Successful feature breakdown

Hello, I’m an avid RTS player that would like to share some insights in my experience through different games. I play a bunch of different RTS, most notably Warcraft 3 (where I main Undead) and Starcraft 2 (where I main Terran), but I also play Company of Heroes, Dawn of War: Soulstorm, Halo Wars, and sometimes Dawn of War 2 retribution. I also used to play BFME 2 Rise of the witch king and a few other RTS that are either discontinued or straight away unplayable (Dragonshard anyone?).

As you can see I have experience in different games and through the years I’ve seen a lot of things done right and wrong, have complained about bad features and praised good ones equally, but mostly I have a fairly good idea of what features shined over time.

So without further ado, let me list a few features that would greatly increase the value of the game.

  1. Customizable UI

I would consider this a core part of RTS games, and arguably the most important. This feature consists of 3 different parts: Scaling, moving, and reorganizing.

  • Scaling components allows people to adapt parts of the HUD to their needs. A 1920x1080 screen won’t have the same screen space as a 3440x1440 screen, nor should the map be the same relative size. Games like League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive already implement that, and gives a lot of value to players, so much that at default scaling the minimap is almost unreadable at higher resolutions. Some games opt to make the map size relative to the screen, but that doesn’t work for everyone, letting each player select their map size provides great value.

  • Moving components allows players to organize the HUD around their dominant eye. Again, the only game that I know of, which has developed the community long enough to get this far, and allows moving elements is League of Legends. This adds a lot of value to the game, even more so in the competitive scene.

  • Reorganizing components is a core part of RTS, and fixes one of the major problems the average new player meets: The game’s a mess, no way to learn how to use it. This problem was fixed back in 2003 by Warcraft 3, which featured a very artisanal way to customize hotkeys through a CustomKeys.txt file. This file allowed hotkey rebinding, button organization, and tooltip assignment, making the command card fit everyone’s needs, and eventually community dedication birthed the standard grid mode with optimum buttons.

Before moving on I want to remark that being able to reorganize buttons and customize the position of these buttons is key to new players, makes people want to play the game, and removes frustration from inability to press the wrong keys under pressure. The main reason is that there’s a standard already, created for DotA back in the day, where QWER are usually spells or custom unit actions, A is attack, S is stop, D is defend (or hold position), Z is move, and X is patrol. Many people have left RTS games because the keys don’t match this layout, if we take a look at Starcraft 2 they also have grid keys, but the way buttons are placed means Q is move, W is stop, E is hold position, R is patrol, and T is attack, and I can tell you a lot of people have raged in front of me because they press A to attack move but it doesn’t work, and standard keys are too hard and take too much time to learn.

So please, don’t disregard command card reorganization! It should be the natural evolution of RTS improvements, but sadly nobody is doing it yet.

  1. Automatic unit queue.

Dawn of War (the first one) featured an automatic queue where you could right click almost everything (train units, reinforce, but wargear, etc.) and it would be queued up automatically. This queue could be paused, resumed, and cleaned up, and was valuable for this particular game as it was very macro-oriented like Age of Empires. I like this feature for macro-based games with non-intensive micro, and AoE could be that one. (When I say non-intensive micro I mean you don’t manage units 1 by 1 like in Warcraft 3).

  1. Asymmetric balance.

This one is self-explanatory, there are RTS with symmetric balance (notably the AoE franchise for the most part) where all factions have the same unit types, but one unit in each faction might have additional cost and benefits. This makes the game very streamlined and overall balanced, which is great on many instances, but eventually makes the game boring since every single strategy is the same with very slight changes. One great thing AoE 3 got was the expansions, both of them changed the pace of the game completely as native americans had much worse late game with no factories but stronger infantry and river control, as well as asian civs introducing villagers that cost wood, exports, banner armies, etc.

Asymmetric balance is always much more fun because there’s a lot more room for balance changes and creates multiple different matchups, rather than rock paper scissors, as in pikes beat cavalry and so on so forth. However this also means you guys need to pay close attention and release balance patches often to address unfair matchups.

