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Real Time Strategy Games Discussion of all strategy games that use a Real-Time system, from the typical RTS games to the hardcore wargames.

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  #16  
Old 23 Feb 11, 10:29
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I'd play it more often, but my computer is acting up a lot, giving me lag spikes whose it intensity varies depending on the demands that whatever game or program I'm running places on my computer (the lag spikes are bearable if I'm playing Civilization IV or Galactic Civilizations II, but it's more or less impossible to do anything during the lag spikes if I'm running Starcraft II or Napoleon Total War, Dawn of War II however is an oddball, it runs slowly, but it runs consistently slow.) The periods of smooth running that I get with my computer are too short to make playing graphically intense games enjoyable.

That said, from what I did play of starcraft II before my computer decided that running well was beneath it, it was pretty good, the skirmish mode A.I isn't pants on head retarded like it was in starcraft I, and the campaign story was fairly interesting, but as someone who was raised on Red Alert 2, I just can't freaking stand the pop-cap. And since I'm a Warhammer 40k nerd (I own every Dawn of War game and am planning on getting Dawn of War II retribution, and Space Marine, and in addition I own most every Codex and rulebook for the tabletop game, every expansion book, most of the spinoff books for games like Epic, Dark Heresy, and Battlefleet gothic and I have a large number of minis) the Starcraft universe just looks too much like WH40k-lite. It's enjoyable, but the similarities between the two are far too great to ignore.

I like the aethetic of the Protoss quite a bit (nice and sleek, but not too sleek), but I really, really don't like the new look for the Terran Powersuits. I mean they at least doubled the bulkiness of the suits from starcraft I. The Terran Marine has the least bulkiest armor out of the bunch and I'd still bet that a Warhammer 40k Imperial Space Marine's Power Armor (famous for having pauldrons so large that they would kill all peripheral vision) would be slimmer by an order of magnitude. And this isn't even mentioning the Marauder (whose armor is significantly bulkier than the marine's despite being a fast attack unit) or the campaign's firebat who manages to outbulk an Wh40k Space Marine Terminator. There's a certain point where bulk in power armor stops looking intimidating and starts to look just plain silly. I mean really.

As for the Zerg's aesthetic, I'm kind of neutral on them. I personally don't like their brown coloring (I would have preferred gray and black) but their bodystyle is impressive enough to cancel that out.

But if there's on thing in SCII that I can't complain about, it's that it may finally make base building cool again, thus preventing Red Alert 4 from following in the footsteps of the abomination that is C&C 4 (which was horrible, and that's not just because it abandoned everything that made C&C what it is.) Now there will be a happy balance between Dawn of War II style RTS's that are essentially real time tactics with unit production, and base building middle of the road RTS's like starcraft II and Red Alert 3, sadly however 4x styled RTS's seemed to have largely died with Age Of Empires, leaving only Sins of a Solar empire.
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  #17  
Old 27 Feb 11, 01:49
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And since I'm a Warhammer 40k nerd (I own every Dawn of War game and am planning on getting Dawn of War II retribution, and Space Marine, and in addition I own most every Codex and rulebook for the tabletop game, every expansion book, most of the spinoff books for games like Epic, Dark Heresy, and Battlefleet gothic and I have a large number of minis) the Starcraft universe just looks too much like WH40k-lite. It's enjoyable, but the similarities between the two are far too great to ignore.
That was my attitude with the original SC game, too. Blizzard has been honest about this - they wanted to make a 40K game but couldn't afford the licensing fee at the time, so they did a "tribute" game instead. As a 40K fanatic, it rubbed me the wrong way.

However, I have to say that I am really getting into Blizzard's pitch for SCII. Maybe it was this way with the original game and I just didn't play it enough to notice, or perhaps they are ramping it up, but I believe SCII is starting to go in its own interesting direction. 40K is great because it has the whole, medieval-gothic thing going on in sci-fi setting. Blizzard seems to be going in an appropriately "new world" direction by making everything in the game seem to be out of America's Old West. Raynor is a marshall (what else? ) who wears a wicked six shooter in a holster, while he drinks whiskey in whatever cantina is available. Of course, the Dominion was originally the Confederacy and all the Marines are bruiser ex-cons in a military chain gang of sorts. Then there is the whole Miner 49er aspect with SCV "truck drivers" digging away for crystal and Vespene gas on every rock in the sector. All in all, I am really digging the "Americana" approach to the game.

