I DID NOT write all of this guide, nor did GoSu-ChemisT, just spelling fixes and minor comments aside from GoSu-ChemisT's already valued additions. I was tempted to organize it, but I figured I would leave it as it was. It has existed for almost a year and it would be impossible to count all the people it has helped. This guide is a combined effort of the forum over the past year in an attempt to create a guide to aid in the help of micro and macro to surpass all others, this guide IS better than anything you can buy from a game store or an online service and it's a bonus that all this info is free. I hope you will find the information in this guide to be as useful, as so many have found it to be before you.
Abbreviations in this section
RT = Random Team
AT = Arranged Team
Dual = Two
Rax = Barracks
Zeppelin = Goblin Zeppelin
NE = Night Elf
FS = Farseer
AI = Artificial Intelligence
Tier = Tech. Greathall[Tier1][Tech1] Stronghold[Tier2][Tech2] Fortress[Tier3][Tech3]
"Proper Micro" - Part I.
Micro is the basis of harassment. Micro is the basis of all tactics. Micro is the 'art' or the 'craft' of individuality controlling small [or large if you're good] groups of units into positions that give you maximum advantage.
Flanking is the first form of micro to learn. flanking is the 'art' or 'craft' of surrounding your enemies to maximize the total rate of attack.
Melee vs Melee
In closed ranged combat, where you have many more units than your opponent, what you must do is to run past behind enemy lines and 'collapse' the formation, having all units engage the enemy at the same time. use terrain to your full advantage, such as fighting on cliffs are not a good idea.
Even if your opponent have outnumbered you, he/she would incur more loses than he would otherwise, in this method. but if you both have same size armies, use flanking to save units, always make sure where units that are in the 'red zone' should be 'flanked' or 'stay out' of the battle.
Melee vs Ranged
In melee vs ranged, most of the time melee will win. But rangecraft still persists in the world of WarCraft 3. this will work in smaller armies. You must break the ranged unit's formation. Do not let your enemies out flank you. But if they do, do not concentrate on THAT one ranged unit. If you persist on doing that, then youlre giving out free hits for the enemy. Instead, concentrate on another ranged unit instead.
Ranged vs Ranged
Ranged vs ranged, you must definitely out flank your opponent. It is better to concentrate fire[focus fire] than spreading damage.
Spreading the damage
You should be aware that if an army is killed one unit at a time, the army dies faster than if you spread the damage across the entire army.
Lets say I have 10 grunts. vs another 10 grunts. now remember, no hero situation, the enemy doesnt focus their attacks, so your army is getting 50% of the 100% damage dealt. this way, you can flank easily.
Whereas you do 100% to their units, one by one at a time. In this way, that battle is already won for you.
In a hero situation, FS lets say. with 3 grunts. The FS is more prone to get attacked so you can use this to your advantage. As you run away/flank your Farseer, the grunts might follow to attack. this way, you have free hits.
"Proper Macro" - Part II
Macro is a simpler tool than micro. This relies on the hot-keying of your buildings. Macro, in short for macro-management is the form/art of expanding/economic gathering/pumping units/and also, multi-tasking, where you do multiple things at the same time.
When you're in battle, be sure to use the resources carefully and not recklessly as so that all NE have to do is build hunts and use macro to win the game. If your macro is poor and have over 2000/1000 resources, then knowing where/when to expand is very effective.
"Harassment" - Part III
What is harassment? In general, harassment is the use of micro as well as macro, combining it into one tool. Although in these situations, this is purely micro. Even though performing the necessary micro uses up your time, the bet is that it will waste either more of your opponents time or be extremely cost-time effective. There is more than one way to harass an opponent; you can harass by simply luring your enemy, or by executing a early hero harass while distracting the worker line with units of your own.
Luring is the term for subjecting one of your units to the enemy, but not sacrificing it. But trying to 'lure' their entire armies in using the AI. in this, if you are battling your opponent in their base, you can lure them out whereas their defense would not reach.
Another luring strategy by using illusions. This way, if you lose the illusion, it wouldn't cost you a thing.
Distractions are multi-tasks that allow you to harass as well as creep. This also comes in handy with illusions as well, using goblin zeppelin to distract your opponent's base. This way, they will start to panic and be on guard around their base while you can out-creep them to get valuable items and such.
In the common games of solo and RT[random team], distractions are always key if your opponent have extra expansions.
'Split' which is a term that rt players, where one of you attack one base. The other attack another base. this way, it is like having a 1v1 in a RT game.
Lets say your opponent is going out of their base to attack your base. And you do not want to tp because you are practically near their base. When they are out of their base to attack you, you immediate go into their base to attack their own. Usually you will force them to tp in or immediate retreat back to their base to save it. You tp out.
"Goblin Zeppelin Harassment"
This is usually the workings in solo, harassment is top notch. Every player should use goblin zeppelins when they have a chance. Players use the zeppelin to kill off worker lines and to force other players to tp back.
Common Mistakes - Part IV
Many people know the standard build order and simple micro and macro. What they do not notice is that they do NOT often continue to have a steady flow of grunts, archers, etc. You should always pump units when resources are constant.