  1. Non-idempotent results

This part is hard to foresee and understand, and in an RTS it’s something very easy to screw up. It can be introduced from many factors: pure RNG, over-time effects, or (god please no) obscure tactics that nobody understand.

An example of RNG could be Warcraft 3’s damage ranges, in other words, when we say a unit does 50 damage, it could deal a random value that can be between 45-55. The range can be broader or narrower, depends on the unit. Another example can be Dawn of War or Company of Heroes’ accuracy, where attacks have a chance to miss even more so if the squad fires on the move. I am not particularly a fan of RNG, and I’ve seen a lot of people quit on me because their retreating squad got sniped at the very last second when that shouldn’t have happened. Same goes for critical strike, a very well-known mechanic that we can see in games like DotA, and if you are into this game you’ve probably seen several clips of phantom assassin performing 5 critical strikes in a row with a 10% chance to score, which means the game decided you had to win, but not a deserved victory.

Over time effects are much more reliable, turning a 100-damage hit into 50 damage + 50 over 10 seconds gives the opponent 10 seconds to react and heal defend or otherwise counterplay. previous AoE didn’t have anything like this, mostly because technology was very restricted back in the day, and the closest we had was Age of Mythology powers. This is a very good source of variety where a player might think the enemy unit dies from the last hit’s damage over time only to see it was regenerated in time a few seconds later.

Obscure tactics are basically trash. Seeing armor ratings or damage types that mean nothing is a very good way to have your community spamming rage posts. Please don’t.

  1. Mechanics and micro management

It’s no news that this franchise doesn’t shine for its micro play. Most of the action is macro: economy, build fortifications, and mostly check the map to see when the enemy is going to harass your villagers gathering gold halfway across the map with 4 hussars to delay your economy, so you can put them into the nearest garrisonable building.

One of the most enjoyable parts of spectating RTS (and also of high level play) is the outplay potential offered by individual unit capabilities. Right now the options are spreading infantry to avoid cannon ball massacres, sending your hard counter to beat their units (e.g. calv flank to kill archers) and trying to protect your units from said flanking. I would be happy to see certain units featuring abilities to change the course of them, such as:

  • Pikemen porcupine formation when at least 20 pikemen are in the control group, become immobile and block units from getting inside the formation, extra damage vs cavalry.
  • Cavalry dismount their horses to become heavy infantry, or mount again to become cavalry.

Regarding mechanics, I have to say AoE 3 shipments and cards were the worst feature for customization in all Age games. Everyone literally uses the same economy cards to create military units, then send the military shipments. I personally wouldn’t like to say that.

However there’s also an honorable mention to a bad mechanic, and that would be Dawn of War 3 and Company of Heroes 2’s customization boosts. The former unlocks special abilities and certain buildings from a choice in the menu, the latter improves certain units before the match. These choices are not fun, strategy games should be about strategy, not about finding out which 3 out of 80 upgrades the other player chose secretly.

Now on the bring side, I’ll be bringing Dawn of War 2’s garrisoning, where units gain defense against standard ranged attacks, but get quickly decimated by flush attacks like grenades or flamethrowers. This is a very good feature and taking control of these zones to secure areas in the middle of the map is a commitment that forces players to move and play actively instead of seeing each other camping their base with 7 layers of walls.

I will also mention it doesn’t make any sense to be unable to fit 11 villagers in a boat, but 10 elephants would be OK. I surely hope this meme isn’t part of AOE4.

  1. Counterplay options

I’ll be ending this list with something very obvious, but not so much. This is somewhat related to how AOE is currently very simple rock-paper-scissors, and usually there are no transitions in the game because the flow is defined by how much you can stall the opponent without getting killed yourself, leading into one of the players either getting ahead in army and straight away aging up much sooner, or losing a critical skirmish that leaves the other player with a leading army that will proceed to mop the remaining villagers, removing your chances to win.

Notably Starcraft 2 does this the best way, with the sheer amount of unit types and how many active abilities each unit has, it has developed (arguably) the best game transitions in the RTS genre. One could start as terran bio, after the first scout spot the Zerg player going speed roaches, so he can add tanks and marauders, the zerg transitions into air, terran starts going mech, all this done with the extra expenses of upgrades and constant expansions to hold the economy.

