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Old 10-21-2008
 
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Sweden Todie
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Default post blizzcon "Macro discussion"

its a touchy subject, and as such the discussion on it became too lengthy in the official Q&A thread here's whats been said this far:

Nicolas Bolas:
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Well, the new gas mechanic doesn't have much player choice involved. The only actions that you will spend for it is to manually remove workers from shut-down refineries, and to move them back when they come back online.

However, it still only takes around 400 gas for a refinery to go off-line. Considering how much stuff takes gas, it can be very limiting in the early game. Again, who knows how the metagame will fall out on it.
Grunt:
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While I appreciate the reply, I'm well aware of how the gas mechanic works, and I really want to hear Gradius' or LoA's thoughts on the matter.

My point is not about choice, but whether or not it makes macro CHALLENGING. Is it a matter of choice to get that command centre you finished building at an expansion to start training SCVs? Is it a matter of choice to remember that your hatchery had finished building three drones 5 minutes ago and you forgot all about them and they are idle?

Just like assigning gas-workers to minerals during the geyser's downtime, these are things that you would like to do, but may FORGET to do. They force you to go back to your base and pay attention to your economy.

Without stuff like auto-mining in BroodWar (and resources as rally points), I worry if macro challenge/reward will be insufficient, and am wondering to what extent the current gas mechanic makes it more challenging/rewarding.

I'm also kind of worried about whether or not it's just really tedious =/. Being challenging and rewarding is one thing, but to me, at least, going back constantly to reassign workers to gas isn't very 'fun' macro :P. There's 'funner' things in BW, like remembering where your idle workers are at newly-built expansions and assigning them to mine :P.

Having not played SC2 myself, I'm really eager to hear as many opinions on this matter as I can :].
Nicolas Bolas:
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Is it a matter of choice to get that command centre you finished building at an expansion to start training SCVs?
Yes. Because the game tells you when stuff finishes building.

You may have urgent business for your actions elsewhere, but you can't claim ignorance.


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Is it a matter of choice to remember that your hatchery had finished building three drones 5 minutes ago and you forgot all about them and they are idle?
No, which is precisely why rally-mining exists. So that "non-choices" like that can be excised. And you get an audio cue when they get built too, and in SC2, a nice idle-worker button.


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I'm also kind of worried about whether or not it's just really tedious
All of the "macro" (or what you call macro at any rate) in SC1 was really tedious.

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Having not played SC2 myself, I'm really eager to hear as many opinions on this matter as I can
Having played the game, my opinion on the matter is simple: moving workers off of a downed refinery is route busywork, which should be eliminated from the game where possible. However, it is something I could live with because I wouldn't have to do it. If you don't take the workers off, they just sit there until the refinery comes back online. Yes, it is an effective loss, since those workers could have been doing something useful. But anytime I tried to move them on to other tasks, I found that I was too busy elsewhere to bring the workers back to the gas.

If you find that sort of management "fun" (and I personally can't see how, but if you do), then I guess you will enjoy this.
GRUNT:
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See, this is what made macro in SC1 so strong. Even pro gamers simply can't be everywhere at once.

In SC1, even though you're given a prompt when stuff finishes building, it is often the case that you're preoccupied with other stuff and don't notice, as you pointed out.

I guess that the 'fun', for me, comes from the fact that I take satisfaction in knowing that my macro is just better than my opponents'. Every time I'm managing a bunch of things and remember to get drones at my expansion mining as soon as they pop out of their eggs, I 'feel' like I'm winning. I mean, the mental dexterity it takes to juggle all these tasks, and the significant economic advantage that you get for being able to do so...you can't help but feel satisfied knowing that you're getting an edge if your opponent isn't doing them as well as you. Even when I don't have units physically trading blows with the enemy, I constantly feel like I'm fighting.

I still want to know how significant paying attention to gas in SC2 is. This is the question I keep getting at over and over. How important is it to remember to get your drones busy during the 45 second downtime? I think we can all agree that having 3 idle drones that you forgot about for 5 minutes in SC1 is a big no-no. Players with good macro in SC1 wouldn't have workers idle for very long, and consequently, would have superior production to their less macro-skilled opponents. Imagine if in SC1, idle workers automatically went mining after 30 seconds of being idle? Think of how much less rewarding the game would be for macro-skilled players.

This is my big concern. Games like War3 are all about micro. Games like Age of Empires 2 is all about macro. But StarCraft has that magic balance...able to accommodate both kinds of players. To me, that is a huge part of what the legacy of StarCraft is.

