way to count how many you have harvesting minerals?

I hope you do more of these.
 

Vegedus

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Mar 8, 2010
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Very nice. Most of this stuff I've already learned the hard way during the beta, but still good. I feel pretty stupid for not knowing the creep generators can MAKE creep generators themselves though XD. So much energy my queen have wasted...
 

Sir Bob

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Jan 14, 2010
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Dark Templar said:
I loved Dark Templar tactics (My name implies this) in the original starcraft. I wonder how they have changed in the new game?
Because of the warp-technology you can 'build' them anywhere within pylon range, and the Warp Prism (the new transport shuttle) provides such a field when activated. This will render the Warp Prism unable to move until changed back, but allows you to 'create' units in the back of someones base, allowing for even better sneak attacks.

Nimbus said:
What's the easiest way to count how many you have harvesting minerals?
Mass-select them all and count. Count all mineral deposits as well, divide multiply by 3, and you have your most effective number of builders :)
 

Coalhada

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Feb 6, 2009
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Great video. It's nice to see some of the basic things that people that suck at the game (like me) don't know.
 

Eldarion

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Sep 30, 2009
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Sir Bob said:
Dark Templar said:
I loved Dark Templar tactics (My name implies this) in the original starcraft. I wonder how they have changed in the new game?
Because of the warp-technology you can 'build' them anywhere within pylon range, and the Warp Prism (the new transport shuttle) provides such a field when activated. This will render the Warp Prism unable to move until changed back, but allows you to 'create' units in the back of someones base, allowing for even better sneak attacks.

:)
I could warp in my units in a completely different spot from the building? And the warp prism.....the possibilities......wow.

Now I have to find out the New Dark Templar specs. I wonder if their damage is still sky high with upgrades?
 

Pandalisk

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Jan 25, 2009
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Thanks for the Vid, and now i know more about this Starcraft thing.

Looks good, might give it a try, its Gameplay isn't just build and then Mass Charge is it?

I've won Dawn Of War games easily by Mass producing only Gaurdsmen and Sentinels on a large scale Cheaply.
 

Sir Bob

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Jan 14, 2010
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Dark Templar said:
I could warp in my units in a completely different spot from the building? And the warp prism.....the possibilities......wow.

Now I have to find out the New Dark Templar specs. I wonder if their damage is still sky high with upgrades?
Anywhere where you have Pylon-power, or the Warp Prism-power. However, it takes a 50 gas 50 minerals upgrade from the Cyber Core and a free 'morph' on your Gateways. Also, I think their damage is enough (without upgrades) to 1 shot a worker. About 50 damage I believe.

Pandalisk said:
Looks good, might give it a try, its Gameplay isn't just build and then Mass Charge is it?
I've won Dawn Of War games easily by Mass producing only Gaurdsmen and Sentinels on a large scale Cheaply.
Just about every race has 1 unit that can wipe out whole hordes of cheap units (cant think of such a zerg unit, only play Muta / 7-pool zerg when I get it with random). For instance the Siege tank and the Colossus, both have a good range and massive AoE damage, but are vulnerable to air.
 

Slycne

Tank Ninja
Feb 19, 2006
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Woah, those are some great tips. Also I'd give credit to those in the comment section.
 

Not G. Ivingname

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Nov 18, 2009
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A few tips from me.

One, know what the races can do. No, I am not talking about some minor differences in size between the Ultralist and a Thor, but just the general powers that the entire race has. For example, don't try to attack a Terran's base with ground to ground units only, since they can lift the command center and all the production facilities away and land some where else. Knowing the basic powers, and knowing when they will use it will get you wins.

Two, tricking your opponnet into investing in counters of units, say making a Protoss think your going Mech by letting them seeing factories you built in your base while actually going MMM in a hidden base somewhere, they go an immortal build. Tricking you enemy with your build will often leave your opponet unable to deal with what your actual army is.

Three, don't just go one kind of units, have some diversity in your army. If you go only one unit,or one kind of unit, your opponet will steam roll you with hard counters like nothing you will see before. Your going a Rouch build? Throw in some Mutalists to deal with air units, or going a templar build? Make some Immortals to take most of the hard damage. Having multiple unit types will make your army less of a hard counter to anything, but much harder to beat.

