RTS - Strategy....oooor not?

Paragon Fury

The Loud Shadow
Jan 23, 2009
5,161
0
0
After watching Yahtzee's review of Halo Wars again, I thought of something. You know when he mentioned that his strategy was basically to stockpile the strongest unit and steamroll across the map, hoping the objective got squished along the way.

I realized something - thats basically the strategy in every RTS.

Now granted, I'm not talking aout high-level, "PRO" play. I'm talking about down in the trenches, everday gamer play. In here, there are three basic strategies in eveyr game. steamrolling, rushing, and teching. We are, of course, familiar with each, kind, but they still hold true for almost every RTS. You either wait and run your enemy with sheer numbers or rush early so that nothing more than maybe the basic armor unit gets into play. Maybe sometimes you play it and get a few superpowered units that wade through everything in their way.

There seems to be very little variety in waht goes. Sure, the scale and units change from game to game, but the tactics remain the same. When is the last you actually had to plan a coordinated, multi-facted land, air and sea assualt on enemy position? Used accurate fire support to decimate enemy defenses? Used infantry more than 7 minutes into the game?

Be honest - you just do what everyone else does. Use the fastest, cheapest unit to win the game early, or build up a force of your faction's juggernuat unit and drive straight across the map, hoping you crush the enemy along the way.

I've planned, carried out and been a part of more complicated assualts and defenses in games like Battlefield than I've ever seen in any game of Starcraft. Even trying something like that in an RTS is a death wish - most of your vital units will vanish before they even hit the deck.

So is it just me, or are "stratgy" games ironically, quite a bit less strategic than their gaming counterparts?
 

lostclause

New member
Mar 31, 2009
1,860
0
0
Dawn of war: Having to make up your army of different units was an important part of the game and with some factions there was a lot of strategy. Teleporting in warp spiders for hit and run attacks, deep-striking terminators behind the enemy to diver their fire.
SW Empire at war: Micro-management was key to that game, sending the right unit against the right enemy.
So yes there's a lot of strategy, some games are just steamrolling but the best ones are a bit different.
 

ElephantGuts

New member
Jul 9, 2008
3,520
0
0
Yeah a lot of mainstream RTSs are actually quite un-strategic, but there are plenty of more "intelligent" ones.

Then again, massive rushes would have worked in real life too if there weren't the issues of logistics and human life to consider.
 

CNKFan

New member
Aug 20, 2008
1,034
0
0
In C&C 3 I usually hit an enemy base with some atillery and air strikes then I uleash the horde of riflemen and rocket trooper that I built 20 units of each.
 

RavingPenguin

Engaged to PaintyFace
Jan 20, 2009
2,438
0
0
I once played an Age of Empires game (I forget which), where I set up a scrimage against 3 other colonies. I actually had to plan defenses, attacks, and trades to keep them from crushing me until I overwhelmed the other colonies one by one. It took me a month but god was that fun.
 

Lyri

New member
Dec 8, 2008
2,660
0
0
Paragon Fury said:
After watching Yahtzee's review of Halo Wars again, I thought of something. You know when he mentioned that his strategy was basically to stockpile the strongest unit and steamroll across the map, hoping the objective got squished along the way.

I realized something - thats basically the strategy in every RTS.

Now granted, I'm not talking aout high-level, "PRO" play. I'm talking about down in the trenches, everday gamer play. In here, there are three basic strategies in eveyr game. steamrolling, rushing, and teching. We are, of course, familiar with each, kind, but they still hold true for almost every RTS. You either wait and run your enemy with sheer numbers or rush early so that nothing more than maybe the basic armor unit gets into play. Maybe sometimes you play it and get a few superpowered units that wade through everything in their way.

There seems to be very little variety in waht goes. Sure, the scale and units change from game to game, but the tactics remain the same. When is the last you actually had to plan a coordinated, multi-facted land, air and sea assualt on enemy position? Used accurate fire support to decimate enemy defenses? Used infantry more than 7 minutes into the game?

Be honest - you just do what everyone else does. Use the fastest, cheapest unit to win the game early, or build up a force of your faction's juggernuat unit and drive straight across the map, hoping you crush the enemy along the way.

I've planned, carried out and been a part of more complicated assualts and defenses in games like Battlefield than I've ever seen in any game of Starcraft. Even trying something like that in an RTS is a death wish - most of your vital units will vanish before they even hit the deck.

So is it just me, or are "stratgy" games ironically, quite a bit less strategic than their gaming counterparts?
Kinda yes, kinda no I do know what you're getting at. If you're playing the computer then yes, you can spam whatever the hell you want and you could possibly win.
Then again, some AI is actually fairly good but it's still ignorant to cheap tactics and straight up spams.

From my experience Dawn of War was pretty against just massing one kind of unit, every unit had armor values and gained upgrades eventually.
You could spam for so long before tech passed you and then your spam is sorta fucked, unless you can keep ahead of it. Then again, if you spam the wrong units in that game for example Fire Warriors against ASM.
You're going to lose, Hard.

Certain games will allow you to just spam yes, but some games will rotate around avoiding that and will add mechanics in game to circumvent it.
 

Kollega

New member
Jun 5, 2009
5,161
0
0
World in Conflict,man. You have limited supply of points to buy limited quantity of units. If they die,points are refunded. You can call in support,and support points get accumulated by damaging enemy (support damage also counts).

