Game Design Games Written by Wayward

How do you create a good loadout system in RTS games?

2022 saw the release into early access of Blackbird Interactive’s Crossfire: Legion, an RTS that is more or less in the Blizzard style which seeks to appeal to casual and competitive gamers alike. Its main claims to fame (the rhyme was unintentional but I’m leaving it) are: it’s a StarCraft 2-like RTS with the Crossfire brand, seeking to get a boost from the popular FPS franchise, it is already host to a decent number of game modes like its macro-focused Battlelines, it’s first co-op map, and its objective-driven Payload mode.

And, of course, the player designs their army in the form of a “loadout” of a Commander, which functionally is a collection of 2 Support Powers, plus 7 unit types: 2 infantry, 3 vehicles, and 2 aircraft. these 7 unit types are the only ones available to the player in a particular match, and only certain units are able to be slotted into each of the player’s loadout slots. The loadout system came part-in-parcel with an in-game “store” (since removed) that allowed, or forced, depending on how you look at it, the player to earn a “soft currency” through playing the game that was spent to unlock additional Commanders and unit types in the loadout

In Crossfire: Legion, the player chooses 7 units and 1 Commander (which contains 2 support powers) from choices, in order to create their faction’s unit roster.

The “Store” was straight-out hated by a lot of players, and I think tolerated or seen as a curiosity by some others. It’s possible that some also truly enjoyed the store, but based on online comments they would have been in the vast minority.

As I said, the store has been removed while the loadout system remains. And this got me wondering, and my Discord channel talking… Do RTS players hate loadout systems? How would a game put together a loadout system that players actively enjoy engaging with? What are the parameters and constraints around which you’d design something like that?

Starting with a definition

As always, I like to start by defining my terms and the direction I’m moving in, so to speak. So, first off, what is a “loadout” system?

For the purposes of this article I’ll be defining a “loadout” as: a system in which the player gathers multiple reusable gameplay elements into a defined collection, separated from the rest of the gameplay. We can see loadouts in games like Crossfire Legion, where the player picks a Commander (basically, a collection of support powers they can use in the game), and as of this writing 7 unit types, which populate their various unit production structures, defining the units the player is allowed to build in the match.

We can see a remarkably similar loadout system in Command and Conquer Rivals (released in December 2018) which itself resembles the one seen in Clash Royale (released March 2016). Forged Battalion (January 2018) also features a ‘loadout’ where the player chooses HQ type, designs units from components, and loads those units into slots in their various unit factories, all outside of combat. Being a little bit liberal with the definition, the player’s choice of hero/commander unit in Dawn of War 2 might also count as a “loadout” of sorts, since it affects several things about the play experience, including what support powers the player has access to and at least in the case of Chaos armies, the abilities of some units like Cultists.

There are loads of other examples too. Dawn of War 3 (April 2017) features a loadout system where the player chooses 3 Elite units and a selection of bulletins which affect unit/faction performance, outside of combat. Company of Heroes 2 allows the player to select bulletins and Commanders as well – in this case, Commanders present the player with a fixed roster of upgrades, units, and support powers they can access as they unlock content in the game.

While they are similar in some respects, I would possibly differentiate a loadout from a deck in the following way: while a loadout provides the player with a fixed set of options which may have various prerequisites to access, a deck provides a player with a fixed maximum set of options. So, where in Crossfire Legion the player has access to 7 unit types, and it is up to the player to determine how many of each unit they want to produce, something like Wargame provides a player with a maximum total roster of units they can use. More like Magic the Gathering, where the player has 60 total cards in a standard deck, the player’s deck of units in Wargame.

Functionally there are a lot of similarities here, and I’m basically going to use them interchangeably over the course of the article, as needed to illustrate my points.

And why should I care?

In Dawn of War 3, the player chooses 3 Elite units and 3 Army Doctrines to create a ‘loadout’ of options to bring into a match.

Now, onto the next question: why? What is the purpose of a loadout in an RTS?

Personalization and “making something yours” is a huge part of many games. Personal expression is a huge part of many role playing games for instance: choosing your character’s appearance and (often) class, leveling them up, determining which skills/weapons/spells on which to focus. Even FPS games have elements of this, with at least cosmetic and weapons choices being common features in modern FPS games.

There is a definite and obvious drive to want to make something yours that a lot of games capitalize on, and which RTS have struggled with addressing for the most part. However difficult or impossible it might seem to achieve, it’s apparent why studios large and small would strive to meet the challenge. RTS (at least in its purest form, the so called “harvest build destroy” game) is one of the game genres most resistant to attempts by developers to inject personalization options or “classes” into the game experience. And while I don’t think I have a “magic bullet” solution to this, I feel like we’ve seen enough games make the attempt to draw some inferences.