Scouting is part of the game. Without scouting, you will not know your opponent's strategy and you will get easily killed off. for example, you mass grunts throughout the game, while your opponent has two bestiaries and started pumping wind riders. You will easily lose the game due to no AA. Knowing your opponents strategy is the first step in beating it.
Bad building placement
This is one of the most common mistake of all. Ive seen many Undead players build their Ziggurats outside of their workers. the problem is, the Undead mine does not have protection or any kind. another example is Orc players build their burrows completely outside of their base as a wall, where no workers could be found near it. then it becomes useless.
You might be in a game of solo, and the opponent is Orc. While you're NE[night elf], you assume they are going to use grunts. so you scout, dual rax and nothing else, tier1. So you're still going to continue to make huntresses. then out of nowhere, the Orc has a combination of grunts and headhunters. Just that you've scouted, doesn't mean what you see is actually there. Don't scout once, scout many times.
Getting angry over a loss [or more rarely over a win] is not such a good thing. It prevents you from playing effectively in the following games, and may disenchant others with respect toward your manner. Those who always get mad over a loss will never become gosu because they will give up first. it is refreshing to lose, as do many others because you can learn from your mistakes. To fix this problem, just get some patience. Manner up guys.
Bad use of Casters
Casters are just like sidekicks, you cannot rely on them too much to win a game for you. You should never mass shamans when the opponent has spellbreakers. Casters should be a number of 2-5, you do not need a mass of them nor will that win a game. You should have a steady balance of all units.
Knowing the Enemy - Part V
Many people will often have their own predictable strats, changes in strats, and counters. This is information that you can use against them. If you play with me in RT or AT[Arranged Team], you'd know I would use Demolishers whenever possible and getting oil. Many of these strats are predictable, as well as effective, you just have to maximize the strong points of the strat.
Once you know the enemy have a steady flow of one unit, you can easily counter that. For example, Orc goes headhunter, you are Undead going ghouls. Ghouls will beat headhunters, so Orc changes to grunts, and you change to fiends to counter them.
Using math in the game - Part VI
Math is used when you have 200 gold/200 lumber left. You have no bases but have two heroes with items. You sell a 200gold item and you will have 400gold, which is more than enough to create an expansion.
Another situation is calculating how many hits it will need for one grunt to die from footmen. Lets say you've scouted an Orc base who has 3 grunts and a hero. For every grunt, 2-3 footmen will take its place.
Upgrades, and when to get them - Part VII
When dealing with units that have a lot of HP and very little damage or very slow attack rate = Upgrade damage.
When dealing with units that have about the same HP and have a very fast attack rate = Upgrade armor.
When dealing with the same units = Upgrade armor.
Final Note On Heroes Early Game in solo or 2v2:
Early game, a level 1 hero revival costs less than replacing your TP later, but:
- you immediately lose almost 200 gold. this might hurt you more than replacing the TP later on. when your build is just starting up and every unit you build counts. this will delay buildings, units, or even your second hero. the total penalty could cost you the game, a lot more than 350 gold later on would.
- you may not need that tp later anyways.
- you give the opponent a lot of experience, and then while you are dead he creeps even more. he will be at least level 2 next time you see him, or depending on map, level 3 (and you just revived a level 1 hero. you will probably lose if this happens)!
MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF RULES YOU CANNOT BREAK FOR ANY REASON WHICH YOU MUST ADHERE TO AND NEVER FORGET OR DENY:
Do not engage in a battle you cannot win.
- ALT - Use the "Alt" key... it is your friend and will aid you in almost all the faculties of battle.
- GOALS - You do not have to kill every unit or even kill a single unit (although this would be favorable) to win a battle. Sometimes your aim in a battle will be to cripple or to create a distraction.
- SCOUT - Very important to scout... this will give you the information you need. you need to know when to attack, when you opponent is most vulnerable. you need to know what your opponent is building, if he is teching, or if he is massing.
- MAKE A PLAN before you engage in battle... those who plan out the battle before it's engagement most often have an advantage. Racial match-ups brood plans... if you know your opponent is NE and you are Orc get started on the demolishers and Headhunters. If your opponent is HU and you are NE then plan to get a few faire dragons to counter their casters. Do not set yourself on one course of action so deeply though that you cannot be flexible to adapt to what your opponent is doing. However DO NOT make two ancients of wind when you have not even seen what your opponent is making.
- GROUND ADVANTAGE - Seek to fight in areas where you are at an advantage. examples would be fighting next to your towers, away from Moonwells if your opponent is NE, on bridges if you have AOE, or on HIGHER GROUND for the 25% bonus. If you are fighting next to a merc shop buy the mercs if you can before your opponent otherwise even if you are winning the battle your opponent will boost his ranks with mercs. Same applies at goblin shops for items like scrolls of healing and protection.
- UNITS - Seek to build an army that directly gives you an advantage in battle. examples would be making faire dragons to counter human spell caster, making demolishers to counter huntresses, etc. This goes double for heroes... pick heroes that will boost your army's capabilities and at the same time put your opponent at a disadvantage.
- HOTKEYS - You have to make it a point to know what your units are capable of and this includes hotkeys. You have to know that a witch doctor can place a healing ward using "e" instead of using the mouse to click the picture. You should know all your races hotkeys to increase your speed in battle. you should not have to load four peons in a burrow manually unless there is a reason for it... just click on the burrow and click "b" and when the battle is over quickly click "d".