Quote:
I like the aethetic of the Protoss quite a bit (nice and sleek, but not too sleek), but I really, really don't like the new look for the Terran Powersuits. I mean they at least doubled the bulkiness of the suits from starcraft I. The Terran Marine has the least bulkiest armor out of the bunch and I'd still bet that a Warhammer 40k Imperial Space Marine's Power Armor (famous for having pauldrons so large that they would kill all peripheral vision) would be slimmer by an order of magnitude. And this isn't even mentioning the Marauder (whose armor is significantly bulkier than the marine's despite being a fast attack unit) or the campaign's firebat who manages to outbulk an Wh40k Space Marine Terminator. There's a certain point where bulk in power armor stops looking intimidating and starts to look just plain silly. I mean really.
For me, I am really digging the bulky powersuits. I have always been a fan of the whole "have spacesuit, will travel" approach in golden era sci-fi, where your spacesuit was you lifeline in a dangerous universe. Unfortunately, Star Trek came along and killed that with the whole "let's beam over here, take a shuttle over there" approach to the easy life in outer space. Not to mention the fact that you really didn't need a bulky spacesuit anyway when every planet resembled southern California for some strange reason (something that continues today). To me, this is a shortsighted tragedy, like making a baseball movie without gloves and bats. Where's the fun it that?

That is why I am getting a kick out of the super-bulky power armor. This is what a spacesuit should look like, especially when it is going to be used in all sorts of hostile environments, and in combat, too. I honestly don't think I would be enjoying this game as much if the marines were presented as wearing some sort of slim-downed version. To me, this is just too cool and right inline with my conception of a proper sci-fi spacesuit. I also love the NASA-inspired helmet component. It ties the rest together.



Quote:
As for the Zerg's aesthetic, I'm kind of neutral on them. I personally don't like their brown coloring (I would have preferred gray and black) but their bodystyle is impressive enough to cancel that out.
Yeah, Blizzard definitely went for an organic, earthworm type of look.

One thing I like about the Zerg vs. the 'Nids is that Blizzard sort of treats them as nasty joke of sorts. What I mean by that is that nobody kids about 'Nids in 40K. When they show up, it's almost always the end of the world because they are presented as almost unstoppable (which is suitably grim for 40K). In SC, Zergs are more like Orcs in that they are a destructive pest that everyone hates and fears, but they are not unstoppable. One of the better moments in SC2 was the photo of Raynor and his pals standing around the carcass of a Zerg they hunted down in the desert. It was presented like some sort of elephant hunt or something. They even hung its mandibles on the wall of the cantina. Stuff like that, and that song on the jukebox - Zerg, Shotgun & You - just makes them so much more believable because if such things as Zerg existed, you just know people would be singing about them, getting drunk and hunting them down like varmints!

BTW:





Quote:
But if there's on thing in SCII that I can't complain about, it's that it may finally make base building cool again, thus preventing Red Alert 4 from following in the footsteps of the abomination that is C&C 4 (which was horrible, and that's not just because it abandoned everything that made C&C what it is.) Now there will be a happy balance between Dawn of War II style RTS's that are essentially real time tactics with unit production, and base building middle of the road RTS's like starcraft II and Red Alert 3, sadly however 4x styled RTS's seemed to have largely died with Age Of Empires, leaving only Sins of a Solar empire.
Here we have complete agreement! When DoW II moved away from base-building I was happy...until I played it. It just felt like it was missing a wheel. I think that is why I am enjoying SC2. It's nice to have a base to worry about and build up.

One thing I would like to see SC imitate from 40K, however, is the launching of a vast library of books! Right now, SC fiction is all tied to the games in one way or another. I want to see some fiction that has nothing to do with in-game events.

I also think a movie would work really well. Perhaps even better than a 40K film?

PS: Sorry for the delay in replying (it's been a busy few days).

Last edited by Rooks Bailey; 27 Feb 11 at 02:34..
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  #18  
Old 28 Feb 11, 11:10
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I have to ask though, why does SCII still keep the pop-cap? It's somewhat irritating to see the zerg swarm unable to deploy more than 400 zerglings. Still, better than Warcraft II (where armies almost never get bigger than 20-30 units.) But still not quite as good as C&C (before Tib twilight ruined everything) 's thousand man conscript mob. The excuse in starcraft I was that computers simply couldn't handle that many units (the engine was unable to process more than 1200 units on the map at once) but now hardware has advanced so much...on the other hand, graphics have also advanced very far.

And also, I'd like my tanks to squish infantry in starcraft, as a C&C fanatic I just expect my vehicles to be able to run over those puny infantry with a satisfying "splat." (Admit it, running over infantry with tanks in Red Alert 2 is oh so satisfying, it's like popping bubble wrap.) But I'd guess that would render Zerg rushes useless (400 zerglings? Meet 20 siege tanks. Result? 400 new bloody smears on the ground.)