I hope you believe me when I say that I honestly don't mean this as an insult, as I appreciate the variety of RTS gamers that StarCraft attracts, but I feel that judging from your comments and your seeming disdain for the aspects of SC1 that people lauded for making macro in the game so challenging, that you don't quite seem to appreciate the significance of macro in the game. Now, I definitely feel that the new interface should stay, but I also feel that new ways to improve macro difficulty/reward needs to be implemented. The gas mechanic shouldn't be the only solution, but it seems like a step in the right direction. I don't know how many times I need to say it, or how many times I need to re-phrase it, but here I go again:

How challenging/rewarding is macro in StarCraft 2 at the moment, compared to the original, and why? Do the reduced gas costs for many of the units (I remember LoA saying one time that the Carrier costed twice as much gas as it did in BW, but I think that changed in the BlizzCon build) make the new gas mechanic less rewarding for players to dedicate their attention to?
Todie:
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as with anyone arguing 'pro-macro-tedium' in any way, i feel there is an important dimension missing in your reasoning.. (you say you're against tedium, anyone would.. but as Nicol pointed out, sc/bw style macro is tedium...) possibly deliberately overlooked/marginalized in order to make your argument look more solid.
from my perspective, the missing dimension is that other, larger meaning of macro management: the overall perception of where the game is headed, and players ability to constantly adapt to the ever changing situation on the macro-scale of the game. in that sense i think starcraft, one or two., is just as much a macro game as AoE or any other RTS you'd define as "all macro" ....

and do not lightly compare sc2 to wc3 waving the "wc3 is all micro" flag, because, yeah wc3 is very micro intensive comapred to ts macro. sc2 could never be remotely like that becasue at heart, its an economy game to far greater extent than wc3, where mining-speed of the primary resource can be maxed out in a matter of minutes if not seconds.

with a rich metagame that is tightly balanced, properly understanding how the game is really unfolding from what information you can gather in-game will become both harder and more important.... to me, this has always been the true meaning of strategy within RTS.

... having said that, i think i understand your standpoint, i may even partially agree. but i agree plenty more with nicol: i had higher expectations about the gas-mechanic experimentation. something involving decision making might actually be exciting, all the while replacing some of the sc/bw tedium-type-macro
we simply cannot know to what extent the challenge in pure game perception will be enough to make sc2 competitively interesting, we may get a hint at it during beta, possibly. but the real metagame wont develop properly till after release, at which point we may already be stuck with one-dimensional tedium-macro.
GRUNT:
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The problem with your whole argument is a misconception that many people have and that is that the 'larger' meaning of macro, as you put it, is just what I'd call 'good game sense'.

Actual macro, as defined by even the War3 glossary -> http://www.battle.net/war3/basics/glossary.shtml is basically all the stuff that you do that does not pertain to fighting. .

All you have to do is listen to a BW Tourney commentary, or hit up some battle reports to see that peoples' understanding of macro is that of one's ability to juggle all these economic and production-related tasks - more so than having good game sense. Getting people to understand this fundamental difference between good game sense and actual 'macro skill' is something I'm very passionate about, so I'm going to hit you up with a couple of quotes from some of the folks over at TeamLiquid and their WWI report (http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/view...topic_id=75512) that I hope will help you understand where I'm coming from:

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Originally Posted by Chill
With macro on easy-mode, the competition is going to be much harder. To make a terrible analogy, it would be like playing hockey with everyone wearing rocket skates. The competition would be much harder because everyone would suck but still would be moving really quickly (or at least as quick as the fastest players). There's no way to differentiate yourself from the plethora of newbies who also have MBS at their disposal.


Originally Posted by Kennegit
I am a D- Broodwar player, but I had IloveOov style macro in Starcraft 2. For my first day I felt mineral starved as each peon unit was only bringing in 5 units – this same problem happened to Chill until I flat out told him in the middle of a game “yo, automine and mbs”. Once we harnessed the power of automining, it became apparent that what made good macro in Broodwar has been dumbed down – that skill gradient has been shallowed.
As for the 'tedium' issue - I never got that with BW, and admittedly, because I haven't played SC2, I may not get it either. I think part of the reason why I feel that way with BW is just because there's so many more things that demand your macro attention. You can't get SCVs to queue construction of multiple buildings, there isn't an idle worker button so you need to have the mental dexterity to keep track of what you've built, it's easy to forget about drones that you've recently built as you get to the later game (so they're often idle for a while), when you've got multiple expansions it starts to get really funky managing them all. I see the interface changes in StarCraft 2 as eliminating these aspects of macro or simplifying them to the point where they don't require actual skill anymore. It significantly reduces the skill gap between 'average' players and pros.

See, for me, I think that whether or not the gas mechanic feels tedious depends largely on how REWARDING managing your gas is. If properly getting drones on/off gas gives a large economic advantage, then I'll probably be as happy as a clam doing it. However, if it doesn't, then it won't really be much fun to do so. I think that my perception that it could be tedious stems from the appearance that it's different from BW's macro in the sense that once you start getting drones on gas, it becomes something 'fixed' - something you HAVE to do every four minutes (and then forty-five seconds? o_0).

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Originally Posted by Manifesto7 again, from TL's WWI report :P
I'm going to have to go back on my word though. Much like what Chill and Rage have said, the macro is too simple. When I played zerg, my hatcheries had two rally points. One for drones to automine (which I could set directly to the minerals for each separate hatchery) and one for all other units (which I could group together). Thus, my drones automatically filled dutifully to their respective patches, while a single hotkey allowed all my hatcheries to be rallied to wherever I needed my units. No need to go home and manage my economy, no need to manage drones unless I wanted to build something.
Just put that quote there to help illustrate my point that macro aspects of BW that are deemed 'tedious' by some, are actually sought-after qualities by others.

But like I said before, the gas mechanic can't be the only solution. What if BW had multiple building selection? That would reduce macro in the game, for sure, but it wouldn't eliminate it to the extent that SC2 seems to be doing. Similarly, I don't think that the gas mechanic - while a step in the right direction - has brought SC2's macro up to BW level.

