There is a learn na’vi app in beta.

The developer just posted a major update, and the dictionary works now. It’s very exciting. I downloaded the iphone sdk onto Fritz’s computer so I could stare at the code. I haven’t coded anything since like 2004, so I have some serious limitations to overcome if I want to understand anything, but at least I can look at it. My dream is to magically learn how to program (lol), and make some games for the na’vi app. For example, multiplayer na’vi pictionary (using na’vi vocab, of course) over the internet. But that is dreaming really, really big. I am fond of doing that, and it takes a long time (or infinite time) to make any small progress. But that’s how my brain works, right? Unreachable ridiculous goal, very little effort put into actual baby steps. Well, I can start baby-stepping here.

I’m learning how to play protoss in starcraft ii. There are so many things that I know I don’t do well enough. I should prioritize these things:
1. Build faster. Steps to take: practice builds until I can do them without consulting my notes. LOL. In SC2, after every match, you can look at a tab that shows everybody’s build orders, so I wrote down some other peoples’ build orders.
2. Always keep building units. If ANYTHING AT ALL happens, I stop unit production completely. Like, if I’m scouting, or if I get scouted, or if I’m just scrolling the map to see where the freakin’ ramps are. Steps to take: hotkey my gateways, and don’t forget to use them.
3. Don’t forget to send out a scout. It’s really important to know exactly what the enemy is doing (I didn’t realize this before).

And all of the above is just basic macro. I really am a total novice. I haven’t even gotten into how to win fights (though I know some very basic things now, like “send your zealots in using attack ground, but focus-fire with your stalkers” and “if one of your guys is getting focused, run him away” … so that will take practice. Other things I have to work on later include:

4. Learn how to harass. For example: I just learned that vs. Terran, it’s really good to attack the SCV that is building. Vs. Zerg, an early phoenix might be good to harass overlords (but it’s a dubious plan, since it takes tech).
5. Learn when to tech, vs. when to pressure gateway. I’ve just kind of been teching right away, which works out great when the person I’m playing against is just as terrible as me and doesn’t send an army early. But if they send like 6 zerglings, it’s over for me since I don’t have a force (since I’m teching). Which is dumb.
6. Learn what “early game” is. I was told it’s mostly when you’re “harassing,” and when you just have zealots, and before your first expansion. But I guess I just have to get more of a feel for the pace of the game.

7. Then there’s actual strategy for early game to learn, like what to do vs the different races, depending on what they’re doing. I was told last night that against zerg, you want to find out if they’re making a spawning pool early. If they are, then make a forge so you can make photon cannons and choke early – if they go spawning pool early, when they send zerglings, they won’t have enough to get through 2 photon cannons. If they aren’t pooling early, go 2 gateway and hit them as hard as you can with zealots. For a basic early strat, get 6 zealots, during which you make your assimilator and cybernetics core, then 1 (or 2) observers and 6 stalkers, then push.

8. Then there’s actual strategy for after “early game” to learn, like what all the units do and what their counters are, and how to protect your guys, what to tech, blah blah blah. I was told that getting zealot charge is really useful, but that’s not how I’ve been playing (since I’m a noob)… the way I’ve been playing is letting my zealots die, then making helluuuvvvv lasers (colossus cuz they’re good vs. light armored biological units, plus void rays cuz they’re air that hits ground and air). But I was told that you want like 7 zealots per colossus, to protect your colossus guys. So you want to send in your zealots before the colossus.

100. Then I’ll learn the other races. Which I haven’t played at all. LOOOLLLLLLLLL

Dude! They added little wings to the Zerglings, so they look like gross little crickets. They’r so cute!!! AND when brood lords fire off their little Broodlings, they’re EVEN CUTER when they divebomb!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there’s just something about Blizzard’s art direction that is extremely appealing. The beta thus far is totally playable and I haven’t encountered any bugs at all during actual gameplay. Blizzard does good work and I love them.

Definition of terms:
harass – send a very minor force to their base to annoy them, distract them. the goal is to kill off some of their workers, because that is a huge setback for them.
natural – “natural expansion”, aka the expansion that is closest to your starting place. usually, it’ll have its own ramp, so you can sort of protect it from a ground assault.
choke – to build stuff on a ramp or any choke point to defend your own base. you want to make it so that ground units can’t get through (to kill your precious workers). terran has it easy, with their raiseable supply depots. for protoss, you build some pylons, and maybe plug the hole with drones (if necessary), or zealots.
meat – “meat shield”. for protoss, it’s zealots. you make a lot of them, and as a unit, their attack is relatively weak, but their defense is relatively strong (for their cost). the point of meat is: you throw them in front of your harder-hitting (but more expensive, thus precious) units, so that the enemy units auto-acquire your zealots first and waste time killing them, while your good units behind your zealots decimate their army. i had heard this before, because i knew huntresses were a meat shield for your archers. hahaha
macro – stuff like your economy scaling, the order and speed in which you get your buildings and units out
micro – “micromanaging” your units. stuff like: focus firing, making sure your meat is in front, running away your damaged units, zigzagging your units around so that enemy melee units can’t hit them, etc
apm – “actions per minute”. for starcraft original, there’s a program that analyzes your replays and counts the number of mouse clicks/keyboard actions. pro players have 300 apm. LOOOOOOOOOLLLLL
focus fire – we use this term in WoW too! it just means to have all your units attack the same enemy unit, in order to kill one unit faster. The idea is: if you reduce the number of units they have, then they are hitting you with fewer units (obviously), which is important. Even if the net damage being dealt on each side is the same, if you are focusing your fire on one of their units, it’ll bring down that unit faster. Let’s say your opponent is not focusing fire, and all the damage is being spread out among your forces: then even though the same net amount of damage has been dealt, you have done it all to 1 unit and eliminated it, where he has done the damage spread out to your units and have not eliminated any. Then the balance of the fight tips over into your favor, since now you have more units than them. (The concept works because your unit attacks at full strength even if he has 1/300 health left, so it’s really important for your guys to just be alive, and for your guys to kill off their guys as soon as possible).

I was told that pro players spam click everything early game when there’s nothing to do because it warms up your hands. “It’s harder to play faster later if you play slowly in the beginning.” I wonder how many pro starcraft players are also virtuoso pianists.

Anyway, all of this makes you wonder: why do I love this game that I am so terrible at? I can’t really tell you. I like learning new useless things. Sometimes I can see progress. But it’s true that I get really frustrated losing all the time. I guess I think of losing as coaching myself to cope with disappointment or failure, or I’m just masochistic and I love making myself feel bad. Starcraft 2 uses a ladder system (like the arena system in wow) where you play other people at your skill level, which is really very smart, because it keeps the casual terrible player happy (which keeps them playing).

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