Why is RTS so heartless?

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

See title.

Simply put, I'm just a bit frustrated about how RTS games as a whole seem to be "Go kill stuff, who cares about friendly casualties?" It's focused as a genre on just doing lots of damage, and never on what your men think and feel. Why is that? Why is there not a decent, character-driven RTS game where you are encouraged to look after your troops, but countless games where you are pretty much encouraged to not give a rat's behind about them?

Really the only game that comes close to character-driven RTS is a title called "Codename Panzers", and even then whatever importance you give your troops depends on you, there is no inherent importance on keeping them alive, which bugs me severely.

So, your thoughts? Why is RTS so cold and heartless, and why has nobody saw fit to try and change it?

War. War never changes.

that's like asking why FPS games don't care about the emotional state of each bullet.

or why chess isn't concerned by the morale of pawns.

Oh come on... do you really expect to feel empathy for guys/girls/vat-grown hermaphrodites that you can churn out on a secondly basis?

Most RTS's end up having hundreds of elements on the battlefield by about mid-battle so it's damned hard to care about the weeny Marine who's just about to get shot to pieces. You can just feel comfort that he bought a couple of seconds for your MBTs to get built who then roll up and beat shit. The emotional generation comes from the thrill of having to counter threats and keeping your own shit together.

Most of the time, all I'm apt to do is shout 'RUN, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!' because my infantry is just strolling to their objective.

You genuinely only care about your characters and expensive units... or at least I do...

Dawn of War 2. Squad based, losing a squad is srs bsnss.

well...Probably because it would be a difficult and risky project.
Still though, it could be pretty cool actually. you have a point that they tend to 'never' focus on the lose of life throughout the course of the game, and reinforcements are infinite.
I would be hard to convince a big studio to back it though (they don't seem to like mixing up game formulas.)
there is always the indie devs though.

You're probably not going to find too many titles like that. Unfortunately, when it comes to accomplishing objectives, officers usually look at the soldiers under their command as resources to get the job done. Have you ever seen the movie "Saving Private Ryan"? There are a few very good scenes in the movie where Tom Hanks' character, a Captain, recounts his (off-screen) efforts at disabling a German artillery emplacement. The scenes, I think, are a pretty accurate representation of the way officers have to look at casualties. It's a lot easier to send a soldier into enemy fire than it is to send Timmy from Chicago who can't wait to go home and play with his kids into enemy fire. If officers always looked at their men the second way, they'd have a much harder time accomplishing their objectives.

Anyway, if you want some strategy games where you actually get to have a bit more of a personal connection with your troops, your best bet would probably be squad-based strategy games like the "Jagged Alliance" series.

Raiyan 1.0:
War. War never changes.

Awesome.

I always become horribly attached to my units in Lord of the Rings : Battle for Middle Earth, but then that game does give you the ability to give each battalion a name.

Why is there not a decent, character-driven RTS game where you are encouraged to look after your troops,

Here it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sims_%28series%29

... I kid, but you're asking a rather strange question. I mean, it's the practical definition of RTS games to control units that generally go and destroy things. Anything else sort of drifts into simulation games etc.

Uh, what about Valkyria Chronicles?

If I want to feel like a general of course I can just don't give a damn about my units. They are numbers, and sometimes we have to sacrifice numbers for victory.

vrbtny:
I always become horribly attached to my units in Lord of the Rings : Battle for Middle Earth, but then that game does give you the ability to give each battalion a name.

I love that feature - it does make you become very attatched to your units, however.

First thing- Does the game Chess need to have backstories for all the pieces like how one of the pawn is a lowly peasant who got drag into the chess war?

You never heard of the Fire Emblem series? Ok that game isn't RTS but it's sill a statergy game where each unit is a character with background story etc.
Isn't the whole point to a RTS game it to feel like a god and every units is just a pawn and you don't need to see a pawn backstories?
Sure yes in real life every soldier is a person and if they really are a soldier than they should under the sacriface they may have to make. Beside I wouldn't want to be bump down for getting a unit who has like two children killed were I am missing the greater picture (if I decided to withdrawn just for the soldier sake than the enemy win and will cause more death and destruction).

There are quite a few games with morale as a factor, so you have an incentive to look after the wellbeing of your soldiers. They are resources, after all, and you should aim to take care of them insofar as they are essential to your objectives. And sometimes respect points, coming from good decisions and high k/d ratio. Anything more is asking for care bears' field hospital simulator, not SUPREME EMPEROR COMMANDER OF WAR!

