[MUD-Dev] Secondary characters as a mechanic

Adam adam at grexengine.com
Fri Feb 14 12:40:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com wrote:
> From: Brian Hook [mailto:brianhook at pyrogon.com]

>> If you slowed down the pace and/ore removed unit complexity I
>> don't think it's that bad -- you can use RTS games as pretty good
>> evidence that you can manage complexity, but the trade off is
>> that you can't have as much per-unit complexity/depth. Which is
>> probably a good thing, in my book.

> I agree with you, but it would need to be done better than any
> RTS/RPG has done so far. If you've played Warcraft III with its
> specialised hero units, its terribly difficult to use all their
> abilities in a big fight (those which don't autocast at any
> rate). Most of the time you end up picking a favourite skill and
> using nothing else but that.

Yeah, but although the WC series is "real-time" these days it has
precious little to do with "strategy". If you've played the old
strategy games (such as Battle Isle) or any decent strategy board
game, you'll be aware of the huge contrast. Warcraft wasn't made
successful for being a strategy game: it has always been about a
light-hearted, dumbed-down deathmatch-style gameplay. For instance,
few serious strategy games would have identical opposing races - why
bother creating all that artwork, if the two races play the same?

Starcraft is of course Blizzard's real RTS...

On a related note, one of the interesting innovations of Age of
Empires was the ability to choose between "formations", and switch
between pre-saved formations for any grouped set of units at will.

Even in a simple implementation, this suddenly gives you a
high-level control over your troops mid-battle, and re-empowers the
player to have some involvement deeper than "select group, point in
right direction, hope they win; select a few more groups, point them
in the right direction at various times, in the hope of somehow
influencing the overall outcome".

The really sad thing is that they originally included the ability of
the player to define completely custom formations, and save these,
then cycle between them during battle. For some reason (I suspect
UI-issues, and to do with not being on the critical-path) the
functionality didn't make it into the gold release.

Adam M
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