Why Balancing Is Ruining CoH2 & Why Relic Needs to Stop Listening to the Community
Context: coming in to CoH2 after 5/4 years and overall a lot of the game has lost its interesting and fun designs over the years due to community balance patches. Relic needs to stop listening to the community so much, and especially letting the community make design changes to the game. I think the original faction designs of OKW, USF, and UKF were much more fun when they originally were released than their toned down "balanced" versions today. I still love the game btw, CoH2 is amazing.
Not everything needs to be "balanced!" For crying out loud, don't jeopardize the game design of Company of Heroes that makes the game fun. As a game designer, I cannot help but to say that some things can and should be OP for the sake of fun-ness and interesting play, as long as there is a counter.
Take the Stuka Dive Bomb, yes it is OP, but it has a counter to it; move away from the obvious noise.
Here is an example of what happens everyday in the forum, just today regarding the Stuka Dive Bomb:
"Sumi: Is there any logical explanation as to why it does not have a smoke indicator? It can kill a priest thats 320 HP damage so it warrants a smoke anyhow"
You get comments like these always: this thing is OP nerf it and make it like this other ability. This unit doesn't have snares like everything else, give it a snare too. With this attitude and the lack of community understanding of what makes CoH fun, results in Volksgrenadiers losing their Shreks and getting fausts cuz "balance."
Let me quote Breaking Brad, game designer at Relic:
This will allow vehicles to kite the pansershrecks which will effectively kill any panzershreck blob because 1 vehicle kitting back will be able to counter this now. You may not agree but I believe that having shrecks on volks give the race flavor and allows OKW to be aggressive
Reduce Panzershreck range by 5
- Quote from Relic Designer Breaking Brad's farewell
That is the part of the design! Do you really want every single call-in ability to be the same? The Stuka
is the only call-in that has an extremely loud and obvious noise
OKW's 66% Fuel and munitions scarcity and their OP veterancy is what made the faction so interesting!
Another one: OKW losing its 66% FU penalty. That made the faction interesting and fun! It's overpowered Veterancy bonuses made up for its lack of fuel and munitions! But because the community cries balance all the time, Relic gives in and removes the parts of the factions that make you feel like a BADASS in favor of making every faction identical, flavorless, and balanced.
Game design isn't about making every design fair and balanced, its about giving players the feeling of being awesome and a badass.
As I read through the changelog I read a bunch of "to make it more in line with similar units from other factions..." That is precisely what makes the game stale and boring.
CoH2 is asymmetrical, the whole POINT of factions is that they are supposed to be wildly different.
Removing smoke grenades from Rifles? Really? Their design was to be versatile, hence they can snare, have LMGs, and have bazookas. You might as well give infantry sections snares. I once read an argument that because Riflemen have smoke grenades, all other base infantry need smokes. NO, this is not a mirror game, this is asymetrical. Its precisely these statements, especially when they are heard by Relic, that ruins the game.
Giving OKW a OST Tiger, LeFH artillery, MG34 starting, nerfed vet 4 + 5, same fuel income. Why are we sharing units between factions again? Soviet snipers are 1 man now!?
Soviet snipers were badass precisely because they had 2. You might as well play mirror matches. Dare I repeat again, the point of the Soviet sniper having 2 men is not because it makes the sniper balanced, its because it makes the player feel like his army is bigger and mightier like SOVIET RUSSIA and being a COMRADE.
Solution: Relic stops listening to every request from community. Community needs to stop complaining about balance changes, understand that fun-ness is more important than balance. Also greenlighting community made mods into the live game is a good way to ruin the original design
Last thing, 5 man grenadiers? The whole point of Wehrmacht's small unit count was to contrast from Soviet Russia's huge army size *facepalm* In my opinion, Miragefla has introduced a lot of terrible changes to the game along with others responsible for community mod balance changes.