Assuming that the game is macro oriented, with large groups to manage, if we want to form groups with units of course, and that the gameplay stress seems to come from multi tasking and several large scuffles to handle at the same time :
Can we reasonably expect to see some engagement rules or formation stances implemented in the game for the groups management? we had great routines to achieve that in Sins of a solar empire. could they do the trick here again?
For example :
- Compact : The units stay in close formation around the dreadnought/each other. It could advantage the immediate firepower of the group (better concave), or the mutual cover and the Healing of units. Useful to hold terrain and enhance a static defensive behaviour, or at the opposite a strong attack on a particular point (tanking). It could trigger a defensive/offensive buff for the group for example, but at the cost of some movement speed. armor/rate of fire buff?
- Normal : The one we currently have : Homogeneous formation, no buff/malus, but a good capacity to move, turn or u-turn, a reasonable mutual cover and range of engagement. The default one.
- spaced : A spaced formation : It could advantage the movement speed (buff), the rearrangement of the lines and the reformation of the whole group, and maybe a bit the "engage at will" behaviour of the frontline units when they cover each other. And so the range at which they engage enemy units. The main purpose? Allow the group to move easily, as said maybe with a buff to the movement speed, and overall to avoid, or defend against the air bombings and the artillery strikes. In conjunction with the movement speed buff, maybe a bit of range of engagement, and a malus to the cooldowns/energy recharge rate?
- Engagement rules :
Quite classic here : It could be something close to what we had in Sins of a solar empire :
- Static/defensive : The units attack/retaliate, but they don't follow the attackers. They stay in place/in formation
- Normal : Like what we currently have : The units engage at their range, they can advance/stay back a bit from the whole group to ensure the mutual cover, but on a limited distance. They stay relatively close to the group, and the dreadnought position.
- Engage at will (gravity well ) : Well, like the name suggests, the whole group/meta unit can move freely to engage.
See the general idea? Formations and engagement rules could also be merged for a better ergonomy. And the bonus tied to the kind of units/dreadnoughts contained in the group for example. Of course, a single button in the UI, or a keyboad shortcut to toggle between them is perfectly enough.
For now, we see that the group movements or engagement phases have rooms for improvement : Specially about responsivity of units, their agility when they regroup, reform a formation while moving, and how the whole group stops to engage enemies at maximum range. This is pre-beta for sure, and many routines are going to be improved and calibrated. Something to enhance units agility when they U-turn, and some work to the pathfinding when they regroup and reform formations, when given a move order, seems to be an important point. (deactivate collisions for units of the same group to solve pathfinding issues, allow a quicker reformation and group responsivity?)
Those are just some humble suggestions of course, but these formations and stances could bring, if not a proper and complete "micromanagement" gameplay phase, at least enhancements regarding the depth of gameplay and the groups macro management tactics on the battlefield. in my opinion, it could undoubtedly serve the gameplay.