Or it means that their entire focus for this patch was (still) on "fix the game" rather than "add new content". I'm sure that Relic's resources are now much tighter compared to pre-launch, but it doesn't mean that their team is too small now to save CoH3
I can only judge on what they show. There's nothing wrong with the patch, but it just feels like "just another one" as the ones before it. They try to tackle some frequently criticised issues, but is it enough to draw in players long-term? I'd doubt it. Some points on the list are very vague. They could be major reworks or just polishing. We don't know, but given Relic's record since launch and tendency to oversell their patches, I guess they are not extensive.
Help me out here, what exactly was the great march 2014 update? I could have sworn that was the patch where they just released two new doctrines with Wehr Puma and Soviet M4C Sherman in order to promote the upcoming WFA DLC. And at that point CoH2 multiplayer was in a pretty "hated" & unpopular state because of the blatant pay2win crap going on
A complete rework of infantry interaction coupled with a decently sized patch. You're right if you want to take the point literally: This one patch did not single-handedly save CoH2. There was a series of updates in 2014 up to 2015 that lead to a steady increase in the player base. The multiplayer before might have been unpopular, but yet CoH2 back then was despite all its problems still more popular than CoH3 currently is.
But I meant it figuratively: The march deployment patch is seen as a major turn-around for CoH2.
Relic needs some ambitious patches if they want the player base back. The best fitting explanation for the current speed and ambition of the patches is that the CoH3 team has been shrunk considerably. They don't have the capacity anymore to deliver larger patches without sacrificing frequency of updates. I believe they are doing the best they can. Relic has gotten a LOT better in understanding CoH3's problems and they finally try to address them unlike during their post-launch disaster. It's not a lack of talent, nor does the Coh3 team appear unmotivated. It's just literally the best they can do with a small team.
This small team is the result of losing so many players after launch and basically doing nothing in the first half year, which I assume lead to a management decision to reduce further investment into CoH3 and provide less support for the game than would be necessary.
Those small patches will likely not win back the large player base that this game actually has. How much time is left until the development of the main game will be stopped completely? Maybe one or two more years? That would be a normal cycle for a game, with increasingly dwindling resources over time.
If this patch + DLC doesn't permanently increase the player numbers and/or trickle back, that's another 2-3 months lost until the next patch is released. Even if they somehow manage afterwards, the player base won't be huge by the time they actually stop development.
I think this is just kind of a "filler expansion" in order to keep the promise that all premium edition customers get the 1st expansion.
With the bigger (actual) expansions coming next year
If that was the logic Relic used, it would be a huge no go. They are intentionally screwing over their most loyal customers. They would technically have delivered on their promise, but they are still cheating on the customers. Currently, the premium edition sells for 20 Euros. They sell their DLC for 17, leaving 3 Euros for the remaining "goodies", basically a hand full of skins. You're not getting a real "deal" for buying the premium edition. Where's the "thank you" for trusting Relic and handing them over and additional 20 Euros almost a year in advance? For not knowing what they will actually give you down the line? I don't see it.
The problem is that the other option is not a great outlook either: They're not intentionally shrinking the DLC, but this is literally the best they can do with their current resources. Which would mean that not many people are working on CoH3 anymore, otherwise there would be way more content.
CoH2 had the "saving grace" march deployment patch 9 months post release. That's exactly where we are now in CoH3's cycle, and what do we get? A mediocre DLC and a patch that is neither big nor ambitious. It's simply not enough to make CoH3 a good and healthy game.
I guess that ship has sadly sailed. Christmas season will pass and CoH3 will not be on the front page, CoH3 is still not the game that makes you "wow" when you PanzerIV explodes and your infantry gets bombed. The holidays will mean no work being done for half of December, so the next "big" patch realistically will be in February, one year after CoH3's release. It's just too late. Relic has missed their opportunity. They lost half a year after release fixing nothing until SEGA nuked their management. Now they are on the right track, but staff has been pulled and there's not enough people anymore to fix what they left behind.
