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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.

==Commanders==
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.

-Tauren:

Quote:
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:

Quote:
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.

==Epilogue==
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?
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:06 PM
RobLore RobLore is offline

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This just doesn't feel like a game in the Warcraft RTS series. Like the "huge numbers of units" thing, stuff like that just feels to alien. It makes it not become a Warcraft RTS series sequel anymore. WC3 wasn't about huge numbers of units, it was a lot more about micro management.

Also having a hundred different races/armies feels very unrealistic and weird.

I like the commander idea though but many of these ideas feel like they belong to a single-player campaign.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:32 PM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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Originally Posted by RobLore View Post
This just doesn't feel like a game in the Warcraft RTS series. Like the "huge numbers of units" thing, stuff like that just feels to alien. It makes it not become a Warcraft RTS series sequel anymore. WC3 wasn't about huge numbers of units, it was a lot more about micro management.

Also having a hundred different races/armies feels very unrealistic and weird.

I like the commander idea though but many of these ideas feel like they belong to a single-player campaign.
I wasn't thinking 100% on Warcraft when I wrote this, so yeah . Anyway, they won't release W4 with W3 gameplay before the next 5 years. If they release W4 before that, it will have a different gameplay from SC2-W3.

Other games like Dawn of War and Total War use this "hundred of units in squads" things I talk about .

PS: I wrote this for you, Cantus, now don't go and don't read it xD.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:34 PM
HalfElfDragon HalfElfDragon is offline

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I think any Warcraft IV game we get will have War3-style gameplay. There's no reason to title it as such if it isn't.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:03 PM
Crazyterran Crazyterran is offline

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I imagine the main races will be Alliance - Horde - Forsaken in Warcraft 4.

Alliance will consist of Night Elves, Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Worgen, Draenei, with the Horde being Orcs, Tauren, Goblins, Blood Elves, Trolls.

Non-playable Neutral races could be the Pandaren and the Centaur. Mercenaries.

Non-playable affiliated races (allies for certain campaign missions) could be things like High Elves for the Alliance (a Blood Elf Unit reskin) or Ogres for the Horde.

The Forsaken and Horde would finally split, with the Forsaken war machine gaining enough power to be a major power on it's own right.

Only thing that annoys me coming out of WoW is that the Night Elves where powerful enough to stand against the Alliance and Horde by themselves in Warcraft 3, but in WoW, they are significantly less powerful.

Sigh.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:16 PM
Erthad Erthad is offline

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Warcraft isn't Warcraft without Orcs and Humans. I don't think they will make a Warcraft 4 without using all 4 of Warcraft 3's races. Going back in time might be neat, but it wouldn't feel like the Warcraft universe.

I want to see the playable armies be Horde, Alliance, Night Elves, Forsaken, and another good villain race like the BL or Old Gods.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:26 PM
Dithon1 Dithon1 is offline

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I hated WCIII's micromanagement. I only played it for the story value.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:35 PM
Crazyterran Crazyterran is offline

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Originally Posted by Erthad View Post
Warcraft isn't Warcraft without Orcs and Humans. I don't think they will make a Warcraft 4 without using all 4 of Warcraft 3's races. Going back in time might be neat, but it wouldn't feel like the Warcraft universe.

I want to see the playable armies be Horde, Alliance, Night Elves, Forsaken, and another good villain race like the BL or Old Gods.
It'd be better to balance with only 3 or 4 races. I'd just mix the Night Elves into the Alliance at this point and add in a 4th race if you want a main villain race (that's not Forsaken)
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:04 PM
Erthad Erthad is offline

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Originally Posted by Crazyterran View Post
It'd be better to balance with only 3 or 4 races. I'd just mix the Night Elves into the Alliance at this point and add in a 4th race if you want a main villain race (that's not Forsaken)
I really hate that idea. Night Elves are just so thematically different from the rest of the Alliance. Knights and Riflemen don't belong with Amazonian tiger riders.

Ideally, the Draenei would become a neutral race with some heroes being trainable from a tavern, Worgen and Furbolg would join the Night Elves to help diversify them like the Horde and Alliance. The Forsaken would be allied with the Blood Elves and possibly Nerubians. The Horde would consist of Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Goblins, and possibly Ogres. And the Alliance would consist of Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, and possibly Vrykul.

I guess the Burning Legion could just be a campaign race.

Last edited by Erthad; 03-30-2012 at 08:10 PM..
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:26 PM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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Drawing from Erthad idea, in a hyphotetical scenario that the the Forsaken and BElves finally went into the Light and got redemption the Draenei could be with them. That way we would have an overarching theme for the four factions: Titanic (Humans, Vykrul, Gnomes and Dwarves), Redemption (Draenei, Blood Elves and Forsaken) Nature (Night Elves, Worgen, Cenarius Children, Another) and Spiritual? Savage? Ritualistic? Resilant? (Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, Goblins)
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:38 PM
Crazyterran Crazyterran is offline

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Originally Posted by Erthad View Post
I really hate that idea. Night Elves are just so thematically different from the rest of the Alliance. Knights and Riflemen don't belong with Amazonian tiger riders.

