C&C Generals 2 Respecced As Free-To-Play

By Craig Pearson on August 15th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

Jump for joy, it's free!

EA have cut out a few months of post-launch uhming-and-ahhing by reworking the previously announced Command & Conquer Generals 2 as a free-to-play game, ditching the name and dropping the price. Or, as their press release states: “Today at gamescom, the world’s largest trade fair and event for interactive games and entertainment, Electronic Arts Inc. took a bold step to spearhead the industry’s digital revolution and announced Command & Conquer.” Ahem. “Bold”?

Releasing anything with Command & Conquer on it isn’t “bold”, EA. It’s what you do. If you’re claiming that doing a free-to-play game is bold, then I don’t even know where to begin with that. So whatever you think is bold in this endeavor, let’s just assume I don’t agree. You’re doing what lots and lots and lots of people have already done. Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture, but you have no cause to make a claim, or place yourself at a forefront of a movement. Grump.

Basically Command & Conquer Generals 2 is now just Command & Conquer, although it’s still stuck with the “Generals” theme. And it’s the first of many F2P C&C games being developed, so I’m assuming that EA will cherry pick their former classics and give them some botox. It’ll be using Dice’s Frostbite 2 engine, so there’s a certain level of prettiness and destruction that I now expect from it, which the trailer at least shows off. There is no mention of original developers Bioware.

But is any of that bold? I’m struggling to see it, but you can boldly step up and check it out: beta signups are right here.

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121 Comments »

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  1. Skull says:

    Whatever happened to Red Alert?

    • PodX140 says:

      From what I’ve heard, bastardized to the point of non-base building, then abandoned.

      • Giaddon says:

        Sounds like you’re thinking of Command and Conquer 4. There hasn’t been a new Red alert game since 3, which was pretty (disastrously, in my opinion) typical of the franchise.

        • Rich says:

          I don’t know. Pretty much requiring co-op play was a departure (in entirely the wrong direction).

          • Dark Nexus says:

            …did you play a different RA3 than I did?

          • DrGonzo says:

            Red Alert 3 was a pretty dull remake. It’s problem was being almost identical to the previous ones and not evolving with the times in any way whatsover. Not that they had changed it and ruined it. As said above me, I must have played a completely different Red Alert 3 to everyone else.

          • LionsPhil says:

            It’s problem was being almost identical to the previous ones

            Never played Red Alert 1, then, eh?

          • mncxdas88 says:

            http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/about/

            Well, there ends any possible interest I had in the game, then again after Red Alert 3 and C&C 4 it was already hard to imagine me buying this.

      • mouton says:

        You make it sound as if no-base building is the worst thing imaginable.

        • PodX140 says:

          …It’s an RTS. Coming from likely THE most famous RTS franchise.

          That’s like taking half-life 2 and turning it into a no violence game with the same gameplay as pokemon snap.

          • nofing says:

            Or it’s like taking half-life 2 and turning it into a no violence game, with only a single non-lethal weapon, which could create holes in walls, that would magically teleport you to another place.

            Seriously, there are a bunch of great RTS games, without any base building.
            Which is not to say C&C 4 was bad.

            BTW, how is this the first C&C game, to go F2P?
            Does nobody here remember the most recent C&C game? Tiberium Alliances anyone? Well, I guess there is a reason, why nobody remembers it…

          • Zelius says:

            “Or it’s like taking half-life 2 and turning it into a no violence game, with only a single non-lethal weapon, which could create holes in walls, that would magically teleport you to another place.”

            That is exactly the point. If you do that, you no longer have Half-Life, you’ve got Portal. Taking base-building out of Command & Conquer leaves you with an RTS that is no longer Command & Conquer.

          • Bhazor says:

            The real point is that it was a shit rts with no base building.

  2. Kaira- says:

    Whelp, there goes my interest.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Yep, me too. The only down side is that I ALREADY PREORDERD THE fraking game from Origin. I just bought something that’s free. EA conned me, I feel so dirty!

    • konrad_ha says:

      Couldn’t have said it better. I loved Generals for the single-player campaign and the dark humor. Now that those are off the table so is my money.