And where do I compare that SC2 is going to be like War3? I don't believe I made that connection, but correct me if I'm wrong.

Look, if you consider 'macro' to just be largely about overall game sense, and not so much an actual skill like micro is, then of course you'll be happy with the changes in SC2. To you, it isn't really diminishing macro. However, it's just like the developers of DoW 2 or Company of Heroes, who say that their RTS games 'eliminate tedious base building and get players into the action faster'. I mean yeah - I'm using that as an example to illustrate that there ARE rts players who dislike base-building (or that it's become a fashionable thing to say when pitching a new RTS game), but on the other hand, you have RTS games that make a name for themselves because of base-building (I'm looking at you, AoE). I know this paragraph seems very random, but the point of it all is that if you just don't 'like' base-building, or just don't 'like' macro-managing your economy in BW, then you just don't like it - and it's hard to explain why you should.

As a point to illustrate (and I always love telling this story ), I had a friend who'd always beat me in War3, but whenever we played Age of Mythology, I could consistently beat him. So you better believe that I'm not arguing with you when you say that SC2 will could have just as much 'game sense' as BW, but it's the SKILL in macro that I want to see preserved somehow. Take away the skill in macro, and you're left with 'overall game sense' and, well, micro. Obviously, it won't be to the extent of War3, but as I hope I've managed to impress on you, the departure seems to be significant enough to worry many in the community.
Nicol Bolas:
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Actual macro, as defined by even the War3 glossary -> http://www.battle.net/war3/basics/glossary.shtml is basically all the stuff that you do that does not pertain to fighting.
That is easily the loosest definition of macro that I have ever heard.

Given that definition, SC2 has much more macro than SC1. At least now, before the metagame starts carving it up.

SC2 gets the majority of its macro improvement from force composition, which seems to be much more important in SC2 than it was for anyone but the Zerg in SC1. How many Marauders do you send with your Marines? How many Nullifiers do you need with your Zealots or Stalkers? And so on.

So long as the metagame doesn't devolve the game down to a few set strategies and force compositions that work, knowing how much of what you have is going to be the biggest non-micro thing you need to worry about.

Macro with regard to expanding is the same as it always was.

Indeed, by that definition, the only macro that has changed is thoughtless crap like "get the workers on minerals" and so forth.


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I see the interface changes in StarCraft 2 as eliminating these aspects of macro or simplifying them to the point where they don't require actual skill anymore. It significantly reduces the skill gap between 'average' players and pros.
And what about the things that increases the skill gap?

Basically, the interface changes free up perhaps 20-40 actions per minute and a significant quantity of mindshare. This can be used by players for other things.


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See, for me, I think that whether or not the gas mechanic feels tedious depends largely on how REWARDING managing your gas is.
Oh, I get it now. You're willing to do whatever the game asks of you in order to gain a significant advantage, no matter how tedious or thoughtless.

What is wrong with wanting thoughtful mechanics that provide an advantage?


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Just put that quote there to help illustrate my point that macro aspects of BW that are deemed 'tedious' by some, are actually sought-after qualities by others.
What they think is entirely irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that these are thoughtless actions. They are not strategic; they're nothing more and nothing less than a time-sink. You never not want them to happen, and it is never advantageous to not do these things.
GRUNT:
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I'm sorry but if you've read what I've said, and checked out some of those Team Liquid people's comments, you'd know that we actually take pride in our ability to do these 'tedious' or 'thoughtless' things that give us a 'significant advantage' . I don't understand why you seem to look down on me for that? If I had Bisu-level micro, would you call me lame for using my micro skills to win the game? Why do you only criticise macro?

I feel like I ought to point out now (in case there's any confusion) that I don't claim to be a pro at macro. I consider my macro game stronger than my micro, for sure, but I'm not an expert. However, the difficulty (and reward) of both macro AND micro in BroodWar is what makes it so special and competitive, and I don't see how anyone who actually understands what competitive (not casual) gaming in BroodWar is like can NOT take an interest in seeing the macro aspect preserved. I should also point out that at the moment, even with SC2's reduced macro, I definitely don't think it instantly prevents StarCraft 2 from being an E-Sport game. I, and many others, just feel that increasing the difficulty of macro to BroodWar-level will make it a better E-Sport game which is more difficult to master.

Yes, that is a ridiculously broad definition of macro I gave in my last post, and I apologise for that, but I do go on to make the distinction between 'good game sense' and 'macro skill'.

I think that a lot of the stigma that players have towards macro is that it's a lot less 'visible' than acts of micro on the battlefield. Everyone can ooooh and aaaaah when they see some sick Vulture micro, but what a player does behind the scenes - the macro work - is less visible, and hence, less easily appreciated.

And listen to some of the language used to describe these feats of macro - I'd hardly call them thoughtless. Words like 'mental dexterity' or 'brain muscle' (I heard the latter one used in the TL report) are used to describe the challenge and particular skill it takes to juggle all these tasks.

This is again, getting back to the point I raised about the distinction between macro (the skill) vs just having good game sense. Good game sense is more along the lines of thoughtful strategic decisions, like what you're talking about - 'game sense' is stuff like predicting your enemy is going to do a Reaver drop and sending some Dragoons to where you think he'll approach, or working out what type of units you should be building. You're still stuck in this particular misconception of what 'macro' is, and it's confusing your argument somewhat.