Age of Empires is usually about building the exact same army with cavalry to harass villagers, pikemen to stop said cavalry, a few skirmish units depending on the faction, and tech fast to the next age to get the army lead and win. I believe if AoE 4 had some extra depth on counterplaying it would also greatly add value to the game.

Sorry for the long wall of text, I hope this gets to a good place. See you in the battlegrounds.


Considering how many teams did fail even with Sci-Fi and fantasy settings.
Especially an Historical scenario does offer there zero room for it.

Asymmetric balance is the worst feature RTS genre did ever come up,
It is basically a request to make an unbalanced broken game, as nobody can handle it well.


First of all, what teams and what games failed for this reason? Not sure who you are referring to, but I can guarantee the game had several issues aside from being asymmetrically balanced. I’ll venture saying trash UI and hotkeys, or lack of support (i.e. release a patch every 8 months). The latter is a good way to see all your playerbase go away until you fix the broken stuff, but if it takes forever to react the game basically dies pretty soon.

Second, there’s a lot of variety in historical atmospheres. In the specific matter of medieval european history, the variety was minor compared to asian, african, or american options, but that doesn’t mean everyone was literally the same.

Spain had crusaders, Germans had teutonic knights, Ottomans had Janissaries, etc. and each one of them could behave differently or have additional abilities.

For example, crusaders could slightly heal army units around them every 5 attacks. Teutonic knights could have a charge dash and have AoE attacks. American tomahawks could go melee to attack faster. And the list goes on forever, making each civilization have mostly the same unit compositions, but having different advantages to fight. These upgrades could also be gated behind research as well, there are many options that I’m sure Microsoft has very qualified people to think about.


Relic did fail with DoW3, AoE4 developer
Universe at War: Earth Assault did fail, from AoE4 lead designer Adam Isgreen
Microsoft current Publisher of AoE4 as failed with Rise of Legends

Why are you asking them to fail? They can’t handle it.

Again, every team except Blizzard, failed with the concept of Asymmetric balance. There are various over-obvious reasons why a team that has a time and budget limit can’t, balance a game if units to balance the game cant exist there in the first place, as Asymmetric balance contradicts itself at the very core. Factions in RTS require a certain degree of symmetry, so you can play them against each other without to have too big disadvantage.

Asymmetric is for RTS an automatic failure feature.

I understand something like “dash/jump” ability sounds fun first, but you end up with a faction that is annoying to play and other faction has without that thing too big disadvantage.

After all, Age of Empires is a historical massive armies and base build game, it requires clearly different mechanics to be fun and as series has its own for a reason.


Dawn of War 3 was a complete failure for many reasons, and balance wasn’t one of them. Core defense game mode, Elite mechanics, skulls to unlock stuff, doctrine-like unlockables… It was made like CoH2, which very few people play due to mega greedy DLC marketing and the fact that people spend countless hours on “cheat maps” where you can farm the 24k daily coins to buy all the stuff and actually play the game without being crippled.

Universe at war failed for 2 major reasons: Games for Windows Live, and trash UI (which as I said, it’s the #1 priority for RTS, a polished HUD which doesn’t make you do a lemon face). Again, nothing to do with asymmetric balance, all 3 factions were perfectly doable and had different strategies.

I don’t know Rise of Legends unfortunately, so I can’t tell you much about it, however a brief look at a gameplay video shows around 5:25 that hotkeys are Shift + Q, so it might be a decent indicator.

At least 2 out of those 3 games, I can guarantee they weren’t killed by any kind of balance, it was just the games as products were bad. Nobody stopped playing because Eldar had overpowered dire guardians or the cyborgs had a fast travel network, it was because there were bad decisions from a game architecture standpoint.

The other one, I don’t know, but I will buy it if I can find it and play for a while, I’m curious about whether this game has the same problems as the command and conquer franchise.


Also there are really good examples for games with a really good asymetric balance - not perfect, would never say that. But Warcraft, Starcraft and AoE3 all had good asymetric balance. Blizzard, when it still was blizzard, did an exemplary job on their games.


Already they confirmed AoE4 faction design is assymetrical?

