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- 4Hosting and Latency
- 7Player's Language and Chat Commands
- 8Guides: Gateways
There are several platforms for competitive play. This article introduces the most common ones to train and meet new players. Sub articles contain a brief history, short description of skill range, technical requirements and explanations of how to connect and play.
The platforms can be distinguished between Battle.net like Servers (PVPGN realms) and emulated LAN environments. Almost any platform offers some sort of ladder system that replaces the auto match making to a certain extent.
PVPGN Realms are servers that try provide the same environment that the standard Blizzard Battle.nets offer. They are available for all classic RTS titles of Blizzard and additionally support the first Command and Conquer games. Since this project is open source the code is available for everyone, but very hard to alter. As a result the most popular gate ways that use these kind of systems protect their own changes.
The interface looks exactly like the one Blizzard uses, but usually offer implemented ladder systems and special chat commands. Most times these ladders are combined with a stand alone page that display the ranking and offer a registry mask for new users. The generic page that usually comes with the default pack is seldom used and most times replaced with a bigger portal that features a CMS with news portal, forums, replay and download section.
The first big approaches to use this system date back to 2001. Since the Battle.net wasn't maintained regularly after 2006, the PVPGN servers became more important for competitive play. However, Blizzard's policy labels these as pirate servers, even though they never made moves to stop them from being hosted.The currently biggest portals using this system are ICCup and the Korean Fish Server; configuration of connecting to these servers can be managed by the various Launchers.
Simulated LAN Environments
Simulated LAN (Local Area Network) environments are more an exception and an addition to the well established PVPGN realms. Unlike the Battle.net the LAN Environments do not offer a multi player interface with a chat window or ladder functions.
The basic idea is to work around the networking code the Battle.net or PVPGN realms use. LAN Latency is way faster and deals better with latency issues, provided both players have a good connection. It does not need a registration, which on one hand makes the access easier but also does not protect unique nick names on the other.
To access these kind of systems / servers a third party software is used. This will artificially create a LAN (similar to [www.hamachi.cc Hamachi]). When this tool is activated the players can find opponents in the Multiplayer's UDP window.
Hosting and Latency
Due to Brood War's networking code your internet connection might cause problems. The engine and its code were published in a time when the vast majority had only modems. Over time no patch was released to add more options to include possible router problems. As a result the users often need to alter their internet connection settings.
Games can only be hosted on the PVPGN realms when the Ports 6112 - 6119 UDP and TCP are forwarded to your local adress if a router is used. However, port forwarding does not neccessarily solve all lag problems. Even with both players having a good set up and a fast internet connection ISP issues might cause problems that are not easy to fix.
Guide: Port Forwarding
- see also: Port Forwarding
Brood War's networking code automatically simulates a high latency in PVPGN environments. This causes a significant delay after an order was performed an it actually being performed. Third party Launchers like the Chaoslauncher, ICCup Launcher and Mini Launcher offer a plug-in called LanLatency that automatically reduces this default set up and shorten the delay, so that it is not different from the latency used in the LAN set ups.
Playing without LanLatency might prove difficult, as almost all players insist on this plug-in and ban users that have it deactivated.
Over time more and more so-called Launchers have been released for Brood War. These are third party tools. The main reason for their invention was to provide a protection against hacks. Roughly speaking, most launchers scan for tools that alter Brood War's engine. As soon as this is the case, a warning will be given out.
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In addition more and more plug-ins for these launcher have been added over time. Some of these add information to the Windows registry (gateway addresses), display the local time, show a player's APM during the game or enable observers to see production. Some fix replay bugs or serve different purposes. Almost every third party server uses their own mandatory launcher.
The newest generation of launchers is usually very easy to install. After downloading them from the respective pages they will update automatically and can be executed just like any ordinary program. Most of them have the Lan Latency plug-in automatically installed and activated by default.
The most common launchers are:
- Chaoslauncher - the basic, most reliable and oldest Launcher.
- ICCup Launcher - an altered version of the Chaos Launcher
- wLauncher - altered version of the Chaos Launcher, more plug-ins than ICCup Launcher, available only in Korean
- mcaLauncher - altered version of the Chaos Launcher, more plug-ins than ICCup Launcher, available in several languages.
Games can be hosted on PVPGN Realms public or private. Public mode is mostly used to get anonymous players into a game, while private games are used for Replays or games with friends. Public games can be seen/joined/hosted in the ordinary Battle.net interface on the respective realms.
