Figured this would be a good place to give a little update about what I've been doing and thinking lately. I've recently not streamed any brood war, and took a break from the game and I want to explain why. I'd also like to talk about some of the differences between StarCraft 1, and StarCraft 2.
Since being a SC2 progamer
Some of you might know, I had recently started playing brood war again with the release of SC:remastered. Before this, I stopped practicing StarCraft 2 and competing in tournaments in the summer of 2015, after making it to top16 in WCS, and doing decently in IEM cologne by qualifyting for the group stages, but then getting my ass whooped by innovation and lilbow. When Lotv came out and they nerfed injects, and made them stackable, it made me not enjoy playing as much because I had spend a great ammount of time and attention on perfecting my injecting method, including hotkeying every seperate hatchery to be able to track the progress of the inject bar. So it was a decent time to move on, I thought.
Since then I have kept a few jobs, nothing of note, and had decided this year I would get back into school to learn programming and web development. By now I've been doing this for a month or 2, and it's going fairly well so far, especially considering that I hadn't been in school for nearly 10 years, so far it's manageable for me. Anyway, back to this summer, they announced SC:Remastered and I figured what the heck, why not play the game that got all of this started for me back in the day.
Coming back to BW
I think I started playing again around june, or july. At first, it was extremely difficult. I was crazy with customizing hotkeys in StarCraft 2, and going back to BW without customizable hotkeys was so hard, because I had trained my brain and fingers to press keys differently than I was doing when I was playing BW, but the experience was very enjoyable.
I had so much fun just playing games on iccup, and then when I got invited to the launch event practicing actually became meaningfull and it gave me so much satisfaction. Since august I had been streaming quite regularly, up untill about 3 weeks ago, and my progress was steady. My muscle memory and the way my hand was moving around the keyboard really felt like coming home in a way, and just use the keyboard in a way that everything started to make sense again. You could say that somewhere along in the way in sc2 with all the changes I made to my play, I got a little lost. As I played more and more, the way my hands were moving around the keyboard just started to feel better and better. Even my typing got better again, and I just felt more comfortable overall. My mmr would bounce around between 2600-2800 and towards the end I was pretty much able to beat anyone outside of korea (but also lose to quite a few people ).
If anything, dedicating all of my free time (4-5 hours daily) to StarCraft, made me hungry. I felt hungry to improve, compete, strive to be better each day. All of those things are so addictive for me, its like my brain just goes crazy and I wake up and every inch of me being just wants to be better at the game. Difficult to think about anything else. But at the same time, a lot of things made playing difficult. I started to have lag with korean players right around the time I would be home from school which was Korean peak hours (3-7 pm CET). So everytime I would start practicing I would jump in and out of unplayable games for a very long time. Then I also had some experiences in tournaments playing against Dandy (Terran from peru). Games we were playing were high latency on tr8, making it so difficult to control mutalisks. While this player might have been better than me at the time, it made me realise the online competitive environment simply wasn't that good for me. I could practice my ass off, but at best I would have to play ZvZ vs some very capable zergs (eonzerg, trutacz, sziky, notforyou), which would most of the time be 50-50 or very close to it.. And then playing vs terrans with high latency in tournaments, it would make it difficult for me to really enjoy competiting and playing in these tournaments. Combined with the fact that ladder had become unplayable for me unless I played after 8 pm, it was hard to keep enjoying brood war, even though the game itself remains really great.
Around this time also it was announced that Draco, Morrow would be invited to the italian esports open. I was a little bit dissapointed to not be invited to this tournament, since I won the remastered launch event, have a big history in the game, and, was streaming my practice almost everyday and showing steady improvement and ability to compete with the best Europeans from an early stage of picking up the game again. Recently Zotac Cup NA also announced that they would invite Draco from the Europe region to play in their tournament.
