It's an afternoon, I might have had a drink or two, but I was kicking around a few ideas that have been floating around in my head. I want to share, and maybe get a proper discussion going.
Doctrines have really been an issue for me in my enjoyment of the game, I made a fairly in depth post about it here. https://community.dawnofwar.com/discussion/13479/real-talk-about-doctrines-and-elites-relic#latest Read it, don't read it, its only here for context.
I personally like a lot of control in any game I play. I don't like "riding on rails" as the term goes and its kinda dawned on me a bit that my issue with doctrines goes a bit deeper into the game proper, let me take the time to explain.
In most RTS's that I've played there is very little that you don't have in your control. Typically the only thing you can't have direct control over is where you start on a map that has more than 1 set of spawn points. Your economy, your units, how you grow your economy, how you get information about your adversary, all of these things are pretty much always directly in user control and you can choose to pursue or ignore them at your own detriment. No matter what you choose though you can feel like the win or loss was your own making.
Doctrines as described in that earlier thread I don't like for the sheer reason there is absolutely no counter play to them at all. You choose yours, your opponent chooses theirs, that information is telegraphed before the match starts and then they are concrete, unmoving changes to the gameplay. Absolutes if you will.
I'm beginning to realize that its not just doctrines that's adding to this, even if they are the worst offender of it in my opinion. You don't really have control over your own economy. I mean you do to a degree, but escalation phases take a fairly measurable amount of your economy out of your hands. You still need resource points, and nodes because they help but there is just something that feels like so much of that is also out of your control. You don't get to dictate when the phases hit, they are on a timer, each phase alters not just the resource refund, but collection of resources in total. I don't enjoy that at all, it sucks me right out of the game when I don't feel like I'm at the helm of my own ship. I know, poor analogy but I'll blame the booze.
Map size is next, it feels restrictive in how you approach each map. I don't fully understand the decision to make them so small, when the above escalation phases felt like they were introduced to slow the pace of the game down. I mean if you aren't getting the full benefit of your resource nodes until 30 minutes into the game, why not have maps that are large enough that lets you as the player decide to either rush points, or head off into a no mans land section of the map to spring an ambush. DoW1 had some large maps, DoW2 didn't but the smaller maps fit the gameplay of DoW2 at least from my point of view with the lack of base building and heavier rpg elements. Still I feel the overall map size, even for the larger 3v3 maps feels claustrophobic. At least in DoW3.
Information is last. Now not all of the information is completely taken out of your hands, troop movement across the map, being able to see where your opponent is heading without him realizing that you know ahead of time has always been a good mechanic in any healthy RTS, and I'm glad its here. However you can't get anywhere near a base to see buildings, to see how fast your opponent is teching, without taking a nearly surefire gamble on getting a unit killed to get a peek, and you aren't even guaranteed to get the info you are after. I guess this was done to avoid a typical rush offense? I don't know, but that's what it feels like, especially with the power core mode. I'd much prefer dealing with a rush (all in) strategy with a well balanced turtle tech counter, but its kinda a pain to balance because you want initial engagement with the rush to swing on player skill as the pendulum and not one of those 2 strategies being stronger than the other. Throw doctrines into that and its even a bigger pain to balance because if you balance around no doctrines, just one of them could easily tip that balance one way or the other because of how they are present at all times once the game starts (Except you IWWG, you were so OP you were forced into a timing)
Overall when I play, starting with the doctrines, and then working through each game I feel like I'm in line at an amusement park. That the design of the game ships me as a player down cattle runs, more than enough space to walk down but confined to a set path none the less with very few options along the way. I feel restricted, and not in complete control of my own game. Which quickly finds me bored, because I'm walking the same path again, and again, and again ad nauseum.
That's me, and my experience. Fairly confident I finally nailed down where my boredom and frustration comes from, at least in a much more focused way than I had previously.
I encourage all those here, those that play and those that don't to do the same. If you are unsure, jump into a game objectively, and play as you normally would, but be aware of how you are feeling as you play. Focus more on where you find yourself frustrated, or elated, and as soon as you sense your mood change try to analyze what it is going on in the game that's put you into that mood. Don't let your emotions color the experience, but instead use them like an auspex (I know right? Lore cuts so deep that you are currently bleeding out and don't even know it) to really nail down the portions of the game that are super satisfying that need to stay, and the parts of the game you hate.
I know its going to be different for everyone, which is why I encourage you to share in this thread those experiences. Maybe we'll start finding some reoccurring themes.