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The 2013 CoH2 multiplayer experience in 2022.

12 Nov 2022, 11:10 AM
#1
avatar of donofsandiego

Posts: 851

So, me and my friends played quite a few matches together with the "COH2013" mod. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a mod that claims to revert the multiplayer balance to how it was in 2013, to the best of the mod author's ability. Sadly, it was abandoned somewhat late into development, so it's not completely finished.

This post is pretty much just going to be an open letter about my thoughts and not-so-rhetorical questions that I would be happy to hear the thoughts of those who were there at the time when the shit was in the process of hitting the fan, so to speak. So... here goes.

First off... honestly? I kind of liked it. Obviously it's a complete shit show, but in a fun way. If everyone is playing for the first time, there's a kind of whimsical feeling where everything is new and silly and just a good time. It's a nice change of pace.

-------------------
The balance design... I'll just start with the vanilla units and talk about veterancy later. I think it's quite interesting how Relic decided to make support weapons cheaper than the mainlines. And in a way, it theoretically worked. The support weapons are actually SUPPORT weapons. You can't spam MG42s because they suck ass at pinning, but when used in conjunction with the grenadiers, they become a formidable team. The conscripts, wanting to slither over to the MG42 and throw a god molotov, get ripped apart on the approach by the LMG42. If you want something to pin troops all alone, that's what the bunkers are for (AT guns don't outrange bunkers in this, so you are forced to HE barrage if you want to kill it, so mortars are the more economical option). Also, everything infantry wise is 6 pop, so you can afford to have a lot of support weapons and infantry together.

For the soviets, I finally understand what was said about them having to use "unconventional tactics". You can't build T2 at the start, so you're stuck with snipers and scout cars or guards if you go guard motor (I thought there were penals in 2013, but it's not in the mod. Probably because it is unfinished), or just conscripts and engineers if you skip tech (which is inadvisable because the MG42 and grenadiers are pretty good at countering even mass numbers if there is no flanking route. This obviously leads to silly things like the sniper car, or assumedly flame penal/ guards car (i never tried guards car, but I can imagine it being quite good against OST T2.

But you can't talk balance without mentioning the artillery. Yeah. We noticed very quickly how the mortars are kind of nutty. Honestly though, maybe I'm just bad at the game but since MGs can't really pin infantry, OST mortar didn't seem too insanely OP as long as soviets were playing offensively. Yes, they were VERY good, but it was manageable because of how mobile the soviets are in general compared to OST.

Now, SOVIET mortars on the other hand... dear god. These things you will see from when they build T2 until they are ended in a blaze of glory from a werfer strike. It doesn't matter if its the 82mm or the 120mm, both will absolutely ruin your day. In fact, the 82mm was better because it was much faster to rotate, and the PRECISION STRIKE... the best ability in the game... say goodbye to your squad. It was just as much of a spectacle in game as I had read it was in my dives into the archives on this site. I loved it. The iWipe button is real. Sometimes, I would have to retreat my mortar after I fired a few shots as soon as I heard the 120mm fire, because I knew exactly what was coming for my ass. You could leave the mortars on autofire, but soviets will gib you to hell. They, on the other hand, do not suffer from this weakness until the werfer.

Or... if they're ballsy enough to skimp on conscripts, you could just drive all over them with the flame HT. But I digress. The light vehicle phase seemed to pretty much be 222 or Flamer Halftrack. I never saw a T70. Probably because when the T34-76 is staring you right in the eyes, taunting you with its 60 fuel cost, the T70 could never measure up to it.

Speaking of; on the topic of soviet tanks, and epiphanies had while playing, I finally understood the tooltip during the loading screen which says "For the soviets, combined arms tactics are quite effective, though very expensive" or something to that effect. With the complete and total absence of snares (and apparently AT mines for OST!?! Was this the case in 2013 or is this simply an unfinished mod issue?), only Soviets could protect themselves from dives. Therefore, it was completely viable (and actually economical) to forgo infantry to start building only tanks. Since the T34 cost 480mp and 60fu, it was quite cost prohibitive to be using infantry at the same time, and T34s were absolutely required to be used en masse to be effective(and on top of it all, the ability to capture points, while seldom used nowadays, turned the T34 onto basically your complete package for replacement of infantry when all other factors were considered).

Also, the tank matchups were very very interesting. The Panzer 4 seemed to lose to a T34, despite costing around 500mp and 80fu. Even considering this, though, it was still very good against infantry, and could deal damage to a T34 if it had flanked it. So it was very much not useless.

