Copy&Pasta with extra sauce from the original thread in the Generals 2 section.
Please bear in mind this idea is still a raw draft and should be discussed as such. No single aspect of what is going to follow is completely shaped up, so any serious discussion on how they could/should be adjusted is heartily welcomed.
What is the bane of a balanced RTS (or alike gametypes for that matter) if not the problem of how to properly implement large scale forces such as naval and airforces and still have them balanced around their strategical role when most battles fought in the games are on a tactical level of operation and balanced accordingly. A single Destroyer or strategic bombing run would render the whole battle lost for the side suffering the strike is the balance would reflect anything close to reality. So my proposal is to simply split up the whole MP scale onto a strategical level in which those aspects of forces can be implemented without turning them into underscaled toys. Instead of a single match entity (the ground battle played by various in-the-field operators), expand the control players can exert over their respective forces into the strategical realm of naval and strategic airforces that operate independent, yet still intertwined from/into the actual battles.
How exactly could it look like?
The scope I have in mind is too wide for a single player to control it properly without turning people into a burned-out control freak's husk.
So what I imagine would only be effective in multi-multiplay engagements of two players per team at the absolute minimum (a seperate MP mode in fact).
One or more players controlling groundbased forces in the actual small scope battles as we know them from the classic RTS sense of versus matches. Then comes another one or more players controlling the naval assets of their team (the GLA dilemma is being dipped into later on) that fight on a scale more akin to the Kane's Wrath Global Conquest scope than to the focused single match one. Still in real-time engagements against other all other players however. And then again come one or more players ruling over the strategical air assets (again, the GLA dilemma is getting adressed later), largely on the same strategical scope like the navy part.
The basic premise is those are large scale MP engagements. Basically the 64 player BF3 vs other FPS equivalent to the RTS genre. We can have multiple entities playing against each other with each multiple players among the entire scope of battle (for example 4 ground and 2 naval, air and strategical army each vs the same number of players on the opposing team). That is of course on the same notion it's crux as it would need a good number of players to be enjoyed to a good extent and for the full scope of thrill in this mode one would need LOTS of players.
The other potential issue is that those matches, due to the strategical scope, would average a higher playtime per match, up to hours for a single instance as opposed to the potentially fast groundforce-only mode as is the classical versus-mode we know already.
Strategical assets warfare:
How would the game look like for those people playing the strategical scope? Well, I don't plan on letting only the groundforces having all the fun (military branch rivalry anyone? (Go Navy, crush Army!!!)) and I already said those strategical forces would play in realtime too, so basically all we'd need is a larger operation's realm to play within against the opposing strategic forces.
Both the naval and airforces would still require bases to field and support their fleets from and would be able to build more bases along the map to increase their presence and strategical manouvreability. Naval forces can then engage both other naval forces aswell as interfere with groundbattles fought on land within their range. The gameplay would hence change from a rather simpleminded (no offense here, just pointing out the differences in gameplay) search-and-destroy into the superiourity/supremacy battle to secure space and to strategically push against the enemy's/ies' hardpoints to eradicate their threat/s from the game. However as naval forces will oppose each other and clash, aswell as air assets trying to achieve their own goals to further their own causes, they would still regularily clash with their direct opponent counterparts, hence giving those players the full joy of battling it out just as the groundforces can do, though simply on a larger scale without impeding the relative balance.
Just as a navy battlegroup can make short, messy work of every army group within their range, or the damage a strategical bomb-raid can cause on targets or again how a groundbased army can easily take single naval and/or airforce bases, the three branches would play fully against and with each other.
Naval and airforce bases would have very little in the way to oppose a direct armed confrontation against an army attack, making groundbased forces THE way to catch/raze enemy bases. Airforces themselves can easily engage all forces within their operative range that have been identified and naval forces can bombard bases and armies within their range too.
However each branch has some capability to defend themselves against other branches aswell as count on the basic hardcounter that is simply your own naval/air assets. The army for example can deploy SAMs to cover some space against enemy airforces (though large air attacks can still bludgeon their way through such defenses to cause damage, at the obvious costs of course) and deploy landbased/mobile cruisemissiles to engage naval forces (less engage than more discourage low force engagements, deterring low scale attacks and hence causing larger forces to group up that are more easily spotted and engaged by your own navy). Same as the navy has anti-air capabilities such as shipborn SAMs.
However should it come to battle of sufficient forces of one branch versus another, it would likely cause a decisive victory for the attack force (a naval/air bambardment of an armygroup, an air-raid against army or navy or an army attack vs naval/airforce bases) forcing all players to work together to minimize their own weaknesses or to maximize the effect of focused combined arms warfare.
