About the Blog:
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- Why does my opinion matter? It doesn't. My opinion is being used as a medium to provide people with a space to objectively comment upon the professional Starcraft II gamers in a dignified and professional manner.
What I would like to see come from this blog series: interesting and respectful discussion from TL.net members from around the world.
What I would not like to see in this blog series: disrespectful character sniping, or disdainful remarks. Feel free to post that stuff on the forums, or on a different website, or start your own blog. But here, we will comment about the players we discuss in a dignified way.
The Rules of Engagement:
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- Negative remarks are allowed, but they should be well worded (Non-English speakers are okay, don't fret if you don't speak English well) and constructive.
- Hardcore analysis of the players as people shouldn't be done unless you've met this player in real life, and you have known him/her personally for some significant amount of time.
- Your comments should show some amount of intelligent thought. "lol day is mad" will get you banned from my blog.
Now, the topic for today:
Sean "Day9" Plott is a highly renowned StarCraft II Caster and player. He is known for his immense game knowledge, and unparalleled analytical abilities. His fan base is so large that his word alone has a significant impact on the low-mid level metagame. There's not much else to say in the way of introduction, because if anything has ever been self-introductory, it is the name "Day".
Sean is a cool, calm, and collective type of fellow. That is of course, unless you cheese him; "WHAT THE FUH-CANNON RUSH!". He presents himself as a comedian turned StarCraft player, and in some respects that is almost true. He once spoke at a Harvey Mudd College event in which he gave a hilarious stand up comedy session. Thanks to the Day TL.net Fan Club for the link! If stand up wasn't enough, he can make some of the best one-liners on the fly, and when he fails it's often twice as funny (ex: "Mom why didn't you name me Zen? Or Wen? Or even the number.... J." - Day[J] Daily #200, Alphabetical Free for All)
However, Sean is not all fun and games. Besides being an analytician and starcraftitician, Sean is also a serious mathematician. He has also earned his Masters degree in Interactive Media. His senior thesis at Harvey Mudd College was entitled "Functions of the Binomial Coefficient", and contained 53 pages of math, that I believe was written in a different language, because I just don't understand anything that is being said.
Sean disproves IdrA's argument from SotG episode 37
In his senior year in high school Sean was a National Merit Semi-Finalist, which is a pretty big deal. His school, Rockhurst High, had 16 semi-finalists, which was the record.
Sean pictured with 11 of the other semi-finalists from Rockhurst High
In the Spring of 2004 Sean and two teammates qualified for the Kansas State Math League Competition by placing first in the Advanced Math Team Competition, a skill which he had obviously planned on taking to the next level.
Oh, and did I mention that this guy was on his school's ultimate frisbee team? "'Right now, we really want to get ranked nationally, so we can be recognized around the country. We want to focus on the running aspect of our game, so we can be in better shape and consistently win tournaments,' senior Sean Plott said." Yes, that's right, he was even a jock-nerd. How could you ever hope to compete?
Sean also helped one Michael E. with his project "Disrupting Terrorist Networks" in Harvey Mudd, right before presenting "Getting Kinky with Combinatorics". That's right ladies and gentlemen, Sean is a true American hero now. Kinda sorta. Maybe.
The Plottrine was a unit in the Starcraft II alpha tests, but it was deemed impossible to beat. Rumors say the last person to fight one died. In real life. But that remains unconfirmed, because all they found was his lack of game knowledge.
The Day daily is a place where nerds from all over the world can come together and learn how to be a better gamer. It is quite possibly the sole cause behind Sean's growing popularity, and it is a well deserved reward for such a fantastic program. Sean and the crew have revolutionized the learning process involved in StarCraft II. Almost every Sunday through Thursday Sean and his group of elite volunteer supporters gather to put on a show that even the pros can learn from. One great example of what we can learn can be found in one of my favorite dailies, the first Funday Monday "No Queens (#183)". This daily showed that without using Queens Zerg can become as aggressive, and aggressively defensive as the other two races, while still feeling pretty safe.
