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Front Page » February 7, 2013 » Opinion » The Advocate's Gamer
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The Advocate's Gamer


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By JORDON BIGELOW
Sun Advocate games reviewer

What makes a great gamer?

How do you become a pro gamer in the StarCraft II scene? It is not as easy as most would think. Let's break it down one step at a time.

First of all there is something called rank on the "ladder" of StarCraft II. Now the term ladder is just a phrase used to talk about ranking in steps, like a ladder. There are seven different rankings that one can achieve, one being the lowest, and seven the highest. They are labeled 1 Bronze, 2 Silver, 3 Gold, 4 Platinum, 5 Diamond, 6 Masters, 7 Grand-Masters.

The best of the best pro-gamers are all ranked in the Grand-Masters' league. They only allow 200 of the best of the best to be ranked in this category. The next one down, masters', is the top 5 percent or so of the StarCraft community. Then it keeps on getting easier the further you go down the ladder. I am currently in the Platinum league. I believe I will soon be promoted to Diamond.

In order to have any hope of getting noticed by a big team, you have to at least be a high masters player. Now when I say "high masters," I mean there is ranking inside the rank. A little confusing, but simple once you know what I mean. So the individual ranks are broken down into five categories. Top two hundred, top one hundred, top fifty, top twenty five, and top ten. In order for you to be considered a high masters' player, you have to be in the top 10 individuals in the league itself. That also applies for any of the leagues or ranks.

Well why is there even a ranking system to begin with? It is Blizzard's way of pitting equally skilled people against each other so they can both get better slowly. Rank is determined by quite a lot of things. One of them is how many games versus losses you have. Obviously if you win more games than you lose, that shows you are better than the people they have you playing against. They then will promote you and give you a better group of people to play against. So to work your way from Bronze to Grand-Masters is pretty impressive.

The next thing you really need in order to be a pro-gamer is APM. APM stands for actions-per-minute. This number represents how fast you play. Now there are a lot of things that make up your APM. In StarCraft II, two players are pitted against each other and have to eliminate the other. In order to beat the other player you have to gather enough resources to make an army that is better than your competitor's. So the game is all about managing an economy and producing an army. Sounds easy doesn't it?

Well I'm here to tell you that StarCraft II is one of the hardest games to play. You have to build production facilities, constantly make workers, build an army out of your production facilities, keep an eye on the mini-map, dodge any attack coming your way, expand so you can have more income of resources, and so on. Sounds like a lot of things for you brain to process at once doesn't it. Now most pro-gamers have an average APM of three to four hundred. I currently have an APM average of around 350.

The last thing this game takes is a very strong capability to battle the mental side of the things. A lot of pro-gamers will tell you that if you're not "right" mentally then your game will be off. The same goes for any sport. Any professional knows that if things aren't right in your head, things aren't going to end up well for you in the end.

This surprisingly is one of the toughest aspects of the game. You have to be able to fight your emotions throughout practice and in tournaments. If you don't absolutely play your best every time, there is no way you are going to make it to the top. So you have to be in great mental shape, so to speak. But when everything comes together, and you take a game off of a "big name", everything in the world feels right! As crazy as this sounds that's what we all do it for. For the hope that we can get that sense of accomplishment, that adrenaline rush of success!

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February 7, 2013
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