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Thread: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

  1. #1

    Default The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    In the spirit of the holidays and hope that my christmas wish will come true, I have decided to create a song about improving the MULE. Every day I will add another segment describing how the proposed "Remote Mining MULE" could enhance Starcraft 2.





    On the twelth day of Christmas, Blizzard gave to me,


    Well done and stunning,
    Hidden Content:
    I want to talk about something I think has been undervalued in all the macro debate. This is Presentation and Perception. But first I want describe something I have seen with new players. New players naturally gravitate towards micro oriented play styles. There are many reasons for this but I think that one of the biggest has to do with what I call visual presentation. Simply put explosions and lazers are alot more interesting to look at then workers mining. Obviously you never want players just sitting their watching animations but visual displays greatly impact enjoyment and engagement.

    One of best pieces of advise to teach new players how to macro better is to tell them to stop watching their battles. This is hard because battles have that movie expeirence which is part of the reason we play Starcraft. And yet Starcraft is not just about watching battles, there is also a production and economic side of gameplay with its own benefits, playstyles, values and enriching experiences. Now building up your base will never look as spectacular as a zergling swarm heading straight into a siege tank line. But you can make base construction and management visually stimulating and in doing so help new players to develop macro playstyles. Add alittle movie magic to macro.

    For a Remote Mining MULE the dropping, relaunching and gathering animations all have great potential. In the few shaky cam footage we have seen the drop pods are one of the coolest things to see falling. A Atmospheric Escape Pod rocketing into the sky would be equally impressive as would an mining animation where the MULE turbo grinds minerals into a mouth shaped like a bore drill. But the animation that I feel has the biggest potential for in base "eye candy" is transforming. Transforming robots are always cool. Plus they are a main Terran theme.

    Imagine the drop pod falling to the ground, it lays still for a moment with smoke still rising from the crater below. Suddenly, its outer covering begins to turn and shift. Whirling parts are exposed inside. Two arms are assembled and push the Drop Pod off the ground and into a upright position. Further shifitng reforms Drop Pod thrusters into the MULE's rear propulsion device. Upon completion of mining dutyies the MULE packs itself into a lift off device and rockets to the sky. These things all add visual presentation to macroing. This inturn gives the perception that the base is alive. That you are an active participant in a dynamic mobilization of combat forces and that it is your hand that moves the cogs of war.

    Clever worker sniping,
    Hidden Content:
    Remote Mining MULEs add dynamic choices and interesting gameplay to worker sniping. Remote Mining MULEs would have the ability to manually launch into the sky early. The minerals a MULE harvested are not deposited into your base until the MULE returns to the sky for processing. A player would be able to order a MULE to launch into the sky before its timed life is up. This is a cash out technique that locks in the profits. The main reason players would want to do this is if the MULE is in danger.

    Lets say you are calling down MULEs to your base mineral line. All the sudden Mutalisks appear above your worker line. You now have a series of decisions to make:
    Do you select all your workers and order them away first?
    Do you select your MULEs and get them to launch first?
    Since the MULEs are slower than SCVs will the enemy be able to pick them off?
    Should I retreat the MULEs to a safe location and then order them to launch?
    Can you select the MULEs from a group of workers fast and give them another order like launch?

    Now lets look at the new decisions that the enemy player has for harrasing this worker line. He knows that in a couple of seconds the MULE will transform into an Escape Pod and rocket into the sky. While the MULE is transforming into a Escape Pod it is immobile and completly vulnerable. If the zerg player sees the MULEs drop down than he knows that 30 seconds later that MULE will be forced to transfrom into an Excape Pod. The enemy may pounce at this time to rob the Terran player of many minerals.

    Manual launching also give Terrans some level of excape if they call down MULEs at a remote location and then recognize that their is nearby danger. If you see that the enemy army is moving towards your MULEs you can order them to abort mining and save the minerals you have earned. However, since the MULEs have a significant transforming time the enemy can still catch the MULEs before they escape. Players may also want to manually launch all thier MULEs if they absolutly need more minerals right now. The sacrifice is that you are losing the entire mineral potential that you would have recieved had you allowed the MULE to mining its entire duration. More minerals sooner at the cost of less minerals overall.

