Have you ever had a dream where you're trying to run, but for some reason you just can't move your legs very fast and it's very annoying? I think you know what I'm talking about, you can see where you want to be but you just can't get there.

This is the problem I have with Starcraft 2. I have great game knowledge from watching replays/live casts, reading wikis/strategy guides, and I know what I could use for victory, but I can't seem to actually make it happen very well. I tend to always get into a reactionary mode and then everything becomes to overwhelming.

There are two main factors that I have found, one is camera control and one is just overall control in general, meaning knowing what/when/who to click.

In terms of camera control, this is the worst limitation. I can only view a small window of the entire map at any given time. However, I need to be controlling everything at once. This is a real challenge. I use hotkeys so I can build units while out on the field, but there is a major gap in the ability to reinforce. If I'm staging an attack and building units in the background with hotkeys, there needs to be a time where I switch my view back to my base, rally up my new units, and add them to the battle (if I just set my rally points to the battle field I would have no good force back at my base and the units would be trickling across the map). However during this time my vision is no longer on my attack force which causes major problems. Of course during this whole time I should be teching up and expanding, like I said, it's like those running dreams...

So beyond where I should be 'looking' with the camera, how can I get better at controlling everything, I always feel like I am one step behind my army. It's as if instead of me happening to my base/army, my base/army is happening to me. I can't seem to feel like I'm in control but rather like I'm trying to lead a class full of 3rd graders through a museum: I know what I want them to learn and what exhibits I want to make it to but half the kids are trying to run off and climb on things, and there is only so much time in the day.

I hope these are good analogies of what I am trying to describe as it is kind of hard to put it into words. I know Starcraft 2 is a game of constraints, but how can I take advantage of them instead of being hindered by them?

I found a replay where the players seem to have really good control and tend to utilize the camera very well.

  • 1
    What race are you playing? That would make a difference in how you reinforce your army. Protoss can use warpgates with pylons or warp prisms. Zerg can use Nydus worms or overlords. Terran can use drop ships or you can relocate your unit production buildings closer (in some cases).
    – Mark
    Commented Sep 4, 2010 at 16:57
  • I play either Terran or Random. However the focus of this question is more general than just reinforcing, it was an example.
    – MetaGuru
    Commented Sep 4, 2010 at 17:12
  • 5
    Had a dream last night that I was trying to play StarCraft 2 with a gamepad instead of mouse+keyboard. Started panicking when I hit 6000 minerals and couldn't use the controller effectively enough to actually build anything. Woke up in a cold sweat. Not kidding.
    – Mag Roader
    Commented Sep 4, 2010 at 21:53

2 Answers 2


+1 for the dream analogy!

Like dreams, there is a good explanation of why you are living your game in slow motion, there is always one thing slowing down everything else. In the case of dreams, it is your brain, that actually dreams faster than your perception. That's why you seem to be slow, because the dream is actually faster than what you perceive.

For StarCraft, this is another problem. I discovered by studying replays that faster players remove one very large part of the time you may take in your game: controlling the army.

As an unexperienced player, you might not be familiar with unit balance. So when sending your 12 zerglings againts those 4 zealots, you don't yet know the outcome. I'm sure you expect some victory, but can you trust this expectation enough to actually leave your zerglings do the work without you?

I often find myself microing too much when dealing with large overpowered army. Yeah, I have 24 zerglings and they meet 1 zealot. Really, no need to micro them, just return and take care of your base!

Your problem may be the same...

  • Balance is definately my biggest problem in SC2. I always talk about how I'm good at Econ/Army, but never both, but I'm sure that isn't the problem. That's why I'm trying to go through the challenges, despite how mad they make me :P.
    – VxJasonxV
    Commented Sep 5, 2010 at 3:20
  • Here I found a replay where the players seem to have really good control and tend to utilize the camera very well: sc2rep.net/replays/…
    – MetaGuru
    Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 4:28
  • +1 for the specific advice of stopping controlling your army. But I feel it is not good enough.
    – tharibo
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 18:10

The way you wrote it makes me feel like your mindset is the problem.
Maybe I guess completely wrong, but you should not let the game overwhelm you. In a RTS you control your base and army - like you said :)
You have the knowledge of builds and counters and I think you have an overall plan for each game. Only thing to do: convince yourself that you can pull it off! Don't say you have to do and control everything at once. More like keep a small list in your mind what you want to do in which order, like Day[9] talked in his daily #132 (watch VOD here):

  1. Am I building workers?
  2. Am I close to supply cap?
  3. and so on

Also remember your gameplan. The best you break it up in general things like: "I want to build 3 Gateways, then do the 1st push with these units, then tech to this-or-that. I want to expand at this time to this location." Always be aware of what you want to do next and don't let it happen to you - you play the game - you have the control.
If you know what to do next, it's much easier to know what to click and where to be with your eyes.

EDIT: For more finetuning: I don't know how high or low you are ranked and how many games you have played. My own experience is: the more often you play, the better your feeling for timings become. There will be a point where your mind knows when to rebuild units, use macro abilities and so on. When you're at this point everything becomes more comfortable, you are used to simple things that occure often faster and without much thinking and multitasking/(camera) control becomes easier.

  • 1
    +1 for Day[9]s #132, the lessons from it helped me from gold to platinum, eventhough i needed a lot of practice to really put them to good use. I also recommend checking all other Day[9] videos, he has a lot of good hints in them.
    – user1978
    Commented Sep 4, 2010 at 20:16
  • This is a fairly good answer, the only thing I'd add is that a lot of things that are taking up your attention will get better with practice. Transferring drones, regrouping units, sending workers before building, you will get better at these things. My advice would be don't try to learn it all at once. Add one or two techniques till they're automatic before adding another one
    – tzenes
    Commented Sep 4, 2010 at 23:15

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