- CONTROL GROUPS - Put your units in control groups "CTRL + #". Make groups that you will remember and that will make it easier for you to command them in battle. Some popular assignments are melee in one control group with ranged and casters in another control group, all spellcasters in one group with all other units in another control group, all normal damage units in one control group with all piercing in another group and all magic damage in another group. In any case make what you feel most comfortable with but do not be afraid to change the kinds of control groups you have later on... you do not have to keep the same groups through-out the game. In the battle though most of the time these control groups will be rarely used in exchange for commanding each unit individually.
Control Group your buildings! - While you are in battle it is easy to click on your control grouped buildings and quickly hit the hotkey for some extra units. Don't go crazy and queue up a thousand units... Queue them up as needed and rally them to your hero.
- TAB - you only really have control groups with numbers 1-5 readily available to you and i myself only use 1-4. I highly recommend keeping at least two groups for units but as for buildings i find it easiest to set all my buildings to
The Chat Gem Lives!
In battle there are a couple of things you need to do.
- ATTACK UNITS... do not attack area. You should seek to control all your units individually in order to maximize your army's potential.
- UNIT TARGETING - Attack your opponents units with units of yours that will do the most damage. examples using demolishers to attack spellcasters in the back of the army... demolishers can get rid of those pesky spellcasters instead of attacking an opponents hero doing minimal damage and not giving you the most it can. Always look for an advantage in all unit match-ups.
- SICK UNITS - Your opponent will almost always have units that have less hp than others as they have taken damage from creeps or are just not fully healed... i call these sick units. Seek to get rid of these first. Be careful not to chase them though as you will suffer more damage than you should.
- NEVER ENGAGE IN 1V1 BATTLES... that is to say never allow your units to attack your opponents units one to one. The damage outcome of this battle is never productive to your victory... instead attack single opponent units in groups of two or three. Although some of your opponents units will go undamaged for a while, none the less your opponents army will die twice as fast as yours. Also it is important to remember that although in a 1v1 unit battle you damage all the units slowly, that is not what will gain your hero levels... dead units get you levels.
- HERO TARGETING is both risky and necessary. There will be times when the quickest way to victory in a battle will be to target your opponents hero. This is risky due to the fact that heros can survive longer than regular units, they have spells to help them, and your opponent will be focusing on keeping them alive. When targeting a hero click on the hero to make sure their items will not allow them to out live your units. In targeting a hero your units will take a lot of damage on the norm... if the hero's items allow it to live for a long time while being attacked your units will dwindle to nothing and the battle will be lost for you. *Don't target a hero unless you can kill them.* If your opponents hero is occupied, many times you will be able to surround the hero to avoid it running away to expedite the kill. In these occasions use a move command instead of the attack command. Also when attacking heros do not use your offensive spells preemptively... instead wait until their are low on hp to use them. If you use chain lightning on a hero with 500 hp they will heal as soon as your use it... but if you wait till they are down to 200 hp and use it they'll be caught off guard and will die soon after.
-TP(Town Portal) ADVICE
If you are losing a battle and must TP, don't just TP to your base and wait cause in those five seconds (of TP channeling time) your opponent can pick off a lot of units. Move the injured units away a bit and maybe try to ff their weaker ones.
If your base or allies is under attack and you must tp it, YOU CAN AIM THE TP! This is very useful for making sure you TP to the front lines if you have melee or rear if you have ranged. Also, it very easy to TP/surround an enemy hero if they are close enough to the town hall if you aim the TP right on top of them. Also can keep you from getting stuck in more compact bases.
- FORMATIONS AND DECEPTIONS: if encountering an opponent with AOE (area of effect spells) or an opponent that is benefiting from holding you at bay with one wave of units while pounding you with their ranged units rush headlong into his units. examples of opponents would be huntresses holding you while archers focus fire your units to nothingness or grunts holding you back while zerkers pick you apart. By rushing headlong into their lines you are taking that advantage away from them... this also creates a sort of confusion that will work to your advantage as they are probably not use to controlling units when mixed with other units.
Deception is VITALLY important. Sun Tzu said all warfare is based on deception. This means don't sell those wands of illusion. This means while you are engaged in a battle drop a couple of meat wagons or demolishers in your opponent's base and rip their gold mine to shreds. This means use those mechanical critters. This means build your Boneyards and Tauren Totems where your opponent can't see them if he scans your base. This means build your trees of life behind goldmines when you can. this means turn those mortars invisible and watch as your opponents jaw drops. This means flood your opponents side of the battle with fliers in order to avoid him easily commanding his units (this is quite humorous and frustrating). Think outside the box and surprise your opponent with strange and unique strategies and you'll give yourself a large advantage. It is EXTREMELY difficult to defend something you have never encountered before.
- SPELLS - they have SPELLS for a reason... use them.... all races have a way for heroes to regain mana quickly so don't be frugal... use your spells as much as you can and at the appropriate times. for example if you see a far seers wolves are about to die cast them again quickly to take away that potential XP from your opponent. as NE don't mana burn a hero with only 9 mana since it's pointless... you waste your mana and you would have done more damage had you attacked normally.
- ITEMS - Equip your heroes with them... don't be bashful... load them up with goodies and you'll find you will have a significant advantage in battle.
