How Does Handicap Work in "Starcraft 2"?

Written by brad malloy
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How Does Handicap Work in "Starcraft 2"?
Starcraft 2 is a competitive real-time strategy game by Blizzard Entertainment. (Alex Grimm/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

The concept of handicap has long been a part of competitive sports, and eSports are no different. In Starcraft 2, handicaps allow higher-skilled players and lower-skilled players to compete on a more even level. Understanding how this handicap mechanic works can help to make your game experience a fun and balanced one, because it does not affect the entire game.

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The handicap settings are controlled at the time that each game is created. The settings range from 100 per cent -- no handicap -- to 50 per cent, a full handicap. Each player is able to set his own handicap level in the game lobby via a drop-down menu on the right-side of the screen. By default, each player is set to no handicap.


Buildings are affected by the handicap settings only in their available hit points. A handicap setting of 50 per cent will reduce a building's hit points by half. The build time, cost, and production abilities of buildings are unaffected by handicap settings.


Units are the game objects most affected by handicap, since unit health is a very important and finely-tuned aspect of the game. Units have their health affected, but as with buildings, cost and abilities are unaffected. Handicap settings do not affect how much damage is done, either.


Technologies, having no health, are the least affected game object. The speed with which technologies change is important to a consistent game experience, and is as such not affected by handicap settings. If technologies were slowed by handicap, many game strategies would be unplayable.

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