Thursday 31 October 2013

Cancelled RTS, LoL and DOTA too popular?

Command and Conquer has been cancelled. A sad story for the future of a popular franchise. 

The game was still in alpha when it got cancelled. EA made a statement; 
"Your feedback from the alpha trial is clear: We are not making the game you want to play. That is why, after much difficult deliberation, we have decided to cease production of this version of the game."
Which is odd because for the most part it seemed like a great game. I was actually sort of excited for some modern RTS (real time strategy game). Something that I could turn toward that wasn't SC2 (StarCraft 2).

Don't get me wrong SC2 is a great game but I got the game and haven't had too much time to devote to the whole experience. It's a game with a massive learning curve. It requires you to play a lot to get to a decent level. I've had the desire to pick it up again and play a little more, though I'm not going to even have the same access as everyone else due to a lack of the expansion that was released while I was on hiatus. 

The saddest part is that the team who was making this game seems to all be out of a job now. 

Some complaints I heard from RTS players were that the game seemed to be ripping off of SC2 too much. Though when I look at the updates I noticed they did indeed have two resources you needed to gather just like in SC2; after another update they changed this back to the classic one resource. There were a lot of trial and error occurrences happening within the alpha. I would assume that's fair; the very early stages of the game still need to learn it's base structure. 

The art style and the maps seemed well thought out. The structure of the game was no ever really totally clear but again, that should have been decided by the end of the alpha. Beta is for tweaking, alpha is for building. 

A common complaint was the idea of the generals being too similar to LoL (League of Legends) style characters. They all had special abilities but they didn't want to go down the same path as LoL and make the game run on micro-transactions (at least so it seems). Though the way this worked in an RTS was a bit odd.
Since in LoL you focus on your own character and the way those abilities work in regards to everyone else on your team is up to each player. Everyone needs to be working together for coherent teamwork. In Command and Conquer the generals were just one member of the entire army YOU controlled. As a result the ability when making your choices for each army was almost the same every time. So many more units to control than just the one general meant that such a 'hero' with unique characteristics gave barely any variety too the match. 

It's possible that games like DOTA and LoL have taken a lot of the competitive gaming market by storm to the point where RTS is going to have some real trouble to get traction. As stated prior SC2 is not really a game that has much competition right now. In the competitive scene it could really use a challenger like this. I for one have a hard time getting into SC2 because it isn't that accessible. It does have a starter version people can play for free but it's not very well advertised and too be tair it's a little too limiting to really let someone get a feel for the game. 

LoL and DOTA allows someone so much choice for free. The game deals solely which asking money of you if you so desire these extra features in the game after you already own it. They assume if their game is good enough you'll keep playing and want more and more out of it. This strategy seems to have become the biggest boom in the gaming industry in a while. It also grew the competitive scene which draws in players and spectators. Having games to watch and with good commentary is a legitimate form of gaming. This has been true from the days of watching over your friends shoulder as they played a Zelda game and you told them to "go that way." There is a sense of involvement.

Art by spacecoyote (download it at the original post)

Here is hoping they all get jobs soon and good RTSs will not stop production after the towering popularity of the DOTA style games.

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