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Why Relic Needs to Stop Listening to the Community

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21 Nov 2020, 01:12 AM
#1
avatar of NorthWeapon
Donator 11

Posts: 379

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:

OKW Panzershreck

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.
21 Nov 2020, 04:19 AM
#2
avatar of NorthFireZ

Posts: 207

Where's the kappa :(

21 Nov 2020, 05:12 AM
#3
avatar of Rosbone
Senior Mapmaker Badge

Posts: 1167 | Subs: 2

I still love the game btw, CoH2 is amazing.

You lost me right here :megusta:
21 Nov 2020, 07:01 AM
#4
21 Nov 2020, 08:44 AM
#5
avatar of gunther09
Donator 22

Posts: 400

my summary of your post is: you want balance, and you want it asymetrical.
Is that it?
If yes, I could not agree more.
And it probably needs a completely new release to give factions and the game itself more character again.
(still love and play the current gam)
21 Nov 2020, 08:48 AM
#6
avatar of Katitof

Posts: 16079 | Subs: 7

21 Nov 2020, 09:17 AM
#7
avatar of Protos Angelus

Posts: 473

Newsflash: Newbies complaining about imbalance by being unable to utilize the "imbalanced" units or being unable to counter said units leads to community decided, cookie-cutting, "get in line with", symmetrical balance.

It's expected. Most people like it and can not comprehend anything beyond it. If something is not "analogue" to some other problem then an average human mind will have problems working around the solution. Same thing applies to video games. Balancing the game is a purely mathematical problem, one of the most difficult ones. No wonder people like to copy paste stats and recolor it and call it a day.
21 Nov 2020, 09:21 AM
#8
avatar of Euan

Posts: 158

We have lost a lot of flavour and uniqueness between armies, and endless incremental community patches lost sight of the big picture.

We even had people who "didn't believe in asymmetrical balance" or that factions should have unique and different approaches. That sucked.

On the other hand some things like shrecks on Volks was unplayable and the game is still alive now so...
21 Nov 2020, 10:55 AM
#9
avatar of Alphrum

Posts: 726

jump backJump back to quoted post21 Nov 2020, 09:21 AMEuan
We have lost a lot of flavour and uniqueness between armies, and endless incremental community patches lost sight of the big picture.

We even had people who "didn't believe in asymmetrical balance" or that factions should have unique and different approaches. That sucked.

On the other hand some things like shrecks on Volks was unplayable and the game is still alive now so...


if volks got ther shreks back right now, they would be nothing like the volk shreks of the past, when volks had much better VET (also shreks speeded up vet, so you would reach vet 5 fast). But certain members of the community will just cry regardless of ther performance and thats where i think OP has a point. I do prefer flavour over balance as long as it doesn't become too imbalanced.
21 Nov 2020, 11:06 AM
#10
avatar of A table

Posts: 245

I don't exactly see how volkshreckblobs made the game more enjoyable or better.
21 Nov 2020, 11:21 AM
#11
avatar of T.R. Stormjäger

Posts: 3162 | Subs: 1

"Community needs to stop complaining about balance changes, understand that fun-ness is more important than balance."

Okay noob
21 Nov 2020, 11:24 AM
#12
avatar of PatFenis
Benefactor 116

Posts: 23

"community needs to stop implementing patches" = revert the patches of the last 2 years basically and let it die.

R E A S O N A B L E
21 Nov 2020, 11:31 AM
#13
avatar of GiaA

Posts: 468

1. Asymmetrical balance is good but only within the boundaries of the games core design. Some of relics original attempts to create innovative faction design just broke up the games core mechanics too much. (Sim City killing all the dynamic gameplay that makes coh so good, Fuel/Ammo conversion taking away the importance of fuel/ammo points because you can just adjust your conversion depending on what point you're holding, the competely non linear OKW tech messing with race for tech progression, lack of certain basic tools in factions making certain maps unplayable for certain factions, excessive OKW vet bonuses just letting OKW scale beyond all the other factions, smoke grenades on mainline completely negating suppression etc.)

2. Even when asymmetrical balance is within those bounds it complicates balancing. So a balance team with limited ressources and scope may have to think pragmatically and get rid of it for the good of evenly matched factions.

3. One Criticism I have of the balance team that pretty much falls in line with what you say is the increasing linearity and similarity of tech. It takes away decision making and leads to a very one sided meta when tech is just a linear progression without possibility or reason of skipping a building. This has happened to both Wehr and Soviets. It seems like the goal is to make the game more "convenient" to the player by giving him all the options without any trade off.
21 Nov 2020, 12:00 PM
#14
avatar of Vipper

Posts: 9481 | Subs: 1

jump backJump back to quoted post21 Nov 2020, 11:31 AMGiaA
...

3. One Criticism I have of the balance team that pretty much falls in line with what you say is the increasing linearity and similarity of tech. It takes away decision making and leads to a very one sided meta when tech is just a linear progression without possibility or reason of skipping a building. This has happened to both Wehr and Soviets. It seems like the goal is to make the game more "convenient" to the player by giving him all the options without any trade off.