First and foremost, I think a loadout is driven, at the design level, from the above-mentioned desire to make something “ours” – classes in RPGs are animated in part by this, as are itemization systems. Cosmetic personalization options in many games are driven almost entirely by this. It looks the way you want, it works the way you want, it is the thing you want.

Let me move on by referencing an article I wrote in 2020 “The Strange Flexibility of Boundaries” in which I talk about the creative choices and dynamics that can come from more pre-planned, constrained experiences. I believe that a drive similar to the one described my article is at least in a part of what animates designers and some players as well, perhaps.

One thing we have seen, and one reason Magic the Gathering designed its color system, is that in some cases excessively free and open systems actually end up reducing the same player choice they are designed to empower. In Clash Royale, we see a small fraction of the card pool considered meta-viable, while many of the other cards are relegated to niche status or noob traps. With class systems, or faction and subfaction systems, we are able to create a somewhat larger number of viable possible combinations of units and build orders by means of building pre-configured choices for the player that can be looked at (and, importantly, balanced) as a whole.

One other advantage of loadout systems vs something more expansive like a deck of units is clarity of choices presented to the player. While a Hearthstone deck might have 30 cards, and a Magic the Gathering deck 60, and a Steel Division deck is comprised of a large number of activation points, a Company of Heroes 2 loadout provides the player with around… 6 choices. 3 Commanders, and 3 Bulletins. And honestly, the Bulletins are so nominal they’re easy to ignore anyway. Or at least, to set and forget.

Typically, a loadout system is going to give the player fewer than 10 things to decide upon outside of combat, while a deck is going to give the player more than 20. This is not a hard and fast rule, but let’s look at some additional examples. Right now, Crossfire: Legion’s deck system gives the player 8 choices: 7 units and a Commander. Clash Royale’s “deck” also provides the player with 8 choices. C&C Rivals’ loadout is 7: 6 units and a Commander.

If we’re going to count Immortal: Gates of Pyre, the player makes a single choice: their Immortal “subfaction” which has its own differences to the base faction. In now-defunct RTS by BonusXP, Servo, the player designed 3 robot ‘heroes’ from 10 components each (see below). Going outside of RTS, FPS Titanfall 2 has a loadout system for players, with a handful of choices.

Age of Empires 3 might be an extreme example in the RTS genre, with its deck system giving the player a tremendous number of decisions to make with its shipments deck, rivaling the unit decks in games like Steel Division or Wargame in complexity.

Loadout systems are also a good way to introduce additional content over time in a constrained, targeted fashion. In a game like StarCraft 2, or other mainline “harvest, build, destroy” RTS, it’s really hard to add new content to the game. Maps are one thing, but adding new buildings, units, abilities, or other highly interactable content is really tough. This is why in RTS, you only see a handful of updates come into the game with expansions or infrequent DLC. For balance purposes, it might be about the same level of effort to add an entire new faction as it is to muck up the gameplay with a handful of new units.

Where do loadouts tend to go wrong? And some ideas to address the issues.

In Iron Harvest, the player picks a faction and a hero, then builds a loadout of units from 2 Reserve choices: Reserve 1 units tend to be cheaper and less powerful, while Reserve 2 features more mechs and exo-suits

Based on my observations of the performance of these systems across a variety of games, I have a couple of… guesses, is probably the correct word, about how to design a loadout system that will be appreciated by players.

Loadouts need to be limited in their application. If you share 75% of a faction and you swap out 25% of it in loadouts, it tends to be easier for players to accept the loadout as a choice. One of the most frustrating things about the loadout system in Crossfire: Legion is that the 7 choices you make before the match circumscribes very nearly 100% of your unit choices within the game.

Imagine in Crossfire: Legion or Forged Battalion if the player had pre-assigned base units that their designs were intended to complement within the game. I actually think in these cases the “base faction” wouldn’t need to even be 50% of the player’s available unit choices in order to make a huge difference in terms of gameplay. The Crossfire: Legion community have suggested something like this to developer BBI already in fact: situational roles like anti-air, or transports, that are less likely to be chosen for the loadout but would be used (when needed) in game, for instance.

