Why the Next RTS Will Fail!?

Level 7
Aug 19, 2010
For competitive multi player: you need to present your game as easy to pick up, while adding layers of complexity for casuals to explore.

I think SC2's Co-Op mode provides a good model for how competitive multi player could be developed with a sustainable business model - sub races / factions for your current races. You make money by expanding the number of factions for each race as DLC. You can also double dip by applying ESO's model, where you can pay a subscription to have limited access to all DLC's, except the most recent one, until it becomes a year old.

Let's use Warcraft 3 as a template for developing my version of Warcraft Rehashed, an RTS where the races are split into factions.

For example, the Orc race in Warcraft 3 can be split into 2 factions: Frostwolf Clan and Warsong Clan.

Frostwolf is an inclusive clan which accepts members of other races, whereas the Warsong are self reliant.

Frostwolves have orcish Grunts and Hunters from the Dark Spear Tribe, while Warsong have their Scouts and Brawlers for tier 1. Warsong Scouts have lower range but more hit points than Dark Spear Hunters because they use light axes which can either be thrown or used in melee. Brawlers on the other hand have less hit points than Grunts, but are more agile.

At tier 2, Brawlers are morphed to Champions, who, while out of combat can raise the morale (hit point and mana point) regeneration of their allies.

For support units, Warsong Clan has Warlocks, and Pyremasters as their spell casting units. In the non canon WoW tabletop RPG, Pyremasters are the equivalent of priests, the guys in charge of putting the dead to rest. For their basic ability is a passive which allows them to deal more damage to the undead (not demons) and they can learn Dispel and Rite of Fire (a debuff which causes the corpse to turn to ash upon the death of a unit. Warsong Warlocks start with the ability to convert health into mana. They can learn Unholy Frenzy and Capture Summon (control spell from Spell Breaker).

This is obviously a rough template and example of what could be done, based on the design model proposed by SC2's commander design model for co-op mode and a lot can be done to improve on this.

Another way to go about it - and would be easier to implement is by going the Warhammer route and create a pool of units, from which you customise your own army and using a point system as a means to limit the options of players and impose a min - max approach to the process of customizing armies.

The downside with this model, is that you need more time to balance new units to make sure they don't cause a snow ball effect and imbalance the race to the point where older units become obsolete. (Like how statues made necromancers obsolete outside of 4v4 do to necros not being able to heal any of the undead units).

For single player RTS: I think you can't go outside the setting of Age of Empire, for risk that the world editor for your game gets used by modders to create a game better than your own (see DotA). The stronger the fantasy elements in your RTS, the more complex your world editor will be, allowing you to create complex features that the originals developers either didn't think off or were unable to polish out so that it fits in their vision for the game.

Conclusion: RTS IPs are not worth the investment unless you can create a model which you can expand upon with DLC content. In theory, Warcraft 3, could have sold us Naga Race, Burning Legion Race and Ashtounge Draenei Clan/ Broken Draenei Race as 3 separate DLCs (or if we are thinking of the old days game market, an expansion larger than TFT,consisting of 3 new races + campaigns teaching you how to play each), if Blizzard had decided they would make Diablo a third person MMO in place of World of Warcraft, while also charging modders for the privilege to buy an advanced version of the world editor - provided they updated their terms of use so that DotA fiasco won't repeat (like they did with SC2 editor, I think).

As a game developer, the way to make money from RTS is to sell your engine using the same model as RPG maker and empower people to make their own RTS and/or Mobas. Obviously you will need amazing knowledge of the legal system in order to make sure you can cash in a good % of their earnings for giving them a platform which made their life easier.
Last edited: