After 30 years of playing RTS games, I have realized something about myself: I don't like story-based RTS campaigns.
To be clear, I love many elements of the RTS genre:
I like building, commanding, and upgrading tiny units.
I like building bases, and the pressure of withstanding hordes of attacking enemies.
I like developing strategies for which unit combinations work best against other unit combinations.
I like the type of RTS meta-game where you conquer zones in a world map, pioneered by Dune II and later reimagined by Dawn of War: Dark Crusade.
I even like the theatrical and grimdark stories told by the Warhammer 40,000 games.
However, what I don't like are campaign missions where a story is told through scripted events on an RTS map, where you move a small group of units around, learning to use their abilities, defending bases, rescuing units.
I don't like that many of the missions boil down to right clicking on the map and activating abilities once in a while. Come to think of it, this is basically the gameplay of action RPGs like Diablo. Why is controlling a single unit with a mouse and activating abilities with timeouts fun in Diablo-likes and not in RTSes? I think games like Diablo keep your attention by leveling up your character and giving you more power as you play, making earlier enemies easier to defeat, and enabling using new weapons. When you remove this element, there is just not enough left to keep it interesting.
Also, a hero unit in most RTSes is not as sofisticated as an action RPG character, it usually has less abilities, and less responsive control.
Most story-based RTS campaigns don't reinvent the wheel, but fall back on these types of missions pioneered by games like StarCraft. Many players seemed to enjoy this type of campaign in 1998, and RTS developers retained these tropes since.
I don't enjoy playing this type of campaign anymore, and I might resign to just focusing on skirmish modes, where you just play matches against AI enemies.
I own this, and completely forgot about it. I need to play it soon.
I just finished the first story mission of this game. It works well enough, even though I think I prefer earlier Dawn of War games.
I won my first skirmish on casual difficulty, Space Marines vs. Orks. My pulse is pounding, this game is as stressful as the original Dawn of War. I like moving down Orks with Dreadnoughts and Predators, but I think I prefer the simplicity of the original game.