1. Different sides
Stop playing on one side, Pete. Knowing what toys your opponent has is half the battle. Playing with toys is the best way to find out.
As someone who enjoys slow RTSs, it hurts me to recommend that you play at a faster speed than you are comfortable with. How does Guitar Hero feel slower than “medium” if you are playing it at “hard”? It makes it so much easier to use when you return to it. The same goes for an RTS. You will have better muscle memory for navigation if you play at a faster pace. You can turn the AI off and play a few quick games.
3. Lose a lot
Being on the business side of tactics is one of the best ways of learning them. If you are used to single-player games, it can be pretty unpleasant. However, it would help if you thought about learning and not winning.
4. Get rid of the single-player campaign
The campaign with your RTS will almost always not help you improve at the game. These campaigns are designed to tell a silly story or introduce units to people who don’t have the time to read instructions or tool tips. You can get to a skirmish or combat mode.
5. Starcraft II is not available online
You won’t enjoy it. It’s time to put it aside and find something more manageable.
6. Hotkeys, hotkeys, hotkeys
Two hands are available to you. You can use both. Both can be used on the keyboard and the mouse. You can only interface half the way if you don’t use your keyboard hand as much as your mouse hand.
A, Always. B, Be. V, Villagering. RTSs are based on economics. You take resources from the map and then convert them into an army. Your army is then used to stop the other guy from taking help from the map. It’s like a milkshake. The person who builds the giant straw first wins. This is done by abiding.
8. Armed forces merged
You don’t need to master the art of building counters and scouting them. Just make a few of them. Predator Tanks might be a favorite of yours. You’re not alone, I know. However, the more games are based on the paper/rock/scissors system, the more you risk gimping yourself.
9. You can build more than one barrack
The gap between military units and raw resources is a significant bottleneck for new players. You can’t get an excellent economy running unless you can quickly turn it into military units. Multiple factories and barracks are a great asset to RTSs. If you like, unit bandwidth. This is because of two things: 1) The increased speed with which resources can be converted to units, and 2) the reduced time spent moving units from barracks closer to the fighting.