- LEVELS - Heroes need them to increase their effectiveness... how do you do this???.... kill units... don't let an engagement pass that you allow your opponent to run... even if you have to use a war stomp to kill one single unit do it. Every unit you kill gets you closer to the next level, the next skill, and the win. If you need to waste the coil on an archer do it... heal your unit later on. Hero rules apply double for UD as they are a race that centers on their heroes.
- IT'S NOT THE END - Do not fight battles as though each one were the last. Your battles should have goals... whether it is to cripple, to destroy, or to kill a hero, or to harass.
- KNOW WHEN TO RUN AWAY... if at any time in the battle you feel you cannot win or the losses will outweigh the benefits then avoid pursing the battle any further. TP out if you can... if not then run. If you run do not walk if you can run... meaning bring a scroll of speed if you have it... if you are Undead keep your death knight in the back to allow all your units to benefit from unholy aura instead of out running them and watching your units die, as your running purge, entangle, ensnare pursuers to make a more efficient retreat. Never TP a level 1 hero... reviving him will almost always be more cost effective than to waste a TP. Lastly never leave anyone behind... don't give your opponent the XP from those wolves, skeletons, or Furbolgs you left behind.
- HAZARD CONTROL - As your units become damaged pull them back to avoid getting hit... then bring them back into battle as your opponents units have now targeted your other units with more hp.
- UNIT SAVED IS A UNIT SAVED - Don't be afraid to let the unit go back to your base... better to be down one unit in battle than to be down one unit in game.
- WILL TO LIVE - Use unit abilities. examples would be shadow-melding for NE, ghouls cannibalize, and spirit walkers ethereal form.
- HEALING - use it... mass healing is a wonderful wonderful thing. Nothing makes an opponent more furious then seeing a unit or units he's dealt massive amounts of damage to get healed negating all his attacks. examples would be scrolls of healing, healing salve, holy light, coil, regeneration, etc.
- KILLING YOUR OWN UNITS - there are occasions when it is preferable to kill your own units than to have your opponent kill them... this is most usually the case before making a retreat.
- ZEPPELINS- Zeppelins are fantastic for defense in battle. they can life units up and take them out of battle to avoid getting hit and can drop them anywhere in the battle.
- LIIIIIIVE - Keep them alive... they are your ticket to victory, they give you advantages in battle with their spells, if they die they can't very well be any help to you. If your hero is targeted run them to the back of your lines, then bring them back... this will allow your units to do significant damage to your over anxious opponents units. If you feel as though a hero is far too weak purchase items that will help them... a melee hero should almost always have an invuln pot handy or a nice potion of healing.
- Micro at it's best is like an elegant dance of two people trying to do the same thing and achieve a similar end. Your opponent is using the same offensive ideas and defensive ideas as you are using and it usually comes down to who is more effective and focused in their mind and of course fingers.
- Knowledge and ability are separate but not exclusive (keep this in mind before flaming me for my record). Although you know everything about micro it is nothing without being applied in reality. Experience is the best teacher but not only experience but experience with a cognitive aspect. You must always seek to improve and to improve you have to ask yourself what you did right, what you did wrong... and MOST IMPORTANTLY *WHY* it was right or wrong.
This part by Augury
In my below descriptions, the army type I am focusing on unless otherwise specified is a mid-game ranged - melee mix ( ~5 rifles and ~5 foots)
I recommend separating your army into an "attack-move" group (melee + casters) and a "focus-fire" group (heroes + ranged + siege). If you do this, then your micro will be limited to:
1. attack-moving the attack-move group
2. hold alt (for hitpoint bars)
3. hero spells
4. focus-fire with the focus-fire group
5. dance or retreat damaged units
6. possible unit surrounds
These units are most likely the ones that you will want to dance or retreat so they should be an important focus when you look at your main screen.
Beware of the windows key.
The ideal targets are the ones that are nearby / close / in front and weakened by the attack-moved troops. Usually I assign two targets per focus-fire by using shift. If your opponent pulls back the focused unit, be sure to switch targets quickly.
Dancing / retreating:
dancing is retreating a unit a short distance but keeping it in the battle so that enemies on attack-move will break attack lock.
When you dance units, don't use shift. If it's a melee unit, it'll use it's AI to re-engage as if it were on attack-move anyways. If it's a ranged unit, you should use your entire control group to re-focus on a target. This is because using shift and telling your danced unit to reacquire a certain target takes up "micro time" which could be used instead to dance away another unit or two.
Retreating is pulling a unit out of the battle completely and sending it home. In general, you want to dance units if you think they will continue to survive but retreat units if you think they would die otherwise. If your opponent relies mainly on attack-move, you'll use dancing most of the time. If he likes to focus a unit to death (and keep running after it) then retreating is the best option. If he does a mix of these then you just need to do a mix as well. Retreating units denies enemies of exp and also makes your army considerably stronger if you manage to heal safely after the battle. In general you will want to regroup your healthy units so that when you select the group again you won't pull the damaged units back into the fight. Certain situations make this very difficult (ex: tc shockwave on foots) in which case you should rely on click-dragging the healthy units on-screen and regrouping in that manner (instead of using the selection box).
