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Company of Heroes 3 Pre-Alpha with WhiteFlash

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Index




1.0 Who is WFR?

2.0 Relics offering and our opportunity
2.1 Advice for providing feedback

3.0 General Examination
3.1 Art
3.1.1 In Game Art
3.1.2 Menu Art
3.2 Game Engine
3.3 Sound Effects & Audio
3.4 RNG Dilemma
3.5 RNG Solutions
3.6 Modding Support
3.7 Monetization
3.7.1 Skins
3.7.2 Audio
3.7.3 Co-op Campaigns
3.7.4 Victory
3.7.5 Gifting
3.7.6 Tournaments

4.0 Gameplay
4.1 Mines
4.2 Snipers
4.3 Breaching
4.4 TrueSight 2.0
4.5 Auto Vault
4.6 Indirect Fire
4.7 UI
4.7.1 Unit Tracking
4.7.2 Retreat Paths
4.8 Vehicles
4.8.1 Side Armor
4.8.2 Bullet Bounce
4.8.3 Vehicle Criticals

5.0 Maps
5.1 Resource Points & Maps
5.2 Capping
5.3 Tactical Map
5.4 Win Conditions
5.4.1 Victory Point
5.4.2 Cap All Sectors
5.4.3 Hold Specific Sector
5.4.4 Hunt the Sniper
5.4.5 Escort/Promote Unit
5.4.6 Supply Drop Race
5.5 Verticality
5.6 The Worldbuilder

6.0 Single Player Experience
6.1 Campaign
6.2 Skirmish

7.0 Multiplayer Experience
7.1 Competitive
7.1.1 Ladder
7.1.2 Tournaments
7.1.3 Esports Potential
7.2 Casual Players
7.3 Co-op Campaign
7.4 Pure Fun Modes
7.5 Clan Battles/Wars
7.6 Faction Design
7.7 Post Game Stats
7.8 Community
7.9 Reconnect
7.10 Observe
7.10.1 Spectate Mode
7.10.2 Replay Mode

8.0 Conclusion


1.0 Who is WFR?



I've been repeatedly asked if I'm qualified to talk about game design, you decide, this is meant to give context for the viewer. Because of my nature this article is thorough and dives deep into the details, but to save time and change up the format I’ve added many video clips to assist in delivering my observations. Many of these concepts are built on my past two COH3 articles (1, 2). Please enjoy!


Back to the Index



2.0 Relics offering and our opportunity



Thank you Relic, for letting us dump a ton of feedback on you and try out COH3 pre-alpha! Exciting times for sure, here is some more feedback and observations.


2.1 Advice for providing feedback



“Map feedback will come in all shapes and sizes. Good feedback comes when a player provides replays, screenshots, or other visual aids. The best feedback is unbiased, but this is hard to determine, as your experience with worldbuilding grows you'll be able to recognize bias and work around it. The more specific the feedback, the better. If a player can get very deep into why something happened it better aids you. Don't be afraid to ask players for things like this as everyone will benefit from them. And I'll say this up front, good feedback is hard to come by, it's hard to take emotions out of an intense battle and get to the core of what makes a map good or bad in a given area, at a given time. Stay focused on the goal of balance, interesting strategic opportunities, and options for players. Advertise your map and push to have your content tested.” - Worldbuilding with Whiteflash

The process above for map feedback is similar to the process of game design feedback for the devs. State your reasons, be specific and try to have context for the feedback in question, you're trying to convince the other party that the information provided is relevant and logically consistent. It's crucial to step outside yourself when preparing to provide feedback, talk it over with others, and try to do self checks on ideas beforehand. Do your best to stay objective.




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3.0 General Examination



3.1 Art



3.1.1 In Game Art

The game art looks good all things considered. Given how important the structure of the game is to the final product, my hope is that the artwork is put to the side while the rest of the pieces of the puzzle are put together. We have yet to see XP art as it has been displayed in the past. This kind of stuff is still low priority but it is noticeable that it's missing, remember to make it POP!




3.1.2 Menu Art

My hope is the current menu is a placeholder for a slicker interface. The menus being easily navigable and intuitive are critical to minimizing frustration for everyone. There are so many layers to the menus that will need to be addressed when we see something fleshed out but for now I think it's fair to say what we are seeing is rough and ok for now.


