4 things that would make CoH2 instantly better
Sure, if the game was released right now it'd probably get rave reviews; critics would cite it's incredible attention to detail, it's sound, the particle effects and the way it reflects the 'grittiness' of war and it'd sell very well, no doubt. But I would be comfortable betting all the cash under the bed that it wouldn't have a third of the lifespan of the original, because it lacks two key elements that are only really apparent if you're extremely familiar with the original and/or played it competitively; competitiveness, and fun. Yeah, I'm not even having fun with CoH2 right now, and there's a laundry list of reasons as to why that is, and I accept that a lot of them can't be 'fixed'- the single tier doctrine system, the UI (mostly), Intel Bulletins and so on. I accept that these are things that are in the game for business reasons, because the game needs to make money at the end of the day, and money allows for support, support means patches, etc. However, I believe there are a few things that could be changed relatively easily that would instantly make the game 10x better- not perfect, and far from ideal, but they would make it so, so much better, and it wouldn't mean losing any of the mass market appeal that CoH2 is clearly being marketed for.
1. Change the upkeep system. Basically, change it back to how it worked in CoH1. Which was fine. That basically means a system where you start with a high, fixed upkeep, which is affected by the following factors;
Size of army (bigger army = lower upkeep and vice versa)
Amount of territory held (more territory = lower upkeep and vice versa)
This is opposed to the current system whereby you start with a fixed upkeep which simply goes down according to army size and nothing else. In case it wasn't clear by virtue of being top of this list, it's a fucking horrible way to do upkeep. It utterly throttles a player in the mid-late game and punishes you for unit preservation. It makes actually securing a win far, far too difficult, should one gain a sizeable advantage in the early game or gain the tech advantage. It will probably be necessary to make the upkeep system as a whole less punishing, to compensate for the lack of Supply Yard upgrades or global veterancy.
2. Let us see what is actually happening. Wouldn't it be great if we could tell when a unit was shooting at another unit? In vCoH, every weapons left a clear tracer as to exactly where it was firing. A third of the UI is taken up by telling us that an MG42 spits 1200 rounds per minute- so let us see it! Let's have that white tracer fire actually visible so we can see what it is shooting at. Everything in vCoH, from the lowly BAR riflemen, and especially cloaked units such as Paks and snipers, left clear tracers to show exactly where the shot came from and what fired it. If this lack of visibility was intentional for whatever reason, like, to reflect the 'chaos' of war or something- that is a massive load of utter bollocks. Get that idea right out the room and kill it with a spear because that cannot be what drives CoH2- 'grittiness' is all well and good, but I get cranky when I start to taste gravel. At that point, the game ceases to be fun in exchange for some meaningless stab at 'realism'.
3. Blizzards. Coldtech is, in theory, a fine concept, and I know that mechanical changes are being rolled out in internal beta builds that we might not see until the game goes gold. However I know that I am not the only one who, upon playing a match of CoH2, sees the 'Blizzard Approaching' message and goes, "For fucks sake." Right now they are a frustration, a punishment for the player. However I think this is something that Relic have definitively said they are looking to tweak and balance until it works well so I'm not going to bitch about the mechanics- rather, I'm going to bitch about the fact that it exacerbates problem #2. I cannot see shit in a blizzard, by which I mean the blizzard is quite a lot like taping a load of Sellotape to my monitor and trying to play through it- I get that my troops can't see for shit in a blizzard, but all I can do right now is laugh pityingly as I lose yet another squad to the fact that I cannot see when a grenade was thrown, or when an off-map was placed, or whatever. Lose the blizzard 'effects', keep the mechanics. Instantly, I no longer loathe that countdown timer with a fiery passion.
