The sad decline of RTS games

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#1 Posted by Boris_amj (25 posts) -
I know I'll be showing my age here, but I wanted to make a recap on how I got into RTS games. Many Suns ago, I was asked to join a LAN party with friends. There was this new game called Total Anihilation. Little I suspected I was about to become hooked to the RTS genre for life. In RTS games, I found the breadth of gaming I was looking for: lots of units, lots of buildings, lots of research trees, lots of ways of winning. I personally love micromanagement. I like having lots of options and the joy of mix and matching them. To this day, I keep my TA CDs with something approaching worship. Then came the Command & Conquer series, a worthy upgrade of graphics without compromising the main premise. C&C Generals (including Zero Hour) were fun but had whiff of staleness about them. Just when I thought I knew all about RTS, along came one truly epic game: Homeworld. The story line (especially the beginning) was heart wrenching and involved. The control system had you thinking in true 3D for the first time. And the views. Ah, the views! You must realise that no other space based program had ever been rendered like that. I was utterly amazed at the beauty of space. After that, there came the decline of the RTS. Somehow, game developers thought that having too many units or options was too complicated for the gamers and started making crippling restrictions. Level caps became ridiculously small. Buildings had to be positioned in specific places only. Very often, a single superunit was the only realistic one to build. Ditto with a particular research item. Story lines became childish and incoherent. Nowadays, modern "RTS" games seem to be a mangle of RTS, RPG and squad-based constructs. I am not against any of those two last genres, mind you. It's just that it's not what I'm looking for when playing RTS. There are some exceptions, of course. I found Rise of Legends to have an imaginative story line, even though you're still restricted to building were they tell you. The Age of Empire series have also good story arcs, although a bit too "american" for my taste (the Asian Dynasties expansion was an utter disgrace in terms of "westernisation" of asian values). Supreme Commander (1, NOT 2) it's the last game to be faithful to the pure RTS idea. Yes, you get superunits. But they take so long to research and build, that you feel they're only there as eye candy, rather than realistic multiplayer options. Although, at the end of the day, there is essentially no difference in game-play between SC1 and TA. I wish developers had a bit more imagination when creating new RTS games. I'm up to here with the space theme, to be honest. After Homeworld, all the others seem just a copy. Here are a couple of my (wild) ideas: - Ant or Bees colonies Not those stupid, physically impossible insectoid baddies we get nowadays. I mean real ants or bees: Queen, workers, soldiers. - Microbes Another environment which lends itself to the main idea, with slight twists like assimilating enemies, or building complex cells. I could think of a game consisting of a human body cells trying to outwit an invasion of bacteria or virus. /sigh Please can someone DO something about it ...
#2 Posted by LordRork (2690 posts) -

I think we share similar tastes in RTSs - TA and SupCom are two of my top games of the genre, sullied by the borefest of SupCom 2 (gave up after 3 hours).

I've largely stopped playing RTSs - DoWII and its add-ons were good, but I felt that DoW (except Soulstorm) were superior.

Starcraft II harked back to those days, but RTSs need to get with changing tastes - I now game on a TV from 5 feet away, the 5mm tooltip text is pretty much unreadable from that distance and on that size screen; they need to be able to adjust that text size.

#3 Posted by Stesilaus (3618 posts) -

I've just performed a Google image search using "strategy game ants" and it looks as though there's a huge number of games that have picked up on that idea.

But I will admit that I haven't tried any of them. I'm guessing that most of them are Flash games.

#4 Posted by TreeBridge (25 posts) -
Good god, I love management games. Hotel Giant, Sim City, Rollercoaster Tycoon... anything I can create and design. There does indeed seem to be a decline; rarely do I see new reviews for them, or see them advertised or discussed. Still, at least Sim City 5 is coming out soon; perhaps it will start the genre up again?
#5 Posted by blue_francis14 (288 posts) -

May I know the reason why you left out Blizzard made games? I think I stuck with Westwood Studios is because there's no direct cheat in C&C games. With Warcraft and Starcraft, cheating the game is too easy.

Homeworld, because of that game I was forced to buy a 3DFX daughter board, I think it was crude version of SLI but damn was it good! I miss Homeworld. Why is the the masses are getting too dumb to enjoy such games?

#6 Posted by Boris_amj (25 posts) -

May I know the reason why you left out Blizzard made games?