StuGs, on the other hand, were the bane of the T34. If your soviet opponent decided to replace all his infantry with T34s, all you had to do was make StuGs, which costed 320mp and 25fu, and took AT LEAST two T34s to counter it!

Finally, this brings me to the Axis heavy tanks. Having experienced the kind of late game that can only be experienced once more in the COH2013 mod, I don't think I can ever again say that the balance team are wehraboos. Let me tell you, being able to stand in front of four ZiS-3 guns while they fire at you and finish of the T34 or SU-85 feebly limping away back to base is a kind of power trip which releases dopamine probably on the level of crack cocaine... if you're playing OST. If you're playing soviet... well, there is just so much helplessness. Yes, AT gun vet makes them much better, but when your enemy's tank has nearly one thousand HP, it makes you feel very helpless. (As opposed to the early game, where you actually are raping the everloving crap out of OST, and that is absolutely no joke).

Now, as a team that coordinates well together ("I will build T34s" "OK, I will build SU-85"), you can manage to beat the panthers back and indeed wreck them, but I can only imagine the horrors of allied random automatch in these times...

And okay. I've gotten this far, now it's late game. It's time to talk about the super heavies.

I do not know if this was the case in game actually, or if this is just the mod being W.I.P. and unfinished... but the Tiger tank... had 1.5k health... and you could build as many as you had the pop cap for. If this was the case in the live game, then I absolutely see why people called this game pay to win.

Only my teammate with IS-2, and me supporting with ISU-152 could hope to kill the Tiger. Again, I don't know if this was the actual case in game at the time, or if it's just the mod W.I.P. copy pasting the units directly from single player. Which is probably very possible.

All in all, I thought that while Axis had a major advantage late game, Soviets had the ability to fight back against it. The super heavy tanks just absolutely turned everything on its head though. The IS-2, if it could reach veterancy before the Panthers hit the field, would easily rape panthers. That's my one biggest takeaway. The gameplay was balanced (in a very weird and foreign way), but the doctrinal superheavies really destroyed it IMO.

After playing COH2013 I have a renewed respect for the game in it's current state. Doctrinal units are no longer unable to be countered by the vanilla units, infantry stays useful into the late game through being able to use snares and mortars not instantly gibbing them, support weapons also stay useful for the same reason.

But, on the flip side, there is something about COH2013 that scratches that itch that automatch doesn't. The pure spectacle of it all, the power dynamics, the give and take and tug of war with initiative that I felt where IMO, live is just a constant pressure (which I dislike, I admit, I am a scrub) the T34 horde blotting out the horizon, to be met by its equal in panthers, pz4s, and StuGs escorted by panzergrenadiers... it's grand.

I'm going to come out and say it: I enjoyed it. I did. I very much enjoyed playing COH2013. I think that I was the target audience for CoH2 in 2013. I'm not a hardcore RTS kind of guy. I'm not amazing at micromanagement or multitasking, my APM isn't high, my friends tried to get me into Starcraft 2, but it just doesn't click in my head. I do what I can, and I'm smart enough to see what the enemy is doing and attempt to counter it. At the end of the day, though, I just want to have some fun. As much as I want to win, I want to see fireworks while it happens, and if I lose, if I was able to see something cool happen in the meantime, I'm fine with that.

Well. In other words.. it was made for the lowest common denominator, scrubs, if you will. Which is me. That's me. And I'm proud to say it.
-------------------

Thanks for reading this kind of ramble-essay. If you have any insights you'd like to share, or corrections you'd like to make, I'd really love to read what you have to say.

Thanks.


EDIT: I said I was going to mention veterancy, but I forgot to... Anyways, one thing I thought was very interesting was the AT gun veterancy. The damage increases with veterancy, so if you build an M-42 instead of waiting for a ZiS gun, by the time the M-42 is vet 2, it will actually do the same damage on penetration as a vet 0 zis gun.

Honestly though, the veterancy was TOO MUCH. It's like Relic saw CoH1, and heard that veterancy was important, so they decided to make it EVERYTHING. Once your tank becomes vet 3, it is a living god walking/treading the earth. And it's a double edged sword. The fact that AT guns do more damage with vet means that they can really do some good work, until they get gibbed with a mortar and then become pea shooters again. Very very rough around the edges. But again, being that Vet3 panther or t34 is an awesome feeling.
12 Nov 2022, 12:47 PM
#2
avatar of GachiGasm

Posts: 1007 | Subs: 1

Balance on the release was special, but I mean, a lot of the stuff was patched out pretty quickly by relic.

