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Personally I've played the most of Age of Empires 2 and Age of Mythology.
I've been playing Company of Heroes and stuck my toe into Supreme Commander as well as the Dawn of War games.
Of the Total War games I have played Medieval and Medieval 2, Empire, and Rome (Rome is my favorite).
Everyone says great things about Starcraft 2 but I have yet to jump in.
I LOVE the "Myth: The Fallen Lords" series.
I am a HUGE RTS fan. If you name it very good chance I have played it. It is hard to pick a favorite as most all them bring their own little tweaks that make them better in certain aspects but worse in others.
SC2 is a very very good RTS. Even if you buy it just for single player it has a nice lengthy campaign of 30ish missions, a better than expected story which is strange for an RTS, and then the entire competitive multiplayer aspect. It is not a perfect RTS but it is probably the best all encompassing RTS on the market.
A lesser known but fun unique take on the RTS is Ground Control, and Ground Control 2. They are sort of a cross between Dawn of War and Company of Heroes. The game is about micro instead of macro, their is no base building you gain resources for killing units and controlling territory. With those resources you can call in drop ships with additional units. They are older and actually predate Dawn of War and CoH but you can still get them on GOG.
A similar game to Ground Control but takes place in the late 1980s-early 1990s real world is World in Conflict. Again no base building but instead reinforcements purchased via kills and territory control. A game I very much enjoyed, though same of that is me being a veteran.
If you dont have the expansion for Supreme Commander it is worth the price. Adds in a good number of units and twists. IMO Supreme Commander Forged Alliance is better than Supreme Commander 2. It has a much larger scale and greater variety of units.
Another game to check out is Sins of the Solar Empire, especially if you are looking for a longer more drawn out game. A large map against several AI opponents can easily take over 12 hours (not a 1 sitting game). The game is basically Home World the RTS game.
Then you of course have the Total War games. I think my go to is still Rome, maybe Medieval 2. All of them are enjoyable but these 2 have always stood out to me. very excited about Rome 2 coming out this year.
Since I cant give you 1 or 2 suggestions what I will do is tell you several games to stay away from. I would stay away from Age of Empires 3 and Online. AoE2 is the best in the series and they just went down hill from there. Do not touch Legends of Pegasus. This is more of a 4X game than an RTS but still stay away from it. It is a completely broken POS that never should have been sold. I would also stay away from Theater of War 1&2. These games are not as broken as say Legends of Pegasus, but very rough around the edges. Hard to pick up and not very rewarding. Unless you are really craving a WWII RTS best skipped. Lastly 2 other games that are not terrible but there are better places to spend your money, End War, and Universe at War. If you can get these 2 games for $3-$5 they are worth a few hours of fun, not much more than that.
Well that is my 2 cents.
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More than 2 cents I dare say!
I have a lot to check out, thanks!
I do have Forged Alliance by the way. (Thanks THQ bundle!(R.I.P. THQ))
What about the Command and Conquer series? Any experience there?
I have played most of them, I think all of them since Red Alert. With the exception of C&C Generals I am not a huge fan. I loved Generals would probably put it in a top 5 RTS list. Back in the late 90s I think the C&C games were enjoyable but I think that was mostly because we did not know any better.
In the past 10 years I think the RTS genera has changed a good bit. You have games like Dawn of War 2 and Company of Heroes which mostly abandon base building. You have Warcraft 3 which added in lots of RPG elements, SC2 which is the top dog esport. Massive expanding RTS games the take up entire solar systems....etc,etc. Well C&C is still mostly the same. Mostly the same units, built out of mostly the same buildings, requiring mostly the same resources. C&C 4 tried a few new things with their odd mobile bases that can only deploy certain units, and kudos to them for trying something new. For me though it did not work. I dont like instantly cutting the variety of units I can get by 1/2, but that is just me.
All the negativity aside, I am carefully watching the new Bioware developed C&C game that was originally Generals 2 (I think that was dropped though, now it's online or something). I would also say that the Origin bundle is worth the $30 price tag unless you already own many of the games. Unfortunately it is the only place to get some of the games as they are not sold separately.
C&C Generals is a GREAT game!
How did you like Myth? The 3rd one is the weakest of the series but still pretty good. the first 2 are BADASS.
Myth was conking out on me so I'm gonna get a copy from my friend.
I have played most RTS games but not all, and Myth is one that I have not played. In fact when you first mentioned it I thought you meant Age of Mythology.
Myth feels a bit dated, but I'm going to play through the whole game before making judgments. I do love that you can tell units to attack anything, instead of just attackable objects like in most rts's though!
Myth 2 had the original campaign ported to it and Project Magma has patched Myth 2 to running pretty well on modern systems along with a few new features that make life easier.
Ultimately, it's the physics and the storytelling that are the strengths of it.
league of legends
Eh, I've played a few MOBAs (including LoL) and haven't really enjoyed any of them.
funny even though they are originally RTS mods I dont consider them to be RTS games. There is strategy and it is real time..but...I dont know they are more team arena games than RTS.
I find LoL or Dota best when shared with a few friends, and probably a few drinks. Add in vent or teamspeak and hilarity can ensue. But that can be true for many games.
In future news 2013 may be one of the best years ever for RTS games (odd since apparently it is a dead genera). We have SC2 HOTS coming out in a few weeks. Later this year Rome 2, Company of Heroes 2, and then the kickstarter that clearly draws from Total Annihilation; Planetary Annihilation. Those are just the ones we currently know about, who knows we may get even more than that.