I have long believed that Funday Monday is a scam, designed not just for entertainment purposes, but instead to make us think outside the box. Don't ever let Sean tell you it's about fun. It's about enjoying the process of breaking free from your little lens of the game and doing what is thought to be impossible. This type of thinking is what you should do in every "IMBA IMBA IMBA!" thread. Think "How would Sean Funday Monday my problems?" and try it out on your own.
Newbie Tuesday is the place all Bronze league players reading this should turn to. Go watch as many Newbie Tuesday episodes as you can get your hands on. From the prior patch and everything. Newbie Tuesday is a great place to learn about the basics, the information you will build upon. The Spanishiwa build is worthless if you are your own worst enemy. No amount of defense can save you from yourself. First you must conquer yourself, then you may conquer the enemy, and this series will show you how to accomplish the first.
For any beginner, I would recommend watching Daily #252 "Secrets of Hotkeys, APM and Mouse Movement", and #257+#261 "Refining Mechanics 1 and 2". You will be instantly better at StarCraft, you will be ready to tackle the issues involving your opponent, and you will have a serious crush on Sean.
My personal favorite daily is #160, in which Sean describes the hectic processes involved in running the SarCraft II launch party he had. What is your favorite daily? Let us all know with a comment.
I can hold back no longer. Ladies and gents, I was given the amazing privilege of having a Skype-based interview with Sean himself. Though he answered only 7 questions, the length of this interview would make you think he answered 30. His answers are huge. but his words are meaningful. Without further delay:
Jesse: First off, congratulations on earning your masters degree. I want to ask, why math? Is it just something you're naturally good at so you went with it, or was there something more specific that drove you towards it?
Sean: Well actually, I got my degree in interactive media, my undergrad was in math. It was one of these weird things that ends up popping up. I got my undergrad in math without really any knowledge of what I was getting into when I first did math, because I mean, basically I had this "Well I have to major in something, and math was always cool so I guess I'll do math." I genuinely like the problem solving element of it. What I didn't realize is that actual college math is -- like real math-- is nothing at all what you did in High School, like calculus and down is NOT math. That's the equivalent of saying "if you are an English major then you learn lots of spelling and lots of grammar -- that's not real English, English is about writing and composing and all this awesome stuff, but math is more about problem solving, and it's about making an argument that is rigorous that what I do is I start with a set of information, and I have a conclusion down here at the bottom that I want to reach and what I do is I start making statements one at a time and you cannot disagree with my statements at any point.
As a result, I can get you to conclude the exact same thing as I did unambiguously. So a real math problem would be something like "is there an optimal way to play checkers?" That involves rigorous argument, it's not something like "no, I feel like, yeah it's pretty important to get your kings up, uhh, it's pretty good" - removing all the subjectivity from it. I definitely had an incredibly fun time in math, but I have no idea if that was necessarily, uh, if I knew that that's what I was doing, because all the math I ended up really liking is stuff that probably no one has ever heard of, like combinatorics and graph theory and a lot of number theory.
Jesse: I had never heard of math on that level until I read your undergrad thesis
Sean: Wee-haw, yeah that was a good one. I liked that one, that was some cool stuff. So, the Interactive Media degree I suppose is a more interesting answer because while I was working on my thesis there came a point where I wasn't smart enough. I just couldn't do anything on it, I mean I'd go to meet with my professor and he'd be like "so what did you come up with this week?" and I'd say "Nothing! This is actually just too hard! I have NO idea what's going on!" So when I went to apply to graduate school, I don't actually know why I wanted to go to graduate school, I don't have a good answer for that, I just sort of assumed I would, so that's what I was doing. But when I went to apply I did a pretty big variety; I did a little shotgun blast of applications, because you don't just get a "math Ph.D", there's a variety of things, like you can get a statistics or combinatorics algorithm and graph theory, there's a couple of those degrees.