How is remembering to assign drones to minerals any more 'mindless' than the micro skill involved in Reaver/Shuttle micro? We'd all LIKE our drones in BW to start mining automatically as soon as they pop out of the hatchery, and we'd all LIKE our Shuttles to automatically pick up the nearest Reaver before it gets hit by an enemy scarab, but not all of us have the macro skill to do the previous, or the micro skill to do the latter (in the case of macro, it's mental dexterity, but in the case of micro - it's largely physical dexterity).

I used a quote from Manifesto7 in my last post, which started off as: "I'm going to have to go back on my word though. " What I didn't include (but wish I had now) was what that word he was referring to was, and that was that he ALSO thought that the interface changes would free players up to do other things. However, the fact is that while it sounds good on paper, in reality, macro is made so much easier that it's not 'worth' spending the surplus brain power on managing your economy. Sure you can spend just as much effort, but you won't get as much out of it as you would in Brood War - and THAT'S the key problem.

I swear, now I know how Benjamin Sisko felt in the pilot of Deep Space Nine when he's trying to explain the concept of 'linear time' to those Wormhole aliens!
GRUNT:
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I'm sorry but if you've read what I've said, and checked out some of those Team Liquid people's comments, you'd know that we actually take pride in our ability to do these 'tedious' or 'thoughtless' things that give us a 'significant advantage' . I don't understand why you seem to look down on me for that? If I had Bisu-level micro, would you call me lame for using my micro skills to win the game? Why do you only criticise macro?

I feel like I ought to point out now (in case there's any confusion) that I don't claim to be a pro at macro. I consider my macro game stronger than my micro, for sure, but I'm not an expert. However, the difficulty (and reward) of both macro AND micro in BroodWar is what makes it so special and competitive, and I don't see how anyone who actually understands what competitive (not casual) gaming in BroodWar is like can NOT take an interest in seeing the macro aspect preserved. I should also point out that at the moment, even with SC2's reduced macro, I definitely don't think it instantly prevents StarCraft 2 from being an E-Sport game. I, and many others, just feel that increasing the difficulty of macro to BroodWar-level will make it a better E-Sport game which is more difficult to master.

Yes, that is a ridiculously broad definition of macro I gave in my last post, and I apologise for that, but I do go on to make the distinction between 'good game sense' and 'macro skill'.

I think that a lot of the stigma that players have towards macro is that it's a lot less 'visible' than acts of micro on the battlefield. Everyone can ooooh and aaaaah when they see some sick Vulture micro, but what a player does behind the scenes - the macro work - is less visible, and hence, less easily appreciated.

And listen to some of the language used to describe these feats of macro - I'd hardly call them thoughtless. Words like 'mental dexterity' or 'brain muscle' (I heard the latter one used in the TL report) are used to describe the challenge and particular skill it takes to juggle all these tasks.

This is again, getting back to the point I raised about the distinction between macro (the skill) vs just having good game sense. Good game sense is more along the lines of thoughtful strategic decisions, like what you're talking about - 'game sense' is stuff like predicting your enemy is going to do a Reaver drop and sending some Dragoons to where you think he'll approach, or working out what type of units you should be building. You're still stuck in this particular misconception of what 'macro' is, and it's confusing your argument somewhat.

How is remembering to assign drones to minerals any more 'mindless' than the micro skill involved in Reaver/Shuttle micro? We'd all LIKE our drones in BW to start mining automatically as soon as they pop out of the hatchery, and we'd all LIKE our Shuttles to automatically pick up the nearest Reaver before it gets hit by an enemy scarab, but not all of us have the macro skill to do the previous, or the micro skill to do the latter (in the case of macro, it's mental dexterity, but in the case of micro - it's largely physical dexterity).

I used a quote from Manifesto7 in my last post, which started off as: "I'm going to have to go back on my word though. " What I didn't include (but wish I had now) was what that word he was referring to was, and that was that he ALSO thought that the interface changes would free players up to do other things. However, the fact is that while it sounds good on paper, in reality, macro is made so much easier that it's not 'worth' spending the surplus brain power on managing your economy. Sure you can spend just as much effort, but you won't get as much out of it as you would in Brood War - and THAT'S the key problem.

I swear, now I know how Benjamin Sisko felt in the pilot of Deep Space Nine when he's trying to explain the concept of 'linear time' to those Wormhole aliens!
Nicol Bolas:
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I'm sorry but if you've read what I've said, and checked out some of those Team Liquid people's comments, you'd know that we actually take pride in our ability to do these 'tedious' or 'thoughtless' things that give us a 'significant advantage'
I'm well aware of what you take pride in. However, I prefer that my gameplay is actual gameplay, where choices actually matter.

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Why do you only criticise macro?
If you had read what I said, you would see that I'm not criticizing all of macro (particularly with your "expanded to near meaninglessness" definition); just the thoughtless and tedious part of it.

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I, and many others, just feel that increasing the difficulty of macro to BroodWar-level will make it a better E-Sport game which is more difficult to master.
And no one is arguing against the basic philosophy (though personally, I think SC2 should be free to find its own balance, rather than having to exactly mirror SC1's). The problem is what kind of macro you want. The "interesting decision making macro" or the "tedious busywork macro". I prefer the former, and I'm against anything that pushes for the latter.

