Part 2: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=271998
Part 3: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=281817
Part 4: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=283221
Part 5: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=286351
So, after several months of real life, Skyrim, a WoW content patch that was mediocre even by WoW standards, and SWtoR which was mediocre by any standards, I had once again entered the video game limbo that exists between the present and the release of Diablo 3. So, bored, my mind wandered back to the bronze league. How had it fared in my absence? I decided to click on my poor, neglected SC2 shortcut and find out for myself.
A new season had started, so I pressed the button so dreaded by those on reddit who have convinced themselves they have an imaginary anxiety disorder and dived right into my placement match.
Seriously, man up.
The result was, well, not indicative of positive emotional growth. My first game was against an
So I won easily. With a worker rush. In 2012. It's things like this confirm for me one of the following two things: either karma is bullshit, or I was Gandhi in a past life. One simply should not be able to troll as much as I have and continue to be this lucky. It's… unjust, unseemly. Despite being an unbaptized heathen, there is a past in me fraught with nagging Catholic guilt that insists this cannot continue unpunished— there has to be a special Dantesque circle of hell waiting for me where I am encased in bronze and forced to endure an eternity of fallacious forum posts, all the while lacking the appropriate appendages with which to type out rebuttals to my demon tormentors. Or something like that.
Abandon all hope, ye who are placed here.
But, concerns for the hereafter aside, on to the worker rushing. Generally, I quit a worker rush session for the evening after I lose several games in a row. So, MMR lowered, I typically win one of the first games of the next session, which never fails to bring both a smile to my face and a question to my mind: how? How the fuck is this happening? How could there possibly be a subsection of the player base that is still so poor that no matter how much time elapses they are always susceptible to worker rushes? It's been over a year since release, and I'm clearly not the only one doing this. In fact, I've even inspired more people to do it. Should this not be waning in effectiveness? How are these people not learning?
I used to make smurf accounts in Warcraft III and kill newbies with nothing but mass towers, a Blademaster and Bat Riders. But that was at least a somewhat legitimate strategy, though. Some Vietnamese kid named nc.dude received a bit of brief e-fame for doing pretty much the same thing against high level players. So, that was pretty abusive. I was using my moderate level of skill to crush people weaker than me with a tactic that had a reasonable chance of success. But, this is worker rushing! This is a tactic so bad, so universally accepted to be suicide on the part of the user, that when Naniwa did it in the Blizzard Cup, it caused a massive shitstorm.
This is pretty much my probe rushing posture, too.
A few of these players have to be new, I get that. And not everyone in the bronze league has the mental composure of Nestea, I get that, too. And, I suppose not everyone has arms, I could see that. But anybody can defend a worker rush—there should not be an inexhaustible supply of victims for my plot. This should have ended long ago. I should not be able to log on whenever I get bored and do this. I don't think the P.T. Barnum maxim that "a sucker is born every minute" translates to new Starcraft 2 players. In fact, I know it doesn't, because some of the players I worker rush display knowledge that could only be acquired through actually playing the game.
People like this guy, whose strategy was to load up 5 of his SCVs into his orbital (the one who drew the short straw was left planetside to die), move to the island, and tech directly to 2 starport battlecruisers.
Did I just play Totalbiscuit?
So this guy can't be new. He has to have had enough playtime to acquire the following:
- Knowledge of basic gameplay mechanics: minerals, gas, supply, tech trees.
- Knowledge that Shattered Temple has an island.
- Knowledge that Terran can load SCVs into their command centers and move to that island.
- Knowledge that said island will ensure safety against early attacks.
- Fine motor skills slightly superior to those of a chimpanzee.
Now you might be thinking, "you didn't worker rush that guy, he lifted to the island before you could. How is this relevant?" True, but consider this. That guy was bronze. I'm occasionally worker rushing people in silver to gold. Think of how much more knowledge the players in silver and gold have to acquire to be able to consistently beat the guy whose master plan was straight teching to BCs on an island. Then ask yourself, how did they gain all that knowledge, but miss the lesson on attack moving? It makes no sense.
Maybe I'm being unfair. I mean, I've played Blizzard games for so long I can't remember a point in time where I didn't know what the term "a-move" meant. It's not like the game tells them how to do it, right?
Yes, that's right. In the very first mission, the game explicitly tells you how to attack move. In fact, it gives you a video tutorial of how to do so. You don't even have time to be annoyed by the terribly written and clichéd dialogue and quit the campaign before they spoon-feed you the only knowledge requisite for a successful worker rush defense. "B-but," you may protest, "nobody clicks on those videos!"