Um, I'm trying to think of some other things I applied to that were just mathy. There were some pure math ones that I went for, but I also applied to a bunch of things that had a gameness element to it, because I wanted an opportunity to sort of be creative as well, and creating a game seemed to be a nice merger of different genres of the creative side of "what sort of game play do I want to create" but then the technical implementation of the problem solving, that goes on with that aspect, so I applied to a variety of game design programs as well. My number one choice was actually USC, interactive media program, and I got accepted to that and I was like "YEEEEAAAAHHH!" So I did that and started focusing on the game design stuff straight off the bat but then I started doing the daily and doing more and more and more of that and I became interested in the fact that all forms of media are becoming more interactive in general.
Web television I think is a really good example because television used to just be "you sit down, and you consume it", but now television has changed to "you can sit down and you can participate in it" not at a huge grand scale, like in American Idol, you can vote and it's just like a fleck of an appeal, it's not really that much, but now you know, like for instance in the daily whatever the chat is saying I can actually see as I'm making the show and steer the content to form to that. So that ended up being more of my focus towards the end.
Jesse: Very interesting answer. I have to correct my thing now, because I said you majored in math.
Sean: Well you can say I did my undergrad in math -- you can just lie, re-edit history man!
Jesse: I can't, there's way too many Day fans. They're worse than Blizzard lore fans.
Alright, since you were successfully promoted to masters degree league, you will now have time to play StarCraft full time. I've been seeing other people ask this question in your stream chat: Will you pick a specific race? Or will you stay random? A lot of people are saying you should pick a specific race and master it; do you have a counter argument?
Sean: Let me first note the thing about the playing, in terms of the playing full time, I guess it's a little hard to get a full grasp on what that means. Because, in a sense there's a lot of players who play like 16 hours a day... and are bad. And there's a couple players who play 2 or 3 hours a day but they're really really good. I think a better way to describe it is that I'm devoting time now to actually playing competitively, and actually studying the game from a competitor's stand point, to do those really subtle things like "given this strategy, when should I be scouting? Should I be scouting at 13 or 14 or 15?" that's like a really high detailed question that a player would really need to know but that an observer may not necessarily need to know to be able to get a full appreciation of the game. So I've been doing a lot more of that.
Now, people who are asking about the specific race and think that I should pick one race and master it, I would actually favor their argument better -- the more you can scope down on what you're trying to work on the better you can become. Depth beats breadth every day of the week. If I was pretty good with all three races, I'm a pretty good player. But if I'm excellent with one race, I'm an excellent player. That said, I'm probably not going to pick a race! I really enjoy playing all three quite a bit. I also feel that as a commentator, and as someone who is trying to be an educator for the game I think that it's important that I have a reasonable skill level with all three. Regardless I think it's whatever I end up choosing to do, I may very well just stick to one race, just because I end up sticking to one race. But at this point, the answer is "I haven't really decided on anything specific".
But with whatever I do, I'll try to approach with that idea of "scoping down is important". Like for instance, yesterday I wanted to play some games with my friend and we only played zerg vs. terran for 15 games and I had a lot better of an understanding upon finishing those 15 games where I was only up against a terran all the time. Then, of course, when I went to go ladder immediately when I choose zerg the first person I roll against is a Protoss so it's just like that was dumb. But yeah, I'm trying to really hone down. I guess the only counter argument that I'd have other then " well I can play all three" is that it's a little bit easier to manage the interface in StarCraft II, so you can have a bit of an easier time bouncing between them. Whereas in Brood War I can play zerg at an A+ level, and when I would go and play Terran it would be like C- because I had no idea how to even control my marines properly.
Jesse: Alright, Question 3: Are you planning on going all the way with SC2 professional gaming? How long will it be before we're cheering for you in a major tournament? Will you seek team sponsorship, and if so, which team would you want to be on?