The new scope of logistics:
Each single force of course needs ressources to afford in-field leverage, or else this would turn into a simple RTT with pre-set forces set to a deathmatch.
Every operator can (and should of course) build/secure logistic centers around the map from which the entire entity can spend ressources from to field more units/research upgrades.
Another, if not THE most, valuable currency would be recconoissance. Every operater can field assets to recconoiter space and establish presences to watch areas.
Every single force will be presented on the map (the exception being the GLA as is lateron being assessed), but only represented by a simple marker, giving no indication on force and composition until recconoitered. Without scouting out the forces that are present, you are running head-on blind into situations, quite possibly with horrendously inappropriate forces (which can go either way, running with a small force into an army or dispatching large assets against a small column possibly meant to draw you out).
Also, newly established bases and such will not show up on the map unless you scouted them out. The obvious roleplay in here is basically to have the airforce reconoiter regions on a large scale, but a single hidden SAM site build sometime in the match can mean death for surveillance craft, so both navy and army still have to work in tandem with the other branches to establish a working information network.
As for the ressources and why the title of this part of my exposition is named "logistics", every entity needs to supplement their forces for supply routes. The stronger a supply route, the more of the ressources your team got can you draw upon in your own terms. An army group with a strong supply line can count on large ressources to refield assets lost or adjust to engagement situations that require another force composition. Another factor is the lenght of the supply line. The stronger the supply line, the larger a fraction can you use at any given time during your own operations. The shorter the supply line, the faster said ressources will arrive at your position, hence making overstretched supply lines a viability.
Further more, tanks can't drive on water, so to engage some forces you can't reach, the branches need to work together to transport assets across the globe. Heavy burdens need a naval force to ship them around the map, less eighted equipment can be airlifted. Obviously, this ends up in different logistical speed. An airlifted force can quickly engage forces, but will only be able to field light forces until a supply line with construction assets is established. In the same notion, a large and heavy force transported by naval way can arrive in potent number and equipment, but will arrive slowly, giving the enemy chance to intercept the convoy. My intent with such a mechanic is to deepen the cooperational capabilities of a team aswell as to provide match-variability with changing, creation and engagement of conflict hotspots.
Now, just as promised, I am going to dip into some terroristic territory (please don't tell the NATO) and ask the obvious question. How does the GLA fit in any of that stuff?
True, I don't expect the GLA to field any significant number of both naval and air assets to warrant seperate control if all you could work with would be some fishtroulers and some old helicopters and blackmarket aricrafts. There isn't going to be much thrill using them against fullfledged forces against industrial forces such as the EU for example.
Now, I don't want to toss over the entire prospect of this mode just because the GLA doesn't fit into it like some prefabricated Lego brick does on another piece. The basic idea is to narrow down the GLA strategic control towards the in-field and logistic operators, reflecting the cell-based organisational structure a terroristic group would most probably use. For the gameplay, the GLA forces would not be automatically marked on the map the moment they are present. They have to be actively reconoitered. Plus, GLA supply lines are going to be faster and less suceptible to interruption by default (lots of tunnels, big tunnels and a lot of people wanting new shoes), making them less a powerhouse but more a spanner in the works, akin to supply disruption and low yield engagements. Easy to crush with appropriate forces, but hard to find in the first place and general rule-of-thumb ... bring lots of ammo. The key to GLA victory would be not to only cripply enemy logictics, but to implement their own into your system, strenghtening your own assets with their power (I am less thinking simply taking their stuff over as much as unique unit unlocks and upgrades if you captured certain enemy assets). The lack of raw power in the early phases of such a match should be easily compensated by their default aptitude in stealth and mobility.
Clarifications on asset control:
Now, I wouldn't want every player being stone-set on a single thing, an airforce operator for example would here and there like to get his hands dirty with some grunt work a.k.a. frontline duty in the fields instead of shuffling around strategical forces in what would most likely feel some bit more inderect than controlling a groundforce and engaging others in the classical versus scope.
Some flexibility should be present to grant some kind of job rotation. The question would always be if someone wants to change up a bit, would others want to give up their job aswell? That is a bit of a dilemma here, but I am fairly certain people that play in such alrge teams in the first place would be teams in which such stuff should bear no more issues than say "please attack that guy for, okay?". I suppose it should be a matter of choice if people would set it on hardset/forced rotation/free rotation at the beginning of a match when playing with unknown people.
I'd like to add the possibility to grant points according to worth of assets you destroyed/captured that count towards a total score. That way matches could be limited to certain time lenghts (0:45 hours / 1.30 hours / endless, etc.) to keep those matches within a respetable MP time consumption should people choose to.
Adjustments to the OP as I think of them or when the discussion offers some interesting points.
So fellow forumites, what are your opinions?
Hear, hear, it's finally here.