Some background about me: been playing RTS games for 15 years, starting with Starcraft 1, Age of Empires 2, all the C&Cs, SupCom, Sins of a Solar Empire, Grey Goo. Reached Master level at SC2 on the NA ladder.
So far just played 2 games, beat the easy computer. These are my impressions so far - mainly negative things, but what I don't mention you can assume I like
- Don't like the "Empire Tree" anymore than in SoaSE. Just a wall of icons, gives me no useful information. Don't know where all those units are, how they're grouped, clicking on icons there just takes me to random spots on the map, it's pointless. And if I make numbered groups it doesn't help me to see them in the tree. Does anyone actually use this?
- I was expecting to be able to zoom out much more than this. Kinda frustrating to be able to see about half of the map but not the whole thing, and still rely on the minimap.
- Based on SupCom experience and the presence of engineers I was expecting to be able to tell an engineer to support another engineer, I hope this is in the plans. No icon for idle engineers. Unit response feels disconnected from orders.
- Units are exceptionally boring. Even worse than SoaSE so far. They all float above the ground with the same lame thrusters, they all look the same, they have no fun selection sounds or apparent personality, they all shoot the same boring lasers and missiles, they have no abilities. They don't seem very microable, responding slowly to orders, with significant acceleration/deceleration, turning radii... I don't mind some units being slow, but they all feel slow and controlling your army feels sluggish. Not saying this should be like SC2, but perhaps SoaSE is not a good point of reference as far as unit control. Even the basic units in Supreme Commander (which were criticized for looking bland) were more interesting, and SupCom had some really cool T3 and of course experimental units, and many T1 units had interesting micro despite the game being very macro and strategy oriented. Early game is boring if there's nothing interesting to do with the early units. It feels like the game designers decided nothing could be more interesting than a-moving a bunch of slow, unresponsive floating units all the time. I hope more variety and distinctiveness is added.
Perhaps this is in part due to the user interface being very rough around the edges too, and units would feel more responsive with better UI. I am not sure, but I am definitely not excited by the unit design so far.
- Upgrades are, well, as generic as could be. Increased damage for all units. Increased health for all units. Could hardly feel more like an excel spreadsheet rather than anything concrete, sci-fi. I don't know, "advanced lasers", "titanium hulls", that's some unoriginal names but at least it sounds like actual stuff rather than just incrementing a number the engine uses?
- Maps feel small and cramped, with corridors everywhere. I dunno, maybe I'm spoiled from SupCom but based on early descriptions of the game (thousands of units!) I was expecting a correspondingly large and open battlefield. Artillery units don't shoot very far for artillery units, perhaps because maps are too small. Would like to see large maps and really long-range artillery.
Anyway, there are some interesting ideas in there, like static defenses being actually good and useful, making map control really central and scattering resources everywhere.