Five Great Online Strategy Games for Multiplayer

By Marcello Perricone 09 Jan 2019 0

Competition is in our blood, and there's nothing like competing in a strategy online to really test your creative and tactical decision making. Multiplayer, while sometimes too much of a focus, will always be a core part of the strategy genre at large. 

Several classic strategy franchises have still managed to endure to this day, their loyal fanbases ensuring there's alsways someone to play against and to teach you the ropes. But which ones have the best/most active community? Are the best to actually play

Lucky you have us then - here's our guide to the five best strategy games you can play in online multiplayer...

Dawn of War

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The first Warhammer 40,000 RTS to break into the mainstream, Dawn of War was the start of a franchise that constantly changed direction, yet never failed to draw interest (we don't talk about DoW3). 

Dawn of War & Dawn of War II differ significantly in approach -- the first game is more classic in design, featuring base-building and gameplay reminiscent of the Age of Empires games of aeons past, while the second one is more squad focused and prefers to centre around quality units than quantity cannon fodder. Both are loved, and each has very respectable player-bases, especially considering how old they are.

Company of Heroes

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Company of Heroes was one of the last 'classic' RTS releases, where base building was part of the fun and turtling was a viable strategy. The multiplayer modes feature a great assortment of factions, where each particular nation has a specific focus that made it much better at something at the expense of something else. The British Forces, for example, could hold the hell of a place with their emplacements and artillery, but fell behind on infantry attack sorties when compared to the American Army. The balance between factions created a shifting game of strengths and weakness, while the tactical approach to terrain, like hedges and destructible bridges forced strategies to be adapted on the fly.

Company of Heroes 2, which released after the MOBA/Online gold-rush, tried to mix things up a bit with some concessions towards competitive play and freemium-esque mechanics. Still, it's balanced itself out since the initial release and is closer to how the original CoH plays. Both entries remain very popular RTS games -- Company of Heroes has over a thousand players in-game at the moment of writing, while the sequel has nearly twice that amount -- and should be your go to WWII RTS if you want a bit of clever or stupid multiplayer fun.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

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A modern classic, Stardock’s space RTS is actually a 4X, but it thinks like an RTS. Unlike Sid Meiers's Civilization or Stellaris, Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion has one of the most brilliant names in the world of video games while placing a strong focus on manoeuvre and tight tactical control.

A selection of capital ships, from corvettes to gigantic Titans, are yours to build and command, creating the stage for massive interstellar battles. When not entering the fray of war, the units can all be upgraded into different variants and roles, deepening the pool of tactical options and significantly expanding the scope of your fleets.

Featuring three races and their respective loyalist or rebel factions, the game boasts various victory conditions to guarantee your supremacy amongst the stars. Each faction has it’s own technologies, UI, and playstyle, providing a lot of variety and replayability. Although you can engage in diplomacy, the core of the game revolves around combat, lending a dynamic and fast paced approach to Sins of a Solar Empire and making it a favourite among RTS fans.

Age of Empires II: HD

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The best known entry of Microsoft's eponymous RTS series, Age of Empires was always simple, featuring no fancy mechanics like cover systems or logistics. You built a building, trained some troops, and dished out with the enemy until one of you came out victorious. It was simple, it was easy, it was glorious.

Re-released in 2013 with remastered graphics and audio, Age of Empires II: HD has many thousands of players at the moment, making its playerbase far bigger than other games on this list. Certainly, one can suspect the lack of micromanagement is a major factor for Age’s success; there was a good mix of units and all of them could take some punishments, unlike in recent games where there is always one high-end unit while everyone else are stupid paper-frail soldiers. Besides that, there is the classic Shelby Cobra that fires boulders and the priestly wololo folk, who undoubtedly are responsible for 99% of the game’s success if the internet is to be trusted. Which it isn’t.

Supreme Commander Gold Edition

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A real man's RTS, Supreme Commander:Forged Alliance is the closest thing you get to exciting logistical warfare without delving into war game territory. Set in the 37th century, this amazing sci-fi RTS allows players to build bases and armies unlike any other strategy game, frequently featuring dozens of buildings and hundreds of units on screen at the same time. Taking the overall idea behind RTS and running with it, Supreme Commander gives you full tactical and strategical control of navy, army, and air force units, allowing you to turtle or rush as your heart desires.

The game welcomes virtually all play styles, with nary any restrictions and a fantastic array of buildings and units separated by tiers, with each of the game’s three factions possessing unique art styles and statistics. From satellite weapons to nuclear ICBM’s, from long range artillery to giant mechanised spider-robots, and from submersible aircraft carriers to laser-wielding UFO’s, Supreme Commander boasts one of the most expansive and concrete game designs in the strategy genre.

Do you know of any awesome multiplayer strategy games we've missed? Let us know in the comments!

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