I’m a 45 year old gamer. RTS has been my favorite genre since Warcraft and C&C. And the COH resource method I suggest is not to make the game end quickest. The suggestion is to enhance the need for map control over the current turtleing. These ships have engines. Put them to use. Instead they sit around and camp most of the game because securing about 2 asteroid locations is pretty much all you need before you roll your sizable fleet forward to decided the game.
For those of you that play COH imagine what the coarse of the game would look like if all you needed for map control was the closest resource point outside your base. This point and your home bring in enough resource that you can build your army in full before rolling out to test the enemy’s defense. Yeah I can see it in my mind now. Both players building and choosing their preferred unit mix until they get to about 80 pop cap then roll everything they got in one blob toward the enemy. If the opponent timed it about the same, they would meet somewhere near the center of the map and have a huge game deciding battle where you select attack move and sit back and watch the fireworks. That thought experiment pretty much describes HW.
COH on the other hand solves this large blobbing problem in two ways. First, it makes each of those points outside your base only provide a small boost to your overall resource total. Hence, you are encouraged to go and grab more than one of them. This then creates friction between you and your opponent as you both try and claim as much of the map as possible. Second, COH adds 3 Strat points which are placed in the central area of the map. This provides a secondary reason to get out there and skirmish for control. If you don’t, and sit back until you build a huge fleet you will probably lose because your countdown hit zero. These factors are the two brilliant ideas that minimize blobbing, encourage more mobility, and lead to more skirmishes.
Removing harvesters is strongly resisted I know. They can remain a central part of the game if one thing is changed. I’ll get back to that. The strategic points from COH however, could be added in and not upset anyone’s apple cart for suggesting to change the harvester formula. At least then one of the incentives I pointed out above will encourage early movement of force to claim some central map area. If nothing else is changed about HW other than this, it would make a skirmish match a much more dynamic game.
Now back to presenting a simple idea that keeps harvesters in the game, but also at the same time encourages capture of as many asteroid locations as possible to increase RU intake. To make map control more important to potential victory the current camping at 2 asteroid locations has to be discouraged. How? Simply make the 2 asteroid locations that currently suffice insufficient to bring in RU fast enough. Lots of asteroid locations can support 6 or so harvesters, which in turn limit the need to have more than 2 or 3 claimed asteroid locations. If say only 3-4 harvesters could mine an asteroid location, and adding more won’t speed up RU intake, then a player by necessity would seek to control more asteroid locations. This in turn creates the battle for map control that COH currently does so well.
Forcing the fleet to spread out to claim locations increases action, reduces blobbing, increases ship casualties, and rewards clever play more than we see now by a long shot. And to boot it’s not a radical change in design. Just a subtle change that encourages map control which leads to so much more fun playing.
That is the formula I suggest to please those that want little change in how things are done. Personally, I would prefer an attempt to use some imagination to come up with something really original and great. Since I predict a new resurgence in Space RTS in the coming years, it will probably be a new IP that delivers on that. And then the space fleet loving crowd will migrate over to the much more fun to play space RTS.
They say RTS is dead, but I’ve been a long time PC gamer and heard that claim many times about genre’s. At one point all I heard was RPG’s were dead, and look at it now. It works in cycles. After a while the public begins to starve for a new experience, which is actually an old experience which the teens were to young to enjoy. Then the Devs switch gears and feed the new desire and then we get a few good gems and then a lot of clones which are forgotten in 6 months. I’m pretty sure the Devs out there are smelling the need for a space RTS, which is why I’m pretty sure there will be a HW3. And I have the desire to see it provide consistent action throughout the skirmish, which is why I started this thread.