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After 2+ months of dev, Starfighter General: Bigger and Better content update out!
Starfighter General, the spiritual successor of Xwing vs Tiefighter. We plan on taking this game light years ahead of where it is now, and the industry at large. We going MMO to compete with the biggest space MMOS.
For now, It is a Clash of Clans style game. Build production buildings, research stronger ships, build ships, build all sorts of things to build a huge fleet. Then of course go raid other people's bases. Unlike traditional games of this type which force you to wait, you can be raiding bases non stop, securing more resources to upgrade your base and ships. This ends up being really fun because starbases will upgrade while you're playing the action part of the game.
The future mmo is ambitious and uses many techs never seen before in games. It will end with live game master(s) allowing the universe and history to be permanently changed by RPG moments guided by the GMs.
About GoodNewsJim: Over 140,000 hours game playing+design+coding, more than anyone in the history of mankind. #1 Staracraft World Vanilla 1998-1999, #1 Starcraft World Broodwar 1999, #1 Diablo 2 Hardcore, #1 Warcraft3 ROC, first to 1500 wins Warcraft3 and did it as random. #1 1v1,2v2,3v3,4v4 at same time War3, 3v3 record 200-0. Lets just say I LOVE video games, and I would like you to help me make this one better. I'm surprised I never even was offered a job anywhere. Oh well, nice to be able to make games. I spent 25 years of my life making games on and off, mostly on and in 24 years made 0$/year. One year I made minimum wage. Thing with programming games though, skill builds on skill until you're a grandmaster coder so you can't escape it once you're in, you're in.
The plan is MMOing this out then making a 3d kungfu MMO in 6 months after(My white whale since 2003)
Even stop on my stream and chat. I try and uplift everyone. After all the God of Love let me know he is real. So let us all love each other. Love is the way: www.twitch.tv/goodnewsjim
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If you want, PM for steam keys to friends, fam, or followers.
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Rocket Bug Part2: https://youtu.be/91d65juU86c
Rocket Fixed: https://youtu.be/-tPp-KaKLDc
A guy on /unity3d helped me add noise to my quaternion aiming right at the player: https://youtu.be/th9lkwK_4Oc
Comeback Opportunities will determine the game’s long-term survival: Here’s how we do it.
THE COMEBACK FACTOR: AN INTRODUCTIONsubmitted by Ted_E_Bear to FrostGiant
There’s no question that one of the most exciting and exhilarating things that can occur in any game is pulling off an absolutely epic comeback. This is true no matter the game or the sport. Just the simple fact of knowing that a comeback is possible is enough to keep both players and spectators captivated and engaged throughout the entire duration of a game no matter what the deficit might be.
Comebacks are responsible for some of the most powerful emotions that someone can experience in a game, whether you're on the winning end or the losing end. And that's what people remember the most about games – not necessarily what happened, but how it made them feel.
Making sure that the comeback element is present is going to be IMPERATIVE for Frost Giant to not only implement, but absolutely NAIL if they plan on creating a game that stands the ultimate test of time.
What I aim to do is to explain the importance of the Comeback Factor, show the Comeback Factor’s relation to RTS and its history, and then propose game elements in terms of economy and unit balance that can ensure that comebacks play a pivotal role in Frost Giant’s mission to create the next great RTS!
SPORTS & THE COMEBACK FACTOR
To emphasize just how important the comeback element is, let’s just take a look at the top 25 sports in the world and their estimated global following:
If you are a fan of any of the top 9 sports on this list, I am positive that you have multiple memories burned into your brain of absolutely incredible (or heartbreaking) comeback games, and you’re probably replaying some of those memories in your head right now as you read this. Comebacks create memories that stick with us forever, both for better and for worse (if you’re on the losing end), and these memories are what keep us wanting more and keep us coming back.