I didn't do that out of spite or anything. I did try Starcraft (the first one). Not bad, but not as good as the C&C series, I thought. Just my opinion, of course. The only other game I've played from Blizzard is WoW (hell, I even was a moderator of the Thottbot website). This of course has nothing to do wiht RTS, so I dind't mentioned it either. The only other game left, Starcraft 2, I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole (the same way I avoid modern EA games like the plague).

... there's no direct cheat in C&C games.

Erm, you might want to reconsider that statement. I know plenty of cheats for C&C :p

I've just performed a Google image search using "strategy game ants" and it looks as though there's a huge number of games that have picked up on that idea.

But I will admit that I haven't tried any of them.

Well I never. Thanks for pointing that out, Stesilaus. I had a look a those, but seems nothing serious has been developed yet. Or it might be that ants (and insects in general) are just too far removed from human action that it just does not spark enough of an interest. There goes my dream of a Homeworld-like bee colony, searching for the legendary HomeHive, collecting resources from the flower fields, attacked by evil wasps, helped by the mysterious (but beautiful) fireflies ...
#8 Posted by Red7Rum7 (25 posts) -
World in Conflict!! This game is amazing! Ubisoft picked this game up a couple years ago and it is going on sale for $7 on STEAM. I have played this game since the launch in 2007. The community at World in Conflict welcomes all new players and teaches them how to play this style of RTS. Its an awesome game and for the price it is labeled at, its a steal. Massive Entertainment are currently working on Farcry 3 multiplayer but still monitor servers and the forums. I believe that everyone on this forum will love this game! Plus it is a great alternative RTS
#9 Posted by crowfly9 (25 posts) -
Over the years I've played my share of RTS games and mostly enjoyed them. TA, SupCom 1, and AOE2 I'd rate as the most satisfying. Another, though it's a hybrid, is Total War: Rome (I see a TW: Rome 2 is to be released 2013). I played TW:Rome till my empire stretched from Scotland to Asia Minor then had recurring troubles all over the empire. Finally discovered you had to send your generals out of cities about every 10 turn or they go corrupt. I found this made the game extremely tedious. Don't know if they ever made a patch or if a mod was created that changed that element. Enjoyed the early stages of Supreme Commander but found the later stages of the game I was mostly zoomed right out rather then zoomed in on the enjoyable graphics. A return to the basics of what made the earlier RTS enjoyable would result in a wider audience for RTS. Sure, you must have the current era graphics but don't go overboard with micro-management or size of map. You've also have to have a wide choice of setting for the players to choose from when setting up the game. However, I feel the number one reason for the decline of RTS is game copy protection. Being forced to either log in online or have a constant internet connection while playing is odious.
#10 Posted by crowfly9 (25 posts) -
Oops! Something went wrong. Damn that. Spend 10 minutes giving some input and click submit and you get a BONK.
#11 Posted by crowfly9 (25 posts) -
Gamespot - what causing the Oops! every time I click submit?
#12 Posted by oldbard42 (25 posts) -
Try out The Grid, it's retro, textbased and a fun multiplayer strategy game you can play in your web browser... summon wizards, build cities... and so much more The Grid: screenshot:
#13 Posted by V_Rapt0r (25 posts) -

I too am a big fan of RTS. I got hooked on the original Warcraft 1, and ever since it's all I've wanted to play, but I've been forced into playing WoW due to the lack of RTS games, as well as the poor quality. And I've never been a fan of Starcraft 2, so that rules out the 1 decent rts game in about 9 years lol. (I don't count hybrids like the Total War series in this). And I've never tried company of heroes or world in conflict yet.....don't really care to for some reason.

Anyways, I'm glad there are other people out there who are also upset at the lack of a cut and dried, simple but fun, base-building, tons-o-units, quality graphics rts games.

#14 Posted by JTisTrue (25 posts) -
I understand you enjoy games that are on a large scale but did you not like Company of Heroes? I love that game and still play it to this day. I liked Warhammer as well but it has been a long time since I played one of those titles. So long I am not sure which title it was! Not ONE person on here m,mentioned CoH! What do you think OP? You other posters too!
#15 Posted by Rocnor (25 posts) -
Ive been a huge fan of Rts games, even made it to the semi finals in rise of time world tourney. I think we are a dieing breed, the next litmus test will be COH2. I enjoy micromanaging large forces or developing early tier strats. Games that require brain power are not economically feasible in the US, which is sad.