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I recently started to sit down and fine tune a few builds, and i notice some of the time i don't have the minerals i think i should have. I make the mistake of rallying all of my works to one base and make them in large batches, and i know thats my problem, but coming from fellow zerg players i want to hear what has worked best for you. It's another huge thing that i need to learn, and i want to learn it the right way so that when it becomes second nature to me its wrong.
Does everyone just rally each base to its appropriate mineral line? do they send the workers specifically to each mineral patch? I want to know what my fellow swarm does.
16 drones per mineral line is optimal (2 per patch), 20 is full saturation. Travel time limits return on farther patches making it useful to add a 3rd drone. The 3rd drone will not offer the same returns, instead it will be about half of what it would see on a non-mined patch.
Naturally hatcheries should rally to their own mineral line until they are at optimal saturation. After optimal levels, they should rally to a new mineral line until all your bases are at optimal level. Once your at optimal levels for all mineral lines, hatcheries should rally to their own mineral field until they are at full saturation, then rally to others that haven't hit full saturation.
It's best to watch your saturation levels and change your rally point as you hit the desired level. Once you get used to checking saturation level, it's not hard to stay on top of it. If you make buildings or add on additional gasses, it's easier to rally eggs rather than change the hatchery rally point. If you notice too many drones at one hatchery, transfer them and move on.
Full saturation for me is basically 16 drones on minerals and 3 on gas. I'm always checking my mineral patches to see if I have the right number of drones. If I don't, I build the correct number of drones needed to resaturate and then assign them to the proper mineral line manually. I also try to rally new workers to extractors as soon as I build extractors. That is, construct extractor, select all hatcheries, build 3x drones and rally them to the building extractor. The build time on the two is nearly identical and you never have to worry about forgetting to put workers on gas.
This question seems a little vague and situational. I'll try to answer it, but without specifics it's hard to go into detail.
In a perfect world, zerg would have 16 drones per mineral line and 6 drones on gas for a total of 24 drones per base. ~80 drones tends to be standard, you can go above that in drone count, or drop below it. Generally if your trading units frequently going above isn't bad, or if your stockpiling for a spine wall and such. Once you have a bank built up, dropping below 80 drones for a larger army can be a good idea.
We see lots of pros go up to 20 drones per mineral line and 6 on gas for a total of 26 drones per base. This is commonly done on 3 bases before taking a 4th. If they aren't going for heavy infestor or muta productin they may delay the 5th and 6th gasses. By going drone heavy on 3 bases, it allows zerg to power hard off bases they already have and try to break their opponent before their economy catches up.
In response to gas, if I take 2 gas geysers at the same time, I take one at my main and 1 at my expansion. When I take gas varies a lot depending on strategies. Against Protoss, the standard is 2 extractors at 6 minutes, drone to 60 drones and add 2 additional extractors along the way.
If zerg wants to go for quick mutas, they may opt for 2 extractors at 5 minutes to allow lair to and spire to finish about the time protoss would attack. This effectively counters immortal sentry all in but is risky against +1 4 gates that hit at 7:30. Simply changing gas from 5 to 6 minutes, significantly impacts Zerg's economy growth. If zerg is forced to defend a push and produce roaches, it will take significantly longer to drone the 3rd than it would have with a later gas. The longer gas is delayed, the more drones Zerg can power and the stronger their midgame is.
2 gas is common for evo upgrades and lair, once lair is finished it's good to have a 3rd and 4th extractor. Without the extra gas it's hard to start upgrades and produce units at the same time.. If you go up to 4 gas before 2x drones per mineral patch (2 base), you won't have the economy to continue expanding and spend the gas. A lot of builds will delay the 3rd and 4th gasses to try and drone the 3rd base quicker.
Against terran, 2x gas 5 minutes in seems to work pretty well. It allows for 4x queens right away and production of a 5th queen, along with a fairly quick 3rd base. For this style, 2x evo chambers can go down at 6:30. Some people recommend delaying evo chamber production until 7 minutes for a slightly stronger economy.
If you really want to get technical with gas, you can check out a Teamliquid post that talks about the mining rate of gas and how it varies depending on map positioning. It takes roughly 53 seconds of gas mining to acquire 100 gas from 1 geyser. Using this you can actually backwards calculate when you want upgrades done with when you need to start gas. It's troublesome and time consuming, in general it's easier to just watch pros and copy them.
Edited by Kaz on 1/31/2013 4:43 AM PST
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