The Pact
Dec 2nd, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

pinback: So, DOTA.
Ice Cream Jonsey: DOTA?
Ice Cream Jonsey: Day of the Tentacle?
Ice Cream Jonsey: Dark Age of Camelot?
pinback: “Defense of the Ancients”. The “Ancient” is the big thing that you lose the game if you do not “Defend” it.

pinback: I am watching a professional match and do not understand it.
pinback: Looks like a buncha fuckin’ nerds.
Ice Cream Jonsey: Who are these fucks?
pinback: Koreans, probably.

Ice Cream Jonsey: I heard that the best player in the world of DOTA, his girlfriend is Ms South Cleveland.

pinback: Apparently it’s a five-on-five team game, with each player controlling one “man” who can gain “levels” and “skills”.
pinback: It was the most popular WC3 mod, apparently, and now both Valve and Blizzard’s biggest upcoming releases are “DOTA 2”. They’re each making one.
pinback: It’s the biggest thing in gaming today.
pinback: Is what I hear.

Ice Cream Jonsey: I don’t like any games any more that are supposed to be “big.”
pinback: It’s BIG. Everyone’s playing it, Robb.
Ice Cream Jonsey: I don’t like Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends, Call of Duty or Gears of War.
Ice Cream Jonsey: I wish I could narrow down what those four games have in common.
pinback: I SENSE A THEME.

pinback: I don’t understand DOTA though. And these broadcasters might as well be speaking, I dunno… some sort of… what, alien language? Or something?
pinback: Man, I don’t get any of this.
Ice Cream Jonsey: I can help. I made a reference that only YOU would get in another place. Would you like to see it?
pinback: Yes.
Ice Cream Jonsey:
Ice Cream Jonsey: You are the only person who will get the reference.

pinback: heeh eheh kekeke and the plagooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Ice Cream Jonsey: Aw man. I wish customized jerseys were cheaper.
Ice Cream Jonsey: Because I would get a Saints #22 PLAGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
pinback: HAHahahahah
Ice Cream Jonsey: (Until they ran out of letters.)
Ice Cream Jonsey: I would hope that the Os would flip around to the front.

pinback: I always wanted to get a #79 Avs jersey with the name “PHO”.
pinback: THen I would go into Pho #79 and demand free soup.
Ice Cream Jonsey: (turns around, points thumbs at back of jersey) EHHHHH???

Ice Cream Jonsey: If either one of us ever makes more than $300,000 then that will be our pact. We get us both our customized jerseys.
pinback: PACT

Starcraft 2: From Worse to Bad — Core Concepts (Part 1)
Apr 1st, 2011 by Pinback

In this part (3) of a possibly two-part part, we’ll examine what I like to call core concepts, because they are concepts, and also core. These are the some of the basic overlying, or possibly underlying concepts (or "things") that you will want to — nay, have to — keep in mind at all times whilst playing a game of StarCraft II.

To refresh, "playing a game" refers to playing a 1v1 multiplayer game against some other nerd on the internet. While these core concepts apply to other game styles as well, they are most vitally important in the core game, which is 1v1.

Alright, ready? I will try to list these concepts in descending order of importance, but realistically, to rise up to the level of being a bad StarCraft II player, which is our goal, they are all nearly equally important.

CORE CONCEPT #1: Always be building workers.

Start here, and if you must, play several games focusing on nothing but this. With very few exceptions, you are going to want to always be building workers. SC2 is a game of strategic and tactical skill second, and economy first, and it is vital that you grow your economy as quickly as possible. Some might disagree that economy is more important than strategy/tactics, but believe me, if economy is not your #1 concern, you’ll never get far enough into a game to try out any of your precious strategies. And the way you grow your economy is to make as many workers as possible, as quickly as possible.

It also helps to know how many workers are effective at each base. That’s fine, and we can learn that later. Short version: about 24 on mining, and 3 on each gas. But don’t worry as much about that. Just worry about always be building workers. It’s as easy as cake, too. You’ve got your base(s) on hotkeys, and you know that "q" is the grid hotkey for worker, so two quick keypresses will be enough to get the new worker in the queue.

The only time you ever want to not be building workers is if you are going to die if you don’t do something else immediately. If you’re about to be ZERGRUSHOMGed, then some more defenses or military units are probably more important than another worker if you can’t afford both. But once the emergency’s over? See: always be building workers.

