Day: April 2, 2006

Multiplicative Skill

As I’ve mentioned before, I like watching Warcraft III replays. I also like observing games on Battle.Net. But I don’t play on BNet. Why?

Well, because I suck, and I get tired of being called a n00b. It’s hard to become a good Warcraft III player.


From what I can tell, there are four main skills you need to be a good Warcraft III player. They are:

* Build order
* Base layout
* Hero and unit selection
* Micromanagement of units

But you can’t just be really good at one thing and expect to win.

If you don’t have a good build order, you lose because the other player will gain resources and get their units out faster than you.

If you don’t have a good base layout, you lose because the other player can easily destroy your vital buildings.

If you don’t choose your heroes and units well, you lose because the other player will have abilities you can’t defend against.

And if you do everything else well but can’t perform the most basic hero-killing tricks like the surround, you’ll lose to opponents who can, all other things being equal.

Thus, if we could somehow rate players in these four areas on a scale of one to ten, a player’s final “skill score” wouldn’t just be his four ratings added together. They would be multiplied against each other, so that a single low score can properly drag the whole rating down into the gutter. And if one score is zero, the whole rating becomes zero.

Games need not be real-time to have multiplicative skills. Galactic Civilizations II is the same way. You need to be very good at researching in the right order, designing ships, setting up your planets properly and engaging in combat to have any hope of defeating the AI. Or you could just turn the AI down to “Fool”, at which point you’ll have to listen to stuff like this.

I used to love games that had multiplicative skills, but I don’t tend to play very many of them any more, simply because they take too long to get good at. You can’t play them casually.

I need to keep this in mind for Star Revolution.


Sorry for the lack of updates this last week…we had some family problems. Nothing serious, no one dead or hurt, just stuff we had to deal with. It turned out to be fortunate that I don’t start at Aspyr until next week, though.