The Beginners Guide - Compilation
Disclaimer: This is the guide for the new and clueless. If you are a diamond league player, this guide is not for you.
Your advice, and comments, are appriciated, but keep in mind your tactic of microing 7 groups at once, while keeping production high, wont be needed yet for the target audience of this guide.
1. Philosophy, how the game flows
Before we begin we should establish "game flow".
There are 3 stages in the game. These are usually counted in approximate minute count.
The reason behind the stages being measured in minutes instead of reached tiers, is because tiers can be reached at very different speeds depending on what tactical advantages and disadvantages you are prepared to take/make.
Phase 1, or "early game": first 5 minutes approximately.
Phase 2, or "mid-game": at end of 1 phase, til approxiamtely 15 minutes of passed game time.
Phase 3, or "end-game": everything after phase 2.
2 Heuristics of game flow and a little math:
2.1 Early game
Early game is about infrastructure. Infrastructure means drone count, and refinery building(s) and drone assignment to these.
Early game is about getting drones into play, and keeping them there.
A crippled infrastructure will lose you the game.
Early rushes/proxy/towering(cheeses - more on these later) are just a tactic to disrupt your infrastructure and "strangle"/"starve" you, before your production and infrastructure becomes a threat.
An opponent can usually only do these at a cost to their own infrastucture, so fend it off without losing too many drones, and you will have an advantage.
Mid game: you should have a stable most likely increasing infrastructure, since you should have an expansion from early game(going for that much needed second harvesting expansion).
A sizeable low tech army, or small, but if you scouted, optimal army for your opponents units.
end game: Your tiers should be maxed, or you should have pushed your enemy to a starving point on their original expansion(s) (Plural if they got their natural up -> this is always bad).
If they got their natural expansion running, you wont be winning.
You should have cleaned at approximately 2 harvesting spots (Maybe more).
2.2 Optimal harvesting:
Most, if not all, multiplater maps have the following setup:
8 mineral crystals, and 2 gas vents.
3 drones pr mineral, and 3 pr refinery is the optimal harvester count.
A hatchery placed at a starting point, will have have an ideal harvester count of 30 drones.
The zerg race's most excellent feature is its ability to create all units, from just 1 type of production facility.
A hatchery will spawn up to 3 drones at any one time (each larva spawns at a rate of 15 seconds to a maximum of 3).
A queen at a hatchery can cast a spell that will produce 4 larvas in addition to any present at the hatchery.
The spell that is cast to create the larvas takes 40 seconds to complete on a hatchery.
The mana regeneration matches "spawn time" precisely.
So you create 1 extra larva pr 10 seconds. If you keep casting the spawn larva spell on a hatchery.
That approximates a total production of 9 larva pr hatchery pr minute.
3 from the respawn - and 4 from the spell.
Due to cap at 7 and and if no larva are present when the spawn spell "pop" the 3 larva from the hatchery's normal larva production is halted, as it automatically puts the larva count over the 3 larva limit.
It is a little unrealistic to use this for calculation, since in addition you wont keep your production running constantly to keep this rate up, I will use 7 at the approximate maximum of larva. This is higher for more experienced players.
The pit fall is, you tend to see a single building and think you don't need anymore.
That is only true for buildings that arent towers, or production facilities, and people forget that a hatchery is a production facility.
A Terran or protoss player will have several building types of a specific production facility, like 3 barracks, or 3 factories, or both to quickly regain losses.
3. heuristics of logistics:
Your army size depends on your supply count, the little number in the top right of your screen.
Your overlords are your only source of supply at 8 pr overlord at a total maximum of 200 supply.
Considering the Zerg have the fastest build time of all races, you can repopulate your supply count faster then any other race. This next bit is important!