I guess, if you want to play truly "old fashion" game, you could try looking for a patch right before WFA release.

Game was pretty balanced, with some rough edges (like double soviet sniper) and required just a little bit more fixes, but WFA messed it up.
12 Nov 2022, 12:57 PM
#3
avatar of rumartinez89

Posts: 590

Couple questions

Can you sniper clown car? That shit was insane when I first tried it.
Does the IS2 do stun damage? Depending on the patch they were similar in strength but a few good RNG rolls for stun would literally make any opposing tank unusable.
Do infantry still use armor in the mod or has it switched to target size?
12 Nov 2022, 14:14 PM
#4
avatar of Rosbone
Senior Mapmaker Badge

Posts: 1805 | Subs: 3

... is a kind of power trip which releases dopamine probably on the level of crack cocaine...

Fun read, even if for just this line alone
12 Nov 2022, 16:39 PM
#5
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2792 | Subs: 4




Thanks for the summary, was a nice read. Doesn't sound like that patch is trying to be the V1.0 CoH2 from June 2013 though, otherwise you probably would have mentioned ISU-152 and Elefant being in t4, and the ridiculous damage system on top of complete lack of weapon profiles. :snfPeter:

damage system: Back then, a penetrating shot of an Elefant or Tiger removed ~90% HP from a SU-85 or T-34, BUT both soviet units were able to bounce a shot from these tanks :lol:

weapon profiles: CoH2 launched without weapon profiles, like in CoH1. Meaning SMGs & LMGs had the same rate of fire and burst duration across all ranges, only the accuracy was affected by distance to target
12 Nov 2022, 21:43 PM
#6
avatar of donofsandiego

Posts: 851

Couple questions

Can you sniper clown car? That shit was insane when I first tried it.
Does the IS2 do stun damage? Depending on the patch they were similar in strength but a few good RNG rolls for stun would literally make any opposing tank unusable.
Do infantry still use armor in the mod or has it switched to target size?


Yes, sniper clown car was available in all it's nutty glory.
The IS-2 did not do stun damage in the mod sadly. There were no stuns, but it hit like a truck with veterancy.
Yes, infantry got armor with vet from what I could tell.




Thanks for the summary, was a nice read. Doesn't sound like that patch is trying to be the V1.0 CoH2 from June 2013 though, otherwise you probably would have mentioned ISU-152 and Elefant being in t4, and the ridiculous damage system on top of complete lack of weapon profiles. :snfPeter:

damage system: Back then, a penetrating shot of an Elefant or Tiger removed ~90% HP from a SU-85 or T-34, BUT both soviet units were able to bounce a shot from these tanks :lol:

weapon profiles: CoH2 launched without weapon profiles, like in CoH1. Meaning SMGs & LMGs had the same rate of fire and burst duration across all ranges, only the accuracy was affected by distance to target


About weapon profiles; I did notice that conscripts lost to grenadiers without upgrades while the cons were behind green cover, which was funny. I don't *think* weapon profiles were implemented, because like I said, the LMG shredded the shit out of conscripts who got close.

Elefant was, in fact, in T4. However, ISU was only available to be built if you picked an ISU commander. Probably more WIP mod stuff (that will never be fixed because author abandoned it). I did notice, however, that the ISU did fuckloads of damage, but had trash penetration. It could bring a Panther to 90% health, but only if it penetrated. Maybe Elefant was the same way. Usually we preferred Panthers.

Tiger definitely didn't take away 90% HP though. Even from T34-85. Likely it was simply copy pasted from single player or something.

Technically only the Elefant was available. All the other heavies seemed to be able to be unintentionally made available at T4 if you picked the right commander. So yes those were probably not accurate to how they were at the time.
12 Nov 2022, 21:46 PM
#7
avatar of donofsandiego

Posts: 851

Oh. Shock Troops were one of those units that would become available to you, but seemed to be unintentional. They were 360 manpower, where I heard they were supposed to be 450. And this version had Fire Superiority.

EDIT: They were also f@#king b@#%sh%t because you could put them in the clown car and wipe everything until LVs came out. If they had cost 450 manpower, I think this would be like 20% more acceptable.
12 Nov 2022, 22:48 PM
#8
avatar of donofsandiego

Posts: 851

Balance on the release was special, but I mean, a lot of the stuff was patched out pretty quickly by relic.

I guess, if you want to play truly "old fashion" game, you could try looking for a patch right before WFA release.

Game was pretty balanced, with some rough edges (like double soviet sniper) and required just a little bit more fixes, but WFA messed it up.


