You can read this in GradeAUnderA voice for maximum effect.
That's right, it's time to check this game from a money perspective, because obviously that's why Eugen Systems make game, because money!
Before you read this I must get something clear:
I really don't care about balance.
Balance has never been my top priority, and neither should be Eugen Systems, if Wargame is any evidence, balance patches only work as publicity stunts to renew the metagame, but there will always be winners and losers, 20 pages of balance tirades just to make a tank have +1AP sounds quite silly, and that's because it is, wan't a fair, well balanced game? I may suggest you go play chess but there has been debates for decades about why the white player must move first, so you are probably going to hate chess too.
Ok, after that, let's get ahead with what we need to fix.
BUG OF AGGRESSION
First things first, the most obvious problem with Act of Aggression is the fact is bugged, and when I say buggy it's because its zerg bugged, no, in fact it's worst, it's tyranid bugged, like, I can't even start Reboot 9 times out of 10 (have to reboot the game, which is not funny), and don't get me started with the desync problems, those two things are enough to scare away the majority of the players, and of course this means they are going to post negative reviews at Steam, effectively hindering Eugen Systems videogame farm, because, who will buy a game which can't even start?
Now I know you Eugen Systems have a core of veteran programmers who actually know what's going on, but you have them making yet another Wargame DLC and Wargame 4 and you have delegated most of the post-production stuff to a bunch of practitioners who probably spend more time at job playing DOTA 2 than actually caring about your games, because that's what I have seen in many software development teams, so, time to use the stick and put them to do some actual patching job, after all, they are going to live from their programming skills, and what better way to learn to actually fix this game, right?
NOT EUGEN'S PROBLEM
Ok, so, let's pretend for a moment you have hammered the bugs out and you actually have managed to make Act of Aggression and Act of Aggression: Reboot appear separately in Steam instead of that weird interface things (what you were thinking?), and now it's time to polish the balance of the game.
Except not, again, just look at the balance suggestions out there, between someone wanting to add a fuel mechanic, people who want squads and the endless convoluted suggestions about how to make the game fair you know you are not balancing things out but just changing the metagame, which is anything but real balance, besides, I have seen people who post balance suggestions for years, and they are never happy, like, they seem to be people inherently disgusted with the world because they don't see their perspective of what is right applied in real life.
But then what do you do? Well, that's quite simple, add more customisable options of course! Listen, we all know you are not going to release mod SDKs because you don't have the manpower or budget to do so, but mostly because you need to keep the monopoly of potential DLCs, and that's ok because even game developers need to pay the mortgage and food, you know better than anyone else fan praise has no real value other than as publicity, but publicity is a mean to an end, money, not an end by itself.
So you make a nice compromise, you won't let people mod your game but they may be capable to define things as essential and yet as cool as money income (what you were thinking when you added amount of reserves instead?), unit lethality, construction speed, no air zones and technology tiers. And there is an added bonus with this, since people can make custom games you can always point out them they have this option whenever they come to your door to complain about balance! See? You can safely ignore them now and still sound reasonable.
NO WARGAME OR GENERALS, ONLY INDIES
After accomplishing the previous parts this one is the most important, because some publicity is very welcomed, you need some media coverage, but you already used the Generals-like horse and it backfired, badly, why? Well, because your campaigns, yes, I know, you were hoping your Adobe Aftereffect filters and Powerpoint transitions may be enough to compensate for the lack of 120 minutes of live action cutscenes, it didn't work and that's ok, I know you didn't have EA or Atari money to bring you some big Hollywood names.
So you need to do the next best thing you can, which is media coverage of course.
Yes, I know you people have a passable english at best, I know you may need to use teleprompters more than Obama to help you out of the hard questions, but it's still far better than staying at your little studio office pretending Wargame will keep you afloat for the next financial quarter.
You must make things clear, first off, you are an indie developer, you must publicly recognize you don't have the budget to emulate EA's Generals 2 or hire Tim Curry as the boss of the Cartel (although that would be glorious), yet you must point out for a rather small studios in some Paris neighborhood you have done a quite impressive job, and you must explain how this game is not Wargame, instead you must say you wanted to try something different to keep the team fresh, because, let's be honest, after 4 years of Cold War unit reskin, it becomes a bit boring and you want to come back to your roots, then, say the game is about skirmish and multiplayer, because, let's be honest, those two are the only thing you can safely make without requiring tons of money.
The key words here are "indie developers", "good old RTS" and "this is not Generals 2, neither Wargame: Modern Warfare and no, we didn't have an Activision budget for the campaign, please be more understanding, give us a second chance!".
THE NUMBERS EUGEN, WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
By this point we all know about Steamdb and other Steam stats sites where you can see how good a game has been doing, indeed, we all know your Wargame series has managed to outsell most of the new other brand new RTS franchises put together, which is quite nice, we also know Act of Aggression, despite your recent abandonment, bugs and lack of love, has managed to sell more than most of those new titles and actually has a larger gaming population, which is again something to be proud, kinda, ok, maybe not, but still, you have made a name of yourselves.
But that's not enough, you need more people, like, 2 or 3 times the amount of people you have, and for that you will need the only thing which can quickly and (relatively speaking) unexpensive things which can make your playerbase grow up.
Yes, you need a free weekend, but only after you have made all the above.
For obvious reasons, doing a free weekend right now will be counter-productive, your game is not stable enough, there is not enough customization and no one actually remembers Act of Aggression, you need to prepare the ground, or else it will wasted time, after all, if it worked with Grey Goo, whose creators supposedly had an even higher pedigree than you, then it's obvious this will work right? A word of advise, do it whenever you see there is no major releases, and call your new media press friends to help you out, they may be bored of posting Overwatch news by that point.
ACT OF DLCS
By this point the stage is set for the years to come, the cow is now ready to be milked out, however you want, it can be disco zombie skinpacks, out of thin air sub-factions, patch-eyed mercenaries without frontiers, some brand new missions where you can show off your aftereffect skills, you know the drill soldier, 30% discount and again, for Kane's sake, fix your dates so they don't coincide with any major studios sales, timing out your attacks is essential.
A FINAL WORD OF ADVICE
Do you know what's economically great about Blizzard? He got multiple intellectual properties, all of them profitable, Eugen you only have Wargame by this point, and maybe RUSE, but we are fed up of WW2 games and you are not getting money from that one anyway. You need to diversify your market, so you don't end like EALA, dependent on C&C and killed off when EA decided it was not profitable enough. Do everyone a favor and start putting more love in your younger child, she is out there in the dark abandoned like one of those anime girls everyone seems to use at the forums, she needs you to grow up and achieve her true potential like her older sister, and yes, I am using moe anthropomorphism because it's a cheap way to soften you up, right?
Or maybe you can make Wargame: Horus Heresy, that would actually be awesome, hey! It seems Focus Home Interactive is best buddies with Games Workshop, so why not?
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You realize they don't even fix catastrophic graphic issues with drivers? Why would you want to give them even one penny?
No DLC. A new game that is actually good made on a good engine.
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