CORE CONCEPT #2: Always be building supply buildings.

One of the two most embarrassing things you can do while you’re building your army is to be "supply blocked". Your military buildings are sitting there waiting to create units, you’ve got plenty of money, but instead, they might as well be SPACE HOTDOG STANDS, because you didn’t build enough supply buildings. The word "always" in this case isn’t as precise as in CORE CONCEPT #1, because you don’t really always need to be building supply. You do, however, always need to be watching your supply counter in the upper right hand corner, and when you see you’re getting close, you need to start building it, so that you are never prevented from building more units.

Don’t get supply blocked. It doesn’t look good.

So far, if you’re following these CORE CONCEPTS, you’re developing what pilots call a "scan". A normal checking of certain things that is done on a regular basis to make sure everything’s going well. So now your mental "scan" consists of: "Am I building workers? Am I keeping supply up?" This "scan" will take you far, but it needs to be happening constantly. Many people even put a little sticky note near the screen that says "workers, supply, …" to remind them what they need to be thinking about, all the time.

It’s hard work. That’s SC2.

Now let’s add even more things to your "scan", with:

CORE CONCEPT #3: Always spend all of your money.

"Money" is a general term which is applied to the resources available in the game: minerals and gas. The other most embarrassing thing you can do during your game is have any money. This is because your economy, which you’ve built up pretty well by following the first two CORE CONCEPTS is completely worthless if you’re not spending the money that it generated.

Watch any low-level play, look up at the little resource counters in the upper right, and you’re guaranteed to see some high numbers. Anything more than a couple hundred is "high". Anything more than 500 is "very high". And anything over 1000 is embarrassing.

It’s contradictory to how you might think. You’re sitting there with 1500 minerals and 1000 gas and thinkin’, hey, things are goin’ pretty good! Look at all that cash! Meanwhile, the enemy army comes in and roflstomps you because while you were hoarding wealth, he was spending it, and spending it immediately, to convert it to force on the battlefield as quickly as possible.

Now, there are two ways to spend all your money! One is the right way. One is the wrong way. Let’s say you’re playing Protoss, you’ve got a gateway up, and you’ve got 500 minerals in the bank. Let’s look at the two ways you can spend ’em:

RIGHT WAY* (example): Select the gateway, build a zealot (100). Select the nexus, build a worker (50). Select a worker, build another gateway (150). Select a worker, build a supply building (100).

WRONG WAY: Select the gateway and queue up five zealots. (100, 100, 100, 100, 100).

Do you see the difference? Sure, in both scenarios, your bank account is now at zero. However, in the RIGHT WAY, every last mineral is actively going to use to bring more force to the battlefield, where in the WRONG WAY, only 100 is actively doing anything, and the other 400 are just sitting around in escrow.

Queuing stuff up is one of the most common errors new players make, in fact. So don’t do that. But spend all of your money. If you’ve got a unit-building structure sitting around idle, build a unit with it. If you don’t have enough structures to spend all your money on units, build a new structure.

If you can make money as fast as possible, and spend it as fast as possible (without queuing), you cannot help but become a bad StarCraft II player. And if, god forbid, you actually want to be better than that, then none of this is even a little bit optional.

Let’s review your scan: Am I building workers? Am I building enough supply? Am I spending all of my money?

The final core concept, I was considering saving for part 2, because it may seem more advanced than these basic concepts, but ultimately it still fits into the theme of growing your economy as fast as possible, so I’ll just launch right into:

CORE CONCEPT #4: Always use your macro ability.


One significant addition to SC2 from the original game is that each race now has what’s called a "macro ability". In layman’s terms, it’s a little gimmick that, if you remember to do it, allows you to build your economy faster than you would normally by just building workers. Here’s a quick description of each race’s ability:

TERRAN: May call down "MULEs", which harvest minerals extremely fast for a short period of time before breaking down.

PROTOSS: May "chronoboost" buildings, which has the effect of making that building build stuff faster than it would normally for a short period of time.

ZERG: May "inject larvae" into hatcheries every so often, which gives a one-time increase of the number of units that can be produced from the hatchery at the same time.

At first these may seem like fun little things to try out from time to time, but you will quickly learn that these abilities are not optional, and that you must be using them, every time, as soon as they become available, or your economy will fall behind, because the guy you’re playing is using them, every time, as soon as they become available.

