Starcraft II: First impressions on the macro-mechanics changes

Legacy of the Void’s most recent patch implemented the much debated changes to macro-mechanics. Going into it, I was extremely moderate. As a Zerg, I love the mechanical challenge of larva injects. At the same time, I can see why they’ve decided to change it up.

For those who don’t know, the SC2 development team implemented macro-mechanics due to what was referred to as multiple building selection. In SC2’s predecessor, Brood War, you could only select one building at a time. Multiple building selection was introduced to SC2 along with the removal of the 12-unit selection cap in order to make the game more intuitive. However, this presented the problem of macroing being too easy. Their solution: the macro-mechanics.

With Legacy’s unit design pushing for more engaging and micromanaged battles, Blizzard re-evaluated the need to have these macro-mechanics. Macro-mechanics have been a core part of Starcraft II until now, and many builds and play styles revolved around these mechanics. People see the changes as dumbing down the game to cater to more casual players. To put it simply, it’s a pretty controversial change.

Since the implementation of the update, I’ve played around 32 games and to be quite honest, I still don’t have a solid opinion on it. The changes shook-up the entire meta-game so much that it’s hard to even have a solid opening build-order. However even at this early stage, you can already see pros and cons. Keep in mind that I am Zerg, and I have no in-depth opinion on the changes to other races yet.

First, the pros. I have to admit, not having to inject is freeing. I spend the majority of my time making tactical decisions instead of looking at my base and injecting. As such, I’ve done tons of cute little maneuvers such as Zergling drops during major attacks, multi-pronged harass, setting up ambushes, etc. It honestly feels more fun this way.

I can definitely see why Blizzard decided to test this change out. It trades some mechanical skill for more tactical decision-making. Unlike say, Chronoboost where you must decide on where you’re going to allocate it, Zerg’s injects weren’t really decisions in the first place. It’s either inject or you fall behind.

Yet there’s something special about perfecting a mechanical skill. This becomes especially apparent during Zerg versus Zerg mirrors. Before the changes, a Zerg who has the better injects can win games based on having better injects alone. Personally, my mechanics was better than my army control and when I went up against a Zerg who has better control than me, I actually stood a chance as long as I had better injects than him. Injecting is a skill factor in a skill-based game.

However, I believe it’s still too early to tell if it’s going to be good for the game or not. The meta-game has not been solidly established yet and everyone is just winging it at the moment. Will the good outweigh the bad? Will sacrificing mechanical skill for more room for tactical decisions be better for the game in the long run?

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