I've decided to play some Starcraft II arcade games and thought I'd document my experience somewhere, so this seemed like as good a place as any. For those of you who don't know the Starcraft II Arcade is the place where the equivalent "Custom" maps from Starcraft and Warcraft reside. I know a lot of people around here aren't the biggest fans of straight up Starcraft multiplayer, but I think the games found in the Arcade are likely to be of more interest.
Episode 1: Nexus Wars
What is it?
Nexus wars seems to be near the top of the most played customs games list, so I thought I'd start with something deemed decent by other people. The basics of Nexus Wars are that you and your teammates build buildings which constantly pump out a particular unit. The units then march across the map at the other team's set. There is no unit control here, they just smash into each other much like creeps in a MOBA game. You gain income based on which buildings you have, and how many kills you get, which which you can build more buildings to pump out more units. Your goal is to build a composition of units which beats the other team's composition so your units will eventually push into their base, kill their Nexus thereby winning the game. There are a few emergency abilities which can be used if you are losing badly to try and turn the tide.
The first round I played of this I really had no idea what I was doing, but watched my teammates and figured it out pretty quick. There isn't a ton to do, particularly in the early game where you have very little income. You have access to basically all units in the game, and you control one worker unit and can choose to build in the top of bottom "lane." I was an idiot and went to a lane with 2 other people, so we have 3 in one lane, 1 in the other and was told we should have 2 in each lane. Fair enough. I kind of just build things haphazardly and luckily it seemed that I had some teammates that understand what was going on and they were actually helpful (a welcome change from a lot of recent online gaming experiences!). Eventually we won the game.
The next one I played I had gained some experience and was quite a bit more useful. I paid attention to the unit compositions and tried to build the most useful thing. This one was actually very back and forth with both bases coming under fire at different points (at which point you can use your worker to help in the fight, repair things, etc). Eventually we managed to win by building higher tier units and just out muscling them.
Overall it is a pretty neat little game. The games seem to last about 10-15 minutes and the players I've matched up with have so far been pretty friendly. It isn't really very difficult, but it is a nice little game. The queue to get a game is quite short, so you can get playing right away which is nice. Not a lot of depth, but decent. I could see myself playing a round now and again in between ladder games or something.
Up Next: Squadron Tower Defense