We have a few things to cover with this week’s topic in real-time strategy games. Real-time strategy is similar to turn-based strategy except instead of taking turns all players act simultaneously. Examples of this type of game would be Starcraft, Command & Conquer, and Warcraft (Not to be confused with World of Warcraft.) For most of this article I’ll be referencing Starcraft mostly because the three factions available in the game (The Zerg, Protoss, and Terran) each represent different levels of balance and strategy in regards to cost vs power. However, the lessons learned here can be used for any real-time strategy game.
Let’s focus on one of the most well known and most often used factions, the Zerg. You may have heard of a popular tactic known as the Zerg Rush, which was also mentioned in a past article about basic strategies. This tactic can take two forms by the Zerg faction, which is known for its cheap and weak units. Many players have found that they can take advantage of this in a few ways. The first form of this tactic starts at the very beginning of the match. Most players will want to spend their time and resources at the beginning of a match building up their base rather than building military units and defenses. But since the Zerg are cheap they don’t have to worry as much about choosing between military and building up their base. So right off the bat, the first thing players will do is quickly send small squadrons out to find enemy bases, eliminate any and all resource gatherers, and cut them off before they’re even able to create any units to fight back with. The only way to prevent this from happening is to build a small military squad for defense as soon as possible since the Zerg units are generally the weakest.
The second form of this tactic comes later into a match if other players survive the first one. Thanks to the low cost of units, a player may take advantage and create multiple unit making constructs and are capable of nearly constantly creating army after army. This tactic is easier to use against one player rather than multiple, but if you can keep dishing out more and more units you can wear any defenses thin and slowly destroy another player. The only real way to fight against this is to act quickly and go on offensive and flanking the Zerg resource collectors and do everything to destroy their most important buildings.
No matter what game you’re playing or what faction you’re playing as, one major thing to always keep in mind for any RTS game is to never save up your resource. It sounds nuts and it can be a really hard habit to get out of, but if you want to be really serious in taking on other players in an RTS the gears of your base can never stop turning. You should always be doing something, spending your resources on something, making more things and expanding. Another crazy tip that may seem counterproductive is to not queue up too many things. It may be tempting to just queue up several troops and just let them build over time, but if you can get into the habit of queuing a max of two at a time, you’ll find your resources last longer and you’ll be able to spend it more efficiently as you need things. Doing this takes a lot of getting used to and should be practiced against computers first, especially if you tend to have trouble multitasking and find you often forget to keep up with some tasks.
I hope this info helps! This will be the last How to be a Good Gamer article unless I get a special request. This will be replaced with a new type of article that will be brought on next year! Hope you all look forward to it!