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The best example is trying to block a zerg early hatchery. Most pros will set their worker to patrol in a small area to block the hatchery. Why not hold position or just "stop"?

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3 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Patrolling keeps the worker from getting killed easily, while still blocking the area.

And it's more efficient than manually moving around, you can let it 'patrol' and move on with your business.

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By melee units with similar speeds, anyway. –  Raven Dreamer Jul 3 '11 at 15:50
    
Exactly, talking about worker vs. worker –  DrFish Jul 3 '11 at 15:51
    
+1 Actually, they normally do it manually with way points, but its for the exact same reason. To take fewer hits from chasing workers –  tzenes Jul 3 '11 at 16:13
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Yet another reason is that a patrolling worker will attack other workers that come near it (IIRC). An idle worker will just run away, which means they're no longer blocking. Whereas if they send a worker to build a building where your patrolling worker is, I believe your worker will attack theirs, and if they don't notice it, could even kill it.

Edit: As the comments indicate, I might not be right about workers attacking when set on patrol. I haven't tried it lately.

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Why -1? Is the answer wrong? If it's not, it seems useful. –  Rotsor Jul 4 '11 at 1:15
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The -1 is probably because this isn't true. Patrolling workers do not attack automatically. –  tenfour Jul 4 '11 at 11:41
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I see. I didn't know that. Why +1 then? :) –  Rotsor Jul 4 '11 at 13:16
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Patrolling the worker also prevents it from showing up as idle. This way, any idle workers that are selected can actually be used for something else.

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Haha the funny thing is, I patrol my intentionally-idle workers instinctively, but I forgot why I started that habit. You just reminded me why. –  tenfour Jul 3 '11 at 19:02
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