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You're still stuck in this particular misconception of what 'macro' is, and it's confusing your argument somewhat.
That's your fault. Your definition of "macro" was "everything that isn't micro," which includes what you described.

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How is remembering to assign drones to minerals any more 'mindless' than the micro skill involved in Reaver/Shuttle micro?
Reaver/Shuttle micro requires lots of decisions:

1: Where/When to drop the Reaver. Do I take a chance at dropping the Reaver in an ST's range? Do I take the chance and drop the Reaver a bit closer to the enemy attack force, or do I pull back and drop it in a safer place? There are reasons for doing the latter.

2: When do I pick it up? An enemy force is coming. If I pick it up now, it'll be safe, but it won't be shooting stuff. However, if I leave it there, I take the chance of it getting shot. This too requires actual thought and decision making.

Assigning drones to minerals is automatic; after all, SC2 automated it! It's route busywork, not real decision making.

If a computer can do it 100% as well as the best possible human without writing complex learning heuristics and such, then it's busywork.



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Sure you can spend just as much effort, but you won't get is much out of it as you would in Brood War - and THAT'S the key problem.
Having been at BlizzCon, I can freely say he's talking out of his ass. There's no way he can possibly come to that kind of determination after only playing 2 days of the game, with 5-30 minute breaks between each playthrough. Oh, I'm sure he thinks he can come to that determination, but he simply has not played enough of the game to know.
Grunt:
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How many times do I need to say this - your definition of macro ("Interesting decision making macro") ISN'T what macro is! Macro IS what you'd consider to be "tedious busywork", but you better believe that it's beautiful in its own right.

I don't hero-worship the guys at Team Liquid, but I do hold them in very high respect, and take their opinions on the game very seriously. These are people who play BW much better than you or me, and have a much better understanding of its subtleties.

When Kennegit said ") I am a D- Broodwar player, but I had IloveOov style macro in Starcraft 2. ", do you really think he's saying: "I wish I could make strategic decisions with IloveOOv's level of intelligence?" No - he's referring to that pro gamer's raw macro skill.

I kinda saw that Reaver micro example thingy coming, but of course it's not a perfect analogy - it can't be because they're different disciplines (otherwise, we'd be calling them the same name).

However, making the choice to load/unload a Reaver is different from having the skill to do it. When we watch pro gamers play, seeing the little tactical decisions they make is certainly appealing, but it is often the sheer SPEED at which they execute these maneuvers that is truly impressive, and is what separates them from less skilled players. The trouble is that people see this and go: "wow, that's so cool! I hope that SC2 has the opportunity for players to show off micro skill moments like that!" But when it comes to macro, it's all largely unseen. How do you get someone excited for the skill it takes to juggle so many of these so-called 'tedious' tasks that actually make a big difference?

This is what I'm trying so hard to push. That often, what really amazes us about micro in pro gaming is the speed at which these players can execute the maneuvers - physical dexterity. There is no direct analogy for macro - it's hard to say: "wow - he assigned those drones to minerals so fast!" - it's just a matter of remembering to do the busywork in the first place - mental dexterity.

If someone wins a micro war simply because they are faster, you're not going to begrudge the winner for taking pride in his superior speed. Why begrudge macro players (and I'm talking about macro the way I define it - not in the kind of 'game sense' which is part of your definition of it) for their macro skill?

The thing is, you're right about one thing - a lot of the macro in BW are indeed things that a computer can do 100% without the need of a human player to personally oversee. Yet these are the things that people get excited about (or at least players who have an actual understanding of competitive BW) - these are things which separate good players from bad, and even one pro player from another (you do have pro gamers who make a name for themselves more for their macro than micro skill, and vice versa).

While it's true that StarCraft 2 should definitely have its own identity compared to the original, I feel that the combination of macro/micro is what makes 'StarCraft' what it is - it has become a fundamental characteristic of the game. Whenever I need to describe StarCraft to a friend who's never played it, if they need to know what kind of gameplay it has to offer, I tell them that it's unique in that it rewards you both for Macro and for Micro.

Interestingly enough, even though you call it mindless busywork, the macro in BW actually does present you with a plethora of choices. Like I mentioned, even pro gamers can't be everywhere at once - do you micro your troops in battle, or head back to base to build more? Do you dare stop controlling your army for a while? Is the risk of doing so greater than the disadvantage of not having any units produced during the fight? Do I want to babysit this scouting SCV, or do I want to check back on my base every now and again to make sure I don't have idle guys?

But hey - I think I might just give up here. I was going to say: "I guess it's like abstract art - you either love it or hate it", but that's not really the case. Take me, for example - my micro is not as strong as my macro. Does that mean I don't want to see micro in SC2? Hells no - micro AND macro is part of SC's identity. Take away macro and the game leans towards War3-ness, take away micro, and it leans towards AoE-ness. While I personally do not LIKE abstract art, I do appreciate the creativity and effort that's involved in making it.