    Many rewards of reaping,
    Hidden Content:
    As Dustin said in the recent TL interview* the purpose of the new macro mechanics is to promote macro playstyles. A Remote Mining MULE promotes a macro oriented playstyle in several ways. Like the current version of the MULE it requires the player to target the mineral location they want to drop the MULE. This means that players who are in their base macroing will be in a better position to use the ability. Players who are micromanaging thier battles will not often be viewing bases or unoccupied expansions where they can dropMULEs.

    A Remote Mining MULE promotes a Macro thinking style. Players can develop large scale strategys for how to secure an economic advantage. An example of this long term planning would be which expansions to drop MULEs at and when as the game progress. This can be an strategy "game plan" much like build orders are.

    Remote Mining also serve as a tactical manuever that macro players can get better at. This is similar to a storm/reaver/vulture drop manuver. It is an extra task that draws players attention and view to a different part of the mape. Successful completion of this manuver results in economic advantage.

    *http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/view...opic_id=107013

    Design necromancing,
    Hidden Content:
    Part of my goal in theorycrafting an improved MULE was to bring the MULE “back from the dead”. Put frankely, its not good gameplay to have things constantly dieing apart in the players base. I understand why the MULE has a 30 second timed life but it leaves a bad taste in the players mouth. To make matters worth macro is about building up your base and making your army bigger, having players witness their assests fall apart every 30 seconds is the antithesis of the feeling you are trying to promote. It gives players unnessisisary bad feelings and deminishes the enjoyment of macroing. It may be appropriate for the nighthawks turret but not the MULE.

    I remember when the MULE first came out. One of the most repeated concerns was that it didnt fit well to have a robot you call down from space that just runs out of batteries and dies. It didnt seem logical or economical for aTerrans to invest that kind of money in a mining machine only to give it AAA batteries. Maybe if we used the cold fusion for more then just chilling beer

    Now Starcraft 2 is certainly allowed to bend the limits of disbelief. For instance, timed life units falling apart is fine for the Nighthawk's turrets. But why have a unit as prominent and important as the MULE fall apart especfially when it fits so poorly for the unit's role and there are alternative and cooler ways of ending the units life. At the end of its timed life a Remote Mining MULE would transform into a atomospheric escape pods and launch back into space. The lore would be that MULE needs to return to the orbiting space station for refueling, maintenance and processing of its minerals payload. Not only does this enhance the units charector it also draws from portrayals of space mining in literature and movies.

    In addition to being less awkward lore explaination there is actual gameplay benefit to having the MULE fly back up to space when it finishes its tour. Consider what happens with the current version of the MULE if your timing is slightly off. Currently if you misdirrect the MULE or order it to do something and its rhythm gets thrown off then that 2 second delay could mean the MULE dies right before returning its last batch of minerals to the CC. Over the course of the game this could add up to allot of lost minerals. And that’s assuming that the way the timing works out now a MULE called on a mineral patch wil finish its last trip right before it dies. For all we know it could be that MULEs never finish mining and always drop their last shipment. It is extremely bad for player enjoyment to lose minerals just because the MULEs cycle happened to be thrown slightly off.

    Even if the developers dont want a Remote Mining MULE, I would still hope they would at least consider making the MULE transform into and escape pod. This gives a much better impression than just running out of batteries and falling apart.

    Great decision making,
    Hidden Content:
    Calling down a Remote Mining MULE involves better decision making then the current version of MULEs. This is because the ability to mine remotely gives different profit and risk considerations for each mineral line. Dropping MULEs in the home base has the lowest risk but also the lowest profit. MULEs aiding your controled mineral lines have your base defences for protection. However, their accelerated mining will speed up the depletion of your base and hasten the point at which you need to expand. Despite this pressure controlled mineral lines will still be the most often target for calling down MULEs.