Ideally, the Draenei would become a neutral race with some heroes being trainable from a tavern, Worgen and Furbolg would join the Night Elves to help diversify them like the Horde and Alliance. The Forsaken would be allied with the Blood Elves and possibly Nerubians. The Horde would consist of Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Goblins, and possibly Ogres. And the Alliance would consist of Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, and possibly Vrykul.

I guess the Burning Legion could just be a campaign race.
It doesn't make sense at all, though, for the Night Elves to be fighting the Alliance at this point lore wise. They are so intertwined at this point that there's no reasonable way for them to break without some ridiculous lore shenanigans, since they are joined up to the point that they are allowing a Human to lead their armies, and there are Night Elves living in Stormwind, even!

Not to mention the Vrykul *hate* their "runt" offspring.

Besides, the Alliance having diversity is good. All of the Alliance races seem tightly bound, especially after Cataclysm, Wolfheart, and from what I've witnessed so far in Mists. Splitting off races because you don't like the fact that they might not fit visually is stupid.

If they make another RTS, where the story can actually be told well, and since it'll have to take place Post-WoW, it'd be best done without bastardizing the lore even more, hmm?
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:48 PM
Erthad Erthad is offline

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Originally Posted by Crazyterran View Post
It doesn't make sense at all, though, for the Night Elves to be fighting the Alliance at this point lore wise. They are so intertwined at this point that there's no reasonable way for them to break without some ridiculous lore shenanigans, since they are joined up to the point that they are allowing a Human to lead their armies, and there are Night Elves living in Stormwind, even!

Not to mention the Vrykul *hate* their "runt" offspring.

Besides, the Alliance having diversity is good. All of the Alliance races seem tightly bound, especially after Cataclysm, Wolfheart, and from what I've witnessed so far in Mists. Splitting off races because you don't like the fact that they might not fit visually is stupid.

If they make another RTS, where the story can actually be told well, and since it'll have to take place Post-WoW, it'd be best done without bastardizing the lore even more, hmm?
Night Elves and the Alliance being separate in Warcraft 4 doesn't mean they are enemies. The point is to separate them for gameplay because they play differently. Forcing Night Elves, Humans, and Dwarves into one faction in Warcraft 4 would ultimatly lead to one race getting a lot of attention while the other two get ignored, or if we are lucky two races get some story while the last is forced in. Night Elves are on par with Humans and Orcs in depth, and amount of lore. If they are separated into two armies that allows both to get ample amou tof story that pertains to them.

Also forcing the Night Elves into a Human and Dwarf themed army would just lead to the destruction of their thematics. The Townhall/Castle and Barracks are going to be Alliance buildings, I am certain of that(they have been in every Warcraft game since Warcraft 1). Night Elves would get one or two buildings dedicated to them, the rest wouldn't fit them at all. Night Elves would completly lose their unique gameplay. They would be forced to fit with the rest of Alliance instead of being unique. Instead of them being unique and not using melee units till much later in the game they would simply take the place of Riflemen in the army.

A lot of the smaller lore things can be worked out. I have always thought that in Warcraft thematics are more important than the story. Everything being unique and visually different is important. Even if I don't like the Night Elves a whole lot I think robbing the setting of what they bring just cheapens the game. Warcraft loses depth by forcing such different groups together.

The Vrykul thing is because I thought that the Alliance could use a heavy hitter. Horde would have Tauren/Ogres, Night Elves Stone Giants, and Forsaken the Abominations. The Alliance could get by with Knights, but I'm not really sure if it makes a whole lot of sense to make Knights the Alliance's Juggernaut unit.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:55 PM
TerrorhoofMayo TerrorhoofMayo is offline

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What about night elves, draenei, and worgen as one faction? Worgens are sort of adopted by night elves, if you can call it that. Draeneis are also close enough to being heavy hitters, and can fill in on the melee roles. I really don't see how stone giants will fit in now they've been made into mobs that aren't affiliated with night elves at all.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:04 PM
HalfElfDragon HalfElfDragon is offline

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I could definitely see Blizzard trimming it down to three races instead of four.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:28 PM
Erthad Erthad is offline

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I could definitely see Blizzard trimming it down to three races instead of four.
Even if a race is slashed, I don't think it would be the Night Elves considering how much lore is tied in with them.
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:43 AM
RobLore RobLore is offline

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We need a new villian.
I've got a WC4 idea set after WoW where the factions are Horde, Alliance (with Night Elves, they can easily be integrated into the theme), Forsaken (possibly with Nerubians, no Blood elves) and a new faction - Ethereals. The ethereal faction would also include some remenants of the Burning Legion.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:23 AM
Triceron Triceron is offline

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I think any Warcraft IV game we get will have War3-style gameplay. There's no reason to title it as such if it isn't.
'Cept Warcraft 3 itself strayed from the tried and true RTS style that Warcraft 2 and Starcraft set as standards.