The basic principle in surrounding a unit is to cut off it's means of escape. These are the four directions that are directly north, south, east, and west of the unit. This means that you need a minimum of 4 units to surround another unit.
There are two methods to surrounding a unit. If you have a large number of units (such as mass ghouls) then you can use a move + move command to surround by moving past / around the unit then telling your army to move onto the unit (patrol) multiple times. This is what is usually used with a spell such as sleep. Variations are using attack-move instead of move-spam to surround
The second method is for a low unit-count skirmish such as anti-harassment with MK and foots. For this one, you want to move past the unit partially before attack-moving (the first second) and then moving individual units to fill up the N, S, E, and W directions Usually you will only need to fill in two of the escape routes since the attack-moving troops will cover the other two.
Of course, all of this is assuming that you have a strong familiarity with your basic hotkeys (1, 2, 3, a, Shift, Alt, CTRL, Backspace, and hero spell hotkeys (some of which are w, t, f, c, n, e, b, d, x, r). Clicking pictures for commands or spells is a habit that should be dropped prior to any of the above for improved micro
This part accredited to pure- Blocking
Blocking is probably the easiest of all these maneuvers. Basically what you are doing is blocking the path of an enemy unit by constantly blocking it's path at about a 45 degree angle. Move your unit in from the left or the right and constantly stay in front of their unit by changing direction. An example of a time to use this effectively would be in Night elf mirror after skirmishing early game with two Demon Hunters, use your wisp to block the path of their Demon Hunter (assuming he is running) and have your DH finish him off.
Another easy maneuver, this involves surrounding a unit with multiple units (or in some cases 1 unit can work). Personally I use custom keys to do this because I am horrible at typing and have trouble using the "M" key. I would recommend changing the Move function to "Q" in CustomKeys.txt. To perform this maneuver, select a group of units and move them around an enemy unit so you have at least 1 unit on all sides. Quickly press the Move hotkey ("Q" for me) and left click on the enemy unit. I would do this a few times in rapid succession to be sure you have no gaps in your surround. Using sleep or bolt can guarantee an easy surround at most stages of the game. You can use the terrain to your advantage and pin a unit against a rock with 1 or 2 units as well.
Forward attack progression
This involves moving the split second your attack animation is
The Chat Gem Lives!
This Part Compiled by d_Alchemi and joint written by Vacquo
Note: Most of these concepts are explained for from the side of a human player. Note that the same strategy and concepts just have to be modified slightly when used by other races by using the race's counterpart to what human has.
Question: Exactly HOW MUCH micro control can be used in a battle involving 30 or 40 units?!
. . . There just seems to be TOO MUCH STUFF going on to do much more than let the units auto-acquire targets and manually control my hero.
These Grouping Assignments accredited and written by Dreadnaught
To answer the question just asked, here are some ideas for control groups for All the races
Hotkey Groupings For HU
#1 Call to arms (about 3-4 peasants)
#2 Melee units and melee heroes
#3 Ranged units and ranged heroes (DR usually)
#4 Siege units and siege heroes (like Tinker)
#5 Spellcaster units and Spellcaster heroes
#6 Aerial units
#8 Arcane Sanctum
Hotkeys Groupings for Orc
#2 Melee units and melee heroes
#3 Ranged units
#4 Siege units
#5 Spellcaster units and heroes
#6 Raiders. Don't do air here, rather a fast AA and building smash force. Separate from siege so I can get demos hitting units and raiders ripping up towns
#8 Spirit Lodge
#9 War Mill
Hotkeys Groupings for UD
#2 Melee units and melee heroes
#3 Ranged units (DR here)
#4 Siege units
#5 Spellcaster units and heroes
#6 Aerial units
#8 Temple of the Damned
Hotkeys Grouping for NE
#2 Melee units and melee heroes
#3 Ranged units and heroes
#4 Siege units
#5 Spellcaster units and heroes
#6 Aerial units
Why is queue #1 open? Well, when I first starting playing and memorizing my queues I actually had a Hero queue. Then I got better pulling up the individuals in the F1-3, so I discarded that queue. Since I started playing on-line, I've found that I need a way to bring up the base defenses quickly, so I reassigned it. When I play Orc, I plan to highlight some peons or burrows in the queue for Battle Stations. Not quite figured out how I'm going to do it yet, that's why I practice so much on the computer.
*****Note that these are in no way the only possible combination for grouping assignments*****
Back to d_Alchemi and Vacquo
Some people key in their Altar, I hope my hero doesn't die because other than creating a second hero I never go back to it, so it's a waste of an active slot. Some people key in their Town Hall, but since Backspace brings it front and center, it goes back to my previous point.
It's a lot of keys, but it becomes natural with a lot of practice. I practiced against the comp for a long time before b.net. What helps me now is playing against comp insane instead of normal, because the micro is so much more intensive. (BTW, I use pretty much the same system for Orc and UD, just substitute racial buildings). . .
Question: Can you use all those keys without having to look at them? i.e. maintain eyes-on-screen while controlling that many number keys in the midst of a battle?
Yes but it takes practice, practice, practice. It is the only way you will get any better at it.
Question: Exactly how MUCH micro do you do in a battle? And what is your methodology behind which specific things you try to do with which specific units?
