10 Best Real Time Strategy Games to Play in 2017

Best Real Time Strategy Games 2017
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Real time strategy games allow players to live out their best ‘ants under the magnifying glass’ fantasies from the comfort of their homes without ever having to set foot in the sun. RTS’s tend to fall under a couple of different classifications, 4x (that’s explore, expand ,exploit and exterminate) and base building/micro/macro strategy games. The 4x strategy games will have players building entire empires and conquering their neighbors through war or economic force. These are your Total War games, Masters of Orion, and Sins of a solar empire. Base-builders like StarCraft and Grey Goo take place at ground level. You will manage resources and troops to defeat an opponent on a fairly small battlefield. The list below includes some up and comers, fan favorites and the latest and greatest in RTS action but they will all certainly be worth some mouse clicks. Check your APM’s as we dive into the 10 best Real Time Strategy games to play in 2017.

1. Endless Space 2

Endless Space 2 will feature cinematic and impressive looking space combat.

What is it? Endless Space 2 is the sequel to… Endless Space. In this 4x strategy game, players will command one of 8 major factions as they explore, expand, exploit and exterminate their way across a massive galaxy that the player helps establish before they play. Beyond simply building fleets and manhandling planets away from the opposing factions, players can use diplomacy and economic might to subdue many lesser factions into joining them. Combat wise, the game features fully modeled space fleet battle that players will give commands for prior to engaging. There is ground combat to strategize over as well but the bread and butter is definitely the space battles. This is all done to a very retro-esque synthwave soundtrack that fits right at home with the aesthetics of the game

When can I play it? Endless Space 2 is available on steam in an early-access form and has very positive reviews.

Official Website *check out the crazy cinematic trailer on the front page*

Endless Space 2 First Look- The Vision

2. StarCraft 2

StarCraft 2 has had a rough year in the pro-circuits but doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

What is it? StarCraft 2 is the Juggernaut RTS by acclaimed developer Blizzard entertainment. An unofficial national sport in Korea, StarCraft 2 has been top dog in E-sports for a long time. 2016 was not a stellar year, professionally, for StarCraft 2 however. Two major teams in Korea shut down, one of the longest running pro leagues in that country ended its run and a high profile match fixing scandal left a large stain on the Pro scene. That being said, Blizzard doesn’t look too deterred by this chain of events. With the successful launch of the conclusion to the StarCraft 2 Trilogy at the tail end of 2015, Blizzard introduced more ways to play including a co-op multiplayer mode where players take on the role of “Commanders” like Nova and Stukov of Brood War fame. Despite some E-sport setbacks, 2017 is looking to be another stellar year for the massively popular micro/macro base builder.

When can I play it? Right now. Even though the trilogy is now complete, Blizzard has released an episodic campaign following Nova, the Ghost who would have been the main character of the canceled 3rd person Stealth-action game. Blizzard also maintains constant balance updates for the multiplayer side of the game.

Official website

StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void Cinematic Trailer


3. Blitzkrieg 3


Blitzkrieg 3 features a very robust terrain destruction engine.

What is it? Nival’s Blitzkrieg series has come a long way from the original battle focused RTS that released in 2003. With Blitzkrieg 3, which calls itself a massively multiplayer online real time strategy game (MMORTS), the meat and potatoes of the game is its multiplayer battles of attack and defend. The game features AI that will take over for players who have to go AFK and a large campaign that covers the entirety of World War II. Another bonus for players who purchase Blitzkrieg 3 is the exclusion of micro transactions and subscription fees.

When can I play it? The game is currently in early access and can be purchased through Steam’s download client.

Blitzkrieg 3 Trailer

4. Total War: Arena

The scale of battle in Total War: Arena is on par with any other game in the series.

What is it? Total War: Arena is markedly different from any other entry in the Creative assembly franchise. Focusing instead on multiplayer 10v10 PvP battles, Arena will allow players to lead armies commanded by famous historical Generals in large scale combat similar in vein to the included multiplayer features of the series’ previous titles. As previously mentioned, Sega is teaming with Wargaming.net (of World of Tanks fame) to promote and publish this free-to-play game when it releases.

When can I play it? While there is no release date set beyond simply 2017, there have been a couple of closed Alpha tests and a promised beta on the way.

