"The focus on cities is imperfect, however. Because there are few on-map resources to control, cities are self-contained production engines that drive your war effort. In the Heroes of Might & Magic series, the turn-based system to which Kohan is sometimes compared, castles are essentially useless without the special resources that can be found only in mines scattered across the map, and simply marching from castle to castle does you little good if you don't have the resources to take advantage of a castle's production. Kohan's improvement-based system means that taking enemy cities will rapidly shift the balance of power in your direction, and the most effective way to do that is by massed force. In the end, there is less maneuvering and tactical gameplay than there could be.
A problem with the Kohan combat is that while units have certain special bonuses (for example, paladins are more effective against shadow units), these bonuses are not enough to overcome the standard real-time strategy focus on sheer numbers. Kohan is still about building the largest army (regardless of composition) and throwing it at the enemy. Hero units are also not powerful enough to make up for enemy numbers."
God dammit, this is EXACTLY what I said six months ago on these very boards re: Kohan. And I got attacked for it of course.
I slightly disagree with Bruce's position here, though. Any RTS game that allows unlimited production will suffer from the "sheer numbers" syndrome. That's not really Kohan's fault. Can you name any other RTS game where this isn't true? I can't.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 04:17 am:
I've said this before, but if handled correctly, mages and death knights in Warcraft II can pretty effectively counter large numbers of enemies. So, does Warcraft II still suffer from this? Yes. But not as badly as many similar games.
By Jason McCullough on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 05:47 am:
'So, does Warcraft II still suffer from this? Yes. But not as badly as many similar games.'
It doesn't "suffer," as much as the problem is that the mass-casualty units require such close attention to be virtually useless at anything but turn-based speeds.
You could fix this by writing AI good enough for them to operate independently, but this goes entirely against the design principles most RTSes are created with, I think.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 05:56 am:
I admit part of the problem is bad AI, but even if the opposing units are used as effectively as possible, mages are great for clearing out hordes of guys. Even if not at once -- the great thing about playing against the orcs is that they can't heal. A couple good blizzards -- 'specially if you can catch them unawares (even if they get their guys out of the way, they'll still take a good amount of damage) -- can really hurt even a big army.
Not that mages make the game unbalanced -- darn that bloodlust!
I really have high hopes for Warcraft III. If it meets 80% of my expectations, it will be a phenomenal game. I know Mark and Tom weren't impressed at E3, but -- well, there'll be a beta soon, and then we'll all get to see. (Or at least a lot of us will.)
By Rob on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 09:24 am:
Its true, you did say that Wumpus.
By Mark Asher on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 12:02 pm:
Kohan doesn't allow unlimited production, though. You can produce X number of units per city, and new cities cost resources to found and then develop. It's not just setting up a bunch of solar collectors and then continuously pumping out new units.
Any game, even turn-based, that allows you to produce units is going to favor the player who produces the most. HOMM is like this too. Is this a surprise to anyone?
What sets Kohan apart from most other RTS games is that it does allow you to gain a tactical advanatage through the composition of your companies and the positioning of your units.