“Civilizations are playing very differently this time,” Adam Isgreen reveals. For now, Microsoft only shows British and Mongols, but of course there will be more to the release of Age of Empires 4. However, the developers would rather emphasize the differences than include a large number of factions in the game, which, like Age of Empires 2, only differ in certain special units. Therefore, according to Isgreen, Age of Empires 4 has fewer ethnic groups than Age of Empires 2 - at that time there were 13 playable races without addons.

Also it isn’t new for franchise,AoM and AoE3 factions were assymetrical.
AoE2 and AoE1 both are 90s rts.and in 90s most of rts games selected symetrical design.

But just don’t wait a diversity like to SC2,aoe isn’t a sci-fi game,it is historical so it have to include at least 6-8 civs.

AoE3 includes so many micro,just play the case of musketeers,your musketeers weak aganist skirmishers.but if you make a bayonet attack,it would be helpful.and enemy player have to hit n run aganist melee.or use cover mode would be helpful aganist enemy artillery.
even aoe2 includes micro.your pikes,archers and skirms should be caraful aganist mangonels.

and aoe isn’t micro focused,i think it isn’t a bad is a design selection.
for example if we compare sc2 and aoe2
you have to make more micro in sc2,
but in aoe2 economy system is more complex and more macro focused
both are great games i think.just different tastes.

Aoe4 developer is Relic,so there is a huge chance to see unit abilities.i hope they don’t broke game with that abilities.ra3 really sucked in abilities.
I think we can easily adapt protoss zealot charge to aoe’s cavaliers

They confirmed in interviews,there is no card shipments in AoE4

indeed.they can add a lot of various unit for aoe4.medieval era had a lot of different types of weapons and tactics.

in another topic @Huge5000RTSFan suggested this:
Common Range Soldiers
-Slinger / trash unit
-Archer / Anti Cheap Soldiers
-Crossbow / Anti Soldiers
-Skirmisher / Anti Range
-Hand Cannoneer / Anti Heavy

Common Range Riders
-Horse Archer / Anti Soldier
-Horse Skirmisher / Anti Range
-Horse Cannoneer / Anti Heavy

And it is so good imo

Also there is my idea for infantries
1-Swordsmen with Shield
-A Sword
-A Shield
Melee Armor:1 Pierce Armor:2

2-Two-Handed Swordsmen
-A Two-Handed Sword
Melee Armor:1 Pierce Armor:0

-A Axe
Melee:7(but have a bonus aganist villagers,no needs to gold,trash unit)
Melee Armor:0 Pierce Armor:0

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Indeed, there have been various reasons why it did fail.

But we do not have Ensemble Studios or Blizzard for AoE4 development.

But can Relic get it right?

Let’s take a short look at Eldar in DoW3, to make faction asymmetrical they did get shields and faster units, which basically did mean, while player not Human/Orc was loosing resources, Eldar did simply move his units away before loosing shields, resulted in a very annoying and broken gameplay experience. As Eldar player simply wasn’t loosing units and resources during engagements.

Do we really need them to turn AoE4 into DoW3? I don’t see how is it possible for a team, that lacks completely the skill to design “balanced Asymmetrical factions”, to make a playable game, by forcing them to do what they clearly can’t and never ever were able to do.


To be fair, the outlier for AoE4 units is way tighter then the one for WH40k Units.

They all have basically Attack, Range, Melee and Ranged Armor, Speed, Hitpoints an Attack Type and a Defense Type. No shields, no flying units, no Invisible sniper, (hopefully) no five different active unit abilities etc.

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AoM did and it was IMO the best game overall, even if you take out god powers which, to be honest, mostly offered a one time bonus.

AoE games weren’t so asymmetrical, they were mostly equal, and my experience in 3 shows all european factions are almost equal with minor flavors, e.g. dutch have access to banks, german had better mercenary support, ottomans had arguably the best artillery, etc.

But aside from that, everyone had pikemen, cavalry, archers, etc. and that made the game very predictable. Asian and American civs had completely different playstyles and that added a LOT of value to the game IMO, suddenly I saw myself mostly playing Iroquois and Japanese mainly, followed by Chinese and Spanish.

