"If I can control the channel for six hours. I can rule the world"
Naval War: Intertwined with our history
Dihydrogen Monoxide: Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen or more commonly written as H2O or water for you non-chemistry buffs. Without any question is the building blocks of life, or in my idiom the destruction of. While some might argue that it is bland and tasteless I take pity on those poor souls who would think such a naive thing because I have water that either tasted like it was straight from the well or water that was straight from the swimming pool; many a lucky soul whose water tastes nothing at all. Maybe this is why there are no naval units in Generals, or at least none have been hinted at, could the EAP team hate water or is it an acute case of hydrophobia? While silly that may sound it seems they may have learned the lessons of our friends to the west, who seem to ignore the negative affects of alcohol as example in their liquor laws, since that's all they talk about drinking (not to say that the average American doesn't enjoy a "cold-one" every now and again as well, but at least our liquor laws are a bit more strict). While EAP might not hate water as a beverage, they must hate it has a tactical medium. Is this reminiscent of a silly dream to ban water from the state of Missouri in sophomore grade government class? Well probably not ..but it sure makes for good writing, doesn't it? No EAP hatred stems from days of Red Alert. So I have a few questions to the development team. Did one too many seal/Tanyas sneaking in their back door? Or perhaps it was one too many Sea-Lion style invasions? Or was it the carpet bombing they endured when my carrier planes attacked their base at will? The answer, I believe, lies somewhere in a combination of those.
I actually am not surprised about this move away from naval combat, or moreover I should have seen it coming. The warning signs came with the release of Yuri's Revenge and in the form of the most despicable, newbie unit ever created...the Boomer. Yes, don't get me started because I'll fill up a thousand pages and then a thousand more about how much I despise this unit. Just don't go there. Ever since the days of Von Esling and Stravos the allies have ruled the seas, even with the addition of the missile sub in the Aftermath expansion the allies still had a sizable advantage in naval combat. Then when some hot-shot programmer decided to write that most satanic code the allied naval advantage had been erased and the world was not the same. With the creation of the boomer the days of the massive fleets with multiple classes of vessels dueling it out was over and the age, at least in EA's eyes, of super-naval units had begun. Why do this? The answer is quite simple. Naval war like anything is an art, although this art very few have mastered. Despite what anyone says it is that and those who deny its place in RA2 and Generals are plain ignorant. Naval war is same with the tank rush which many hate and many rely on. What if all of a sudden they were to remove the tank rush? Mass riots would ensure, I mean I'm talking even larger than the '91 race riots in LA, because it is the more popular "tactic". Yet when EAP announces that there will be no naval units in the game, the only flak it gets is a couple obscene remarks from the die-hard few that enjoy naval combat, I being one of them. So their reasoning being since we don't know how to do it (naval combat) we'll make it so impossibly easy to use (i.e. boomer) or we'll just leave it out all together (i.e. Generals).
A worrying site for diehard Soviet players: a carrier's hornets.
However, EAP is not the only organization against Naval combat, many upon many RA2/YR players are also against it. One of the main problems that people have with it is that it limits the units that you can play with. For example, a soviet player in a "Naval War" game (RA2) the only unit you can build from your war factory would be a flack track and war miner and for the allies you can only build IFV's and chrono miners. While I do agree that it does take a good portion of the available units away, but I have two thoughts against that reasoning.
It shouldn't really matter as you are playing "Naval War" hence the use of "Naval Units" not land units, so the need for the full array of land units is unnecessary in my opinion.
If youre really set on having every unit available, simply play naval maps in "Battle" mode, so you can get the full allotment of units, but you still have to master the seas in order to win.
Problem one solved. Another complaint that I hear often is that it is too similar to "one mapping" (For those of you who are not familiar with the term "one mapping" it's where a player only plays and gets really good on one map and usually sucks on other maps). And actually I almost do agree with this claim, but it is not by our choice, but by Westwoods. Consider the following: of the two maps that Westwood made that were what I call "Naval Maps" (my definition being no connecting to your opponent, so you would be on an island) Depth Charge and Tsunami. Of those two maps, Tsunami is the only decent one, as Depth Charge is almost purely based on who gets the middle island derricks first and then the other player usually quits or has no chance (although I have over come this obstacle many times). So having only one good Westwood sponsored map to play on, yes I guess you have to call it "one mapping." This problem is easily resolved by Westwood errrrrr...EAP creating more "Naval War" maps. I mean we can't play on maps that don't exist, can we? Problem Two solved. The other complaint that I get a lot is that often times the player that loses their naval yard first gets stuck on their island and eventually runs out of money and loses the game. But to that I say "Too Bad." All it is, is the same tactic with a tank rush or an engineer rush, take out a key building and take the advantage that's all it is. The same holds true in naval combat the good players will find ways to win and the bad players won't, it's that simple. Problem Three solved. Those are the main problems I have heard of, while I've heard of others these are the main ones and the others are usually obscene and uneducated.
Naval Strikes: Devestating.
Now that I've identified some of qualms about naval combat and resolved them, I will establish how unpractical it would be not to have it in Generals. First, every major conflict since WW2, navies have played an important part. Whether it be the carrier battles of the Pacific or the hunt for the Bismarck and U-Boat wolf packs in the Atlantic, the scrapped German Sea-Lion campaign or the massive D-Day landings in Normandy, carrier planes running sorties over Korea and Vietnam to the present day bombardments with cruise missiles, daisy cutters. The fact is that navies do play an important part in real warfare; I mean the British conquered half the world with a great navy and an average army. So yes naval warfare is important and should belong in Generals. But in EAP's drive to make the combat "realistic," if there is such a thing, naval combat wouldn't be fair (well none would for that matter). For example, the US has hands down the most powerful navy in the world; US carrier battle groups roam the seven seas striking fear into the hearts foes alike. But, when you think about terrorists or China naval power is not the first thing that pops into head. So if EAP where to create a realistic facsimile of naval power in Generals the US navy would be so far ahead of the other two it wouldn't be funny. So in that regard it wouldn't really be fair to include naval units unless you either made the US a lot weaker or the other sides much, much stronger. But, since game companies don't make realistic combat, they make fun combat where everyone has an equal number of advantages and disadvantages. Fair not realistic. And without wandering from the point any further I shall attempt to conclude my argument. What I am getting at whatever reason EAP has for leaving out naval units, it is not a sufficient one as I have shown that every major conflict of the past century navies have played an important part in them and leaving them out is silly. But since life is unfair, I guess it is unfair of us to expect EAP to include the most important feature of warfare in Generals.
Just ask Napoleon how important a decent navy is, as he twice was whipped by the English, Trafalgar and Nile, and despite having the best army and tactics of the time, he still lost the war.