I forget this one the most often, because Jesus Christ, don’t I have enough to worry about with the workers and the supply and the money, and by the way I’m also trying to build units and scout and deploy them to the battlefield and research upgrades and GOD DAMMIT I CAN’T BE THINKING ABOUT THE STUPID MACRO ABILITIES TOO!! It’s too hard!

Well, it is. But you still have to do it. Nobody said that becoming a truly bad SC2 player was going to be easy.

Let’s do one final review of the "scan", which contains all the things that you have to be thinking about at all times, oh my god:

Workers, supply, money, macro ability.

Burn these CORE CONCEPTS into your mind, and into your game, and I guarantee that you will definitely not suck quite as much as you do now.

(*) I realized after the fact that these only add up to 400. You get the idea, though.

I May Have Gotten Banned From The Starcraft 2 Forum
Sep 22nd, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

It all started when Blizzard finally released a patch. I say “finally” not because I am exasperated. Starcraft 2 is one of the most stable games on release of all-time. No, the constantly crying band of idiots on their forum wouldn’t shut up about some perceived disadvantage “Zerg” had, if you played a billion games.

Forum Idiot Lolo started a thread with the following:

the worst idea ever!! ingame clock can take strategy away from the game.. just knowing oh my opponent can’t have blank before 5 mins, or my opponent may have this at 12 mins takes away from the practice and real studying that players used to have to do to learn these timings.. now any retard can just look at a clock and know.. it takes away from possible mind games that can be played to your advantage.

just remove this feature from ladder! its a really bad idea for ladder play. what are your opinions people?

And it went on for SEVEN PAGES. I responded with this:

I can’t believe you pussies managed to go seven pages deep on a GAME CLOCK. A game clock!

I’ve got an idea of something Blizzard can create: a STAR NOOSE. And maybe you could focus-test it for them.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when my post was DELETED! Deleted! Me! Deleted! **Me!**

They have a policy, you see, about making physical threats towards other users. They will delete your post if you do that. You can literally start 20 threads a day submitting that Zerg has a minor disadvantage when you’ve been playing for 50 minutes and that’s fine, but one minor threat, and – but wait! I didn’t make any specific threat! What the –?! So I responded with this:

Why was my post deleted?

I did NOT make a threat towards whoever the idiot was that started this horrible thread. I suggested he get a NOOSE and FOCUS TEST it. That’s all. No threat on my part! I did not offer to buy him a noose. I did not offer to drive to his house and put it on him. All I did was say that Blizzard ought to make a noose, and he ought to test it. You can test nooses without putting them round your head, fastening them to an overhead beam or pipe, and jumping down, you know. Maybe I wanted the manchild OP to test the weave of the material. The quality of the craftsmanship. The color. You don’t know, you banhappy monsters!

Secondly, I specifically said “star noose.” There’s no such frigging thing as a star noose. Here’s methods of suicide that don’t work in a zero gravity world: HANGING. Good Christ! Did my post really get deleted because I told a guy to test out a fanciful device for killing oneself that wouldn’t work in outer space? That’s like four levels of abstraction here! I demand an apology!

I demand an apology!

Look, I didn’t do anything wrong. There’s no blood on my hands. Like Charles Manson, I didn’t directly harm anyone. OK maybe that’s not the best analogy I can use here, but still.

Anyway, for whatever reason, that didn’t seem to get them to restore my post, so to show my independence, I started up Star Control 2, Sim City 2 and any other game with similar initials to show just how little Starcraft 2 means to m- I miss it already.

Starcraft 2: From Worse to Bad — Control Groups
Sep 7th, 2010 by Pinback

SC2! This installment is called:

Putting Your Buildings In Control Groups

That sounds like a terribly dry, boring title, so it may surprise you when I tell you that this is the most important installment that you could ever read, if you want to be a not-quite-as-terrible SC2 player. Stick with me.

If you’ve ever watched a replay of a professional (or even half-decent) SC2 match, you will notice two things:

1. Something has gone horribly, horribly wrong in your life, because you’re sitting there watching replays of other people playing video games.

2. Somehow they’re able to move their armies, attack with precision, AND build new units and buildings and upgrades at the same time!

