I've decided to make this topic so everyone could discuss what you are really expecting from AoA now that we are having some updates and that we are weeks into the Beta. Since the Reboot is even closer to Act Of War than the original version, I'm taking the freedom to compare the 2 titles. Long read ahead, hope you enjoy it !
First thing first, AoA is clearly a mix between AoW and Generals, but do not give any new mechanics anymore. At first, AoA tried to be macro units and macro eco oriented, as Alexis Le Dressay stated in an interview [In French]. The problem is that AoA has some very bad design for macro : units coming like a train by roads + small access to bases on some maps (Hello GR). This could have been fixed by NOT forcing units to use roads (active that enable/disable road usage) and tweaking some maps on the level editor.
But because people are lazy af and are not able to manage 3 ressources (and that Eugen clearly refused to make tutorials...), all of what made AoA a whole new and separate game vanished and has been replaced by the old AoW system. The problem is that AoA basically lost all is potential with that and lost his soul. Now, just because eco system is gone does not make AoA a good game, because AoW had a LOT of mechanics that were here to make the game very interesting. In fact, except for the camera, AoW design was almost flawless.
So I just bought the great old AoW HT for 2.5€ just to remember why I used to absolutely love this game and why is AoA so far from being what AoW was. At this point, I do not see how AoA can beat or even be comparable to AoW, considering how many mechanics are gone and how wobbly AoA's design is now that it switched from macro to micro, without reconsidering map size or anything. I want this game to success so badly, but right now I don't see how it could get out of it.
With the reboot, AoA has a bad design for both macro (roads/access/ressources) and micro (almost no active in the game) designs.
Let's jump into some comparisons.
I've just made some skirmishes on AoW just to show you guys how AoW was, and how AoA could be improved.
1. GAME OVERALL :
The first thing I've noticed with AoW are the themed musics. You have a music for combat scenes, for idle moments, for the menu... Ok I have to agree on that : AoW musics are terribad compared to AoA. But at least they match what's going on. Tell me, who doesn't remember the main theme of Generals with the animation behind ? AoA was so close to that. It had this bluish futuristic menu with an animation behind. But it was too short and there was NOT a dedicated music JUST for the menu. The very first time I launched AoA, this music played. I thought it was the theme music and was like "this is a very good music and it fits very well" (Apaches coming up, Abrams on the road, alarm sound in the soundtrack, etc...). But the animation was again way too short and buggy (abrams cockblocked by marines). Otherwise, I thought the menu was absolutely perfect. Later, I realized it was only a playlist and any music could play on the menu. With the reboot, the animation is even shorter and the camera is moving too fast (and I don't like the new colors, but nevermind).
Also, anyone that played AoW will agree on that, even the devs will agree with that : AoW ambiance was litteraly incredible. This is probably one of the best ambiance ever in a RTS. The map design was flawless; units were giving reports all the time; explosions everywhere; unit proportion... Everything was so fuckingly perfect. If you have 2.5€ to spend, I hugely recommand you to try Act Of War High Treason and test by yourself. Trust me, there is no way you gonna be disappointed.
2. GAME CONFIGURATION :
The second thing is the large variety of options available on AoA when creating a game : Game Speed, unit lethality, ressources in oil spots, starting cash, Pow generation, etc... In AoA options are very limited and petrol duration is almost useless concidering the shortness of the games. In AoW, petrol shortage was a thing, and you better had some prisoners at one point.
3. GAME FLOW :
First thing I realized : just like in Generals, building multiple construction units is a viable strategy, and allow players to multitask, giving an impression of fluid game. On AoA, go for a second builder and you are fucked. Instead, you are waiting for your unit to build one building at a time, and wait forever to have money in early game (money gets decent after your 2nd ref + bank imo). I did the maths [IN EARLY GAME] :
Act Of War :
3 tankers = 650$ every 9 secondes for each refinery.
+ Banks give you 250$ every 5 seconds even with 1 soldier.
= 122$/sec with a ref + a bank. BUT, on many maps, you don't have your own bank. So let's keep the 72/sec/ref.
Act Of Aggression :
3 tankers = 600$ every 15 secondes for each refinery.
+ Banks give you 150$ every 5 seconds with 6 soldiers.
= 70/sec with a ref + a bank
So basically you spend more money in AoA to gain less than a single ref on AoW... AKA : How to destroy early pace.
In addition to that, on AoW, POW gives you 50$ every 7 seconds. That's 7,14$/sec/POW... But AoW POW were harder to get imo, and wonded soldiers will eventually die if not healed nor captured. Yet another feature gone !
But what is income without prices ? Nothing. So let's take a look at some prices in AoW vs (AoA) for USA faction :
- Javelin : 500$ (200$)
- Marines : 200$ (200$)
- Stinger : 1200$ (200$)
- Sniper : 700$ (800$)
- Dozer : 500$ (1500$)
- Humvee (#rush) : 900$ (450$)
- Bradley (~puma) : 1800$ (no real equivalent in AoA for the USA)
- Avenger : 1000$ (~Blazer 1500$)
- Abrams : 3000$ (1800$)
- M109 Howitzer : 2600$ (~NLOS-C 3000$)
- MLRS : 3400$ (~Himars 3500$)
- AH-64 Apache : 2200$ (2500$)
- HU-60 Blackhawk : 1600$ (1100$+heal)
- OH-68D KIOWA (stealth, active rocket pods, active long range scan, 4 seats) : 1600$ (~Littlebird 800$)
- Oil derrick : 1200$ (1200$)
- Ref : 2000$ (1600$)
- Barrack : 1500$ (1600$)
- Light Tank Factory : 2000$ (2600$)
- Heavy Tank Factory : 2800$ (4500$)
- HQ : 3000$ (10000$ < rly?)