But it’s not even the comebacks themselves that create this phenomenon. It’s the fact that we know in the back of our minds that even if the team we’re cheering on gets soul-crushingly behind in a game or even gets ridiculously far ahead, a game is never over until it’s over. That’s because in all of the games at the top of this list, at any given moment the players have the power and the ability to completely turn things around, take control of the game, and have a direct impact on your opponent’s failure or success. In these games, even if your opponent gets a decisive lead – and even if he keeps up the exact same level of performance – you still have the opportunity to either step up your game and go above and beyond your opponent's level, you can drastically change up your approach to totally disrupt your opponent’s gameplay, or you can also take a series of high risks that might result in a complete change of momentum in the game.
This isn’t the case for nearly all the sports at the bottom.
In golf, if you get significantly behind halfway through a match and your opponent is scoring birdies on every hole, what are you going to do? Rack up consecutive hole-in-ones? Not gonna happen.
In bowling, if you get significantly behind in the first few frames and your opponent keeps bowling strikes, what are you gonna do? Bowl even bigger strikes? Keep dreaming.
In racing sports, if your opponent is a lap ahead and they’ve been consistently maintaining the same speed throughout the race, what are you going to do? Hope you roll a blue shell on your next power up? Ha!
The only way that a possible comeback can occur in nearly all of the sports at the bottom of this list is if your opponent just happens to make a disastrous blunder (like missing a pivotal shot in billiards) or suffers an unforeseeable misfortune (like pulling a muscle in swimming or clipping another bike in cycling).
Having to be 100% dependent on your opponent making mistakes or suffering a misfortune in order to win is simply NOT FUN. There’s nothing exciting or exhilarating about it at all!
The interesting thing about RTS games is that they share elements with sports on both the top and the bottom of this list. RTS games have both the direct offensive and defensive aspects of the top 9 sports (attacking your opponent, defending your base) and they also share the same indirect, passive aspects of most of the sports at the bottom of the list (building your army, growing your economy, developing your tech). The challenge to ensuring that comebacks are possible will be finding a happy balance between the two.
But before we get more into RTS, let’s briefly take a look at two other games that have stood the test of time due to their Comeback Factor: Chess and No-Limit Tournament Poker.
CHESS & POKER
RTS games often get compared to Chess and No-Limit Tournament Poker due to their emphasis on preparation, coming up with a game plan, executing different strategies, reading your opponent, adjusting to your opponent, and taking risks. But there are also many elements in Chess and No-Limit Tournament Poker that allow ample opportunity to pull off a comeback, and because of these comeback elements, Chess and No-Limit Tournament Poker are games that will more than likely live on forever.
In Chess, if you’re behind in material, it is very possible to still win if you can coordinate your pieces, give yourself a positional advantage, and execute different tactics to either checkmate your opponent, trap your opponent’s majominor pieces, or promote your pawns. Even if these options aren’t readily available, it’s still possible to cleverly weasel your way out of defeat and force a stalemate. Yes, at the very highest of levels of Super Grandmaster (top 30 players in the world) these comeback possibilities are extremely rare and very blundemiscalculation-dependent since Super GMs nearly always play perfect chess (which is a big reason I feel that chess will never gain mainstream spectator popularity despite having been such a popular game for centuries). But for players of all different levels ranging from just the casual player to even players at the Grandmaster level, the opportunity for a comeback is almost always present and happens in games all the time. In chess, you can also even intentionally give your opponent a material advantage in exchange for a positional or tactical advantage, and these tend to make for the most interesting games in chess! These kind of sacrifices happen regularly at all different levels of chess, including the Super GM level.
In No-Limit Tournament Poker, there is a common term that every poker player knows: “Chip and a chair.” For those who aren’t familiar with NLTP, “chip and a chair” basically means that as long as you have a single chip and a seat at the table, there is still a chance that you can actually comeback and win an entire tournament. This element alone is exactly why so many players are attracted to NLTP, because just like in the top sports mentioned above, a game is never over until it’s actually over. But even before you’re down to your last chip, if your chip stack is dwindling and you’re starting to lose hope, you can decide to risk your entire stack and go all-in and take a shot at a doubling up and giving yourself new life. Not only is this kind of risk taking a possibility, but it’s also REQUIRED if you actually wish to have any kind of long-term success. And on the other end of the spectrum, even if you are the dominant chip leader and have triple the amount of chips as the next biggest chip stack in the tournament, you can go from Hero to Zero and get knocked out of the tournament in just a matter of a few hands if you get unlucky or take a number of unnecessary risks. This dramatic level of constant uncertainty is undoubtedly the element that keeps people playing and also why people will always enjoy watching streams and broadcasts of No-Limit Tournament Poker.