Sean: So in terms of the professional gaming thing, for me, what's always been the deepest pleasure for me as a player is just trying to achieve mastery, as opposed to trying to achieve a win in a major tournament. A lot of people in Brood War saw me as this phantom player that would mysteriously appear every year for WCG and then be unheard of in between. With the exception of my private practice partners, I would literally only play under smurf names, and just sort of quietly sculpt my Zerg because I enjoy that process of improvement. I'm going to take the same approach as I'm going into StarCraft II, I'm going to compete, and try to improve my play and develop mastery of it, but I won't be entering into a tournament until I feel comfortable with doing that. Like for instance, if I'm really good with two of the match ups, but not good at a third match up, I would not have the mindset of "well I'm still going to enter this tournament and try to see how far I can go".
For me, I just would like the idea of "no, what I'm going to do is practice that bad match up because that seems like the most reasonable thing". But if I've achieved a certain level of mastery I would be like "alright, now I guess it's time for me to enter a tournament". I would like to begin dabbling in some tournaments just because I like that a lot, but I don't have any sort of -- I guess a better way to put it is I want to get my game fleshed out first and then see what the tournament is, as opposed to picking a tournament and saying something like "I'm going to go win MLG Season Finals" and begin training for that. A huge constraint that I'm working under is that I'm not going to drop the daily, and I'm not going to drop any of the projects I'm currently working on so I have to make sure that the playing sort of balances around that. If there's one thing that would get sacrificed it would be playing. I'm trying not to sacrifice sleep as much, that was my old build order, I'm trying not to do that.
Also, regarding the team thing, I actually will probably steer away from joining a particular team, just because, like you just heard, there's probably going to be times when I have to completely drop doing anything at all, and I think I'm a pretty bad team member. I'm pretty terrible, I have these memories of in college, college is when i was like "yeah I'm just not going to be doing the whole team thing". Actually, in high school when I was a member of RS, that was really fun to be part of a team and to play, and to enter the clan league matches, and that was an excellent motivation. Like every single weekend there would be an event to do, and it was like that structure was an excellent motivator for me. But then when I entered college I could not quite rearrange my college schedule to appropriately match with the clan league schedule.
So I ended up missing a lot of clan leagues, like regularly, I think a lot of people knew me as a real flake -- that I would just never show up and just be sort of gone all the time, that really bothered me. In fact, it was kind of funny, when I was on MYM -- the reason that happened was one of their managers was an old manager of a team I was on and he was like "hey do you want to play?" and I was like "Okay but I can't show up to any clan matches, I cannot participate in anything" and he's like "Oh that's cool, we just think that it would be -- we just wanted to know if you could play for us, and have that sort of relationship" and I was like "alright cool, as long as there's no obligation".
And again I would be completely gone and mysteriously I would appear at WCG with an MYM tag, that was kinda how it worked out. So at the same time for me I think it all kinda comes back to way that my motivations work, and in high school it was nice to have those tournaments and everything to be the motivation for me, but over time it just transitioned into "I just want to study this game, because I think this game is cool and fun. So i can happily play for fifteen hours a day and get to -- like on ICCup I would perform really really well, and have no desire to proclaim it or show anyone. I would like the internal feeling of "hurray! I feel better!"
Jesse: <What I said here didn't make much sense, but this is what I meant> Your achievements are more respectable since you're not chasing after them just for bragging rights.
Sean: there have been times when I've won tournaments and I was like "*sigh of relief* that felt good!" and I'll totally, happily tell you stories of those. "Oh yeah, I remember when I won that one tournament over in that one --" but in terms of my day to day motivation, my favorite thing ever is when I'm encountering some problem and I'm able to find a solution for it that I think works, and then I start testing it, like on the ladder, in realms where it's completely unpredictable, and I'm continuously realizing that my solution works. It's one of those "Oh yeeaaah! I improved!" -- that feeling is the one I really personally go for. Again, this relates back to the team thing. That sort of environment where I'm playing for a team and moving around.. it doesn't.. I don't know, I like moving around and being an individual and doing my own thing.
Jesse: Good answer.
