In short, do you want a big starcraft or MMORPG but focused more on tactical battle?
@Acharis You control units and collect resources just like in starcraft or AoE. The match is persistent just like WoW. Each time you connect, you can choose to create a new base, or join an existing base in team melee mode. I call a base a faction. The point is there is always a few people online for each faction, so the units and resources are managed continuously by some person. So it's not like you play it for one month continuously, although you can lol. You know how in an FPS server there is always some people online, who are the RED team? Well the RED team never has 0 players, unless the server has no players which is very rare if it is a popular server. Think of the RED team as a faction. If there's no players online for a faction, the AI takes over in easy mode until someone joins again.
@Osidlus Perhaps, there could some penalty imposed for switching between factions too fast, aka spying. For example, a time limit. The tactical map would be a great idea, something along the line Company of Heroes has? What do you mean connected to its designer via intercomm? Do you mean voice chat? Also by time steps do you mean turn based RTS where there is a time step every 30 sec or so, and this would be visible to the rank of the player? Also how would players gain rank?
@SimonForsman well you could control only a little squad but then you lose all the other aspect of RTS games, such as resource collection, base planning, macro, which is great fun. Also people could choose do whatever they feel like, so if they want to focus on managing expansions while some other player focuses on harassment, that's a big plus. Managing battles is actually only one part of RTS. Another player could focus on unit production, while another player focuses on micro? I'll look into the way WoW manages player instances as you described. Ideally a player should only know about what is happening to his faction and what is visible on his map that is not covered by the fog of war.
The point is this should still be a fast paced RTS. Bases can be quite extensive with 100+ of expansions and great income, so if one player decides to troll, that still wouldn't have that big of an effect. They could be banned as well. Another thought about unit upgrades, the cost of upgrades could increase exponential and the benefit only logarithmic, so that factions that have been in the game for longer do not have a huge advantage over new factions, but still some.
Edited by siamii, 29 July 2012 - 12:23 PM.