StarCraft Legacy: Alright iNcontroL, I just first want to say thanks for taking the time out of your day to interview us. I know you have a busy schedule with Gosucoaching.com and everything. How is that going for you by the way?
iNcontroL: It's going amazingly well. We are pretty much the pioneers of that market, so were kind of reaching a lot of people right now. It's pretty exciting.
Alright, well, I know a lot of your fans want to know: "Why the switch from Zerg to Protoss?"
iNcontroL: Yeah, I get asked that a lot. I played Zerg, because I like, or I liked them as a kid. I liked Tyranids. I liked creepy crawly things and I just stuck with them, because after years of molding my play around it, it was something that was just beyond just the aesthetic appeal. But moving into StarCraft II, I'm not a mechanical player. I'm not a very fast player in particular. So Zerg, which is probably the most speed-intensive and multi-task and just the higher end of the physical side to StarCraft is not the race that was favored towards me. But Protoss I think is very creative and rewards smart play so I went with them for a performance enhancement.
Sounds good. So do you have any opinions on the new Zerg units? I know you're no longer playing them, but do you have any fond memories of the Scourge or the Defiler? Or units that you wish that they brought back? And what about the new units for Zerg? The Baneling, the Roach, how do you think they fit in with their theme and their gameplay?
iNcontroL: Well the game's pretty precariously balanced, like it's getting closer and closer. So I don't necessarily think any units should come back. But certainly some of the more fun units that I miss are things like the Scourge and the Lurker, which made for some awesome plays. Mutalisk micro, of course, will be missed. But that's, you know, it's tough to say that I wish they were back in the game, because again, who knows what that would actually do to the game. But as far as the new units that I like a lot, I think that they all have their place and that they are pretty cool. I think that the Infestor is capable of some very cool things. I like the Ensnare and almost Plague combination. I like the Brood Lord, although I think as far as competition, I think it's a little overpowered. I think it needs to be fixed a little bit, but I like it. So that's pretty much that.
What are your thoughts on Zerg tier 2 right now? I know you talked about the Infestor and the Infestor seems like an underused unit by a lot of Zerg, but do you find the Infestor to be the missing balance or is there something that needs to be there besides the Hydralisk and the Mutalisk?
iNcontroL: Tier 2 is kind of funny for Zerg. I think the current build is right now. You're not going to see anything but Hydra/Roach armies, which is unfortunate, because I think a lot of the strength of the Zerg and certainly a lot of the appeal was its diversity in StarCraft: Brood War. Zergling/Lurker was viable. Hydra/Muta, etc. was all viable. But in this game, it's mostly just Hydra/Roach.
As far as what kind of fixes we need to see for that diversity to come back, I'm not entirely sure. I think, and a lot of Zerg players won't like this, but I think there needs to be some kind of fix like the Roach or Hydra needs to be decreased in quality, but perhaps made cheaper, i.e. more affordable. And then maybe the Zerglings need a buff or some kind of alteration, where they have a little bit more durability in the late game. Because you'll just never see Zerglings past the 15 minute mark, because there's too many units in all of the races that just completely negate them. I mean, you need look no further than the video of the upgraded Ultralisk against 900 Zerglings or whatever it was. That's just preposterous.
Yeah, a good point. I know last year you had some comments about wanting to remove multi-building select and smart casting from StarCraft II. Where do you stand on that now?
iNcontroL: Yeah, actually I was very concerned heading into StarCraft II about it being made into an easier game with multi-building select and smart casting. Auto-mining, auto-surrond and all those things and to a certain degree I still stand by it. I think to a certain degree, the game has been made easier in a lot of respects. At the same time, I think they've made it either a faster game or as fast, which I like. And with the macro mechanics and certainly the other elements from StarCraft, there's still a lot for a player to do. And I think the game still rewards those that practice harder and play it more and the people who are physically capable of playing the game better than others.
So as where we stand now I'm happy with the current state. Primarily the reason those things concerned me was because I thought we were going to have a washing of the community, meaning that the people that were really good weren't going to shine that much. I was worried that they could be easily defeated by people that are just casually playing or you know, not nearly as dedicated. But that doesn't seem to be the case. The game still seems to be pretty evident of who's been practicing and who's been better and that kind of thing.
Alright, great. So back in 2007, you won the World Cyber Games in the U.S. division. So what are you looking for in StarCraft II as a professional gamer? Do you plan on repeating that for StarCraft II? Or do you plan on just doing the coaching? What exactly are your long term goals for StarCraft II?
iNcontroL: Well I'm absolutely a competitor first. Coaching is an awesome thing that's helping me. You know, it's actually become pretty much my main job. It's even surpassed my real life job in terms of income. So that's definitely nice, because I'm a student. I'm a person that needs to eventually start paying rent, pay the bills, pay for groceries, that kind of thing. So it's nice to be able to make money off of what I would love to do anyways. But as far as my aspirations as a gamer goes, I always want to be the best. I always want to strive towards winning the championship and that will be no different with StarCraft II. I will absolutely, and you know, you will see my name in tournaments. You see me, you know, competing in show matches and leagues and that kind of thing and that won't stop. I'm going to continue to put my name out there as much as possible and practice as much as possible. So that I can hopefully, once again, win some kind of national championship or something on that level.