As I said, there’s no need to add new units, but a difference in playstyle between a generic unit and a unique variant should be notable. We aren’t talking about shields on top of life like Eldar in DOW3 (which certainly was OP). If you look at history, Spanish crusaders were meant to be blessed knights sent to conquer land in the name of god, they were few, so it would make sense to say there can be few of them and they can heal passively, which would enable the Spanish to send a more efficient cavalry villager harass unit that can heal from TC and watchtower damage, replacing AoE3’s explorer dog hunt, and delaying villager harass until age 2.

Likewise, Huskarles were elite military units so and scandinavian (in this case I assume the new Sweden civ in AoE3DE) could have this unit that gains stat boosts when near buildings (since they were meant to defend their house and lord), making the swedes stronger at defense.

In short, giving certain units advantages for different playstyles rather than changing the whole civilization’s strengths.

Very little, the only micro you see is moving units. Of course, you can’t just win by A-moving into the enemy base, you need to focus units, spread units vs artillery, peel cavalry away from your archers with pikemen, flank, target units and buildings… But that’s very basic micro, hence why I said AoE doesn’t shine for its micro, because it’s a very macro-focused game. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, just saying it could have more room for micro play, which is the dynamic part of the game. In other words, it’s a lot of fun to watch games where people constantly harass with 4-5 hussars, send small detachments to siege trading outposts, etc. and that’s all micro play.

Agreed, but also units were pretty broken as well, on most cases they were oneshot vs their hard counter.

Then I am relieved, I really hated shipments, literally everyone had almost the same cards. It was so pointless and based on treasure RNG.

No need, Microsoft makes good games. Check Halo Wars 2 (which IMO should release on Steam to give it some revitalization).

I’m a little afraid of that actually, after seeing what they did with CoH 2, I don’t really know what they are going to do. Hopefully this time they shoot in the right direction.

Don’t get it wrong. We don’t need units to have wargear upgrades, nor we need broken abilities to happen. You only need to have unique units to each civilization, no need to orbital army destroyer beams or global shields, just these few units that give an edge in very particular ways to each civilization.

Don’t forget AoE 3 came out in 2005, there’s a lot of room for improvement, and AoE 4 doesn’t need to be a copy of the others, just carry the essence (i.e. medieval civilizations advance through different ages and destroy each other). Starcraft 1 was also very rudimentary by the time Starcraft 2 came out, it wasn’t alike its predecessor, but carried the essence over and improved upon its feeling, which is the perfect result.

Yes, exactly. They don’t even need active abilities for the most part. I would really like if most units had literally 1 active ability like such:

  • General pikemen: porcupine formation (if command group has a minimum amount of units.
  • Roman empire shield infantry: testudo formation
  • Viking berserk/American tomahawk: swap between melee (more attack speed and movement speed) or ranged (more range).
  • Lanced cavalry: Charge trample attack in the same fashion as BFME2 cavalry. Lanced cavalry would be special to 1 civ though.

You get the drill.


Just lets take a look at top played pvp games Overwatch, DOTA2, Call of Duty, Team Fortress 2.Rocket League. Rainbow Six Siege, Arma 3, Titanfall 2. Are the teams somehow , anyhow asymmetric? No! They have access to exact same gears and heroes. Why is Asymmetric even requested by RTS at all? It makes zero sense. Can really 1-3 games made 20-10 years ago justify to waste millions of dollars on a concept that clearly doesn’t pay off.

Yes, Starcraft is a good game, nobody does deny it, but by year 2020 it should be clear, Starcraft concept won’t bring the genre back and make a financial success.

Enforcing by RTS Asymmetric is basically like sign up for unemployment for the developers.

the thing is, people did stop to play DoW3 before they got access to “army destroyer beams”

You see, have an idea, is not the same as have a concept. Just because you did put an idea into the game, does not mean you did make it better, if there is no plan it might make the game worse.

lets not repeat mistakes from other games, shall we?

