Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

jimieus
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Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby jimieus » Tue 11 Aug 2015 06:11

With final launch less than a month away, do you think AoA will make an impact? Will it be a resounding success? Will it be another failed RTS? or will it coast its lifespan in mediocrity (neither growing or shrinking).

Having watched the results of the VIP beta and now the pre-order beta, I am not so sure? Steam indicates it is receiving around <650 peak concurrent users per day since the latest patch (<380 before that), with its all time peak since recording started sitting at 779. Not exactly stellar results.

What do you think? Success? Failure? or Mediocrity?

Discuss.

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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby Guggy » Tue 11 Aug 2015 06:15

I think it'll review decently, and sell modestly. A success overall, but not on par with ALB's sales.

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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby pyro_wood » Tue 11 Aug 2015 06:57

Total success for me at least. Nobody can expect that game to be totally perfect on launch day. Every game nowadays is kinda shit at the beginning. Lots of balancing and tweaking is needed. We also need much more maps.

But this game has, what only few games have. Potential! Potential to become something big.

You should not compare a RTS-Games-Success with the amount of copies it sold. Main problem I see here is the lack of real advertisment. I recognized this game only trough Youtube and if not so, I would have missed it completely.

Maybe the devs should pay IGN to give their all time famous 10/10 - Excellent gamereview.

But to be honest. I would not love to see that this game get hyped. Hyped games often attract a shitload of gamers which is good on the one side for sales purposes, but there will be lots and lots of total RTS-Noobs complaining about everything in the game... and not willing to adapt to it. This would totally destroy the, imo, great game community that is building up around this game currently.


I see great potential in this game and hope the devs don't screw up like at grey poo. :D
plays chimera only... 8-)

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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby Opticalx » Tue 11 Aug 2015 08:24

If they can fix some of the annoying problems like unit reactions then sure it will do well. But if they do not iron out and squish the problems then I see it dieing fast. I personally will play it, because I was a huge AoW fan. But others who are easily disappointed will just leave.
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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby McNash » Wed 12 Aug 2015 07:21

The game is actually great, I think right now it doesnt have that much of a coverage in the american market but then that's just natural as people at US seems to be too focused on SC2 sequels and american online magazines dont seem to give too much love to a certain obscure french studios, knowing how Eugen Systems works AoA will have a decent amount of coverage, but nothing overwhelming, then, they will add up more stuff through free DLCs with offer sales. Once they get enough people they will probably go for AoA2, which will allow them to get more steam, just the way they did with WEE to WAB. After that they may probably make a third edition, some DLCs and after that...

Well, maybe a return to Wargame with a new engine? OR... Something completely different.
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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby Edgecase » Wed 12 Aug 2015 07:56

I think the game will do somewhere between mediocre and poorly, due partly to the fact that it's constantly compared to Generals, often by its own marketing campaign.

AoA is not Generals. Generals was an elegant, almost minimalist RTS, set in an over-the-top bombastic caricature of the early 2000s. Unit rosters were minimal, highly contrastive, and faction ideologies were expressed through them in very focused ways. AoA, IMO, comes across as a blurry, unfocused 2010s remake of the original. It's like someone took the overall conceit of Generals, and said, "Gee, wouldn't it be cool if we added XYZ?" and then did. The problem with that, again IMO, is that it ignores the fact that its disciplined minimalism was what made Generals good.

For example, map size. Maps in AoA are huge. They're so huge that the game's own engine can't deal with it, hence the zoom issues. The motion blur that people complain about is another technique the engine uses to disguise the same problem: the game can't load textures fast enough, so it has to hide the load-in by blurring everything momentarily. Satellite view is a consequence of this same issue -- it exists because the game can only show you a usable chunk of the world if it doesn't have to load textures. So why are the maps so big? It seems to me that someone thought it would be cool to make the units look "in scale" to the environment, so the environment got huge. To be clear, the consequences of this decision aren't limited to aesthetics -- the crazy road speed multipliers (and the existence of roads at all) are thanks to the need for vehicles to traverse a map of that size. And the decision is irreversible; faction and unit balance is massively dependent on map sizes. There aren't enough places to hide buildings or maneuver stealth (i.e. Cartel) units on a smaller map. There's no going back now.

