You're misinterpreting what I said. Grand strategy most certainly has bearing, or I wouldn't be playing these at all. But at the same time, when you're playing a generated map a big part of that *is* how lucky you get with resources.
But no, it is not possible to win militarily against a militarily superior opponent because the lack of tactical combat does not allow it. You will never get a single battle win in your favor if you are constantly out-matched in every fight. Obviously you have to suck pretty spectacularly to do that if you're trying to play military (and understandable if you are not), but the fact remains.
Grand strategy is about more than whatever military units you have at your disposal at any given time. What you're describing is true for any game. It seems that you consider the loss of a single combat unit in a game like Civilization 4 the same as loosing an entire army on a tactical battlefield in a hypotethical E:WoM.
So your whole argument basically hinges on the fact that because you may be good at tactical combat, you don't want it? I mean, I can understand people who just like the grand strategy aspect and the combat not so much, but in your case it seems to be that you don't like that the CPU will not be as good as you, so you'd rather it sucks for everyone than possibly not having the very best outcome possible?
The issue is that I just like the grand strategy aspect and the tactical combat not so much. But because of the existance of tactical combat and it's inherent superiority (in technical terms, not gameplay enjoyment, obviously), I'd be gimping myself by not utilizing it. A game that forces you to shoot yourself in the foot to be enjoyable is not fullfilling.
Why would I want to tie my hand behind my back between my right arm and left leg, just because I can? The Unreal Tournament campaign is easy - that doesn't mean that people come with the suggestion of playing it with your tounge and nose. Because I can don't mean that I should have to or get a fullfilling experience out of doing so.
This is what I never understood, why do you feel forced to use something just because it's there? It's like the IGN reviewer of HAWX - he was complaining that there was an option you could activate that showed you the flight path you needed to take to intercept a hostile or dodge a missile, and that it made the combat way too easy. But it's entirely optional and you never have to use it. It's the same here. If you're playing SP, what does it matter? You can win with auto-resolving all battles just as well. Having a tactical combat option does not force you to use it. You decide for yourself. And don't blame the AI or the game for that choice, because both are always viable ways of winning.
You assume that all battles will be won, for some reason. You think "a win is a win, what does it matter?"
. Even if we assume that the AI will be able to play proficiently enough to only loose when I would've lost myself or win when I would've won regardless (which would be mind-blowing, if two somewhat evenly matched armies clash), there's still the matter of the attrition on troops and resources.
Four or five auto-resolved battles in a row, with the extra losses that will include, could easily result in a sixth battle that would be lost, perhaps decisively, that otherwise wouldn't have been lost at all.
In auto-resolve, the computer doesn't manage anything for you. In auto-resolve, there's no terrain. There's no walls, there's no hills, there's no cover. It is a very basic stats comparison to determine a winner. In the tactical field, however, all of these things exist. The auto-resolve AI doesn't know that the enemy you're attacking might quickly send all of his forces to the hole in the wall you just blew and re-create the scene from 300 where a few troops can beat back many because they're coming through this little gap. It's just going to see oh, you have 300 and he has 1000, you lose! It has nothing to do with sucking or not, and everything to do with variables that auto-resolve cannot consider.
Exactly. Thus you shouldn't, on average, have the same amount of losses in tactical combat compared to auto-resolve. All those things; Cover, walls, hills - they can work in your favour. I have never played Total War, but if there's an built-in superiority in the auto-resolve system, that's a first.
This makes no sense whatsoever. You said it yourself, the AI will not be able to know what you prioritize. That's true in a game with tactical combat where you don't use it, and true in a game where there's no tactical combat at all (which is what you want).
In single player, never using tactical combat is exactly the same as having no tactical combat whatsoever. In multiplayer, turn off TC in the lobby and it's a game with no tactical combat whatsoever.
So on the whole, you're not making a lot of sense.
That's because you're not reading what I'm saying. I have no desire to gimp myself more than the next one. In a game where I wouldn't have the option, it wouldn't be a problem. Those games are geared for auto-resolve. There's no in-combat special moves. There's no in-combat prioritization that you need to manage. And the game is geared to accomodate that in an entirely different manner.
The only reason to have tactical combat is because it's just plain fun and you're confident (as the developer) that the investment improves the game sufficiently to justify it. I actually like Dominions tactical combat. You can give some reasonably interesting pre-battle orders and set up your units on the field as you like ahead of time, but then the game handles the battle itself. It gives me a General's level input for battle planning, but avoids the AI difficulties with detailed tactial battles.
I couldn't agree more. Dominions 3 (I haven't played the others) does it by far best, allowing you to survey the grand strategy, yet put in-depth prioritizations and commands pre-battle for tactical combat. I'm afraid that Elemental is too far gone for that, though. Removing the psuedo-turn-based pause/play 'tactical' combat at this stage would result in a whinefest of epic proportions from the strategically disinclined 'twitcher'-market.