- Generator : 800$ (500$)
- Field Hospital : 2000$ (2300$)
- Helipad : 2000$ (3000$)
- DEFCON 2 : 5000$ (6000$)
- DEFCON 1 : 4500$ (12000$)
So what we can see is that AoW allowed player to build their base relatively fast concidering the high amount of money they get every seconds and the price of the buildings. It takes 23.000$ to build all the buildings above (except HQ & power) and be in DEFCON 1 in AoW, and 34.800$ to do the same on AoA, plus you have to take your bank (6x200$).
Note that on AoA, starting cash is 7000$. On AoW, standard starting cash is 7500$.
What we can also see is the price of hard counter units :
- Javelins are 500$ (2.5x more than AoA).
- Abrams are 3000$ (1.667x more than AoA, but no TUSK to buy).
- Stingers are 1200$ (6.0x more than AoA).
Otherwise, the price are pretty similar. So in conclusion, it is easier to build an early eco, to make a base and to tech up in AoW. Units are more expensive in overall but most of them are tough in their field. Which leads to the next part : hard counter.
4. HARD COUNTER & MECHANICS :
Here is probably the most interesting part.
AoW gave a lot of micro and possibilities for you to do a lot of things with your units :
- Avoid anti air by landing your helicopters on the ground (or roofs).
- Have stealth soldiers by crawling, and use trees to ambush and get 2.0x damage.
- Soldiers were fast considering the size of the map (it takes 3 secondes for a Felin to cross the barrack in AoA. . . .).
- Damaged units are unable to shoot anymore and need to be repaired. They move slowly.
- USA had bunkers were you could put 4 soldiers of your choice.
- Soldiers can go on the top of buildings to ambush without displaying the building as occupied.
- Buildings have procedural destruction, eventually burning soldiers in the explosion.
- Huge city maps, concidering all those mechanics, you can imagine how fun it was to use soldiers.
- Construction units can repair buildings.
- Veterancy system.
- LooOOooOOooOOOots of actives.
Come with that the hard counter system. Here are some examples :
From left to right :
- An avenger (~Blazer) one shoting an AH-64 Apache.
- 2 avengers one shoting a B2.
- A TOW Humvee disabling an Abrams. It is not destroyed, but damaged badly so it can't shoot anymore.
- A Javelin disabling a Humvee. Same again, not destroyed, but can't do shit anymore.
- 3 Kornets (~Shershen) destroying an Akula (Cartel Consortium equivalent of Spectre Abrams), while roof soldiers are taking down a Tunguska.
- A stealth (crawling) SAS one shoting a Buggy (unit that Chimera needs very badly...). SAS could also OS Humvee without any upgrade.
- TOW Humvee one shoting a Bradley.
- Bradley one shoting a TOW Humvee.
- Javelin making little damages against an armored M113 (troop transport ~ACCE).
- Abrams making little damages against another Abrams.
- A-10 making a pass above Humvees, soldiers and Abrams.
5. CONCLUSION :
You can see that AoW was designed for micro from A to Z : Maps, eco, units, camera, hard counter, actives... Everything was planned to be micro. Ambiance was amazing, effects were amazing for that time. This game had everything.
IMHO, AoA did a terrible mistake with the reboot as a whole. The game was sure planned to be macro oriented, but made some design mistakes on some maps and by forcing people to use roads. Those forced designs somtimes lead to terrible pathfindings, cockblocking units/wrecks, tank-trains or things like that. here again, you can see that on my screens (taken on the old Guardian Rift), access to bases were huges even tho the game wasn't planned for macro.
I have no clue how AoA can get out of this blockade, because now we have a micro-macro game, without any real macro anymore, and almost no micro capability. There is no SimCity bases anymore, no ressources everywhere anymore, but no active whatsoever and still spammable-efficient units like humvees, javelins, ATGMs, or late games Tigres/Termies.
Here are some ideas :
Balance & Pace :
- Modify very early game : pace is too slow, losing a constructor is too punishing, building a second one is too expensive.
- Make oil shortage a thing, like for the old ressources & Act Of War.
- Income stream by POW should be increased to compensate with oil shortage.
- All defcons (Chimera/USA/Cartel) should be less expensive just like in AoW so you have more possibilities (early push or fast tech up).
- Faster infantries to match the map size (and the new infantry size).
- Hard counter for some units like Abrams, Blazer/pantsir, javelin/vipers, SAS (without upgrade !)...
- More expensive hard counter units like javelins.
- Reworked Otomatics, Blazers & Pantsirs (better range, better anti-missile capability).
- Reworked AMOS & USA Mortar Stryker.
- Bigger bridges.
- Real hold fire (see this topic).
Note in French for the devs : (because I'm not sure I will find the good words to say that in English)
Removed the quote. They don't care anyway.
I will probably discontinue this topic and let it dies with the game. They released the game as a surprise without making any new trailer, or even announcing it to us. They cowardly did it because they knew what was going to happen anyway : this game is half done and the community is angry af.
I removed every items that needed more than a day of work, that were not just a variable to change somewhere, even tho I know it won't be fixed/changed anyway.
I am sad, truly sad. They badly copy pasted one of the best RTS I've ever played because they failed in the first place with a game that only needed tutorials. FUCKING. MANDATORY. TUTORIALS.
This topic is useless anyway.