I could never figure out how that was possible. I’d either be base-building, getting a bunch of guys together, while the guys I’d already built just sat around waiting, or I’d be taking my big group of units and attacking, while my base just sat there doing nothing. There are names for these things! You may have heard them, and if you watch a replay, you will definitely hear them:

TERM: "Micro"

DEFINITION: "Micro"-management of military units. Moving them around, having them scout or attack enemies.

USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "He’s micro-ing really well, see how he sent those marines around to the other side of the (whatever, etc, etc.)"

TERM: "Macro"

DEFINITION: Economy building, Base building, Unit building, etc.

USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "That one guy micros better, but he just got overwhelmed because the other guy out-macroed him lolz gg omfg"

To restate my problems above, I could micro or macro, but not both at the same time. And that amazing thing the pros do? Microing and macroing at the same time. That is the number one key to becoming a only-a-fraction-as-awful SC2 player. And the number one key to microing and macroing at the same time is:

Putting Your Buildings In Control Groups

To review, a "control group" is when you assign a clump of units to one of the number keys on the top row of the keyboard. If you got ten zerglings, and you want to attack, you’d put them in, say, the "1" control group. Then whenever you wanted to select all of them, you’d just hit "1". If you wanted to center the camera on them, you’d just double-tap "1".

That’s fine. But the key thing here is, you can put your buildings in control groups too!

Before I explain how to do this, I will give you an example of what it looks like:

1. Hurm, durm, here I am with my little army on control group 1, I’m gettin’ close to the enemy, this’ll be fun!

2. Oh, I should probably build some more guys back at the base, in case this doesn’t go well, cuz I suck at micro.

OLD WAY: Leave your army sittin’ there, scroll back to the base, select the production building, click on the little Marine picture (or whatever), then double-tap 1 and go back to moving your army around.

NEW WAY: Let’s say you’ve grouped all of your production buildings on the "5" key. You hit "5". You hit (hotkey for Marine). You hit 1 to go back to controlling the army.

Holy crap, right? You just started building a guy, and it took two keystrokes, and you never had to move the camera. You were looking at your army the whole time, confident that back at your base, a new guy was being built. If you had two production buildings, you’d go 5, q, q, 1, and it would automatically make one building start building one guy, and the other the other. You made TWO GUYS in less than a second, without having to take your eye of your army. Oh man.

This gives you the idea of why this is so important.

I will just tell you how I do it. You can play around with it and configure it more to your liking.


I put "town hall" buildings (Command Center, Nexus) on 4. All of them. Any time I need a new worker, "4, q". Boom. Need a few? "4, q, q, q". BAM. BUILDIN’ WORKERS. Also each of the town hall buildings has its own little special abilities which you’d also activate this way. As Terran, want to scan the opponent’s base? "4, x, (click on where you want to scan". KAPOW. (Note, all of these examples assumed the "Grid" hotkey system, see last installment.)

I put production buildings (any building that makes units) on 5. I already gave you an example of this. This also, though, makes rallying easy. Want to rally ALL your newly created units to one spot? "5, (right-click on rally point)". Holy Jesus, you just rallied like twelve production buildings to one spot with one key press and one mouse click! HOLY CHRISTING LORD!!

I put "upgrade" buildings (those that you don’t actively interact with except when you wish to do research to do upgrades) on 6. Want to research Warp Gates but are too busy to click around to find the Cybernetics Core? "6, z". KERSPOWW!! JOB’S DUN!

That’s it. I use 4, 5, and 6 because 1, 2, 3 I reserve for groups of military units. Note how awesome this is, though. Using the Grid hotkeys, with these control groupings, I literally never have to move my left hand to do ANYTHING IN THE GAME that you’d ever need to do.


Zerg is slightly different because the "town hall" building is also the only unit production building. So they stay on 4, but 5 is instead used for grouping all the "queen" units, which have special abilities you need to be constantly using — particularly "spawn larvae". Need to spawn larvae at two of your hatcheries with your two queens? "5, x, (click on minimap hatchery), x, (click on other one)". BOWFF!!! Now that’s some fine larvae-spawnin’!

Alright. That’s about it for today’s installment, see you nex—

"HEY WAIT A MINUTE, PINNER! There’s ALL SORTS of production and upgrade buildings! If you have them all grouped together, how do you select a Barracks to build a Marine, vs. a Factory to build a Siege Tank, vs. a Starport to build a Banshee? And if all my upgrade buildings are on one key, how do I research Zergling speed at the Spawning Pool vs. Air attack +1 at the Spire? Etc., etc.?"

