Resource management and construction has been completely overhauled.
Mass and energy are joined by research points, and there is a single medium-sized building capable of producing each of them. The need for storage facilities has been eliminated, so your stockpiles will just grow and grow like in every other RTS. Mass deposits are still in limited quantities, but there is no structure that will autonomously produce it. The solution? Energy-to-mass converters! Yessir, these bad boys will let you spend your gobs of excess energy on small amounts of mass with just a click. With enough power plants and converters (Cybrans have a converter built-in), you will never run out of mass, eliminating the need for mass extractors at all.
In a drastic contrast to the first gameís unique system, SupCom 2 requires you have enough resources to cover the entire cost of a building or unit before you can make it. In other words, you pay up front rather than over time, so you cannot spend what you donít have. This severely limits your ability to queue up several buildings or units, resulting in unnecessary micromanagement of engineers and factories. Also, only one engineer can work on a building or assist a factory at a time, which is disappointing, but doesnít really matter since there is nothing that takes more than a couple minutes to construct anyway.
Research trees replace Tech I/II/III with universal upgrades.
In response to criticisms that lower-tiered units in SupCom became obsolete and sometimes were never even used, changes were made that allow a basic set to simply become stronger over time. Each branch of the military units Ė land, air, naval Ė has its own research tree dedicated to enhancing firepower and survivability, as well as unlocking advanced units and experimentals in that category. Additionally, factories gain veterancy to produce faster, just like units and defenses rank up to become more effective.
While this was a good idea in theory, you lose that sense of advancement that accompanied the production of bigger, stronger units after a time spent advancing the tech level of an individual factory. Experimentals have been re-balanced to replace those upper-tier units, and as a result are weaker and less costly to produce. Rather than ultimate weapons, theyíre the new standard in the late-game, able to be cranked out en masse by building multiple experimental factories and each worth only about 10-20 regular units. Itís also easy to unlock them, or any other technology, very quickly by constructing even a modest number of research labs to generate points at a much higher rate than should be possible.
A fancy new pathfinding algorithm treats units as particles in a liquid simulation.
Rather than seeing each other as obstacles that must be traversed, they can push each other around and move out of each otherís way. This definitely eliminates the headaches of maneuvering a large force around constricted areas, as they will form up to fit a passage and still remain flexible enough to not get stuck. Sometimes theyíll clip through each other or stick in a solid group that occupies the space of only one or two, but itís worth it. Itís really cool to see a huge experimental part a sea made up of its tiny allies, but when two giants come head to head, they tend to dance around and delay each other a bit.
The game is much smaller in scope across the board.
The population cap is 300 for campaign missions and 500 for skirmish, reduced from 1000 before. Maps are tiny in comparison to those seen in SupCom, where an already huge campaign map would suddenly double in size when you thought you had just cleared it. The only 8-player map is made for a 4 vs. 4 match, with everyone bunched up on either side of a body of water with a strip of land through the middle. The next largest map, a 6-player free-for-all, has everyone confined to a space that takes only a couple minutes for an ACU to walk across. Placing everyone right next door to each other, literally within range of light artillery, is just a crude method of expediting conflict.