Jesse: Alright, we're going back to this. I don't know if you want to talk about this, but in State of the Game episode 37 you and EG.IdrA got into a debate over the state of the Zerg in the current metagame. While IdrA claimed there was an imbalance issue, it was difficult to decipher the specifics of your argument. As general and broad as he was, your responses were also pretty broad. Can you go into more detail about why the metagame will always be balanced, in your opinion?
Sean: Yeah, I will agree that I did not do the best articulation of what I wanted to say, but I think that it was a useful exercise for me because it allowed me to sort of step away and say "okay I have this opinion, what's the best way to actually articulate it?" So after the fact I've gotten some time to think about that, and my argument is... a very unexciting argument, I guess I would say, because what I would argue is that, from an epistemological stand point, I don't think that you can definitively claim balance nor imbalance. On the imbalance front there is not nearly enough statistical evidence to support that -- there's just not enough. I don't think there's enough to say "that race is imbalanced" because if you say, pick any race, that race sucks, there are literally tons of people who will say the opposite, or players who are examples of the opposite. For every player who says "this race is bad" there is another player who says "this race is completely, ridiculously overpowered". Which is actually even the case for Zerg as well which is the main race <being discussed>. Even MC has stated that Zerg is just too strong. Completely ignoring all of that though, I just don't think there is a way to conclude imbalance. And by the same token, I don't think there is a way to conclude balance either.
I would never argue that StarCraft II is balanced, you just got to deal with it. I feel like in a system as complicated as StarCraft II even if it's something like one race wins 50.001% of the time it's still technically not perfect balance. I just don't think there's any way to reach any conclusion. So in terms of people who are struggling, who are having difficulty, I think that it is important to state that sort of thing, to say "Oh God, I can't seem to find the solution, it's terrible, how miserable, this sucks" say everything except that one last step there or "it's imbalanced, it's unfair and dumb" because I don't think there's any way to really know that. Talk about the frustrations, talk about the problems, that's good because it puts more eyes on the problem, and the designers, whose job it is to change the game, may or may not respond to that accordingly. Honestly, in the way that trends evolve in terms of play, cracking these seemingly impossible to crack situations is much like trying to find true love.
Imagine that you have 49 failed relationships where you experienced heartbreak, and misery, and you're crying "no one will ever love me" and you're lonely, and then the fiftieth girl turns out to be the perfect girl for you and you fall in love, and everything is perfect, in that marriage with that beautiful woman it doesn't even matter that you had all these miserable terrible experiences prior. So too this happens in a strategy game, where necessarily of all the different discoveries that go on there must necessarily be a first one that was really really hard to discover. But I feel like once a solution pops up, it's like that same thing. It doesn't matter that there was all this struggle that happened beforehand, you have a clear, clean solution, and there you go it's not a big problem anymore.
This actually reminds me quite a bit of this great article that was on TeamLiquid.net about how Zerg vs. Terran in Brood War shifted aver time. The match up would have wild swings in either direction. It would swing up to 80% win rates for Zerg, because Zerg was figuring out these aggressive 2 hatch mutalisk builds, and then Terrans would struggle and struggle, and they'd crack it and find a solution and it would shift way back down in the other direction. So moments like those have happened to me so often in my career playing Brood War, that for anyone saying "I've hit a wall with my race, my race sucks" I have every confidence that once a solution is found there will be another shift, because StarCraft II started out with people saying Terran were overpowered, then it was Protoss, then it was Zerg, then it was Terran briefly, then back to Protoss, now it's sort of in the air now that Zergs are starting to do better all of a sudden in all of the tournaments. So that's really my opinion, that there can't be a good way to know in either direction. Also, all these frustrations continue to mount until a solution gets cracked.
