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Some lessons from VIP Beta …

The beta has been over for more than a week now, and we have been busy processing the forum & survey feedbacks. Today, we would like to share those results with you: what went right and what went, well, less right … We won’t detail each and every point, but focus on the most pronounced stats to give you a general overview of what lessons we have learned from this VIP beta.

777 beta testers (so far) have filled and sent back the form, which for such an event is a pretty good score. The statistics given below are based on that number. 



Some lessons from VIP Beta …


But first, here is a snapshot of you, people.

The overwhelming majority (90%) of beta testers is 18+ years old, with half of you being even 25+ years old. Only under 5% of you are new to or unfamiliar with RTS, with over half (55%) styling themselves as a RTS reincarnation of Sun Tzu (expert).

As was to be expected, about two third (63%) of the testers are familiar with or veterans from our Wargame series, yet there are still 15% of newcomers whom had never played any of this series’ installments.



Now, let’s consider the main issues emerging from that survey.

Zoom level

The zoom level drew most of the fire, with either the camera being considered as set too low, either the vehicles & buildings being too big. One point though, is that the most adamant ones against the zoom are (as we expected) mostly Wargame veterans, used to the unconstrained IrisZoom.

The zoom level was set that way to match the combat range, and for the sake of visibility. With some people already complaining about the readability of infantry units, we can’t raise the zoom much further. Nonetheless, we are working on some alternate solutions to improve that aspect:

  • downsizing some of the biggest buildings.
  • improving the readability of the minimap.
  • improving the satellite view. 

Resources networks

While the three-resources economic system (plus banks & electricity) was validated, one particular facet of it was poorly received: the break-up of resources between different bases/networks. And consequently, the need for one to generate supply lines between main and secondary bases to supply one with a specific missing resources.

The great majority of testers (65%) never or seldom created a secondary network, nor considered the concept of managing multiple networks with their own resources interesting. We thought it would bring more depth to the game, but were aware it could be a risky move. That is why we wanted to put it to the test in this beta. 

It might have to do with the lack of feedbacks explaining how it works, but we are nonetheless acknowledging the massively negative opinion, and will remove that aspect.

Some lessons from VIP Beta …

Pace of the game

Although a bit more than half the testers considered the pace as well balanced, the survey revealed some issues about it. General pace of the game is regarded as OK by about 55% of testers, while the rest is evenly split between “too fast” and “too slow“! What could be the reason of such a clear-cut rift?

If we look more closely into the specifics, it appears that a good part of the testers, even if not the majority, consider the pace of combat as too fast. And on the other hand, the pace of economic income is seen as too slow, with the durability of resources fields, considered too short, being the main gripe. 

We think this is the reason for such diverging opinions  about the general pace. We will work on balancing the combat and economy ones more finely in order to improve the general pace of the game.

Some lessons from VIP Beta …
Some lessons from VIP Beta …


If a majority of testers considers the air strikes ergonomics OK, the same was not true about air combat and planes behavior ingame. Both have received mediocre reviews in terms of planes’ speed, size, dogfight, …

We acknowledge the feedbacks and will rework our copy on that matter.


… or the lack of them. Well, it doesn’t come as a surprise for, as we forewarned in the disclaimer, we knew we will have to work on that before release although maybe not as much as this beta revealed.

Therefore, improvements on that aspect are a given.



Everything isn’t dark and gloomy, this beta also provided us with clear confirmation that we were on the right track about most of the game’s core mechanics.

Overview & ratings

From our point of view, as a mean of test and validation (or not), the beta was a success: the level of attendance was high and remained steady all over the week-end, and the netcode hold up well. Although there are always some who encountered major technical issues, those were a rare instance.

Ratings have been very good, with over 75% of the testers giving it at least a mark of 7/10, more than 50% one of 8/10 or more, and more than 25% one of 9/10 or more. Which rates Act of Aggression as our most successful beta so far …

Resources system

Apart from the income pace mentioned earlier, the overall resources systems was endorsed by a large majority of the testers, with the three different resources receiving 70% of positive review, the need to harvest them and to create supply lines ~75%, their random location and the need to survey for them ~80%,

The alternate income mechanism brought by the banks also received ~80% of positive review.