I would like to point out my use of hot keys as "weapons banks." For example, although queue 6 I use for flying units, I don't always have them. Queue 4 for siege, again, not until mid to late game. I hope to not use Queue 1 but I've found it necessary since I play HU and am bound to get harassed early game. In a fight, this is what you would see if you were watching my keyboard:
Toggling #2 Attack+Move, toggling #3 A+M, toggling #5 A+M and go. #2 bolt a unit. #3 FF a unit. #5 drop WE. Tab twice, they've dropped a spell, so priest dispel. #2 clap. Bolt again. #3 target destroyed, lock on new target. Lost rifleman, Toggling #0 to start another.
Yeah, it gets pretty intensive. The bonus is that I can acquire several targets at once.
I would break ranged and casters. It's much easier to access their spells, and use them more actively. Imagine you somewhat passively focus firing on their hero while queued sorcs sheepify their melee.
For target selection, only take out the enemy hero if you can do so quickly Mainly because it has more HP than any other unit usually, better armor, and the opponent will be watching. As human I target leading units with bolt, FF, and drop it. Bolt next unit, FF and drop. Battle extends, enemy hero has taken some passive hits and is in the red.
A final word: I've also seen people use two, maybe three keys for their entire army, all units lumped together into one. If that works for you (or anyone else reading), that's fine. I strongly suggest playing with whatever comes natural, as that will be your best. When I play UD going mass ghouls, I will overfill a queue and so start another. I'll have co-group leaders, DL leading queue 2 Main force and DK leading queue 3 reinforcements. I can micro two different groups and cast spells quickly between the two queues.
Question: It sounds like you don't try to "FF" with your melee group? You just attack-move behind the enemy and let them fight whomever (what you call "passive" acquisition) . . . ?
Well, for the most part, yes, and this may catch up to me sometimes. I FF melee occasionally, but the problem is the range. They have to walk up to that unit and point-blank hit them. All the while the enemy is taking cheap shots. In the case of ranged units, like the riflemen, it's very easy to attack any target in range, bring it down, and then acquire new target. If you get really good, you can acquire a series of targets in the manner of SHIFT+ATTACK click on target but holding down shift do A + click and A + click and so on. Just reciting Mojo's guide here.
Question: Maybe one of my problems (in addition to the speed battles happen!) is the number of units crowded up on the screen during one. How to acquire targets visually?!? I'm always afraid, and sure I do regularly(!), that I'm going to target my own melee guys with my ranged because they're all crowded up with his! Do you use the mouse scroll zoom, or the keys that show unit HP, or even a weird screen resolution to help you do this? Or am I the only one with this problem?
Practice this a bit on the computer. All enemy targets will show up with the player name (in this case Computer(Normal)) right above it if your cursor is hovering there. Click on the unit to determine health status. Kill red right away.
Also: if you hold down the CTRL key and the close bracket ] you get the health status of all hostiles on screen (yep, creeps too). If you've got the fingers and the reach, you might be able to work the mouse, the keys needed to highlight the health, and micro an attack on a dying unit. My fingers span a thirteenth interval on the keyboard, and I still can't always do this!
I'll admit I only play Orc and NE against the computer, and NE very rarely at all. Orc is fun to play sometimes, but I'm not comfortable enough with the combinations to play competitively. UD is a different story. After my rifleman icon I'll be playing my second most comfortable race.
However using hotkeys isn't the only way, this part by AnotherAlias explains what he does because it works for him, as you should only do what works best for you.
I tried to use groups, but I never felt it was worth it. The keys I use mostly are F1,F2, and F3 for heroes, double click\CTRL click to select all of a particular unit type, or tab to use subgroups. If I want to move the whole group, I drag select everyone.
The only group I have tried to really use is a group for unit producing buildings so I can swap to base and back quickly, but I never got the keys standard enough to work (I play random, just too many different configs to learn) I don't feel like I'm all the bad off for not using groups. I use the tab key a lot for "subgroups" when I have EVERYONE selected. Common scenario for me: Select everyone, tab to the healer (Paladin, Death Knight, Shadow Hunter, or Druid of the Claw) and then I use the icons listed to see the lowest HP unit and click the "heal" spell on him using the icon.
I never even click on any actual units in that whole process. It's just too confusing. Sometimes I use alt key too, that's more for figuring out the enemy's units' hp, trying to find the weakest target so I can take it out quickly and gain exp. I think the ctrl/dbl click and subgroup methods are better actually. It's too much of
a headache to keep updating unit groups. I'd rather concentrate on other stuff.
The Chat Gem Lives!
This is a compilation done by d_alchemi, cleaned up and edited by GoSu-ChemisT which consists of comments from many forum posters on their ideas of what makes a good base/building layout. Every comment will have a name in front of it to indicate who said what, this is a little different from the rest of the guide because it is a conversation that contains several people commenting on what the others have said vs just two people talking to each other asking questions. Or just one person talking spewing information.
Yet this answers quite a few questions about building placement and will teach you the things to avoid doing when constructing your base. One player's ideas are no more right than another's. Different layouts work differently for different players. Just decide on which layout you like the sound of most from this debate.
d_alchemi- I have a relatively standard layout when I make my base. I used to put the Altar and Barracks at corners opposite the side of the TH closest to the mine. Now I'm getting more comfortable putting them more straight across the outward leading edge, with space between for a farm and subsequently towers. (I think this style has been accredited to AKM.)