Warcraft 3's hero system was mosty mixed (Highly praised concept, but ultimately not the same e-sports potential due to heavy micro and lack of macro). No one has really pushed the concept of hero-centric RTS outside of the MOBA subgenre, and I don't see Blizzard trying to innovate or perfect the War3 system further. As great as Warcraft 3 was, the gameplay was niche and it's popularity was maintained through custom games.

I see two possible routes they would go, and it would either be a more hero-centric game (incorporate MOBA elements) or taking the game back to an RTS standard with large armies (Traditional RTS, build on lessons learned from SC2)

One thing they also have to consider as well is the giant World of Warcraft fanbase that has never touched their RTS games. Warcraft 3 players transitioned into World of Warcraft, but WoW has become such a mega-hit that it doesn't guarantee all MMO players would be interested in an RTS, as good as the gameplay or story would be. Appealing to this audience and building a hype around it would be a great challenge, because they're not just appealing to fans of the RTS, but 'Warcraft' fans in general.

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Old 04-01-2012, 01:36 AM
HalfElfDragon HalfElfDragon is offline

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'Cept Warcraft 3 itself strayed from the tried and true RTS style that Warcraft 2 and Starcraft set as standards.
I think it did that because they already had Starcraft to fit that standard. They didn't want to cannibalize Starcraft's role. I don't see them going back to that with a Warcraft IV, especially not with StarCraft being an actively developed franchise. They've commented on how they want to make Titan different so that it doesn't cannibalize WoW, so I image they'd want to do that with WC4 in regards to SC2 as well.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:32 PM
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Yeah I think they want to keep the styles of WarCraft and StarCraft RTSs separate.

I'd expect them to refine the hero system further, though. Not just keep it like WC3.

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Alliance (with Night Elves, they can easily be integrated into the theme),
...they really don't.

Alliance is focused on reinforcement and solid units. Night Elves are focused on speed, fragility and powerful ranged attacks. Alliance is focused on industry and stone-work. Night Elves are focused around nature and living things. Sure they're both 'heroic'. But from a style and gameplay perspective they couldn't be more different.

Plus there are just WAY too many iconic Night Elf units to incorporate into the Alliance. There's no room.
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:59 PM
Crazyterran Crazyterran is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldrius View Post
Yeah I think they want to keep the styles of WarCraft and StarCraft RTSs separate.

I'd expect them to refine the hero system further, though. Not just keep it like WC3.



...they really don't.

Alliance is focused on reinforcement and solid units. Night Elves are focused on speed, fragility and powerful ranged attacks. Alliance is focused on industry and stone-work. Night Elves are focused around nature and living things. Sure they're both 'heroic'. But from a style and gameplay perspective they couldn't be more different.

Plus there are just WAY too many iconic Night Elf units to incorporate into the Alliance. There's no room.
Well, lorewise, it wouldn't make any sense at this point. They could have seperate sub campaigns for the story, like how the Scourge Campaign was handled in TFT (Sylvanas/Arthas story lines).

But really, I imagine Alliance and Night Elf tactics have merged together when they are fighting together. and from an RTS stand point, you could have

Footman (Baseline infantry), Archer (Ranged infantry), Huntress (Skirmisher) Knight (Heavy Cavalry) from the Barracks style building. Could probably even add a Worgen berserker in for a Heavy Infantry unit.

Fliers could be Hippogryphs(Air-Air) and Gryphon Riders (Dwarves), and Gnomish Bi-planes(Bomber/Fighter). Hippogryphs can be mounted by Archers.

Casters can be Druids/Human Priest/Draenei Mage. The Artillery units would be Gnomish/Dwarven driven, of course.

The Heroes could be a Priestess of the Moon, Human Archmage, Draenei Vindicator, Dwarven Mountain King.

Finally have our armies look like an Alliance, Rather than having this racial pure zones we have now, especially on the Warfronts.

Should have Human Footmen forming a Shield Wall with Night Elf Archers behind, firing away with arrows without having to worry about the Orcs getting to them. Dwarven and Gnomish Artillery firing into the Horde's lines, with Draenei and Human priests healing the wounded. Night Elven druids bringing nature itself to the Alliance's aid. Paladins of varying races smiting foes, saving allies, etc.

Instead, we have:

Kalimdor: All Night Elven army, with a few Gilean/Draenei Auxiliaries, barely holding off a force that consists of races of the entire Horde!"

and EK: "The Humans fighting the Forsaken on 8 fronts, and the only Dwarves fighting the Horde being the Wildhammer!"

(Seriously, what the hell is Ironforge and Gnomergan doing?)
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