3.2 Game Engine



Looks like some sort of Essence Engine 5.0. Hoping for a lot of polish towards the end of development, as well as not needing to restart the game after a few games! So much potential here, like more destruction effects… Perhaps turrets of tanks blown off completely on occasion when destroyed? Creating a second piece of green cover and stunning the audience at the same time would be amazing!



Also very noticeable is that the physics of dying infantry is so much better than in COH2. The building physics is wonky as of the time of writing but I can sort of see what direction they are going in, I hope that fleshes out to take building destruction to a new level.



There is so much potential to make the vehicles really FEEL like they have been in battle and bring the visual experience to the next level. A post from Relic is encouraging and I can't wait to see where this goes in the future.

I do want to mention issues with crashing in COH2. In order to reliably complete a game, people have to close the game and restart it or risk the game crashing at any given moment. Nothing makes people want to stop playing a game more than it crashing. No one likes to see this screen.



COH3 will need to be stable to the point where you can play it for tens of hours on end without issue. I've already seen COH3 crash randomly, granted it's still in pre alpha, but this won't be an acceptable condition at launch. It’s not important quite yet but it will be when a multiplayer alpha is released and as we approach launch.


3.3 Sound Effects & Audio



The current sound effects are a noticeable improvement on what we are used to. Specifically things like the sherman tank, sniper rifles being distinct, and mortars when their rounds connect with the target. There are still a lot of sounds either missing or that sound generic which isn't surprising and not a problem as of yet. Consider the default voice settings vs sound effect settings as well.




3.4 RNG Dilemma




Please reference the following deep dive and watch below to understand the issues with unreasonable over-impactful low chance randomness. I wish Relic luck when approaching this one.




3.5 RNG Solutions



There are many possible solutions to the problems laid out in Section 3.4. I enumerate some solutions in my CoH3 Addendum. Please take a look and consider what mechanically makes sense to everyone's benefit.

On a separate note, the RNG I speak of in Section 3.4 can be mitigated a different way: through a toggle-able “competitive mode” which disables unreasonable over-impactful low chance randomness in ladder, leagues, and tournaments, but keeps it intact for casual players. I would advise removing the unreasonable, over-impactful, low chance randomness as much as possible as outlined in Section 3.4 with all of the stated reasons therein. The goal is to make COH3 as big and as fun as possible for everyone, unreasonable RNG runs counter to this. Keep in mind that defining what this is, is listed partly in Section 3.4. Everything isn't listed and it will be up to Relic to be thoughtful about what to do here in terms of identification of issues and effective solutions.


3.6 Modding Support





DOTA & Counterstrike have shown the potential power and popularity of mods on gaming platforms. Modders work extremely hard to make their visions come to life and pour hundreds of hours to make them happen. Give modders the freedom and information they desire, and new dimensions inside of the COH universe today could really open up. Sharing mods is easier than ever with the Steam workshop and the COH community’s talent for mod creation is tremendous. COH1 saw mods like Eastern Front, Blitzkrieg & Modern Combat which were amazing in their fluent take on the COH combat system.




3.7 Monetization



Earning passive income for their efforts is certainly a fair position for Relic & SEGA to be in. Consider the gaming community these days, all of the other products that SEGA owns, and the route they take with them. A lot of great content with some questionables mixed in. The paramount thing I would say here is that please, please, please, do not turn anything that is commander related into a cash cow. I'd like to implore that the commanders (battlegroups and the like) for COH3 be taken acutely as they will be a make or break feature for the competitive environment.



If you must… make them really cheap. Releasing a commander (or whatever the multiplayer system will be) and making units OP, selling a bunch, then balancing them leaves a repulsive taste in the mouths of the community and it destroys the competitive spirit of this franchise. You do not want to besmirch the name of COH3 with the “Pay to Win” tag. There are so many other ways to earn passive income from this as I will specify below.


3.7.1 Skins 👍

Skins for buildings, skins for vehicle armor, skins for vehicle exhaust smoke, skins for infantry, skins for what projectiles are shot out of different infantry/vehicles/artillery (think goldeneye paintball mode). There is a ton of potential here to make the game look crazy and fun for whoever wants it. Anything that gives players advantages with the different skins/graphics would need to be carefully thought out as the competitive ladder could be affected, so consider historical skins only for the ladder and for everyone else? Go crazy and have fun!