Now as for Tyranids vs Zerg. The Tyranids are unstoppable because they're much smarter and can come in far greater numbers since they immediately use all the resources of the planets they conquer via devouring every last bit of usuable resources. The zerg merely infest planets, which is far less time efficient. Also, the Tyranids can deploy much bigger organisms (A Carnifex and an Ultralisk are about evenly sized, though the Carnifex is the deadlier of the two due to it's far greater versatility, and it's far from the biggest ground pounding tyranid, the Ultralisk breed is about as big a ground dwelling Zerg you can find) like Bio-titans, who would dwarf pretty much every starcraft unit. The tyranids also possess a far greater range of organisms (there are only two kinds of zerglings, zerglings and banelings, there are at least a dozen variations of the gaunt genus, termagaunts, spinegaunts, hormagaunts, hellgaunts, gargoyles and so on) and are much more capable in space.

But still, Starcraft II is a great game, though I hate the new custom map size limit with a passion (25 megabytes maximum? Come on blizzard.) The community is generally pleasant, if totally fractured. Just counting official vs maps there's the ever so famous divide between casual and competetive gamers, and then there are all the divisions between each genre of custom maps. But of course, such a wide-fanbase offers a lot of variety.

Now if only Blizzard could split away from Activision (which has actually become more Evil than EA was in it's heydey, I'm not comfortable with their merger with Blizzard to say the least...I can't see it ending in any way other than the total subsumption of blizzard) then I'd be completely satisfied.
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  #19  
Old 01 Mar 11, 15:41
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And also, I'd like my tanks to squish infantry in starcraft, as a C&C fanatic I just expect my vehicles to be able to run over those puny infantry with a satisfying "splat." (Admit it, running over infantry with tanks in Red Alert 2 is oh so satisfying, it's like popping bubble wrap.) But I'd guess that would render Zerg rushes useless (400 zerglings? Meet 20 siege tanks. Result? 400 new bloody smears on the ground.)
You know, I forgot all about that in C&C! You're right, that was a heck of a lot of fun!

Ultimately, I think everything that is included in SC2, from pop caps to tanks that can't squish, is due to Blizzard making SC2 the premier e-sports title first, and a "game" second. It really is fascinating to watch this take place via Blizzards design decisions.

Recently, Blizzard's Dustin Browder had this to say about Heart of the Swarm:

Quote:
We're still looking at a lot of different things we could do with the game design. Obviously we're very sensitive to the needs of eSports, and very excited about what the community is doing and we want to continue to support it. We feel like the pressure of eSports not only creates a great eSports environment, but makes for a really great game for everybody. Even people that aren't necessarily playing eSports.
I wonder if the future of PC gaming will be more about e-sports?

Quote:
But still, Starcraft II is a great game, though I hate the new custom map size limit with a passion (25 megabytes maximum? Come on blizzard.) The community is generally pleasant, if totally fractured. Just counting official vs maps there's the ever so famous divide between casual and competetive gamers, and then there are all the divisions between each genre of custom maps. But of course, such a wide-fanbase offers a lot of variety.
I have just begun to dabble in SC2's MP. I am finding it a very tough community! Granted, I am a complete newb, but I am still finding it distressing how badly I lose every 1v1 match. I mean, curb-stomped bad! They come up with strategies I never even considered and just blow apart my defenses and boil away my attacks with contemptuous ease.
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  #20  
Old 02 Mar 11, 09:50
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Originally Posted by Rooks Bailey View Post
You know, I forgot all about that in C&C! You're right, that was a heck of a lot of fun!
Yes, nothing says "you suck" quite like running over an entire infantry mob with a few tanks arranged in a line. Splat, Splat, Splat. So many infantry, so little time.

Quote:
Ultimately, I think everything that is included in SC2, from pop caps to tanks that can't squish, is due to Blizzard making SC2 the premier e-sports title first, and a "game" second. It really is fascinating to watch this take place via Blizzards design decisions.

Recently, Blizzard's Dustin Browder had this to say about Heart of the Swarm:



I wonder if the future of PC gaming will be more about e-sports?
That all depends on how strongly other companies follow SC2's example.


Quote:
I have just begun to dabble in SC2's MP. I am finding it a very tough community! Granted, I am a complete newb, but I am still finding it distressing how badly I lose every 1v1 match. I mean, curb-stomped bad! They come up with strategies I never even considered and just blow apart my defenses and boil away my attacks with contemptuous ease.
Starcraft 2 in my experience requires split second reflexes and highly intensive micromanaging in competetive play, contrast Supreme Commander where the micromanager will find himself overwhelmed by the scale and get steamrolled by the macromanager.