4. Fix the vehicle critical system. I played two games last night, and in both games I had a full health tank (a Panzer IV in one, a T34 in the other) get immobilized from one shot. I've seen this happen in replays as well. Now, this really worries me; this isn't some statistical anomaly, but a developer who actively thought that giving the chance of an immobilization from full health was a Good Idea. That really scares me. Luckily, there's a simple fix; don't let that shit happen ever again. CoH1 got it right first time (with the exception of Tigers' random destroyed engine chance in the name of 'realism')- no chance of a critical when you're above 80% health ('green'), some change of a damaged engine when between 40-80% health ('yellow') and a high risk of a damaged engine/destroyed engine/immobilization/destroyed main gun when below that ('red') (I may have gotten so of that wrong by the exact %, but that's the crux of it). Random immobilizations is totally retarded, and there's no other word for it.
The same goes for the temporary criticals. They aren't a horrible idea, but they seem totally random. Having your tank suddenly stop because he got hit, at full health, is frequently a death sentence- you're now open to ATG's, AT nades, fausts and anything else that can seriously hurt a vehicle. The 'no gunner' temporary crit isn't quite so bad, but the whole 'no moving' business is horrid, and shouldn't even be considered when a vehicle is above half health.
Also, no more damaged engines when driving over fires. Just no.
It's very tempting to add more to this, and to be frank, I could be here for hours. However, I believe these to be the main issues that are a block to both competitiveness and simple fun, and they all have straightforward fixes that I would challenge anyone to say are not necessary, even if they don't agree with the precise fixes I've suggested. Fixing these things won't jeopardise the appeal of the game, and it's very likely that 90% of the eventual CoH2 fanbase when it releases wouldn't notice the difference if they were implemented or not. However, these things have got to happen.
You can't just slap in an observer mode and call it a day, saying CoH2 is going to be some kind of a mystical 'esport'. It has to be competitive first, and satisfying second. Right now it's neither, and if it came out today, I wouldn't buy it.
I heard Tac map is just a place holder, but it's crap. Same with mini map. I mean complete crap.
If I can't navigate my units then all the game play really doesn't matter.
I'm lev 14-15 on VCOH, I feel completely lost playing COH2. I expected a learning curve, learning the new units, counters, etc. But I didn't expect to be totally lost with basics like moving a unit from point A to point B.
I haven't played enough to comment on balance, strats, things like upkeep, etc. so I'll trust your word and the word of others as it seems like a common message.
Unit size. why have 6 man support squads? And then I never understood why when it gets to 1 man, then that's like complete death anyway. 3 man squads are fine. Make it so if it gets down to 1 man, you can't fire the weapon but you can still retreat intact.
The 2 man sniper squad is a joke.
The whole game feels cartoony to me with all the flashing lights and power up sounds, etc. I know in practice what's killing this game is trying to be too real, but the aesthetics feel arcadey to me compared to VCOH. VCOH has a real nice flow to it and the units move smoothly.
Honestly I got a free beta, but no way I would consider buying at full price unless there are drastic changes.
same, except for the blizzards. i think, that blizzards are generally cool, but they kinda slow your units down a lot, that is what i especially dont like about them. i mean, the pure-infantry-early game is too short already, so why would you make it even shorter with slowing it down?? And they should change, that nades and artillery are not accurate anymore in blizzards, so that the arty and so on have a much smaller chance of hitting (if i dont see the enemies good, why should my freezing men??)
+buff Soviet AT guns
+construct fires during blizzards, and for no mp cost
+snipers should snipe units in buildings 100% of the time
+decrewed weapons aren't destroyed when their health bar hits zero, nor is there a way to attack move them (except for AT guns)
+if the Soviet sniper dies to another Sniper, his escort should retreat off the map like the last man on mortar/at crews
What makes me hopeful is that at least three of them are easy changes. I know that right now developers are working very long hours, have a huge amount of things still to be done before release, and are closing in on feature lock. So it's just simple changes that we have a chance to see.
Fixing upkeep is pretty much tweaking a formula, so is re-adjusting tank critical probabilities. And blizzards would be significantly improved just by toning down the visual effect. Hopefully adding tracers is also not difficult, though I can not judge that.
Units not seeing much is fine. But I should see things well.
I actually love how blizzards limit your line of sight. I remember one replay when during a blizzard infantry squad was aproaching center VP and suddently bumped into Panzer IV. That was so awasome .
They don't just limit your units line of sight, it adds this white washed effect to the entire screen that makes everything look fuzzy.