Private games need passwords. To inform a player about the password usually messages similar to 'Liquipedia//rocks' are used; Liquipedia would be the game name, rocks the password - the first word(s) before the // are always game name, the second term the password. Since Patch 1.15.0 private games can be set to public in the in-game menu, when selecting the host's player name.
One on One
- The game mode 'One on One' is mostly used for ladder games on the PVPGN realms. Only one player can join in, ally is not allowed. The victory condition is to destroy the opponent's building.
Top vs. Bottom
- The game mode 'Top vs. Bottom' is mostly used for team ladder games, with the players being allied and sharing same vision after the game started. No control can be transferred from one player to the other. Victory conditions are to destroy the opponent's buildings.
- The game mode Melee is used to play games privately or in public when a ladder game on PVPGN Realms is not wanted. Players can ally any other player and share vision, victory conditions are to destroy the opponent's buildings.
Use Map Settings
- The game mode Use Map Settings (UMS) is probably the most popular mode of all. This mode allows map scripts to work, such as observer seeing the entire game without actually having buildings or units. It also allows fun maps to work. Victory conditions alter from map mode to map mode and are usually explained in between the game host lobby and the actual game start.
- Most other map modes are not common and used only rarely. The only 'popular' of them would be 'Team Melee'. This game mode allows players to control the same buildings and units with the same victory conditions as the ordinary 'Melee' mode. For more information see also
Player's Language and Chat Commands
Players invented their own language to communicate. A lot of abbreviations for units, buildings, strategies and so on are used to make mutual understanding easier. This guide however focuses on the lingo used for competitive play.
Battle.net and PVPGN realms feature chat commands. Those work in game, in the lobby and in the general Battle.net interface. They range from simple taunts to a friends list. However, PVPGN environments restrict the access differently, with limiting some of them to special user groups as admins or web masters. A general overview in all realms can be found when typing /help in the chat. Any command starts with a / . Most of the commands have abbreviations.
- To send private messages to another player the commands 'Whisper/message' are installed. Example:
- /whisper nick Text or /message nick Text
- /w nick Text or /m nick Text
- The friends list is a useful tool to send messages to many players or to see which of your friends are online.
- /friends add nick or /f a nick adds a player to the list
- /friends remove or /f r nick removes a player from the list
- /friends list or /f l shows which of the friends are online
- /friends message text or /friends whisper text or /f m text or /f w text sends a message to all your friends
- /f off blocks whispers from the list
- /ignore nick or /squelch nick ignores messages from a player
- this command also shows smurfs: if a player is muted a red X appears instead of their ladder symbol in the battle.net interface. If they log off and on again with a different nick this x will stay until they acquire a new IP.
- /unignore nick or /unsquelch nick un-ignores messages from a player
Do not Disturb
- /dnd enters the do not disturb mode, which block all whispers
- typing /dnd again disables the dnd mode
- to join a different channel type /j channelname
- When a player's nick is selected in a chat channel the combination of ALT+N pastes their nick automatically
Guides and information about the most popular servers and platforms can be found here. Read the individual guides for explanations. The latest patch is required to join any of them.
Every server that offers a ladder usually uses a specific map pack. These maps can be downloaded on their homepage.
Blizzard's Battle.net is the oldest and original option for competitive play. However, the portal has fallen victim to Spam Bots, Hackers and abusers of all kind lately. It offers services for most old Blizzard titles, such as WarCraft II, WarCraft III, Brood War, Diablo I and Diablo II. A valid CD Key is required to join. Additionally, all third party Launchers are recognized as hacks and might lead to a ban from the server.
The Battle.net can be entered via the Multi Player menu and will automatically update your version to the latest patch without checking the CD Key first. Four regional servers are offered, having an equal number of players online. It's probably the most active of all portals, with most of the casual players being their audience. Due to no Anti Hack and Lan Latency these servers have the highest rate of abusers.
The skill ranges from pretty low to decent. Most games that are hosted are money maps, mucho maps like Big Game Hunters or fun maps - maps that are only remotely related to the general competitive play.
Since Patch 1.15.0 the default chat channels are buggy and there are mostly no community channels left after ICCup was gaining popularity. The US Servers are the exception, since they harbour Korean Semi Pro clans and leagues.
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- LAN Latency is not activated by default on these realms. All players need to have the same launcher running before joining Battle.net. Additionally everyone needs to have the Lan Latency plug-in activated. Even though the plug-in is activated, doesn't mean it will automatically work after joining a game. The suffix #LX (X being either: L, 2, 3, 4, 5) needs to be added to the game name.
