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I see a lot of SC2 pros rallying all their workers to the left or right-most mineral patch.

What are the benefits of doing so versus rallying to the middle patch or versus changing your rally point during the game?

Thank you.

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2 Answers 2

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It's not really about left or right. At the start of the game, it's about efficiency based on the distance to the nexus / hatchery / command center. If you look closely, you can see some minerals are closer to the nexus than others. For example in the screenshot below:

mineral

The bottom-most mineral patch is closer to the nexus than the second-to-the-bottom patch. You will yield a slightly better income having a worker on the closer patch than the further one. So, rally to a close patch.

Furthermore, you can micro your workers to pair up on close patches instead of spreading out 1-worker-per-patch including the far patches. Basically, select a worker that you know is going to mine on a far mineral patch, and manually right-click him on a close mineral patch. If the close patch is occupied, just spam click it until he starts mining.

It's slightly advantageous to set your rally point to unoccupied mineral patches. The way sc2 works, when your worker spawns, he moves to the rally point, then starts mining. If the rally point is set on an occupied mineral patch, the worker will then move away to find a vacant patch. If you set the rally point to a patch that's already vacant, it will save the worker time having to search for one. As your minerals become saturated, you will have to start being more clever because there will be no vacant patches. You can try to set the rally point to a patch where you see a worker is just about done mining.

Later, as all your close mineral patches are saturated, it is slightly better to rally to the middle patch of the mineral field. For example, imagine rallying to the top-most patch. A new probe spawns, moves to the top mineral patch, but it's already saturated. The probe will then move to a free patch - potentially all the way across the mineral field. If you rallied to the middle patch, newly spawned probes will travel a maximum of half the size of the mineral field.

These types of advantages are extraordinarily minute, and the only time most people even think about it is when there's literally nothing else to do in the game, at the very start usually.

Personally I sometimes do these kinds of things because it gets my brain primed to find every possible advantage. Just don't let it take anything away from the important decisions of the game. For example, if you try to micro a worker to a close patch on the first return trip of the game, it can cause you to be late making your 2nd worker.

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Exactly what I was looking for, thank you. –  pwny Jun 21 '11 at 22:05
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I just tested this, and found that mining from a close patch vs. a far patch yields an extra 5 minerals per minute per worker. But the effort it takes to mine the close patches and the lost mining time to micro your workers there actually reduces this to almost no gain at all. I end up with about an extra 5-10 minerals during the first minute of the game by doing my best worker micro (versus doing no micro and no worker split at all). This already-tiny benefit then reduces further as mining saturates. –  tenfour Jun 22 '11 at 1:39

"Worker splitting" can slightly improve your economy, though the debate continues about whether it's enough to make it worth it.

l46kok explains the most common method in his TeamLiquid forum post "Worker Splitting & Improving Mining Efficiency." This method ensures your workers start mining as quickly as possible without moving to another mineral patch.

enter image description here

Thereafter, a worker rally point is often set to the closest mineral patch.

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