If you don't like macro and find it tedious and boring, then do you at least APPRECIATE how big a difference it makes in multiplayer? Don't you enjoy seeing how a player with superior micro but a smaller army cancels out a player with superior macro but poorer micro because the ability of the micro player to manage his army offsets the macro player's superior production? Don't you see action like that and go: "Damn - in what other RTS can I get this? Certainly not in War3 where macro players are barely rewarded for their skill, and certainly not in Age of Empires, where micro is not very important." Don't you think it's great that someone like iloveoov got his nickname "Cheater Terran" for his amazing macro which results in armies materialising seemingly out of thin air? Sure you may not like it, but don't you see how much richer it makes the challenge and spectrum of skill levels and player-types in the game? Don't you want to see that preserved somehow?
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Desirable challenges in SC II ? More strategy, less endless juggling of obvious "must-do" actions

MBS unit prod could make MORE sense - - an altered macro mechanic COULD involve actual strategic decision making.
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I skipped everything after having read the idea "Gas Extractors shuts down and forces the player to send probes to other tasks or suffer 5-10% disadvantage, which can grow exponentially if you miss this chore often."

5-10% thing is theorycraft of course, and speculative. The idea is the punishment for not washing the dishes, when you can wash it a few hours later. It's like giving some kid a hard time when he can have it done later and everyone can still have a quiet, nice, aromatic dinner.

They seriously need to address this issue. I'm just going to be emotional and say, "this feels forced."
 
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How many times do I need to say this - your definition of macro ("Interesting decision making macro") ISN'T what macro is! Macro IS what you'd consider to be "tedious busywork",
First of all, that is your definition of "macro". The word has been used and abused to the point where it has no functioning definition, so any discussion on the subject needs to specify a clear definition. You have yet to give a clear, consistent definition of what you consider to be "macro". Until you do, I'm putting the discussion on hold.

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auto-building units should be implemented then, so you won't have to worry about doing it yourself. you'll only have to worry about the important, non-tedious part of building units, such as when to stop and when to change what unit is being made. I wouldn't like it, but based on the logic of tedium, it makes perfect sense. why should the timing of using your warpgate be important? isn't it just tedious?
There's a difference. Unit and building production involves resource use, which is something that a player needs to strictly control. It requires lots of quick decision making to control the composition of an army, while expanding and other things. These all pull from the same pool of resources, so auto-building can easily interfere with them. These are simply not something that you can automate and still be able to play just as well as a skilled human.

As for Warp-In, that's a win/lose proposition. You gain a clear advantage (being able to build units anywhere within Pylon power, faster unit production) but also a clear disadvantage (no build queue). It's clearly a decision with reasons to use either side (and even a mix with some of each). It is not something you will automatically choose.

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The idea is the punishment for not washing the dishes, when you can wash it a few hours later. It's like giving some kid a hard time when he can have it done later and everyone can still have a good dinner.
I think the idea is as follows. Blizzard is trying to do something that rewards active involvement without punishing a player who doesn't get involved. If you don't send your workers to do something else, you still get gas later when the extractor starts up again. So the player who doesn't have the actions to spend moving the workers off the gas and later moving them back on it can just leave them there. But a player with the actions to spend can make use of those workers and gain an economic advantage.

My problem with this is that, while it is successful at the goals Blizzard gave to it, it is still route busywork. It is something that every player knows that they should be doing, and the only reason not to do it is if you don't have the actions (physical ability) to do it.
 

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I agree with Nicol's view of macro. Some folks look at the process/activity, not the impact of choices. Some find it even hard to face this problem just because they're looking at two different aspects of the same object.

Macro in terms of action/process points to the required effort the player has to pay for to get a job done. Meanwhile, macro in terms of choice looks at the effects and nature of the elements at work.

I look at macro in the same fashion as "choice" -- that macro is like choosing to build either an Inn or Merchant stand in one province. Not the actual zooming in on your province and clicking on the "build Inn" icon.

Yes, I agree. The "soul" of the gas mechanic is good. It's the process/action that is problematic. All I see, for now, is that I can use these idle workers, when timed properly, to build my structures or scout out areas before the green light turns back on again.

I'd venture a guess that someone would actually develop build orders that would depend and is based primarily with the clock that is gas traffic.
 
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I'm not big on macro, but after playing SC again fairly recently and actually learning how to play it properly, it's opened my eyes to how well SC did it.

It's all about resource management, resource control and unit production. I still prefer Warcraft 3's micro battle system, but SC has faster expansion and easier defenses through chokepoints and having towers that don't suck (Yes, Warcraft's base defenses suck bad). The game is so different in tactics when there's no hero involved and you don't have to worry about units dying and 'feeding' the other player XP. It's more about keeping pressure on your enemy's economy, preventing them from expanding and waiting for the moment to absolutely steamroll him with units.

I kind of want to see UI-based spell abilities added to SC, like major spells you can cast anywhere (within LoS), anytime, on a large cooldown. Stuff like air strikes or drop pod marines when you need it, but all controlled through on your HUD, not tied to any specific building or unit. It'd give you more of a commander feel, being able to 'micro a macro ability'.
 
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Blizzard won´t do that. Number 1 reason against it is that the enemy can´t do anything against that. There are no "cheap shots" or as other games call them "superweapons" (one reason Black Hole is out).

There are very clear basic rules Blizzard keeps almost religiously in SC(2). The exclusion of "true" random elements (you may count cover). No guessing shots (target ground/Fog of War/invisibles no matter how certain you are there are enemys).
There is no interrefence to the player directly - you can´t sabotage your enemys minimap, reverse his hotkeys or something like that.
Units have the least amount of complexity to be still considered "unique" - SOME have at max 3 abilities, the mayority has nothing "special". (In WC3 EVERY unit had AT LEAST one ability)
 
 

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I think the two concepts of macro can be reconciled.