And CF:L has precedents for this already, in ways that FoBa didn’t. In CF:L, there are already some common global aspects that each faction has baked in. All Global Risk faction infantry have the ability to place turrets, and all New Horizon units can share shields with each other, for instance. Each faction also has end-tier abilities on their Command Hub/Command Center, and there are shared upgrades as well. Adding some “base” units into the mix seems like it might be a good way to complement or offset the restrictiveness of their loadout system, and it would not surprise me to see them do something like this.

In Forged Battalion, the player designs a ‘deck’ or loadout of units from components, as well as an HQ type.

Look at COH2/COH3 with their Commanders/Battlegroups. Company of Heroes 2’s system is not one of the more hated, though for a while it was because the only way to earn Commanders was to buy them. This led both to FOMO, and accusations that new Commanders were pay to win. Eventually, Relic changed the system to use a soft currency that players could acquire through playing matches, which could be used to purchase the Commanders. This proved to be much more palatable for the community, at least in comparison to the original system.

However, while the player is given some choice about their loadout in-match – they have 3 Commanders, and pick one of them to use – this is still fairly limited. Once chosen, the player gains access to the Commander’s benefits in a pre-defined path from which they cannot deviate. This provides fairly limited tactical utility past the initial choice of “which of these 3 things do I use?”

Company of Heroes 3 is actually a really interesting case since the Battlegroup system provides players with something that they BOTH choose outside of combat and unlock one point at a time, choice by choice, within battle. In this respect, I think it will prove to be more popular with players than COH2’s much more static system

Loadouts really need to provide choices in the actual gameplay -. If you can tweak your loadout in some way in combat, this is better for users than something where the entire choice is made at the outset. This limits counter picking considerably, and counter picking is one thing that players react really negatively to, for good reason.

One thing that many players who hate loadout systems often bring up is that they can remove choices from the actual gameplay, offloading some of the game outside of the actual skill-based counterplay they expect. Blind countering is deemed more possible with loadout systems: if I have brought X in my loadout and you brought Y, it might right out the gate invalidate what I’ve brought and therefore I can lose before having encountered a single second of actual gameplay. This is the sort of thing that anyone seeking to implement a loadout system should consider

A preview of COH3’s Battlegroup system, showing its 2 branches and the choices it presents to the player.

In RTS games, the player’s units, buildings, and abilities represent a flexible tactical and strategic toolbox they use to attempt to destroy the army and economy of the other player(s) or team(s). This is functionally very different to the 1-or-2 weapons or handful of abilities that a single player is able to use against their opponent in many other game types. Also, critically different in RTS from many/most other game types, the player is not represented by a single avatar with a single-stream attack/activity. So while the player’s choice of hero in a MOBA, or primary weapon in an FPS, doesn’t really feel limiting, being forced to a small subset of options in an RTS can feel really constraining in a whole different way.

Additional observations – trying to wrap things up

In BattleForge, the player builds a deck of units, turrets, and spells from 1 or more “colors” or “suits” to design their own faction.

Loadouts need to scale carefully – Command and Conquer 4 is a great example of a terrible loadout system. New players start out with only T1 units and have to unlock T2 and T3 units by grinding access up their tech tree by playing the campaign or multiplayer matches. That’s terrible. You just don’t scale into the late game in a multiplayer match unless you grind. Interestingly, CF:L does way better than this and was still lambasted for its progression system. Dawn of War 3 likewise launched with a “skulls” soft currency system in order to unlock its Elite units and Doctrines, which was rapidly removed due to intense backlash. Which brings me to another point:

Loadout systems need to handle progression and unlocking really carefully – tech trees are seen as better than “stores” – flat structures are seen as OK, currencies are frowned upon generally. People hate FOMO and loadout systems tend to have it as a part of their content pipeline. This is a LOT more pronounced in RTS games than other gameplay genres – I went into this a bit above. I think swapping “lose this/add that” is better than adding “I have this, which you can’t have because you didn’t pay/grind” – So, I think the Immortal system of “subfaction loadouts” will be fairly well received. Though in Immortal the player is only making a single choice, and is doing so before the match starts, so in some ways it is more restrictive than what Company of Heroes 2 does, for instance.

As with many things, navigating the idea of adding evergreen content to an RTS is a sticky wicket compared to many other genres. “Loadouts” promise a way to accomplish this with a more graceful, limited implementation that is controllable by balance teams while trying to make the additional content feel less unfair to players with access to various ‘slices’ of that content. But, as I said, things work differently in RTS and systems that have been adopted in FPS games and RPGs don’t work the same way, particularly in multiplayer.

