From: Dallas, Texas, USA
I haven't played very much of SPWW2, but the larger generated maps missing off of SPWAW is a major shortfall as I see it. OTOH it really hurts to play tanks that have no slope inclusion and whose armor is simplified for every ten milimeters. What little I've tampered with SPWW2, it's also annoying to see the German OOBs in very difficult to understand naming conventions. Most of the time I don't understand what the unit is until I select it. In the long run that might make it more intriguing, but it sure is annoying at the start.
As far as I'm concerned SPWAW has a very good OOB, so that doesn't concern me that the other has more. Is SPWW2's AI better? I don't know. Considering I'm a campaigner I would really like to see large maps 'generated' by SPWAW, while the AI is good enough.
The SPWW2 graphics are a very slight drawback, but the sounds have a greater distance between them.
All I can say is that SPWAW would be nigh perfect in my book if it had large 'generated' maps for campaigns, but as it stands it's always a temptation to start making a serious attempt to play SPWW2 because of this loss in SPWAW. Just yesterday I was screwing around with SPWAW with stuff I hadn't screwed around with before. I generated a random map with 240 hex width. I was in awe! It was so breathtaking to imagine that I'd have a map wider in hexes than the number of units I would have. Generally I have in core between 85-105 units. I think with a map of that width I could see the game working well with 150 core units (sighs in wonderment).
Another thing I noticed different about SPWW2, is that they have objectives, scattered, instead of in bunches. I'm not sure how it affects gameplay but it does look intriguing to a degree. It looks like that approach would be better for those who have a vastly inferior army, whose victory could only come about as a result of trying to cling to the last 4 or 5 of them and hoping to whittle the opponent down enroute (with maybe even a slight counterattack afterwards).
As far as hex gaming goes, I don't think it's threatened by too badly by what's currently out there. I think most gamers would actually prefer AOE type RTS (but with REAL stats that we currently enjoy) to this Firefight system, because you can micromanage as much or as little as you want. I'm not too terribly interested in turn-based extended to 1 minute turns, attempts such as in CM, and calling that real-time. I suppose a lot of us want to be both commander and participant, and with true RTS any of either is possible.
If what we're debating here is strictly "hex-based" and not "turn-based" I don't think there's much of a threat to hex-based at all, it's just the timing of the turns where the real battle for wargaming future is being fought at. To me, it's either a turn base such as SPWAW with opfire sort of thing to convey a mesh of each player doing something semi-simultaneous, or all-out RTS (with pauses); I don't think the pacing of CM satisifes either camp too terribly well.
It's too bad that CL dropped the RTS aspect, as it certainly would've been the first to have had a major amount of the key ingredients to make RTS realistic. Power bars have yet to be overcome.
Perhaps, for now, dropping pure RTS is a good thing for Matrix, but if there's ever a shot at making major sales in stores, it would have to be this idea of putting realictic stats of real-time units, which could be paused. I think a lot of RTS people have had their fill of 'subjective' fantasy units (such as Sudden Strike). There just isn't, nor has there been anything close to SP put into RTS terms, and he who makes it will likely make a killing.