What I've noticed is that on some maps this is not only easy to do but necessary, since the trees are only to the back, and the only cover you can get from the front is with the buildings. On maps like 2R North position, it's pretty easy to get the straight line across; but at South the trees to the Northwest get somewhat in my way.
So here's my question: Do you have a standard layout for each position on each map, or do you bend it around a bit to "fit" your area? On TR I have to pull it in, myself.
DeFoaBuSe- I blend it usually.
Also don't put my altar too close to any cramped up buildings or your hero will get stuck and you will have to either tp or spend time having the trees being chopped down, Even I get my heroes stuck sometimes.
Cainbot- Basically just put low priority buildings at the front (buildings you don't mind losing like your blacksmith or something) then weak buildings/towers go behind them
If I had a dollar for each time this happened.... :P
Hence the spreading out I've been doing. With the three buildings with their tips touching, it doesn't leave me much room.
So you treat each game as it's own, without a set, "Let's see, I'm in the lower left position on Turtle Rock, so my buildings go according to plan TR-3..." Sounds better than memorizing a bunch of plans, and the flexibility is handy as the situation changes, such as the opponent spawning close on TR.
frostiq- At first I put my burrows on the outside of my base and kept my barracks inside, reasoning the barracks was more important and I should have my burrows out to defend. Then I realized no one kills a barracks--at least not early--and burrows need to be close to peons.
Anyway, I guess you should be the one giving me advice. :-)
d_Alchemi- @frostiq: Layout is something I've spent a deal working on, as I've found it can kill you as much as poor micro. When I first started playing b.net I was like you, putting my farms ("If they die I can't make more units and then I'm a goner") and then after watching my opponents slash away at my towers I had a Eureka moment. That, and watching replays. :)
Nowadays I'm trained to target peasants, wells, acolytes, and yes burrows.^^ After that it's T2 buildings, and if I'm feeling particularly ballsy I go for the TH.
@Cainbot: I can understand your point about putting non-consequential buildings up front because I often need room in the back. (That dryad-killing Workshop really sits around the house.) The player shop is recommended up front for ease of use and soft target for the enemy, so that they don't hit something more valuable like the Altar. But the Blacksmith shop, well, I kinda need that for rifles; so if it goes, so does most of my ability to produce the best HU fighting' unit.
big.bad.delta- for Orc, I always try to have my burrows cramped really close to peon line, surrounded by altar/rax
in general, never put your shop out in front...it is a tempting an easy target...
I only have fixed positions for first moonwell, altar and AoW. (protecting lumber wisps and mine, mw reachable and AoW offering decent protection)
I build the rest just like it seems fitting for me.
Night Elf: Ancients of War in very front with Wells in back along the tree line. I take Protectors and uproot them and then burrow through the trees so they are close to the front of my base but behind the moonwells so they can shoot melee units attacking my big ancients, but not get hit by them. I put weaker ancients (I'm not really sure if they actually have worse statistics, i do this by habit) behind the war ancients, and my altar/hall/roosts in the very back by my mine.
Undead: I surround my mine with Ziggarauts, usually upgrading them to slow towers when i have enough extra lumber. I also put my altar, graveyard, and shop in back putting the rally points between the shop and the graveyard so units have easy access to corpses or items if needed. I put my unit making buildings in a line in the front with some Ziggarauts behind them, turning them into slow towers when i have extra resources.
Human: I put two arcane towers to guard against orc harassers immediately behind my town hall and surround them with farms. I put my altar, smithy, mill, vault, and aviaries in the back. i build my barracks and sanctums up farther in a line with some more towers in back. I surround my town hall with farms.
Orc: I pretty much place all my fortified buildings in a line in front of my town hall with my mill, shop, burrows, and towers behind them.
Night Elf: I generally try to keep my buildings right next to each other. Often doing a line, or closing off so that there is only one entrance. This often means my tier one buildings are right next to my tier two ones. But I like moonwells out in front. Just have to be careful when teleporting in.
Human: And idea I have been playing with recently is placing the barracks two spaces away from the town hall, then surround a tower with two farms in the space between. Sounds like a good way of protection to me. I often try to keep my blacksmith in the back, and the shop slightly covered. But buildings like the Gryphon Aviary will often fit in the area cleared by my lumber peasants.
Undead: Very compact, with towers usually surrounding the mine. Until there is no room. Graveyard always nearest to the place where my ghouls will be gathering, but just enough space to allow a hero to get to anywhere. PROTECT THE SHOP! That is big, an UD player without a shop will most likely be returning to the grave earlier than expected. Put it in a spot reachable, but not easily destroyable.
Orc: Base layout is generally easy with Orc. Keep things pretty compact, and you will be fine. Often burrows go in 3's near my lumber peons. And the Alter goes right next to the Town Hall. As soon as tier two hits, I become a bit more open, because orc are not that great in choke points. At least not as good as other races in my opinion.
I use a one entrance build for all races. As elf, on maps like turtle rock I stick an aow right in the entrance gap. I do a bit of other stuff, but it would take too long to explain and it's pretty minor.
For my Undead build i usually get the graveyard in back(opposite of side altar on) with a nerub by mine. I put the altar all the way on one side next to trees, with crypts(usually 2)side by side next to altar. I then put nerubs behind crypts. This makes like a barricade with usually a small opening on the opposite side.