Now - I am not the only person who is unable to play tournaments. It's a sad situation where guys who have been practicing the game for years like eonzerg, bonyth, trutacz, sziky, dewalt, etc. are for the most part not rewarded for being the strongest players, as well as having dedicated years to becoming better. So really I don't want to complain too much about that. There are people who are more deserving to play in offline tournaments than me anyway. The sad reality is that these 2 events are the only big ones, that have been announced. All of these factors combined made me take a break from the game.
With the announcement of SC2 becoming free to play, and seeming lack of interest from any of the established circuits such as dreamhack, iem, mlg, etc. as well as Blizzard making zero announcements for remastered tournaments outside of Korea, at this moment in time it feels unlikely that there will be any big BW events of note in 2018 for me to play in. (But hopefully I will be wrong on this).
StarCraft 2 vs BW
However, playing BW really sparked the competitive fire in me once again. So recently I have also started to play a little bit of StarCraft 2 again. Especially watching blizzcon made me feel hyped for the game. I'll be honest, I don't enjoy it as much as I enjoy BW. I strongly feel like there is much less deliberate unit control, micro, and just overall gameplay elements that attribute to 'fun' are found much more in BW than in SC2.
I've heard all these people say that, StarCraft 2 is a strategic game, and BW is a mechanical game. I strongly disagree. I feel StarCraft 2 might be a strategic game, but very little of that strategizing happens while you are actually inside the game. Games are so fast paced, and being on top of scouting everything is nearly impossible that you have to decide on most strategies before the game. You might change your path slightly if you get different tells, but most of your responses are pre-programmed and you try to execute as good as possible. Of course there is strategic variance, you play differently vs different unit compositions, but it's not the same kind of strategy I've experienced in brood war.
In brood war, I feel like players have oceans of time. Once both players have their mechanics on an adequate level, there is so much time to dedicate to thinking about the game, where to place your units, how to setup engagements, which bases to take and which key locations to defend. Alongside the high ground mechanic, defensive positions are much stronger in brood war and this gives the game a much more strategic feeling to me.
In sc2, I feel like I'm racing with tunnel vision to a timing or a unit comp based timing in the game where my chances are highest to win (differentiating slightly depending on what opponent is doing) - but in brood war my eyes are wide open trying to observe and take everything in, then pondering about how to proceed and best trap my enemy into the claws of my lurkers, dark swarm, plague, and 100 zerglings which are impossible to control.
StarCraft 2 does still have lots of the elements that make rts 'fun.' Unit movement is very important in the game, counter attacks, perfect injecting + overwhelming opponents is very enjoyable, and overall playing the game ignites the same kind of competitive fire, wanting to improve, making progress, and wanting to compete. If I could somehow learn to enjoy the useage of spellcasters, I might even say I 'love' that game as well. Of course everything surrounding SC2 right now, the battle.net interface, automated tournaments, ladder systems, updated map pools, constant balance/design patches, it's all really good right now. Perhaps with constant improvements it really can come to a place where it can feel as fun to play as BW for me, or at least close to it.
Also some of the guys playing at blizzcon and in GSL are so skilled and set themselves apart so much from other competitors, that you have to respect their ability. It's something worth trying to immitate, or try and learn to do yourself.
So I've had to do some thinking about what I want to do. I could keep playing BW, not play anything at all and dedicate all my time to school, or try playing some SC2 again.
Because StarCraft 2 actually has tournaments announced for 2018 (and lots of em!), I think that if I will continue dedicating my free-time to gaming while going to school I will be playing and streaming StarCraft 2. The reality is that which game I find more fun, is less important to me than the possiblity to compete. Because the competitor in me needs that feeling of practice being meaningfull. All of my life I have wanted to compete with people, prove myself, improve. The oppurtunities to compete makes a world of difference for me. To all the people that enjoyed my stream and are wondering what happend, this is pretty much it. I have been torn about what game to focus on and what to do in the future. Since I have not played StarCraft 2 competitively in over 2 years, undoubtfully I am going to be terrible for a while. But most likely my stream will be back at some point, if anything for some casual fun. BW has taught me, that despite being old af, I can still pick up games and learn relatively quickly.
Thank you for reading, guys!