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Company of Heroes 3 with WhiteFlash

20 Jun 2018, 11:14 AM
avatar of kamokaizen

Posts: 16

Nice job man, thank you for preparing this article :)
22 Jun 2018, 04:37 AM
avatar of WhiteFlash
Senior Mapmaker Badge
Benefactor 119

Posts: 1148 | Subs: 1

Thanks everyone for the thoughtful criticism and the +1s.

I realize that this article may seem like it slants towards COH1 game features (which is not the intention as stated in the introduction) but there are things that COH2 does better (such as sniper meta, vaulting, special effects, truesight etc), as well as other points that weren't talked about and need to be to illustrate a fuller spectrum of possibilities for COH 3.

I've been getting a lot of support from Facebook to Reddit and here as well, it is appreciated. Because of this I will very likely be writing an addendum to this article to flesh it out more and address conversations I've had with many people since the time of writing. Cheers.
26 Jun 2018, 07:43 AM
avatar of The amazing Chandler

Posts: 1348

+ 1000 to Ciez's (and others) Popcap point.
I don't want more 10-20 minute games. If i want that i should play a Football game or something else.
And besides that, it does not make sense from a "real life" perspective. Because i have little territory i cant build/field more units to defend my self?
26 Jun 2018, 22:00 PM
avatar of page305

Posts: 26

As an avid collector of map mods, PLEASE include a real time filtering search bar for map selection in custom games.

Awesome write up WhiteFlash.

Off topic but please also update CoH2 with the same feature.
27 Jun 2018, 01:57 AM
avatar of Diogenes5

Posts: 269

A deep and satisfying read but I feel a few elephants in the room haven't been addressed.

The Pathfinding has to be fixed. - This is a thread about it from 4 years ago: https://www.coh2.org/topic/21848/the-worst-enemy-in-the-game-pathfinding

None of the issues have really been corrected. I understand relic tried to address this issue but had to revert once because it created new issues and other fixes were also controversial (units auto-seeking cover instead of moving to where you click has created many a situation where squads stand outside a capping circle to take some crappy yellow cover). I understand development on the game was rushed but this is one of the things that prevents COH2 from taking the next step. Units need to respond predictably and not interfere with one another.

The most beautiful memory I have in COH1 was the beauty of the first big flank of a game between an American player and a Wehrmact player. Because of the way machine guns were designed, Americans needed to do a big 3-way flank to push the wehrmacht off a strategic point and it was up to the Wehrmact to anticipate and push off this attack. Constant flanking and positioning was key in COH1 and aggressive flanking was encouraged.

In COH2, because units interfere with each other, the more units you give commands to move, the more they interfere with one another if their paths intersect. The beautiful war of movement of COH1 becomes, in COH2, pushing one unit forward just out of range, and then pulling it back. It's the safest way to play in a game without very good pathfinding.

It's also a huge hindrance to map creation as well since you need a certain amount of space between objects in COH2 for vehicles to even move and function.

Unit response time should be 0.

I understand they created a 4-eyed monster with squad AI and unit responsiveness and other issues that they have tried to fix but unit movement can be bizarre in COH2 to say the least if you watch closely. In COH1, units responded quickly to inputs. In COH2 at the moment, they dance around like crazy sometimes and the more commands you give tend to make the last few models stutter back and forth. Moving out of an MG arc is slower if you give more commands as the last few units take time to respond with each click.

I remember one of the first big patches decreased unit latency by like 160ms. Maybe have engine the next go around that has no unit latency at all, the way COH1 felt.

I don't know if this is a conscious design decision to make the game not become an APM fest like SC2, but the level of where it's at right now is bleeding frustrating, especially in the race to take a building or get out of an MG arc or dodge a grenade especially since you need a lot of clicks to compensate for units not moving where you click and auto-seeking cover.

Paid Commanders are fine and I don't think they should go away

The RTS market is small now and Relic needs a way to monetize a small and enthusiastic audience. I'm ok with paid commanders as long as each commander isn't 100% must have and the default commanders are enough to compete at a high level; which I think is the case right now (or close as you can get). I do get having commanders be like maybe 50% must have is necessary to spur sales.

And the hoopla people make about it deterring people is kind of silly. Most RTS gamers play the single player campaign and maybe play a small amount of team games with friends. That's it. The paid commanders barely affects them. Monetizing those players using most of your server load makes sense.