Something else that can increase interest in these kinds of items is time sensitive releases, where you can only acquire skins for a limited time. For example you could announce a big tournament, release items, and a short time after the tournament is over the skins would be gone for good. Perhaps tournament items have a percentage of the income that goes towards the tournament prize pool (ala DOTA). This kind of buzz and community interaction generates income and incentivizes player participation. This will increase the turnover for items in the market, which will keep it fresh, and encourage players to interact with it.


3.7.2 Audio 👍

The faction announcer that comes with COH3 could be swapped out with an announcer from COH2 or COH1. I think a lot of players would be happy to pay for an announcer pack or to hear Steve Blum at your back while playing. The audio for individual units too, could be used to great effect when giving players options for purchase. Giving players the ability to swap a COH1 panther voice over for the COH3 panther, or any unit into its corresponding unit in COH3 would be a real treat. There are a lot of great options here and a TON of monetary potential as the past voice overs hold value in so many players’ hearts.


3.7.3 Co-op Campaigns 👍

There potential for many different kinds of high quality coop campaigns. Consider mission types that are classic to COH2, but also mission types like the COH1 Tiger Ace campaign, or the mission types where you need to fight your way into areas on foot and capture vehicles or assassinate targets. There is so much potential for Relic to release lots of coop campaigns for everyone to love!


3.7.4 Victory 👍

Victory strikes could be something that the victorious player chooses from 1 of 3 items to impose on their defeated foe, instead of the 1 pre-equipped strike in COH2. Victory anthems could also be something that is generated by Relic and played at the end of a game after the player picks the one they like. These kinds of items could be monetizable fun items to play with.


3.7.5 Gifting 👍

Allow players to give any of the items outlined in section 3.7. This will naturally generate more income for Relic & SEGA and it will give players more purchasing flexibility.


3.7.6 Tournaments 👍

If I were to make the argument for a robust tournament scene in COH3, I would pitch a grass roots, stepping stone approach. Start smaller, let third parties run tournaments with support from relic/SEGA etc. Then as things become bigger and better along with the game itself, becoming more balanced and more optimized, there ought to be many high level tournaments regularly. Relic/SEGA could even start being more directly involved with their own tournaments to supplement others. These tournaments help Relic & SEGA in increasing game sales which will sell more of everything outlined above. Having regular leagues that happen twice a year or at consistent intervals can help players and viewers stay in sync with the seasons for practicing and viewing, all of these small pieces add up to big payoffs. It's damaging for the competitive scene to have unpredictable downtime.

If the scene grows big enough, sponsorship and media rights deals etc., can become a sustainable approach. There is so much potential these days with platforms like Twitch with its ability for everyone to communicate to many thousands of COH fans instantly. This can transform the COH franchise, and drastically increase the revenue it generates.




Back to the Index




4.0 Gameplay



4.1 Mines



Shown below is a COH1 scenario with a blob moving without minesweepers. The aggressive suppression and pinning feature of standard mine is a critical tool controlling blobs, this along with artillery and machine guns are crucial. Currently factions (American & British) all seem to be equipped with basic mines which is great, but the mines don't do any suppression, something that can easily be fixed.






4.2 Snipers






4.3 Breaching



A great idea to increase the aggressive pace of the game. Currently janky as units are locked into breaching or locked into the house when the action has begun. In order for this element to work the ability will need to be cancel-able, similar to fausting or other unit abilities, where the ability can be cancelled mid use so that the player executes the action as needed instead of being locked into an animation. The defending player in the house should also be able to vacate when they like. Some conclusion will need to be reached on how much damage the breaching grenade does, and how the in house battle plays out etc., but improve on the subtlety of this mechanic and it will turn into an invaluable tool for all players. Worth noting that constraining breach only to certain units that make sense should be maintained, the question will be what units will have breach and which don't.




4.4 TrueSight 2.0



Any improvements to TrueSight is very welcome. This is something that COH2 did indisputably better than COH1 and it's great to have an upgrade to it. Something where you can't see units on cliff elevation and surprise attacks should add a new interesting layer to the game. My hope is that abilities like Recon also take TrueSight into consideration in terms of how much information is seen and how recon abilities can be dealt with from the opposing side. So far it looks like recon only sees units, does not reveal any of the FOW (only shows units) which makes indirect fire units less overwhelming. These are all great things and the truesight will surely continue to surprise us as testing continues.


