12 Nov 2012

Has Zerg always been IMBA?

TL;DR - Stephano feels Zerg has always been IMBA. In our opinion the different races require different skills and therefore depending on who you are, different races will seem easier to you.
This post isn't about the current balance issues, as we too feel there are some zerg-nerfs that needs to be done.

After beating CranK yesterday at the Lone Star Clash 2 event, Stephano said something like:

"It's easy. I've always said Zerg is the best race and it remains that way. It's way way IMBA."

Since Stephano often brags and sometimes comes of as a bit of a douchebag (intentionally we think), it's funny to hear him say that Zerg is IMBA, since in a sense it is the same as saying that his success is not simply due to his overwhelming amount of talent.

At the Lone Star Clash they had the eye-tracker feature that showed where the players looked the most during the games. What was really interesting is that Stephano looked a lot more on the mini map than CranK and as a result a lot less on the actual battlefield.

It's hard not to regard this as proof that for Zerg players, map awareness is often more important than micro. At least it might seem that way when solely looking at the eye-tracker results with race differences in mind.

And when we think of the best Zerg players over the last couple of years like for instance Nestea, DongRaeGu, Symbol, Life or Stephano we don't primarily think of great micro.
Instead we think of skills like fantastic macro, map awareness, game sense, decision making, movement and so forth.

So what's the point with this?

Well we basically feel that it's far too simple to say that the Zerg race in itself is "way way IMBA".
If that was the case then Zerg would have won everything during the last couple of years and they haven't.

However what can be said with certainty is that it requires different skills to master the different races.

And though Infestors might currently be in need of a nerf (and we think they are), it's ludicrous when people rant about one race generally being IMBA and fundamentally easier.
What everyone should acknowledge, is that different people find different aspects of the game easy. Therefore the different races also seem easier to different people.

And to Stephano Zerg seems IMBA because the skills required to master that race feels natural to him. He understands the race and everything about it so of course it's easy for him.

But that's what's great about the game: The three races are so different!

And the different aspects of the races relate to different aspects of your personality and to master them you have to draw on different parts of your mind.

In our opinion this is what makes the game beautiful to watch.

And in fact this is also what makes some of the games feel like genuine art.


  1. At what point would you call a race imbalanced?

    Would a 35% TvZ korean winrate be imbalanced (october 2012)?
    Would it be imbalanced if half of the GSL map pool had a 40% TvZ winrate?
    Would it be imbalanced if 4 of the 32 World Championship players were terran?

    Because all three of the above are currently true. No amount of handwaving can make the numbers vanish.

    You have only made yourself look clueless.

    1. Well I am not saying that there isn't currently a balance issue at all cause I think there is.
      Just a few days ago we wrote a post about the current and ludicrous win rate for zerg in the gsl. This is about the races in general and the people sometimes stating one race is fundamentally IMBA or easier to play.

  2. "It's hard not to regard this as proof that for Zerg players, map awareness is generally more important than micro."

    Using 1 players eye movement as proof for anything general about the race isn't really a good thing to do. The eye tracking is interesting, but so far the information is nothing but anecdotal.

    1. I agree that it's not proof at all. I am not even saying that it's the way it is. I just meant that it makes you wonder if that's the way it is. But it was perhaps clumsily written.