  3. Premium User Badge

    MajorManiac says:

    Well I guess calling it Command and Conquer is a bold-faced lie.

    • Alien426 says:

      Yeah, I guess from now on, whenever one refers to a classic game one has to add “the very first one”. As in Tomb Raider, Syndicate, Sim City, …

      • Premium User Badge

        oWn4g3 says:

        Adding Wolfenstein (look for the Yahtzee review of it :D) and Aliens vs Predator to the list.

        Those examples from the past have almost always been pretty bad and with f2p CnC is almost certain to fail (not financially though).

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          Wolfenstein? I smell an angry TB inbound. He`s among that game`s fans. All five of them.

        • Alien426 says:

          Well, Wolfenstein and the original Wolfenstein 3-D are distinguishable. But you’re right about AvsP. I guess I’ve successfully managed to always call the new one AvsP3.
          TechnicalBen had to remind me of NFS, though:
          Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998), Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002; it’s really Need For Speed 6: Hot Pursuit 2), Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010; my name is Need For Speed 14: Hot Pursuit 3)…
          And now they just release another Need For Speed: Most Wanted… aaaaarrrrgh!! Is it so hard to name a game? Did anyone mind the numbers in Ultima, Might & Magic or Wizardry?

      • TechnicalBen says:

        No, it’s worse than that, you have to name spinoffs as the original! :D

        So, SimCity Societies becomes “SimCity”
        MySims becomes “The Sims”
        Burnout Paradise becomes “Need For Speed”… oh wait!!! Noooooooooooo!

        • jondare says:

          Did you just… did you just call Societies a Sim City game?

          It’s just a joke right? you’re joking? yeah, that’s it, just a joke…

          No, it cannot possibly be, i won’t believe it! it cannot be true! SAY IT ISN’T TRUE!

          Please say it isn’t true, i’ll do anything, anything. It cannot be.

          Why? why would they do such a thing to such a beatiful franchise… “sob”

          What does it matter? So, they called societies a Sim City game, but hey, we’ve got Simcity not-five on the horizon, it’ll be good. (right? please say it will.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s particularly ridiculous if this is supposed to be the Generals universe, since that has very few (no?) continuity links with the C&C one! Red Alert is more closely tied than Generals was.

    • TWOpies says:

      What do you mean?

  4. lofaszjoska says:

    Is this still being developed by EA Bioware?
    If so, how come they aren’t boasting about that in the trailer?
    edit: Oh sorry, i somehow skipped over the last sentence.

    • AJ_Wings says:

      I’d probably guess that the slapped on Bioware name haven’t done them any favors in terms of generating hype and interest.

    • lofaszjoska says:

      I might guess the name “Bioware” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it it had a while ago.
      Also, didn’t they kind of promise this one would have the ‘same story-driven epic single player campaign you’d come to expext from Bioware’?
      A P2W single player game, how’s that work?

    • CaptainHairy says:

      It’s not BioWare anyway. Nobody from the BioWare that makes high-quality story-driven games has worked on this, I would imagine. It’s from one of the rebranded EA in-housers Victory Games (makers of C+C4) who have been retitled BioWare Victory to try and extirpate the intense loathing that was built up around the brand because of the aforementioned gamebortion.

      The name BioWare doesn’t mean much any more, since there’s no less than 6 studios called BioWare. Soon, all EA studios will be BioWare, in an effort to ride on the coattails of the good will towards BioWare Edmonton.

      • Just Endless says:

        The rapidly running out good will towards Bioware Edmonton.

        What’s EA’s business strategy again?

        • Hoaxfish says:

          I think it’s something along the lines of

          “If there are enough corpses underneath us, then we can stand on them to avoid drowning in our own filth.”

          • Dreforian says:

            Good will and brand loyalty are actually a mystical fuel they must burn in order to survive in our realm.

      • Axyl says:

        “gamebortion”..

        OMG.. I am going to use this word all the time! Vocabulary Expansion… Achieved! :D

    • Shivoa says:

      Westwood was killed and any survivors shipped to EALA. EALA was recently split into Bioware Victory (C&C team) and Danger Close (MoH FPS team) so barring people moving jobs and so on this ‘Bioware’ team is the team who made the original Generals. Lots of name changes, some staff churn (not sure how much) but the team that has always run EA’s C&C continuation are still doing this one. Expect some Generals units in a world of (the first) C&C4 (before they scrapped that F2P idea and turned it into a slightly odd traditional release that no one really liked and has always on DRM).

