StarCraft 2 Pro Tips – Exclusive Q&A With 2 Champs
Starcraft II has been out a month, and it’s already sold 3 million copies. If you’re the owner of one of these, you may be looking to pick up some tips. We were too, and so we interviewed a couple of experts. We wanted to see what tips they would offer, how they play, and even what they thought of the singleplayer campaign. Don’t forget to click through to the second page of the story to see the second interview.
Name: Kevin Van Der Koo
Team: Serious Gaming
Got Started: Playing WarCraft 3 while recovering from an injury.
GF: How good does someone need to be to consider becoming a professional gamer?
There are several ways to look at the meaning of “professional” gamer. If you totally want to go pro and by that give up your regular work or studies you better be damn good and make sure you’re a top 5/10 player in the world. I do believe the people who still study can be considered pro gamer as well. It just all depends on how good you are.
GF: How did you come to work with Razer, and how have they supported you?
My first mouse was the Diamondback back in 2005 and then I realized that I wouldn’t want to get used to anything else anymore.
When I joined Serious Gaming, they teamed up with Razer which meant they would supply us with whatever we desire, which was great as its obviously important to play with gear you feel absolutely comfortable with. And that’s how I feel about Razer’s equipment. The support has been simply great.
GF: What can you tell our readers about the new Starcraft II peripherals that are launching soon?
I think they look great of course. As you may have read, the Razer StarCraft II products connect with the game itself. Each product has a lighting system to tell the user of the range of APM (Actions per Minute) they are in at the moment.
Effective APM is very important for a pro-gamer as it tells you how fast you are carrying out your activities in-game. Of course button mashing can increase your APM but that’s not effective in an RTS. The best gamers can hit a high number while being productive in game.
The lighting system helps to tell you how high your APM is with color cues. That would help guide a lot of people who are looking to increase their APM while keeping their actions production as well.
Razer sent us prototypes and constantly got us to review them to find out every feature that would and would not work. It was interesting to test the raw model to what it is today.
And my favourite, it has to be the Razer Banshee headsets because they look so very cool!
GF: Which faction do you prefer in multiplayer, or are you comfortable with all of them?
I love the Protoss. Since day one, I decided to play as the Protoss and stuck with them. I don’t enjoy playing Zerg and Terran though. The Zergs feel odd and Terran is way too defensive for me. I like the mix of Protoss which has offensive and defensive play styles. Also I think they look the coolest by far .
GF: Is there a certain faction for each type of player, or can any player play any faction well?
I think there is a factor. It’s in my nature to be aggressive so Zerg or Protoss definitely fits best for me. It all depends on the play style you prefer but of course the choice is open for all. At the end of the day, if I started out as a Terran player, I don’t think I would be any worse off as compared to me now as a Protoss player. I would probably enjoy the game less though.
GF: Do you have any general tips for victory?
Scout well. Scouting is by far the most important aspect in any RTS. Other than that, train hard and believe in yourself.
GF: We’ve all seen videos of professional Starcraft players who do 500 actions per minute or whatever. How on earth do you train yourself to play that fast?
It comes by practice, but 500 is insane though. 400 would have been real in Starcraft BW but in SC II the controls and game engine got a lot smarter so its easier to do the same as you did in SC: BW by having a lot less actions, which should make the game more accessible at top level.
GF: In any game of StarCraft II, what should be your very first priority right when the match starts?
Scout where my opponent spawns and how his opening moves look. If you play in darkness for just 3 minutes it can signal your defeat already.
GF: How do you group your units? Does each unit type have a group? Or do you have big crowds of unit combinations?
1 Zealot/Stalkers/sentry/colossus, 2 High templars, 3 Air ( Phoenix/carrier/void ray), 4 Gateways, 5 Robotics, 6 Stargates, 7 Nexus, 8 Forge
GF: How aggressive should a player be? Is it best to get attacks out early, or to hold back, defend, and build up your forces?
Both can work. Map and spawning points are very decisive in that decision. You can’t be too aggressive if you spawn far away from each other. The distance will be too big and your attack will be easily fought off and you’ll be in a difficult situation straight away since your economy will be worse off from your opponents.
On a high level, the most important thing is to mix up your gameplay, be aggressive one game, be defensive the other, surprise your enemy!
GF: What’s the one thing that every good Starcraft II player knows that most average players don’t know?
There is no such thing. People love to hear magic words that suddenly make you better but there’s only 1 thing that really makes you better and that is experience. You got to play a lot and gather your own experience that will make the difference between average, good and top pros.
GF: Off the topic of multiplayer, have you played the single player out at all? If so, what do you think of it?
Yes, over the last few days I played the campaign. The cinematics were absolutely awesome and the story mode was cool as well. Some missions were really fun and some were alright but that’s just personal taste I guess.
GF: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Is there anything else that you think our readers should know about playing Starcraft II professionally?
No problem of course. I’m not even close to the level I desire for Starcraft II yet so that’s hard to say. But from my Warcraft III days, I can only say that playing professionally is really awesome. You have to sacrifice certain things in life but what you get back from it is priceless.
Of course I want to thank my team Serious Gaming for believing in me and giving me the chance to improve in SC II and Razer for supporting us. Other than that, I want to make a big shout out to Bernardo and Ruslan, my 2 best friends from gaming!