Neoliminal, I agree with your "three" layers, and I also agree that they are fine to stay in GM (since it is not that there is high activity).
For the matches, unfortunately this is valid for every game that rewards optimizations a lot. People have to swallow to go through losses or they drop the game. I am playing on and off in the last 2 months and I'm losing a lot too and I have to force myself to not play more.
For a newcomer I would always suggest: start small. See every defeat as a test, identify one , __one__ thing to change and go in battle again (you can note the rest of the possible changes on "one note" or on paper, but without applying them at once). I emphasize one thing to change because it is difficult to assess the value of multiple changes at once.
Furthermore does not matter the amount of wins, once you have a good tactic, you will skyrocket to higher scores.
The process that I follow is normally:
- identify obvious problem (not a general problem, but a precise one, like "sniper has to aim with those priorities")
- make backups
- implement the change
- test again for 5-10 maps until the previous problem is solved, if not, go back to the drawing board and start with "make backups".
- identify next big problem
- start again from "make backups"
It takes quite a time. Assuming 1h to implementing a change with a minimum of local tests (this due to the AI editor that is slow), and then another hour of online tests due to low activity online. For every change one needs 2h. It is quite time consuming, although fun.
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