Dear Mark Skaggs, dear Red Alert 3 developer team.
The United-Forum is one of the largest Command & Conquer message boards with almost 6,000 Users – mostly being big fans of the Command & Conquer series, active players in ladders, leagues or tournaments. Since you have announced Red Alert 3 to us a while ago, we thought it would be a good time to send you our ideas, wishes and critics. We’re hoping that we might be able to take a little influence on Red Alert 3 – making it another great game in the Command & Conquer series. Everything following was collected in our Red Alert 3 Forum and other Threads trough out the board.
First of all the wishes concerning the game in general. We’re all hoping for classical elements being brought back into the game. This especially concerns an interesting and well structured single player story with video clips including the well know characters from Red Alert 1 and 2. Close related to this is the music – Frank Klepackie did a great job in the past, we would be glad to have typical Red Alert songs like “hellmarch”, because they did built up a very special atmosphere. Second import item is the gameplay. It’s influenced by many factors, such as the camera perspective. Being able to scroll away from the battlefield gives you a better overview and therefore ability for more and faster decisions, resulting in a faster and therefore more interesting gameplay. Many users also listed the build-menu as very important. Generals had a Warcraft III like menu at the bottom of the screen – we would prefer the classical Command & Conquer menu at the right side of the screen, because it was easier to build structures and units in a short amount of time. Another small, but important, detail are the recourses. Generals used fixed supplies, once again we would love to see the classical style again – ore and diamantes growing around certain places, forcing the player to regularly expand his base to new ore fields.
Another big concern were the fractions. We’re not hoping for to many. Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn / Sun have set good examples that less often is more. There are dozens of other wishes, some often named ones were water units, mobile construction vehicle and no limit in the number of units.
Adding to the general wishes and concerns we had many ideas, wishes and critics about the multiplayer and the support. You did have many very good systems before; we can’t understand why you threw them away. Just to name a few: Westwood Online Ladder System with clan support, easy to use lobbies, and a comfortable in-game communicator. Generals and Lord of the Rings (already!) show lack in long term multiplayer support. In order to make Red Alert 3 to an attractive game for “pro-gaming” regular bug & balance fixes are essential. Don’t just watch the general statistics as in generals (win percentage, etc), but also listen to the top players. A close contact with top ranked clans of leagues and tournaments would be great! Generals was not a good example for your support – even though it definitely had the potential of becoming a long term well accepted game in leagues and tournaments. eSport events such as the “World Cyber Games” won’t consider a game if it is unbalanced and buggy. Tournaments and leagues, such as the ESL and our own tournament platform, the United-Battlezone, had to ban the infantry general, because no further balance action taken by you. We’re very lucky that a team of fans decided to make the tool “ACETON” which includes a balance mod (and fixes many of the, as I assume, for you known bugs – see attached changes.txt file for more information) – of course this can’t be a solution for further games, because everyone preferably would play with the official game version. The mentioned tool “ACETON” also touches on the next points of concerns for Red Alert 3: cheats. There have always been and always will be cheats, no matter what. It would be very important to implement functions in the game to detect cheats (see “ACETON”) and then, if detected warn / ban the users CD key from online-gaming for a limited amount of time. Looking at games like Warcraft III we, the fans, don’t accept such a week anticheat support as in Generals / Zero Hour. The following point already has been discussed at time of Red Alert 2 – why not set up a separate balance / bug support team? There must be a way for long term support.
We look forward to Red Alert 3 exited, but also with the worries, listed above. Please take us, the online community and the long age Command & Conquer fans serious and work on making Red Alert 3 to an adequate part of the Command & Conquer series, using its full potential.
If we can help you with any other feedback at any time, feel free to ask us.
Best wishes to the entire team,