In Company of Heroes it was always better to retreat a squad that was about to die and heal them / replace lost units than just have the squad die. They would also react realistically, taking cover and dropping to the ground, etc.

ElPatron:
Uh, what about Valkyria Chronicles?

Wasn't that turn based, and not an RTS ?

Miles Maldonado:
Snip

When you play chess, do you feel empathy towards the pawns you sacrifice to kill your opponents more valuable pieces?

What if that pawn had a family to provide for, and a child on the way? You insensitively threw their life away to fulfil your selfish agenda!

Seriously though, RTS games move far too fast to pause the action and consider every peon's sob story. Frankly, I don't care too much about one of one-hundred x that gets churned out of my death fortress.

If I wanted character development in my RTS games, I'd play a turn based RPG with RTS elements.

Anthraxus:

ElPatron:
Uh, what about Valkyria Chronicles?

Wasn't that turn based, and not an RTS ?

It is turn based. I gave as a gift, never played myself so I get confused sometimes.

I -do- tend to get emotionally attached to my units, and try to keep them alive.

I also tend to lose a lot. Sometimes, you just have to let your little Volksturm-pensioneers sponge up some bullets to win.

Miles Maldonado:
So, your thoughts? Why is RTS so cold and heartless, and why has nobody saw fit to try and change it?

RTS's are "heartless" because they lack the things that give games "heart"--characters and their relationships with themselves and the world. You really don't have a personal relationship with anything in the game, and nor are you really given the chance to even see what the little people in your armies are thinking. It's war, but from the more objective perspective of commanders and generals in the planning room. Because really, the people in charge of that stuff really don't have time to be worrying about whether Marine X's little brother will recover from his leukemia, or if Soldier Y's girlfriend is cheating on him while he's at war.

And nobody has seen fit to change it because it fills a certain niche. Just because it's not your thing doesn't mean other people don't find it engaging. Some people like being able to experience and wars in that "detached commander in a smoke-filled war room" way, or a "directing waves of robot minions from a spaceship orbiting the planet" way.

It's also a part of the entire "Kill one person, it's a tragedy; kill a million people, it's a statistic" kind of thing. That the ends basically justifies the means, you have to make sacrifices to your units in order to accomplish your goal, but that doesn't always mean zerging your opponent will always work.

Total War. Just Total War.

Now, it isn't quite on a personal level, but your generals can gain attributes depending on what actions they take. These actions then affect their soldiers and morale respectively. A dread lord might be the deadliest unit in your army, but his attributes could give him a lower leadership score. Butchering thousands of innocents or prisoners affects your reputation, and fighting under such a merciless leader can make your men wary.

The other thing is with unit experience. Gold Chevron warriors are borderline unstoppable, and you will grow attached to them. These guys will be your frontline soldiers, smashing apart the enemy. You will want to conserve them for pivotal battles, especially when the Horde Nations arrive. There, it is better to weaken the hordes with dozens of weaker armies before delivering the killing blow.

That's kind of a silly question. RTS games are a sort of simulation of war (note that i say sort of) from a generals/commanders/warlord/alien-overlords point of view. And noone in that position ever cares about the underlings.

Some games, like Dawn of War, have a morale system where if you lose troops, your army becomes demoralized and less effective.

There are also games with veterancy systems, like the C&C games, where units get stronger the more enemies they kill so you have an incentive to keep them alive.

Miles Maldonado:
See title.

Simply put, I'm just a bit frustrated about how RTS games as a whole seem to be "Go kill stuff, who cares about friendly casualties?" It's focused as a genre on just doing lots of damage, and never on what your men think and feel. Why is that? Why is there not a decent, character-driven RTS game where you are encouraged to look after your troops, but countless games where you are pretty much encouraged to not give a rat's behind about them?

Really the only game that comes close to character-driven RTS is a title called "Codename Panzers", and even then whatever importance you give your troops depends on you, there is no inherent importance on keeping them alive, which bugs me severely.

So, your thoughts? Why is RTS so cold and heartless, and why has nobody saw fit to try and change it?

To be fair, I think the Total War games come close to evoking the kind of feeling you want. If you lose mass amounts of forces, even if you win the fight, it does put you at a big disadvantage until you can train more troops, which takes several turns to do in any useful capacity. I'm playing a run through of Medieval 2 at the moment, and started as England. During my (still ongoing) quest to beat back the Scottish, my main priority, I ended up having to attack Dublin in waves to draw out my enemies, and I did feel quite bad about that. Caernarvon was using up all its reinfocements being ferried across the Irish Sea to bolster my troops, and although I did eventually take Dublin (and Ireland) it was a hollow victory. Unfortunately, I may have to do the same with Edinburgh now, which will leave me at heavy risk of a seaborne attack from those pesky Holy Roman Empire types...

