2. Gaming athleticism
3. Ability to create generalized algorithms
5. Competitive aptitude
With this blog, I will attempt to define each of these traits, and how these traits manifest themselves in a manner that could potentially positively correlate with competitive Brood War success.
Definition: Ability to dedicate your life for excellence within a field through high levels of self-discipline, ambition, and stress tolerance.
How high levels of conscientiousness tends to manifest within competitive Brood War: Players are able to endure potentially draining and repetitive excercises, that could be compared to the effort it takes to accomplish incredible proficiency at playing an instrument.
The best music (subjectively speaking) may not result from maximizing proficiency for various instruments, but superhuman levels of proficiency at instruments rarely result without high levels of conscientiousness.
In the same vein, players with superlative levels of conscientiousness often tend to be known for their proficiency for using various units that reward high levels of technical proficiency.
Downside of high levels of conscientiousness: Players with extremely high levels of conscientiousness sometimes tend to lack creativity and fluid outside-the-box conceptualization that could lead to supremely high-reward manners of playing the game.
Further more, not all units are used universally across all situations. Action was famed for his incredible work ethic within the eSTRO household, and was able to reach another level with his defilers. However, his zerg-versus-zerg wasn't up to par, and his defiler mastery might have well as not existed at all for this specific match-up. Even the most diligent of professional gamers such as FanTaSy wasn't able to have complete mastery over all the terran units, and was specialized towards specific units such as vultures and valkyries.
Epitome of this trait: Jaedong
Jaedong at the peak of his powers had unprecedented levels of self-discipline and dedication towards excellence at his craft. He mastered essentially all the necessary toolkits involving the technical aspects of the zerg race, ranging from how his drones seemed to have a longer firing range than usual, all the way to how he didn't miss a single dropship appearing on the mini-map with heat-seeking scourges. While other hard working players such as BoxeR, July, and FanTaSy had their own signature units, Jaedong probably had mastered the widest range of units to previously unseen levels out of any player in history.
2. Gaming athleticism
Definition: Aptitude for playing Brood War at a physical level. The hardware prototype of the perfect Brood War gamer, just like how there is a desirable physical prototype for any competitive athletic fields. Some of the more hardware oriented attributes would include the ability to maximize inputs within a short span of time (a metric that can be somewhat measured by eAPM), having a shorter reaction time, having more accurate mouse clicking abilities, and being in possession of larger than average hand-span to make full usage of all control-groups.
How high levels of gaming athleticism tends to manifest within competitive Brood War: Players with innate levels of high dexterity involving the mouse and keyboard are able to hit great levels of micro-management and macro-management even without having the best build orders, or the most dedicated practice schedule towards mastering all the intricacies of the units being handled.
I would guess that players who are naturally built for accurate and rapid manipulation of the mouse and keyboard would excel in other genres of video-gaming, especially first-person shooter games. Which is perhaps why NaDa (one of the most gifted gamers from a physical perspective) had such keen interest in playing Sudden Attack (a first-person shooter game) during his time as a professional. Terror[fOu] was prodigious talent known for his somewhat rigid, but mechanically solid mutalisk micro-managament based play during his amateur days, and now is known for his decent aiming abilities when he plays PUBG.
Downside of high levels of conscientiousness: Not much I can think of. Although there is a much lower return for being more physically suited for competitive Brood War than some of the other traits, having better physical attributes does not have any negative attributes that tend to tag alongside it, such as extremely high levels of creativity often being associated with low levels of conscientiousness.
Epitome of this trait: JangBi.
JangBi was a phenomenonally gifted protoss player who was blessed with a quick reaction times, accurate and rapid point and clicking ability indicative of an high end hand-eye coordination, and ability to sustain high eAPM levels even without much dedication or practice. When people discussed professional players with the fastest reaction times, JangBi was always the one of the first names to spring up in the conversation. Stork always said that he never saw a player who clicked units from his gateways faster than JangBi.
