My favorite RTS of all time is Warcraft III. Like most products from Blizzard, the storyline is fantastic. The cut scenes are movie-quality and the setting is just plain cool. I love that they strive for a cartoon-version of reality. It makes the characters look really great.
Warcraft III, however, IS NOT the perfect RTS.
Here is what the perfect RTS game should have.
- Great story (Warfraft III has this)
- Awesome cut scenes (Warcraft III has this. Some people skip all cut scenes. They are missing out on some cool stuff)
- Nice graphics (not the end-all-be-all of a game for me, but Warcraft III does have this)
- Every character should have a randomly generated name. (Close Combat from Microsoft had this and I loved it!)
- Every character should have some stats that are tracked (Starcraft tracks each unit's "kills". It is so cool to know who the baddest marine in your army is - and it adds some poignancy when a Zerg eats him)
- Every unit shoud be able to fight a little (Warcraft III had the Peons that could fight if they were "rallied" but everyone should be able to fight, even if they are ineffectual in doing so)
- Elevation should come into play (Warhammer games have done this)
- Game should have awesome main characters (Warcraft III does this)
- There should be a handful of main characters (Lord of the Rings RTS games have done this)
- You should be able to promote highly effective units to "heroes" (Medieval: Total War does this)
- Characters should be able to get magic items (Warcraft III has this as do many other games)
- Heroes should be of multiple classes like warriors, bards, wizards (Age of Legends did this)
- Units should be able to go into and out of structures (Close Combat did this)
- The setting should be immersive (Warcraft III has this)
That is a short list that would get a lot of RTS games closer to perfection. Warcraft III, one of the best selling games of all time, has most of my list. Maybe someone will get closer to the full list. If so, I'll be playing (and I think about a 4 million other people would to)