First Post, Analysis,redesign Suggestions.
Before the mod completely moves on to the other armies one last word on behalf of the Artillery Field Officer.
As I said before, this unit is useless, but in a last effort to try to save him let me explain it in detail.
In my opinion, his main problem are his abilities combined with his non-existent fighting power. To explain what I mean by what let's look at his abilities one by one:
Artillery Smoke Barrage 20 mun
Definitely his best ability. With the cost reduction very good for its price. Smoke comes relatively early it covers a good area. In another army, it would be an amazing ability. But in the Ostheer you have a powerful T1 mortar which not only delivers smoke for free, but also has amazing damage potential for the same price. The next problem lies in the core faction design. If you need smoke you are probably dealing with a lot of mgs, in which case a mortar would be a much better investment. Due to the lack of units which want to close in calling smoke to close the distance is not an option. Ostheer doesn't have Shocks or Rangers who could run throw it and destroy anything on the other side.
Conclusion: Very good ability but sadly in the wrong faction.
Concentrated Fire 25 mun
First what does it: Infantry: +15% accuracy, 20 meter radius, Vehicles: -13% reload, 20 meter radius at vet 3 the boni change to +25% and to -25%
On paper, this sounds really good. But yet again good ability, wrong army. The problem of Grens and Pgrens is not their damage output, it's how little they survive. Not only is the +15% accuracy buff barely noticeable in an actual fight, if you use it early on in the already muni starved faction you delay your Lmgs which are in itself a much better option if you want more firepower. And don't forget. The officer itself replaces one Gren. So you are one fighting squad down and the buff is not nearly enough to make it worthwhile.
Conclusion: Decent ability, but not needed.
Coordinated Fire 80 mun
How it works: all artillery, mortars, and rockets in range will immediately fire on the target, regardless of cooldown. Basically, you can bypass the cooldown on your Panzerwerfer or LeFH for 80 mun.
Not only is it incredibly expensive it's also one of the most useless and circumstantial abilities in the whole game. To get more use out of it, then an 80 mun mortar barrage you need to tech T4 for the Panzerwerfer which by itself is a rare unit in 1vs1s. And even if you manage to get to this rare case scenario you can bypass 30-50 sec of Barrage cooldown for the insane price of 80 mun. To consider is also, that you will probably fire your barrage at max range, due to the fragile nature of the Panzerwerfer, so the scatter is insane.
Conclusion: Useless, overpriced and circumstantial.
First Aid Kit 15 mun
Simple question, why should I build the Officier, then Grens can do the same for the same price?
Conclusion: Good ability, wrong unit.
After the conclusion, that his support abilities are bad, he should be a good fighting squad to be worthwhile. But guess what, he isn't. And that's the major problem with this unit, it's not good at anything.
Now onto the things that changed in the mod:
To incentivise the deployment of the Artillery Officer, we have removed the 1 CP requirement for the unit’s deployment. Furthermore we have reduced the smoke cost and have added shared veterancy so the unit is better able to support fights from a distance.
- Smoke munitions cost to 20MU
- Receives shared veterancy
- Population from 9 to 6
- Available from 0 CP
- Abilities remain accessible even if the officer model dies
- Officer model moved to the back of the formation
To sum it up, the unit received multiple small buffs and quality of life improvements which certainly helped him but didn't target his main problems as explained before.
The big question is now, what can we do to save him?
I see two ways of doing this. Either make him a true support unit or rework him into a combat unit.
Solution 1 Support
If you decide to go the Support unit role, the abilities should be really worth it. They should outway at least a mortar or a gren. So what can be done?
Smoke barrage is fine how it is, the other abilities need drastic changes however:
Rework it to "Supervise Artillery" The Artillery Field Officer coordinates the use of mortars, LeFH and Panzerwerfern, improving their effectiveness. Also, the supervised units are able to fire incendiary shells.
How it works: Like the captains supervise, target a mortar, LeFH or Panzerwerfer. Barrage Cooldowns are 50% reduced at vet 3 additionally 50% more shells fired per barrage. Supervised artillery pieces get access to Incendiary Barrage 40 mun.
Add some received accuracy buffs to it, so that it's actually worthwhile. Increase the area.
-Vet 1 Remove the medkits and replace it with a copy of the major artillery. Implement vet boni for more shells
-Increase cp back to 1, with the Ostruppen commander you can call in two squads at once at the moment, a bit too much
This version would be a true Artillery Field Officer, able to support Arty and Infantry, not a fighting unit but good for support.
Solution 2 Combat
If we look at Ostheers unit roster, it's clear, what it lacks an elite close range brawler unit. So I suggest reworking the Artillery Officer into what. In the game files he is already named the assault officer so why not? Steps to do it:
-Rename the unit into Sturmofizier
-Remove aura buff, and coordinated fire, keep smoke
-change weapon to mp40s but equal to shocks damage output
-give him a 4 man PGren or assault grens model bodyguard.
-new ability "Execute" 20 mun target an enemy for increased damage or accuracy
-give him interrogate ability from g43s
-and as a possible vet 1 stun nades or Sprint
-rework vet to fit the new unit style
-change cp to 2 or 3 depending on where he lands damage wise
All in all, it would change the unit into a thematically fitting good close range unit. A unit the Ostheer currently lacks. Definitely my preferred way.
This are my two solutions I came up with. Both suitable and superior to the present Artillery Officer. Of course, the actual values need testing but that's the reason for this mod. I am open for debates on my suggestions, but if someone says the Artillery Field Officier is fine without having a replay to prove it, then youre playing a different game.
Second post, less drastic, less redesigning more balancing.
After thinking a bit more about my precious Field Offizier lets try a different approach. Instead of giving him more or different abilities that is to say reworking him, let's see if simply buffing his abilities into usefulness is enough. (It's also more likely that relic would accept such an approach, but that's just a bonus)
The main offender here is, of course, his Coordinated Fire ability. Second but close is his aura buff. I already stated in an earlier post why these abilities are so bad, so I won't do what again. Instead, I want to focus on ideas of improving them.
This ability will always be really situational, there is nothing that can be done about it. But at least it should be really powerfull. So lift the range requirements from artillery pieces. They should immediately fire their shells/rockets at the targeted area, no matter where they are. Then to not spread the shells/rockets over half the map, make the accuracy independent from the range. You should always get the same accuracy, no matter where the mortars/Panzerwerfers are.
If that's not possible due to modding restrictions, increase the number of shells fired to turn the ability into an area denial weapon. Panzerwerfers should fire 2-3 barrages. That way even with insane scatter they ability would have some use.
Although Accuracy is fine, it's not really helpful, so either add or replace it with received accuracy or the damage reduction from command p4. Aura already scales with vet, so why not implement a 10% damage reduction at vet 0 and 20% at vet 3?
If that proves to be problematic and too easy to blob change it from an aura into a targeted ability which can be cast on a single squad. Of course, the values need to be buffed in this case.