    Dropping MULEs on expansions outside of your base allows you to harvest minerals without speeding up the timer on mineral fields you control. Therefore this type of mining is appropriate when you have map control or a contain. Mining from mineral lines you dont control yet are also useful when the enemy is harassing your base mineral line. Mineral lines on islands or behind destructable rocks have less risk and also wont deplete your base mineral lines.

    Dropping MULEs at mineral lines on your enemies side of the map is even more risky then dropping on your side of the map. However it has the added benefit of decreasing minerals that your enemy can claim later in the game. Taking mineral lines that the enemy will eventually claim is like stealing from them in the future. This is especially practical when you have a contain or when you want to draw enemies away from your base. Dropping MULEs on mineral lines your opponent currently controls certainly carries the highest amount of risk. But any minerals taken count double. First your are depriving the enemy of minerals and second you are recieving those minerals provided the enemy does not destroy the MULE first.

    Finally, we have the ability to drop MULEs on high yield yellow mineral lines. This nets you the forty percent more minerals than MULEs called down at a regular mineral line. However, the enemy also knows these will be the most attractive target. Remote Mining MULEs create interesting decision making for both the Terran and the opponent. For instance, opponents may try to continually scout yellow minerals lines. Alternatively opponents may wait for Terrans to drop MULEs and then pounce on them before they can complete their gathering.

    Sever funds for winning,
    Hidden Content:
    Its late game and things are looking great. Your opponent is almost mined out of his last two expansions. Hes trying to take the middle high yield but if you can starve him first you’ll win the game.

    You load up a medivac and head two his first expansion. As the medivac passes over you call down two MULEs on his crumbling mineral line. The enemy retreats his workers from the medivac as the MULE go to work on the minerals. The MULEs cut through his remaining minerals replenishing your coffers. The enemy workers return but find that the MULEs are now blocking them from mining their own minerals. The enemy immediately pulls his army from the middle island and towards his first expo. You fly the medivac over his second expansion dropping 3 more MULEs. The enemy frantically sends some forces two his second expo. They arrive just as you land your medivac in his main and begin taking out his production buildings. GG!!!!!!

    Remote Mining MULEs allow for something never seen before in Starcraft, offensive mining. This is you directly stealing the enemy’s minerals for your coffers while preventing his workers from mining. Like worker harass this serves as an intersection between the games economic and combat facets.

    Tricky game playing,
    Hidden Content:
    Its late game and things are looking bad. You need to expand and you need to expand right now. The enemy knows if he keeps you from getting minerals the game is his. Suddenly the enemy sees a banshee fly towards the two free expansions in the upper left of the map. He rallys his army to the first base. Sure enough there are two MULEs mining there. He destroys them but knows that you would have had more MULEs avalible. He heads for the other top expansion. Two more MULEs are frantically mining. He laughs as he dispatches them. The game is his. He moves his army back down to the middle of the map and prepares to walk through the front door. It is only then that he notices that you have taken that time to secure two new expansions in the bottom portion of the map. Your gambit has put you back in the game.

    In the first segement of my Thesis to Increase Macro* I mentioned the idea of making macro tasks more like a mini game. Mini games are present throughout Starcraft. One example is scourge vs Muta micro. In a similar manner I believe good macro must incorporate a level of mini game fun with unique dynamics and tasks.

    Remote Mining MULE’s would create cat and mouse gameplay where the Terran tries to stealthily mine from hidden positions and the enemy tried to hunt down and destroy these MULEs before they completed their mission. It is like playing the Crane game except there is a tiny crane eating monster swimming among all the toys and you have to dodge it and time your crane dropping correctly. There are benefits to targeting each MULEs to a separate hidden position so it is harder for the enemy to kill them all. This is an example of Non-Redundant Targetin.

    Additionally, Remote mining MULEs would allow economic harassment to take place at more places then just a player’s mineral line. Raiders and Mutalisk would not lose their usefulness as soon as the enemy put down enough base defense. These and other raiding units could continue scouting unclaimed expansions. For example, in the scenario up above if the enemy had a few raiding units they could have sent those to quickly destroy the MULEs while maintaining pressure on the enemy.

