I’m curious-- for those of you that don’t like (quality) real time strategy games such as Warcraft III, C&C Generals, and Age of Mythology-- why not? For my money, nothing is more fun then building a bunch of stuff and making it fight.
It’s not that the genre doesn’t have obvious pitfalls, because it certainly does. Some of the obvious ones are the eventual emergence of the single uber-strategy (see Command and Conquer), and an overemphasis on economy (read: outbuilding your opponent) winning wars instead of actual tactics (see Total Annihilation, and to a lesser extent, Age of Mythology). However, as long as those two faults aren’t present, I can’t imagine not enjoying a RTS game.
What I enjoy most about RTS games is that they work on a number of levels simultaneously. There’s a ton of strategy in simply choosing what to build and where to build it. And then of course, there’s how you use your forces-- stealth, indirection, counter-attacks, splitting forces, flanking, strategic retreats, etcetera. I also enjoy some aspects of managing economy, in that good players should never leave money on the table and always make sure they’ve secured additional resources as necessary to support their army. Anyway, it’s engaging (even “fun”) to multitask by attempting to all of these problems at once.
Games like Myth without the building aspect of a RTS game don’t appeal to me very much. They certainly have the tactics down, but they lack the additional overarching layer of complexity that resource management and unit/building selection and construction provides. I like being able to lose a battle and rebuild my army to better reflect the enemy’s weaknesses. In a game like Myth, if you chose your army poorly or you can’t manage your army well, you’re screwed. In a conventional RTS at least you have options other than utter defeat in thise situations. For example, you could turtle up and grab a bunch more resources.
The ultimate game, for me, would be the macro-level tactics in RTS combined with the micro-level tactics of a FPS. Multiplayer, of course, where both the units and commanders are all real people.