Another example: CIWS. The same mechanic made naval combat a blobbing joke in Red Dragon. How does their inclusion make AoA a better game? Interestingly, anti-missile systems were present in Generals, but that capability was used to make a single unit unique, in a way that also made a statement about its faction: the USA army in Generals had a leave-no-man-behind ideology caricaturing the post-Black Hawk Down popular mindset of the time. Preservation of lives was a faction-specific doctrine that Generals leveraged into a game mechanic; pilots popped out of vetted USA vehicles to transfer their rank bonuses to other vehicles, which no other faction could do. Meanwhile, every faction in AoA has essentially the same capabilities, just split across different units and buildlings. CIWS is on a half dozen vehicles in AoA, and given to every faction because... what, exactly?

Unit design and readability is also bad. Vehicles are all the same colors, all shaped like boxes, and by and large are quite similar in size. Infantry are completely undistinguishable at any practical zoom level. Do they look cool individually? Sure. Do they look like their real-world counterparts? Yeah. Does that produce an optimally playable experience and a feeling of uniqueness among the units? Hardly. Again, more features, more fancy, and more "HD", result in a less refined gameplay experience.

Finally, AoA is also missing major functionality compared to its peers, or really any game made in the last decade. Come on, no Quick Match? Lobby hunting for matches is like speed-dating in the Barrens. Have you SEEN the chat channels? I don't want to talk to these people, I just want to roll tanks at them. Ranked Match exists and does exactly the right technical function, but for some reason, Eugen refuses to learn from the lessons of Wargame, and INSISTS on firewalling its only auto-matchmaking mode behind an e-peen wall.

My personal prediction -- which is worth exactly $0.00 because they already got my money -- is that this game has some appeal to people who are willing to put up with the needlessly steep usability barriers, but will fail to capture the hearts and wallets of the vast majority of the gaming world, or even the RTS world. At $45 (US/Steam), it's not priced to move unless it can appeal to either the AAA crowd or the RTS niche crowd. Even defining "success" conservatively for a game that doesn't pretend to target large swathes of the modern gaming demographic, I just don't think it's going to work. It simply doesn't deliver the same kind of streamlined gameplay experience that other RTS does, and it doesn't capture the same armchair general zeitgeist that Generals did. In the end, marketing will be marketing, but I don't think the comparison does it any favors.

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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby torinus » Wed 12 Aug 2015 10:02

Some of your comments are spot on, especially how units are too similar looking and how unit abilities are too spread around.

Also it does not help that too many units can fight well vs tanks, infantry and air making them even more bland and samey.

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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby cplfernandez » Wed 12 Aug 2015 11:55

I wrote a big reply and it got deleted by the website so I'll quickly try to say what took me a couple paragraphs to say before.
I think versatility of units and stupid unit behavior are the biggest problem with this game.

My main concern with versatility is that it makes a lot of units feel less unique and simplifies strategy while removing counters. A couple of units being versatile is fine but entire factions being built around the idea just means a faction of blandness.

Upgrades need to stop being focused on giving units more diversity, the cartel stealth tank does not need a recon upgrade and anti air. Instead it should get faster speeds or longer range so it can be better at ambushing while having no ability to fight air units.

There should also be more upgrades that are on a unit level like the tusks upgrades and there should be more upgrades that redefine how the unit functions instead of making the unit more versatile.

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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby Guggy » Wed 12 Aug 2015 17:20

Those are some damn good points, Edgecase. And I agree on upgrades, cpl Fernandez :(

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Re: Act of Aggression: Success, Failure or Mediocrity?

Postby Alyss » Wed 12 Aug 2015 20:53

While I do love the game to bits and have been having a lot of fun compstomping with friends, I think Edgecase and cpl Fernandez make good points. As the cartel for example, I find myself using the same units over and over and never running into problems - just the core three from the vehicle bay. With a couple of upgrades you're covered for literally all situations, and never need to pull back and adapt. There's a strange lack of flow to a lot of the games, so that I spend the first three quarters establishing defensive points with infantry and building an economy, then assembling a force in the last quarter and sweeping all before me. I never need to retreat, I never need to adapt, and my defences are rarely overrun (and easily replaced when they are).

I know they're quite different games, but I play a lot of CoH and it really struck me when I playing today how often I had to retreat, rebuild my forces, cycle in new ones to cover them, and gradually advance/take map control. In AoA you just build a wonder-force and squish everything.

Sorry if this all sounds really negative, these points aside I do still really enjoy the game.

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