Player control (APM) is a scarce resource in RTS games, and management of this resource is as important as any to obtain victory.

The choice faced by an Starcraft player isn't sending units to mine or clicking on factories, but "how much time spend on economic efficiency and how much on unit combat efficiency." The choice is between pushing harder with that reaver harass or put down another 3 gateways and get extra probes mining.

One important skill is knowing when to do what. There is a time where you carefully micro 10 marines to bust three lurkers, and there is a time where you attack move 24 marines into them while rushing back to put down another 3 depots and filling the barack queues. That is "strategic management or player time," a unique factor in RTS games unlike any other strategy game.

There is nothing "automatic" about macro decisions. Players can decide very well to leave SCVs idling out the CC or leave barrack queues empty when, for example, they are busy micro-ing marines for a sunken wall bust that require 100% of attention and can decide the game right there an now.

Micro or macro, not both, that is the choice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
That said, there is no reason why whose macro mechanics clicks can't represent more complex decisions. Also, I don't think Starcraft necessarily needs mechanics heavy macro. While it opens up this unique aspect of strategy of time management and has the beneficial effect of helping the player with a weaker economy (as the player with larger economy needs to work harder to use it), it is annoying to play and not all the interesting to watch if both sides macro whores to the max.

Though this would probably mean a game like the following would be impossible:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htLflTh2M04
Where there is massive asymmetry between player time use. One side is spending all his time adding gateways, bases and rallypoint into the opponent, while the other has fine combed unit control to hold off the flood.

----------------
One does wonder if it is a good idea if the sheer complexity of the game increases so much by making every click critical.

Just imagine playing "GO" at 300 steps per seconds on a even larger board....it would be completely incomprehensible to the casual player. Hell, the game is barely comprehensible even with comentary at the slowest speed.....

Perhaps there is a point where more decisions is a bad thing as it makes the learning curve impossible. That said, I don't think existing proposed mechanics quite fall under this.
 
 

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There is nothing "automatic" about macro decisions. Players can decide very well to leave SCVs idling out the CC or leave barrack queues empty when, for example, they are busy micro-ing marines for a sunken wall bust that require 100% of attention and can decide the game right there an now.
Yes, but the only reason to do that is if your APM isn't high enough to do both. If you have enough APM to spend with careful micro and unit production/worker stuff, then there's never a reason why you shouldn't.

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Though this would probably mean a game like the following would be impossible:
Nonsense. Super-Greedy builds like that would certainly still be possible, as would your opponent's ability to punish you for it.
 

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Yes, but the only reason to do that is if your APM isn't high enough to do both. If you have enough APM to spend with careful micro and unit production/worker stuff, then there's never a reason why you shouldn't.
The fact that even professional players break down into macro and micro players shows that no human beings on this planet can do both perfectly at the same time. There are many games where one can see a very visible difference in unit mixes and style. In the few games I've watched on Gomtv, for example, had players go for pure zealot/dragoon with no templar (since the player didn't have the spare time for storm), and games where a player picked up a reaver in mid harass and left the shuttle sitting over a ocean for 4 seconds while he went back to the gateways to queue new units before resuming the attack.

One of the most visible example would be the reduction in dropship/shuttle harass during mid/late game, and not due to anti-air defense, but shifting focus to the increasing economy.

Only the best of players even try control intensive attacks like the Jaedong's dual muta-stack attack or boxer's tri-dropship. I don't think any player can do that sort of thing and maintain the economy at once, that is just too much clicks and attention.

There is simply, never enough APM. Even the most skilled player can not bypass the 0.25second reaction time limit for human beings to recognize what he is looking at.

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Nonsense. Super-Greedy builds like that would certainly still be possible, as would your opponent's ability to punish you for it.
The point isn't super greedy builds, but that a losing player's ability to hold.

With SBS and stupid mining and everything else, a large economy takes alot of APM to control. While one side has more units, both only have the same amount of APM. If economy costs "nothing" in player time, than the player with a large economy would win very quickly.

Think about it this way:
Units * Micro = combat power.

In Starcraft:
Poor player does the following
Low units * High micro

Wealthy player choose to do the following
High units * low micro
Low units * high micro


In a game where big economy doesn't take player control. (eg. resource point capture system)

Wealthy player does:
High units * High micro >>>> poorer player with low units * equal micro
 
 

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Ah, but there is the question: what constitutes "high micro?"

You mention highly skilled micro like Jaedong's dual Muta or Boxer's DropShips. What if that wasn't considered "highly skilled" anymore? What if that was normal (or less than "high"), and a new level was found that required even more APM was found? You still have the same APM being used, but you're doing more with the same APM as before.

If macro operations require fewer APM, then that frees up more APM to do high-end micro, which in turn still allows high-APM players to have an advantage. You still need to spend some actions on macro (unit production, building production, expanding, etc), so that alternative advancement is still available.
 

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Ah, but there is the question: what constitutes "high micro?"

You mention highly skilled micro like Jaedong's dual Muta or Boxer's DropShips. What if that wasn't considered "highly skilled" anymore? What if that was normal (or less than "high"), and a new level was found that required even more APM was found? You still have the same APM being used, but you're doing more with the same APM as before.

