The Beginner’s Guide to Starcraft 2 Part III: Choosing a Race

choose2

I know what you’re thinking. Why should I choose a race? Why should I limit myself to one race and voluntarily stop myself from experiencing 2/3rds of the game?

Well, you don’t really have to. If you are having fun playing all three races, then by all means do so! I personally maintain that the main point of playing any game, including Starcraft 2 is to have fun!

But there are downsides to that as well. If your personal goal is to improve and climb the ranked ladder, it would be really hard to become good with all three races. Focusing on one race allows you to work on your weaknesses and improve your strengths and be an all around better player faster than you would when you play all three.

So okay, I’ve convinced you to choose one (or not, but read on anyway). So what do you choose?

The Starcraft Races

Starcraft 2 has three races in total: the human Terran, the swarm-like alien Zerg and the highly advanced Protoss. Each of the three races has a unique characteristic of its own and of course, a unique playstyle.


TerranTerran

The Terran race is the standard human race of Starcraft 2. They are described as versatile, adapting their equipment to any and every situation.

There are two ways to play the Terran race. One is what we call Bio in which the majority of the units you will be using will come from Barracks, particularly centering on the Marine. Support from Medivacs constructed from Starports is expected in Bio play. Factory units are a more specialized support depending on the situation and the match up. The Bio playstyle involves hyper-mobility, utilizing drops to harass and to move armies out of position. Marine micro is expected in Bio play as it’s strengths lie on being able to micro marines to their fullest extents.

The other playstyle will be Mech. Mech is characterized by the majority of its unit composition comes from the Factory instead of the Barracks. Mech is a slower, more deliberate playstyle (read turtling), with most mech players intending to defend until he assembles a formidable force and then attacks with one big punch. Mech is a lot more positional, utilizing space denial units such as Siege Tanks and Widowmines. Compared to Bio, Mech is a lot less micro-intensive.

As Terran, you’re not necessarily limited to one playstyle and can use either or even combine both as you see fit.

Summary

  • Terran reflects classic RTS gameplay and veterans of the genre will be familiar with it.
  • Terran, particularly Bio, is micro-intensive, and is a good race for players who enjoy micromanagement.
  • Terran probably has the highest skill cap of all three races.

Zergzerg

The Zerg is the quintessential alien race of Starcraft 2. The race evokes themes from classic alien archetypes such as the Alien from the movie Aliens ;).

Gameplay-wise, the Zerg has 2 more resources in addition to the basic three (minerals, gas and supply): Larvae and Creep. Larva is what the Zerg uses to produce all units except for the Queen (which is produced from the Hatchery). It is generated from the Zerg central building at a slow rate and is hastened by a Queen ability called the Spawn Larva. Ideally, you don’t want to have gaps in your larva production and it is essential for Zerg players to use the Spawn Larva ability as often as they can. This is central to the Zerg production as often times forgetting to use Spawn Larva can spell the difference between a win and a loss.

Creep is less important than larva but important nonetheless. Zerg buildings can only be placed on creep. Creep also provides a speed buff to Zerg ground units and the Creep Tumors (basically stuff that generates creep) gives vision. The farther the Zerg spreads creep, the farther he sees and good opponents don’t necessarily engage on creep to deny Zerg this advantage.

Unlike Terran, Zerg doesn’t necessarily have specific playstyles, just a combination of unit compositions. Zerg units are generally weaker and less cost effective than the other races but they make up for this fact by the ability to instantly reinforce an army, providing you have the resources and the larva to do so.

Summary

  • Zerg offers a unique RTS experience as it thematically feels like you’re actually controlling an alien race.
  • Zerg units are less cost efficient but make up for it by the Zerg ability to almost instantly reproduce through larva mechanics.
  • Zerg gameplay typically revolves around reacting to what you scout from your opponent instead of dictating the game yourself.

Protossprotoss

The Protoss is the highly-advanced alien race, with technologies ranging from teleportation to enhanced cybernetics and robotics. Due to this, the Protoss offers the most cost-efficient units in the game.

The Protoss production centers around Warping. Protoss can research Warpgate in order gain the ability to produce units wherever there is a Power Field (generated by Pylons). This allows Protoss to negate defenders advantage as reinforcement is teleported directly at the front, provided that Protoss has a forward Pylon near the battle. Due to this, Protoss gameplay often involves tight timing attacks and heavy aggression.

Protoss late game also consist of one of the best armies available to the game. To reflect the advanced technology they have, Protoss high-tech units are incredibly powerful. If a Protoss decides to play to the late-game and successfully assemble this amazing army, Protoss is nigh unbeatable.

Summary

  • Protoss have more expensive but generally more effective units.
  • Protoss gameplay often involves timing attacks or turtling to late game, however Protoss also has sneaky special tactics up their sleeves.
  • Protoss is considered as the easiest race and may be friendlier to beginners.

Choosing your Race

  • Read more about the race your interested in to see if it fits the playstyle you want to play.
  • Youtube and Twitch are your friends. Watch player streams and VODs of each race, or the race you’re most interested in.
  • Play Random in Unranked and decide what race you look forward to playing the most.
  • Or don’t pick a race. Random Master Race!

Next up: The Economy

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