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Old 03-30-2012, 10:08 AM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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Default Warcraft 4 and RTS gameplay ideas

I would like to discuss some RTS gameplay ideas I have. The setting for them will be a Warcraft 4: Origins idea, focusing on a world war at Old Kalimdor between the empires of the east and the west.

To make things easier to understand, I'll give examples of already existing games that use similar ideas in concept, but this doesn't mean the systems work on the same way. See them as "inspirations", no matter most of them are just coincidences.

Be warned, it's long, and it's mostly gameplay ideas and theorycrafting. There's a bit of lore in the end, too, but nothing new if you read my posts often.

==Races and armies==
Since balancing races is hard, I would change the concept of "race", and make people build their armies, like you do when you play Warhammer or a trading card game. That way, each player would have an unique army, and we would be able to introduce a big number of races.

The races could be Aqir, Troll, Goblin, Tauren, Vrykul, Furbolg, Earthen and Night elf. Other minor races would appear as mercenaries other races would be able to hire. For example, frost troll commandos, available to trolls, furbolgs and vrykul, or tol'vir spearsmen, available to aqir, tauren and earthen. I would like to add more races, but I would need to make them up and I have no decent ideas yet.

Once started, the game would play out as any normal RTS. What you really customize is your tech tree, which gives you different strategic options each game, and makes scouting an important part of the game, since you won't know what are the cards your enemy is playing.

Some units could be unlocked depending the progress and level of each player, to make things interesting. Some upgrades could require using x type of troop a lot, too.

Aside from all the gameplay-affecting options, there would be a ton of customizable stuff for your army, like colors and visual equipment. Your army would be unique, like the character of a RPG, and in fact, you should be able to save the combinations to use them when you want. Think of the customization options for W40K: Dawn of War and Diablo 3's Banner system.

I've talked about saving experience in the earlier section. Experience could be saved on a commander, a character you would make up before starting to build your army. The commander would represent you, the leader of your army, and every battle would help develop his personality.

The experience of the different units would pass through to the commander, keeping those lessons for the future. The commander would have different base abilities, some even racial, and you would define your style as you progress by adding points to different skills on your command tree (like Heroes of Might and Magic's commanders/generals).

The commander creation screen would be pretty much like that of a RPG. You could even be able to select some "class", giving you even more customization and replayability options.

The commander may even appear inside the game as an unit, able to fight and lead armies for real, which could allow moral to play a decent part in the game (Warhammer, Dawn of War and Heroes have moral, showing it works well with a good design).

Aside from the commander, you could have up to 3 heroes, that would be miniature versions of the commanders, some sort of generals or lieutenants.

==Units inside a match==
Inside a match nothing would change from your typical RTS. You start with some units and buildings, and then go on and start building a base and an army. The power and availability of your units would be determined by your decisions at your race's army tech tree.

The game would focus more on strategy than on speed, so troops numbers could be huge, and units could form squads and regiments instead of going lone wolf (Dawn of War has this, as does Total War). You would be able to divide or merge regiments at will, but with some maximum and minimum troop numbers.

The regiments would need the commander or any of the 3 heroes near to obey properly. To avoid running from side to side shouting orders, the regiments would have a long list of default orders, like "focus on x enemy troop or enemy type", "defend position" or "ambush the enemy and attack from their right flank".

There would be a lot of different orders, and there could be some micromanagement involved there, binding keys and using shortcuts to give fast orders (when you're in the middle of a battle, you can't give orders efficiently with your mouse). Still, micro wouldn't be too necessary, since the units would take a decent amount of damage before going down. Most big battles would become "let's see who turns the tide", instead of "micro micro micro boom! your army is dead".

You could even design your own orders, combining movements and different series of orders, like attack, retreat, attack. You would unlock the basic ones playing the first games, and you could share the ones you make with friends, downloading theirs too. Think of a coach writing some football tactics on a board.

What if you want to change the orders of an unit? you could buy horns, flags and other types of communication devices to send your orders across the army (of course, during battle they would be less efficient than outside of it). The commander and the 3 lieutenants would be able to send those orders directly, even letting you introduce them inside regiments and give you direct control of them.

If part of your army gets isolated, that is, you have no hero near, and they don't hear the retreat horns, your only chance is to take one of your heroes and ride across the enemy until you meet them and give them the new orders.

Going back to moral, it's decisive on making the units obey their orders. If their moral is low, they may desert or run away from the battlefield. Moral grows by building moral generators (taverns, temples), conquering territory and kicking the enemy's asses. You lose it if they kick your ass or you run out of ale.