Four, look around the map, espically as zerg. With overlords, one doesn't have any excuse to not know about the more important expansions and knowing what is happening at the major choke points. You may lose an Overlord when the enemies army comes by, but you know now that an attack is coming, they are taking another base, etc. you can act accordingly. If your not Zerg, have flying units do the occiassonal lap around the entire map.

Five, get bases besides your natrual. Exapanding is key, and if your out expanded, you have lost the match since your enemy can out mine, and just fling units at you until your dead. Hiding expansions can make enemies either unprepared or paranoid, giving you an upper hand.

Six, deny enemy bases when ever you can. Same reasons as above, but with a different twist. If you can prevent your opponet from getting bases while getting your own, most of the time you can win. Having Overlords dumping creep at possible bases means they can't build anything until the overlord is dead/gone, and the creep disappears, and I think it takes 30 second for the creep to go away. That is a long time to just sit on the minerals. Another strategy as Zerg is to get burrow as quickly as possible, and put one zerg at each base in the field. Newer players will think the game is bugged, and more experienced players will have to waste money/energy on observes/scans to just find the little critter and take him out.

Seven, in 2v2, know how you can help your teammate. If your Terran, know that SVC's can repair Protoss robots, while Medivacs can heal all Zerg units. If your zerg, don't put creep in their base unless you ally is also Zerg. If your Protoss, you can Crono boost allies production factories to have them make units faster. Go different tech types, one goes heavy on the infantry while the the other goes heavier mech or similar. Pull your own weight.

Edit: Eight, know hard counters. You don't need to know that if one ____ and one ____ that ____ will kill _____ slightly faster, but that Immortals do extra damage to armored, that Marines counter light air, that Collosus counter weak one tear units in mass, Void Rays counter big health units, etc. If you don't know basic counters, you will be steam rolled by those that do.

Edit 2: I have been informed that Choroboosting allies buildings has been removed form the Beta, so disregaurd that bit of advice.
 

Ne1butme

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Nov 16, 2009
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While this is an optimal number of workers, you should always be making more of them. Over saturating your resource line prepares you for your next expansion. Just when your new base gets up, select a bunch of your workers (maybe half)and move them to the new set of minerals. It's much faster to do a worker transfer and then build workers from both bases than trying to rely on building new workers from the expansion alone.
 

Eldarion

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Sep 30, 2009
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Sir Bob said:
Dark Templar said:
I could warp in my units in a completely different spot from the building? And the warp prism.....the possibilities......wow.

Now I have to find out the New Dark Templar specs. I wonder if their damage is still sky high with upgrades?
Anywhere where you have Pylon-power, or the Warp Prism-power. However, it takes a 50 gas 50 minerals upgrade from the Cyber Core and a free 'morph' on your Gateways. Also, I think their damage is enough (without upgrades) to 1 shot a worker. About 50 damage I believe.

Pandalisk said:
Looks good, might give it a try, its Gameplay isn't just build and then Mass Charge is it?
I've won Dawn Of War games easily by Mass producing only Gaurdsmen and Sentinels on a large scale Cheaply.
Just about every race has 1 unit that can wipe out whole hordes of cheap units (cant think of such a zerg unit, only play Muta / 7-pool zerg when I get it with random). For instance the Siege tank and the Colossus, both have a good range and massive AoE damage, but are vulnerable to air.
*Drums fingers on energy scythe* Excellent.....

@Pandalisk= If massing Guardsmen won you any games your opponent must have had no clue how to play. Those guys are the weakest unit in the game.
 

Sir Bob

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Jan 14, 2010
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Not G. Ivingname said:
Seven, in 2v2, know how you can help your teammate. If your Terran, know that SVC's can repair Protoss robots, while Medivacs can heal all Zerg units. If your Protoss, you can Crono boost allies production factories to have them make units faster. Go different tech types, one goes heavy on the infantry while the the other goes heavier mech or similar. Pull your own weight.
Thanks, didn't know this
 

Not G. Ivingname

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Nov 18, 2009
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Sir Bob said:
Not G. Ivingname said:
Seven, in 2v2, know how you can help your teammate. If your Terran, know that SVC's can repair Protoss robots, while Medivacs can heal all Zerg units. If your Protoss, you can Crono boost allies production factories to have them make units faster. Go different tech types, one goes heavy on the infantry while the the other goes heavier mech or similar. Pull your own weight.
Thanks, didn't know this
Your welcome, which part?