StarCraft Legacy: Alright, how do you think Blizzard did in terms of the Battle.net system and the ladder system? I know before it was rather difficult unless you somehow got an "in" to practice with high level players. Do you think that Blizzard did a good job with Battle.net and the whole entire platinum rankings? Do you find yourself winning a majority of your games? Losing? And are those ladder games, in your perspective, a good way for you to train?
iNcontroL: I think the ladder is excellent. I think they've done a fantastic job of making a system that rewards people that don't have, like you said, an "in" with the higher up's. Like, the ladder system puts you in their games. It rewards your hard work the higher you go up in a ladder with competitive games. So everyone has a chance to get better and I think that's fantastic. I think the match-making system is great.
I think that where the ladder fails, and I use that word in its literal sense, meaning I think it will be a complete failure if it remains the same, is with channels. I think the current system that we see with Battle.net is extremely lonely. It's very hard to socialize. It makes the game feels very void of anything. You know the only thing that keeps me going through it is that I've sit on Ventrilo with my team and we joke around and talk all day. But if i didn't have that, I don't know if I would be able to enjoy multiple hours on Battle.net 2 where it seems like you're alone. And you play these games against people that you know, don't necessarily care for you and every once in a while you hit a friend, but even that's very rare.
Also, the communication on Battle.net 2 is pretty cumbersome. I mean, it's a drag to have to open up a window inside of a game to message a friend. It's definitely not as easy as /w or /f, you know, any of those kind of things. So they have some improvements to do, and I hope they do it.
StarCraft Legacy: Alright. so moving along to gameplay questions. And what do you, or what Protoss mechanic do you enjoy more between Warp Gate and Chronoboost, because those two are really macro-oriented bonuses in StarCraft II.
iNcontroL: Well I think that both certainly have a place with Protoss, like they're both absolutely essential, but where I feel a lot of my creativity, a lot of myself as a player gets expressed is with the Warp Gates. I think there's a lot of really cool tricky stuff you can do. Like not to long ago, I actually did a build where I used an observer to spot up a cliff and I used a pylon hugging that cliff and I was able to warp units into my opponents base. And at the time, that was fairly cutting edge. I mean, I wasn't the first person by any means to do that, but I certainly was one of the first people to do it in a high end game and that kind of just meta game, like now when people play me they have to watch their cliffs. They have to make sure I'm not doing it. You know you can use Stargate units to spot up the cliff. Even just being aggressive, always building a pylon towards the forward quadrant of the map mean that you can basically have unending supply. I just, I like that. I think there's a lot of stuff we're going to find out that you can do more with that too.
StarCraft Legacy: Alright, how do you feel about the macro and the tension between the Queen. I know that a lot of players feel like the Queen seems like it is very focused on one ability. You spawn larva whenever you can and then you can creep tumor whenever you ever forget. Do you think that something needs to change with the Queen going back to the Zerg?
iNcontroL: Yeah it's interesting, because I do think it's a little too strong, but at the same time I don't think it's way too strong. Like if the game were to launch right now, it certainly would be playable for the most part. And they'll always have patches, mind you. So the game, even if it was released, would be fixed eventually. But I think the Queen should do something like spawn three larva, in addition to the three that are there as opposed to four. Because it does feel like it's too easy for the Zerg to be able to absolutely completely replenish their army or build emergency units at the blink of an eye. Like if you get the jump on them with Void Rays, it's not like all of a sudden, ten hydras appear and you have to deal with them. It's kind of ridiculous that way.
StarCraft Legacy: Alright, I remember that in a previous interview you were saying that StarCraft II was falling into the trap that Command & Conquer 3 did were you just had a bunch of mega-weapons that sound a lot of fun on paper, but it ended up ruining the game. Do you think that's the case with the Colossus, the Thor and the Mothership? Or do you find that there is some sort of balance right now?
