I was just reading in the latest preview
about how the expansion will feature a more developed story campaign and a bit of de-emphasis on "sandbox" galactic conquest mode. I think this is interesting; as a Blizzard fan I always love it when a good story is built into a RTS game. However, it occurs to me after playing several GC's and reading that tidbit that I think the game would be a lot more immersive if the galactic conquest scenarios incorporated some amount of randomly-occurring "story missions" as well. Especially if the Rebels send a raid fleet or one or more heroes is present in the battle, you would not expect the same battle for control of the planet to take place as if each side just had an army at their disposal! I think that a neat way to implement this would be to add in "side quests" like in WarCraft III that are triggered only in particular circumstances. For instance, if Rebel Infiltrators go on a raid mission to occupied Alderaan, they might be asked to recapture some Rebel political prisoners and the player would have the option of doing that instead of attacking the Empire directly. Similarly, if Darth Vader landed alone on Dagobah and Yoda was hiding there, I'd expect some sort of serious Force battle to take place, not just a half a lightsaber duel and then each hero retreating to their bacta tanks.
This kind of idea might be more meaningful if there was some mechanism for capturing enemy heroes. I'd propose a simple mechanism for this: if one hero kills another hero, the second hero is considered "captured" and unavailable for use until his comrades either kill the capturing hero or force him to retreat in battle. For example, if Vader kills Han, then Han is considered "captured" and the Rebel player doesn't get to use him again until they either kill Vader (releasing Han and starting Vader's recharge timer) or engage Vader in battle and Vader retreats. Now imagine if Luke were to land on Vader's planet with an army while Han was in custody: it would be cool for the battle for that planet to have a different slant than a usual conquest battle: "recapture Solo!" rather than "take the planet!"
I'm all for more random events happening in GC games, but I'd love a little more tie-in between the galactic map and the tactical maps. This is just one way I thought of to do it. Anyone have any thoughts?