Before you can do anything, before a single action can be taken in the campaign, the game automatically brings up the videos. One of those videos is labeled "attacking," and unless they somehow got super fucked up and thought they had purchased a 3D version of Fallout 2 and wanted to roleplay a pacifist, I think they might just click on that video, don't you?
"What if they didn't play the campaign?" Well, then they could use the interactive version of said video that is available in the tutorial under the combat section.
"Well, what if they didn't do any of those things?" Well, then fuck you; they deserve to lose. They have clearly been given the opportunity to learn what attack move is, and by attacking with my own workers I am explicitly showing them that workers can attack. Why do you ask so many questions, anyway? Are you like a bronze league rape crisis counselor? Bronzies don't need a victims advocate; they need to stop huffing spraypaint before they hop on the ladder.
Maybe they should have gone with the silver gloss.
But all this is irrelevant. These players aren't new. Not even close. Some of them are so experienced that they try to abuse the game's mechanics to thwart my efforts. One that stands out in my mind specifically is the stalemate mechanic. On numerous occasions, I have seen Terrans lift off their CCs not out of spite, not out of a pathetically misguided attempt to win, but because they think the stalemate timer is going to give them a tie, instead of a loss. A loss that, I will remind you, means precisely shit because Blizzard decided that anyone that isn't in the master league possesses too frail a psyche to have their losses recorded and displayed for even their own personal viewing.
How do the bronzies even know this feature even exists? There are, practically, two possible ways for a tie to occur: a base trade where a Terran lifts to the corner against an opponent who has no way to make air, or a weird situation where two players cannon rush each other and nobody can mine minerals or kill the other player's cannons. In the hundreds of real games I've played, only once have I ever legitimately forced a draw with the former method. I'm sure people have gone thousands of games without ever seeing the timer. How are bronze leaguers learning of this? As I've mentioned, it's impossible to get a draw from a worker rush game; workers can't kill each other simultaneously, so one player will always be able to mine and win the game. The second question that this phenomenon begs is: if they know about this feature's existence, why do they universally fail to understand how it functions?
Hey, who's the expert here, pal?
How, precisely, do the two lines of knowledge intersect where a player simultaneously knows the existence of the draw timer, but lacks the faintest fucking clue about how it works? Did they read the patch notes? Who is reading the patch notes to a game they don't even understand? Maybe if they read the instruction manual before investigating the phoenix build time buff, they wouldn't be being made fun of on some asshole's blog.
Nah bro, I got this.
Did they base trade a Terran once and from that point on just live their lives assuming that a floating CC equals a draw timer regardless of any of the surrounding circumstances? If that were the case, then wouldn't every Terran just build a CC and float it to a corner in every game? I understand that when you pick up a new game you just have to say to yourself, "I don't understand mechanic X, so I'm going to assume it functions like Y until I find out otherwise." You can't learn everything at once, so you just have to put some things on the backburner until you can get to them. But to cocksurely make assertions based on an incomplete or completely wrong understanding of something is just retarded. What are they trying to prove with their bravado and e-swagger? At least the people who have the common courtesy to just call me a faggot and leave don't open a Pandora's box of stupid, the implications of which force me to toss and turn at night.
I've so far avoided the boring, but base truth that these people simply aren't new. Most of them have played hundreds of games over multiple seasons.
I started this blog because I know people are interested in the bronze league. And because I have precisely jack shit else to do with my time. Most people on TL just simply can't fathom what's going on down in the ranks of the unending awfulness that is bronze. So, I eliminated as many variables as possible. I didn't mass 200/200 stalkers every game. I didn't 6 pool every game. I worker rushed. I did the dumbest, most easily replicated thing imaginable to attempt to divine some tiny nugget of truth. The only variable became binary: they either attack moved or they didn't. And then the "didn't" column could be further subdivided into multiple categories of failure, which I have attempted to do. But my overall goal—to explain even this tiny microcosm of bronze league—has been a failure. I just don't fucking get it. Every time I win I am as just as bewildered by the fact as when I first started. I just don't understand these people.
And that's not even broaching the horrifying reality that I have still not yet dug as deep as this goes. I have yet to tank my MMR even further and spelunk down into the true depths of bronze, where I can only imagine there exists some truly frightening creatures, maddened by the darkness, enraged by their blindness, and certainly even less coherent than the sort I have come across. I'm not even sure I want to travel down that rabbit hole.
Bronze Part 1: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?topic_id=308882