16 September 2010

The Levels of Multitasking - A Guide to Help You Improve Your Starcraft 2 Stats

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As you are likely aware, multitasking is integral to playing Stracraft 2 or any RTS well. When playing against a decent opponent(s) multitasking is the difference between domination and just taking (reacting) to what your opponent plans to do to you in the match. If you are playing against a good opponent, multitasking is simply essential. So, if you are tired of getting dominated, or you just 'plain old' want to improve, here is a guide to help you conceptualize the levels of multitasking in Starcraft 2.

There are major levels or tracks of gameplay that you need to always manage while you are playing:

1. Strategy
2. Creating an army
3. Defence
4. Economy

1. The most fundamental of all of these components is strategy. I write about strategy in all of my Starcraft 2 articles. You need to plan out what you are going to do, and in turn understand what your opponent is going to do. This is basically your gameplan for a match before you go into it, and then the modifications and adaptations you make to that gameplan throughout the match. You need a level or track in your mind that is focused on scouting, plans of attack, predicting your opponent's moves, and your positioning on the map. Some of this occurs before the match; however, the majority of strategy occurs while you are playing with a unique opponent. Hence, why it is the most important level of multitasking. You simply to have a part of your mind that is not just focused on the mechanics of the game and executing your gameplan. Ideally, you should be thinking constantly, on the fly, about how you are going to engage with your opponent. This may sound like common sense; however, there is a tendency of our minds to get absorbed (and focused) on one task.

2. You need to have another level of your mind focused on developing your army, building your army and deciding which units you are going to build. It stands to common sense that no resources should be wasted. Undoubtedly some will be, but the more you can reduce that waste by building units that actually fit into your gameplan, the better. The creation of new units is really what can be left behind here. Sometimes, when you are fighting or focusing too heavily on economy, you may neglect to build more units. A good solution for this is to use hotkeys. You do not want your resources to pile up! Things like upgrades, although terribly important are a subtrack (I have an article on those as well).

3. Defence is indistinguishable from strategy and creating an army in some respects; however, it is something that you need to be cognizant of in its own right, especially at the start of the match. Primarily, just try not to leave your economy completely unprotected. This is an aspect of multitasking that can take a back seat to the other elements, but it should still be in your mind. If you are playing a decent player you will feel some pressure at your base. If you are playing as Terran you will likely focus on this track more than with the other races.

4. Do not get caught with your pants down. You need to expand, and you need to look after your drones, probes, or SCVs. Economy is what makes everything else happen in this game. You need to be weary of protecting your guys, expanding, and using what you have. You should not finish the game with extra resources. If you do, you clearly have some work to do on this track of your mind. Consider prioritizing it a bit more, if you always finish with extra resources. Also, be sure to invest in expansions. This track overlaps of course with your strategy (especially build order), but you still need to keep track of your economy in your mind.

These are some of the major tracks or levels of multitasking that you should always be thinking about during a match. Try to improve your brain's ability to use these tracks and you will see tremendous improvements in your Starcraft 2 and RTS abilities. Basically you are just not letting any components of your overall strategy get lost in the action. A good way to focus on more of the specifics of your own gameplans and strategies is to check out Shokz Starcraft 2 Strategy Guide: http://www.starcraft2stratguides.info It is a wicked Starcraft 2 guide.

All the best in improving your Starcraft 2 skills,

Ben

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