    * http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/view...topic_id=78498

    Finally, good targeting!!!
    Hidden Content:
    The issue of Redundant Targeting may be the best reason to change the MULE. The following is adapted from my SCLegacy article “Examining the Macro Mechanics.” You can read the full article here
    http://sclegacy.com/feature/9-contri...acro-mechanics

    Redundant Targeting occurs when there is not sufficient decision making in a targeting action. A targeting action is when the game asks you to pick a location or candidate. The game is asking for the player’s positional input because there are various viable locations. It is the player’s task to pick the most appropriate choice. Whether an action has Redundant Targeting depends on the frequency the player changes their target, and not just the presence or absence of other targets.

    The current MULE has much Redundant Targeting where the player is calling many MULEs to the same location at once and repeating this action many times. To clarify the player will change the destination. But this will not happen often and when it does happen the destination will apply to all MULEs. If you have a Planetary Fortress you want to drop your MULEs there for added protection. If you control a yellow mineral field you want to drop the MULE there for more minerals.

    A Remote Mining MULE increases the frequency with which the desired destination changes. It also increases the number of destinations to choose from. If that was not enough there are certain scenarios (next two days) where players might actually want to send each MULE to a different location. Combined these aspects finally give sufficient reason why the player must clarify the target every time.

    More falling birds,
    Hidden Content:
    Wings of Liberty is an appropriately title for the Terran campaign. The Terrans are birds of War, a highly nomadic race adapt at colonizing, harvesting and departing a planet rapidly. This is represented in one of the major Terran themes: Orbital Support. Where ever there is a major conflict you can be sure there is a Terran armada in high orbit above the planet. Some of the in-game representations include buildings that can lift off, nukes that fall from high orbit and satellite scanner sweeps. Starcraft 2 adds to this with the ability to calldown supplies and deep space mining robots from orbital assets.

    If you’ve played Halo Wars or Dawn of War you know how cool it feels to visualize troops and supplies dropping from space. One of my favorite things about Halo Wars was seeing supply ships come down to your base, drop off supplies and fly back up to the orbiting cruiser. It really reinforced the feeling that your buildings and war machines weren’t just appearing out of nowhere. They were being deployed to the planet. Your base was a front line outpost. Remember that first scene in Brood Wars where the marine yells “WHERE IS THE AIR SUPPORT?” That is how playing Terran should feel. You should have the impression that you always have orbital support at your back. That you are part of a larger military operation.

    Remote Mining MULEs can help reinforce this Terran theme by portraying planet wide strip mining operations. Like the humans in Deadspace, the Terrans are stripping the planet of its resources from above. Thousands of mining droids are descending to remote parts of the planet to survery and extract valuable ores. These are mining droids originally designed for harvesting deep space asteroids and junk metal from derelict vessels. Having gathered their payload they ascend to the orbiting ship they came from.

    Free expands,
    Hidden Content:
    Gameplay wise the Terran have always been adapt at expanding to new mineral fields. In Starcraft 1 Terrans could lift-off and float a Command Center to a new mineral field. In SC2 the Command Center has gained the ability to transport 4 SCVs during lift-off. Combined with a faster lift-off speed the SC2 Terrans have superior expansion capabilities.

    A Remote Mining MULE could transform the Terrans knack for expanding into a racially unique playstyle. Like Zerg's larva managment, remote expansion mining would give Terran commanders a new level of resource management. Playing Terran would mean maximizing mineral intake by maintaining map control. Lift-off and SCV ferrying would then allow Terran players to easily upgrade remote MULE expansions to permanent expansions.

    A tool turtlers love,
    Hidden Content:
    Many new players turtle. Much of this is that they are afraid to leave the base. The fog of war makes the enemy seem everywhere. Something as simple as expanding just outside your doorway seems dangerous. This becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as an uncontested enemy expands and contains the new player.

    A Remote Mining MULE can help new players overcome this psychological hurdle by showing them that expanding is usually not as hard or dangerous as they think it is. It allows them to put their foot out the door without risking a whole Command Center. As an example they may put a MULE down at a nearby expansion. After a while they learn it is safe to advance their forces to this uncontested area. Finally, seeing that they have secured the area they can begin establishing a new base.

