What's your favourite RTS? Is the genre Dead?

I’m listening to episode 170, and Rob is talking about Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. They also briefly bring up how people see RTS as a dead genre… and I realised I haven’t followed it for years - despite it being one of my faves. The last game I bought was C&C 3: Tiberium wars (for the second time when I bought a PC.) I still play that sometimes. I’ll probably buy Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak when its price drops.

I presume the genre died down due to most gamers preferring consoles, and I never found console ports of RTS worked at all. But seeing I’m out of touch I’m wondering what people class as the best!?

For me it’s probably C&C 3: Tiberium wars (I don’t know if that was popular or not). But maybe that’s because its all I manage to play these days (skirmish). Love WarcraftIII, and AoE II. Even Age of Mythology!

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Probably sacrilege to the PC players but…

It’s really good okay?


I love Pikmin 2… all of them in fact. I never considered it an RTS, but I guess it is. Good call! I don’t think I evr finished it though - it got really tough near the end. I hope they release Pikmin 3 for switch :slight_smile:

I don’t think RTSes are dead, but the old Starcraft/Warcraft style is pretty much dead (outside of Starcraft 2 and Remastered of course, which are both still doing very well.)

But this year alone we’ve gotten games like They Are Billions and Northgard which are both RTSes doing pretty different and cool things. Northgard in particular is pretty fantastic, and They Are Billions will probably get there some day.

My favourite overall RTS is definitely Starcraft 2. It’s story wasn’t as good as Starcraft but I can’t go back to the way SC plays over 2, I just love the quality of life improvements too much. The co-op stuff they added in the last expansion is great fun too. I also loved C&C3 at the time, Kane’s Wrath in particular was the RTS that got me into playing RTS multiplayer.

O Northgard looks cool. Something I’ll definitely check out if the price drops.

The buildings from it remind me of Banished. That’s an awesome game, although after 15 or so hours I felt I got all I needed out of it. Was fun while it lasted though.

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The last RTS I loved was Total Annihilation. I’ve tried going back to it, but it’s tough (I own Planetary Annihilation but never installed it)

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I’ve never really taken to traditional RTS games. Multitasking basebuilding and map exploration/fighting in real time is overwhelming and feels draining, even when I win.

I really like the few Real Time Tactics games that are out there, though, like Dawn of War 2 and Shadow Tactics.

PA isn’t TA but it’s… some of the quality of life you’d want going back to a TA or SupComm game. It makes it extremely hard to go back to those earlier games once you’re used to eg area commands in PA. I’m not sure they got the balance of the tech trees quite right (even in the Titans expandalone version - I don’t play or watch competitive so wouldn’t know about the balance at the top end but the general feel of the tree doesn’t quite capture TA) but it’s fun to jump through some vs AI games and feel like you’re getting a modern retelling of the TA style. (TA is probably my most played RTS - years of it being the RTS at our LANs and other gatherings means we played a lot of it over the years.)

While there isn’t a campaign, the solo game is basically using the roguelike-like structure to give you a fun stroll through a series of skirmishes. You start out with only the most basic tech and each battle adds a choice from some randomly picked new tiers when you win so you slowly unlock all the tech tree through that run. I found that actually gave me as much fun as the campaign modes in the other rate-based economy games - those games never really hit when dedicating funds to making a story (which never matched Blizzard cinematics or even the fun of C&C FMV) and mission design beyond just skirmish (which never got anywhere close to the inventiveness of something like the Wings of Liberty campaign). I’d love to one day see a rate-based economy game that really managed to compete in those areas but as AAA RTS is currently dormant, we’ll have to wait for the next cycle.

People have been writing articles about whether the RTS is dead basically since the RTS was invented. It’s not dead.

I have a tremendous soft spot for Eugen Systems’ line of RTS games, although unfortunately their online fanbase is incredibly toxic, the games themselves are excellent.

OP, Deserts of Kharak was very good and I think you’ll like it.

Here I am just waiting patiently for Warcraft IV.

I play a ton of StarCraft 2 still; it’s got a very active player base. I want to play things like Deserts of Kharak or Grey Good, or even Company of Heroes (which I have installed atm) but every time I feel like playing an RTS, I kinda just default to SC2 because it’s familiar to me and I don’t have to learn a whole bunch of systems. Also still a big fan of Age of Empires; I go back to AoE2 and 3 from time to time. I don’t have any interest in AoE 1’s remaster though. I think 2 improved on 1 in almost every way possible, and 3 is different enough but still enjoyable that I will play both 2 and 3.

I downloaded Planetary Annihilation but just couldn’t get into it… Perhaps partly due to the unit and building design/graphics, I just got board interacting with them.

Funny talking about TA… it reminds me of other RTS’s coming out at the time, like KKnD comes to mind.

I remember thinking in the early days of iPad, that it could spark a resurgence in the genre. I bought Red Alert for it… too bad it was terribly executed!

There is a really good discussion about the RTS genre in this episode of Three Moves Ahead. The thing with the RTS genre for me is that I am bad at doing the clicks per minute required for multiplayer, and I feel like that is what is focused on for many RTS games. I like playing the single player campaigns for the Warcraft games and for Starcraft 1, but by the time I got around to Starcraft II Heart of the Swarm I was so disappointed by the story that I couldn’t finish it.

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I really liked Grey Goo but my favorite has to be Star Wars Empire at War just because it’s what got me into the genre.

Rise of Nations is often overlooked because it’s very similar to Age of Empires but I always liked it more just because it had a doomsday clock where everyone lost if people used too many nukes. Thought it was an interesting tactic where if you had a feeling you were going to lose you might as well take everyone else with you by trying to finish the clock up.

Original War is another RTS I think everyone forgot about and I don’t know if it still holds up but I really liked the premise behind it with all the time travel stuff.


Wow, I totally wanna play SW EaW! Didn’t know about it. It has good reviews on steam too.
I tried Rise of Nations, but I think at the time I was more excited about 3D RTS, live Dawn of War and C&C Generals.

Speaking of which, did people like Generals? I thought It was pretty neat as an RTS (albeit pretty racist and cliche), but just unfortunate it had the C&C label… I don’t think a sudden change to the universe was smart, but it was a fun game in its own right

Age of Mythology was what I and my friends put far and away the most multiplayer time in to. The way the god-powers interacted with the different play styles for each faction created more possibilities for me than I saw in other RTSes at the time. It helped that you didn’t need quite as high APM to be competitive as demanded by Starcraft. We played a decent amount of Rise of Nations as well, but Age of Mythology was the consistent favorite.

I also played a lot of Starcraft online or on LAN when it first came out in the summer of 1998 and then on and off all the way to Starcraft 2’s release, but much more sporadically.

And rounding out the list of good online RTS memories is Myth: The Fallen Lords. Such a different pace from the others, but still swung between breakneck chaos and slow contemplation within its scale.

Haven’t had a game capable computer in years, and I really miss playing strategy games. I’m no good at naming favourites, but Company of Heroes is one of those games I can find myself thinking about for no reason at all. It’s brilliant. The way the battles change the maps. Artillery making craters you can use for cover. Infantry building sandbags and minefields. I really loved playing it slow. Something cozy about all the little details.

Can’t quite say what new game I would feel like playing today, but there doesn’t seem to be a lack of them even if the big publishers aren’t that concerned with the genre anymore.

I’m always sad that people never seem to have played the original Ground Control. IMO it was way ahead of its time in terms of QOL things like squad based control, units that gain xp and skills over a campaign, and reinforcements rather than base building micro management. And for a 3D game released in 2000 the graphics and scale were amazing. I’m still bummed that the sequel was trash and was clearly written for an expansion pack that never came.

Edit: wiki states that it’s a RTT (tactics) so not totally appropriate

I love Dawn of War 1 and 2 (haven’t played 3), Company of Heroes, and Warcraft 3. Warcraft 3 holds a special place in my heart as a World of Warcraft fan, but I think Company of Heroes is the “best” of these - it’s so well designed and smart. I adore having the big map show up at the beginning of a mission with marks on it showing fronts and stuff. It’s such a fascinating and smart and cool game.