I want to briefly discuss what you say about "why the metagame will always be balanced". That was a misstatement of what I was trying to go for, the idea is that in any gameplay system there will necessarily be a balanced metagame. But I'm not saying whatever people are doing is balanced. That is the distinction between there. For instance, this is a silly example, in tic tac toe there is a balanced metagame - that everyone always draws. You can play me in tic tac toe, and I have a strategy that will draw you every time, at least, either win or draw. So that is the metagame that exists. But lets say we are the dumbest organisms in the whole wide world, and we don't think properly, and people are still winning, in fact whoever goes first seems to have the advantage in tic tac toe, that person always wins, with our little unsophisticated minds. In the way that these silly dumb organisms might play the game, and how they have developed their understanding of the game, it might skew really far towards one race or towards one symbol, but necessarily there must be one that exists. Because, lets suppose that there is a strategy that is the best strategy of all, then the optimal would be both players doing this strategy against each other, which should result in a draw. Again, if they are theoretically playing perfectly.
To take one more step towards StarCraft, lets say that the only units people used were Zerglings, Zealots, and Marines. Marines are going to come out on top, I feel like that would be the case. Just turtle until you have enough marines, then attack and there is no way you can possibly lose. If that's what people were doing -- that's the current metagame state, though I think people use the word metagame wrong all the time -- then yeah, Terran clearly has the advantage there, because the Zerg and Protoss people aren't doing anything. But in any game there must necessarily be an optimal strategy, in this game that I just described the optimal strategy is to only ever pick Terran. Is that starting to make more sense? That if StarCraft only has these 3 units, this is the balanced strategy. The reason I brought up that argument was to state that "okay so if a game necessarily must have an optimal strategy that always draws, or a set of optimal strategies that always draw against one another, then over time we would begin drifting towards that, and there is no indication of that". The reason I brought that argument up was to support my fairly unexciting statement that there is no real way to know if there is balance or know if there is imbalance.
Now, for instance, lets say that you're a Protoss player and you literally can't win a game against Terran or Zerg and you're saying "I hate that I can't -- if I do this then he Hellion drops me, and if I do this then he Banshee rushes me, and against Zerg roaches kill me, hydras kill me" and you're listing all this stuff, that's good! State all that! Create threads saying "How the fuck do you beat these two races? I can't seem to beat it!" Do all that but just snip off that last step of "therefore the game is imbalanced" because any time you try to state that it's imbalanced and argue for it, it will just break down into us trying to figure out a solution anyways.
Sean: So that's kind of my longer winded but still unexciting argument that "you can't really know, so just go play!" you know?
Jesse: Alright, you have time for some extra questions?
Sean: Yeah, totally!
Jesse: These are improvised, so forgive me if I say it stupidly.
Sean: Oh no worries. You're going to cut yourself out of this, you're going to rewrite all of these questions! You're going to make them look beautiful! You're going to rewrite history as we speak!
Jesse: <while laughing> We just got some new Heart of the Swarm information, as if you didn't know. This information confirmed that Blizzard will be adding new units. My problem with this is that I feel like all roles, that I can think of at least, are already filled. Do you have a counter argument, or do you feel the same way?
Sean: what do you mean by roles?
Jesse: Like the Marine. He's the Terran ranged ground unit that shoots air and ground <compare to Stalkers and Hydralisks>, and what he does -- his role -- can't be taken by another unit. You can't just introduce a Marine 2.0 and suddenly Marine 1.0 is useless.
Sean: I'm going to get super abstract. largely because this is one of my overarching life philosophies, also it's something no one has ever heard from me in an interview, so you're going to have this little special piece. Here is my opinion, I think it's really important to make this statement of it: lets say you're trying to form an opinion about a person. So each piece of information you get about him, I want you to visualize putting it in a bucket. So you have a bucket for "listens to heavy metal", another bucket for "donated a dollar to a homeless person", and another bucket for "always pays his bills on time". So you have these little bits of information, so what your brain does is it pulls these little bits of information out of the buckets, and then you form a ball out of them, you structure them. That structure is your opinion about the person, your understanding, and your view of that person.
