Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Don't Ladder On Drugs

I've been sick for about three weeks now.  It's that time of the year for me: fall.  I'm allergic to fall.  There's no other way to describe it better.  It has nothing to do with pollen count, easterlies, or hayfever.  It has everything to do with fall, the season my body hates. 

So, fall turned and I promptly got bronchitis with a side of sinus infection.  You know, pretty standard stuff.  Other than my fall allergies, I pretty much don't get sick.  It seems this fall is worse than others too.  I don't know why.  All I know is that I haven't been able to sleep due to fits of coughing, which enticed me to finally go see a doctor in order to "get the good stuff."

Yeah, drugs.  The good stuff.  Not the illegal kind.  The prescription kind.  The kind that knock normally clean me on my ass.  Or, at least, slow me down.

Which brings me to my pro-tip of the day: Don't play Starcraft ladder matches on drugs.  It may seem like a wonderful idea, but resist.  If you're at all like me, you'll screw up your strategy every time and just feel completely incompetent.  You'll watch as all your troops get killed by some backwards strategy that should never have worked.  Then, you'll realize, you're just slow.  Slow at everything.  Even moving your mouse feels like it's slow, because you're doing everything through the haze of drugs.  Prescription drugs.  Or not, if that's your thing.  I'm not judging here.

Or maybe I'm just completely terribad at the game.  I can't say I feel very good about the direction of my ranking.  I mean, I'm in the freaking Bronze league and I don't feel like I can gain any ground.  It makes me think, what the hell are they doing in the Gold league?  I mean, you can only build so fast, and when I'm not on drugs, I'd like to think I'm pretty solid.  I know the hot keys.  I'm a good multi-tasker.

There are two things I think that are killing me.  First, I don't play nearly enough to climb.  Since ranking is based on point accumulation, there are people far above me that have lost probably 2/3rds of their games.  I mean, I'm pretty much a .500 player here.  I win as many as I lose.  It sucks to be stuck behind the people that take the shotgun approach to ladder rankings.  That is to say, they apparently just play as many games as possible and win some by sheer luck.  Or something.  Again, trying not to judge here.  Games are about fun, and if that floats your boat... I'm not going to berate you as a newb, I'm just going to expect myself to win against you. 

The second thing I think we're seeing is that people get ranked based on five initial matches, then they start to learn what the popular strategies are, so some people vastly improve out of the gate.  I'm not sure at this point in the life of the game that the rankings actually mean anything.  I guess I just don't think there is enough of a spread.  I'm not sure when/how they're going to work themselves out either, but it just seems like now being "favored" or not has absolutely no bearing over whether I should win or not.  I've played people who are "clearly favored" who seem to be pretty poor players (though maybe they were on drugs), and I've been roflstomped by players that I'm supposed to be favored over (though maybe I was on drugs). 

So I guess my consternation lies in the seeming randomness of the ladder rankings.  What do they even mean?  So intense...

Anyone else experiencing this in SCII?  What's your ranking?  How's it working for you?  Do you have to play ten matches a day to get anywhere?


  1. I mainly do 2v2 with a friend. We only get together and play about twice a week. We do play probably 20 or so matches when we get together though.

    We started out in Bronze League (some not very hard trying in the placement games) And have moved up to Gold (been ranked in the top 5 in gold and am anticipating a jump to plat anytime)
    We have about a 60% win rating, I'm also not really sure exactly how they match people and exactly how the ladders work but you can definatly get promoted without playing everyday. In fact my 1v1 got promoted to silver the other day and I've only played a handfull of matches there.

  2. When you say twice a week, do you mean two games? Or two sessions?

    I play mostly 2v2 too with my brother and we're something like 15-12, yet still only ranked 15 in bronze. I mean if you're going to platinum at 60%, we should at least be silver. Then again, if you're up around 100 games and I'm at, you know, 30... it's the points. That's what I'm guessing.

    So I guess the key question is how many games are you playing?

  3. We do 2 sessions a week. I think we are at arround 80-90 games played. And maybe I was a bit premature about getting promoted since we are still gold, been ranked in the top 3 in our gold league for a few weeks now.

    They aparently re-rank you after 30-40 games I heard which seemed about right for us someone arround that mark is where we moved to silver, and gold was some where arround 50-60 I think, getting to gold from silver actually seemed quicker than out of bronze, maybe we were just playing more though and it was the same games less real world time though.

  4. Okay, that would make sense to me... re-ranking after a decent number of games. Thus, the league I'm in is still a pretty random scattering of folks that just haven't played a whole lot (thus widely varying skill levels). That would explain my feeling of the rankings not seeming to mean anything. Then when you hit a certain number of games and get re-ranked... it probably makes more sense or at least feels more "ladder like".

    So I'm stuck in newb-land where I'm probably below average, but not as terrible as I feel. I'll probably just keep plugging away then and report what happens around 30ish games.

    Thanks for the info, I find the ranking system mysterious. :-)