Common Issues of Real Time Strategy Gameplay

Real strategy games are fast-paced in nature and with some amount of learning curve. The dynamic concept of RTS has caused it to become more popular than turn-based strategy games. Although RTS is more fluid, the genre is often criticized of becoming click-fest games. It means players who click faster will be the winner, because they can build more structures and units faster. However, success isn’t always about clicking faster, but also making sound decisions. One thing that makes RTS somewhat tedious is that, players will need to wait for the production button to be clickable. This is especially true when they are building expensive structure or unit that requires more time to complete.

Another problem with RTS gameplay is called “rushes”. Instead of playing strategically, certain players simply try to defeat others as soon as possible by rushing other early in the game. Because players normally focus on economic aspects early in the game, they are often incapable of reacting successfully to the surprise attack. Command & Conquer series is well known for the tank rush and winning can be decided by players who build large number of tanks as soon as possible. In another popular RTS game, Starcraft, the same tactic is known as Zergling rush. Zergling is a relatively cheap unit that can be produced in large number early. Players will choose the Zerg faction and focus their resources on producing a huge number of Zerglings. Today, the term zerging is synonymous with rushing in any RTS game.

In real time strategy, RTS requires more physical skill, compared to turn based games. Although someone has excellent planning and tactical decision, he may lose the game if his manual dexterity isn’t as good. An accomplished player needs to control dozens of building and hundreds of units, as well as responding events that can happen unexpectedly. Expert players need to flip quickly between tasks and this is often limited by their physical capability. In this case, we can see that RTS games are placed somewhere between turn-based games and quick-reflex action/racing games. In many games, the only valid way to gain victory is through attrition. Each player may already set up strong defense, so they resort to launching raids. Each player will need to spend resources constantly to repair damage and replace destroyed units.

In this situation, a player with fewer resources access will be at big disadvantage. Later in the game, the player will run out of resources and can no longer replace losses, which makes defeat inevitable. When dealing with veteran gamers who know how to create impenetrable defense, the only way is to launch direct assaults, which will be costly. Not many games allow the best tactician to win constantly. Lack of combat tactics is something that ruins the gameplay of any RTS game. If this problem is serious enough for players, then it is a good idea for them to start focusing on turn-based games.  This is also where the debate between fans of real time and turn based games is quite fierce.

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