4.5 Auto-Vault



An outstanding addition to COH3. The vaulting in COH2 always felt clunky when trying to find the exact right place to click on a fence piece that's hidden in a bush behind an explosion in a split second. The auto-vault is much smoother and effective. Outstanding job!


4.6 Indirect Fire



Indirect fire (heavy howitzers, colliapes and the like not included) should reward players for active management & direct targeting much more so than their auto attack. Units like this are mortars. To reward tactical decision making and emphasize its role of dislodging dug-in defenses, a mortar’s barrage ability should be much more effective than it's autofire mode. This rewards players who use the unit for its intended role, without rewarding players who overproduce the unit and allow them to fire automatically. Overly powerful auto attacking by indirect fire units (see pack howitzers COH2) tends to punish short term cover-seekers, a rifle squad holding behind green cover for instance, which is detrimental to tactical squad positioning based gameplay that makes COH the special game series that it is.

More care needs to be taken when designing indirect autofire units. It's possible that it would be ideal to make units fire leisurely on autofire, to the point where the autofire is unproductive. Or perhaps they don't fire at all unless player input happens? There are a lot of ways to tweak these kinds of units to be advantageous when used correctly but not abrasive when spammed and no player input is forthcoming.


4.7 UI



The new minimalist UI is an amazing place to start. Removing all of the extra graphical pieces that were in COH1 and COH2 and giving us only what we really need to see is a no brainer and a fantastic upgrade. With some tweaking this UI will be the gold standard that makes past COH games feel outdated.




4.7.1 Unit Tracking

The squad icons are back in COH3 and they are a good start. The ability to move the icon cluster to the top right or the bottom left is nice, hopefully we will be able to have more flexibility with placement on these in the future. I want to address my only real issue with these which is, within and around the icon itself it's a bit cluttered. As you can see below you have the Icon itself and 5 other identifiers around it.



It's pretty busy. The only two improvements I might offer is that you could change it so the suppression or pinned icon flashes the entire units icon yellow or red respectively, this would remove an icon and perhaps make it more obvious the unit is in trouble by flashing the color in question. This does harken back to the COH1 suppression/pinned identifier, I think this will clean up the unit icon somewhat.



Vanilla COH1 veterancy bars shown below also may cut down on icon clutter as they are designed to be directly attached to the unit card instead of hanging above it. Those of you with a sharp eye will recognize this, admittedly low res, veterancy picture from vanilla COH1. It's an interesting and distinct possibility to show a unit’s vet. The vet icons had the same function but were all unique in VCOH, but the system right now with stars isn't necessarily bad either. The system below just may cut down on clutter.



The squads individual unit count on the squad icon is a nice touch, I may suggest playing around with changing its location or how it's integrated into the squad icon as well, but also a good start and a welcome addition to the information pallet.




4.7.2 Retreat Paths

Retreating in Company of Heroes is an absolutely fundamental part of what the series is about. It is a great change to normal RTS games wherein conservation of units is all important. There is a problem.... When the retreat button is activated, there often isn't a clear idea as to which path the unit will take to return to base, which often unintentionally puts units in great danger. Generally speaking, players rely on the map designers built in “good retreat pathing” to see the job done. This is tricky to accomplish and many games would have a different outcome if a different retreat path was surmised by the player before they retreated. I propose to solve this issue with a new mechanism which combines the tactical pause dotted line graphics (or something similarly suitable) with an in-game graphically illustrated predictive retreat path. This mechanism would be called “Predictive Retreat”.



I'm talking about having players hold a button (default alt, ctrl or the like) while a squad, or group of squads, is selected. While this button is held down a path pops up and shows the player, in real time, where the unit will retreat if the retreat ability is activated. This would be an amazing piece of tech that will give players a ton of power over their units survivability and they would identify retreat issues ahead of time if they are smart enough to engage the “Predictive Retreat” feature. More depth, more control, better COH.


4.8 Vehicles



4.8.1 Side Armor

Side armor is a great addition to the vehicle components list. We will see how it really works when multiplayer comes out and we can experiment with it in a thorough way.

Given this new armor type more thought needs to be put into how penetration is calculated in game to maximize the effect of having "front", "side" and "rear" armor.