Formation bonuses won’t work in AoE2 as, you simply don’t have the size of armies for it and AoE2 does have anti blob units, we have see in game Cossacks, where exactly this is happening. You need merely to use your ranged cavalry to attack from 2 sides, so Formation bonuses turn into nonsense for melee units.

swap between attack type, you realize AoE is large scale RTS of macromanagement?
we had those issues in C&C Red Aler 3 already where faster players simply did get a too unfair advantage. RTS is not about fast smash the keyboard

Charge trample attack-first off battle for middle earth 2 is squad/battalion management RTS, Age of Empires is single unit management. Already there you require clearly different mechanics. If each horse unit, will be able to stomp, people simply would attack from all sides and use horses only.
It would completely break the game, as even the counter unit, won’t work.

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I don’t know about the others, but these two are as asymmetric as possible. I’d only say this: Void vs Pugna.

Age 4 will not be as asymmetric as Starcraft 2, more like Warcraft 3 or even less if they would go with 10 civs. But even then it will be more asymmetric than Age2 which is a good thing from replayability and depth.

I don’t want to buy skins of a single civ and play the same 3 strats.

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But both teams can have same hero and weapon.

But how, AoE has no magic or fantasy creatures like Warcraft3.
It’s a macro management RTS, again management or large armies, where babysit each unit kind of contradicts the series core design. It’s simply technically not possible.

You kind of go with your suggestions to make some kind of small scale phantasy game.

Auto queue is not a good feature IMO in RTS, (auto things in general) Because Real Time Strategy mean human mechanic coming into the game and it does matter, if you want strategy game, yes, but i hope AOE4 not gonna become just strategy where everythings is auto and the difference between player is narrowed of course because you remove potential room for improve this is why SC1 have more viewer on stream overall than SC2 , with Smartcast feature,it have a bit of “autospirit” things so what happen to the top player of theses games? less domination from one or 2 players because its more easy to reach the top it was the same for AOM vs AOM Titan exp the same for AOE2 vs AOE3 .

less you have IA and auto do things for you and more the RTS is popular its a fact in RTS because gamer who manage to master and dominate, gamer have some admiration for them.

First of all, top PVP games according to what? I don’t see that list including “top” anything really. Top grossing revenue should go to fortnite, mario kart, GTA V, Call of Duty.

Second, all those games you provided are completely asymmetrical except for Rocket League, and maybe Arma (I haven’t played any Arma games so I can’t tell).

Orbital beam literally was 1 in 3 SM faction powers, and it was there on day 1 in all 3 Dawn of War base games.

I read up until here, I assume you have no idea what you’re talking about from the previous part, now you say more skilled players have “unfair advantage”. OK.

I never even bothered learning to play as Portuguese because the only difference they have is slightly more glass cannon heavy infantry counter and artillery, I don’t even know what their cards do, or what shenanigans they can pull off.

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Yes, but that’s like playing the same Civ both opponents :slight_smile:

I’ve made a post here about possible civ gameplay concept design: Assuming only 10 civs in aoe4, what should they be?

I will expand on that making a comparison to Warcraft3.

Let’s take Humans (most AOE2 / English / Western civ style ) vs Night Elves (let’s assume them as Mongols).

Building gameplay design:
Humans/English: buildings are rooted in place. A villager builds them.
Elves/Mongols: can unroot/unpack buildings and move over. They are morphed from a Wisp. Mongols could build them at the town-center as moving chariots and unpack where needed. Another twist would be to de-elevate a foot-warrior into a peasant for a fixed time (losing the benefit of the warrior which makes you temporarily vulnerable). Like that you build directly with your infantry, close to the enemy without risking core villagers.

Humans/English: cheaper, but weaker houses to support population; can be used to wall-in or immobile scout on the map.
Elves/Mongols: more expensive, but provides additional benefits (heal troops).

HU/English: needs to lay out the buildings to create a maze/fortified position in order to protect their villagers and trap inside any intruders.
NE/Mongols: place the building closer to the interest point to maximize time (closer to resources let’s say) while being able to move them afterwards to a new place; Mongols made their camp in circle to protect a valuable point; maybe move them around depending where you settle the camp; block a choke-point while you farm the area or other benefits that emerge from being able to move the buildings.

