Hello. I don't write to much on these forums, but I have played a lot of games of Domination on the Halo Wars 2 Beta since it dropped last Monday. I would like to give my two cents about the game experience itself.
A bit of background; but the original Halo Wars was the first Halo title I played in its entirety, so it holds a special place in my heart that way.
So anyways... I feel Domination has a lot of good ideas, but is a tad rushed. I like how it tries to bring objective based gameplay similar to CtF or Warzone in Halo 5; into an RTS format. Unfortunately it is far to easy to drop the ticket count of an enemy early on and gain an easy lead. Conflict with the opposing team is far to infrequent, and base defenses are rarely needed as most players will only attack the enemy base by the time the ticket count is almost to zero anyways. It seemed like far to many players didn't understand the objective gameplay, and I had a few games were I was alone rushing objectives, while my teammate sat quietly building a big army as if it was a Deathmatch/Slayer game.
With that said, I highly enjoy the idea of an objective based game; and it makes the gameplay feel unique. I might not be a huge RTS fan, but I have played a few other games such as Star Wars Empire at War, and the original Command and Conquer: Red Alert; and only in the campaign levels did they have objectives. Having objectives in multiplayer for Halo Wars 2 was new for me, and made it enjoyable. I hope the issues with Domination are taken into consideration, and the game is tweaked a bit to expand it's ability to be playable. If Domination is a bit more balanced so it doesn't feel rushed, then it could become a favorite game type of mine when the final game drops next year.
A huge issue that needs to be resolved is when a player drops or loses connection in game. I had many a match were I started a battle, and my ally soon dropped leaving me alone to face two players on an enemy team; making it near impossible to win. In reverse, when an enemy dropped in a match; it was all to common for their ally to drop a minute later; giving my team an automatic win and removing the fun from the match.
A few other things about the gameplay. For the most part I found the control scheme to be easy to learn and responsive to my commands. Very little has changed from Halo Wars 1 and I am glad it took me so fast to relearn the controls. The main learning issue though was trying to understand how the new commander functions and tech tree are used, but once I learned that I had insane fun trying to drop squads of suicide Grunts on my enemy, or order a barrage from an orbital MAC cannon. The only other issue I found is it takes a while to traverse the map with the controls, and that makes it hard to focus on both resource management and combat at the same time.
Also the factions are rather well thought out and fun. I am loving how the Banished feel and play. They are a unique twist to the classic Covenant, and I am hoping to someday see them in not only Halo Wars 2; but also in the main FPS games (Halo 6 perhaps?). The UNSC is a bit more "typical" in its gameplay, but I am glad to see they perform much like the UNSC of Halo Wars 1. I am curious if any other factions are secretly being planned... with this being post-Halo 5 I can't help but wonder how an RTS would feel being in control of "The Created" and their army of Guardians and Promethean troops. I don't know if they are in the works, but if they are brought to Halo Wars 2 I would love to see them.
Overall I am impressed; and feel this is a good follow up to the original. There are a few issues that need to be fixed; but since seven months seems to be a long time for video game development; and the game already looks so close to completion... I have faith those issues will be addressed.