The need to produce electricity to sustain your own base, and the ability to cripple your opponent’s by striking at his generators before a full-scale was also voted in by more than 90% of testers. 


The three maps presented with the beta have been validated by the testers, with all three receiving a majority of positive votes, between 70 and 90% depending on the question asked, with usually the quantity of resources on the map being the weak point.

Tech tree

Finally, with 80 to 90% positive reviews, and about half the testers even giving the best mark, the buildings and units tech trees and upgrades received a clear validation!

Some lessons from VIP Beta …
Some lessons from VIP Beta …


  • Peachtree Gaming
    May 26, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Nice write-up! I look forward to the release!

  • Nick Chen
    May 26, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    One of the questions I most appreciated in the beta survey was whether we felt that the game was innovative. Keeping the prisoner capture and use of banks as a resource from Act of War was one of the most innovative features in the game. Would have loved however a prisoner capture 2.0 considering that Act of War is about ten years old!

    As a humble suggestion a prisoner capture 2.0 would expand on the use of non-lethal weapons and show the animations in detail to add a greater level of immersion. Key to that immersion also is the use of getting the camera down to a 3rd person over the shoulder perspective. Also a prisoner capture 2.0 would allow for the creation of a prisoner building where your units could get a bonus for raiding the enemy prison and rescuing your captured soldiers/pilots. Lots of coding for this suggestion, but I think this would add immensely to the game.

    Another suggestion would be to bring back the ability for ground troops to go prone and also to get a damage bonus if they are in ambush position. Also nice would be to add bonus points for hitting enemy tank flanks and even greater bonus points/damage modifiers for hitting the rear of a tank.

    Yet I don’t want to leave my comments with the impression that the game is not something I look forward too. Please keep that love of cool weapons as a key feature in your games as I think they not only make for more fun gameplay, but also properly implemented can greatly increase the innovation in the RTS genre. Loved Act of War and STILL play it after all these years. Would loved to have seen a SHIELD 2.0 for the US ; )

    Thanks Eugen for letting me participate and for your dedication in making great RTS games!

    • bluuurrrr
      May 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      The innovation question was awful. The question was I believe “Did we innovate enough”. There was no response for “You over did it”. Essentially the only two answers were “Yes” and “Do More”. I’ve seen this song and dance far too many times. Developers falling over themselves to “innovate” without thinking about the impact it will have on the game. There are ways to do it – and then there are ways that add nothing to the game but boring complexity and frustration.

    • Pablo
      May 27, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      I agree with your ideas, some improvements on that would have been pretty cool, and something special in comparison to other RTS Games. 😉

  • Kozzmozz
    May 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks for the interesting read!

    I really like this game and we are very hyped for its release. You made a game for c&c fans, as we (c&c fans from 1995) instantly fell in love with it, it shows you guys are spot on about this. On the forums you see other c&c fans too liking this AoA.
    I hope this game will gets the marketing and buzz it deserves, if people realises this is the spiritual next gen C&C the playerbase will come in by droves. But before that to happen…. get the hype going 😀

    P.s please do a competitive online ranking system… copy/pase Ra2/Yr online system and you are set for yrs!

  • bluuurrrr
    May 27, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Well I believe AoA will remain a niche game played by only the people who played any of the Act of War games. The resourcing is needlessly complicated and boring, the maps are far too big leading a slow and boring pace, and the emphasis on slow paced base management is quite frankly not going to excite anyone whose coming from the far larger player base that was Generals or the world of CnC.

    The large band of action RTS players will continue to wander in the desert… as AoA fails to seal the deal on what should have been a very easy conversion.

    • someone
      May 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      “complicated and boring”. is that even possible? what, you want one resource like in generals? isn’t it boring? only money money, oh and power how could i forget….

