Something I noticed playing the beta is it’s currently difficult to push with your army together. Say I build up this deathball of units. I have a little of everything, aircraft, vehicles, and infantry. Currently it seems that when you give an army a move or attack command they all move at their own speed. What happens is the faster moving vehicles, especially aircraft, will run ahead of the rest of my units and get slaughtered if I don’t manually control them. I could select the fast movers and manually move them step by step as we approach, but this isn’t a practical solution. Normally on a PC setup this would be no problem. I could quickly and easily select the group and move them. But a controller is much less precise and requires many more button presses to accomplish the same goal. Granted we don’t have any idea how the PC version will control. The hope is that it controls very similar to Starcraft 2, which is pretty much the gold standard for RTS on PC.
However on console things are not so simple. I believe in Halo Wars 1 if you ordered units to move as an army they would try to match each others speed. Yeah warthogs would move slow but it’s better if they stay with the army. And if you gave them their own command it would go full speed. So the option was there if you needed it. I’d like to see armies match their slowest unit speed.
Also if we could I think setting up and managing groups is a little more cumbersome than I’d like. Groups need to be adjusted as they die and are built. It’s something that needs constant and easy use. Having to hold the bumper is not ideal to have to do constantly. I’ve tried forming groups and accidentally set a universal rally point. I’ll be trying to set up my marines and the camera suddenly pans to another area of the map and selects a different set of units. As it stands there are no control options. I would like to see the ability to completely customize the controls how I want. I would rather not have to hold the left bumper during battle when I’m trying to quickly select my hornets to dodge the incoming mac blast. You are going to release this game on PC. The game should have a huge suite of options. Every action, every button should completely customizable to however I want them. I don’t see why the console version can’t do the same.
Being able to quickly, and accurately control your army is the top priority for any RTS. While this is a good start it’s not in an acceptable state yet. Some other problems I think will fix themselves as performance and bug fixes come in. After selecting an item the controls are unresponsive for a moment. This is most obvious when you are leaving the menu of a building and you can’t immediately pan towards the next one. There is a delay in all inputs though, and this will be greatly alleviated when we start seeing higher FPS. Right now it feels like it chugs at around 20. Units seem to respond to commands more quickly than they did in Halo Wars 1, though again their response time could be improved. AI pathing still needs works. Often my units will walk back and forth trying to find a decent path, or have difficulty reaching their target. I should never see a grunt squad moving when they are close enough to the target to give them a handshake. Units should be able to handle a lot of repetitious orders. A lot of people have itchy fingers and will often spam the same or similar orders. This shouldn’t confuse the army, and I shouldn’t see them stop and look around constantly trying to “rethink” their movement. Unlike SC2, most units can move and fire at the same time. However the constant unnecessary movements seem to only further confuse the AI. In a group one unit moves and is now blocking the path of other units, who want to try and find a way around him. So when your army does finally arrive at it’s destination there is always a long period of shuffling around as units try to space away from each other. This starts to spread my army thin and moves them where I didn’t intend them to. I’d like to see units be able to group closer together. The roads and pathways are simply too narrow for how spread apart the units try to be.
Just a few thoughts and suggestions for how the controls can be improved.