Sorry, I don't really have a good idea for a title, so I made it pretty generic, and it probably doesn't reflect the content very well.
Honestly, this is a long coming post for me. I really want to express my thoughts, since I am still pretty passionate about sc2, but I don't expect people to feel the same way. I'm not seeking to open a discussion here and convince people that the game should be the way I want it. I just want to share my perception of it and see how much different it is to yours.
I've played sc2 for 9 years now, most time as terran at high master level. I was stuck at 5k MMR all the time, and tried to make a breakthrough a few months ago. I managed to achieve 5300 and that should've been pretty cool for me, but instead I ended up being rather disappointed. Initially, I tried to change my play style, revise my strategies, shift focus a bit and stuff like that. It didn't help at all. Then I started to push my APM as much as possible. I am pretty slow, so I usually have 220 or so. But at that time I managed to hit 270-280. It took months and that was not a pleasant experience, honestly. But so I managed to climb significantly higher on the ladder. The thing is, I play first 7-8 minutes pretty well: I know builds in details, have good timings, keep up with macro etc. But then I get more units to control, more bases, more of everything. At this point I start lagging badly. Here I finally get to the point: LotV is insanely mechanically demanding and its different to WoL/HotS eco model is the main reason for that. Managing 3 base is pretty hard, but 4 bases is impossible for most players.
New players don't know, old players don't remember
Initially, sc2 was built according to Blizzard's philosophy of what RTS should be like "Easy to learn, hard to master". And the game was really something like that, but also it was pretty dull. To fix that Blizzard started to push speedy/fragile (reapers, medivacs, oracles, banshees) units and units that are insanely hard to deal with (Swarm hosts, lurkers, disruptors) into the game. They also changed starting worker count and changed the eco model to encourage players take more bases. But they also said that their goal was to give players opportunities to decide whether to expand faster and so get eco lead or be aggressive on lower eco. It didn't work out and everyone pretended nothing happened. We see now that everyone goes for 80 workers. What really happened is that 4 base became the new 3 base standard. You feel overwhelmed trying to manage your 3k/2k income? You bet! It's wasn't supposed to be like this, and it doesn't have to be like this.
I do realize that Starcraft must be mechanically demanding and I don't mind it. But it doesn't have to be draining your soul and making you a psycho. If you are very young and talented, the game should reward you for that. But it never rewards. Instead, if you are not young and talented your gameplay just falls apart every time sooner or later. To play the game the way it should be played, to enjoy strategic aspects, to execute some beautiful micro, and create memorable moments… you should be one of the dozen of the very best players. In reality, even most GM players aren't good enough for this game. Seriously guys, do you enjoy watching e.g. tier2 EU players? Do you find their play fascinating? I guess you don't. Mind that these guys are actually very talented, extremely fast etc.
That's not all. Apart from the fact LotV eco model made an already hard game even harder, it also doesn't anyhow improve the game at best, and it reduces strategic aspect at worst. Because normally when you see your opponent opting for defensive play with superior eco, you think like: "Hey, look at this greedy boy, I think I should punish this!". It gives you motivation to be an aggressor, everything makes sense because of that. What motivates you to be an aggressor in sc2? Infestors being OP? This is so wrong in my opinion!
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind super lategame with superior eco on both sides. But there should be an option not to go for it right away at 8-9 min mark. Why it's not a good option now? Because normally you can't kill your opponent in one blow, you should start pressuring him first… but your eco dies down too fast, so your pressure weakens very quickly. Add to that the map pool for some reason always favors long passive play…
What could be done differently?
I don't think I am some enlightened person, the only one who knows how to make sc2 truly great. I think we should start trying things. For example, I would remove mineral walk and see how it goes. The idea is that w/o mineral walk only 8 workers would mine at their 100% efficiency, 16 workers would probably mine 10-20% less effective. Harass would hit harder. Eco would have been slowed down for sure. But mineral optimization would be a great deal which is pretty interesting. You could opt to focus on managing your bases to gain more income with the same amount of workers and play defensively… Well, I see a lot in it, but I don't want to go too far. The only way to get to know what it would be like, is to try it. Or something similar. Nothing is written in stone about sc2. Why we so rarely question things Blizzard do to the game (except balance, obviously)? Why we never come up with some ideas? We have yearly design update, yet nothing from community is suggested. SC2 doesn't have to be so hard and punishing. It could be rewarding yet still very competitive. We just need to start thinking about it and suggesting things. Please, share what do you think.
Thanks for reading this. I don't have good writing skills, so if you've finished it, I am really thankful for that.
TL;DR LotV eco model is flawed, it makes the game overwhelmed with mechanical demands. As community we could think of how to improve it.
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