iNcontroL: Again, that's a pretty excellent question, because that was something I was worried about heading into the game. And I think that was something they did have a problem with, but I think they have backed off on that. I think the Mothership in this build is hyper-specifically useful in certain situations, but for the most part it isn't something that every army is going to consist of. It's not something you're going to see all over the place. Things that do concern me though, is that it seem, even though it's not a paramount issue, like everybody has a certain couple of units that they absolutely have to make. Like the Protoss making certain units or like the Zerg have to make Hydra/Roach. The Protoss kinda has to have a Collosus from the Robotics Tech in the mid/late game. Yes, they can get away with a Templar tech with Stalkers and Zeals and Sentries, so I guess there's a little bit of diversity there. But, it's just that we might have been spoiled, because with Broodwar, everybody could make, for the most part, any kind of combination of units and enjoy some level of success. In StarCraft II, a mass Zealot army will not be successful and would get mowed down. A mass Zergling army will not be successful and get mowed down. It's kinda hard for me to explain it at this point, but what I'm getting at is that the game is fairly narrow at this point. But again, that could change. Some experimentation needs to happen. It's only been out for a month. So who knows where it's going to end up being.
StarCraft Legacy: Alright, let me comb over my notes as I try to find another question. What would you say is the biggest change in terms of gameplay between StarCraft 1 and StarCraft II? Say something was really familiar with StarCraft 1 and then all of a sudden got into StarCraft II. What would be the one thing you'd said say "You have to be aware of this," otherwise you're not going to succeed?
iNcontroL: That's a pretty good question. I mean, if people are familiar with StarCraft: Brood War, I feel a lot of what they knew from Brood War really translates well to StarCraft II. In real time strategy, you really have to be macro oriented. You have to be aware of scouting. You have to be a fairly quick player. I mean it's not to say that you have to have 200+ APM, but you definitely cannot play it one-handed, drinking a coffee, like my girlfriend tried to do. There's not really one thing in my opinion, that you have to know how to do. If you are familiar with RTS games, then you will be okay.
StarCraft Legacy: Alright and what do you think of the new damage system from Brood War to StarCraft II? Do you like it? Do you not like it? Is it easier to memorize, or is it more difficult?
iNcontroL: I'm not necessarily a fan and a lot of people have conflicting opinions on this. I liked how there were things that affected the damage. I liked that if you shot up a cliff that there was a chance that you would miss or there's reduced damage in certain situations. I liked that stuff as opposed to what we have now where everything does pure damage. It's not something I wake up in cold sweats about in the middle of the night. It's just something that I kind of miss from Brood War. So it's a pretty minor point.
StarCraft Legacy: What do you think about the Phoenix and just Protoss air in general, right now?
iNcontroL: Yeah, I see a lot of people complaining and that makes me cringe, because I think a lot of people suffer from playing this game as if it was StarCraft: Brood War and you really can't do that. The Phoenix is not the Corsair. It is not to be used like that. If someone jumps the gun and, with air units on you, you don't make Phoenixes to counter them. You might make one or two, like if they're going Banshee heavy, just to force them to make Vikings, but you don't make a fleet of Phoenixes. Phoenixes are ground harass, like assassination units. Like you can pick up Mules with them, in an excellent way. You can pick up Queens with them. You can remove Immortals from a battle, in PvP. You can remove Siege Tanks from your cliff. That kind of thing. I think their ability to be used in a creative fashion is almost as limitless as well. I'm really excited to see where they go. But they are not to be used the way they are now. Or the way Corsairs were, excuse me. And I think that's throwing people off. But then as far as Void Rays and Carriers, I think there's, again, much more to be learned by them. I'm actually really excited about it, because I think that Carriers can be a much more, viable mixed-in unit. The way their interceptors launch in this game, it's almost just like a cool animation for a lazer beam anyways, because they launch and shoot immediately and I'm pretty excited by that. I think that there's a lot of stuff to be learned, basically.
StarCraft Legacy: Alright, what are your thoughts about the late game units? The Battlecruiser? The Carrier? The Mothership? Brood Lord? Are they in the proper place? Are they worth even getting in most games? What are your thoughts about the late game units like the Battlecruiser, the Carrier, the Mothership and the Brood Lord? Do you feel like they are serving their purpose?
iNcontroL: I think Zerg's problematic, because the Brood Lord is so good, that there's almost no reason, whatsoever, to get the Ultralisk. So I think that's a shame, because the Ultralisk was such an important part of Brood War and its such a cool unit in general, that when the Brood Lord is so powerful and so affordable, really, there's no point getting an Ultralisk. There's just none. It requires all these upgrades. It's not as good. It dies easier. It doesn't do the same amount of damage or the same type of damage as a Brood Lord. And the Brood Lord's probably the single most powerful unit in the game. And in the Protoss, like late-game tech, the Mothership has its purposes, but its certainly nowhere near what people thought it would be. Like it cloaks other units. It cloaks buildings. It has recall. So those are all cool abilities. But again, its not something that people are going to shoot for like, "Oh, we've got a Mothership, everyone's screwed now." And then with Terran, they really just have like Battlecruisers. Although one of the fixes I like that they did with the Terrans is that they made the nuke much more affordable and early game. And one of the things I'm kind of sad to see right now, is Terrans not experimenting with that as much. I think that constant nuking throughout a game could be something that we see and I think that it will be really cool.
