I'm Benjamin. I'm a student of history, formerly studied computer science and worked in IT/tech support.
I don't remember what my first RTS was but Total Annihilation was the most influential, and is a longtime favorite (just wish that the guys over at TA universe could figure out how to get it working on Windows 8.x/10 with their new patch). Of course I played StarCraft, and before that Warcraft I and II, but the massive scale which TA allowed, and the huge modding community (I even made some units for myself with hacked together models and scripts) always seemed more fun. Warcraft II did have a lot of personality though. Supreme Commander did a lot of things right, such as the grand scale of the world, units, and weapon ranges; but I was a bit annoyed with the behavior that the units would show (though scripts were available that allowed this to be fixed; just needed a bit more oomph in my PC).
Other RTS I enjoyed in their day were include Machines (1999), Command & Conquer series, Fragile Allegiance, Age of Empires series, Dark Reign, KKnD2, Homeworld series, Warzone 2100, Ground Control, Metal Fatigue (2000). I also enjoy the hybrid turn-based/real-time Total War series. More recently I enjoyed Sins of a Solar Empire, and was a Kickstarter backer for Planetary Annihilation (as well as a few other games which are not in the RTS category).
What do I want Ashes to be like? I have not played the alpha (due to what I think is a technical glitch in the system which hands out codes, I sent in an email about that to support) so I don’t have a good feel for the existing gameplay. Why I decided to back this was because of the “meta-unit” idea. I really like the idea of smart units working together in an intelligent way. It bothered me in Supreme Commander when the enemy scout aircraft would flying in and take the first barrage of anti-aircraft fire (even if it would have been taken out by a tiny fraction of it), and then the attack aircraft close and fire while the surface to air missiles are reloading. However someone else was also bothered and made a reduced-overkill and re-target script for the SAM so that they would behave more like you would expect of future tech missiles (if you have read about how some missiles [such as the SS-N-19 Shipwreck] work, you would expect that future missiles could work together too)…
Anyway the idea that I can put my units in some sort of task force, and it will behave intelligently is very appealing. Like if the group has lots of artillery it will not close with the enemy and will try and keep its tanks (or whatever the equivalent is) forwards to intercept enemy tanks that do make it close. Or if I have some anti-aircraft units mixed in with tanks they will stay near the tanks to provide cover, but not rush into the forefront where they would get decimated by units who out-armor and out-gun them.
Also big scale sounds good. Planetary Annihilation can run with thousands of units moving about all at once, and from what I have heard Ashes of the Singularity plans to take advantage of the GPU for some stuff that normally would have to be run on the CPU, so maybe we can have even larger amounts of units fighting at once.
Note: I tend not to play competitively, I more like to skirmish with the AI, and when possible get a bunch of friends over, to curb stomp the best AIs we can find. (or in the case of some AIs, when I am rusty, they curb stomp us).