But yeah, I see what you mean. I personally try to win RTSs with as few casualties as possible, but a lot of the time that's not very feasible (I'm looking at you, Dawn of War. And the first C&C, too...). I would love to see a non-Total War RTS game where keeping your troops alive is as important a priority as completing the regular objectives as well...

Every zergling lost brings victory closer for the Swarm.

Well the only game that I've seen which comes close to this is Medieval 2 Total War. It doesn't make you care about the little guys so much, but because of 'Hero' units being recruited from within your ranks, and the interactions of your family, you end up following this long epic saga of a Dynasty, you get cases of a peasant ilitia who holds the line against impossible odds, the only survivor of that regiment got promoted to Captain, and through victories in battle over the next decade, eventually became a well known and feared general of the Irish Empire, who catches the attention of your princess, and eventually, through luck and wit, ends up ruling the Empire through a glorious Golden age.

Or maybe that only happens to me. Anyway, as much as it'd be cool to have a game focus on the little guys, I don't think we'll see it any time soon, but if someone pulls it off, I'll be handing them all my money.

Actually, now that I think about it, in Command and Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars, the soldiers were groups of men, and their health was measured by how many of them there were.
You got a 10 guys for the basic infantry squad, and less as they got more elite. The GDI snipers operated in pairs, and had really plucky lines... until one of them got killed. Then the quotes of the remaining one became really panicky. I usually went to quite a bit of trouble to get the single snipers back to base.

And when you had a fully promoted unit you always took good care of it, although that was more to do with it's better combat abilities than characterisation.

Miles Maldonado:
So, your thoughts? Why is RTS so cold and heartless, and why has nobody saw fit to try and change it?

Why? Just why? How they hell would you be able to micro manage and effiecently go to battle when your squads stop to mourn a fallen comrade every time somebody died? It's like shedding a tear every time somebody in your squad died when playing BF3. Becuase replacing them is so easy, there's no reason to get worked up about it.

Besides, as the commander of an army it's your job to send me to die. Your job will always be to send them to places where they can die. Never be afraid to spend men, but never waste them.

Cookie for reference.

Valanthe:
Well the only game that I've seen which comes close to this is Medieval 2 Total War. It doesn't make you care about the little guys so much, but because of 'Hero' units being recruited from within your ranks, and the interactions of your family, you end up following this long epic saga of a Dynasty, you get cases of a peasant ilitia who holds the line against impossible odds, the only survivor of that regiment got promoted to Captain, and through victories in battle over the next decade, eventually became a well known and feared general of the Irish Empire, who catches the attention of your princess, and eventually, through luck and wit, ends up ruling the Empire through a glorious Golden age.

Or maybe that only happens to me. Anyway, as much as it'd be cool to have a game focus on the little guys, I don't think we'll see it any time soon, but if someone pulls it off, I'll be handing them all my money.

It's amazing how much political backstabbing an epic journeys can play across a game of Total War with the player none the wiser, unless they know where to look.

MercurySteam:

Besides, as the commander of an army it's your job to send me to die. Your job will always be to send them to places where they can die. Never be afraid to spend men, but never waste them.

Cookie for reference.

Few.... FEW!? THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF GUARDSMEN ON TYPHON! Good men, servin' the Emperah, and you let them all die!

Soviet Heavy:
Few.... FEW!? THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF GUARDSMEN ON TYPHON! Good men, servin' the Emperah, and you let them all die!

Actually, I'm pretty sure it's "Good men, servin' the Emperah, all gone, because of your incompetence."

.
.
.
"You think I'm incompetent?"

Warhammer: Dark Omen. You lose a squad and they are gone for good. Replacing each man in a squad is horribly expensive.

But eh, its war. You job is to send men to die. Their job is to die for the Emperor and hold the fucking line.

MercurySteam:

Soviet Heavy:
Few.... FEW!? THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF GUARDSMEN ON TYPHON! Good men, servin' the Emperah, and you let them all die!

Actually, I'm pretty sure it's "Good men, servin' the Emperah, all gone, because of your incompetence."

.
.
.
"You think I'm incompetent?"

Nono, its "You killed them all Castor, ALL OF THEM, because of your incompetence!"

The OP should try out Original War and the Earth 2140 series. Both were true & proper RTS' with units that were persistent between missions and leveled over the course of the campaign. They gave you a real incentive to care about unit survival - much more than the more common morale factor.

It is better to die for the Emperor than to live for yourself.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked