Right so after letting Ashes sit on the shelf for quite a while I recently picked it back up (I'm a founder anyway so I get it all ) with Escalations and took a look at the current state of it. Here are my 2 cents from my highly biased own point of view.
The strategic zoom is a wonderful feature and I'm glad you backed down on the resistance to it. I remember in the early days that this was a big discussion which always ended with "Ashes is not that kind of game" etc. Its addition is a blessing.
Also a lot more unit variety and upgradeable buildings make for a much more varied gameplay experience.
Whats interesting is that the Steam store page list these things as "expert features" which is really laughable. Who came up with that idea? Is today really the age where having something thats not a MOBA is too much for new players and every feature the strategy genre has brought forth that enhanced it is labeled "expert" ... Seriously even starcraft I had upgradeable buildings .... That's hardly an expert feature.
By that logic Sins of a Solar empire is a massively expert game since it has Unit abilities, strategic zoom and upgrades ( tech tree)!
But back to the state of Ashes.
I do still find that there are some non-intuitive things about the game that don't really make sense to me.
For instance. Why can I not give turrets attack commands. Lets say I have an enemy unit I want dead for whatever reason. I can not give my turrets the command to make that happen. Its even worse for artillery posts where you want to be able to snipe specific units or even buildings. However they can only auto target.
I had a match quite recently where I had artillery posts before the enemy did. They then shot the enemies units but while they were doing that the enemy finished their artillery posts killing mine off before they were able to kill theirs. I desperately tried to target them but the posts would not oblige. I even spawned an emergency turret right next to the Artillery posts but it shot at an aircraft circling above instead of at the real danger right next to it.
Also artillery posts are completely unable to target in non-radar fog of war. Even though I see that a building is there. This doesn't make any sense to me as any commander that had knowledge of there being something there should be able to just attack.
Also ground attack for artillery is something that should really be considered as an option.
That being said there is no real good way to defend against artillery either other than being first at building it. Since there is no way to shield your troops while marching towards it they just get slaughtered if the enemy is able to put up a medium amount of resistance.
Strategic bombers do work somewhat though. So those definitely get an approval even though they might be a bit OP but thats true of most games where they exist that I know of.
The next point is:
Why do captured Turinium generators produce VPs while they are not connected to the Nexus. This doesn't seem to make a lot of sense as this connection is a necessary requirement for resource transfer but not for it seems VPs.
Looking at the way competitive ranked play works right now it still requires a lot of micro (which explicitly was stated as something Ashes wanted to get rid of) at least in the early stages. I wonder how this could be countered but I don't see a good way that won't also break the pacing and make those games last longer (which might not be bad actually).
What happened to those? I've seen Brad's post recently about a call to modders to give him a personal call. But what exactly is so damn hard about just releasing them to the public? I mean its not like people are going to lynch you just because they aren't the best yet. Having something to work with would make a lot of people happy I'd venture.
I feel this is still an issue even though much less so than it was over a year ago. I sometimes still get units jumping around / not dying and then suddenly dying a couple of seconds later when "something" made the game catch up. Its most likely not my internet connection as that sits idling around most of the time. However I do feel that Ashes uses asynchronous updates instead of a concurrent sim thread model which might account for these glitches ( which are really annoying as they happen more frequently with more units on the field ).
Those still feel sortof useless/broken. Especially since sometimes the support units will hang out in the back while they would be needed at the front. The end result seems similar to just selecting all units and sending them to the front. The only real nice feature is being able to order more units to that group from the factory.
All being said Ashes has matured quite a lot but I wanted to give some more pointers to put it in the (what I feel) right direction. Maybe the playerbase right now doesn't even consider the things I listed as problems or feels differently and I would welcome a discussion about the current state (this is a forum after all). I do also have sometimes strong opinions on topics like this. But then again I do like strategy games a lot and I always yearn for good ones in my eyes
My personal wishlist, i.e. what would I like to see next (for now):
- Give us shields or something to counter artillery with thats not just strat bombers.
- Make ranked matches have larger maps where it actually makes sense to build dreadnoughts. Looking at a lot of videos by high ranked competitive players those matches seem to rarely progress beyond cruisers.
- Release the mod tools to the public, also those for UI modding.
- Make the UI display what factory is depleting how much of my resources on mouseover or on select. I currently have no clue which factory is draining all my resources.
- Make factories able to assist each other (i.e. like in supcom share a build queue) that really helps a whole lot as now you don't need to update every single factory if you decide to change your infinibuild queue.
- Allow armies to be set to "keep this number of units" mode where they will auto replenish to a certain number of units once they get killed off. Its much easier than to keep track of how many units of which type you have to order after a battle.
- Multi-player ranked games (2v2 or 3v3 with premade teams or solo signup)