What is this “Macro” you speak of?
Thu 12th Apr 2012 - 10:05pm: Starcraft II
Economy Management more commonly known as “Macro” is one huge aspect of any game. It’s the spending of your resources, creation of workers and upgrades building units. It’s the general management and spending of all your resources to better yourself and your army.
Most of us know the basics of macro, keep making workers, don’t forget upgrades, expand when it’s safe and so on and so forth. But what is the real goal macro, what should you be focusing on and when should you expand or upgrade. They are all good questions and I’d love to have a straight answer for you, but each game is different. So instead we’re going to look at some different techniques you could and should be using, some basic goals for each game and some different features in the game to help you achieve this.
Make Time for Macro
One key thing to remember is it’s OK to hold a line with your army to expand and upgrade. You don’t have to push and poke as soon as you have a large army. As long as you don’t forget to pressure at some point, it’s perfectly fine to hold off and be a little more patient.
A lot of people especially in the lower leagues feel as soon as you have a big army you must push out or you will lose your edge. This isn’t true, if you’re ahead in a game and have a bigger army yes it’s good to go out and pressure but it’s also just as good to take a position and hold it while trying to exploit your advantage economically.
Not only in the lower leagues but also in the mid to higher leagues people can feel the pressure to push a small advantage by taking it and pushing into the base of the opponent. It’s happened many times before and there’re many examples of people with an advantage going on to lose everything in a frontal attack and loosing the game. I always try to push an advantage in the way of economy because I enjoy playing macro games and I always try to get to macro games rather than short micro battles.
Don’t Forget the Upgrades!
Way to many times have I gone half a match with only upgrading my Roaches to 1 1 and forgetting to go any further until I realise the reason I lost my entire army was because he had better upgrades. If you have minerals and gas that won’t be used on units or buildings then throw them into upgrades. Upgrades are never a bad thing to get unless you’re going to transition out of the units you’re currently building.
If you’re more in the early stages of a game and you’re hanging around about the 15 minute mark you may not be sure whether you will need to transition into different units. So when going up to level 2 upgrades or 3 try and pick ones that will be generically useful. Hold off on weapons or ranged weapon upgrades to make sure you know what you want to go with.
If you’re down the lower end of the spectrum of StarCraft or “Not Masters YET players” (– Sean "Day" Plott) then there’s a chance you’re not using hotkeys. For those that don’t they are very game changing, as we all know keyboard tapping is quicker than clicking. That’s just a fact that we’ve proven already, if you bind your army to 1 (seems to be the normal key for the army at the moment) and you want to move them all out it’s a lot easier just to press 1 than dragging a box around them all.
The same principle works for buildings as well, if you have 3 bases which you want to make units from as well as some other buildings (barracks for example) it’s going to be much quicker to press one key for each of those building groups.
In short, hotkeys take a while to learn but they will make your play so much faster and allow you to play at a much higher level! They are very required at the high silver+ league levels.
In short, macro is vital to a long game and nailing your macro can push you up a league or two and can help you make better economical decision during a game. Being patient is important when macroing heavily, it will allow you to build a lot more and upgrade a lot more. And hotkeys are key to good performance in not only your macro but your general game play.