I am a huge fan of COH1 and still prefer to play it over COH2 (which I purchased).
There are certainly improvements in COH1 over COH2 though if you only play COH1 you probably feel you don't need them.
- Reverse on vehicles.
- being able to see all your units at the same time, including their status and health.
- getting increased experience for killing vetted (higher value) units.
- Trusight. You may not be into this, but here is one change that INCREASED strategic and tactical depth to the game.
- Snow/mud. This is certainly an technological improvement. But it is very dependent on how effectively it is implemented in maps. If it adds too much complexity to balancing a map, well... use less of it.
- NO SNIPER META! (Even now that I have learned much better to use these, snipers still feel like they break the flow/feel of COH1.)
Also COH2 has battle servers with some hacking detection. Currently in COH1 maphacking just isn't an issue. Partly because the game became irrelevant so no one codes them.
This is about real improvements, not the things we don't like as COH1 fans. The test is if you were playing with these features for a long while, would you then miss them if you went back to COH1.
- Reverse on vehicles is only an improvement for lazy players with low APM. I prefer manual reverse in CoH1 because it adds some mechanical challenge to a game that is otherwise very simple mechanically. Manual reverse is still superior in CoH2, though, since you can cancel forward momentum and control your path easier with it, so it's really a wash regardless.
- I'd argue that much of the information shown on the top right of the screen is superfluous, though being able to see suppression indicators at a glance is very nice. One big downside of this is you have to click an icon to collapse and expand that view, instead of simply hovering over an icon like you could do in CoH1. I personally prefer the CoH1 approach because it's less busy and provides only the information I feel I need, but I can understand why some people prefer the CoH2 approach. Still, like vehicle reverse, I feel it's a crutch that benefits mediocre players the most and provides very little benefit to players with proper situational awareness.
- This isn't really an improvement, just a minor change in game mechanics. I feel it's a quality change however, even though in practice its impact is very minor.
- Again, Truesight really isn't an improvement, just a change. And I'd actually argue that it's created a bunch of problems that never existed in CoH1, especially since there really aren't any dedicated scouting units in CoH2. For example, it makes blobs far more powerful because they're more difficult to scout, and therefore more difficult to react to. Sometimes depriving players of information isn't always the best approach. Still, I'm neutral on Truesight; I don't think it's necessarily better or worse than CoH1's vision system, just different.
- Awesome visual addition, fucking terrible gameplay addition. One of the worse design decisions for the British in CoH1 was giving Tommies reduced movement speed in enemy territory; why they thought adding that "feature" to maps would be a good idea is beyond me.
- Snipers were really only a problem in team games in CoH1; in 1v1s, snipers were used as they were intended to be used, as fragile and expensive but powerful support units. They also contributed greatly to the mechanical skill requirements of the game, since properly microing snipers took a lot of focus and a lot of actions. There isn't a unit in CoH2 that replicates the satisfaction of effectively microing CoH1 snipers.
The biggest improvements in CoH2 are in the server infrastructure and network backend. Something like the battle servers is a vast improvement over CoH1's pure peer-to-peer system, and allows for things like observing and server-side anti-cheat. In-game, the only real improvements I see are being able to issue capture commands directly on the minimap, being able to vault over cover, and being able to select which side of a building an MG sets up on. I haven't used the latter, but it would have been a very helpful feature to have in CoH1.