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5 Ways Halo Wars 2 Must Improve to Survive

DanielPrice | 21 Aug 2015 16:00
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4. The Devil's in the Detail

 

How it worked in Halo Wars

Micromanagement is, undoubtedly, one of the biggest and most vital aspects of any real-time strategy game. Unit numbers aside, it can determine who wins and who goes home a sore loser.

And it was kinda of a pain in. In most cases, micromanagement came down to improving the combat effectiveness of your units, instead of just send them to where the enemies were and letting them do their own thing. While ordering certain units to attack different targets-usually those that they counter-was a bit slower than most hardcore RTS players would have liked, things were usually tolerable, if a bit sluggish.

My major gripe about the game, however, is how micromanagement was handled in respect of units' special abilities. Special abilities in Halo Wars were attacks that did more damage than regular ones, with Warthogs being able to ram or run down infantry units for a big damage bonus, or marines being able to lob grenades for the same effect as far as damage is concerned. These abilities had a cooldown timer after each use and had to be initiated manually by having the unit selected and pressing Y instead of X when over a target, with some having this special attack from the get-go and others gaining it through upgrades.

Unfortunately, effective use of these special abilities was difficult to pull off during combat engagements when you have several or even tens of units, often resulting in the player using too many of the special attacks on one target.

I smaller gripe, which fits in with the theme of AI, is how units will behave when you're not giving them specific orders. They'll usually return the favour when attacked by enemies, though you'll find that, unless the enemy is pretty close, they'll not budge an inch. This actually happened to me a couple of times, with units in front of my base standing idly by as my opponent's units attacked its rear.

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How it should work in Halo Wars 2

I'd really like to see a big change in the way using special abilities is handled. Getting rid of the issue of overkilling one unit, having used more special attacks than was really necessary is a major want for me, personally.

Ideally, I see this issue being solved by implementation of AI. For example, let's say I have five Scorpions and I want to hit an enemy Wraith with enough special attacks to kill it. Having selected all five Scorpions and ordering them to execute the attack, the AI kicks in and only has two of the Scorpions use up their special ability, as this is all that is needed to kill the enemy unit. This would open up for the remaining two units to be able to use their abilities, without them having been wasted on overkilling a single unit.

This would be a major lifesaver and would help to reduce some of the limitations of playing an RTS on a console, mitigating some of the time consuming or otherwise fatal micromanagement of units, where trying to use them effectively in the original can take so much time that you're not always feeling the benefit of having spent your hard earned resources on that awesome canister shell upgrade for your Scorpions.

In regards to unit behavior, I'd like my units to have a little initiative, if that's not too much to ask.

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