Real Time vs Turn-Based Strategy
Nowadays the games market is flooded with any type of game you can imagine. It’s possible to play musical instruments, do sport and even build cities in virtual reality. But there is still a niche for another type of games: turn-based strategy, which involves more of strategic thinking rather than quick reaction.
Example of battlefields from Heroes of Might and Magic series Haven vs Academy
Fast-paced real time games, which require quick reaction and immediate decision-making, have become extremely popular among younger generation. League of Legends, Dota 2, Star Craft 2 are well known real time strategy games, there are so many people playing them that e-sport format competitions take place every year offering high prize monetary rewards. These are also watched and followed all around the world. There is a different situation with turn-based strategy games. Just a small number of these is possible to play online, let alone arranging international competitions.
Despite of new technologies making it possible to constantly improve real time strategy games, there always be an audience that prefer turn based strategy type of games more than real time.
Turn-base strategy allows players to go at their own pace. Gameplay will never be turned into a fast action demanding vigorous mouse-clicking and reaction to speed. In this type of game you are able to pause before making a decision, it is not the test for your reaction rate. One of the main key features of this game is convenience. Without any time limits set for turns players can go for a cup of tea during the battle.
Let’s try to divide people into 2 categories: one is good at quick action and another is stronger in tactical planning. Good example of this may be two types of chess play: one is with time limit for moves and another is with unlimited thinking time. The first category of people may do well in the first type of chess play however they will be weaker against tactical-thinking opponent when the pressure for fast acting is removed.
We can also stress that being adults, taking on more responsibilities, we cannot dedicate so much time for uninterrupted gameplay. Also it is hard to compete with new generation who could play X-box before they could walk. But turn-based strategy is where we could compete with equal chances.
Heroes Of Might and Magic series
Back in 90 when people still played board games, first computer games started to appear. Those days Heroes of Might and Magic 3 was very modern, beautiful and challenging. Personal computer owners pushed black and white boring chess deeper under their beds. One map with vast amount of creatures with different abilities were like an interesting book to read, if you can make such a comparison. Players lost sense of reality deepening into a fairy tale, completely forgetting what was happening around them for several hours (sometimes dozens of hours, depending on a map size and player’s skills). Good quality music written by compositor Paul Anthony Romero made this game rare, most of the players were unlikely to switch it off.
Chess-like strategy game
Let’s get back to chess. If we look at Heroes 3 or Heroes 5 battles, there might be some dis-balance between heroes from different factions. However we feel that duel system in Heroes 5 is a good enough base for possible e-sport type tournaments.
It is not an easy task to balance 5 to 8 factions, but then again there is a Paper-Scissors-Stone element which gives players an opportunity to compete against each other in a random mode, entering a battle without knowing their own or opponent’s faction.
Heroes 5 Random Duel
Earlier this year there was a tournament in Heroes Online. Although there were some criticism about dis-balance. For example Cleric with Griffins were overpowering among other classes.
Opportunity for Game Designers
In conclusion we would like to express our belief that turn-based strategy games are a good niche for developers. Although the market is dominated by real time strategy games, with more work put towards development of turn-base strategy, together with design and balancing, there are opportunities in this area.
Watch more about Might & Magic Heroes series: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUd5KBA6wlcZdixOzD7AMzQ