Real-Time Strategy is for Dummies?

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Real-Time Strategy is for Dummies?

I really liked Command and Conquer 3. Honest. I think the game succeeded tremendously in what it set out to do – be the best Command and Conquer game ever. The brilliant combination of swanky graphics and nostalgic appeal made the game irresistible for long-time strategy fans, but in my mind, was also a step back for the genre.

While C&C 3 has challenging and fun single-player campaigned (the later missions are incredibly difficult), the real test of a RTS game’s design lies in its multiplayer modes. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been playing C&C 3 multiplayer regularly, and finding that I while the matches provide quick bursts of gratification, the strategist in me walks away feeling empty and unsatisfied.

The multiplayer rounds in C&C 3 really boil down to who can click and build the fastest. You really only have to train yourself to be one of two types of players – either a rusher or a turtler. If you decide to turtle, for example, it’s a race to build the strongest unit, like GDI Mammoth Tanks or Scrin Avatars to overrun your opponent’s base. After playing through the maps a couple of time, it’s relatively easy to establish a strategy that’ll work against most players every time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still having a lot of fun playing C&C 3. Playing a brief fast-paced game is often what I need at the end of a long work day. I just hope the next effort will take more hardcore strategy players into account and offer balancing and features (ie. random maps, unit formations, more customizable match options) that’ll keep me playing online for more than just a couple weeks. Unfortunately, publishers may find more value in putting out games that give players a quicker bang for their buck.

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TheMurph

If you decide to turtle, for example, it’s a race to build the strongest unit, like GDI Mammoth Tanks or Scrin Avatars to overrun your opponent’s base.

Wouldn't that be a... rush? ;)

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Dostovel

My thoughts too. Also I think he meant Nod Avatar... or was it Scrin Anhilator Tripod?

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Nuxes

The reason CNC3 is so simple is not just because of heritage, but I think they wanted to avoid competing head on with Supreme Commander, Company of Heroes, and other "hardcore" strategy games. In PC Gamer's review a few months ago, they said the multiplayer was made for short, 20 minute games, rather than the 4 hour slugfest of SupCom. It lets you play a game and get on with your life. I own both games, and play both in mutilplayer. Usually, I decide which game I will play by how much time I have.

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Dostovel

I agree with this assessment as well. I have been a die hard CNC fan since '96 when I was glued to the demo in a Staples and had to be asked to leave. I think EA just struggled with the whole "how to re-do yet still make an RTS badass" issue. They don't want to fix it if it aint broken, and they don't want to spend another 10 years coming up with the NEXT BEST thing. I for one didn't expect it to be more than what I've gotten out of the last slew of CNC titles. I got what I was waiting for and couldn't have been happier (maybe 'cause I know no better with CNC). Which in my opinion doesn't take anything away from the game at all. Multiplayer has been a struggle for me at 6/15. I have tried a couple various tactics that were used on me and I have been successful a few times but have also been smoked by counter tactics that I wouldn't had thought up on my own had I not been playing against other vets. I like it, and if this series has suited you in the past it is well worth looking into, because it will most likely do just that again... if not with a little extra bang.

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dc10ten

I haven't seen too many rts's and I never really cared for the multiplayer because of the reasons this article states. What could the software people do to make it better (specifics)

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