So it has been a while since I last wrote a blog (and to be specific, my only post thus far). I have been keeping myself extremely busy with the site, new cast times, and casting for alternative functions. I figured that the blog may be a nice way to begin an expansion to a new horizon of the C0ffeeCast, so I hope to continue updating this blog. I want to write about all things Starcraft: an upcoming patch, an issue I have, a player I like. However, I want to have some sort of focus on the techniques and complications of casting, and as an amateur caster, there are a lot of complications!
Woes of Broadcasting
So I want this post to be a bit about the quality of the video, not the caster. I have had many a'problems with my broadcasting software, XSplit Broadcaster, ranging from misconfiguration, confusion of controls, and software bugs. There have been times that I have hit the broadcast button, XSplit will give me the go ahead, and 10 minutes into the cast the chat is asking why I haven't gone live yet. This is by infuriating, by all means, but I have to give the most frustrating award to the configuration and properties of channels. I don't know how many times I have looked up VBV Max Bitrate and VBV Buffer- I just do not understand them. Once when I was streaming for a tournament not of my own, the audience was discussing how I needed to change some settings a certain way, so I did.
I have no idea how it affected anything.
And the audio encoding likely frustrates me even more. I don't know what the hell the problem is, but when I do live recordings at 44.100 KHz 16-bit Stereo with a bitrate of 128000, my voice is fairly much clear. When I do a local recording at a bitrate of 320000 I get the mushiest, crappiest sound to come out of a mic, and it just sounds plain flat out unprofessional, and that is something I will not tolerate. It's something I am working on, but I am fairly much just blindly changing settings.
An Annoying State of PvZ
So I don't know how far down the leagues this strategy has descended. Personally, I haven't felt the effects yet (thatnkfully : p), and I am around the low Diamond level right now. However, in the upper Diamonds and professionals, a base race trend is starting to occur in PvZ, but it tends to be a little one-sided. Zergs are doing a mass Muta style- we're talking 40+ Mutalisks- and making 60 or so Spine Crawlers back home to defend. The Protoss player is slowly whittled away while the Zerg sits back and picks a little here, and a little there. Eventually, unable to establish a fourth base, due to the Mutalisks, the Protoss is forced into a base race situation. Unfortunately for the 'Toss'es out there, Spine Crawlers count as structures. The Mutalisks are able to roll around the Protoss base taking out tech and production alike, and the Protoss player loses the majority of his army to the Spine Crawlers. I have heard many complaints (and not just from Sleepercells) about this strategy, so I wanted to break it down a little bit to help counter it. These are going to be basic concepts, and may make it sound like I am being condescending, but so many Protoss players don't play a modern PvZ style or simply do not have the concept of anti-Mutalisk down. Just review your last PvZ and tell me if you did all of these things.
And I don't just mean that Probe at the beginning of the game. Scout the 3rd around the 4 minute mark. Not there? Check again at 6:00, 8:00, until you find it. Then deny it. If you can't deny it, harass it- force Zerglings / Roaches. Have that Observer scouting around the main and natural looking for tech. Get destroyed by a Spore Crawler? Make another. Be vigilant. With a Chronoboost, it's only ~22 seconds of lost Robotics time.
::EDIT:: It has been brought to my attention this nasty Mutalisk starts out as a 2-base Mutalisk harass build, where the Muta's should come around the 10:00 mark. If you aren't seeing a third by 7:00 or so, start thinking about cannoning up and getting blink, keeping in mind you have ~2 minutes until you need to start doing those things. An extra cannon at the front may not hurt, in-case of a roach all-in, too. Zerglings at the front of their base indicates Mutalisks or Infesters. Thanks Sleepercells : )
This is one of those "duh" factors, but you would be surprised how many Protoss's let their Zerg opponents hit 4 or even 5 bases unopposed. Mutalisks are not cheap. Stop the opponent from getting gas, and you stop the opponent from getting a flock of deadly malformed geese. And again, at the very least, harass the bases. Have a forward Pylon somewhere and warp in 4 Zealots and set them to attack the Hatchery or Drones. Bring Blink Stalkers up, kill an expo, and run like hell. Even if you can only do a bit of damage to it, do that damage and come back later to finish the job! You're throwing your opponent off their game.
Split Your Army
Once you see a Spire (which is probably the most popular tech for Zerg at this stage of ZvP, beginning to overtake the Infester route), get a few Stalkers and a couple Cannons at each mineral line, and seriously, get Blink as fast as humanely possible. Blink is one of those great upgrades that is amazing to have at any point in the game. Cut a single Colossus to get this upgrade, or skip one High Templar. That easy. Make sure your Stalkers are on a different hotkey than your normal army- these units can not afford to be clogged up by Zealots when trying to get up a ramp to defend.
Phoenix Will Not be Enough
Phoenix are super amazing counters to Mutalisks... in small numbers. Once that Muta count hits 15 or so, you just will not be able to produce enough Phoenix to counter (and the +2 range upgrade is sort of a joke, it seems). If you went a Stargate opening, however, having some Phoenix around will help a ton with your early Muta defense until you can get Blink and Storm up. Whiiiich just so happens to be my next point...
Storm is the Ultimate Defense vs Mutalisks
Storm does 80 damage, or 10 ever half second (http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Psionic_Storm). Without good micro, you are still guaranteed to do at least 10 damage to every Mutalisk. With bad micro, you can reduce every Mutalisk to at least half of their health, be there 15 Mutalisks or 40. It forces the Zerg to turn around for a moment or abandon ship all together. This is time to get the bulk of your forces in position to defend.
::EDIT:: An excellent Day Daily (#415) about stopping Mutalisks.