|Creating a good RTS is difficult.|
I'm really feeling this deep emptiness inside that is the lack of a good RTS games. I just feel there's so many out there these days that have been a disappointment one way or another. Let me use this time to vent, and express what I'm looking for in a modern-day RTS. I believe that in order for an RTS game to be successful, it needs to be built with the modern-day business model in mind. What does this mean? This means you take the best from all the games you've played in the past, highlight it and bring it to light. Then, and only then, you innovate and take it to the next level. I believe that that is the recipe to creating a modern-day RTS that can accommodate the needs of the modern gamer (which frankly, has ADD).
- Focus on the action, the fight, the grand strategy, tactics, and execution of said tactics. What does this mean? Limited base building. The focus should be on the combat. E.g. WiC, CoH/DoW2, Ground Control, Wargame, MOBAs.
- Depth. This would also mean that there's depth in the actual units that you're using. Everything should feel unique and have its own purpose, or why else are you taking it? The games that I enjoy the most are the games where you're able to get mileage out of the units that you're purchasing, either through superior positioning, micro or unorthodox use. This is one of the things that StarCraft does especially well, and one of the reasons why certain units that should lose on paper, win through skill and placement. E.g. StarCraft, CNC Generals/RA3, CoH/DoW2, MOBAs.
- Map control for resources. My favorite model of map control for resources for me is CoH/DoW2. You have multiple resources (as a game should have, luxury resources), but you fight for control of it by going out and acquiring land, capturing this land, and holding this land. The fact that you can cut off enemy resources depicts the cutting off of supply, which not only captures the fantasy that is WW2 warfare, but adds another layer of strategy for the player.
- Build your own army, army customization. What makes players really excited? Player options. I'm talking about player decks. Can you see two competitive players argue for hours about what is the best options to take? Sure, me and Tri do it all the time in ALB and in Red Dragon. I used to argue with Parfait for hours in AoE3. Player decks that allow a player to customize his army the way he wants is one of the most fun and infinitely challenging things about any game. It stems from DND and table-top games in general, and it works really well because it sings soundly to the OCD competitive player. There's nothing that compliments the feeling that you are truly in control than designing your own army. E.g. DND, Warhammer, Wargame, Total War, Age of Empires 3.
- Get in the fight, now. You have X amount of starting resources and this should be enough to get you into the game fighting, participating and having fun right away. I'm not talking about 6 SCVs here, I'm not talking about building starting buildings and more workers, I'm talking about the fact you have enough resources to start fighting, controlling territory and capturing ground. Then, you capture more land, gain more resources, and share in the momentum that is truly warfare. War is about momentum, and only the winners know it. E.g. Ground Control, DoW2, Wargame, all MOBAs.
- Lastly, the game should be built with spectators in mind. It needs to be exciting, energetic and explosive. Visually, it needs to be impressive and interesting in a way that's easy to understand, even if you have never played the game before. This is how you capture interest. In terms of gameplay, it needs to be easy to understand, but difficult to master. That is the hallmark to a successful game and the lifeblood to future success. eSports is free marketing in today's social media-driven environment. More people will buy and play your game if they're exposed to it, and they will only be exposed to it if people play it, stream it, and share it. E.g. SC, Hearthstone, LoL.
This is my list for now guys, thanks for reading. I'm not in the position to start my own gaming company, but you can bet your ass in hell that if I did, I will make an RTS game and take it to the next level.