      • LionsPhil says:

        And don’t forget some of Westwood bailing out to become Petroglyph, who are busy on F2P (maybe?) large-scale RTS End of Nations themselves.

  5. Moni says:

    I think it’s bold because they know a lot of people will hate the idea, but if they know people will hate it, why are they bothering in the first place?

    • alundra says:

      Can’t speak for others, but not even if they pay me to play.

  6. Nameless Sniper says:

    Looks like a poor implementation of Frostbite 2 anyway.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      No kidding, it looks like Tiberium Wars with better textures. And no, i`m not joking, either.

  7. caddyB says:

    I thought it would be bad, considering what happened with the more recent C&C titles, but I didn’t even imagine it would be f2p.

    • Kdansky says:

      F2P + Serious RTS is one of the worst combinations imaginable. That’s like Chess where you can pay money to the tournament organiser to start with more pieces than the other guy, or legalized bribing or judges.

      Pay to Win and competitive games don’t mix. At all.

      • TWOpies says:

        I hear a lot of negative about Free2Play or Pay2Win, but I honestly don’t really understand why. Do you mind expanding on that?

        From my perspective it costs 60 bucks to win at BF3 and most F2P titles seem to allow you to essentially purchase the part you want for less than that…

        • Premium User Badge

          FriendlyFire says:

          Pay to win is just that unlike a boxed copy of a game, there’s always new content being added in. When you buy a game, you do so confident you’re getting the same thing as everybody else. With pay to win, there is no entry fee, but you’ll constantly need to pay for stuff if you want to stay competitive. Those aren’t necessarily new items (there is a distinction between what is sometimes called “sidegrades” and “upgrades”, with the former being regarded as the proper way for free to play to work, ie. you can buy new stuff but it’s not better, it’s just different), they can also be stat boosts (RPGs could have XP booster packs, for instance, or loot drop boosters, etc.).

          What this makes is that if you want to stay competitive (same in-game level, same weapons and skills, etc.), you need to spend money. That’s pay to win, and it’s bad for rather obvious reasons.

          • TWOpies says:

            You make a very good point; thanks for a well thought out response. I find this super interesting and, in my gut, I would rather just buy a game and get it all than the in-game purchases. But why do I feel like that? A huge portion of the Eastern countries(and some of the western) don’t have this problem.

            Some thoughts I have on your points:
            I think the best way to make the comparison would be to compare the games at price points. How far would 60 bucks go in a F2P game and what experience would I get? What about 30$? 10$?

            So, lets say it will cost you 30 bucks to stay competitive in a F2P title for 6 months. That doesn’t seem so bad compared to spending 60 bucks on a new game I only play for 1-2 months.

            Do you think the biggest problem is the feeling that if I had unlimited money I’d get an unlimited advantage? And when I die it’s because my opponent just spent more money? If it’s just a little money for a little advantage, maybe it’s not bad. (see my point above)

            Another thing is that if you’re going to charge me money, it better be worth it to me. I’m not going to spend my money on crap!

            Maybe it needs to be a “buy only what you need” thing. Like if I hate half the classes in BF3, could I just buy the ones I’d use?

            Just some of my thoughts – what do you think?

        • jacobvandy says:

          $60 to win at BF3, what? If you’re referring to the shortcut unlock DLC stuff, that is nowhere near paying to win. It’s paying to unlock everything instantly because you’re a lazy bastard who doesn’t feel like earning it yourself. There are no weapons that are inherently better than others, they’re all quite well-balanced and only offer different styles of usage. For instance, bolt-action sniper rifles are a little more powerful, but if you can’t aim to kill in one hit, you’re probably better off using a semi-auto to put 2-3 bullets on the target in the same amount of time.

          Now if you want to talk about pay-to-win Battlefield, look at that abomination of a BF2 remake they called Play4Free. It was such an insane grind to unlock anything, including new “skills,” and the only way to permanently unlock a new weapon was to pay real money. And those weapons were not at all balanced, purely to give people an incentive to buy the better weapons that give them a real advantage.