    A Remove Mining MULE also serves as an asset for “legitimate” Tutling. These are the great plays that skillfully use timing pushes, chokes, siege tank lines and bunkers to secure victory. Terran are the Turtling race and while this role may be slightly toned down for Starcraft 2 it remains a powerful strategic playstyle. Remote Mining MULEs would allow Turtling players to resist enemy containment by gathering additional resource outside of the base. This provides additional resource flow while the Terran builds up to break out. Additionally, calling down MULE’s on distant parts of the map may force the enemy to divert forces from containment to scouting.

    And a brand new M.U.L.E.!
    Hidden Content:
    Mineral Uptake and Launch Engine (M.U.L.E.)
    Step 1: Drop Pod could be called down anywhere the player has vision. This allows MULEs to remotely mine from unoccupied high yield mineral expansions.

    Step 2: Drop Pod would tranform into a MULE which would begin mining. It would collect minerals constantly instead of making many mineral trips. Other workers (friendly and enemy) would be blocked from mining the same mineral patch as a MULE.

    Step 3: After 30 seconds the MULE would transform into an Atmospheric Escape Pod and rocket back into space carrying all the minerals it had gathered. The player would then receive the mineral bounty. If needed the MULE could be manually order to launch back into orbit early to lock in the mineral profit.
    Last edited by ArcherofAiur; 01-04-2010 at 10:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Bobo's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    Love the idea. Modern, fast and clean economy boost, although a bit risky. Perfect for Terrans.

    I truly hope that they will at least think about it, because it's a solution to terran macro issue [imo].

  3. #3
    Operatoring's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    I think the rocketing back into space would make it a little OP. It should have to manually go back to a CC with all of its minerals.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    Quote Originally Posted by Operatoring View Post
    I think the rocketing back into space would make it a little OP. It should have to manually go back to a CC with all of its minerals.
    Then it would be identical to the version we have now, except with a delay on the mineral return.

    I think you might as well let it be deployed ANYWHERE on the map. It wouldn't be OP, because deploying it in a unsecured mine is a huge risk, it may be destroyed, and you would receive no minerals if it is destroyed prematurely.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    There's something about this idea I must say I like:
    Terrans are transformers (you know, their tech is usually transform capable)
    so instead of being destroyed after the expiration of their mining time, each mule should transform into some kind of ship form and get out with the minerals it had.
    When called down, the mule should come in ship form and transform into mining form! that's better than a "it's life span is over thus it self destroys"!

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    On the second day of Christmas Blizzard gave to me,

    A tool turtlers love,

    Hidden Content:
    Many new players turtle. Much of this is that they are afraid to leave the base. The fog of war makes the enemy seem everywhere. Something as simple as expanding just outside your doorway seems dangerous. This becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as an uncontested enemy expands and contains the new player.

    A Remote Mining MULE can help new players overcome this psychological hurdle by showing them that expanding is usually not as hard or dangerous as they think it is. It allows them to put there foot out the door without risking a whole Command Center. As an example they may put a MULE down at a nearby expansion. After a while they feel it is safe to advance their forces to this uncontested area. Finally seeing that they have secured the area they can begin establishing a new base.

    A Remove Mining MULE also serves as an asset for “legitimate” Tutling. Terran are the Turtling race and while this role may be toned down for Starcraft 2 it remains a strategic playstyle. Remote Mining MULEs would allow Turtling players to resist enemy containment by gathering additional resource outside of the base. This provides additionaly resource flow while the Terran builds up to break out. Additionally, calling down MULE’s on distant parts of the map may force the enemy to divert forces from containment to scouting.


    And a brand new M.U.L.E.!
    Hidden Content:
    Mineral Uptake and Launch Engine (M.U.L.E.)

    Step 1: Drop Pod could be called down anywhere the player has vision. This allows MULEs to remotely mine from unoccupied high yield mineral expansions.

