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Thread: Turtle?
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:43 PM
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Darvin Darvin is offline
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In RTS, there's been a long-standing tradition of being a glorified game of rocks-paper-scissors. Pikes > cavalry > swordsman > pikes, for instance. Well, the same thing applies to turtling;

Turte > Rush > Boom > Turtle

Like anything, the game comes down to boring rocks-paper-scissors if this is a mutually exclusive notion. It's not; instead, much as you build an army that contains a balance of pikes, cavalry, and swordsman, your strategy should encompass some combination of turtle, rush, and boom. This adds depth to the game while keeping the behavior of the game logical (after all, no one is going to turtle if a good rush will beat you anyways)

I feel that "pure" turtling should be suicide. If you choose to simply sit in base and refuse to participate in the other aspects of the game, I should have several options to gain a more powerful economy than you and then crush you a few minutes from now. In this sense, turtling on its own should not be viable, it should be used as part of a larger strategy.

I'd like to elaborate on the above to show why the game must be this way. In many ways, all strategy comes down to cost and risk versus gain. How much does it cost to undertake a strategy, how risky is the strategy, and how much do I gain through its success? Going out and fighting battles is risky, hence to encourage actual battles (otherwise the game would be boring) there must be some benefit to doing so that is appropriate to the level of risk. If you choose to hide in base and refuse to fight me, I gain all that benefit without ever having to take the risk or expend any cost in doing so. I have gained a massive advantage by default. Clearly if there is to be any reasonable benefit for fighting early-game field battles over resources, pure turtling is suicide, since that will just give your opponent a free victory.

I'm sure the AI will be stupid enough that you can turtle and get away with it (most AI's are quite stupid, relying on cheats or exploiting common newbie mistakes to look good), but the game would be very boring multiplayer if this was totally viable. While the idea of building a castle and then having someone try to tear it down is an interesting game mode, in a RTS where both players are simultaneously battling over land and resources it makes for slow and boring gameplay.