That’s the question, isn’t it. And there’s a very special key on the keyboard that has the answer. I will give you a hint as to which key it is:

Did you figure it out? It’s the "Tab" key. And the reason it’s the Tab key is because SC2 has something called "subgroups". You may group a bunch of different types of buildings together, or types of military units together, but SC2 will secretly distribute them into "subgroups", based on their type.

So when you select "5" to select your production buildings, can you guess which key will select the next "subgroup" in your main group? Can you?

I’ll give you that hint again:

Here’s the real life example, which will BLOW YOUR FRIGGIN’ MIND:

You have two barracks and two starports, all on group 5. You’re fightin’ a battle, but quickly want to get two marauders and two medivacs building back at your base. Check it:

"5, w, w, TAB, w, w".

Your mind? FRIGGIN’ BLOWN. First you selected the whole group (which defaulted to the barracks), built two marauders with the "w" hotkey, tabbed over to the starport sub-group, and built two medivacs, with the same hotkey. And since SC2 distributes your requests to all available buildings, each of your four buildings is building one of those units.

And it took you one second, and you never had to look at your base.

I guess, to sum up, I’d say that the most important thing to learn to do as you climb the ranks of the eternally mediocre, is:

Putting Your Buildings In Control Groups

Starcraft 2: From Worse to Bad
Aug 28th, 2010 by Pinback

SC2!Welcome to SC2FWTB, the thread in which I will TEACH YOU, the horrible SC2 player, how to rise to the ranks of the merely bad! I feel qualified to dispense this advice, because I am a bad player. However, I used to be terrible, and have made tremendous strides by following the advice I will now begin to give you!

I will do this in installments!

Today’s installment is called:


Make no mistake! Without using hotkeys, you will always be horrible. Your first and only job, as a horrible player, is to learn to use hotkeys.

Not only that, but you need to learn to use hotkeys exclusively. A good training exercise for this (which will eventually become the way you actually play) is to play games against the computer, without ever touching the little selection menu in the lower-right. NEVER!

This takes work, as in the beginning, it will be much quicker for you to use the mouse to click on an icon than to recall the hotkey. But this is necessary.


If you already know the standard hotkeys backwards and forwards, skip to “CONCLUSION”.

If you still haven’t learned any kind of hotkeys well enough for them to be second nature:

I want you to immediately click on “Options” in the SC2 menu. Then I want you to click on “Hotkeys”. At the top of this screen is a dropdown, called “Profile”. I want you to click on the dropdown, and select “Grid”.

What does this mean?

This replaces all of the default hotkeys with the “Grid” hotkeys, which are so much easier to use that you would have to be an insane person not to learn them.

Essentially, it makes the fifteen leftmost (or rightmost, if you’re left-handed) alphabetic keys on the keyboard correspond to the fifteen little icon boxes in the lower right of the screen.

This has three tremendous benefits:

1. If you don’t remember a hotkey, you can just look at the icon, see where it is in the selection menu, and PRESS DAT KEY.

2. The hotkeys for all three races are now PRETTY MUCH THE SAME! No more “e” for probe, “s” for SCV, and… whatever the hell drones were. Now any time you need a worker for any race, “q” is where it’s at.

3. More importantly, you never have to move your hand. You always wondered how the pros could do fifty million things at once and it never looks like they’re flailing all over the keyboard hunting for hotkeys? This is why.

If you’ve ever dreamed of not being horrible at SC2, AND of being able to sit there calmly, your hand comfortably resting in the “home” position, being merely bad, then the Grid hotkeys are a must. There are two complaints you might have about Grid as a horrible player, which are are:

1. “The hotkeys don’t make any sense!” REBUTTAL: Like they made sense before? Now you have to press “q” for a marine, instead of… “a”. ?????

2. “‘a’ was always the attack-move command! The most important command in the game! Now it’s ‘t’!! Arg!” REBUTTAL: Look. If you are right handed, and you’ve got your hands in the right position, “a” is located so you have to curl your ring-finger back to get at it. “t” is right where your index finger is. Now all you gotta do is MASH THAT T. “But ‘a’ stands for ‘attack!!'” REBUTTAL!! Trust me, after the first ten thousand times you hit ‘t’ for attack-move (2 games), you will thank me.


In conclusion… hotkeys!

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