If macro operations require fewer APM, then that frees up more APM to do high-end micro, which in turn still allows high-APM players to have an advantage. You still need to spend some actions on macro (unit production, building production, expanding, etc), so that alternative advancement is still available.
In that case you open up a scary can of worms. If you're suggesting something more complex than Boxer's tri-Dropship, then you're basically asking for Blizzard to increase the population cap higher and splitting the game up even more.

Splitting your army is generally a bad strategy, both in games and in real life. Only when you gain a huge positional advantage does it actually benefit. In other words, simply saying "Sextuple Dropships is more exciting than Tri Dropships" is a faulty statement. There's a point where creating more simultaneous battles becomes irritating rather than fun. Imagine if a person forced you to watch five football games at once. They may be exciting in themeselves, but if you're having to switch between all five every second, it's stops being fun. It wouldn't be fun in Football, and it wouldn't be fun in Starcraft either.

That's the main problem I have with the pro-automation argument. It keeps working on the faulty assumption that "Making things easier will allow players to do even MORE amazing things".

It won't.

Freeing up 50 APM won't cause that APM to be invested in other things. It will simply disappear entirely. Warcraft 3 is the perfect example of this exact thing happening, and I don't know why so many people think Starcraft 2 will magically avoid it. Blizzard realizes this, and it's why they're experimenting with the gas mechanic. There's a gap in the game that MBS and automine created, and it needs to be filled up. Simply "hoping" that micro will fill it up will not solve the problem.
 
 

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If macro operations require fewer APM, then that frees up more APM to do high-end micro, which in turn still allows high-APM players to have an advantage. You still need to spend some actions on macro (unit production, building production, expanding, etc), so that alternative advancement is still available.
Well, high APM is always an advantage, but how much micro is needed is heavily, heavily dependent on other aspects of game design.

Law of diminishing returns occurs with micro as much as any other aspect of control. Where this point kicks in is dependent on many aspects of game design, from unit response time to unit count to the relevant micro. Something like heavy dropship/shuttle play with many bases is much more control intensive than say, two base Carriers.

Frankly, with SC2 units the way it is, I'm not sure where the point of diminishing return kicks in and render further APM increases less relevant and things like strategy or plain luck more important. Sure one can theorize a game with Dune (single unit select only) interface that makes micro rewarding up to 1000+ APM, SC2 isn't such a game.
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But that is not my main concern. The main concern is that the player with a small economy no longer have a "equalizer" factor.

http://www.sirlin.net/archive/slippe...tual-comeback/

I don't want starcraft 2 to play like ZvZ in SC1, where the relative ease of macro (2 hatch max) for the high econ player, the singular point focus on micro (the muta stack) and the absolute impossibility of defense means every game ends very quickly after mutalisks come out. There are few comebacks and many sudden death.
 
 

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As for Warp-In, that's a win/lose proposition. You gain a clear advantage (being able to build units anywhere within Pylon power, faster unit production) but also a clear disadvantage (no build queue). It's clearly a decision with reasons to use either side (and even a mix with some of each). It is not something you will automatically choose.
I believe SuperKiller's point was this: imagine if Warp Gates had a build queue and rally point which can be enabled/disabled - once your Zealot (for example) finishes training, he automatically warps in to the rallypoint location, if you chose to set one. See? Warp Gates are something that could be 100% automated, too.

Instead, build queues and rallypoints have been left out in order to make it more macro-intensive to use. If you have the macro skill to keep that Warp Gate constantly busy without the help of a build queue, then because of the faster production, it becomes strictly better than using a Gateway.
 

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Way I see it, is that people bitch about the slightest changes that would affect their "skill." I mean, what if Starcraft Vanilla had single-unit-selection. That's right- one unit at a time. Well you can bet your ass that people would bitch if multi-unit selection were to be introduced in SC2. They would decry that MUS would take away their skill, and make the game weaker, less workable for pros, and such.

This is all fear of change. And as someone said earlier, no one, NO ONE, no pro, as ever been "perfect" on Micro and Macro. Pros would ID as one or the other, generally. I do believe that a little less montonous choice-less busy work that can be easily automated (Grunt, your little auto-unit build argument was pricelessly hilariously bad. Yeah, I used TWO adverbs) would benefit the game, and still allow plenty of things for the pros to do.

That WC3 argument is not exactly workable, as Heros, not super-reduced micro, were one of the principle reasons for not working as a competitive game. Heroes were a bit too chance-related, and abilities based on chance were another chief cause. You can look at multiple games that have accuracy-rates in abilities/attacks, and they won't last competitively. That SC did not have much in the way of chance, along with great balance, is one of the reasons it did so well. Mathematic breakdowns.

Anyway, all will be well. And I do hope the gas mechanic that used CHOICE will be resurrected. That was a decent concept.
 
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Grunt, your little auto-unit build argument was pricelessly hilariously bad.
Nicol was quoting SuperKiller. http://blizzforums.com/showpost.php?...8&postcount=49

There's also a big difference between what you refer to as 'busywork' and single-unit-selection which would just flat out make the game nigh unplayable. BroodWar would never have become an E-Sport in the first place with single-unit-selection. >_<
 

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