The only official word on the mechanics I've seen is from the Kickstarter page (which I've quoted before):
Combat uses a point and click system to control your party of heroes. Each hero has abilities they can use in battle, and the use of these abilities depletes either their mana (magic reserves) or their stamina. Tactical play and the combination of different heroes will be the main factors in your success, as well as taking advantage of the following conditions:
- Fog of War....
- Threat Management....
Which all sounds like pretty standard stuff in any strategy game, real-time, turn-based, or otherwise.
Still, the term "squad-based" is being thrown around a lot, they seem to emphasize the lack of micromanagement, and they've explicitly said they don't mean stuff like resource management when they say "RTS". This sounds like a much more tactical strategy game that happens to be in real time. I'm not really a fan of traditional RTS games myself, but that's precisely because of all the frantic micromanagement. Having a small number of hero units in a more tactical setting sounds fine to me.
Also, the one piece of concept art they have for the battle system certainly doesn't jive with avatars representing a squad:
Seriously, I didn't even think "squad-based" was ambiguous until I started having this conversation with you guys. Normally it means small-scale, tactical combat.
Now I suspect daved drew his conclusions from this interview
and I should apologize for being a bit harsh. The relevant portion being:
As for the gameplay mechanics, if you recall the hero system of Warcraft III, and the campaigns that centered around those characters, you may find something very similar to that in Project Phoenixâ€™s RTS-inspired gameplay. â€œNow, I hate micromanagement. Itâ€™s not real. You should be leading these heroes, you shouldnâ€™t have to tell them what to do. You shouldnâ€™t have to tell them to defend, or to tell them to do this, or to do special moves, or tell them when to scratch their butts. They know what to do in certain situations. Thereâ€™s three kinds of modes they can be in for now. We have aggressive, we have defensive, and we have stealth. Based on what you tell them to do, these people will move based on that strategy.â€
â€œWhatâ€™s even coolerâ€“youâ€™re working with heroes, not just any old character. These heroes are heroes. Theyâ€™re just like Legolas. Theyâ€™ll kill in one shot and nail peopleâ€™s facesâ€¦But there are many many crappy foot soldiers. And they will overwhelm you and you will lose health, and you will die, and thatâ€™s where the fun begins. Itâ€™s more about tactical gameplay. Where you stand, where you set up your archers, how you set up your group, how you want your groups to behave, these are the decisions your players will be making, not â€˜do your special move now.â€™ Micromanagement just doesnâ€™t feel real.â€
Still, I draw a different conclusion from that. It sounds to me like they're talking about setting AI behavior so you don't have
to micromanage everything your guys do and they can respond intelligently if they're, say, attacked when you're not paying attention. That doesn't mean you can't
order them around directly. That would contradict the "point and click system to control your party of heroes". And they clearly do emphasize positioning at the very least.