      “not going to excite anyone whose coming from the far larger player base that was Generals or the world of CnC.” you are so wrong man. go play generals or C&C plz.

      no I did not play AOW and I played lots of C&C games including generals ZH and I so gonna play this game!

    • Me
      May 27, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      You want to chance the game in all aspects, nothing is good. This game is not C&C Generals 2 and was never ment to be. I’am sure many former C&C players will buy and enjoy this game, mabye becuse C&C was killed by EA and nothing new is about to get produced. THIS is a new game alot of former AOW players AND C&C players has been looked forward to, don’t come in here and demand a totally different game!

    • Grateful Dead
      May 28, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      bluuurrrr, I agree on some of your points; others, I respectfully don’t.

      YOU SAID: “… I believe AoA will remain a niche game played by only the people who played any of the Act of War games.” DISAGREE: I think this game will target a larger audience, and bring back Generals/CnC players into the mix — especially after EA dropped the ball on Generals 2.

      YOU SAID: “The resourcing is needlessly complicated and boring,…” AGREE: The resourcing should be a secondary product. I think it is important to keep resourcing simple, and secondary to building. The tried and true method of “money” worked in CnC games. Maybe bonus money for kills on field or base expansion. The idea of differing resources to obtain tech will be a huge turn-off, except to pros.

      YOU SAID: “… the maps are far too big leading a slow and boring pace …” CLARIFICATION: I do not believe the maps are too big (using Supreme Commander as a standard for big). I think the issue is the zoom and how slow air units fly in relation to other units. They need to get the ratio realistic for the size of the map. Troops 1, vehicles 10, choppers 25, planes 75-100, AA missiles 150. I personally love large maps because it allows base building and stops the infantry/tank spamming.

      YOU SAID: “… and the emphasis on slow paced base management is quite frankly not going to excite anyone whose coming from the far larger player base that was Generals or the world of CnC.” I ABSOLUTELY AGREE!

      YOU SAID: “The large band of action RTS players will continue to wander in the desert… as AoA fails to seal the deal on what should have been a very easy conversion.” I AM NEUTRAL ON THIS POINT, BUT AGREE IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A “CONVERSION”: The way I would have stated this: “Generals and CnC3 were huge successes! Ergo, utilizing the best of say AirLand battle Iris Zoom and game GRAPHICS with the base management and resourcing of Generals/CnC3, the developers should have built on what worked — taking the best of each. Then, after the player base increased, then offer game-packs with the alternate resource management that was used in this Beta.

      Let it be known i will buy 10 of these AoA games for my friends just to support the developers for working on bringing RTS back to the top. Great effort so far, and I for one look forward to seeing the final product. And, thanks for taking all the constructive feedback and trying to incorporate it into the next iteration of the beta product.

  • Pablo
    May 27, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    I haven´t played the VIP-Beta of this Game, but i have watched some of the videos available on Youtube. What i have seen in the Videos, remembered me very much of AoW.
    And i loved to play that game when it first came out. The Campaign was big fun too and i hope they can do something similar.
    It´s nice to read that the players of the VIP-Beta have given such a good feedback to Eugen Systems, so they can improve the game.
    The graphics are very nice, but what i do not understand is…why appear the resources in the game…for example the Oil, as these many little spots and not as a proper oilwell. Is this really the only way in 2015 to show the resources on the map?? I know it´s an aesthetic thing but….come on.
    So far, i would love to play the game before release in a public beta or something like that, to give some feedback as well….i´m really looking forward to it´s release.

