After DOW3 failure. RTS fan take a big hit as another beloved franchise go down to the abyss. But I would argue that the game could have been saved, and I am not talking about big overhaul in game play mechanics. Bellow is a list of what to do (And not to do) when you design a RTS game. Remember, this is just my opinion, as a big RTS fan that have played them all.
- People don't want sudden change with their franchise. They want improvement not a big shift that no one asked for. If you want to introduce new feature, do it as an options. What I mean is Relict should not force player to play power core only. This is a bad, bad move from them. They should have annihilation classic at the very beginning, and then say "Hey guy, we have a new idea. We call it power core mode, you can try them out if you like". I believe that people will be more open mind with the mode.
- More options is always better. I believe that Relict should spend less time in design Elite and Doctrine and instead spend those time create new faction or more units. Elite is a good Idea but they take a lot of time to design, and compare to previous game where we have four factions instead of three, no wonder people feel like DOW3 is lacking in content. Elite can be added latter as a easy way to add content for the game.
- Do not, ever create a campaign like DOW3. Which switch races every mission. This is such a bad idea that no one have done before. You are playing Space marine and getting use to them then Bammm, you play as Eldar now and Bamm again, you play as Ork now. There are no time to getting use to any one faction at all.
- Active update and balance patch is a must for any game that is multiplayer focus. As we can see in the case of DOW3, people get frustrated with ranger spam and stop playing, waiting for the next balance patch. What can they do instead? Play a short and bad single player campaign?
- More is always better, you need to have healthy amount of maps, game mode, units in each race to please a wide variety of people. DOW3 have too little map, and each race have too little options for player (Because they push these options into doctrine). This reduce the player options in game which in turn bore player very fast.
- Respect the fan base and the franchise. You can experiment all you want with a new game, but a beloved franchise have many critical player that will not forgive easily. A sad reality is people don't want change, that is why there are so many 60$ remaster now a day. I do not agree with it but that how the world is. If you want to change, you have to do it smart. Do it slow and respect what already has. Do it carefully.
Above suggestion is important for any RTS game not just DOW. Hope that Relict will take time with their next game.