There will be no march deployment patch for CoH3, as much as I would like to see it. CoH2 has 250 recent reviews on Steam, CoH3 has 200. CoH3 has its own stable player base now, it is and will be an okay game, but I don't think Relic will do more than necessary to avoid the worst PR clash.
Pushing out updates more frequently than Relic itself - good job!
I have recently watched two of AE's casts side by side, one of CoH2 and one of CoH3.
I have gotten a better impression of CoH3 than compared to launch. The late game sound atmosphere actually sounded better than CoH2, at least when watching.
But CoH3 is such a mixed bag. Some sounds, especially rifle fite, many explosions and other effects are not only underwhelming, but almost ridiculously funny. Some offmap (I don't know what triggered it, maybe some officer call in) had tiny explosions that honestly looked like place holders for an actual animation. Many movement animations feel weird, and especially the sprint on retreat is too fast. The overall impression of the early game was still very underwhelming. Models felt weightless and the game is still lacking visually. That's not to say that there were no good explosions, good sounds or movement animations etc. There definitely are, even really well done ones. But the bad ones are kind of too obvious and just destroy the atmosphere.
CoH2 is also not top notch on all departments, but at least 95% I'd rate as good or better. There's fewer visual issues to stumble upon, although a big part surely is that I have just gotten used to them to be fair.
Not sure how many issues you actually notice during playing in CoH3
Setting of that game.
Drag queens are the "heroes" of it.
They made a game that appeals to 0.000001% of population and are wondering why it flopped at reception.
I only watched a couple of videos about it, but the characters don't look hugely different from overwatch or similar games.
They just made a bad game that you mostly could have played already years ago. The world only needs so few oversaturated color palette games with exaggerated "laid back" characters.
What's the news?
Sega wanted in on the 'funny crazy hero shooter' live service business after the boom half a decade ago and decided to make a cheap copy too little too late while handing it to their prime studio known for turn based strategy.
Backed up by no marketing campaign.
Surprisingly, the game was bad and failed. Surprisingly, there will be people fired.
How is that ESG?
I find it a bit odd that you throw a map like Essen Steelworks or Winnekendonk into the same pool with Redball or Rails. The first two definitely have their own character left and have to be played different than the latter two
I don't find Winnekendonk very special. The most interesting parts are the cut-off placement with close by sight blockers and the VP in the village. The middle VP that usually sees the most action, but layout and cover placement is pretty generic, so are most of the field areas around it. The VP near the lumber camp has some minor alterations and corners to cut which is nice, the lumber camp fuel is again pretty standard. Every map has something "special", Winnekendonk too, but >80% is still the standard build order with standard open area and cover placement map. What I like is that there is not too much of a pre-defined "lane" in this map. Visually it just looks the same as any other "field and hedgerow" map, either.
Essen is somewhat special with defined and fairly enclosed fighting areas, but again the whole strip from base to base including the middle VP is fairly standard. The enclosed areas open up once vehicles arrive and then also become pretty samey to what you'd see on other maps. I like the placement of the munition points though that are often neglected but can create diversion and the overall atmosphere is great, but I just don't see why I should heavily deviate from the "standard" build order and standard commanders to play that map, because it's not special enough for that.
There are a few different things that pushed maps towards the laney stuff.
1) Players need to blame something for their loss. Weird map? Blame it. Some trickier to play maps were made and they were universally hated. People were even told "Make an open field map. We are not looking at anything else."
2) Players only have three load outs. They want three useful commanders. If the map is too weird, it requires a certain commander to be viable. Which takes away from your other commanders. The game should have been designed better. If your infantry could be focused short/long by upgrades would help a lot. This is partially Relics fault by design.
3) Many players want to use a variety of weapons. If the map is too much of a maze you cant use team weapons at all. AT guns, for example, become useless. Now you have balance issues for team weapon focused factions.