But it’s also very important to keep in mind the difference between No-Limit and Limit Tournament Poker. While both games definitely require a lot of skill and understanding of the game, Limit Tournament Poker almost completely lacks the Comeback Factor. If you are ever down to your last chip in LTP, there is literally close to a 0.00% chance for any sort of eventual comeback. And on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re way ahead of the rest of the field in LTP it’s basically guaranteed that you are going to be there for a long, long time and will have an almost definite chance of placing high in the tournament – of course, that is unless you recklessly make a long series of blunders or get really unlucky back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. There’s nothing exciting about any of that. This is why Limit Tournament Poker isn’t popular at all whatsoever. There actually was a brief period of time when LTP was relatively popular during the Poker Boom of 2003, but after the player population really got a good grasp of the game, that popularity fizzled out pretty quickly, because the game is redundant and simply isn’t exciting or interesting.
We want to create No-Limit Poker, not Limit.
(Note: I am not saying that all of these sports/games are perfect by any means and I believe that there are actually some game balance issues in nearly all of them, but that’s a subject for another time.)
So how can we use all this information and implement the Comeback Factor into the next great RTS?
Before we get into what we can do, it’s very important for us to first take a good look at the economic systems of three of the most successful RTS games of all-time: Brood War, StarCraft II, and yes… WarCraft III.
THE OVERLOOKED INNOVATION OF WARCRAFT III
Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. WarCraft III put forth an honest effort to TRY to get this comeback element right, and while I don't believe that they were successful in really accomplishing it, I do think that it would be a mistake to overlook the innovation that WarCraft III actually did manage to bring to the table.
While developing WarCraft III, Blizzard was well aware that a big reason for Brood War’s success was because even if your opponent got a significant lead, players could still stay in the game and perhaps eventually pull off some sort of a comeback. While the comeback element was definitely present in Brood War, it still wasn’t nearly at the degree of any of the sports/games discussed earlier. Blizzard aimed to change that in WarCraft III by implementing upkeep with the goal of encouraging engagement and aggression while also allowing players who get behind to have a higher flow of income than their opponent so that they can build themselves up and get back into the game more quickly.
For those who are uninitiated on upkeep or just need a reminder, upkeep is basically a tax bracket based on active food supply that essentially punishes you for building an army beyond certain points of supply. The three different levels of upkeep are:
- No Upkeep (0-50 Food: 100% income)
- Low Upkeep (51-80 Food: 70% income)
- High Upkeep (81-100 Food: 40% income)
Unfortunately, the implementation of upkeep made the game very unenjoyable for a large percentage of the RTS player base and you can still find WarCraft III players – both loyal fans and players trying to give War3 another shot – complaining about upkeep to this very day! The different levels of upkeep are so punishing that it discourages players from even building up an army much larger than their opponent’s, as their economies would suffer dramatically and it would give their opponent a significant and completely game-changing economic advantage. As a result, at the top levels of play, you basically never see players go above 80 supply and they are even hesitant to even go above 50 supply until they feel the time is right.
So how on Earth are you supposed to have a comeback when the game is systematically designed to prevent players from even getting ahead?