The International Cyber Cup was first opened to non-Russian speakers in 2007 and was the biggest foreign StarCraft Brood War portal. It features ladders for 1on1 and 2on2 players, a clan league and the latest maps. Their Anti Hack Launcher is the most secure one and offers a high rate of protection.
- A new player must register at ICCup's main page to create a nick name. The nick name and the password on the site will match the server nickname and password. The Anti-Hack Launcher should be downloaded before joining the server, since it will automatically create a registry entry. The gateway will be listed in the server selection screen.
- The ICCup Launcher is needed to get bonus points for the rankings, to ensure the optimal security against Hacks and enable LAN Latency.
- See also: Download ICCup AntiHack
- If the Launcher bugs and can not update itself, a re-installation after downloading it from the site is the best method to circumvent problems.
- After the Launcher was installed Lan Latency is enabled by default. The Plug In can be found when starting the Launcher. No suffixes are needed when hosting games.
- The 1on1 and 2on2 ladders use a highly complicated and often confusing system. Any player starts out with 1000 Points and the ranking 'D'. The game mode 'One on One' for 1on1 games and 'Top vs. Bottom' games for 2on2 are needed. When those were selected the games will automatically count for the ladder. However, delays of one hour and more can occur between the points being added and being displayed on the home page.
The points won and lost depend on a player's own and their opponent's rating, giving bonus or penalty points depending on the difference, usage of 'Maps of the Weeks' (MOTW, see below) and the launcher being activated.
Only the official ICCup maps can be used for ladder. Hence a download of these is highly recommended. The pack also features working observer maps for private games.
Map of the Week
- The ladder is built around the concept of special maps that rotate on a weekly basis. These are called Maps of the Week or MOTWs for short. With the help of the command /motw those can be displayed. When the Anti Hack launcher is activated (can be checked with the command /AH) Bonus points are given for a win. The weekly rotation starts Monday night (depending on time zone Sunday night).
- TeamLiquid's channel is the most active: op Teamliquid
Additional Chat Commands
- /motw - displays the MOTWs
- /rl x y - x and y being numbers; x being optional
- Example: /rl 1000 2500; only players with ratings between 1000 and 2500 are allowed join;
- Example2: /rl 2500; x is set to 0 by default - only players with ratings between 0 and 2500 are allowed to join
- /ah - shows if the Anti Hack is enabled
- /nah - stops players from joining without AntiHack activated
Reporting Disconnects / Hackers
- The automated reporting system is anything but flawless. In case a player disconnects the ladder points might not be added to your player profile. To report missing games read: ICCup Ladder Help
The Fish Server is one of the Korean servers. It is recommended to play on this gate way after the Basics have been learned else where, as this server is not only the most populated one, but also the gate way with the highest level of competition. Support for ladder disconnects is limited if you do not speak Korean.
- For further information about Mini Launcher and connecting to this server, see also the forum Guide
- LAN Latency is enabled by default, but lobbies are often labeled with #LX or #W: X being a number between 1 and 5 and W being the most used latency, L2. To activate the plug-in, the game can be created with a name like 'Liquipedia#L2' or 'Liquipedia#w'. Without a latency tag in the name the lobby will default to L2, but Koreans will often not join as it gives the appearance you do not have the Korean anti-hack. For most users, the #L2 option has proven to be most efficient considering the poor connection of most foreign ISPs to Korean gateways. It is also the standard latency setting for ladder games and nearly all public lobbies.
To sign up for Garena you need a new account at Garena's page first. After that the launcher has to be downloaded and installed. The game has to be selected and the client (Brood War) has to be started via the Launcher's menu.
Since Garena is not a PVPGN Realm the games can be found in the UDP Multi player option. Due to the lack of ladders it is not easy to find equally skilled opponents. However, the skill ranges from very low to maybe-decent, so it doesn't really matter to have a specified game name. In contrary, it is almost impossible to specify a game name, since the player's name from the UDP mask will automatically be set as the game name. As a result the game mode should be checked before a game is joined.
This platform is recommended to RTS rookies that first want to test their skill against players that are only a little higher skilled than Brood War's CPU and barely know the very basics of the game. This portal features the very definition of rookies.
Due to Garena using a LAN simulation, lag issues get exponentially worse very soon. Team games might be unplayable.