Tuesday, October 16, 2007

StarCraft Interview with English Commentator Moletrap (part 2 of 3)

Link to Dual Commentary video

10. How did you run across these leagues?

I don't remember exactly how, but I first found a video that a fan had made that featured a collection of incredible "micro" feats performed by SlayerS_BoxeR. "Micro" is short for micromanagement, and refers to the quick manipulation of few or single units to make them far more effective than they would be if left to their usual programming. BoxeR is the most famous Starcraft player in history, and is essentially responsible for the popularity of it in general because he has been so consistently adept over the years at coming up with unique and entertaining strategies to amuse and amaze us.
In any case, I was so amazed by Boxer's "micro" that I ended up going to the youtube account that had this video, and it had a ton of other starcraft games and related videos on it. Perhaps more importantly, VioleTAK had fascinating explanations in his video descriptions about why the game was important to a certain team or a certain player that really got me interested in the "scene" and not just the games. It was through this account that I found Klazart, and Klazart mentioned that he got his videos from teamliquid.net and sc2.org, the latter of which actually streams the games live.

11. Moletrap, what is your favorite race to watch in StarCraft? Why?

I'd have to say that Zerg is my favorite race to watch in Starcraft, because it is almost never boring, whereas matches containing only Protoss or Terran or both can end up being tedious. But mostly, it's simply awesome watching dozens and dozens of zerglings (the cheap, basic zerg attack unit) swarming over a frantic enemy army that is slaughtering them but there are simply too many of them and are overrun.

12. What is your favorite race to play with in StarCraft? Why?

I usually play Random, which randomly selects a race for you. I guess I enjoy playing zerg a tiny bit more for the same reason I enjoy watching it, the swarm aspect. But I have had just as much fun swarming zealots with protoss as I have zerglings, and only slightly less satisfying is massing a couple dozen tanks that can level any enemy ground units in seconds.

13. Who is your favorite StarCraft player? Why?

Boxer, of course, could always be considered a favorite of mine, because he is a genius and always fun to watch. He hasn't been playing much lately, though.
Stork was my favorite this last season. Even though he was kicking lots of butt, he still had sort of an underdog feel to him. In the MBC Star League last season, he was eliminated by Savior, who is widely regarded as the best zerg player in the game right now. But another player left the tournament because he participating in the mandatory military service requirement in South Korea, and a spot was opened up. So they had a miniature single elimination tournament that included everyone who had been eliminated that round to get another chance at that open spot, and Stork fought his way tooth and nail back into the tournament. He then ended up working his way all the way to the final match, where he matched up with Bisu, the defending champion (and widely regarded as the single best player in the game at the moment), in a best out of 5 game set, the most epic match up I have ever seen. Two Protoss players, each of nearly flawless skill, going head to head, ending in an epic final match that lasted more than twice as long as a normal game and came down to the bitter end. Stork ended up losing, tragic because he was so close to winning. Stork placed third in the OGN Star League the same season, the only player to get to the final four in both Starleagues last season. So I guess basically he is one of the best players in the game, but still seems like an underdog because he hasn't quite won any major titles yet (although his team won the Proleague).

Also, he just looks nerdy! As a nerd myself, I am appreciative of a guy who has a nerdy look to him and an awkward manner about him being a superstar making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year playing video games. That's one of the reasons I like pro Starcraft in general, actually. Kids who would have been made fun of in school are rich sex symbols in this business. It's encouraging.

Anyway, I've also recently become a big NaDa fan. You would be hard pressed to find anyone that could dispute NaDa being the most consistent and successful player in the game. Not only is he good, but he has been consistently good for YEARS. Some players dominate for a year or two and then get surpassed or their skill wanes. Winning a Star League isn't easy but many players can only win one and then can't repeat the feat. When NaDa came onto the scene, he won three major tournaments and placed in a fourth in 2002. And he has placed in at least one tournament every single year since then, taking first in a total of 9 of them. He hasn't been extremely winning lately, which is why I didn't discover him until I started going back and watching old tournaments during the recent between-season lull.

That said, the real reason I like him is because he has more hutzpah than any other player. He is very aggressive, and is willing to take daring risks, often achieving success from them. If his forces are pinned in by a "dark swarm," which nullifies his marines, sometimes the easiest escape route is to go through the swarm into the enemy base, and NaDa is one of the few players who will actually do so. Some players will give up and "gg" (stands for good game, it's the standard etiquette for admitting defeat) if they come to feel that the other player has too much of an advantage over them. NaDa fights until the bitter end, never losing focus and never giving up until every bit of hope has been lost. And NaDa is a player who you half expect to pull it off, even when the situation is dire. He is so good at using his units to their fullest effect, I often say that 1 NaDa marine is worth 2 normal ones. Sometimes his attack force will be picked down to only 3 or 4 units, but he can still press those few units home to great effect, and has won games based off of the advantage he established with 2 marines and a medic going commando in the middle of an enemy base, utilizing insane strategy to keep them alive to do more damage. His nickname, not surprisingly, is the Genius Terran.

14. I asked Diggity this, im interested to hear your response: has Blizzard, the makers of the Star Craft PC game, showed any support or distaste for your commentaries?

None at all, either way. Blizzard must be aware of this community, because they sometimes involve teamliquid.net members at things like Blizzcon, the yearly Blizzard convention. But I doubt they pay much attention to us, in general.

15. Do you feel Blizzard should link your videos to their website? Would it be a good move for the publicity of the game?

They sell Starcraft and the expansion together for less than $20 nowadays. I think they're probably much more worried about promoting new games like WoW and upcoming Starcraft 2.
That said, it couldn't hurt them. If someone did stumble across our videos on their website, there's a good chance that it would be someone who used to play (the game is 10 years old now) and hasn't in a while, and when they see that people are still having fun, might go buy another copy and start playing again.

16. Are you excited for the much anticipated Star Craft 2? Why? And what aspect of the game are you most looking forward to?

At first I was worried that they were going to just remake Starcraft with pretty graphics, or introduce entirely new play systems like they did with Warcraft 3. But having seen most of the demo videos and even some play testing done at the last Blizzcon, I am very excited about it. I have been saying for years that they need to make a SC2 (not to anyone in particular), and now they finally are. I'm looking forward to new advances in game interface, mostly. Starcraft's interface is 10 years old, and there were already some things they improved in Warcraft 3 that I would love to just shove into Starcraft. I am hoping that they include these and other ways of basically making it easier to quickly manipulate your units how you want to.

Continue to Part 3 of interview

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