The Elephant in the Room: Starcraft II

It hardly gets mentioned but COH2 is currently the 2nd largest online player pop to SC2 which far eclipses it. I don't want COH2 to become Starcraft but it should study what SC2 does and try to incorporate the ease-of-use and quality-of-life improvements that really make sense. Customizable hotkeys, the simple and predictable pathfinding, the elegance of the interface (I'd say COH1 had a better interface than SC2 currently does, but SC2 has a better interface than COH2 due to better presentation of useful information with little wasted space).

Keep the things that make COH unique: a focus on action and engagement, very little emphasis on macro without discarding it completely like DOW III, and a focus on a few squads managed well. But everything else just copy SC2. It felt so anachronistic fighting the interface and engine in COH2 at launch when 1) COH1 did a lot of it better and 2) SC2 had been out for a while and had already established a baseline of features an RTS should have.

29 Jun 2018, 09:23 AM
avatar of TNrg

Posts: 640

Many very needed ideas and fixes! +1

But this is just fantasy, reality will be more like this:

Coh 3 release date

More Hype
Hype turns into excitement
More hype turns into more excitement

Damn, there's bugs... let's do some more DLC


After 2 years

Release a new broken faction

Start the back and forth balancing cycle by releasing new commanders or game-affecting DLC content with major balance patches

Damn, playerbase -30 %

Release an expansion


New broken faction among some DLC

2 more years...

Playerbase -50 %

Damn, our game doesn't work and still has all the original bugs in it!

Ask community for ideas on how to fix the game

5-6 years

Trying to actually fix things when it's already too late

29 Jun 2018, 09:32 AM
avatar of Sturmpanther
Lead Strategist Badge

Posts: 5055 | Subs: 19

jump backJump back to quoted post29 Jun 2018, 09:23 AMTNrg
Many very needed ideas and fixes! +1

But this is just fantasy, reality will be more like this:

Coh 3 release date

More Hype
Hype turns into excitement
More hype turns into more excitement

Damn, there's bugs... let's do some more DLC


After 2 years

Release a new broken faction

Start the back and forth balancing cycle by releasing new commanders or game-affecting DLC content with major balance patches

Damn, playerbase -30 %

Release an expansion


New broken faction among some DLC

2 more years...

Playerbase -50 %

Damn, our game doesn't work and still has all the original bugs in it!

Ask community for ideas on how to fix the game

5-6 years

Trying to actually fix things when it's already too late

I like your optimism :P

2 Jul 2018, 19:21 PM
avatar of ltaustinpowers

Posts: 56

Honestly, one other thing that I would love them to bring back is the detail of the unit damage amount to various things (Infantry, Light Armor, Heavy Armor, and Buildings) along with the kill count of such things.

It is really helpful for newer players or players coming back to the game after a long extended break (in the event of a balance patch) where they can easily see in game what units are good at dealing damage to other various units.

For instance, you can see what I am talking about in this screen shot underneath the thumbnail of the Tiger Tank.

2 Jul 2018, 22:14 PM
avatar of Basilone

Posts: 1935 | Subs: 2

+ 1000 to Ciez's (and others) Popcap point.
I don't want more 10-20 minute games. If i want that i should play a Football game or something else.
And besides that, it does not make sense from a "real life" perspective. Because i have little territory i cant build/field more units to defend my self?

Its just not accurate because in COH1 you can't field enough units to get popcapped that early on in the game. Pop capping happens when you've got your KT and 3-4 zombie grens, several paks, a nebelwerfer, 2 volks, 2 mgs, a sniper, pioneers, and a puma or two...it was a late game mechanic. Popcap ending games early is fake news.
3 Jul 2018, 10:14 AM
avatar of TNrg

Posts: 640

In all seriousness, probably the biggest thing that ate away my passion for the game was how they designed the DLC factions in the beginning. In general, how things went was they really tried to balance the existing factions and units, but when a new DLC commander or faction came out it was almost always some batshit OP thing. Because of this I lost enjoyment for the game and trust in how Relic handles things.

Tiger Ace and elite troops in general? Commandos at release? Pershing? Königskubel with insane suppression... the list goes on forever.
6 Jul 2018, 01:46 AM
avatar of Budwise
Admin Red  Badge
Donator 11

Posts: 2067 | Subs: 2

That are hard words man^^.