With all that said, it would be extremely shortsighted for us to only look at the flaws of upkeep without acknowledging what it actually did accomplish. The number one thing that the idea of upkeep got right is that it was successful in encouraging aggression. When a player approaches the maximum threshold in an upkeep bracket (50/80 supply), it’s almost immediately necessary for them to attack their opponent in order to either gain an advantage or keep any advantage that they already have – which ultimately also puts that advantage at risk – and there’s really only a small window of time to be able to do that, because if you don’t, your opponent can quickly and easily equalize. When a player is forced to put his advantage at risk, in theory it should create a perfect opportunity for a possible comeback. However, since the possibility of gaining a significant advantage at all is basically non-existent in the first place due to upkeep, the theory doesn’t really perform well in actual practice in terms of an RTS game. This causes the game to place a much higher emphasis on gaining an advantage through hero development rather than unit, economy, and tech development which are basically the three main elements of all RTS games. And in WarCraft III, once a player’s heroes become significantly more powerful than their opponent’s, the possibility of a comeback is nearly completely lost as there is no opportunity to set back any progress that a hero has already made in leveling.
Now what Blizzard seemed to have possibly overlooked when developing WarCraft III was that Brood War already had a form of upkeep innately implemented into the game that they may not have even realized they already had!
UPKEEP, BROOD WAR, AND WORKER VALUES
Brood War has an economic system that is extremely unique and very different from any game that has ever been made and this system is a huge reason why comebacks are more possible in BW than other RTS games. To further explain this point, it’s important to first compare its economic system to WarCraft III and StarCraft II.
In WarCraft III, each worker holds the same amount of value and this value remains the same throughout the entire course of the game unless it’s affected by upkeep, in which case every worker’s value is affected all at once. In terms of income, each base only allows a maximum of 5 workers to mine gold at a time. If workers that are mining are killed, all the races have a pretty easy time immediately replacing them with very little impact on the economy. Of course, it’s slightly more difficult for Undead, but you can still replace Acolytes relatively quickly without much of an economic effect since you only need 5 for 100% mining efficiency.
In StarCraft II, the first two workers per mineral patch all hold exactly the same value. The amount of minerals that 16 workers can mine per minute is roughly double the amount of minerals that 8 workers can mine per minute on a base that has 8 mineral patches (ever so slightly less than double actually, but not significantly enough where “double” isn’t fair to say in terms of game balance). After 16 and up to 24 workers, each additional worker adds value approximately 40-45% of the income value as each of the first 16. After 24 workers (or 3 workers per mineral patch) there is practically no value at all in having any additional workers. This is why expanding in StarCraft II is so incredibly beneficial and has such a high reward. As a result, expanding is always done as early as possible in nearly every single top-level game, because the value that you get from your first 16 workers at every base is just so ridiculously high.
In Brood War, mining works very similarly to StarCraft II except for one MAJOR difference. The rate of minerals mined per minute IS NOT doubled when you have 16 workers mining as opposed to 8 on eight mineral patches. In fact, all the workers between worker 9 and worker 16 only have about 55-60% of the income value as the first 8 workers, then workers 17-24 only have roughly 35-40% of the income value as the first 8 workers. Like StarCraft II, additional workers after the 24th worker have practically no value. These elements of mining are a big reason why Zerg players in BW can equalize their rate of income with other races despite having a lower worker count because their workers tend to be distributed among more mineral patches at more bases.
So what does all this mean in relation to all 3 games?
In WarCraft III, it means that it’s basically impossible to have a major long-term impact on your opponent’s economy unless you take out an entire base.
In StarCraft II, it means that killing just a handful of workers can be a total economic disaster for a player. For example, if you and your opponent both have 16 workers mining and you kill half of your opponent’s workers, you now effectively have an income rate TWICE that of your opponent.
In Brood War, it means that the effect of killing your opponent’s workers isn’t nearly as punishing, because if you kill half of their 16 workers in Brood War, you have only given yourself a 55-60% economic income advantage, which gives your opponent much more of an opportunity to get back into the game!
“But what if I lose ALL of my workers in BW and SC2?”
This is just ridiculously more punishing in SC2 than in BW because now you have to make 16 workers to equalize your opponent’s economic advantage instead of just having to make 8 to at least somewhat get back into the game.
These reasons are also why Drone kills in Brood War are often considered way more valuable than Probe or SCV kills, however this is compensated by Zerg’s ability to be able to produce many workers at once. If Zerg didn’t have this compensation, then killing Drones in BW would be just as punishing as killing Probes or SCVs in StarCraft II.
