Mineral boost tricks

There are several known mineral boost tricks. This post will cover a few of the well known tricks, which includes a new trick that has been recently discovered.

Let’s start with a clarification of what it means by mineral boost trick.

Mineral boost tricks are tricks which allow a player to collect mineral quicker due to certain exploits of in-game mechanics without third party software. The key point is that it is not illegal. If a patch disables the trick by changing some of the in-game mechanics settings, it does not indicate that the trick is illegal. It just means that Blizzard does not want that to be part of the game and is able fix it.

Wanting to remove a trick from the game is different from fixing it. Players have discovered tricks in the past that are not of Blizzard’s intentions. However, due to the fundamental mechanics that are being exploited, it is hard to fix it without creating other possible problems. For example, in Warcraft III workers mine at a slower movement speed than the workers’ actual movement speed. Players exploit the mechanics by manually moving the the workers back to the mine to increase mining speed. This is not fixed. One interesting point to make out of this trick in Warcraft III is that it is only applicable for Human and Orc. This is because the workers do not move while mining for Night Elf and Undead. Although the difference is minor, that caused an uproar of racial imbalance. Eventually, players adapt to it and accept that the trick is the normative state of the game. Adaptive theory at its ‘best’.

Check out the below video to know about other interesting tricks in Warcraft III. The tricks are revolved around several mechanics, which may be hard to understand if you do not play Warcraft III.

Anyway, going back to Starcraft II, there are some mineral boost tricks too. Giving a name to a trick is a tough task, since no one really knows the first guy who discovers it.

I do not claim credit for the discoveries.

In general, these tricks only work in the early game, when one can spare the time to micro the workers.

Trick 1 (Return cargo)

Reference links:
Teamliquid forum
Blizzard forum

There is a delay time after a worker has collected a mineral before it walks to the main building to drop off the mineral it has collected.

Solution and rationale:
Remove the delay by exploiting the ‘Return cargo’ command of the worker. The ‘Return cargo’  command is a command that instructs the worker to carry the mineral it collected to the nearest main building and drop it off. By manually instructing it to return the mineral, it will cancel the delay between a mineral is collected and the worker dropping it off at the main building.

How to do it:
When a worker has just finish collecting a mineral, click hotkey ‘C’ which is the ‘Return cargo’ command. Before the worker drops the mineral off, hold shift and right click at the mineral patch. Repeat by holding shift and click ‘C’ then right clicking on the mineral patch.

This no longer works due to patch 1.1.1 which corrects this problem.

Trick 2 (Mineral stacking)

Reference links:
Teamliquid forum

Mineral patches do not have the same distance from the main building, and hence workers which are mining from a more distanced mineral patch will be less efficient than one that mines from the nearer mineral patch. AI will spread the workers to ensure all mineral patches are mined with equal number of workers if possible.

Solution and rationale:
Force the workers to mine only at the closer mineral patches by stacking them. When a worker is instructed to mine from a mineral patch which has another worker mining on it, it will prefer to go to an unoccupied mineral patch. However, one can force workers to mine from the same  mineral patch by stacking them up.

How to do it:
Instruct a worker to an occupied near mineral patch and spamming right click on the mineral patch. The worker will initially reluctant to stay on that mineral patch and attempts to move to another. By spamming right click, the continuous commands will ‘overwrite’ the AI and allows the workers to stack and mine from the same mineral patch.

Very common trick. Pros use it.

Trick 3 (Cancel deceleration)

Reference links:
Teamliquid forum

Workers will decelerate before they reach and start mining from a mineral patch. This applies to just giving a move command in which the worker will decelerate before stopping at the selected location.

Solution and rationale:
Workers do not decelerate if they are given queue commands by using the ‘shift’ key. Another words, if there are subsequent commands, the worker will not decelerate.

How to do it:
When a worker is moving to a mineral patch, ‘shift + right click’ in front of a mineral patch, then ‘shift + right click’ on the mineral patch.

It seems like a new discovery. Probably it won’t work if the first ‘shift + right click’ is of a certain distance from the target mineral patch, because the worker will have the ‘time’ to decelerate before reaching the mineral patch. It is applicable to building command to remove the deceleration delay before a worker build something.

In every post regarding each trick on the forums, the authors will bring up a figure to show how much of a difference the trick makes. For example, the worker mines 20% faster. I do not want to include these figures in this post, because they are not concluded under the same experimental parameters. Nevertheless, these tricks do provide marginal advantage.

The advantage is marginal if one uses them and the opponent doesn’t. To reverse phrase it, one does not put oneself into radical disadvantage if one does not use these tricks. The typical argument is that this matters in top level play as every little advantage matters and pros have the apm to spare in the beginning.

I will end this post with one question.

Can trick 2 and 3 work together?


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