HU/English: building role is pretty straight forward for most of players: Barracks, Workshop, Mage Tower, Town, Center.
NE/Mongols: exotic buildings that are not immediately recognizable by new players, but somehow resemble the “classic” role to an extent. Plus they reinforce the fantasy/history. Mongols may “upgrade” a core building to specialize it into something more specific.

Unit design:
Hu/English: basic core infantry is a melee troop.
NE/Mongols: basic core infantry is an archer. Or maybe a troop that may change from melee to range and back. More versatile, but with a weak point: hit points stay low, but melee may move (travel) faster; requires upgrade. Good for surprise rushes or raids or for escaping battle.

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Ok maybe I wasnt clear enough.

1#### yes by overwatch a sniper hero like Widowmaker is different than gorilla Winston, but both teams can have in same time Widowmaker and Winston, that are by both teams exactly the same.
So this means, those games are in PvP symmetric, as people have access to exact same gear.

And we do see it by any top game, that both teams and player have access to comparable if even not to exactly same gear.

Only by RTS somehow, we have a faction with no snipers, by other faction no rocket launchers.
By any shooter, if there is a sniper rifle, both teams have access to it. So why are RTS only forced into that concept?

2####* Did you play Red Alert 3? Red Alert 3 was a very clear example that it is a bad concept in large scale game to give each unit an ability. Instead of using abilities, people kind of do abuse them. Just as example by Japan anti tank unit you had the ability to dig them in, to avoid damage.

Problem is in real play it did mean, some people were not fast enough to activate and were constantly loosing their units, the others were so fast, they did easily overcome their opponents, and that concept did downgrade the game quite a lot.

In C&C Tanks can crush soldiers, so by RA3 you could easy kill from soviet and allied faction the anti tank units, by simply drive over them with tank, but could not kill them by Japan, as they could simply dig in and avoid damage from being crushed by tanks. It was not only very annoying, but was also giving that faction quite an unfair advantage.

In theory a lot can work, but that’s why we do have practical test to check it out.
What if, “as usual by any team”, it turns into something that is breaking the game?

I mean let’s be realistic. Developer was already once forced to introduce some asymmetric mechanics that does break the game. Can they fix it? The release is just some month ahead as people did notice it in the beta. But they simply can’t delay the release, people see on launch day a broken game, people do refund it. Game gets bad rating. Publisher does pull the plug.

Asymmetry simply isn’t a successful feature.

With asymmetric concepts AoE4 simply would fail, like we have seen by any team in last years.

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Not sure if you’re trolling, or you are actually pulling up those conclusions. If it wasn’t a troll attempt you are genuinely wrong.

Either way, I digress, have fun believing your own concept of symmetry and the fact that anti-tank infantry can avoid being rammed by tanks.

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Not to be disrepectful to you, Huge5000RTSFan but your point of view seems really extreme.

Asymetric balance is the standard in most strategy game, successful or not, for many years. While AoE 2 is a good example for symmetric balance, it already falls flat to certain degree if every civilisation can only use their own tech-tree.
Admittedly, AoE2 was a great success and a good example for symmetric balance - and while it is easy to have a large ammount of civs as the tech-tree is designed - It lacks depth.
Don’t get me wrong, AoE2 is and always will be one of my favourite games, but in the end almost every civilisation can use the same tactics, no matter what boni they have and what technological setup.
While already the slightly higher asymetry of AoE3 allow much more depth - you’re surely not going to play russians the samt style as the ottoman empire, and don’t even get me started on the expansion civs.
Is it well balanced? To be honest, I have no clue but it seems at the very least to be working adequately and the matches are certainly more intersting then some of the AoE2 games I’ve had.
They have their own strengths, of course. But I am totally in for asymetric balance.

Again, from last 10 years, how many Asymmetrical successful games exist?
Problem is, there is simply almost nothing out there across all the genres, to back up the claim.

In retro perspective the Symmetrical concept with faction bonuses and handful special units like by AoE2 and old C&C simply seems to be the better way to make a game.

Yes, “Asymmetric Balance” did establish itself as one of way for thinking by RTS. But considering the feedback the genre does receive, and how bad Asymmetrical RTS did perform by sales, it is clearly no longer a good idea to try it.

Just look at last big flop from Relic. After 9 min, this video does have a very good explanation.

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