So, I'm wondering , how exactly did it mess it up? If I was going to guess, the expensive riflemen were just too good against everything OST could field, and couldn't even be countered by MG because riflemen smoke. Was their teching too fast on top of that, or was it something else?

For OKW, if sturmpios were anything like they were today, I could imagine your only hope as soviet to combat them would be shock troops. But if those were indeed 450 manpower, then waiting for them to get built would probably result in the OKW rushing your base with le goobelwagens and suppressing anyone who tries to get out.

Am I somewhat close or no?

EDIT: I just remembered about snipers, so snipers could probably counter the sturms (duh), and the M3A1 I would assume could beat the kubel. So how exactly did the OKW break balance? Tanks too good? Fuel from wrecks pre placed on the map? The old OKW resource switch mechanic?

Also, snipers in the mod were 240 manpower. This can't have been the case for the actual multiplayer, right?
12 Nov 2022, 22:57 PM
#9
avatar of donofsandiego

Posts: 851

if you want to play truly "old fashion" game, you could try looking for a patch right before WFA release.


I would love to do this. Any ideas for how I could do this? Any archive sites? Or is this something that I'm going to have to put on the eyepatch for.. ;)
12 Nov 2022, 22:59 PM
#10
avatar of Vipper

Posts: 13363 | Subs: 1



So, I'm wondering , how exactly did it mess it up?...

First mistake was that when WFA where released instead of trying to bring USF/OKW to EFA levels they started changing the EFA. That meant that all the balance work that had been done up to that point went down the drain...
13 Nov 2022, 00:22 AM
#11
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2792 | Subs: 4




Did you test yet if this mod changes the Soviet Industry & Wehrmacht Elite Unit doctrines? If yes, I highly recommend going for that and grab some popcorn because you're gonna witness two things that are in the "top 10 most OP pay2win DLC in the history of videogaming" :rofl::rofl::rofl:
13 Nov 2022, 00:24 AM
#12
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2792 | Subs: 4

patch right before WFA release.

Game was pretty balanced, with some rough edges (like double soviet sniper) and required just a little bit more fixes, but WFA messed it up.



I think you completely forgot how absolutely broken beyond repair many of the DLC commanders still were at that time.
13 Nov 2022, 00:45 AM
#13
avatar of donofsandiego

Posts: 851



Did you test yet if this mod changes the Soviet Industry & Wehrmacht Elite Unit doctrines? If yes, I highly recommend going for that and grab some popcorn because you're gonna witness two things that are in the "top 10 most OP pay2win DLC in the history of videogaming" :rofl::rofl::rofl:


Sadly, this mod was abandoned before it could have any changes to the commanders proper. All that was included at the time of writing was Festung Armor and Guard Motor Coordination. :(

Elite Unit doctrine... I'm guessing that's the pay for vet thing? Or I might have heard whisperings of every infantry unit starting with veterancy 1...

Tiger Ace (if it was in that commander at the time), I assume, was the version where it was free (or very cheap for it's performance idk wasn't there) to call in but took away all resources until it died?

EDIT: Soviet Industry. Did this give you access to the T34-85 at the time? Honestly when I was playing, fuel was never a limiting factor to making T3476, it was always manpower. And from what I saw, soviet industry increased fuel at the cost of manpower.

So how was this OP? Very early T34? KV-2 spam? I wonder.
13 Nov 2022, 02:03 AM
#14
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2792 | Subs: 4



Sadly, this mod was abandoned before it could have any changes to the commanders proper. All that was included at the time of writing was Festung Armor and Guard Motor Coordination. :(

Elite Unit doctrine... I'm guessing that's the pay for vet thing? Or I might have heard whisperings of every infantry unit starting with veterancy 1...

Tiger Ace (if it was in that commander at the time), I assume, was the version where it was free (or very cheap for it's performance idk wasn't there) to call in but took away all resources until it died?

EDIT: Soviet Industry. Did this give you access to the T34-85 at the time? Honestly when I was playing, fuel was never a limiting factor to making T3476, it was always manpower. And from what I saw, soviet industry increased fuel at the cost of manpower.

So how was this OP? Very early T34? KV-2 spam? I wonder.


Original Tiger Ace was 100% free and it froze your fuel and manpower income for as long as it was alive, so people used it for an all-in push.... which worked most of the times because back then the Tiger Ace could easily solo three SU-85s: it had very high armor and SU85 pen back then was not good, it had seemingly endless HP, and the PaK40 stunshot ability on top of the very lethal vet 3 performance with Blitzkrieg and smoke. If they had let's say a couple Panthers or P4s on the field at the time the Tiger Ace arrived, it was pretty much a guaranteed win.

