I hear my own words in yours when I spoke about Cataclysm. So many of the old greats of the time spoke so harshly about it. Half of the guru didn’t make the jump due to a few missing features and changes. Fighters acted slightly different, support frigates were no where to be found (very few ever embraced the worker) the added support module system brought another layer of complexity. There were endless rants about mimics, everything from how cheap and overpowered they were to the lack of morals Barking Dog had for having a suicide unit in the first place. ACVs were not the beloved corvette, even with their EMP and ability to split back to fighters.
But I loved it. Gone were the supported vet walls guarded by presetup scouts in mini claws, but replaced with the thrill of flying a wing of missle upgraded acolytes in groups of 4, clawed, to perform precision strikes on workers. The command ship was a weapon all to itself, even without the hated ‘super weapon’ that so many claimed was the death of multiplayer. We could still take a defensive unit like the shield building Sentinal and turn it into an offensive force to be feared. Ram frigs were simultaneously the weakest and the strongest frig depending on how you used them.
However, it still FELT like Homeworld due simply to formations. That one little thing that you see so many of us complaining about is the foundation of what made Homeworld Homeworld. The more I contemplate it, the more I realize that the changes in HW2 made it a different genre of game, a different game all together. HW2 is the real 3D space RTS; the real Starcraft in 3D. HW and HW:C would be better defined as Tactical Fleet Simulators, a genre all of its own loved by a people who statistically don’t exist. I think the lovers of one are rarely the lovers of the other. I still feel like I can remember the first time I put a group of scouts in an X formation and was just awed watching them fly. And it only got better after that.
When you hear us say that HW2 is nothing more than a race to BCs, it’s because it is. You may have found a thousand interesting ways to run that race, but the end game is all the same. HW and HW:C was different. The game allowed us to sandbox any strat we wanted and let any class play the leading role. We were defined by our play styles which we were free to invent. If you wanted to master fighters and be counted among the Swarmers, you had that right. Your name could be burned in history next to Hivemind, Madwasp or Danger. Want to be part of an unmatched team of Capital Ship commanders? Grab a friend and set your sights on APOLLO and Wildcard. Have a passion for the crazy and off the wall? Chewy or Echo could blow your mind with something you had to be on drugs to think up.
And man oh man the clans. Each of us with our signature salutes and unmistakable personalities. The militant PSA with the finely tuned ranking system. Infinity’s Chikens, the cranky OMO, the dark and mysterious BDU, the legendary 7th, the oversized 9th, the Dirty Deeds who only played with themselves and us pot head guru. PRESS 1!
Where HW:C drifted from what we loved about HW. HW2 made it even worse. HW2 seemed to want to back us away from micro fleet management and focus us on the bigger picture, but we wanted to be closer to the action, we wanted more control, not hand it over to AI. In HW:C we used formation switching in an attempt to maneuver our fighter groups, I would’ve loved that expanded that into aerobatics we could’ve invented, saved, keybinded and used to perform our own version of a victory roll, or used in a deadly dance of dogfighting.
At the end of the day, I agree HW2 was/is a great game in its own right, but, in its own right. This it is not, and never will be Homeworld. This past week I’ve come to the depressing realization that my kind are the minority, and that if I want to remain a part of this universe I’ll have no choice but to settle something I could never agree is an evolution, but a high res shadow of its former self.