Courtesy Blizzard Entertainment

Another season has begun in the universe of StarCraft 2. And where does it find me? Yep. Bottom rung. Nothing’s really changed.

Or has it?

With the new job settling into a rhythm that I can cope with, I’m starting to plan more and stress less (at least a bit). Into those plans I’m trying to include things like eating better, exercising more (perhaps joining a gym?) and playing at least 3 matches of the aforementioned game a night. Why? The reason’s simple.

I’m tired of being terribronze.

I consider myself a casual gamer, in that I don’t really have aspirations of playing professionally at any point. I don’t want the game to become a job. And as envious as I am of the likes of Day[9] and TotalBiscuit who’ve managed to make gaming the central focus of their lives without the fun getting sucked out of actually playing said games, I do not have the financial freedom or liberty from obligations to make that drastic a career change. I’m pushing it as it is trying to find enough time to write in the space between seconds every day.

So why do I care about the arbitrary ranking I have in a online strategy game?

I guess it comes down to a measure of pride. Not the most noble of intentions, but there you have it. I fancy myself a bit of a smarty-pants. I got teased about it a lot in school. I was never good at physical activities, sports or even dancing, save for choreographed bits on-stage. I did all right in fencing, tennis and judo in college but it’s been a long time since then and my skills are rusty as hell. My brain, though? Sharp as ever. At least I’d like to think so.

Gaming’s a place where your physical prowess means nothing. It’s all about what’s going on upstairs. Strategy games are one of the ultimate expressions of this, and if it’s happening in real time? Even better. You need not only the capacity to plan and execute complex tactics but the timing and presence of mind to do so quickly and under pressure. It takes discipline and tenacity.

That’s the big, overarching thought, at least. I’m also not fond of losing to cheese and I’d like to think it happens less often in higher leagues.

The mere act of playing more often seems to help. Just a few days after the opening of the season and I’m already maintaining a position in the top 8. Granted, it’s among 100 players as terribronze as myself, but it’s better than nothing. My strongest matchup is still against Zerg while Protoss continue to beat me regularly. Even so, I seem to be winning more than I’m losing. I just have to keep it up.

Because at the very least, it’s keeping my brain in shape. And I don’t even have to pay a monthly fee to do it.