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I'm terrible at RTS games

KharumKharum Member Posts: 94

They are my favorite game genre, I can play single match for hours. I think I played first actual RTS game about 13 years ago and since then I've always played one every now and then. What I don't get is that I absolutely suck at them. I try to get better and correct my mistakes, but the enemy ends up crushing me effortlessly every time. I always have to play at easy difficulty level or whatever is bit easier than 'normal' level. Those matches I often win though, but when I raise the difficulty level up, I don't seem to stand a chance. I'm slightly above average in FPS games, pretty good at everything else as well, but RTS games I suck at. I'm long time gamer and usually no matter what game is in question, I learn it very quickly and I get to be labeled as a nerd. That is not the case with this genre. In fact, I do learn many things even in RTS games quite fast.


I've decided to really figure out what I'm doing wrong and try to get better in few games I have. Namely Starcraft, Company of Heroes, Rise of Nations, Age of Empires II. Those are few well known games and very genre defining games. I'm especially interested in Starcraft now, cause it seems quite simple, but it has the elements that most RTS games released after it have and nothing more. Good environment to practise in.


The fact that I don't have any idea what I'm doing wrong is bewildering. I started a AoE match after long, long time, but I knew how to play it... well sort of. Okay, I got destroyed quite fast. Restarted the match and same happened. By then I knew in what order I should do things and how to expand resource gathering, but again I got raped by enemy, I didn't seem to have time to even make soldiers. In Company of Heroes the normal level is easy, but hard is indeed hard, I have no chance. I don't wanna know how hard the hardest level is. Rise of Nations is madness, the AI is one of the best, the resource gathering and advancement is quite complex, there's too many things to do at a time.


I know few things I need to fix. I need better actions per minute, I need to use hotkeys and I need to learn the mechanics of a game better. I wonder how much those things impact my gaming and would the actually help enough. I'm slow and I get overwhelmed quite easily. I don't usually give up in things, I'm very determined person, but in RTS games I give up easily. I also wonder if I should read up on RTS games on the internet to learn counters and stuff. I kind of would like to learn by myself, that would be kind of cheating, and trial & error learning is usually more effective and fun than reading.

Waiting on Xsyon & betaing stuff


  • slashbeastslashbeast Member Posts: 533

    Just play them a whole lot and you'll get good. Samething applies for any game genre.

    If you're just playing a few games per month then yeah you're gonna suck and not make much progress. Just expose yourself to RTS frequently like maybe a game or two a day and you'll get the hang of it. Also do some research on any specific games to find out short cuts and nifty tricks that you otherwise couldn't figure out on your own.

    RTS games I play are: Dawn of War, Supreme Commander and Starcraft.

    Good luck.

  • Jimmy_ScytheJimmy_Scythe Member CommonPosts: 3,586

    It helps if you just concentrate one game. Starcraft is a good choice becuase there are all kinds of build orders and replays floating around the interwebs for you to study. You shold pay very close attention to build orders, they are the equivalent of chess openings and allow you to concentrate on other things once you have a few commited to muscle memory.

    Learn the hotkeys. All of them. Your keyboard shortcuts are your quickest and most effiecient way to take care of business. In many games, you can que up buildings and troops without moving camera off of what you're paying attention to. If you're using the mouse for anything other than selecting and moving/attacking, then you're doing it wrong.

    If you can't beat four AI opponents, on their hardest setting, at once then you have no business playing online. It's okay to experiment in skirmish mod. Look for particularly cheap strategems. On of my favorites in Red Alert 2 was to play as Korea, build eight black eagle bombers and then go straight for the other player's construction yard. Once they were no longer able to create buildings, all I had to do was defend my base and pick off their structures one by one. BTW, this didn't work against most experienced players but it does give you an idea of the types of things you're looking for.

    And that leads me to the most important advice: Scout, scout, scout!!! Once you know the hotkeys and can pull off a few build orders in your sleep, you need to send an uber cheap unit around the map to where you think your opponent my be building a base. The more you know about what they're building, the more likely you'll be able to set up a counter strategy. It also helps if you know a large number of build orders, even if you can't pull them off. The reason being that you'll be able to tell what you're opponent is up to just by seeing only a portion of their base.

    RTS players are a pretty obsessive lot. You aren't going to be any good at them unless you show the same level of crazy.

  • HeallunHeallun Member Posts: 149

    Moves per second.  Once all game knowledge is accrued, most games (for instance, starcraft) MPS comes into play.  Good Koreans (SC again) can get crazy high moves per second. 

    As for not being able to beat  normal gamemodes, take starcraft again for example.  Be sure to balance your defenses with your infrastructure with your upgrades.  Let's take SC marines for example.

    SC marines hit for 6 damage.  SC marines cost 50 minerals.  The first upgrade is 100 minerals, 100 gas.  Assuming 1 gas = 1 mineral (which really is quite untrue--gas is much more valuable).  Let's just say 200 "units" of resource.  If those units were spent on marines instead of upgrade you would have +24 damage overall in your combat group.  So for that first upgrade to be viable (+1 damage), you would have to have at least 24 marines total.  The fatal flaw of most RTS gamers is they try to play them like a mmo--upgrading everything as fast as they can.  In RTS--most upgrade (that doesn't add functionality, like say, nuke, though nukes rarely go off in good games due to detectors and quick reactionary patrol defense) are not very expensive compared to actual gain.  Against computers, build a quick defense at obvious stopgaps (most maps only have 1-2 entrances to your base) and focus on infrastructure heavier.  Terran, for example, can repair bunkers, making them a cheap and effective defense.

    I could go on about SC, but the above poster is right, if you can't smoke the expert PC's at least 2v1, don't play online.  RTSs are difficult to learn and take quite a bit of time and dedication to play.  You'll only find good players online.

    One more thing--if you watch any competitive SC play, notice how scouting (especially if it goes missed, undetected) wins and loses games.  Scouting even against NPC's can be absolutely vital to finding the weakest entry point.

  • KharumKharum Member Posts: 94

    Thanks, guys, very useful comments! I've actually played Starcraft a lot the past days and now I'm starting to realize what RTS games really are about. I just haven't focused on one RTS, apart from Age of Empires I and II, before, and I've been way too slow with controlling units. I can now beat the Starcraft AI every time, which is probably not much, but I'm learning all the time. I actually kind of fell in love with the game. Company of Heroes wasn't my thing after, don't know exactly why, I guess it's the strategic points and units that take unrealistically long to kill anything. It's bit too pretty game for my taste too, too many visual distractions.

    Waiting on Xsyon & betaing stuff

  • Rockgod99Rockgod99 Member Posts: 4,640

    You have to practice.

    Doesn't matter what online game if you don't put the time in your going to get smoked.


    Playing: Rift, LotRO
    Waiting on: GW2, BP

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