Whether it’s mucking with counter systems, game economies, or player choice; or it’s creating FOMO or frustration due to content the player feels like they have to grind or pay for, we’ve seen plenty of rough edges to attempted loadout systems in RTS games. And there are players who do want that self-expression of working with their personalized army – it’s a common request in RTS communities, though it more often takes the form of “design your own units” a la Earth 2150 than building a deck of units like you’d see in Wargame or Warhammer tabletop.

The urge to collect and personalize is there, but it’s seldom gracefully been accepted on a gut level by players who love RTS games. In Warcraft 3, Blizzard handled variable content by adding it into the match itself: creeps dropped items, maps contained buildings where other units and heroes could be purchased in limited quantities in game. This sort of approach provides less developer incentive – you can’t monetize the tavern like you could adding a shop with alternate hero choices for each faction, though if War3 was being developed today I can’t help but wonder if someone might have tried to do something of the sort.

Well, in the end I’m not sure how much this article is going to help anyone. I certainly hope it does, or at least stimulates some interesting conversation. As a personal fan of such systems, I think it’d be awesome to see someone hit the nail on the head and create a really kickass game featuring unit loadouts. And I’m hopeful that my observations above will add in some way to the discourse that ends up solving this. But even if not, I’ve had a blast writing this up.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the battlefield.

12 comments

  1. A couple of points.
    First, wanna address FOMO.
    With loadout/decks in RTS, FOMO doesn’t only come from having to pay/grind to unlock things, but also from not being able to use or, in fact, ever see things you personally like but which are objectively unviable. Or from outright impossible combinations that would’ve been very cool otherwise.
    Phalanx is a very cool tank design, for example. But who’s gonna choose it over Imperator? Not to mention how using them both like a steel fist would’ve been.
    And with some people it goes even further because one of the driving factors of enjoyment for them (or rather us) is a visual variety. In this case, unit loadout is perceived as a straight-up subtraction from fun.

    Second point, loadouts in shooters don’t feel as restrictive, since they are easier to meaningfully implement and aren’t so all-encompassing. The player still has the shooter basics with them.
    And even then, you know how boomer-shooter fans dislike the 2-3 weapon systems from, say Duke Nukem Forever? Granted, it had a heap of other issues, but that was a dealbreaker for those who were willing to tolerate the other ones. People want to have all their options at hand. It’s the same for RTS.

    And my main point, why even make such a system, when meaningful variation is achieved via different (sub)factions and the gameplay systems are complex enough to provide personalization by themselves? It also leads to balancing issues I frankly don’t see any solution too, other than making units interchangeable, which defeats the purpose of personalization in RTS context, and I’d argue of RTS as a whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “With loadout/decks in RTS, FOMO doesn’t only come from having to pay/grind to unlock things, but also from not being able to use or, in fact, ever see things you personally like but which are objectively unviable. Or from outright impossible combinations that would’ve been very cool otherwise.
      Phalanx is a very cool tank design, for example. But who’s gonna choose it over Imperator? Not to mention how using them both like a steel fist would’ve been.”

      Great point! I think you hit the nail on the head with that one.

      “And my main point, why even make such a system, when meaningful variation is achieved via different (sub)factions and the gameplay systems are complex enough to provide personalization by themselves? It also leads to balancing issues I frankly don’t see any solution too, other than making units interchangeable, which defeats the purpose of personalization in RTS context, and I’d argue of RTS as a whole”

      As I mention in the case of Immortal, I view sub-factions as a type of loadout system where the choices are made for you. One of my favorite implementations of either a subfaction system or a loadout is Emperor Battle for Dune with its Houses Minor. This is kind of the inflection point between what you’d consider a loadout and what you’d consider a sub-faction, and I think it’s really clever and fun.

      Another example might be COH3’s battlegroups, where you have the multiple choice tech trees that you can select to bring along with you but also provide you the ability to choose, and to customize within combat. It feels like it’s adding something to the game rather than taking what already exists in the game and slicing it up and serving it out in tiny portions (which I think is one issue with CFL)

      I did try to address why some players really like loadout systems, some of the motivating factors like personalization.

      Thanks for reading! 😀

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      1. Thank you for writing!

        I understand that you see subfactions as a sort of predetermined loadout, and I think it’s the best way to do loadouts in RTS. Subfactions are easier to balance, they can have a wider variety of units and on top of all that, they have the most superb *clarity* of all three (deck, loadout and subfaction). In my opinion, subfactions are the best way to go about that, even if they aren’t as “personalizable”. Even if I step away from my rather extreme views on personalization in games, I can still say that personalization should not come at gameplay’s expense.