    Step 2: Drop Pod would tranform into a MULE which would begin mining. It would collect minerals constantly instead of making many mineral trips. If needed player could manually order mineral deposit at a Command Center.

    Step 3: After 30 seconds the MULE would transform into an Atmospheric Escape Pod and rocket back into space carrying all the minerals it had gathered. The player would then receive the mineral bounty.
    Last edited by ArcherofAiur; 12-13-2009 at 06:42 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    On the third day of Christmas, Blizzard gave to me,


    Free expands,
    Hidden Content:
    Gameplay wise the Terran have always been adapt at expanding to new mineral fields. In Starcraft 1 Terrans could lift-off and float a Command Center to a new mineral field. In SC2 the Command Center has gained the ability to transport 4 SCVs during lift-off. Combined with a faster lift-off speed the SC2 Terrans have superior expansion capabilities.

    A Remote Mining MULE could transform the Terrans knack for expanding into a racially unique playstyle. Like Zerg's larva managment, remote expansion mining would give Terran commanders a new level of resource management. Playing Terran would mean maximizing mineral intake by maintaining map control. Lift-off and SCV ferrying would then allow Terran players to easily upgrade remote MULE expansions to permanent expansions.

    A tool turtlers love,
    Hidden Content:
    Many new players turtle. Much of this is that they are afraid to leave the base. The fog of war makes the enemy seem everywhere. Something as simple as expanding just outside your doorway seems dangerous. This becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as an uncontested enemy expands and contains the new player.

    A Remote Mining MULE can help new players overcome this psychological hurdle by showing them that expanding is usually not as hard or dangerous as they think it is. It allows them to put their foot out the door without risking a whole Command Center. As an example they may put a MULE down at a nearby expansion. After a while they learn it is safe to advance their forces to this uncontested area. Finally, seeing that they have secured the area they can begin establishing a new base.

    A Remove Mining MULE also serves as an asset for “legitimate” Tutling. These are the great plays that skillfully use timing pushes, chokes, siege tank lines and bunkers to secure victory. Terran are the Turtling race and while this role may be slightly toned down for Starcraft 2 it remains a powerful strategic playstyle. Remote Mining MULEs would allow Turtling players to resist enemy containment by gathering additional resource outside of the base. This provides additional resource flow while the Terran builds up to break out. Additionally, calling down MULE’s on distant parts of the map may force the enemy to divert forces from containment to scouting.

    And a brand new M.U.L.E.!
    Hidden Content:
    Mineral Uptake and Launch Engine (M.U.L.E.)

    Step 1: Drop Pod could be called down anywhere the player has vision. This allows MULEs to remotely mine from unoccupied high yield mineral expansions.

    Step 2: Drop Pod would tranform into a MULE which would begin mining. It would collect minerals constantly instead of making many mineral trips. If needed player could manually order mineral deposit at a Command Center.

    Step 3: After 30 seconds the MULE would transform into an Atmospheric Escape Pod and rocket back into space carrying all the minerals it had gathered. The player would then receive the mineral bounty.
    Last edited by ArcherofAiur; 12-14-2009 at 07:08 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    Blizz should really follow this ^^

    I don't know everything about the mule. But I will say what i consider important to the mule to not be boring (omg is this sentence ok!?)

    First, it should not be rewarding to call down the mule into your own base, or at least less rewarding. Actually, mule and scv can mine the same patch, that should be screwed. So maybe your first mule can be called down into your main but as time pass (and saturation go up) you should call it down at lest to your natural or your third.

    Second, you can't call down a mule to a mineral patch you don't see. It give the choice to use a scan then call down or to scout whit an scv (or an Helion, its faster) then call down.

    I think it could add some deepness into the mecanic, you dont call down repetitively the mule to your main, you choose how and where.
    Last edited by Gt2slurp; 12-15-2009 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Got and idea XD

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    This whole thing is the biggest fairytale I've ever seen.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Twelve Days of Theorycrafting!

    Quote Originally Posted by n00bonicPlague View Post
    This whole thing is the biggest fairytale I've ever seen.
    What do you mean?

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