  • Keith Turk Jr.
    May 27, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Well, I’m a very active wargamer, I have about 2,100 multiplayer games in red dragon. So obviously, I love the way that game works, lol. I plan on buying this game too. I’m open minded and can accept that it will have a very different game mechanic. However one of the things I like most about wargame is the Iriszoom and unit labels feature. Being able to zoom out far enough to not have to rapid scroll and try to pinpoint odd places on a tiny minimap then scroll from there, is such an improvement over all the other RTS games.
    I heard that the people that complain about that the most are the previous wargame players, but that is because we have had that option before and liked it a lot.
    I enjoyed the old command and conquer series, which has a lot of the core game mechanic changes your incorporating there, but I would like to see some of those good things from wargame continued. I don’t want to play another game with no zoom out and bad size proportions like red alert 3 again. Also I can see where random resource placement could involve a metagame for resources that many people do not enjoy.
    I’ve played at least 10,000 skirmishes over the many years in command and conquer series, many of them were multiplayer, and I have seen personally just how many people like to camp out in a fortress and send forces out to fight from what they feel is a position of ‘safety’.

    If the resource meta takes away that fortress and scrambling for resources makes monitoring a large battlefield difficult with a tunnel vision view, a large percentage of players won’t succeed in gameplay and will stop playing and give your game bad marks.

    As I said, I plan on buying AoA, and I’m open minded, it doesn’t have to be the same game. And I’ll probably be good at it. But, depending on how I like AoA compared to wargame will decide which one I’ll play the most and whether or not to tell my 200 wargame friends to buy it or not.

    I would recommend doing a second quick beta test and survey with those people after your fixes, to make sure that you can those wargamers happy with your game, they are 55% of the sales, and the game addicts that clog up your servers all the time are going to be the one that recommend your game the most and keep the sales flowing.

  • Hyusein Eminov
    May 28, 2015 at 1:01 am

    I wacht some videos of vip beta, I can say from now Act of War Ht was much more better game. Why? Because I did not like soundtracks, thay are si funy. Must be something serious like in act of war. In The gameplay I didn’t like fire of the tanks there is short white line, you cant see in reality the fire of the tanks isn’t it? It should be like in act of war! And the fighter jets are very slow. Im so disappointed. Better next time just remake Act of war, name it ACT OF WAR 2. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Oskar
      May 29, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Don’t konw if complaining about soundtracks and sound effects are called for, for one, you have not played the beta and second, it was just that; a beta. If you ever played a beta before u know that sound effects often are placeholders for something else =)

      And about the planes, they know it and they surely will fix it.

      I think this game looks great, most of the thing we told them to look at again (beta feedback) will be addressed and it surely will be a worthy new “Act of war” game.

      For me and all my RTS friends this is a 100% buy on release =D

      • Hyusein Eminov
        May 29, 2015 at 12:55 pm

        I hope so, thay should chang this funny soundtracks and put somthing serious or terrifying like act of war soundtracks! I will buy this game because of respect of Act of War!!! Be carefully Eugen next time make Act of War 2 pls.

  • Sobieskis
    May 28, 2015 at 7:01 am

    What about sound effects? By saying this, I mean voice actors that provide the voice for this game. At the very moment, most of the time they sound 1) Very repetitive 2) Very cheesy or foolish – come on why helicopter pilot has to hum the Wagner’s – RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES??? Moreover rest of the voice acting sounds quite disappointing, not inspiring…

    Hope you will have time, to change something in the voice acting.

    • Hyusein Eminov
      May 29, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Sobieskis is right, the voices are so anoying, im saing to you better remake Act of war, and name it Act of War 2. 😀

  • Johannes
    August 28, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Question :
    Is the AI good enough for a player that has played RTS skirmish a few hours each week since 7 years on medium or hard? how is the AI compared to Age of Empires 2 and Rise of Nations 1 and CC Red Alert 3?
    I have not played the beta.

    Will it really be released 2 sep?

    I am a good skirmish RTS player that has played since 7 years and in some games on hard/tough.
    I just want to say thanks for that you make another game that is similar to the old Age of Empires and Rise of Nations and Red Alert 3. I have seen it much on YouTube. It doesn’t seem so innovative, but one thing that seems innovative is that you don’t have to do so much straight on trench warfare, you are able to do surprise attacks and raides behind the lines like destroying the power plants and invisible tanks and capturing banks. That should give more variety to the gameplay.
    So I will buy the game if the reviews are ok and the AI is hard enough for a experienced skirmish player. I am sure the multiplayer is good.

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