        Forgot to mention that I agree with your view on what loadout systems should not do.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think the desire to find ways to introduce customization options into RTS is a pretty firm one, and I’m not sure we’re going to see developers stop chasing it. In the past couple years we’ve seen Halo Wars, DOW3, Iron Harvest, CF:L, Immortal, (possibly) StormGate, Age of Empires Online, COH2, COH3, End of Nations, Forged Battalion, just off the top of my head try to include some kind of personalization/loadout system. If they’re going to be in games anyway, it might be good to think about where they’ve gone wrong and how to try to improve them. Which is what I was trying to do.

          I tried to be careful not to directly advocate for anything past the fairly conservative “if this sort of thing is going to be in a game, how can it be added in a way that adds to rather than detracts from the player experience?”

          As I hope to demonstrate in the games I’m working on, I agree that out-of-match customization is a tough nut to crack, and Tempest Rising doesn’t have anything like this in its multiplayer: the players make all their choices in match.

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      2. To expand on the point about the limitations of excessive customizability, even with a bit less ultimately the degree someone can make things their own comes down to either the player being apathetic towards the results of their games, or if they are competitive then it comes down to how viable every option set is, which very likely won’t be equally so. So you can’t really have “personalization” with a lot of customization options, so much as you have a broad range of preferences that you swap between as necessary for different matchups. If the game is intended to funnel players into a single fixed pre-game choice they identify with and master, then with customization you lose personalization almost completely, making it near identical to a game without customization, just that the latter game doesn’t disappoint every single casual player who wants to take the game more seriously.

        As for Immortal: Gates of Pyre, the devs are always talking about how they expect players to be playing multiple Immortals anyway, so even there the degree of personalization is being pushed up a level of abstraction to the faction’s set of 3+ Immortals each, or a subset from each faction that do similar things (the sneaky Immortals; the tanky Immortals; the Immortals that specialize in disposable swarms).

        The best game I’ve found for having meaningful customizability with universal mechanics smoothing out the competitive play is a Japanese board game that just got an updated (sorta) English release, Sakura Arms (Furuyoni in Japanese). That game basically has you build a deck of 10 cards from two larger decks of 11 each (you pick 2 decks, representing characters, from a set of 18 or so), but the game there is largely about hiding which cards you picked as long as possible so that your opponent can’t be sure what you have out of the set of things you could have. The other part is that there’s a significant amount of actions done without playing any of the cards in your deck, so basically all of the setup and jockeying for position is done with face-down cards as costs to manipulate board state, with the cards being played for their rules text only at the most opportune times and when the board state allows it. Of course, in an RTS the setup and jockeying would have to be done with more universally available units and mechanics, which is exactly what you mentioned, I just figured it was worth mentioning a board game that does that kind of limited customization with universal mechanics, to contrast with the discussion of games like MtG or Hearthstone which are much more freeform and card-text-dependent.

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  2. I wrote a long reply that Word Press ate so I’ll just keep this bullet point:
    – I don’t mind small form loadouts (Relic)
    – I don’t mind a lot of customization if the game isn’t meant to be balanced (Forged Battalion)
    – Large scale loadout or deck building in a game actually trying to be balanced leads to frustration and usually a narrow meta
    – Games with traditional multiplayer and loadout game modes tend to see the loadout version die quickly compared to the traditional (Halo Wars 2)
    – Developers and fans seem to like and push the idea in theory a lot but for games that actually attempt to push the mode while also trying to balance it usually see their population fall off quickly and balance rarely reach equilibrium (Crossfire Legion and AirMech)

    So I get where you are coming from and the desire to explore the idea but it seems that the larger customization leads to imbalance and a shrinking of the player base while a smaller, less impactful loadout system isn’t satisfying for many players but I just have yet to see it succeed and don’t enjoy it personally.

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    1. Not sure I’ve ever seen fans really pushing for that idea. It’s mostly met with animosity everywhere.
      Then again, I started looking after C&C 4 and Forged Battalion, maybe these two made people change their opinions.

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      1. Some people like these systems, some don’t. I think by and large they’re not popular in RTS where they’ve been more broadly accepted in other genres. Crossfire: Legion and Immortal: Gates of Pyre, each of which features some kind of player personalization option, inspired me to think about how these systems do and don’t work, and I wanted to take a stab at how I’d try to make one work in a game.