I would also add the USF here after the tech revamp.

(edited to increase the underline and include the second sentence to make it more clear why imo the USF should be included)
21 Nov 2020, 12:03 PM
#15
avatar of Katitof

Posts: 16079 | Subs: 7

jump backJump back to quoted post21 Nov 2020, 12:00 PMVipper

I would also add the USF here after the tech revamp.

Which is ironic, and proves you completely do not understand the changes, given how USF tech got change specifically to remove utter meta linearity(captain or loss) it always had and that's exactly what the revamp achieved as we have instantly seen increase in BO variety for them.
21 Nov 2020, 12:08 PM
#16
avatar of GiaA

Posts: 468

jump backJump back to quoted post21 Nov 2020, 12:00 PMVipper

I would also add the USF here after the tech revamp.


That's actually false though. US has become less linear with the revamp.
21 Nov 2020, 12:14 PM
#17
avatar of Sander93

Posts: 2608 | Subs: 6

jump backJump back to quoted post21 Nov 2020, 11:31 AMGiaA
3. One Criticism I have of the balance team that pretty much falls in line with what you say is the increasing linearity and similarity of tech. It takes away decision making and leads to a very one sided meta when tech is just a linear progression without possibility or reason of skipping a building. This has happened to both Wehr and Soviets.

I'm not sure what you mean here. As far as I know Soviets have always needed to build T1/2 + T3 + T4 tech structures since the beginning of the game. Nothing changed there, at least nothing that the current team changed. Ostheer can skip whatever tier they want, now more than ever with recent changes to PGrens (Pschrecks allow skipping T2), T0 call-in infantry (allows skipping T1), the viability of T3 (allows "skipping" T4) which actually makes them the most versatile in terms of tech decisions.


jump backJump back to quoted post21 Nov 2020, 11:31 AMGiaA
It seems like the goal is to make the game more "convenient" to the player by giving him all the options without any trade off.

I do think symmetrical balance is a valid criticism. The big problem however is having to deal with Relic's core design decisions that have left gaping holes in faction line-ups, such as WFA not having stock flamethrowers or indirect fire options. We/Relic can't add any new units or mechanics at this point, so we have to work with what we got. And usually that means that the only option that remains is toning down some radical asymmetrical design (like USF's previous split tech routes) to a more conventional standard in order to make factions versatile enough to compete.

Personally I think Relic should have designed all factions with stock (easy) access to all the basic tools (ATG, HMG, flamethrowers, indirect, etc.) and only then put some asymmetrical designs around that. That would have made balancing factions a lot easier while leaving more room for asymmetrical and unique faction aspects.
21 Nov 2020, 12:17 PM
#18
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2311 | Subs: 2

Yes, I definitely want CoH2 games to be like this again :snfPeter:




21 Nov 2020, 12:20 PM
#19
avatar of GiaA

Posts: 468



I'm not sure what you mean here. As far as I know Soviets have always needed to build T1/2 + T3 + T4 tech structures since the beginning of the game. Nothing changed there, at least nothing that the current team changed. Ostheer can skip whatever tier they want, now more than ever with recent changes to PGrens (Pschrecks allow skipping T2), T0 call-in infantry (allows skipping T1), the viability of T3 (allows "skipping" T4) which actually makes them the most versatile in terms of tech decisions.



I do think symmetrical balance is a valid criticism. The big problem however is having to deal with Relic's core design decisions that have left gaping holes in faction line-ups, such as WFA not having stock flamethrowers or indirect fire options. We/Relic can't add any new units or mechanics, so we have to work with what we got. And usually that means that the only option that remains is toning down some radical asymmetrical design (like USF's previous non-lineair tech routes) to a more conventional standard in order to make factions versatile enough to compete.

Personally I think Relic should have designed all factions with stock access to all the basic tools (ATG, HMG, flamethrowers, indirect, etc.) and only then put some asymmetrical designs around that.


T3 was not required in order to get T4 for the majority of the games lifespan.

When it comes to Ostheer I mostly meant the shift of fuel cost from buildigns to tech. There's little rearson not to go T2 before T3 and T3 before T4 because the buildings are so cheap.

I shouldn't have said criticism of the balance team. I just mean the balancing itself. Idk who was responsible for these changes.
21 Nov 2020, 12:26 PM
#20
avatar of Vipper

Posts: 9481 | Subs: 1

jump backJump back to quoted post21 Nov 2020, 12:08 PMGiaA


That's actually false though. US has become less linear with the revamp.

jump backJump back to quoted post21 Nov 2020, 11:31 AMGiaA
...This has happened to both Wehr and Soviets. It seems like the goal is to make the game more "convenient" to the player by giving him all the options without any trade off.


I was talking about this part, regardless of how linear or not USF has become it has more option with less trade off.
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