It's fine that you prefer coh1, tho atm we have good competitive cups for coh2 and also i think the balance is very well done atm; when i think back...

Now is now. Launch was 2013. 5 years too late to make a difference.

They killed the true potential with the Pay2Win system and terrible design choices they made.

If COH3 became a reality I would hope that they learned from their mistakes. But considering I've been around for 12 years to watch them make the same ones over and over I don't hold high hopes.
6 Jul 2018, 04:31 AM
avatar of Darkshaddowsss

Posts: 27

You have underestimated the extreme importance of mod support. It significantly improves a game for these key reasons:

It allows fans to enter thousands of hours into making for game better for free
Graphics Mods allows a game to look amazing for longer take Skyrim, with modding, the game looks awesome even with it being so old
Modders content can and should be used in the vanilla game maps, units, idea, etc
Mods give a game new content so the player will play the game for longer

Because Modding is so important can you do these things,
Make the game easy to mod.
Have events where some of the best mods content is added into the base game.
Encourage Modding - prizes for the best ones
Give modders control over basically everything in the game so they have a greater scope to work with
Make a better world builder, mine crashes on startup

The one issue however with mods is that they often out-compete DLC as why would you pay $3 for extra content when you can get it for free

My second gripe is please please don't rush this game, it needs to be released polished balanced and bugless. A bad start is game breaking.
7 Jul 2018, 02:41 AM

Posts: 9

so it's great and all to talk multiplayer stuff, MP is what keeps the game alive for 5+ years.

but i wanna talk about what gets more casual players to jump from singleplayer into MP, and that's the campaign. a good campaign helps with metacritic scores, which helps sega not crush relic's funding, which helps the executives not fire the entire team after crunch etc etc etc

and fellas do i have some news for you about relic campaigns in 2018. they suck.

put simply, a narrative driven, linear RTS campaign in the year of our lord 2018 isn't tenable. there are only so many mission tropes you can put together in novel ways, and by now we've seen them all. the old school westwood style of cutscene-mission-cutscene just doesn't hold up anymore. they're boring and frankly, ya'll need to move away from aping WW2 movies if you're gonna try that.

coh2's campaign, in particular, had roughly zero replayability in addition to its gross narrative failings. historically it was a mishmash of dramatized anecdotes blown up into gameplay mechanics and outright nazi propaganda with the player behind the wheel of a bunch of war crimes that was unsatisfying to play then and really kind of cringeworthy now with the current political climate. in terms of the user experience, it was profoundly boring, partly because i'm playing against the AI, which isn't a compelling experience, and partly because the hollywood spectacle the campaign apes simply doesn't work in the context of a game.

i only exaggerate slightly when i say i would rather smash my own hand with a claw hammer than play coh2's campaign again.

a campaign, nowadays, needs meaningful choices for the player to engage with, both in terms of narrative and gameplay if you want anyone to revisit it for any reason other than achievement farming. ideally this is accomplished via a meta-layer over the campaign missions, which is asset-light (requiring VA and a map UI, but little else) and something that relic has already proven they can do in the dawn of war 2 series of campaigns.

my advice, for what it's worth, is to stick to history. take a handful of actually existing historical military units, ideally represented through doctrines, and base coh3's campaign around an actual campaign. sure, whip up some fictional characters to provide exposition and character moments, but don't mess the actual formula of "this happened" too much.

an example:

an axis campaign in 1944 italy. bonuses for involving a theater which doesn't get a lot of play compared to crossing the rhine (again), a new axis army to lessen the pressure on the german table of equipment, and if you put the player in the shoes of an italian you manage to obfuscate the distasteful situation of "playing as a nazi" which is always nice. let's pick a battle that the axis actually wins, which means we're looking at operation winter storm, the italian version of the ardennes offensive.

