Rule the waves 3 has a number of improvements over its predecessors. The most obvious one is the extension of the time period covered to allow for a truly epic scale. RTW3 starts in 1890, which means that the early game includes some really weird ironclad designs. The game mechanics have also been adapted to cover technology and tactics in that period, mainly shorter combat ranges and armor being stronger relative to gun penetration.
In the other end of the game in the post-WWII period up to 1970, the missile age has been incorporated. Where RTW2 had only the most modest beginnings of the missile age, in RTW3 you can design fully fledged missile cruisers with a wide choice of missile armament and missile defences. Various types of Anti-ship missiles and Anti-aircraft missiles are included, as are more modern light and medium AA guns. The technology of AA defences changes dramatically as the massive WW2 arrays of light and medium AA guns that are so distinctive of late WW2 battleships and aircraft carriers are replaced by fewer but more accurate radar directed weapons.
Jet aircraft are also now handled in more detail, and carriers have to be rebuilt to handle larger jet aircraft. Two new aircraft roles have been added, Heavy Jet Fighters and Jet Attack aircraft.
No other naval wargame allows for such a wide range, starting in the pre-Dreadnought era, progressing through the advent of naval airpower and continuing well into the missile age. Guiding your fleet through these major strategic and tactical revolutions makes for a lot of interesting and fun decisions.
But RTW3 is not only about increasing the time span. There have been many other improvements and additions.
For example, you can now group your ships into permanent divisions, and assign them roles relative to other divisions. In effect, you can set up the structure of your entire fleet. This will translate to battle, obviously with some modifications depending on the size of battle and the circumstances.
In RTW3 you can also now assign officers to command your ships. The officers will vary in quality and are differentiated by traits that can influence their behaviour, in battle and ashore. These traits are initially unknown but will show themselves gradually as officers progress through their careers.
Ship graphics have been improved in RTW3. Turrets have a national style, and it is now possible to make more detailed ship designs with visual adornments like ship’s boats, gratings and light AA guns being added. These will not affect the combat performance of the ship, but if you like creating beautful little ships, you will enjoy them in combat so much more.
Apart from these major changes there have been lots of smaller improvements:
* 8 nations are now in play.
* There can be AI vs AI wars without the player nation being involved.
* There is a new Baltic region.
* Treaties now have tonnage restrictions, and the player can affect treaty negotiations.
* Submarines are less abstracted and can now be moved on the strategic map.
We have also included a host of other improvements to the damage model, hit chances, air attacks, air combat and other aspects of the simulation. There have also been a number of UI improvements, many suggested by players of previous editions of Rule the Waves.