So strategy to you is more units with less "micromangement"?
I should mention that Supreme Commander was the biggest letdown in RTS in quite a while. Massive maps sounds great and all, but, well, for starters almost every 'massive' map was 90% water, but SC just ended up amassing a horde of 400 Heavy Assault Bots. The prevalence of long-range weaponry, tools, and extremely high-power units pretty much negated everything that the 'massive scale' accomplished.
I can appreciate what Supreme Commander may have been trying to be - you have a massive map, and like a real domination strategy, you have to set up little outposts, forward bases, etc. here and there. At least, that's what I *THINK* it was trying to be.
Well, I loved Total Annihilation, but it still had some of the same problems. The unlimited energy / metal in a game like Supreme Commander utterly negated most of the strategy, as it was possible to just build farms of T3 Power, Mass, and Shields. Your 'base' would eventually (and quickly) be bristling with nuclear weapons, in fact, it wasn't uncommon for Tech 2 units to never be built at all.
Warcraft Three is a RPS - Role Playing Strategy, an entirely new genre (at least in the perspective of successful large-scale gaming). The purpose of Role Playing Strategy, as the name suggests, is to blend "Role Playing" elements with a "Strategy" element, thus the huge emphasis on Hero building and Micromanagement.
That was the loosest, lamest, more ridiculous application of the term 'role playing' I've heard since Oblivion.
Third point. Starcraft is the penultimate RTS. Those who say they are tired of Blizzard's RTS, I challenge you with this fact: Blizzard hasn't even released a RTS in eight years. Warcraft Two: Beyond the Dark Portal was the last. Starcraft took the RTS to a new height by adding the third faction, with all of the balancing and gameplay inventions that that entails - and they did it fantastically, as a sales record to challenge the Half Life franchise can easily support. Starcraft TWO is a return to the starcraft's RTS franchise, a return of Blizzard in general to RTS, until, of course, Diablo 3 (if/when). Thus far the game has, despite the belief shown in this thread, NOT been modeled after what Korea wants - if this was the case, the game would more than likely be called "Defense of the Ancients."
Okay, a few things. First and foremost, Starcraft 2's success is going to be riding on hype alone, not game quality. We saw the same thing with Oblivion - a developer with a reputation for making RPGs dripping with style and lore, releasing all kinds of little tidbits here and there, and some idiots actually ended up thinking Oblivion was the greatest RPG of all time (despite the fact that the game hasn't a single redeeming quality).
World of Warcraft was the same thing. I guess as far as MMOs go it was better, but would anyone have been as interested in it if it weren't Blizzard? I doubt it. The mentality of "oh it's Blizzard, it MUST be good" is based on what? One game?
Starcraft's success was due in no small part to everything *BUT* the game itself. While back in 1998 or whenever it came out, it was crazy to have THREE sides in a game (unique sides was NOT new, however). The heavily scripted, story-driven campaign was new as well, it was basically the Half-Life of RTS. However other things drove Starcraft's success. First and foremost, and probably the BIGGEST point, was Battle.Net. Prior to Battle.Net, online play was limited by poor lobby services and IP-based matchmaking, which was clumsy at best. Battle.Net not only provided a much easier format, but it also encouraged a lot more out of the game.
By that I mean the 'Custom Map Rules' function on top of an easy, intuitive Staredit. Again, no other RTS had this ability. Anyone who played Starcraft even just once online remembers the ridiculous amount of 'Dragon Ball Z BIG GAME HUNTERS XXXTREME' servers that were pretty much more popular than the game itself.
Both of these things contributed far more to the success of Starcraft than the game itself. While the campaign was pretty good for an RTS game (though it's mind-numbingly shit nowadays), the gameplay itself was, well, crap. Right when Starcraft came out, Total Annihilation did too - which was superior in EVERY WAY to Starcraft. Even the game reviewers noticed this, and nobody really understood why TA wasn't as popular as Starcraft - my answer is that the Boneyard, TA's matchmaking service, was shit-poor, there was no map editor out for it for a long time, and it was difficult, at best, for the average user to customize (additionally, whereas Starcraft let you simply join 'foreign' servers, and you could download the map and the custom rules on the fly, TA required you to get these prior to playing, requiring massive map pack downloads).
In fact, I'm making a note here: The campaign of Starcraft shouldn't have contributed much to its success either, even just as an initial attention-getter. Homeworld came out not even a year later and beat the absolute pants off of Starcraft in nearly every department. The UI was clumsy, but the gameplay was really almost entirely new, and the campaign was among the best ever made.
Therefore I pose this question: What has Blizzard done that is NEW?
Warcraft 3 was nothing to get excited about. The majority of the gameplay was extremely cliche, riding on Starcraft's coattails once again, but with less imagination. Archers vs. Cavalry vs. Pikemen, rock paper scissors boredom. Yawn. Don't forget the 'big flying artillery unit' too. The Hero units is about as close as you can get, but such a concept has existed in other RTS games to some degree (in fact, even the Commander in Total Annihilation can be thought of as a Hero unit).
World of Warcraft was the same story. It was nothing new. It may have done a lot of things RIGHT, but it was absolutely nothing that wasn't done before. For example, in Everquest, you could spend two weeks griding for a piece of gear, playing for hours at a time. At high levels, dying could set you back just as long in terms of XP penalty.
World of Warcraft made this model of MMO far less 'hardcore', so that the average idiot gamer could get the best gear, the highest level, and feel great. The entire success of WOW is based on its' 'keeping up with the Joneses', that is able to reach EVERYONE, not just the 60-hours-a-week elite. It still did nothing that was new.
And Starcraft 2 looks the exact same. Supply depots were used as walls in Starcraft because they were big, cheap, durable, and quick to build (and benefit you). Rather than put in a wall unit, Blizzard CREATIVELY made 'drop-down supply depots', which is probably the, well... the GAYEST thing I've ever seen in an RTS. Seriously, turn a rule-bending ridiculous part of the last game into a just as ridiculous FEATURE?
Other things touted as 'amazing!' and 'great!' in Starcraft 2 include:
- "Massive units that are constructed right on the battlefield!" Okay, first of all, this was in Supreme Commander, and secondly this was in Total Annihilation 10 years ago. In fact, many RTS games have had this feature in one way or another. Even the concept of a 'mobile factory' or the like was used the earliest I can remember in Red Alert 2. There may have been such a unit in Dune, but I don't remember that too well.
- "Jetpack Reaver Marines to cross hostile terrain!" Right, am I the only one who saw that and realized not only was the design, the function, and the WEAPONS nearly complete rip offs of Raptor Marines from Dawn of War, but the name was eerily ripped-off too?
Starcraft 2 doesn't deserve to succeed. Blizzard needs to actually create something new for once. This franchise-dwelling stagnation isn't good for the gaming industry as a whole. It's sad, but Starcraft 2 is simply going to succeed because of "The Valve Effect", where no matter what they make, no matter how crappy it is, everyone will convince themselves it's the greatest.