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    2. Thanks wordpress 😦 sorry you lost the reply man 😦

      Halo Wars 2 uses loadouts extensively. I should have put more about it into the game. I guess if we’re splitting hairs about it we’d call what the main HW2 multiplayer has “subfactions” rather than the Blitz mode which actually has the player building a loadout of units (I actually thought Blitz was a lot of fun BTW)

      I am definitely someone who personally likes such systems and would like to see a game include them in a successful and positive way.

      I am hopeful that COH3 might be the implementation that I’ve wanted. I think the battlegroups system is really clever.

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  3. Men of War 2 will have deck system for ~12-15 slots, splitted in 3 echelons (early game, mid game and end game battle).
    But I think those loadouts used like Crossfire: Legion, should be with draft if we talk about 1v1 competitive match.
    And ofcourse only 7 untis per match do not make it fun and playable. So the biggest problem of Crossfire Legion is console orientated gameplay first of all.
    its too simplified overall.

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  4. I’d love to see a make-custom-army type of game go deep, but I shudder to think of the balance implications. Go deep means a lot of choices and sidegrades, not just “do I want a helicopter or an interceptor fighter”. Subtle stuff, and tech options,
    To illustrate with a known game example, StarCraft 2 gives us *lots* of units in the campaign and custom designer, so it’s a nice “common language” to use:
    Start with 200 Organization; each choice costs some Org, and
    > HQ (mandatory choice of 1)
    >> Command Center (as is now, but add-ons allow for lift-off) for 10 Org,
    >> Colony Outpost (cheaper, lower HP, can’t lift off, can’t house SCVs) 8 Org
    >> Combat Station (can’t lift off, more armor, more room for SCVs, SCVs inside get a marine-like gun) for 12 Org
    >>> Each per-building-exclusive upgrade costs 2 Org: Planetary Fortress, Orbital Command, Distribution Center (Reactor and Supply Depot), and all are compatible with any HQ choice.
    > Infantry Training (mandatory choice of 1)
    >> Barracks (as is now), 10 Org
    >> Garrison (can’t lift off, functions as a 5-slot Bunker), 10 Org
    >>> Each per-building-exclusive upgrade costs 2 Org: Tech-Lab, Reactor, Drop-Base (allows drop-pod reinforcement anywhere on the map) and all are compatible with any HQ choice.
    > Infantry (choose between 2 and 6)
    >> Marine (as is right now), 5 Org
    >> Colonial Guard (a Marine with lower range, lower movement speed, but builds 10% faster, and can be built by the HQ building), 5 Org
    >> Shredder (think Tychus; tiny bit beefier marine with a minigun, slower to move and build), 5 Org
    >> Reaper (as is), 6 Org
    >> Medic (as in campaign), 6 Org
    >> Marauder (as is), 6 Org
    >> Firebat (as in campaign), 6 Org
    >> Ghost (as is), 7 Org
    >> Spectre (as in campaign), 7 Org
    Etc. Have a choice between Medivac, Dropshop, or Hercules. Choose to play SC1-era Terrans with Goliaths and Wraiths and Valkyries. Want to save up a few Orgs and never build a Tech-Lab, or use Tech-Lab units in Reactor production buildings? Pick up a Science Lab for 20 Org! It has all the research options of each Tech-Lab, and it allows *all* buildings to produce as if they had a Tech-Lab attached. Costs a pretty penny, though, both in in-game materials and Org. Feel like skipping Factories or Starports entirely? Go at it; you only really need the HQ and Infantry training.

    However, one problem with tossing this into SC2 is the game’s pace; surprise units can really wreck stuff in the time that it takes an opponent to realize what they’re facing, and what to do. I expect a general “slow-down-the-game” or “buff-most-HPs-by-50%” to be required in order to make a make-your-own-faction type game work.

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  5. I don’t agree 100% with this. DoW2 is a solid lean towards moba. DoW3 leaned too far (agree). I would guess modern RTS devs tell themselves ‘well Lol and Dota2 have massive audiences so if we can skim a small percent then we make alot of money. ‘ My take is moba players only want moba: heroes, pvp, toxicity etc They weren’t raised on RTS, they probably see them as overly complicated (not that moba’s aren’t complicated, but they are more immediate).

    I definitely agree RTS devs have likely disconnected from the core RTS experience since there was quite a large drop in market share and titles available to play after the golden age. Designers tend to design what they like so if they’re not actually RTS fans and they can easily get the ear of directors with moba terminology then it’s likely their RTS will be more moba than it should be. I think Relic might have learned their lesson from DoW3 and AoE3 – I would be surprised if CoH3 feels more moba than RTS.

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