In starcraft 2 you must master the use of control groups (even more so than most RTSes, but not quite as much as previous blizzard RTSes since the 12 unit select limit was removed) and the usage of focus fire at the very least. You also need to be able to quickly flip through units to rapidly select and use their abilities.

You also need to learn how to immediately cycle injured units to the back (unless they're incredibly disposable) to allow them to heal (with SCVs and MedEvacs for the Terrans, natural regen for the zerg, and natural shield regen/shield batteries for the Protoss) to maximize the usage from each unit.

And most annoyingly in my opinion, workers cost precious pop-cap so you have to decide whether you want more resource gathering and building ability or if you want more fighting units.

I personally would have preferred for workers to be free and take up no pop-cap but there would be a limit to how many you could build that would be tied to how many HQ buildings you have (Nexus, Hive, and I think Command Center for the protoss, zerg, and terrans respectively) so say one Nexus would only let you build fifteen probes but they wouldn't cost you anything other than time.
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  #21  
Old 05 Mar 11, 01:35
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There is a really interesting article about Blizzard's Dustin Browder's experience on developing SC2 as an e-sports game first and foremost:

StarCraft 2: Blizzard's Duntin Browder Talks About The Game As An eSport


Quote:
Dustin Browder was new to the company when this work began, and he thought Blizzard was a little crazy. “Games that were five years old had more content than Blizzard had intended from the beginning!” he said. “Units equal choices, choices equal gameplay, and gameplay equals fun, right?” And when Blizzard said that some of the units were going to be the same, Browder couldn’t believe it. “But Blizzard said ‘Don’t worry, this isn’t like other games. This is an eSport. This is different.”

Browder described the process of creating Starcraft 2 as akin to trying to create “Basketball II.” Blizzard had to build on the original or fail. So while critics might have felt that Starcraft 2 was too much like the original, not only was this intended, but it was also completely necessary. And the decision to design as eSport from the ground up had effects on the entire product, not just the multiplayer portion.

“eSports need to be watch-able,” Browder said. That means they need to be clear. Therefore, Blizzard had to limit the size of units. The Zerg Ultralisk was conceptualized as a huge monster that would absolutely tower over infantry units, but if you made the Ultralisks that big on the screen, players could hide tons of other units behind them, like a throng of Zerglings. Battles could be over in the blink of an eye and audiences would have no idea what they’d just seen.
Read more: http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/pos...#ixzz1Fhi42XDx

I really find this topic of e-sports to be interesting. I know non-gamers sneer at the idea, and even gamers often laugh at the thought of professional gaming ever being taken seriously, but I am bullish on it. In a world where people buy huge TVs to watch "reality" television, I see e-sports being a natural progression, especially as Gen-X becomes the dominant demographic in entertainment. Considering almost every house in America has some sort of gaming platform, and most have access to high speed internet, I think it is only a matter of time until TV execs put 2 and 2 together and realize that the next big thing isn't Dancing with the Stars, but Gaming with the Stars. As soon as we get our first "Bobby Fischer" for StarCraft or some other game (i.e., a gamer with enough skill and eccentricity to make him compelling to a large audience), e-sports will take off (and make that sooner rather than later if we have some sort of Cold War dynamic involved).

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  #22  
Old 03 Sep 11, 02:29
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It's been a few months since I booted up ol' StarCraft II, but I starting to feel the urge to unleash some sci-fi mayhem again. With that in mind, I've been catching up on some SC news and found this interesting tidbit:

Beer, nachos and Starcraft II

Quote:
Close to 100 fans are packed into an Ottawa bar, sporting T-shirts decorated with team emblems and arguing over their favourite players. Clutching beers and snacking on nachos, they cheer, groan and applaud as the action unfolds on the bar's TVs.

But the flat-screens aren't broadcasting a hockey or soccer game; instead, they display digital tanks and aliens, computer-generated armies controlled by professional video gamers. The event is Ottawa's first "Barcraft," and it's part of a growing movement to put video games on the same level as other spectator sports.

...

The Barcraft movement began earlier this summer, growing rapidly as Starcraft fans watch games and co-ordinate events online. Last weekend, Barcrafts were held in cities across Canada and the U.S., including New York, San Diego and Austin, Texas.
As I wrote above, I really believe e-sports is on the cusp of going mainstream. Heck, it probably would have gone mainstream already but for the malicious neglect of gaming by the old guard of media (particularly TV execs) who either don't 'get' gaming, or mistakenly see it as a mortal threat to the dominance of TV.
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Old 13 Sep 11, 21:05
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Another sign of things to come:

Video: Gordon Hayward gets schooled in the world of “StarCraft II”

Quote:
Above, watch a video he cut with several gamers to promote his upcoming participation. As a trio of experts school him in the world of high-stakes intergalactic space warfare, Hayward becomes increasingly frustrated with his inability to foil a Zerg uprising.