Upkeep should not simply be designed to allow the losing player to rebuild up to his opponent's standing force in no time. It is a weird choice. Maybe because blizzards can already punish a player who has lost units and been pushed off the map, relic built in a more forgiving comeback mechanism. I hope that's not the reason because that's pretty fundamental.
Because I like blizzards, and the more I play the less they slow down the action. They change the action, some of it becomes schlepping cleverly back up the field, using houses, etc. They make flanks both harder due to the risks of the cold, and easier + more rewarding due to the reduced visibility, and they add targets of opportunity. depending on your enemy's well-being, you may want to take out that fire-pit in the fit of combat. Hopefully once relic makes more changes to this mechanic, (cold reduction upgrades would be great) the player on the back-foot will be able to take better advantage of the weather.
Changes to tank crits sound sensible...one of the mitigaters of fast tanks is that these sorts of things happen, but they are really frustrating(fire damage to engines especially) Its cool that there are temporary stun crits, I agree that they should only trigger at half health.
Not convinced that bulletins will break the game in any way. They are small bonuses. If unlocked bonuses do give an edge, they give one at the expense of another edge. if one edge is more effective than others, it should be toned down. They also give you something to do when you've already beaten an opponent who isn't quite ready to quit. I suspect that all of the top competitors will have everything unlocked anyway, so I'm not sure what the problem is going to be.
I prefer the old doctrines, with the branching as well. Seems like relic could make that change easy enough though, if they thought it was advisable to go that route. Each doctrine would only really need 1 more ability created,(then a speed up of received command points..etc)
However, I'm far more concerned over the UI and the Doctrine system. I believe that if (more like when really) CoH2 flops competitively, all 4 of your points can be addressed through patches. If Relic feels like salvaging the game competitively anyway.
The UI and the Doctrine system can't, or won't, be fixed. It's already probably too late for them, but I think they'll end up being what kills this game's lifespan.
I still think if they are going to let you choose your commanders and your bulletins, that your opponents should be privy to what they are in the load up screen though. Not sure why that sort of thing isn't implemented.
everything but the "importance" of changing some of the stuff...
tommy, you correctly said that some of the stuff is easy to fix. this exactly is why i think that they should not be a priority to fix pre-release. pre-release, relic should focus on the stuff that does take longer, that is more work to get done etc., while a 1.001 balance patch a few weeks after release could easily also change things like the critical system (which is still fucked, though they have pretty much overhauled it since the release of beta... they removed all the "hard" criticals (immobilized, engine damage etc.) from the full health critical table and basically moved them to the 75% health crit table, as far as i can see)
The UI still is a clusterfuck in my opinion. I literally cannot play more than 1 game before being so disgusted by the way the game is treating me. If they hid the resources in a collapsible overlay and you had to solve a sudoku first to have a glance at your resources, it wouldn't be much harder than it is right now.
Intel bulletins and the like... i guess we'll have to learn to live with them... also DLC commanders and stuff like that.
Since MG's in ww2 did use tracer rounds to be able to see what and were they were hitting, I'd like that in CoH. I agree that the general visiblity of the units fighting have been reduced, and honestly that just makes me feel more distant from the battles. In CoH you could plainly see how soldiers were reacting and fighting, which made it easy to spot nades and similiar things and also made it feel more stressful and immersive. In CoH... everyone just kinda blends together in a big pile of grey/brown/dark.
Also everyone runs like they need to poo... that bothers me.
1: doesn't bug me. the bonuses you got to manpower in vcoh with map control was pretty minor, the point of controlling the map is to control fuel/munition income, which hasn't changed.
2: How is it hard to see what is happening? I'm being serious, I don't see how it's difficult. Whatever your units are pointing their guns at is who they're shooting, and vica versa. Honestly don't see a problem here.
3: I actually kinda like blizzards, they force another level of strategic thinking.
4: I've literally seen 1 alpha strike immobilization in 30+ games, and that was a side-shot on a panther by 2 AT guns. I'm perfectly fine with that rate of lucky hits.
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