Because of the economic comeback elements that Brood War somewhat possesses, it's far more difficult for both players and spectators to ever really have a clear idea exactly who is going to win until the game is all but over, and I believe this plays a huge role in why an ASL quarter-finals match can still attract nearly a quarter-million live viewers 22 years after Brood War's release.
So how can we take what we know about the economy of these games and implement them into the Comeback Factor moving forward?
THE ART OF THE COMEBACK: THE ECONOMY
I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m some sort of creative genius and spitball ideas of whether or not the economy should involve mining minerals, collecting coins, soaking energy from the sun, or picking turnips. I mean, I can if you want, but that’s not what this proposal is about. This is about how to create a fair and effective economic system that finds a good and fair balance between allowing players who are behind to get back into the game while also not too harshly punishing players when they are ahead.
While there was a pretty effective form of economic income control through worker values in Brood War and a somewhat effective form of income control through upkeep in WarCraft III, I believe that both forms of control are still far too dramatic and too immediate (albeit much less immediate in BW since only one worker loses value at a time whereas all the workers lose their value at once in War3).
But there is one thing that both games taught us: Income control is necessary.
I would like to propose a simple idea that can be implemented in a variety of different ways whether it’s through gathering gold, mining minerals, or (ideally) picking turnips from a garden.
What if ONLY the first worker got 100% value from gathering resources at a single location? What if the 2nd worker got 95% value, the 3rd got 90% value, the 4th got 85%, so on and so forth...? Of course, these are arbitrary gradients that mean absolutely nothing right now and we don’t even necessarily have to use workers as our means of getting income, but the idea behind it is that if your early workers have more value and your later workers have proportionally less value but still SOME value, then you aren’t as severely behind when you just have a few workers and you also aren’t drastically punished when you have a lot of workers.
If this were implemented into any RTS it would effectively do three things:
-- Because once you reach various levels of economic growth, your opponent will be able to equalize with you much more quickly unless you stop him from doing so.
Q: How would it encourage expansion and growth like in StarCraft II?
-- Because once you reach a certain level of income at one base, it becomes more beneficial to establish another base in order to gain higher value from your workers.
Q: How would it allow even more of an economic opportunity for a comeback than Brood War?
-- Because your earlier workers will have an even higher value compared to your later workers than in Brood War.
In order to give you an even better idea of how earlier workers will have a much higher value and allow for a better chance of a comeback, here are a couple of graphs so you can see it for yourself.
But so that we can compare the worker values in my proposed model to the worker values of StarCraft II and Brood War, I reduced the value of each additional worker in 4% increments rather than the 5% in my example earlier, since we will be using 24 workers to reach maximum saturation. Like I said, the actual numbers are pretty arbitrary anyway. It's the idea that I'm trying to get across. This will allow us to visually compare what it looks like going from 0% to 100% mining saturation in SC2 and BW and it shows what my model would look like in comparison.
This graph makes it clear why earlier workers in Brood War are far more valuable than in StarCraft II in the big scheme of things, which is why coming back after taking an economic hit is so much easier in Brood War. But as you can also see, my economic model for Frost Giant takes it a step even further, which would make it even more economically easier to recover should you take a big hit, or any degree of a hit for that matter. But at the same time, it's also not so way over-the-top that it makes it completely unfair to the player who holds the economic advantage either.
I've also included this bar graph if you wanted to take a side-by-side look at the difference of values the workers would have at each level.
And here are the raw numbers if anyone wants to take a look and check my math for me...
If you want to know exactly how I got these numbers, you can find the explanation HERE, because it's annoyingly tedious and it really messes up the overall flow and pacing of this proposal.
From an economic standpoint, I don’t see any downside to this if it is implemented to the primary source of income. Plus I’m just going to assume that there will be at least one additional type of secondary resource that players have to gather that could have a more stagnant and consistent gathering rate, so that can also be a way to kind of balance the flow of income between the resources.