          • TWOpies says:

            A gamer spent 60 bucks (or whatever) to buy it in the first place is my point, and the result was a relatively level playing field. Why do they then whine about having to spend less money on a F2P product to skip a grind and get to that level playing field?

            If you spent the half the money on a F2P product that you would spend on a box product, wouldn’t you end up with a great experience? I buy new games, like C&C and then I don’t end up getting much playtime on them before moving on. This seems like a good way around that.

            Honestly, the problem seems to be with the players more than the games. Maybe because it had the word “free” in it that people feel it should be the same as a boxed product, only free?

  8. vatara says:

    Maybe they mis-typed ‘old’.

  9. obvioustroll says:

    That’s quite a few pissed off gamers you’ve got there EA, I can’t wait to see this crazy plan.

  10. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Bold, to face Petroglyph who are probably doing a really sweet job right now, and who don’t have a record of “free” pay-to-have-fun games?

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Well, this and EoN are different types of RTS. EoN is a World in Conflict-style squad-based multiplayer RTS, whereas this is a more traditional RTS. Still, knowing how well EA managed to screw up the last Tiberium game, I do not have high hopes for this.

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        True, it’s a bit different. Since they were going for the Generals moniker before, I’d still assume that they are going for the slightly tougher rock/paper/scissors mechanics I associate with it.
        Still, a new studio, the aforementioned tendency for f2p as pay-to-have-fun,… Not really encouraging.

  11. GamerOS says:

    Well, there ends any possible interest I had in the game, then again after Red Alert 3 and C&C 4 it was already hard to imagine me buying this.
    Despite the ‘general’ opinion on C&c generals being bad I still liked the game, seems its sequel tough will not get a space in my shelf collection.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Quite a lot of people seem to have a fond spot for it by the time Zero Hour had gussied it up.

      • socrate says:

        i never really got into C&C spam fest but i did really enjoy C&C:general zero hour made for really fun tactic and way to play the game….although i wouldn’t call it balanced it really had alots going for it but THIS look nothing like it other then the suicide truck

        i miss seeing my chinese hacker money maker at work

  12. Premium User Badge

    Lordcrazy says:

    EA: Let’s destroy everything the C&C stood for and then make people think there’s light at the end of the tunnel, when really it’s just a big nuke in their faces. Thanks a lot EA.

  13. aldo_14 says:

    Maybe they missed out some HTML formatting when they wrote ‘bold’?

  14. reggiep says:

    F2P is fine if you give me the option to buy wholesale. Forcing me to buy dime bags of content at jacked up rates is exploitative. Let me just buy the ounce at wholesale prices. I still withhold final judgement until more details come out, but given EAs previous exploitative behavior, I have little hope for something fair.

  15. sinister agent says:

    Huh. And there I was just last week wondering why I couldn’t seem to buy C&C Generals anywhere. Never mind, then, I guess I’ll just have to buy something else. EA are getting really good at avoiding my money.

    • mzlapq says:

      I think all retail, unsold copies of Generals magically turned into copies of C&C: The First Decade.

      • sinister agent says:

        I’ve just spent a month going through all my stuff to get rid of as much clutter as possible. Buying more backwards-arse CDs would defeat the point, even if it wouldn’t mean having to arse around looking for no-CD cracks, which it almost certainly would.

        • mzlapq says:

          I believe it’s two DVDs, one of which is “bonus”, and there may be an unofficial patch that adds a no DVD fix.d the new
          If you want to get a digital version, I guess it’s one of the ways EA keeps the value of their IP high, just as it’s impossible to get American Mcgee’s Alice, except if you preordered the new one.

          • sinister agent says:

            You’re probably right (and I should really have specified that I wanted a downloadable version, to be fair). It’s a silly way to go about it though.

          • The Hammer says:

            Loads of EA-made RTSs don’t seem to be up for digital purchase – the two Battle for Middle Earths are like this too. ANNOYING.

          • mzlapq says:

            I guess that when EA said sales cheapen IP they meant actual sales, not discounts.

  16. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    Well, this pretty much sums it up.