His natural talents allowed JangBi to quickly possess a delicate handling of all of the available protoss arsenal, ability to pump units from his numerous gateways with only a fraction of the time required for the average protoss user, which in turn allowed JangBi to focus more heavily on his playmaking with his units.
While I personally felt like JangBi never allocated his concentration to multiple screens effectively, or had necessary speed of thought combined with his fantastic gaming athleticism, JangBi in my eyes had the perfect hardware prototype for a great Brood War player.
Jaedong, another mechanical monster, had hands that were way too small (his hand-span was merely 18cm, which is why his mechanical prowess spiked earlier than most players, whereas JangBi's mechanical prowess remained top notch whether it involved handling a handful of units, or orchestrating a fully maxed out army), while Bisu, another player who stood out in terms of his hardware, had trouble differentiating himself when he focused his play within a single screen. Bisu's unmatched multi-tasking prowess had an element of great screen management and knowing exactly where and when to look next (mostly within the protoss-versus-zerg match-up), which is slightly different from being the sheer physical act of being able to click fast and accurately while hammering away ceaselessly on the keyboard pumping out units.
3. Ability to create generalized algorithms
Definition: Ability to process and organize all the information gained within a Brood War game in an efficient manner.
How high levels of creating necessary generalized algorithms tends to manifest within competitive Brood War: This is what I would regard as being somewhat synonymous with having superior general intelligence for the game. The ability to store and access the necessary information without delay is arguably what matters the most in a cognitive persuit such as competitive Brood War.
Downside of high levels of being able to create generalized algorithms: Nothing. More intelligence and re-organization of the brain to better digest all the necessary information pertaining competitive Brood War is always better.
Epitome of this trait: Flash
This is biologically proven. It was already proven that professional Brood War players utilized their limbic system (which plays a large role in long-term memory) a lot more than regular people when engaging in a game of Brood War.
However, Flash was unique in that in his fMRI study, he was way up the ladder in his utilization of the orbitofrontal cortex (compared to other all-time legends such as BoxeR and XellOs), an area of the brain playing a key role in decision making and expectation.
Flash is currently in possession of the most advanced algorithm for Brood War known to mankind. He makes his decisions faster and more accurately than any other being on the planet, and it may stay that way until DeepLearning manages to create a functional AlphaGo for the game of Brood War.
While it is true that Flash is no slouch when it comes to discipline or mechanical ability, what truly makes him stand out is his ability to assess the situation and process the information real-time in a rapid and efficient manner. Flash is known for his speed, but what people really should pay attention to, is his speed of thought, and his mechanics are amazing in that his speed of thought can be actualized on screen.
Definition: Ability to think outside the box with novel ideas that are useful and change the course of history through paradigm shifts in the meta-game.
How high levels of creativity tends to manifest within competitive Brood War: Highly creative individuals often burn bright then fade away, since the game of Brood War was fixed on a single balance patch for over a decade (which means the relatively stable nature of the competitive environment has reduced benefits for a creative mind). The likes of iloveoov, PuSan, and sAviOr were creative geniuses who changed the course of history with era defining meta-games, but lacked the longetivity of more conscientious or more physically gifted gamers who could copy and absorb these meta-game advancements into their already fearsome arsenal of gaming attributes.
Downside of high levels of being able to create generalized algorithms: Creative individuals tend to be more open to ideas (even foolish ones) and euphoric experiences, instead of being more conservative with his actions and being calculated and responsible. Relying mostly on creativity is a high-risk, high-reward strategy, that can end in disaster as well as utter triumph. Creativity and conscientiousness are really hard attributes to have together, although there are exceptions to the rule.
Creative types would probably thrive in a more frequently patched game such as League of Legends, which may be why sAviOr had such success as an amateur League of Legends player (he was amongst the highest rated amateurs during the earlier seasons of League of Legends), and why iloveoov is having fair success as a coach of Afreeca Freecs (a Korean League of Legends team).
