Starcraft: Brood War


Battle.net
Attack of the Maddened Gromits


Battle.net connection screen Battle.Net is Blizzard's "free" (with the purchase of the game ha ha) online gaming service. It will patch you up the the latest and greatest version automatically and allow you to register a player name and password and join in the fun online. There appear to be two main internet gaming domains, Battle.Net and Kali.Net. Kali.Net is accessible via shareware. It does tend to have less obnoxious gromits on it than the pimply hordes on B.Net, since many of them are screened out by not owning a credit card. Apparently some two million Koreans have bought Starcraft, and anyone on Battle.net in Oz will quickly find there are thousands of Starcraft games running on it any moment--mostly played by Koreans!

Note: After nearly twelve months away from Starcraft, I finally did a quick revisit to B.Net. Incredible as it may seem, most of the denzens there are still only playing endless variations of the same map, Big Game Hunters (BGH). In these hacked money maps there's unlimited resources and thus very little strategy - just who can build the most units in the shortest and swamp everyone else.  zzz  I've also noticed old hands lamenting the "BGH factor" in making Starcraft a hell of a lot less interesting than it used to (or could be?).

This page describes the sort of experiences your likely to encounter playing Battle.net in Australia. You quickly find:

A lot of bepimpled young'uns hanging around in the chat rooms not doing anything, except when they're busy slagging off at each other, arguing about nothing, and generally making you feel like you're stuck back in school again. Basically, all the crap you find in many free online chat sites that makes the demise of Hey Hey Its Saturday suddenly seem like a great loss.
Many games and players tend to disconnect. Its very frustrating after its taken half an hour to finally get a game going, and for the most part largely due to the dodgy connections down here in Oz, but it can be downright infuriating after several hours when your opponents just disconnect to avoid a loss on their record.
Invariably (on Australian servers at least) one of the endless variations on the "Big Game Hunters" map with near-infinite resources will be played on. That is, a "money map". Strategy on this sort of map sort of goes out the window and the mug who builds the biggest economy quickest will basically win, since the penalty for burning up your resources quickly has been conveniently removed. The other is a no holds barred rushers' game. These can be really good for fast early starts and defence practise.

You will find your opponent tends to be one of two people:

An absolute beginner with appalling lag who hides in a corner and either drops out or gets killed within the first five minutes of the game.

Some inhuman mechanoid who somehow produces ten dudes to your one, and idly massacres you with a barely stifled yawn. Not only that, this bastard will have expanded to occupy every corner of the map. You've obviously being doing something wrong - like not living and breathing this game sixteen hours a day for the last two years.


So soon? Where'd they all come from?Another ignomious end...

But there's a lot in between players...and unfortunately, many others who cheat like buggery. Many apparently impressive scores are gained by...


"Allying" up with the winners on "Allied Win" so that no one records a loss. Suggestion: I generally avoid this nefarious and artless behaviour, and remain steadfast in my refusal. Even when faced with a loss. However, some people genuinely like to spectate if they've been knocked out early--but be warned: they can still whisper to other players in  the game.
"Bottom feeding"--playing hopeless "newbies" to rack up easy kills. A sure sign that a bottom feeder is having a go at your leg is when the little tyke is swearing its head off: and I mean REALLY getting offensive in a way that only stupid, immature little halfwits who are far too young to realize the nastiness of their words, calling you everything from being a pussy or a woman right through to the just plain offensive: Jew, Boong, and worse; mindless, immature insults fired blindly into the ether to elicit any kind of response. Just the thing to make a game go completely sour. I've been told in all earnesty by some in B.Net chat rooms that its supposed to be some kind of psychological tactic: you get so angry you start making mistakes. I'm serious. Suggestions: the first one of course is to just not put up with this sort of nonsense, and bow out immediately. The little pest will no doubt crow about its easy win and warm itself by its vast tally of wins to losses with glee. HOWEVER: Suggestion number two is to take the little spitfire to task. My few bad experiences with this species were successfully reversed when they turned out to be only good for surprise attacks at absolute beginners. If you can successfully field an early rush, you can use a more psychologically effective strategem (and I confess a smugly vindictive one) by slowly squeezing the obnoxious little pimple off the map. While it shoots its mouth off and calls you a wimp, nip its expansions and make little hit and run attacks: flatten a building here and there before running away. Harass and annoy. Don't attack outright so it doesn't panic and promptly disconnect. Slowly build up your forces, but keep them just out of sight around his base to intimidate and prevent him climbing tech-trees, forcing him to rebuild his buildings all the time; fielding and destroying any units that stray into range. If its not a money map, the little gromit's soon running on empty (or more likely, disconnected by this time) or thankfully gone quiet as it twigs to its impending fate...
Breaking a "no-rush" agreement.You were obviously a bit of a dill to fall for this one. I have YET to see a B.Net game where the "no rush" request was actually stuck to to the time limit agreed to. Suggestion: At ALL times, assume NOTHING and assume you're about to get crushed. Note: a no-rush game is a technological arms race--don't forget to clamber up that tech-tree!
Breaking alliances to join up with their mates--surprise! You've been had. Suggestion: not much you can do: practise artful and disciplined losing. These situations are VERY difficult to get out of. Unless they've ganged up because they're hopeless...
Your defeated opponent tries to wheedle an alliance out of you to avoid the ignomity of defeat or, more likely, a recorded loss against their record. Suggestion: End this poor gromit's anguish and put down the wretch.
"Comp-stomping", that is, many human players all gang up on hopeless outnumbered computer players for no other reason than to return sporting wins. Now co-op play is a good thing - but four, five or SIX players against one AI? Come ON! Most of the time It makes you wonder why they bother going online in the first place...

Battle.net in Australia is also beset by lag and connectivity problems, which can result in mysterious dropouts (your game will continue, but your online score will not be recorded) or your stats apparently being zeroed when you first log on--if you can log on. Three sided tussleScoring on B.Net is strange affair: whether you spend six long hours fighting to an exhausted conclusion or win a quick rush in five minutes, B.Net will only record a point for a win. How you got there, how long it took, who you knocked out, the relative strengths of the players and all the statistics are basically disregarded. B.Net records only a WIN or a LOSS, unless you go for a Ladder Game, which seems to keep a rating. But you have to win ten games to get in the Ladder...

Aus-1 weblinkAustralian players may want to try out another homegrown alternative: Aus-1. Click the link, left. Well, after all that you may be wondering why on Earth you'd want to enter. But you can still get good value out of Battle.net, and its a good way to practise Starcraft. Many sensible folk prearrange games with their mates in their own priovate channels, which is why many Clans are formed in the first place. Basically you have no idea what's waiting for you in any game, which will strengthen your playing skills considerably. You will have to be patient, and there's a lot of filtering you have to do before a game can get going. Observing and coping with some of those lethal players will do wonders to your gameplay, even if you keep getting killed off early time after time.



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Last modified Thu, 22 Mar 2001 by Lindsay Fleay
Reformatted Mon Oct. 15 2001
Reformatted again Mon May. 10 2004 - man, this IS an old page