  17. Eviscerator says:

    Stop! Stop! It’s already dead! You fucking animals! It’s already dead…

    Seriously CnC4 was the last nail in the coffin. Anything from CnC these days is the illusion of life created by gas escaping the corpse.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    It’s bold, but is it INTENSE and/or VISCERAL? I’m not sure I can buy it if it’s just bold.

  19. Glor says:

    I really wanted to like the last few C&C games, and I had high hopes for Generals 2 but I’m not so sure now…

    F2P, really? I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like. I really hope EA knows what they are doing, otherwise I may give up on the franchise completely.

  20. Delixe says:

    Another classic franchise flushed down the toilet like Syndicate. Oh EA to think I used to stick up for you.

  21. rustybroomhandle says:

    “Can not we have some shoes?”

    “Sure, for $1.99 on the item store!”

  22. eXtonix says:

    there goes another franchise.

  23. Rich says:

    Maybe they mean “bald”? Maybe he is coming back!?!

  24. StingingVelvet says:

    C&C is the only RTS series I really play, but I do so for singleplayer. I refuse to play always online games for singleplayer, sooooooo… they just removed this from my radar. Shame.

  25. tlarn says:

    If I were to ask a fan of Command and Conquer, what was the last good (or at least decent) C&C games to come out?

    • Hunchback says:

      Tiberian Sun?

      • ngv says:

        TW3 wasn’t bad. But the original Tiberian Dawn and RA2 are easily the best

    • LionsPhil says:

      C&C, C&C: Spec Ops – Brilliant
      RA, RA: Counterstrike, RA: Aftermath – Pretty darn good
      C&C2, C&C2: Firestorm – Flawed, but the Firestorm campaign’s good fun
      RA2, RA2: Yuri’s Revenge – Brilliant
      C&C Generals, C&C Generals: Zero Hour – EA you crazy people, this has nothing to do with C&C. But it’s good anyway.

      And at that point, the considerable shelf of C&C titles ends, because:

      C&C3 – What the hell are you doing EA where did all this Starcraft come from.
      RA3 – Man, does anyone actually remember when RA’s tone was pretty bleak amongst its surreal sci-fi? No? And godawful twitchy play with mandatory co-op AI?
      C&C4 – You took. The base-building. Out of C&C. (Then smothered it in DRM.)

      • Delixe says:

        “RA3 – Man, does anyone actually remember when RA’s tone was pretty bleak amongst its surreal sci-fi? No?”

        Bleak? Teleporters, Tesla Coils and Albert Einsten going back in time to kill Hitler. Red Alert has never been bleak it’s always been silly b-movie nonsense and that was why I loved it. Before you talk about how silly Red Alert 3 was just remember Red Alert 2 was utterly bonkers as well.

        • Koozer says:

          Red Alert 2 seemed to do it with more…finesse, shall we say. RA3 tried too hard and it showed.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Yes, bleak. Go watch a mission breifing for it. RA1’s tone was odd.

          Also, what Koozer said.

  26. vodka and cookies says:

    Missed opportunity, they could have done a single player game with mutiplayer extras as a retail product and still given away the basic multi-player as a free to play title.

  27. MOKKA says:

    Somehow I’m not suprised.

  28. Hunchback says:

    Why did they remove the Generals part if it’s clearly not a C&C NOT-GENERALS game? O.o

    • TechnicalBen says:

      This a billion million galaxies of this!

      I’m not sure what to liken it to. Perhaps calling Prometheus “Alien” instead? Or are they reconning this as the prequel to Tiberium Dawn? At least give it a prequel title if you are EA!

  29. bagpuss606 says:

    Buggerment. I was looking forward to that.

  30. Ricardinho says:

    Welp, now no need to install origin atleast.

  31. empyrion says:

    This is so bad. It’s as if publishers aren’t even TRYING to challenge the success of StarCraft II at this point. Damn you Blizzard! This is what happens when you make better RTS games than anyone else can.

  32. Brise Bonbons says:

    If the current rate of F2P announcements continues, I fear I will run out of bile to spew.

    Developers: Please give me a chance to recover between announcements. It takes time to produce bitterness and disillusionment at the high concentrations you seem to expect.