What the average person will do is when they get a new piece of information they will just try to glom it on to this pre-existing perception of this person, and in some circumstances it doesn't fit so well, or perhaps it doesn't fit at all, so you just throw it away. Cause "this is the way I understand it". So my philosophy is that it's important to break that back down and to put things back into the bucket again. So a lot of times when someone says "Sean, what do you think about 'blank'?" I actually formulate an opinion right there on the fly and then try to deconstruct that. That's why, in a lot of sense, I don't seem to -- like you'll hear me more than willing to completely change something I said 10 minutes ago if I realize I kind of disagree with that, because I think it's important to be able to break it down and go "Oh no, I reformulated it and it's sort of like a new thing now. Okay, this fits better."
The reason I bring up that discussion, that whole concept is that, there's that inherent human need to categorize, and to lump things together to say - like - "okay, this is my tanking unit and this is my DPS (Damage Per Second) unit." Like roach/hydra, I think that would be the classic example of that where people say "Okay your roaches are your meat shield" which is a term that I still don't understand, I know what it's supposed to mean but it makes no sense to me because it seems like an MMO logic applied to an RTS game. "Okay my Hydras are my DPS units." And people who play Protoss say "Okay I play Protoss, what are my meat units and what are my DPS units?" Or like this whole "what counters that" thing. I mean in a lot of circumstances it's correct to make a lot of Stalkers against someone who is going for a kind of Marauder-ish heavy army. A Stalker/Colossus force, if you have blink and a good arc, demolishes a lot of Marauder armies. But that's seemingly counter-intuitive because of all this stuff.
So all this discussion is for this idea of "roles". I feel like it doesn't quite apply. I definitely agree with your sentiment that it would be silly to introduce units that make other units obsolete. That's the exact kind of problem those early RTS games, like Total Annihilation had. I mean Total Annihilation is a sweet ass game, but there are some units that if you make, you're clearly an idiot. So, why leave those in the game? And Blizzard is really good at just pulling those out. But it's very easy to do slight tweaks on units to make them have dramatically different feels. Like for instance, in Brood War, Marines with range and Goliaths have a lot of pretty substantial similarities. Marines deal a ridiculous amount of damage. Goliaths deal a ridiculous amount of damage, especially against air, not so much against ground. I mean the Goliath is a little better against air than a Marine, and a little worse against ground than a Marine. And now all of a sudden it's a really interesting unit. And they made it a lot larger than a Marine.
So I don't necessarily know the role that it's supposed to fill, but I can tell you that it creates very interesting gameplay. So in terms of adding in new units and changing things, I feel like Blizzard is very smart about being sensitive to that, so I honestly have every confidence in what Blizzard is going to do, and I hope that they are willing to do some crazy stuff. I think of all the companies, they're the ones who are most willing to do the most dramatic, crazy changes to their own games.
Jesse: Definitely. The next question actually ties right into that one, but it's more of a "just for fun" question. Blizzard also confirmed that they are removing units. If you could remove any unit from the game, which unit would you pick and why?
Sean: The Banshee! Fuck that unit!
Jesse and Sean: <Laughs>
Sean: I've lost so many games because of that!
Um. If I could remove one unit which unit would I remove? Well see, here's part of the problem with -- I'm just going to actually think out loud.
Sean: The problem with me trying to envision a unit that I would remove is the fact that everything is sort of influenced by that. For instance, I don't like the Thor very much, as a unit. I don't think I have a necessarily good argument, I build a lot of them and I was like "Yeah Thors rule!" but they've always felt a little funky to me. And that's all I have to go on, and if you remove it suddenly mutalisks are ridiculously better and there are a bunch of mech strategies you can no longer do. There's all sorts of Crises that begin happening for Terran. But. Um. I like the units in StarCraft II I guess. I mean honestly, I personally think that Zerg needs a redesign. Well, maybe they don't need it, but I'd like to see a redesign, because they don't feel like Zerg, at all. They don't feel Zergy.