In COH1, no units have "armor" values, rather each gun for every unit has a unique penetration value against enemy units. For example a 57mm AT gun has 70% penetration vs. a StuG but only 40% vs. a Panther. COH2 gives vehicles "armour" values and guns "penetration" values which isnt as flexible. The Sherman has 200 armor and 20mm base and flak turrets have 20 penetration which means even low penetration guns penetrate thick armour sometimes. If you look at COH1, the PE flakvierling has 0% penetration against sherman, and will never penetrate. The differences in these systems, and the flexibility of the COH1 system provides, may may be worth exploring when considering armor in general. There ought to be an approach that gives the developers flexibility and control over the way they balance the game.


4.8.2 Bullet Bounce

Bullet bounce is back in COH3 and it is looking pretty good to start. The look of the streak on the round after it hits the tank is up for debate but there is a clear difference between a round that penetrates armor and a round that does not. It makes the armor FEEL like it's making a difference and this visual design gives immediate feedback to the player and viewers alike! A great start!






4.8.3 Vehicle Criticals

Vehicles are critical components of any army. The condition of them is therefore crucial to anyone trying to understand the condition of their forces. It is also important for anyone who has not played the game to make elements in the game understandable. To that end, COH1 did a phenomenal job with this. In the unit window, instead of having a picture of the unit, it has what looks similar to an engineering schematic. The mechanical condition can immediately be understood via glowing yellow or red highlights in the area that is relevant.





I can confidently say this is one of the most effective gameplay UI elements to come out of COH1. COH2 has clunky icon based displays. In the same way COH2 had vastly better infantry tracking, COH1 has vastly better vehicle critical tracking plain and simple.




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5.0 Maps



5.1 Resource Points & Maps



COH1 resource points are back and everyone should be rejoicing at this fact. The amount of flexibility in design is so much deeper by giving the map designer the choice of how to set up the map, the number of points etc. this system's importance in COH3 cannot be overstated. Another advantage to this is that the pacing of the map can be massaged and changed. This is done through the number of points, the different kinds of points cap at hugely different speeds and the location of the different points make a big difference. Another advantage of this system is that outposts on points have to be much more thought out because different point values will yield a different amount of impact from the OP. This adds depth to any match, instead of just OPing the point which is the safest.



Yet another advantage to this system is the fact that OPs on manpower points don't gain any resources that offset the cost of the OP throughout the match. This fact means there is massive incentive to OP anything EXCEPT the manpower point, which is also quick to cap/decap. This means cutoffs will actually function as originally intended. We haven't seen traditional OPs yet in COH3 but I’m sure something like them are in the works. And finally, the “how difficult or easy it is to come back” dial can be turned up and down as the map designer wishes because so many elements of the design can be tweaked, this is another huge asset to COH3 that COH2 just can’t replicate.

The maps shown in skirmish also don't have especially interesting technical design yet, it's still very early so not an issue yet. I'll just parrot what I've said here about map design to start. Understanding flow, cutoffs, secor layout and VP placement is critical to making interesting maps. And now that we have the best systems from both COHs it will be SO much better!

“If you don't have cutoffs on your map and you want it to be competitive, you're doing it wrong. Any competitive player will notice a cutoff and any good competitive player will do everything to take advantage of it, it's the nature of COH. Mappers are obliged to provide as many strategically unique elements as possible to serve as a catalyst to encourage new strategic gameplay. Cutoffs are one of the best ways to do this. It's hard to nail down the best way to create a map with unique cutoffs...Never stop trying to improve the cutoffs on your map, its importance cannot be understated.” - Worldbuilding with Whiteflash



The tactical map also has (at the time of writing) included a resource point identification improvement in that there are small UP^ arrows indicating the amount of resources at a given point. This should streamline the viewing and identification process of resource points and is a great direction to go. Also worth noting that the pop cap doesn't seem to be linked to anything, which means the (to some people) overbearing COH1 pop cap linked to capped points won't be an issue. WELL DONE Relic on this front.

One thing that will need adjusting is the capping speeds, when put to a timer the higher points seem to cap faster for some reason? This is easily fixable and I’m sure it will be in time. Cap Time from neutral to capped shown below. Adjustments are subject to testing, but the idea is smaller points cap faster. Riflemen were used for capping measurements below.




5.2 Capping



Capping circles are also back from COH2 and they are more than welcome. The capping system of COH1 was decent but the capping circle will likely yield great results and flexibility when combined with the COH1 resource system. I am hoping that in the world builder the capping circle will have the flexibility of being increased or decreased in size. It was a great move to standardize the capping circle 👍.




