StarCraft

Terran never really was the race with many championship players, but it always had enough.

starcraft 3 - Terran never really was the race with many championship players, but it always had enough.
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Terran never was the race with many high-performing professional players. After the GomTvT days a decade ago, Terran always had a few of these deities that just seemed untouchable, then a good gang of high-potentials, but Terran never the breadth of field that Protoss or Zerg had. This isn't a value judgement, but an observation. Even the data will reflect that Terran, historically, always had fewer people perform high and it'd usually be a select group of individuals.

There might be a variety of explanations for that, it's not particularly relevant. Just accepting the potential truthfulness of this observation is all I need for my argument.

In the past 3 years, this situation has gotten progressively worse. We joke about 'the four horsemen', but it really was surprising how only a literal handful of Terran players was competitive. They were amazing, and each one of them capable of clutching a tournament win, but there's no group of "B-teamers" following them up and challenging them. In the past, this wasn't a big issue. Starcraft was a growing or at least stable game, we had the WCS infrastructure and the SPL teams that provided accessible basic income to aspiring professional players. The ambitious Terrans had a place to hone their skills, where they could contribute and improve. At any stage during this time, you could easily name 15 Terrans that wouldn't be suited for Code S Ro16, but they would steal games in Ro32 and they would probably upset a player or two here or there.

On to the next crucial piece: No longer is it the case that Starcraft is a career path you can invest and risk multiple years for. This is only natural with the decline of the game in popularity, but this is a crucial assertion to make. The infrastructure and the money simply isn't there anymore. Whereas in the past a poor meta was undesirable, but something we could manage, a poor meta currentdays is catastrophic to the "future" of the game. Let's be real here: It is extremely unlikely that future tournament champions are not Grandmaster players already. Simply because it's not worth the risk and effort to try. The ESL announcement does a lot for the current pro's, but 3 years is not enough of a commitment to the scene for new blood to arise.

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How does this relate back to the meta? In the current state of balance, the predicament that Starcraft is at it's final stage* is extremely dangerous. Terran has a very, very restricted backup of Talent. They always had that, but it was never as important as now. Allowing a tournament meta that is this imbalanced for such a long time is an extreme deterrent to those players that could be the next Maru or HeroMarine. If a young padawan Terran who thinks he can try semi-pro during university for a year, looks at the performance of his race and directly relates that to his own potential earnings, he's just not even going to bother. This unlike Zerg and to a lesser extend Protoss, who have a ton of solid finishers and still see new talent appear every now and then.

The conclusion of this is that an entire race is at risk of going extinct. This is an overly dramatic conclusion and Terran is going nowhere so long as Innovation and Maru are alive and breathing, but as the race that historically, for whatever reason, had the smallest influx of new blood, that is currently underperforming in the meta to an unprecedented degree for an unprecedented stretch of time, this is extremely dangerous. There is a good chance that, a year from now, there's 40 Zergs, 35 Protosses and 5 Terrans competing, because this is a vicious cycle. Again, this is an overly dramatized conclusion, but the point stands, and that metaphorical point is a huge problem.

*This final stage can take years and is not a death sentence, but Starcraft is at the end of the development cycle, it's in sustenance mode, and it's extremely unlikely to grow.

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