The Year of the RTS is in full swing. So much so, in fact, that I’m having trouble keeping up with everything that’s going on with developers and games in this genre. I’ve covered some of this before, but for my benefit as much as yours, here’s some stuff that happened in the RTS space this month, or will be taking place in March 2015.
Legacy of the Void closed beta starting March 31, 2015
At long last, we’re done with fan made custom maps (well, the fortunate ones at least). The long-awaited beta for the long-awaited expansion is finally upon us. As a player, I’m not looking forward to the increased micro burden, though as an RTS fan and viewer of SC2 matches, I’m looking forward to the increased requirements for intelligent unit control, or at least splitting. I’m glad the human infantry unit (name escapes me at the moment) was dropped, and that Blizzard is actively seeking community feedback on the creation of a new unit for the game. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of this beta. Not sure this is something I’ll be playing long term, but this is a clear case of one of the most polished RTS games ever made just getting better.
Ashes of the Singularity announced at GDC (March 2-6)
With some interesting tech behind the game, Ashes of the Singularity looks to be just the sort of large-scale macro-fest so many RTS gamers love. There aren’t many details about the game yet, but the Nitrous engine seems to be a fascinating piece of tech and I’m excited to see it in action.
Servo announced at GDC (March 2-6)
I’ve already written a bit about Servo (and Ashes) recently, but it’ll be interesting to see if Bonus XP has managed to elegantly work persistent leveling and itemization into a standard RTS. I’m skeptical, but hopeful.
Etherium Launches March 24
Etherium is a science fiction RTS with a tactical focus. I wrote a bit about it here. Expect more content from me about this title in the near future.
Company of Heroes 2 gets another patch at the end of March
Still looking for a source on this one, but from my recollection it should be a pretty big deal. It’s been quite a while since Relic released a major balance patch or content update to the game.
Grey Goo announces Public Test Branch, holds first test weekend of 3/14
From Zangzadam, one of the balance designers:
As the first PTB winds down, I wanted to say thank you to those players that helped us try out the new changes to game balance. We’ve gotten some tremendous feedback, both positive and negative regarding the new balance changes and I couldn’t be more happy about that. I’m glad that the community is more passionate than ever regarding game balance.
Overall, it looks like we’ve managed to shift the game in the direction we want it to be and although it’s not yet perfect in my eyes, the Petroglyph and Grey Box teams have done a great job getting the ball rolling and the conversation started. I personally have been having a blast this weekend with the developer playtest on Saturday and 40Cake’s all day tourney with several community members on the PTB on Sunday. I look forward to more events like these in the future.
Victory Command Closed Beta 2 Starts 3/19
Victory Command is a tactics title or quasi-MOBA (they’re calling it a Battle Arena), not an RTS. It’s the resurrected revenant of cancelled MMORTS End of Nations and from what I’ve seen many of its features are a direct response to player feedback from the beta testing in End of Nations. I’ll have more to say on this one soon, as well.