5.3 Tactical Map



The tactical map is an invaluable tool for players while in game. But what will it look like? What could it look like?



In addition to this I think there may be a place to have an ability, while in the game menu mode, to load up any map (from any campaign or ladder or anywhere) and draw on it with in game symbols or arrows, or what have you. Something like this may be an interesting tool for players to use for competitive purposes or for fun.


5.4 Win Conditions



5.4.1 Victory Point

Classic VPs, bleed your opponent until their VP count is at 0. Classic.


5.4.2 Cap All Sectors

This is a mode that feels like a replacement for annihilation. It's much more interesting and could lead to some interesting PVP map designs to account for the victory condition.


5.4.3 Hold Specific Sector

This mode feels like it could unlock a ton of fun modes for the casual player where waves of units are fought in PVP modes where one team is a dedicated defender and the other team is a dedicated attacker. Good stuff.




5.4.4 Hunt the Sniper

Not a win condition but a cool minigame that is built within a normal win condition map. The idea that buildings are being thought of beyond their traditional role of a garrison is exciting and great.


5.4.5 Escort/Promote Unit

Another side mission built within the normal win condition is the escort/promote. You have to put this squad into combat but can't lose the squad without losing the game. An escort mission where the escorted entity has to be in combat is another interesting take on traditional COH. I could see in the future some kind of Regicide-esk mode. Very cool.


5.4.6 Supply Drop Race

A less impactful but small mini side mission that I observed is the random supply drop. It drops, you race to it, not much else to say. My hope is that in ladder these mini side missions are excluded, but they would be a ton of fun for casual matches where you can toggle which one of the mini side missions you want to enable to randomly happen in a given match.


5.5 Verticality



Fixing elevation in COH3 would have been a desirable addition to the game, but to overhaul how units interact on elevation to add more tactical depth? That is great. A key here is making it so that large caliber weapons (tank, AT guns etc) can fire and connect with their targets firing up a hill reliably. This was a game breaking issue in COH2 to the point where major elevation changes were busted. A new element like this could give worldbuilders many more options to play with when designing. The entire player base should only benefit from this new tech if it's executed well.



5.6 The Worldbuilder



Many hopes and dreams of the new COH3 worldbuilder are high. A worldbuilder without as many bugs or items that are bugged inherently would be very nice. Here are a couple items that will give the mappers much more design flexibility for the future:

1. Make it possible to move windows & doors to different locations on buildings and add or remove windows/doors. The flexibility of this change would be enormous for map design variety.

2. Include a “waypoint retreat” object in the worldbuilder. This object could be placed by mappers as a point that units will retreat to if it is closer than the primary retreat location but instead of staying at this location they would then retreat home. This would open up more possibilities for wider maps as the current retreat mechanism makes retreat pathing extremely difficult if the map is wide beyond a certain point.


Back to the Index




6.0 Single Player Experience



6.1 Campaign



We got the Italian campaign, which is a great move. This type of setting will give us everything we want and more, and then: ROMMEL IN AFRICA CAMPAIGN!!! That part of the unveiling trailer was 11/10. Can't wait.



6.2 Skirmish



Would really like to crank up the AI and see what it's capable of as well as more interesting games, effortless to win at the moment but nice to see some of the potential multiplayer maps coming down the pipe.


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7.0 Multiplayer Experience



When queuing into ladder or playing a custom game, having the ability to choose “random faction” or “allies” or “axis” would be a nice touch to the multiplayer experience.


7.1 Competitive



7.1.1 Ladder

Something that needs to be seriously looked at is a way to refresh the ladder. Something similar to seasons or the like need to be automated to keep the competitive environment refreshed and engaging. Keeping things like players' flags showing where they come from are another nice touch that needs to be kept for future ladders. Anything to galvanize competition, make it happen!




7.1.2 Tournaments

In game flexible built in tournament generation system?! 🙏


7.1.3 Esport Potential

Instead of me reiterating the same stuff that I went over in the COH3 Addendum article’s Esports section, I am going to let someone more qualified than me give some backstory on why this is something that Relic, SEGA, and the community should be at least interested in considering. Can you imagine a finals match for literally hundreds of thousands of dollars or more? With hundreds of thousands of fans watching or more?




