Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shared control? In MY starcraft teams?

Apologies about the lack of blog post last night-- I was over at Branden's from early yesterday until this morning, so there wasn't much of a chance to. Anyway!

So Blake, Branden and I have just discovered a cool new function for Starcraft 2 team matches. You can, via opening up a window and checking a couple of boxes, allow your allies to get control of your units.

If this doesn't sound great at face value, that's understandable-- mechanically, you derive no advantage from this practice. However, there's several situations where the team would benefit from each member having automatic access to the others' units. Examples follow:

1) "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Terran players like to wall up chokepoints, which to other players can be endlessly aggravating as your units can't get around them without the Terran player in question manually lowering the wall. Sharing control makes it marginally less annoying.

2) Stupid multi-race shenanigans

1) Terran Medivacs + Zerg Mutalisks = long-lasting harassment of opposing mineral lines
2) Terran Medivacs + Zerg Ultralisks = assault unit utterly invulnerable to small-to-medium-arms fire.
3) Terran Medivacs + damn near every other Zerg unit
4) Marines + Roaches = Low-gas-cost attack force with a damn fine tanking unit to absorb blows for the Marines.
5) Vikings + Brood Lords = Siege force that can be parked outside a base over water/deep space and thereby be damned near invulnerable to ground OR air.
6) Observers + Nydus Worms

3) Twice the force, half the APM!

Consider: two players are attacking. That means that both of them must attend fully to the attack, or the attack suffers. This stops being true if one player controls all the units, thereby allowing the other to concentrate fully on macro. (I did this last night with Bryce, Branden's brother, and it worked out quite well-- he would lead assault forces composed of equal parts his marines and my roaches.)

4) Focus fire has never been so easy.

'Nuff said.

5) "Help me! Oh god! I'm being attacked! NO NO NOT ON THAT BASE, MY OTHER BASE, THIS IS HORRIBLE"

If you have a detector, and your ally who is getting swamped by cloaked Dark Templars does not, he can shuttle that detector over to his base quickly and easily without having to yell profanity at you. ("Sorry, can't help you, I'm occupied with vomiting on my hatcheries.")

6) Coordinating assaults individually can be difficult.

And is made much easier if you can just grab the spare units at your allies' bases and send them marching along (though this really only works well if they're not specialist units-- I would not want to have to juggle the abilities of a High Templar, Ghost, and Infestor all at once.)

That said...

I'd definitely recommend not messing with your allies' production and econ. That's just common courtesy!


  1. The only reason your ally would be swamped with Dark Templars is because you're playing against me, and then it's game over anyway :-P


  2. I wonder if you couldn't build a viable strategy around one player JUST doing macro (economies, etc) and the other JUST microing assault forces? It's a bit unorthodox, admittedly, but it seems like it might be interesting to test out.

  3. It's a neat idea-- I like the idea of a four-player Zerg team with one guy whose job is basically to vomit on hatcheries.

    That said, one problem we'd have to get around is that we can't see how many resources our allies have, so managing production for them may be difficult.

  4. Ya, Aaron and I were tossing that idea around, but that is the big limitation. You're still spending your own money even if you have control of units (even if you control workers) so while one player microing is no problem, both players need to be macroing on some level, otherwise one player builds up a ton of resources while the other is struggling.

    Base building and expansion is perfectly viable, the other player who's microing just still has to produce his own units. So then the idea kind of falls apart to an extent.

    With that said, unit sharing has been mostly really cool. I took a combined Corrupter/Void Ray force against massed BCs, and if both Aaron and I have been controlling our own units I don't think I would have won that battle. But since he just slaved them over to my control I was able to take them down in relatively short order, although I lost every Void Ray (and a couple Corrupters).

    The big downside is accidental clicking. For instance, in a 3v3 a guy attacked me, I ran behind my mineral line defenses and Aaron quite helpfully sent units in to save me, and ended up between my Nexus and my minerals. We fought them off, then I sent my probes back to start harvesting again, only to notice a couple seconds later them mixed in with Aaron's roaches. I assume he had drag-selected, and had forgotten I had given him control, and grabbed my entire mineral line along with his roaches >_< So you just have to be conscious of things like that.