My room mate (Scipio) and I were playing a game of StarCraft II late the other night. He has been playing since beta, and also played Brood War a bit beforehand. I picked up the game in 2011. I was able to destroy him using Bomber's 1 rax FE into 5 rax before your 3rd expansion, with a medivac/bio 1 attack timing push around 10:30. However, this is not the first time I've used this build against him. After the game, he came into my room and explained his frustrations with not being able to counter this build even if he is ready for it. He tells me that he has tried everything he can think of. I suggest looking online (as most people might do) and researching others who have had similar problems and how they dealt with it. He quickly shot that down, preferring to figure things out on his own, as playing is how he learns.
This leads into the main question I want to ask you all: Is there a "better" way to improve at StarCraft? This short exchange between myself and my room mate led into a discussion that lasted 3 hours into the morning resulting in us being late to work because of lack of sleep. Personally, I like to research the standard because it is standard for a reason. While I don't want to copy and paste popular builds from the internet to my game, I like to have a good game plan and a method to execute it, and usually perfecting a standard build allows this with the most efficiency. With this mastery, creativity comes naturally. However, Scipio has a different outlook. He feels that researching builds interferes with his intuition, impeding his ability to naturally react in certain situations and stopping his creative flow. He feels that the best way to learn is to just play, and that researching what is standard and having a knowledge of how to use standard/how to defend it will just come naturally through his own learning process. Once that point is reached, he believes the intuitive gamer would be far better off than the player who studied standard as opposed to learning it himself through playing. While I agree that you can eventually discover what is most efficient simply through repetition, I feel that it would take astronomical amounts of time to improve with that method. The internet is an amazing resource. I think it is super important to see what other people have figured out about the game and then add that to what you have found out. Though I suppose some people still prefer the "Lone Wolf" approach to competitive gaming. I realize that everybody learns differently (any professor could tell you that) but I feel like some approaches have the potential to be detrimental to the process as a whole. What do you guys think? How do you learn best? Is it all game after game after game, or do you crack down and practice a build order, then hit the ladder? I'm very interested to find out.