7.2 Casual Players



Casual players make up a large part of the COH franchise player base. The crazy explosions, large potential battle scales, a vast number of commanders to pick from, and a variety of asymmetric factions to choose from, it's no wonder there are a ton of casual players and comp stompers out there, and honestly it's great! We want as many people playing and enjoying Company of Heroes as possible. The potential plethora of game modes that COH3 should offer could bring in more players than the COH franchise has ever seen before, many of these people will be casual players and they are more than welcome.



I can't say enough good things about the tactical pause as well, it's an outstanding mechanic for new players and we have no fear of it coming into multiplayer, as it should be.

“This feature won't be available in competitive multiplayer, and it was described to me almost like training wheels for newer players” -IGN


7.3 Co-op Campaign



Co-op campaigns have a bunch of possible roles to play in COH3. One as a revenue source as stated before, hoping for polished campaigns of course, but it's also a place where friends can just gather together and bash some AIs. All of the past gameplay types we've seen from all COH games leave a lot of potential here. The COH2 coop campaigns had decent trailers, but the gameplay felt simple and relatively shallow. If Relic can bring their excellent campaign designs, new COH3 mechanics, and thoughtful content to the co-op arena we could see some of the best co-op content yet released.


7.4 Pure Fun Modes



The potential for pure fun/crazy modes in COH3 seems substantial. I suspect the modding community will come to the rescue to some extent here, assuming they are given the freedom to do so. A past mode that would resemble a fun mode would be Operation Stonewall or Company of Heroes Online! Some real deep design work done on a mode like this (and surely many others yet unthought of) and the creation of others could really flesh out COH3 and give players endless hours of engagement with the game.


7.5 Clan Battles/Wars



This is something that's never been formally included into COH multiplayer. Back in the COH1 days there used to be many groups who would compete against each other in different ways. These days there is little or none of that happening. Anything that can encourage competitive spirit is a good idea. Whether it’s in ladder, tournaments, mapping, modding or clan Vs clan stuff. What I'm driving at is it would be great to have some built in tools for players to tribe up and interact.


7.6 Faction Design



The faction design in COH3, from a structural perspective, looks great in skirmish mode. They will surely need a lot of tweaking, but a lot of the unattractive elements like clown cars early on, oppressive light vehicles in early game which break the crucial infantry dynamics and overbearing emplacements are missing from the skirmish mode which to everyone in a competitive mode will be appreciated.



The new “Battlegroup” system also looks like a quantum leap over COH2. This harkens back to the COH1 system but with even more choice and possibilities. Something like this is going to make the commander/battlegroup specialization aspect of the game so much better. There may be even more ways to make the system elegant and deep. But so far a great start!



COH1 had the ability to swap out some units for other units that fulfilled the same role but had subtle changes to them. Something like this could be a possible element to incorporate into fun modes or co-op campaigns or even the ladder factions if this design choice is handled with care. It would add some depth to each faction in the given mode and make for more player choice. Something to think about!




7.7 Post Game Stats






7.8 Community



We haven't seen any community features (no surprise, not a problem) yet. For this reason I’m going to harken back to the Community Section of a past article to acriculate some observations that may need to be taken into consideration here. A lot of opportunities here to make a big impact where many past RTS games have fallen short.

Company of Heroes has always been rated M for mature. Bodies exploding, units cursing and so forth, it's great! Could we please have a toggle that allows us to uncensor chat please? Player choice is king and it's about garden time!


7.9 Reconnect



In all multiplayer modes please🙏


7.10 Observe



7.10.1 Spectate Mode

At release please🙏

7.10.2 Replay Mode

At release please🙏 COH3 will be a beautiful game, it would be a big asset to include a rewind function.


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8.0 Conclusion





COH3 Pre-Alpha is looking like an interesting and positive structure on which an amazing game can be built. It can be better than the sum of its parts. It can make the past COH games look obsolete. It has the beginning ingredients to be a stand out RTS game in the modern era. I applaud Relics progress and the current direction they are going. I look forward to the choices they will make and what they will show us in the future. Godspeed COH3 development team, and godspeed Relic.

-Sincerely, WhiteFlash

My thanks goes to BlitzReborn and LTReborn for monetization, faction design and other good discussions. As well as to Huk for the Esports discussion. Thanks to Kpen97 for the highlight to this article. Many thanks to Yukiko for editing and converting the article from Google Docs to COH2.org. And my utmost gratitude to my wonderful wife for her support.


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