Epitome of this trait: sAviOr
I was initially going choose iloveoov due to his vast array of meta-game advancements, but sAviOr had such a perfect profile for this particular category that I had no choice but to name him. sAviOr was a creative genius who redefined the zerg-versus-terran meta-game, and instead of being pragmatic and data-driven, was more a free soul who just had a third eye for experiencing the game of Brood War.
You could tell sAviOr had greater intentions of enjoying his status, rather than working to extend his status as the greatest Brood War player on the scene, and his longetivity had a lot to be desired for.
He also decided to take risky ventures into match-fixing once his skills started to fade away instead of engaging in a losing battle versus the next generation of more dedicated superstars, like NaDa chose to do before him, and instead stayed true to his colours to the very bitter end.
5. Competitive aptitude
Definition: Ability to learn and adapt to the art of competing, which is a different art altogether than the art of mastering Brood War (the game itself). Players who totally flopped in this regard (Canata) remained as practice bonjwas who had no idea how to translate their skills for the game into success on stage.
How high levels of competitive aptitude tends to manifest within competitive Brood War: These players have realized that there is more to competitive Brood War than being simply better at the game. The best move for any given situation in a theoretically perfect match will never be the same as the best course of action under the same exact circumstances against a player with unique idiosyncracies and tendencies.
Players such as BoxeR, Calm, and EffOrt always preferred to have extra time to specifically prepare and get inside the heads of their opponent, as opposed to players such as Light or HiyA, who sucked dick in a best-of-series, and tended to do better with less preparation.
These are the kind of guys who might do well in a poker game, where it is just as much about reading your opponent, as it is about reading your current situation.
Downside of high levels of competitive aptitude: These guys tend to suck balls against monotone players who are difficult opponents even if they are somewhat predictable. BoxeR always struggled incredibly hard versus XellOs, a player known for his somewhat inflexible, yet sturdy playstyle. Calm and EffOrt, during their professional years, struggled much more versus Light, who was known for his incredibly predictable, yet sturdy playstyle, than the likes of Flash.
In any competitive environment where the time to prepare for each and every individual and map was minimal (such as Winner's League portion of the ProLeague), these kind of players struggled to create their competitive advantage, which may be why EffOrt never managed to complete an all-kill during his professional years.
Epitome of this trait: BoxeR
There were geniuses of this particular kind such as YellOw, but the player that comes to mind for me personally was BoxeR, the man who loved to play mind-games versus players who were probably more well-rounded than him from a sheer technical and theoretical gaming point of view, especially towards the twighlight years of his professional career.
BoxeR was a gamer who was winning tournaments back in 1999, when the likes of SSamJang, and Freemura were active as a the top dogs of the scene. Compared to the more orthodox and arguably more sound style of TheMarine, BoxeR somehow managed to stay relevant as one of the most successful gamers way past his prime as a player due to his excellence in small scale micro-management, and incredible individualized preparation for various players.
Whether it was confusing and agitating his opponents through the use of chat boxes (KeSPA banned the use of chat after BoxeR used it extensively to defeat JuNiToSs), baiting PuSan's dragoons to break position with a lone siege tank to by-pass his defense with vultures, or abusing iloveoov's relative mediocre micro-managament by engaging in an all-or-nothing micro-management fest involving marines and medics, BoxeR was somebody who was willing to do anything it takes to win, outside of outright sabotaging the integrity of the competition with blatant cheating.
BoxeR was hated by the likes of Autumn, who was jealous of BoxeR's success, and claimed that BoxeR was winning in a unworthy manner, and that a real gamer would try to win with their gaming skills alone. However, while BoxeR is mostly remembered for being a pioneer in terms of his micro-management advancements, he added depth to the competitive realm with his well thought out plans and trickeries to confuse, infuriate, and ultimately defeat his younger, and more vibrant opponents.