After reading some of the posts and comments on this forum and on steam I decided to give my own two cents and share my thoughts on the game. I understand that the game is still very much in a state of flux and that it will continue to change prior to release. Nonetheless I believe that some aspects of the game are rock solid, whilst other aspects worry me. I have broken it up into a few different categories.
Awesome, absolutely awesome and I suspect this will only get better with time. The only thing that is somewhat jarring are the map textures. Supreme Commander suffered from similar issues where the units were far more detailed than the maps which made the maps look somewhat underwhelming. However, I get that more varied environments might cause too much of a performance drop. That's a minor gripe though because overall the game looks spectacular.
Progression in this game, by which I mean unlocking units and tech, happens quickly and its easy to understand but it's just not very interesting or rewarding. You don't really have to think about getting the right tech or resources for a badass unit, or that one cool upgrade that's gonna turn the tide of battle. Sure, you have the dreadnoughts but all you need is the right resources and you can get them out very quickly. While this does mean that you don't have to wait 10 minutes to produce your most powerful units it also means that getting those units is kind of anticlimactic. The same can be said for the upgrades, which are disappointingly generic and mostly quite boring.
This leads me to my greatest concern which is unit variety. In my opinion, units are at the very core of any RTS experience. While they don't always have be as outlandish or crazy as say Red Alert's units, it is important that they feel distinct and that there is enough too choose from. Playing around with different units or structures is often what makes an RTS fun. I play SC2 not because i'm particularly good at it but because seeing a Zealot slice a Marine in half never gets old. I play Supreme Commander because of the tier 3 mechs that have their own personal shields or the awesome spiderbot that fires a giant laser. I play C&C so I can crush my opponent with a squadron of mammoth tanks. Obviously you need solid underlying mechanics for an RTS to work but experimenting with different units and builds plays a big role in how much fun an RTS is to play.
The problem is that not only does Ashes not have that many units to choose from, the units that are there don't feel all that distinct or unique. All units hover, all units have a tank-like feel, and they all fire generic projectiles. The artillery also doesn't really feel like artillery since their shots seem to have a very limited blast radius, they feel more like tanks than artillery.
When you think about the amount of options a player had in Supreme Commander it's hard to justify a more bare bones approach. You didn't just have different tier units, you had different tier buildings, a variety of upgrades that extended to upgrading your commander, interesting defensive structures that could shoot all across the map, shields to protect both your units and your buildings, crazy experimental units that were vastly different from one another, and the list goes on. While it's perhaps not entirely fair to compare the two I do feel that Ashes is severely lacking in terms of content.
This is precisely why the announcement from the devs that they would not be releasing new units before release worries me. Right now, after having played a handful of matches, I'm already kind of done with the game. Not because of the mechanics, which are rock solid, or the slow pace, which i don't mind, but because I feel like I have seen all the game has to offer. It's a real shame because the mechanics work so well; there's plenty of strategy and the scale is absolutely epic but there's not enough content to explore and experiment with.