You could buy veterancy too, that is correct. 80mp and 25 fuel for enough veterancy to turn a fresh gren squad immediately into vet 3. Funnily enough this could also be used to buy veterancy for your (OKW) teammates and OKW veterancy was very OP in the first years of that faction.

The original Soviet Industry did not have t34-85s but as you mentioned it had an ability at 0cp that boosted your fuel income by +50% at the cost of -33% manpower income. It also increased vehicle production speed by x10 (1000%)
The T-34 was in t3 back then so you could bring it on the field before the Ostheer player even got his building out to construct pak 40s or panzergrens... you just couldn't spam infantry with that doctrine, but you didn't need to anyway.
13 Nov 2022, 03:03 AM
#15
avatar of donofsandiego

Posts: 851

Original Tiger Ace was 100% free and it froze your fuel and manpower income for as long as it was alive, so people used it for an all-in push.... which worked most of the times because back then the Tiger Ace could easily solo three SU-85s: it had very high armor and SU85 pen back then was not good, it had seemingly endless HP, and the PaK40 stunshot ability on top of the very lethal vet 3 performance with Blitzkrieg and smoke. If they had let's say a couple Panthers or P4s on the field at the time the Tiger Ace arrived, it was pretty much a guaranteed win.


Didn't it start with vet 3 as well? Vet 3 panthers already took like 16 shots from the ZiS-3 to die, so I can only imagine how the Tiger Ace was.

You could buy veterancy too, that is correct. 80mp and 25 fuel for enough veterancy to turn a fresh gren squad immediately into vet 3. Funnily enough this could also be used to buy veterancy for your (OKW) teammates and OKW veterancy was very OP in the first years of that faction.


Definitely really good. Though I don't even know if it would be particularly worth considering that they can disappear in moments from a mortar XD.

If this was a CP 0 ability though... yeah that would be REALLY op.


The T-34 was in t3 back then so you could bring it on the field before the Ostheer player even got his building out to construct pak 40s or panzergrens... you just couldn't spam infantry with that doctrine, but you didn't need to anyway.


Yeah, I figured that it would probably be the fact that it came out so early rather than the fact that they could make a lot of them. The hit to manpower is actually a lot more impactful than one would assume going off of today's balance, I think. B/C tanks were very expensive in manpower from what I saw. But yeah, T34 coming out that early likely meant that it could go all the way to OST's base and there's nothing they could do about it (I didn't see OST engineers with any AT mines..)

Granted, even with the fuel increase, I imagine that T2 being built wouldn't be that far off, but that doesn't matter when the T34 can literally come into the base and kill the engineers while they build the structure lmao.
13 Nov 2022, 11:41 AM
#16
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2792 | Subs: 4



Didn't it start with vet 3 as well?

If this was a CP 0 ability though... yeah that would be REALLY op.



Yup it started at vet 3 and the "buy veterancy" was 0cp
13 Nov 2022, 14:02 PM
#17
avatar of GachiGasm

Posts: 1007 | Subs: 1




I think you completely forgot how absolutely broken beyond repair many of the DLC commanders still were at that time.


Idk, from what I remember, things like Elite Tiger, tank hunters, windostry and so on were already fixed.

Still there was over-all BS, but in comparison to other patches where factions could have easily become just unplayble after latest changes or new DLC, it was the most balanced patch for vanilla game.

Ofcouse balanced, in a spectrum of old relic balance approach.
13 Nov 2022, 14:30 PM
#18
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2792 | Subs: 4



Idk, from what I remember, things like Elite Tiger, tank hunters, windostry and so on were already fixed.


They were not. Soviet Industry ability got removed in December 2015 / early 2016, that was also the first patch where Tiger Ace got nerfed from 0mp to 800mp: https://www.coh2.org/topic/4307/coh2-changelog/post/515884
13 Nov 2022, 15:55 PM
#19
avatar of donofsandiego

Posts: 851



Yup it started at vet 3 and the "buy veterancy" was 0cp


Well considering what I'd seen in game, I can't see it being used until you build your first warcrime halftrack at least. But after that it's pretty much busted.

When did veterancy get changed from special ability > extra durability > damage anyways?
13 Nov 2022, 18:37 PM
#20
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2792 | Subs: 4




When did veterancy get changed from special ability > extra durability > damage anyways?


With the introduction of WFA in June 2014
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