[Unpopular opinion] Next innovation in RTS: We need smart and intelligent targeting


20+ years ago we had the last innovations in RTS (yes, I am old :frowning:):

  • Multi selecting many units at once

  • Attack-Move command

  • Command queuing

All of these were welcomed with hate by the elite players: “But this will make the game easier! Micro is important! You should have an advantage if you can do all of that by yourself!” At the end all of these innovations have been enforced and accepted.


It’s time to innovate further and finally bring smart and intelligent targeting to the RTS genre.

  • How often did you want to target that group of archers with your cavalry but you miss-clicked on the ground and your units awkwardly moved around getting slaughtered?

  • How often did you attack-move just for your units to attack the nearest spearmen instead of the archers?

  • How often did you manage to click an archer only for that one archer being moved back a little and your cavalry awkwardly get stuck behind the other units?

These are all issues that should not exist in 2021. AOE4 should be about strategically managing your troops and not trying to move one specific unit around.

Smart targeting

Smart targeting helps you click that one unit which you seem to miss all the time. When you hold the smart targeting button and click on the ground, the unit closest to the mouse pointer will be targeted.

You can no longer accidentally missclick a unit.

Intelligent targeting

Intelligent targeting takes it one step further. When you hold the intelligent targeting button and click on the ground, the unit TYPE closest to the mouse pointer will be targeted by your units.

So if you have cavalry and intelligent target click next to an archer, all your cavalry units will attack the nearest (closest to your mouse pointer + closest to your cavalry) archers.

Imagine giving commands to a real armee. You would tell specific groups to focus on specific target types. It should never be a micro / control issue to move and attack troops the way you want them to move/attack.


I think this is the next important step to bring RTS to this century. There is still such huge skill gaps and making your units do what you actually want them to do should not be one of them.

1 Like