I’ve been playing StarCraft II for about four months. I’ve played for probably an average of 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes to two hours per session. I’ve explored the game individually, consulted an affinity space, and played collaboratively with a friend of mine. I’m still not a gamer, but my play has improved dramatically.
I can primarily attribute the success I’ve experienced thus far in my game play to:
- Development of relevant literacy
- A nurturing AS for a beginner
- The meritocratic nature of gaming and the AS
Development of relevant literacy:
When I started playing, I immediately started on solo missions. It was familiar as someone that grew up with the occasional console play. It was linear and followed a story line. During play at this time I learned about the characters, the story/narrative, the commands, the functioning of the interface, the way that Blizzard sells and hosts their online content, how to interact with other players through different mediums of communication, navigation within the game and all it’s components, and more.
A nurturing AS for a beginner:
I explored many AS before I picked one out. I picked it because the community seemed to genuinely enjoy the game and the specific character for play, they were civil and encouraging but weren’t afraid to call things into question or occasionally brag. By joining the AS, I learned about several third party tools relevant to the game and was able to explore earlier threads that contained a ton of great information on how to play better and more thoughtfully.
When I first started searching for the right AS, I had no idea what the shorthand stood for when I visited the sites. After spending time on the AS, I learned the language of the game.
The meritocratic nature of the gaming and the AS:
Everyone likes to win. Everyone likes respect when they feel like they’ve earned it. This is part of gaming. It’s fun, it’s often collaborative, but it’s also competition. The meritocratic nature is evident in the rankings that you earn as a player.
The loudest voices in online gaming forums don’t mean much if they’re not good at playing the game. Within the AS I chose, people sometimes start threads by stating their rank in the game. There seem to be a lot of really genuine people that are solid players, and people within the community seem to respect their opinion and appreciate their feedback. It’s easy to read through threads like these, not filled with rambling and obscenities and random media. People only link relevant and useful materials in their posts due to the group’s rules. By browsing through the space, I’ve learned about the most efficient building orders, scouting, attack methods, and the best ratios of different units to send to defeat a specific enemy.
I’ve really enjoyed playing this semester. I’ll probably continue to play once a week or so with my friend even after the course is done. It’s been a great way to keep up with him since I moved. Also, something I’ve just realized is that my hands can operate a computer faster than I think they ever have before now–and I think it’s a result of playing this game.
I’ve continued to level up in the game, so I’m obviously learning.