(Edit: I wanted to avoid throwing out specific ideas, but quite a few people have commented and messaged me that this would be difficult to realistically implement. I don't see why workers wouldn't be able to extract resources from a single source that loses extraction efficiency the more workers you have on it. There are probably even far more creative/simple ways to accomplish this.)
But while implementing an economic system like this would be very effective, the Comeback Factor cannot be solely dependent on the economy. It will be very necessary to also implement other game elements to allow comebacks to be possible.
THE ART OF THE COMEBACK: UNIT & BUILDING QUALITIES
Now that we can finally push economics completely aside, there are many unit/building qualities that will be necessary in order to ensure that comebacks are possible. The main ones that come to mind are:
1.) Unit and Base Fragility is probably the most important quality on this list. Having an opportunity to find weaknesses and deal damage to your opponent quickly can be extremely critical when trying to make a comeback, and this will only be possible if units and buildings have an exploitable level of fragility. If units and buildings are too difficult to kill, then it becomes impossible to do any kind of serious, game-changing damage to your opponent if you’re trying to equalize. It won’t matter that you snuck a covert task force into your opponent’s undefended expansion if it takes 5 minutes to kill a building. It won’t matter that you caught reinforcements on their way to join the main army if you can’t kill them before they get there. It won’t matter that you just built a direct counter to your opponent’s army if you can’t do any damage before he builds a counter to your counter. The lack of unit and building fragility in WarCraft III is also a big reason why it’s so difficult to ever rally together a comeback. In War3, if you have a bigger army than your opponent, it’s just incredibly easy to pull back weakened units to ensure they don’t die because of how long it takes to kill them. And because it takes so long to kill buildings in War3, it’s also very difficult to just run a few strategical units into a base, do some meaningful damage, and get out before your opponent’s army gets there, especially with Town Portals being a factor.
2.) Unit Fortification Advantage is a pretty big quality that I think took a hit with StarCraft II due to the implementation of unlimited unit selection and units being able to move in swarms, which led to the inevitable evolution of death balls. This made it extremely easy to get all of the units in your attacking army to all fight at once. In Brood War, it’s a lot riskier and more punishing to send your army into a fortified group of units since it’s way more difficult to keep your army close and have them all attack together. Another reason why unit fortification is stronger in Brood War is because the units and spells that work best in stationary, defensive positions (such as siege tanks, reavers, dark swarm/lurker, psionic storm) are far more powerful than those in SC2. I am by no means saying that one game’s mechanics and unit makeup are superior to the other, but it is important to acknowledge game elements that offer either more or less opportunity for a comeback.
3.) Units that Dramatically Hard-Counter Other Units will be an absolute MUST if we want to give players a good opportunity for a comeback. And I’m not talking about $1,000 worth of unit “A” will always beat $1,200 worth of unit “B” kind of counters. I’m talking about counters like $500 worth of unit “A” will embarrassingly DESTROY $2,000 worth of unit “B” kind of counters! It might not be necessary to be THAT dramatic, but you get the idea. These kind of dramatic hard-counters are definitely something that will help make it possible for a player who is behind to effectively defend or pre-empt an oncoming attack if they know what’s coming. (Edit: I'm NOT saying that every single unit should have a super hard-counter, just that dramatic hard-counters should play a clear role in the game.)
I really don’t think that I need to touch on the last three qualities at all, as the importance of those are very easy to see and understand. So in terms of units and buildings that haven’t even been invented yet, I think that’s all I got for that.
THE COMEBACK FACTOR: FINAL THOUGHTS
I really hope that I was able to help you understand the vital importance of having comeback elements in a game. And if I did, I really hope that some of the ideas that I proposed help you guys develop a game that makes comebacks possible and results in an RTS that lives on for generations.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to read this, as I always try put a lot of thought into analyzing any game that I really enjoy playing whether it’s a sport, board game, card game, or a video game. I am very passionate about balance and fairness, particularly in games of course, and I especially have a deep affection for RTS games, so even having you just read this really means a lot.
Thanks again for reading. Take care!