In multiplayer,there is four positions: Infantry commander,Armor commander (tanks),Air commander (helicopters),and Support commander (AA,artillery,and repairmen). Air beats Armor,Support beats Air,Armor beats Support,Infantry rules in woods and cities. Simple,yet unusual and entertaining.
 

munx13

Some guy on the internet
Dec 17, 2008
431
0
0
Try Stronghold: Crusader


If you use strategy you can beat an enemy with an army that's 10 times stronger, yet if you don't use it, all your troops will be arrow meat, no matter how many you have.
 

Knonsense

New member
Oct 22, 2008
558
0
0
It really varies from game to game. In Starcraft, for example, there's a counter to basically any mass of single units. The strongest units in the game can be shut down cheaply even en masse if you provide a decent counter.
 

ActualOvaltine

New member
Jul 1, 2009
110
0
0
The Total War series is not like that at all. You have to have tactics up the ass to win. Steamrolling rarely happens.
 

Not Good

New member
Sep 17, 2008
934
0
0
The Korgoth, the bumfuck unit in Total Annihilation can be easily defeated by a barrage of air strikes and tachyon beams. Or a well placed rapid-fire artillery unit. That being said the rapid fire turret is stupidly expensive and has such a massive buildtime to get the same health of a regular artillery unit.

Just countering your point with a point of my own. Anything can be defeated it just requires some finesse.
 

Strong Intelligent

New member
Feb 25, 2009
444
0
0
This is why a Gears of War strategy would work better - You can be attacked at any time, from anywhere. You've got to work fast, and tanks take long to build.
 

Beffudled Sheep

New member
May 29, 2020
2,030
0
0
Country
Texas
I made halo wars somewhat strategic. I don't really see much strategy in the games I play unfortunately and can not really contribute. But from what I have heard from my few "strategy game only" friends, it is just you.
 

jaeger138

New member
Jun 27, 2009
315
0
0
I have to agree. It was always easy to win C&C this way. And if I couldn't steamroll and died, next time I'd just wait, build up a bunch of tech and use that. Only once did i ever make a huge plan, trying to predict enemy movements, and it just took too long to get it all together, not the type to do it for every level. I tried, and I didn't like it. But I'm sure there must be an RTS game out there that requires some thought in order to win.
 

Paragon Fury

The Loud Shadow
Jan 23, 2009
5,161
0
0
I'm sorry, what? I most certainly am an RTS player - you don't get to make that kind of judgement.

And any old douche can play chess too.

And last time I checked, even most "Pro" gameplay is just variations on the rush game.

I could go far, far into how Battlefield requires a great deal of strategy, but I think it would be lost on you.
 

Eclectic Dreck

New member
Sep 3, 2008
6,662
0
0
ActualOvaltine said:
The Total War series is not like that at all. You have to have tactics up the ass to win. Steamrolling rarely happens.
This is because, in a rare move for a video game, Total War actually has a strategic component above and beyond the tactical component.

In most RTS games, you fightly compltely at a tactical level, and theres absolutely nothing wrong with this. It's just that, at at the tactical level in and of itself there is no greater strategy to consider. There is no repercussion to throwing 10,000 riflemen from C&C into the meat grinder of the enemy base so long as you win the battle. As a result, games often place arbitrary limitations on troop counts to preven this very ocurance.

In total war, the persistant nature of your armies means that the lives of one's soldiers are not nearly so expendible as they are in other games. What's more, since one has to consdier the logistical ramifications of a unit (modeled in this case by a recurring support cost for a unit), the game enforces a limit to army size. What's more, thanks to travel time across the world map and the constant potential for new wars to break out, one is rarely free to send much of their total army strength to fight any particular battle lest they leave a flank of their empire ripe for the taking.

It seems almost counter-productive but the application of rules tend to actually add more complexity to the strategy necessary to excell at a game. In Total War, much of the grand campaign is won and lost before the battle is joined. If you didn't bring the right army to the right place, it's trivially easy to dispatch. There is no amount of tactical brilliance that will allow an army comprised of nothing but heavy sword wielding infantrymen to best an army composed largely of horse mounted archers and heavy cavalry in the open. Likewise, without significant advantages in numbers trying to assault a city with nothing but cavalry of any sort is a fool's game.

Some games actually throw out most of the tactical component altogether. In Sins of a Solar Empire for example, the most important factor in any battle is the number and types of units present. Specific maneuvers and whatnot witin a planet's gravity well are more or less irrelevent and handled by the AI anyhow (e.g. the kodiak heavy cruisrs will, by default attempt to close to the range they need to fire their cannons).

As a final point, the essential difference between tactics and strategy is simple. tactics are what one uses to win a battle, strategy is used to win a war. In most RTS games, the strategy is decided by the designer of the campaign in question. In some cases, such as Dawn of War, there is a strategic element but it plays fourth fiddle to the tactical component. Civilization is an example of a game that focuses exclusively on the strategic component and requires no tactical control from the player at all.

There is no real strength to any of the approaches though, and I've found games that I love in any mixture of the two (Civlization III for pure strategy, Ground Control for pure tactics, Total War for my favorite mix of the two).