  33. Dominic White says:

    So, I’m going to be the one guy who isn’t completely doom-and-gloom about this, because EA have actually proven that they can produce and release a good F2P RTS without an exploitative business model. It’s just that nobody seems to talk about it.

    I present Exhibit A: Battleforge
    https://www.battleforge.com/en/

    It used to be fairly expensive, but they reworked the prices heavily earlier this year and you can get pretty much everything you’d ever want for competitive play for $20. Less, if you plan on playing sealed draft games, ala Magic: The Gathering. It’s also a really polished game with a good mix of solo, co-op and competitive content, and looks/sounds nice to boot.

    There’s actually a good chance that EA might repeat this.

    • SexualHarassmentPanda says:

      You know, Battleforge was actually a great game, but I think that has more to do with Phenomic than it did EA. Battleforge was pretty damn solid at launch.

  34. benjamin says:

    Tanks for the update!

  35. Shooop says:

    I like how easy EA has made it to decide not to buy any of their crappy games. It’s kind of strange but nice to know a large corporation is doing its best to save me money.

    And I say “buy” in this case because everyone knows by now F2P really isn’t.

  36. Ovno says:

    I’ll probably play it….

    And then headbutt the wall until the memory of what they’ve done is erased…

  37. TwwIX says:

    “Free to play”, eh? What’s the catch, EA?

  38. wodin says:

    free to play single player game..must mean it’s just a free game surely? Or a single player game stripped down of pretty much everything but you can buy back for a fee, in the end you probably have to spend twice as much than if it was all in the game in the first place and wasn’t F2P but standard RRP.

    • DyingTickles says:

      The free part is the EA logo on infinite loop. The menu, missions (on a mission-by-mission basis), and advanced graphics options (beyond resolution) will cost money.

  39. TechnicalBen says:

    Hahahahhahahaha… hahahahahha… Oh, sorry, I seem to have some sort of uncontrollable laughing fit. I just released the future business plan of EA, and it involves them going bankrupt. :D

  40. Tasloi says:

    F2P lowers my interest in a game significantly (Hawken would be another example). In fact I can only think of 1 or 2 games I played where the F2P model was done well. So this new obsession alot of studios have with F2P is hardly a positive development as far as i’m concerned. But ok, maybe the majority of gamers feel differently.

  41. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    F2P needs to FOAD ASAP no-one wants F2P. Most games are deserted after 2 weeks the paid content is always priced OTT this is a business model which is not working so not sure why EA of all people want to risk one of their biggest franchises with it anyway!

  42. Koozer says:

    Oh dear. I usually have a high tolerance for f2p after the likes of LoL, WoT and Tribes, but I don’t trust EA to do this well at all.

    The music is quite C&C-y, I’ll give them that.

  43. Dys Does Dakka says:

    “Today at gamescom, the world’s largest trade fair and event for interactive games and entertainment, Electronic Arts Inc. took a bold step to spearhead the industry’s digital revolution and announced Command & Conquer.”

    This is easily the most hilariously bullshit marketing blurp I’ve been subjected to all year. And that includes “most anticipated game in history” and every other WARdudebrohonormanshooter derp shat out.

    -Someone was actually paid good money to write it. I am filled with a profound sadness.

  44. Hardmood says:

    isnt petroglyph with ex-westwood devs working on end of nations? and is that maybe the really nextstep c&c?

  45. pilouuuu says:

    I’m multi uninterested about this.

  46. Sherlock says:

    Not only have they made it F2P, it’s also going to require Origin?

    Piss off EA.

  47. rocketman71 says:

    F2P?. Doubt it. P2W surely.

    And bold?. Hahahaha. Bold would be dropping the POS that is Origin. But I don’t see EA anywhere being that bold.

  48. sejm says:

    Don’t like how everything is heading free-to-play.

    Suggests this will just end up as a tacky multi-player only commercial clone of other models.

    C&C has always been about the single player for me.

  49. UnicodeJoe says:

    is anyone else here still playing good old Herzog Zwei on the genesis?

  50. FTomato says:

    Does this mean there will be no single player campaign? If so, I’m out.

    Don’t mind giving free to play games a chance, but I have no interest in playing an RTS without a story element.