This works well with fiends build, since they can attack from behind crypts as can the nerubs. hero can summon skellies from the graveyard with fiends clogging the only gap to ensure safe and easy teching(usually to aboms).
This setup works very well and i usually win as long as siege don't come early.
I spread ancients around the front of my base in in square or triangle, then moonwells in back, with altar and hunt hall. Also, as Inso mentioned, on LT, TR and Whirlwind I put ancients at my base entrance.
My bases are very meticulously constructed because i am always paranoid about getting stuck. For example, at the front go the rows of towers along the cliffs, then come allies moonwells, shops, and then workshops and allies aviaries, and in the back all the other buildings eg. farms, town hall, lumber mill, blacksmith.
I make all my bases follow the 1 in, 1 out rule, no matter what race i am. i try to use race specific farms for walls and my other buildings to make it very hard to get to workers, and if they do get to them i can block them in and force a TP.
UD is good for it since u just turn zigs into towers.
Moonwell are decent but i like to keep them near the front for quick heals, but often put at least 1 or 2 in the back for good measure.
Human, well just mass farms all over the place. I mean you have to build a million of them anyways. My real set up for them is farm up the side the lumber guys are on, build alter near the goldminers on opposite side of lumberjacks. then Rax in front of altar.
Orc i build burrow near mine then another by lumber dudes, then just keep by lumberers and some around the base to make a burrow able to protect all angles.
The Chat Gem Lives!
Notice: The entire next comment is from a human player and so all the buildings are human buildings. My apologizes that we do not have a piece like this for every race.
Augury is credited for the text. Screen Shots done by GoSu-Chemist-
Here are some building layout "fundamentals" that can be applied from a Human point of view:
1. Single-entrance base:
It's a good idea to have a single-entrance base so that opponents only have one way in and out to get to your peasants. This way you don't have wolves or heroes (DH, FS, KotG, DK, etc) running into the "interior" of your base, killing a peasant or two, then having an easy escape route out the other end. With only one entrance you can either trap the enemy hero inside (if your entrance is small enough) or run your peasant (in militia form) to the rear of your base to pull your opponent further in for an easier trapping/killing job.
2. Protect your important or weak buildings
An ideal base layout will have tier2 buildings (and maybe the blacksmith, altar, or vault depending on your priorities) in a protective position so that enemies cannot raze it quickly. Planning ahead to create a "space" for your vault to build in is usually a good idea -- make this partially blocked so that it is difficult to damage, while being far up front enough that it is easily accessible.
3. Use farms as scout towers
Unlike other races, Humans have the cheapest "supply depot" type building costing 80 gold and 20 wood. If a farm is razed, your opponent has to spend time taking out its 500 (or more if you have masonry, but you probably don't) hit points with fortified armor, and the human only loses six supply's worth instead of ten. A farm isn't easily killed like a burrow, restricted to being built on blight like a ziggurat, or expensive and valuable like a moonwell (and the other two, to a lesser extent). Placing farms further out from your other buildings to extend your base's sight range helps alert you to an incoming attack and protect you against a "stealth tower" strategy.
To apply these three ideas, I've found three different base layout types.
This is what I see most humans do and what I usually do during solo games: build the altar and the barracks on either side of the town hall to seal one path from the town hall to the tree line while leaving an opening in the other path. Usually the altar is used as the seal in conjunction with a farm or two while the barracks is on the side with the opening (and your lumber peasants). The reasoning behind this is that the altar is more important the barracks so it's placed where your opponent is less likely to attack from. Placing the barracks and altar "out" at the furthest edges of your town hall is usually done as well so that there is more space in the interior of your base for your blacksmith and tier2 buildings to go.
Consequences of this build are that its easy to do on any map position but has a short and wide entrance corridor and less defensive power when not inside your base (militia are wide open if the pass the barracks). Towers are also more difficult to place with this build, but I usually don't use them anyways. Here is a picture to illustrate.
2. Long Corridor
This is similar to the first build with the altar sealing off one entrance, but instead of placing the barracks next to the town hall it is placed about 3 spaces in "front" of it and farms are used to extend a barrier to the tree line. This makes it so that your peasants run alongside your town hall in the corridor you've created before making it to the "outside" of your base setup. This is a strong anti-harass build and also allows ideal tower positions behind the farms.
A third way is to put all of your early buildings far away from your town hall as a "wall" with a small opening and leave lots of space to build. I use this build occasionally when I have time to build to altar (late hero strategy) and usually in 2v2, where trapping two enemy heroes in your base can stop harass cold. The opening you leave should be small, about 3 spaces wide. The barracks will leave a space between itself and the altar or blacksmith, so that needs to be plugged with a farm.
Here are two pictures that show the top and bottom of the base layout.
This set-up I learned from watching AngryKoreanMan replays. I space
altar and barracks a bit to give myself room and in between I put a
Behind the farm I place a tower. The first one and the one that covers
lumberjacks is always arcane. The second one is usually guard, but in
particular game I was under BladeMaster harass, so I decided to pwn him
dual arcane towers. What looks like a simple "leave me alone or I'll
your mana" design later becomes a maphack with the sentry upgrade. =)