Total War: Arena Alpha Gameplay Trailer

5. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada features fast paced space combat set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

What is it? Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is a space combat Simulator from Focus Home Interactive that places players in the volatile Gothic sector of the Imperium of man. The setting and story are taken from the popular Warhammer 40,000 table top wargame of the same name. Players can choose between several factions to wage war with in a number of deep space battlegrounds like nebulae and in the shadows of war torn planets. The game features full customization of the dozens of available in-game ships and a frantic multiplayer function. There have (so far) been two released DLC fleets, the Space Marines and Tau Empire.

When Can I play it? Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is currently available on Steam and sitting at mostly positive reviews.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada Release Trailer

6. Dawn of War III

Dawn of War III will harken back to the first Games base building and large army recruiting standards.

What is it? Relic’s Dawn of War III sees the anticipated return of the flagship RTS series. Based in Warhammer 40,000’s universe, DoW III follows the Blood Angels Space Marine chapter as they battle Eldar and Orks for supremacy on the planet Archeron. Dawn of War III will take the best game mechanics of both previous entries and the campaign will follow all three main factions that have been announced (Space Marines, Orks, and Eldar). Relic has also promised strong multiplayer support.

When can I play it? Dawn of War III is set for a 2017 release.

Dawn of War III Announcement Trailer

7. Company of Heroes 2

Company of Heroes 2 incorporates weather into gameplay mechanics, don’t let your men freeze to death!

What is it? Company of Heroes 2 is Relic’s World War II RTS epic. The game puts players in charge of Soviet forces as they battle their way through the meat grinder that was Stalingrad and all the way through the capture of Berlin. The real gem of this game is the multiplayer. Best played in team format, players pick from various commanders that allow for new units and abilities depending on which one is selected. There is also a large number of DLC campaigns that add many new challenges for players looking for more to do. 

When can I play it? Company of Heroes 2 is currently available on your favorite download client. The games Metacritic rating is sitting at an 80. Recent releases added several new multiplayer factions, further varying the playing field.

Official Website

Company of Heroes 2 Redefining War Trailer

8. Age of Empires 2 HD

What is it? The classic Microsoft produced base builder is back and more popular than ever. With almost two dozen factions to pick from (including more in DLC) the HD version of Age of Empires 2 is one of the surprise hits of the last couple of years. Furthermore, the game is enjoying a huge player base and is STILL receiving new DLC (with its most recent expansion less than a month old at time of writing). Like many of the games on this list, its main draw is now Multiplayer. With huge maps and lots of resources, team games and Free-for-all’s can get a little elaborate.

When can I play it? Right now. If you’ve never played Age of Empires, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. For a game that is almost 20 years old, it has really stood the test of time.

Official Website

Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas Announcement Trailer

9. Heart of Iron IV

Hearts of Iron IV lets you live out all of your armchair general desires.

What is it? Hearts of Iron IV is a Real time Grand Strategy game from developer Paradox Entertainment. Focusing on a birds eye view map of the world, Players pick a country and lead their chosen nation through the most destructive war in history. Players can set certain limits on the campaign before they start including realism options to ensure America and Germany never ally up. From personal experience with this game however, the best thing about it are the mods available through Steam Workshop. There are overhaul mods that rename and rebalance every unit in the game, Zombie invasion mods and an incredibly in depth Modern Campaign that lets the player lead American through the war on terror (or not).

When Can I play it? Hearts of Iron IV is currently available on Steam.

Official Site

Hearts of Iron IV release Trailer

10. Spellforce 3

Spellforce 3 is one of the most unique titles on this list…and one of the best looking.

What is it? Spellforce 3 is a hybrid RPG/RTS from THQ Nordic and Grimlore games. The game is set in a high fantasy world where a Soldier must decide between loyalty to family and loyalty to Country. Players will lead heroes who will progressively level up and gain new equipment and abilities while building bases and raising armies to wage war with. The game will include familiar fantasy races such as Humans, Orcs, Elves and a multiplayer component will allow for future replay potential.

When can I play it? Spellforce 3 has a tentative 2017 release date but you can play the first two right now on Steam.

Official Site

Spellforce 3 Mood Trailer

Each game on this list, from the grand strategy of Hearts of Iron to the micromanaging StarCraft II, have or will have very dedicated player bases, great developer support and hundreds of hours of potential game play. Think we missed a good one? Let us know in the comments below.

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