Strategic aspect of Starcraft 2 x mechanics: Your thoughts are welcomed

starcraft 7 - Strategic aspect of Starcraft 2 x mechanics: Your thoughts are welcomed

Is Starcraft 2 really a strategy game, or are other aspects of this game overshadowing the strategy?

I heard opinions that mechanics is too important in SC2 that it belittles the strategy aspect. Similar opinion is that "real game" of Starcraft 2 starts on Diamond or Masters level, and below it is just about polishing mechanics.

I have this contrary opinion:

  1. Strategic aspect of this game is strong because of the necessity of analytical approach to progress. SC2 offers interesting tools for analysis: Replay analysis + Unit tester. There are also external replay analysis websites like sc2replaystats, which can feed you more information to ponder about (like "on this map I am losing too much against lower MMR people, why is this?")
  2. Strategical decisions are quite important to experience some pleasure when playing this game – you can have good feeling when you apply some knowledge (simple like "I am playing bio and he goes mech, let´s build more marauders") or when you have flashy in-game intuition which proves quite correct when checked after the game
  3. It´s interesting to watch educational videos about different strategies and builds, showing how to ramp up with your army quickly or how to use your army that the units complement each other well – that means watching robust strategies (I understand this as strong strategies, without too many holes) – this has some aesthetical aspect; also reading about Starcraft 2 strategies can be pretty interesting – imagine the excellent website (and we can notice that such a great thinker and analyst as Mr. Yu, who runs this website, is Diamond and not Master/GM player)
  4. Also, everybody has to make choices to adapt the general strategy/buildorder to his/her mechanical skills and other factors (this adaptation should be only mild and not over-committed if possible) – for example I started to build 2nd depot earlier and I stopped construction when partly done to wall-off sooner, I also built 2nd CC inside my main base vs Zerg and Protoss and it seemed to pay off and save some nerves on my Plat 3 level
  5. For me it is interesting to speculate about the topic if some strategies/buildorders are much better on different level of play compared to other strategies – e.g. AlphaStar used so called "League Exploiter Agents" which I imagine as strategies using builds and units which are seen as over-powered by many players of specific MMR ranges/leagues, but are objectively inferior; probably some table of probable buildorder/usual composition wins can be made (smtg like Mass Gateway/Zealot heavy Protoss > Marine Tank Terran; very strategical is also to point out strengths and weaknesses of different buildorders – like ZombieGrub does in her videos – resources are limited, so you cannot have only strengths but there are inevitably weaknesses also)
  6. Interesting concepts and terms exist to describe different strategies in SC2 (like defensive/aggressive/economical builds), prolly here you can help me to learn more of these useful terms? I am thinking about a distinction of playstyles (like efficiency vs flexibility oriented): Efficiency oriented means focused on polishing very few builds consistently – so it is more training oriented (Innovation as a pro player can be example of this style, prolly more Efficiency and less Flexibility can be a general advice for new players)/Flexibility focused is more intuitive and flashy (lower league players can be usually too flexible – not having refined builds + trying to hardcounter unnecesarily); FOOS x TOS distinction is also interesting for me, used mainly in Coop setting: First order optimal strategy (composition, which is rather intuitive and reasonably effective) x True Optimal Strategy (composition, which is objectively better, but is harder to use well, not so intuitive)

point 1) above is probably the most important: It is prolly no surprise that games considered deeper in strategic aspect (chess + SC2) use additional analytic tools (chess engines able to evaluate positions objectively-numerically/ replay statistics in SC2).


I am not denying mechanic skills are extremely important in SC2, but if the game somewhat motivated me to write such a long post about it´s strategical aspects, it must be very strategical:D (As casual player I am now also amazed by Coop SC2: There can be so much prior analysis – which commander is the least impacted by this mutation? Which 2 commanders are harmonious together? – I play this sometimes on Normal diff/if mutations with my small son and we have to adjust a lot of stuff towards his APM/style, it is pretty interesting).

Thank you for your time and also for your insights in advance!

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