For me, Zerg had two fundemental identities in Brood War
One was space control. I could plant Lurkers here, and nothing could cross not only things that could out-range it but also detection. I had Scourge that could lock down air space, in a limited sense. I had Mutalisks that were fast, that made you feel very very very defensive. I had Overlords that once I got the speed upgrade I could cover the whole map. I could see everything you could do, and I could lock down air and ground and I could be very aggressive with harassment. So I had heavy space control. What do they do in StarCraft II? Well they make these slow mud units that though they're pretty good -- there are plenty of people who will win with roaches and baneling drops -- but my army is a blob! My army isn't supposed to be a blob! How do you control space? By having like 40 roaches. If you want to control space, you send them there!
In Brood War, the second characteristic was masses of units. Masses and masses, endless streams, the Zerg Swarm! But in StarCraft II Zerg has no 1 food units, except for a drone, but that's not a real unit! I guess you have an Overseer that's a 0 food unit, but still I want Zerg to just feel way different than it does feel. That's purely from my historical perspective, not from a balance perspective. I want something that feels really really Zergy.
Jesse: One last question: What's the most insane thing you did in Korea?
Sean: My brother is an asshole.
Sean: Alright so we're eating this meal, it was me, my brother, my mom, and one of Nick's friends. And Nick's like "save a little room cause I've got a surprise for you." and I'm just like "yeah whatever" and my mom and I are like "yeah okay, Nick's probably going to take us to some Korean pastry shop and get us some donut that you can split with a fork or something." We leave there, and then they take us to another sit-down restaurant and it looks like the exact same thing, We're kind of like "what are we doing here?" then Nick asked for two bottles of soju and puts those down, and we're like "you took us somewhere to get us a $1 soju?" and then they set down this platter of octopus tentacles that are still wiggling and writhing.
Jesse: <while laughing> holy crap.
Sean: Apparently what they do is they cut the head off an octopus, and it freaks out the nervous system on the octopus, and the tentacles still wiggle despite the fact that there's nothing attached to them. So they set down these things and they start wiggling and I'm like "AHHH! AHH!" and he says "alright now you eat it, but you've got to make sure to chew it really because the little suckers on it still work, and they'll stick to your throat if you don't chew it really really hard, and if it does stick to your throat then take a shot of soju because that's what makes it release" and I'm like "AHH!" and I put it in my mouth and it's squirming and I'm like "AHH! AHH!" and I'm trying to chew it and it's all rubbery and freakish. Like my brother's just eating it. It doesn't even have a flavor, it's just sort of rubbery and cartilage-y, but it feels like a battle, rather than a meal. So I just ate it and I was like "Oh God!" and they slowly start to calm down and then if you touch them they just start wiggling around, it's just freaky man!
Jesse: <laughs> Alright, any shout outs you'd like to make?
Sean: I'd like to give a shout out to Eric, who handles all the stuff with Day9tv that I don't have enough time to do alone. He's one of the many amazing crew who I work with, but the reason I'm thanking him is because he just drove hundreds of miles to deliver me a brand new computer. I was having trouble with me, he helped me set it up - he helped me set my stuff up remotely - but there was something going wrong, we were changing the voltages on this computer on the overclock, changing the drivers, and nothing seems to fix it. So what he did is he just bought the most badass new computer you'll ever hear about in your entire life, constructed it, tested it, did everything at his end, so literally he just drove here, after State of the Game we hooked it up, and it was done. We had one issue that took us like 2 hours to solve, and it was like hilarious how dumb the issue was, but I'm talking on my brand new computer. so I would like to reemphasize the fact that Day9tv is not just me, it is a community effort, because like there's all the volunteer admins who volunteer their time to moderate the chat and to help me sort through all the replays. And even Marky, who's constantly coming up with these new programs to help the viewer experience and the analytics experience improve.
So, my sincerest thanks to all the people who make the show work, because I'm certainly only a small part of it.
It was a great honor to get to interview Sean. I hope everyone can take a lesson away from this, be it from Sean's life philosophy or his view of StarCraft II. So how do you feel about Sean Plott? Do you like his daily show? Do you agree or disagree with something he said in the interview? Let the world know, respond below.