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So, this is a "how to mix concepts and still remain playable" type of question, with concepts being the real-timeness of Age of Empires and waiting-time-dependency of Ikariam.

What I mean?

What I mean by waiting-time-dependency is: In Ikariam, once you send your troops out there for war, you can just log-off, because there is nothing you can do besides calling them back mid-journey. The only thing that prevents you from sending troops all over the place in 5 minutes and raiding everything is the time required for sending your troops over to enemy city and leaving your city undefended for the time being.

What I mean by real-timeness is: Simply everything happens in real time and your opponent can see it too. You send your troops, you decide which path they will take, you decide who they will attack, and you basically can micro-controll everything (except for wo-lo-lo-lo, yeah...).

What is the problem?

The problem begins when you try to merge these concepts. The reason first concept works is, no mater if you are online or not, you cannot controll anything happening in the battlefield, it is basically an auto-resolve battle with results being delivered after a waiting time. So you don't have to sit in front of computer for 1 hour and wait for the beginning of the battle, you can simply log-out.

But if you make the battles real-time, then player must be present in game at the time of battle to control his troops. There comes two possibility: Either player must sit in front of the computer whole time, or he must set some kind of an alarm to open his game at the time of the beggining of the battle.

Neither of the options are fun.

So what do you suggest? What can be a great mixture of two concepts?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This question is very subjective. You could just add a fast forward feature to your game. \$\endgroup\$ – jgallant Oct 5 '16 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you want both players to be present to fight the battle or would it be OK when only one player has control and the other is AI controlled? \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Oct 5 '16 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK so you want a trash "strategy" game like Ikariam with RTS battles. It's simple, you need that both players are online, or one of them will face an IA or it will be an automatic battle. There's no other solution. \$\endgroup\$ – DH. Oct 5 '16 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Gentlemen please put your answers as answers down below. @Philipp I really don't prefer one over another right now, I want to know what you gentlemen think about what could be better in terms of playability and entertainment. \$\endgroup\$ – S. Tarık Çetin Oct 5 '16 at 14:30
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In a real-time game played over multiple days, any real-time interaction can only happen between two players who are online right now. When you have a time-delayed interaction between two players, then you can't expect that the other player will be present when that time is up. People have a life outside of your game, and you should really avoid punishing players who prioritize work, family, friends and sleep over your game. That means you can't have time-delayed player-vs-player realtime combat.

But what you could do is time-delayed player-vs-ai combat.

When the army of a player reached the enemy, they could set up a camp on the overworld-map and wait for the controlling player to log back in and order the attack. The attack will then play out as RTS combat on a regional map with the troops of the defender controlled by the AI. In most RTS systems, an AI will usually be much worse than a skilled human player. So to make sure that the defending player doesn't feel at a disadvantage, the result of losing should not be too harsh for the defender. No player should ever feel like they lost something important because they got screwed by the AI.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I really like the "camping outside" idea. It can even be merged with auto-resolve mechanic with a maximum camping duration. \$\endgroup\$ – S. Tarık Çetin Oct 5 '16 at 15:18
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I would put both option available: the battle can be auto-managed without having any of the players logged online but one player can log at any moment and take lead and action on the battle giving him an advantage on the AI of the other army.

If a user wants to take the lead on a battle started as auto-managed, the user will be able to do any actions only 10min after asking for manually control his army. In the meantime, a mail is sent to the opposent to allow him to log in time to manually control his army as well.

I always wished to be able to control my team in football manager time to time and let the AI do its job the other times.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It would frustrate the heck out of me when I would log into my private email account after a workday, see a ton of "take control of your army RIGHT NOW" email spam and then find that I am already far too late and lost everything because the AI screwed it up for me. I would also get extremely angry at those people who attack me in the middle of the night because they know I will be sleeping and unable to take control. It's a common design mistake for web-based multiplayer games to assume that your players will be able and willing to interact with your game 24/7. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Oct 5 '16 at 15:07

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