StarCraft Legacy: Very nice. Now moving on to the professional gaming scene. Who do you think is the best player in StarCraft II so far based upon replays and tournaments and show matches? In the professional StarCraft II gaming scene, who do you think is the best player so far, based upon replays, tournaments and show matches?
iNcontroL: I think at the moment you have to say IdrA. I don't think that will always be the case. I think he's a phenomenal player. I think he has tremendous potential, but I think StarCraft II, again I could be eating these words down the road and I'm fully prepared to accept that, but I think StarCraft II is going to really reward creativity and its going to reward diversity, and those are the antithesis, those are antithesis elements of IdrA. He's extremely, extremely narrow. He's a very mechanical player. He will find out, what he thinks to be the best strategy or what someone else tells him is the best strategy and he'll do that for more hours than anyone else pretty much logs on the computer. So right now, that's where he's being rewarded by that, by his efforts and his work. And he's winning tournaments. He's doing well. He's laddering at a high level. But no one else is a Progamer in Korea who are being paid to sit down in front of a computer and play it for 12 hours. But I think with time and with a lot more development in this game, we will see some change to that.
Do you think that any other Western nations will develop as prominent of a professional gaming scene as Korea or even China?
iNcontroL: Do I think so? No. Do I hope so? Yes. Do I think its possible? Yes. I think StarCraft II will be the advent of a new level of eSports. I think there's going to be more sponsorship. There's going to be more attention. I mean we've already seen the super community that's been formed. We have WarCraft 3, StarCraft, World of Warcraft and then non-tied in gamers, coming together and forming this community that is already larger than anything we've seen. When Team Evil Geniuses played Team Liquid, we had nine thousand people on the stream, and that was more than TSL. However, it's not because it was a bigger event. It's because there's more people interested. I think that's an indicator of things to come. So I definitely think its possible, I'm just not sure if it's going to happen. I just wish it does.
StarCraft Legacy: You mentioned earlier that you felt the game was really balanced at this point. Do you think any particular race has too large of an advantage against another? Or are you going to stand by that, thinking that any race can beat another race at this stage?
iNcontroL: I definitely think there's some balances that need to be tweaked. Kind of my mantra throughout this whole interview, and what I've been talking to with my friends about it as well, is that I think the game is pretty darn balanced. I think obviously a few things need to be tweaked here and there, but for the most part the game's very playable and it's pretty closed to balanced. And it's hard to say that any game's perfectly balanced, you know, even Brood War. There were imbalances in it, but over the course of its patches, over the 7 or 8 years, since the patch before, it was certainly viable for a Protoss, Zerg or Terran to dominate and win. And I think that's pretty cool. I think that if we can reach that harmony in StarCraft II, then we've achieved something pretty amazing. Because there's a lot of games that don't have that kind of diversity. I mean even look at WarCraft 3, there's not a lot of Night-uh, excuse me, Undead players. I guess there's another patch, where that you see more race diversity now, but you still don't see that many. So hopefully we don't get that kind of dynamic with StarCraft II.
What about the WCG Ultimate Gamer Tournament and do you have any details about that? Or what are your thoughts on that?iNcontroL:
You know, as silly as this is to say, I take everything kind of with stride. And part of the reason StarCraft is such a huge huge part of my life is because of the doors its opened and WCG Ultimate Gamer is no different. That whole time I was being treated like a Hollywood movie star, you know? I had catered food. I got to - they took me out to a hockey game when I was eliminated. I made friends for life. It was just this amazing experience that I'll never forget. And I know I owe that to StarCraft and a lot of people involved in that and there's no a whole lot to say over than just, you know, if you ever get the opportunity to do anything like that, something out of the ordinary, absolutely try and do everything you can to be a part of that. Because, I don't think I'd trade anything for that experience. You know, I didn't win buttloads of money and you know, I'm not signing autographs all over the place or traveling around the world, because of that show, but the things I did on that show, the experiences i had and the people I met are just completely invaluable.
StarCraft Legacy: Well I want to thank you for taking your time to sit down and talk with us and I hope that we can do this again in the future. We could see if you do end up eating of your words with IdrA or if there's anything else you'd like to add.
iNcontroL: No. Just check us out at www.gosucoaching.com if you have any kind of interest in that, whatsoever. Even if you don't, we're hosting tournaments almost on a weekly basis. And I want to thank you guys. You know, I've always, ever since the, actually the Sandlot tournament that Blizzard ran, I've always been a big fan. So, thank you for once again interviewing me and hopefully I won't eat my words.
StarCraft Legacy: Alright, thanks again.
This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) Interview