he following chapter is a rather small one and designed for those, who have little to no experience in the Real Time Strategy genre. It answers the most commong questions raised by those, who’re still trying to figure out if, when and how to start playing the game.
- Why Play Brood War? Is it (still) worth it?
- Are there still beginners out there?
- What keyboard/mouse/misc. devices do i need?
- Which race to choose?
- Where to play?
- Technical issues: What do I have to do?
Why Play Brood War? Is it (still) worth it?
Since I’m a zealous fan, the answer to the question is obvious: Brood War is always worth a try. The international scene is rather small, but you can still find games fast enough, without having to invest too much into social interaction if you don’t care for that. The South Korean and Chinese scene is still highly active – these two sub-scenes will most likely provide fans with high class matches for the next few years. Both are somewhat professional, the Koreans more so than the Chinese.
The modern Operating Systems (Windows 7 and above) might cause you to fix things. Brood War is old, but there are plenty of patches and fixes out there, so the chances are high it’ll only take you about 30 minutes total to set up the game. Routers and setting up a good internet connection however might be more difficult, depending on your ability to fix things on your own. Anyhow, for this kind of questions, see also the Technical Issues chapter.
As for fun goes: Brood War is a lot of fun. There’s plenty to discover and to learn. It’s a very versatile game, allowing you to be creative, while demanding a lot of you. Even though the looks are outdated, the game can be understood quickly on a basic level – a few glances at matches and you’ll have an idea of what’s going on. However, it’s a neverending challenge – you’ll never become perfect playing it, but you will also most likely never master any musical instrument either. There’s a very good reason why South Koreans are still madly in love with the title after more than a decade of televized matches. If you’re anything like me, you’ll start a journey for a life time.
Are there still beginners out there?
The most idiotic stereotype created by Brood War die hards is the rumor that the game would be so hard, that everyone would lose his initial matches. I won mine actually, and back then the game wasn’t any harder than it is today. And so did many other players.
There’s a grain of truth to the wisdom – Brood War does require a lot of attention if you want to learn it the correct way. However, the learning curve is not nearly as steep as you might think. Improvement might seem slow for a beginner, being confronted with a rather antique interface, but improvement will be visible. Actually, many might be surprise by how much they learned in a short time frame – however, people also tend to mimic the perfection seeking veterans very fast. Just try to remember you first game and compare it to your games a month later; I’ll guarantee that you already learned a ton easily.
But back to the question: The majority of the active foreign scene (non-Koreans) is indeed used to the game, and most are not really beginners anymore. That doesn’t mean there’s no more casuals – there are still many of them left. You can compete with the average player in no-time, if you truely want to do it. Also, there are groups of beginners, who organize leagues, tournaments and skype groups.
Teamliquid.net Tournament Forum: Look out for the D/C Ranks Leagues / Tournaments
Skype Beginner Group: Ask to be added!
Training Partners: Title says it all.
Nothing out of the ordinary. There’s no perfect set up. Really, you can use anything you like. Don’t fall for any trap here – if you can use it to play any different game, you can play Brood War as well. None of the professionals actually did hours of research on equipment. They started out just as you did.
Whatever you like best. There’s no easiest race for beginners, even though veterans will tell you otherwise. Protoss, rumors says, would be easiest. Might be, might not be. If you don’t like the way your race looks, moves, or attacks, you’ll never enjoy the game. Hence, play what you like.
If you never played Brood War competitively – LANs in 1998 do not count – you should probably play a few games against the computer first. Simply to get a feeling for the movement of the races, to learn what unit does what, how the tech tree looks like and so on and so forth. Once you did that, you can go online and try your fortune against other players.
There are plenty of places you could visit – among them the classic Battle.net. Apparently some channels in Asia and US-West do exist, which feature good players. However, more places exist on all severs, which are anything but nice. There are plenty of hackers, nobody uses important tools and you will face a ton of scrubs, which will hold you back from learning the game. If you constantly bash the lowest of the low, you can’t possibly get something out of it. Similar, but slightly different, Gameranger and Garena. These portals are equally silly.
A better idea would be ICCup or FISH. The first one is the traditional home of the foreigners, mainly dominated by Russian speaking players. It has only a few hundred players – which is still enough to find games. The ladder is easy to understand. You start out with 1000 points and the rank „D“. Every 1000 points you climb up one rank (D+, C-, C,…). Any win against a player on the same rank will earn you 100 points; however, the amount of lost points depends on the rank. On D Ranks you lose 50, on C 75 and B already 100. The special feature of ICCup’s ladder revolves around the so-called „Maps of the Week“. Each week five maps are selected. If you play on them, you gain another 30% bonus points.
To play on this server, you have to register an account on their website. Afterwards, you want to install their launcher, or some third party tool allowing you to join the server. See more in the Tech Detail chapter again.
The alternative to ICCup is FISH – the Korean sever with thousands of players. However, joining there is kind of tricky, as you have to go through some Korean, as well as some other difficulties. None of them are hard by any means, but the pay-off for a beginner is not that great. FISH’s population is mainly Korean, hence language problems if you want to play against them. Again, there are tutorials guiding you here, but well…
Generally speaking, you should skim through the Teamliquid Tutorial if you want to play. I advice you to only play there if you are already good enough to realize that this blog isn’t for you. This means, that you should be able to compete with the best foreigners.
Depending on what Operating System you run (windows 7 or higher), you might face some problems. Generally speaking, the most common issues revolve around color bugs. This means that the lobby of the game (online) might have inverted colours, or other strange looking stuff. This is a downer, but can easily be fixed. Just google „Windows X Color Fix“ and you find the sources fast.
More troublesome however are the router related questions. In order to be able to host games on your own, you have to set up your internet connection accordingly. For any tech savvy person, these two things have to be set up:
1) Any Firewall or Anti-Virus software have to allow Battle.net and Brood War to connect
2) The Port 6112 has to be forwarded to your local IP for TCP and UDP (both!)
Since there are many models, I’ll make it short, try these links (for non-tech savvy people): http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft/Portal:Beginners/Gateways#Guide:_Port_Forwarding
Furthermore, you will have to use „Launchers“ in order to join either FISH or ICCup. Both have several things, you will need: the so-called plug-ins. One of them is an Anti-Hack (which function is obvious) and the other important one is the LanLatency. The latter allows you to play with less latency in games, without it controlling your army will become very annoying, as each action will be performed with a longer delay.
The launchers to use are The ICCup Launcher for ICCup, and Wlauncher for FISH. However, both are not that great and most likely buggy. Try the MCA64 Launcher instead – which features a ton of good stuff the original tools don’t: This includes a port forwarding plug-in (which sometimes works very well) and entries for both servers. If you want to stream, there’s also tools to manage twitch.
If you want to play on ICCup, you will also have to download their Mappack. Un-zip (Un-rar) it and put the downloaded files in your \Maps\ Directory.