Add a "return to engineering station" button to land units

Similar to how air units can return to air staging facilities to be repaired, I believe land units should have a button that marches them home to the nearest engineering station (maybe with a shorter range than the air staging facilities) to be repaired.

Also, engineering stations should automatically repair units near them. When I was first learning the game that's what I thought they did, sorta like a stationary mechanic or field hospital. However they don't do that, and I think it'd be pretty neat if they did.

There's been some great discussion on the viability of increasing repair speed / decreasing repair costs so I'm not going to comment on that. Besides, I'm only rank ~300 or so on ladder so my opinions aren't worth much.

Right now repairing is an underutilized mechanic. Whether that's good or bad is beyond me, but the fact is that people don't use it. I think this suggestion would add an automatic method of using it, which helps prevent it from being the APM sink that it is now.

In terms of how this'd affect the game, I believe it would encourage players to keep their units alive rather than throwing them to their doom. This encourages players to be less wasteful, and it gives the engineering station another role besides "passive stationary build power" which could already be accomplished by spamming engineers.

It'd also add additional flavor to the space behind the frontline / firebases, which could do with some additional utility. Right now firebases are mainly used to control space, but with an engineering station repairing units just behind them they could act as a rallying banner for previous missions to regroup at before again pushing into enemy territory.

The way I picture it working is the player selects a group of units, some damaged some not, hits the "return to engineering station" button, then queues up an additional movement order for afterwards. Essentially, "repair yourself if you need it then meet up here" - this would allow the player to send some damaged units home partway through a mission, while keeping the undamaged units on task. Sorta like how if you select all your air units and then make an order that only some of them can follow (like, shoot down that spy plane) only the interceptors will move to engage while everyone else will do nothing / do any other orders you specify (like "shoot down that spy plane and then return to an air staging facility" causing the bombers and spy planes to immediately go repair+refuel)

I believe this adds an interesting decision for the player to make - do I send my units home to repair, or do I push further and risk losing them?
More meaningful decisions == more gameplay == more fun.

This is my first suggestion so let me know what you think.

Repair works for air because it can get across a map and back in anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Land will take anywhere from 4 to 8 minutes. That means your push is now missing critical offensive power and needs to either stop or retreat back making it self defeating. So in basically every situation this would be a noob trap, especially since engie stations must be built somewhere you are certain will be safe due to the concentration of them.

That's a good point. I imagined them being placed a bit behind the frontline where they'd be safe, but still near enough that they'd be close enough for units to rally there in a reasonable amount of time.

I think "missing critical offensive power" is the exact kind of choice that is interesting to make. Do you push forward and grab another mex or two at the cost of your damaged units (and the healthy ones!) or do you send the damaged units back to repair and wait until you can push forward in force?

I'm imagining a choice similar to the feeling you get when you have map control and you're trying to decide when to push. According to a guide I read here once, it's the marginalized player's responsibility to push into you and disrupt your oppressive eco - but it's also a good idea to push the weakened enemy into their small corner of the map to make sure they don't snipe you or tech up too quickly.

Similarly, if this repair idea works out then you'll have the same choice on a smaller scale - do you push and deal more damage to the enemy, slowing them down... Or do you build up your forces for a larger strike?

Also, after a tank battle if both players return to repair then whoever put more mass into repair stations will have their units operational sooner. Meaning they can push sooner while their opponent is still flatfooted. Investing in rapid repair facilities while your opponent invests in... Say, point defence, means you can strike where they're weak more quickly.

EDIT: Also, am noob. Maybe I fell for a noob trap with this idea. Who can say 🤷