But, can you control each unit directly, without having to give orders? Yes, you can, but it's not efficient. Even more, during battles "chaos" affects moral, making you unable to control some units, so giving orders before and during the battle is pretty important. Don't forget to send scouts to spy the enemy an plan your strategy better.

==Some lore==
The ideas above are generic and would work with any videogame, really. If you want a Warcraft example, I would go with a prequel, focusing on a conflict similar to Alliance-Horde war, only that 16,000 years ago, starring the aqir and the trolls as the main protagonist races on each side.

Manipulated by the Old Gods, the qiraji spread a religion of dissent across their brethren, eventually leading to minor conflicts with the trolls, and finally leading into a declaration of war.

The lesser races would soon take a side, seeking protection from the war, or wanting to expand their territories by staying in the winning side.

Some basic storylines and lore: (you can read about older lore ideas here)

-The war would go balanced for a long while, until some aqir would start suspecting about the new Old God religion, which "blessed" some aqir with new hideous killing-machine forms. The capital of the empire would be razed by the qiraji, effectively destroying the imperial leadership and replacing it with Old Gods' prophets. The nerubian, being happy with their new blessed forms, would shock in dismay, and betray the qiraji giving up the northern front. With the north front free, the trolls would advance all across southern Old Kalimdor, reach Ahn'Qiraj and win the war by defeating the qiraji. The allies of the aqir would get punished for supporting them, and feeling betrayed, they would run away or be enslaved by the trolls, who would rose as the supreme leaders of Azeroth, expanding to Zul'Drak, Zul'Farrak and Zul'????, until some mutated dark trolls would revolt against them millenia later, dividing the different city-states of the empire and effectively shattering it.


The Tauren would have a pseudo-mesopotamic civilization, living in the middle south of Old Kalimdor, in a region similar to that of the real world Valley of Indus. Their lands would go as far as the Kodo graveyards in the middle northwest and the jungles of the south. The geography would basically be a lush savanna full of herds of animals.

Their allegiance would mostly be on the aqir, trading with them usually. Unlike their current self, they would be a race of farmers, with not many hunters around, having a lot of cattle to sustain themselves. Their would revere the sun much more than the moon.

Their nomad self would come after the war, with their lands and civilization ravaged by both the trolls and the aqir betrayers. Their people would migrate northwest, to the limits of their former kingdom, and remain in the area until today.
During the war, the tauren would get separated into 3 groups after losing the war: the tauren armies at the northern front would evolve into taunka, and the tauren armies at the southern front would evolve into yaungol. The core of the tauren civilization would run away west of their territory, and take shelter on current Central Kalimdor, safe and hidden from the trolls.


Goblins would be nothing like they currently are. Their race would be divided in a series of savage tribes, and they would just be that, a bunch of savage psychotic pygmies that rule over a dry savanna at the far south, around a dormant volcano that would later be known as Kajaro. They represent the African tribes of spear and zebra shield, and greed is already present, only that around animal skins and ornamental bones instead of gold. As for their leadership, the methods haven't changed a lot in all these years

Their allegiance would mostly be on the aqir, convinced with some kind of "get more of that!" promise. The aqir could teach them how to work the metals around the fires of Kajaro (explaining Deathwing's armor). They could eventually become similar to Tolkien's orcs of Mordor.

After the war, the trolls would defeat them and enslave their entire race because of their crimes to the lands of the Gurubashi, and they would eventually become today's goblins after the discovery of Kaja'mite.
The goblins would commit terrible crimes on the jungle trolls, and they would extend like a plague. Their chaotic nature would be their undoing, and the jungle trolls would retaliate and defeat them for good, enslaving the survivors for mining labors.

I'm interested on knowing your opinion on the gameplay ideas (lore ones are just an idea for a Warcraft 4 setting, but they're old and were already discussed before).

Do you think a game with this gameplay and mechanics could be cool?

Metzen: They are one of the ancient races of Northrend that we haven't spoken of before... because we hadn't made them up before. (laughter)

~Main: Expansion theorycrafting, Expansions list, The Age of Nightmare, Empire of the Tides (coming soon)~
~Fan ficton: Anachronos Journey: The Timeless Heir~ ~Geography of continents series: Old Kalimdor (original), Pandaria~
~Locations as zones series: Azjol-Nerub, Barrow Deeps, Zul'Aman, Demon Hunter zone, Caverns of Time~
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