players would interact with the metacampaign by moving formations (again, represented by pre-chosen doctrines hopefully kind of matching up to actual historical units in the area, so italian belsaglieri or german gebirgsjager divisions or whatever) to accomplish operation winter storm's stated goals: retake territory to shorten the defensive line, take pressure off the italian puppet government's capital, and in general shove the allies back a few miles. accomplish this however you'd like, with (fictional) officers giving tactical advice, some inter-axis bureaucratic sniping between the italians and germans, etc. taking map territory would shift into an actual game of coh3, with modifiers based on actions from the meta-map. complete a secondary objective to seize a british munitions depot in one territory and you'll have access to more munitions income for your other operations, but allied command will rush more reinforcements to the theater to slow you down, whereas not taking the depot and allowing the british commander to evac his supplies would create a situation in which allied command isn't panicking quite so much.

as an aside, i also chose operation winter storm because it's a successful axis campaign, they pushed the allies back and didn't get crushed in a counterattack immediately or anything, so you avoid the ludonarrative dissonance of doing very well but being told you lost anyway.

the same could be done for the allies, potentially with a focus on the 442nd regimental combat team, which is a fucking treasure trove of narrative hooks. if you wanted to get real fancy with it, you could try something like a resident evil style zapping system, where actions during the axis campaign would make the allied campaign harder; taking that munitions depot in the example above means the allies wouldn't have access to it in their version of the campaign, but this is getting a little out of scope.

basically, please make sure your campaign at the very least isn't the trainwreck of boring gameplay and nazi apologia that coh2's campaign ended up.

PS please fire whatever idiot in marketing came up with the initial coh2 ad campaign that reveled in the scale of the eastern front and came across as really uncomfortably bloodthirsty. i have multiple friends who refused to buy coh2 because of how just...fuckin weird that was
7 Jul 2018, 03:04 AM
avatar of c0mpl3x1ty

Posts: 398 | Subs: 1


It'd be really cool if in a general way skipping objectives or taking a long time to complete missions would add random things to the next mission, like, different weather or units that you let live come back as stronger, veteran squads. It sounds punishing but it could just serve to change things a little. Battle could take place in fog instead of daylight, so mgs are worse and there's no air support or something. The triggers don't have to be obvious and frankly, the more obtuse the better. Players would really only notice if they talk about it with their friends and stuff.

Definitely some stuff needs to carry over and it should affect the game in little ways if they choose not to complete secondary objectives or something.
7 Jul 2018, 03:10 AM

Posts: 9

that's a really good idea to generate player interest. with enough modifiers or events or whatever two people could have wildly different versions of the same campaign with a minimum of asset-creation. you've got repeated player engagement with existing content as people replay the campaign to find new events or whatever, and a chance at reforming the community from toxic whining to one focused more on shared discovery or whatever. it's a long shot but that's a really fucking good idea
13 Jul 2018, 18:50 PM
avatar of Justin xv

Posts: 252


-CoH2 sucks and has failed the 'Company of Heroes' name greatly.
-CoH1 was better in every way.
-CoH3 could be great.
6 Aug 2018, 13:07 PM
avatar of TüMe

Posts: 556 | Subs: 2

Interesting article. I find the biggest mistake relic done with company of heroes is lack of advertising. You put money on advertising, you sell. Thats a fact.
It was good that you used for example angryjoe for british faction ad, but its not enough. Everybody needs to know about this game(or games like this), not only ppl who are into ww2 theme. So if relic ever go into coh3, and now especially as i suppose you have microsoft backing you up coz AOE, use shit ton of money to advertise, and you will get players and proper player base.

This game (coh1&2) are pretty perfect ww2 themed rts, i mean there is no better in the market. So you know what to do.
14 Aug 2018, 19:20 PM
20 Aug 2018, 01:01 AM
avatar of ninehunid

Posts: 1


Everything whiteflash said is true and needs to be implemented into coh3.
He also said he'd buy me a pizza if I posted this.
20 Aug 2018, 17:15 PM
avatar of pigsoup
Patrion 14

Posts: 4299 | Subs: 2

good article. although comments on visual aspects seem way too subjective. for example, I never had a problem telling between penetrating and bouncing shots. or telling which critical is which for that matter in CoH2.

Good discussion and I guess only big things not discussed is:

1. whether CoH1 or CoH2 resource points are better for 1v1, CoH1 version will be better for 3v3+ or even 2v2

2. If they are not going to do pay2win / pay2play commanders again, as most think they should not, they better get cosmetic micro transaction right from the beginning. If I remember right, even DoW3 came out with no micro transaction although their whole bulletin system seemed to be designed around that.
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