A $100,000 prize pool! You know how long it took professional chess to amass such a prize pool?!?

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Old 14 Sep 11, 01:28
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Definitely one of my all time favorites! I was always impressed by how it caught on in SKorea and the players actually became celebrities of a sort.

Very cool
Starcraft is one of my all time favorites also. My brother and I converted a 12x15 spare room in his home into a " Computer Room". I built 4 identical AMD K6 machines with extra memory fast video cards.With my 2 teen nephews we enjoyed many hours of 4vs4 team play. The advantage of the entire team in the same room was huge and usually we were the victors. SC was a great game in it's time. I doubt I will purchase SC2. I am spoiled by our previous adventures in SC.

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Old 14 Sep 11, 01:48
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Starcraft is one of my all time favorites also. My brother and I converted a 12x15 spare room in his home into a " Computer Room". I built 4 identical AMD K6 machines with extra memory fast video cards.With my 2 teen nephews we enjoyed many hours of 4vs4 team play. The advantage of the entire team in the same room was huge and usually we were the victors.
That is really cool!

Quote:
SC was a great game ir it's time. I doubt I will purchase SC2. I am spoiled by our previous adventures in SC.
Based on how much you loved the original, you should really get on the SC2 bandwagon. Blizzard did their usual AAA best with it (I can't wait for the second expansion, Heart of the Swarm). But what really impresses me is how much money and effort they are putting behind it to make it the premier e-sports title.
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Old 14 Sep 11, 17:10
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Originally Posted by BriteLite View Post
Starcraft is one of my all time favorites also. My brother and I converted a 12x15 spare room in his home into a " Computer Room". I built 4 identical AMD K6 machines with extra memory fast video cards.With my 2 teen nephews we enjoyed many hours of 4vs4 team play. The advantage of the entire team in the same room was huge and usually we were the victors. SC was a great game ir it's time. I doubt I will purchase SC2. I am spoiled by our previous adventures in SC.
That's very cool.
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  #27  
Old 14 Sep 11, 22:54
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Yep really enjoyed our family affair. The overall Starcraft/Brood War experience was positive and fun. Lag was minor most of the time but could be a a real pita especially nearing the end of a close encounter.

Cheats/hacking in mp over time became more prevalent although many blamed hackers for game losses when in fact they got their butt's kicked by very good players. Most hacks I encountered came from the Asian community but by no means were cheaters exclusively Asian. Probably the hack that was most wide spread was the speed hack. Truth be told many "speed" hackers were not cheaters at all: their machines were high end in all respects resulting in their units processing turns at high rates of speed that must be hacked. Well enough ancient history.

That is my one concern with SC2. Has Blizzard been able to develop improved security methods to ensure a "safe" environment? Many blamed Blizzard for the security weakness of SC but the truth is it was and still is by degree more difficult to secure MMO/MMORPG gamees. Any thoughts on SC@ and hacking?
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  #28  
Old 15 Sep 11, 00:53
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Originally Posted by BriteLite View Post
That is my one concern with SC2. Has Blizzard been able to develop improved security methods to ensure a "safe" environment? Many blamed Blizzard for the security weakness of SC but the truth is it was and still is by degree more difficult to secure MMO/MMORPG gamees. Any thoughts on SC@ and hacking?
That's a good question. I'll ask around and see what I can find out.
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Old 15 Sep 11, 09:08
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I've heard nothing, but I haven't played it much after its release and unless it makes a big press release I won't see any news unless you guys find it and post it here.
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  #30  
Old 15 Sep 11, 15:43
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Originally Posted by BriteLite View Post
That is my one concern with SC2. Has Blizzard been able to develop improved security methods to ensure a "safe" environment? Many blamed Blizzard for the security weakness of SC but the truth is it was and still is by degree more difficult to secure MMO/MMORPG gamees. Any thoughts on SC@ and hacking?
Here's the first answer I got:

Quote:
It's not nearly as prevalent as it was in his day. I've played thousands of games and only a few times was I ever suspicious.
You can see this guy's stats here: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/profile/514465/1/asyluM/

He has just short of 1800 league wins, so he seems to be a veteran player.

I'll post any further replies.

Last edited by Rooks Bailey; 15 Sep 11 at 15:48..
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