4) Mappers only get one shot at making a map (unless you are WhiteFlash). You have to make the map as safe as possible. You cant risk people hating a section that is weird to play cause your map will get removed rather then reworked. This is Relics fault. Their apathy towards their own game.
5) Some players just like to play a certain style (A-move???). They will veto certain maps.
Relic needs to be much more active with the mapping community. They need to add maps more frequently and let mappers update them. Instead Relic is saying "We cant add maps cause we have small pee pees". As usual, doing the complete opposite of what they should be doing. I dont know how they stay in business. What other type of business can you be completely incompetent and stay open?
Thanks for the insight.
I guess on top of all that comes the "low maintenance" strategy that Relic used for CoH2 after UKF release. There were few employees working on CoH2, and those obviously couldn't do the most intricate analysis. Their feedback was that these 3 maps are not liked by players, most vetoed and rarely played, so they put 3 other maps in that were more similar to the liked maps.
It's the easiest way to maintain the game and community with the least amount of work, and people seemed to be happy and player numbers overall grew. Why risk this trend and maybe also your standing in the company to push for more varied maps that fewer people like, when all "objective" indicators say you are wrong?
It's a shame for CoH2 though. That's exactly why vetoes exist: Veto the maps that you personally don't like. Most of the maps in the current pool are good to very good by themselves. They do well what they are supposed to do: Longer range combat with some thoughtfully placed cover and garrisons in between, and every know and then a shot and sight blocker to dance around and create lanes and channels.
But they are all the same. The difference of playing Whiteball, Eindhoven, Rails and Metal, Redball, Essen Steelworks, Winnekendonk, Minsk... there's just none. Play the same standard build and same tactics and you'll be fine in 80% of the games.
If I got a rank 300 opponent, then his teammate was usually better ranked while my teammate was a bit worse. Overall in CoH3 you seem to get balanced matches in short time mostly.
In CoH2 I waited 8 minutes (MM time cap) just to get dumped into a super unbalanced trash match wayyyy too often in the last years. And I have no idea why but 90% of my CoH2 4v4 random games were a complete dumpster fire since 2022. I am sure Rosbone has some stories about that as well
I just realized I mixed up both systems: CoH3 gives you ELO, in 2 you can only see the rank, so they are not really comparable in that regard.
Looking through your last matches, I guess Relic managed to remove the worst matchmakings (dumping top players with newbies into the same lobby), but at the same time there's regularly matches with ELO differences of 200 per player. I don't know which ELO system Relic chose to use, but in AoE2 a difference of 200 ELO lead to an expected win chance of 75%.
In the end I think CoH2 4v4 is a special place. I play mostly 2v2 and 3v3 as an AT and usually (with some hick ups obviously) found an okay match.
CoH2 has seen a lot of maps rotated in and out in its 10 years life span. Some of them might not have fitted into competitive play, but they were fun and beautiful nontheless. The current map pool has some very good maps, but many of them feel pretty similar. Visuals might be different, but the play style is the same on 80% of the maps, which in turn leads to little variation in gameplay in CoH2.
I'll present a couple of my "favourites", or at least some that I found noteworthy from 2v2 and 3v3, because I play these modes the most. What were your favourite maps that you'd like to have back?
Beautiful map, don't know why it had to be removed to be honest. I loved how the map was seperated organically into three parts: The closed forest, the semi-open village and the open fields. It often lead to relatively clear matchups who would win which side, but I loved the unsuspected surprise of attacking on one of these allegedly "secure" areas, mini commando raids or, if these didn't work, the house to house fighting in the middle to get an edge towards either of the sides. Some surprise commander choices could also switch up who would dominate which area. There's also some cool ideas: The southern outmost forest road that was rarely used apart allowing flanking maneuvers and the more separated northern fuel that was almost its own area from the "main fields". The tree lines could lead to some weird pathing, I was still happy to play that map. Atmosphere was top notch, it really felt like company level battles placing mortars behind houses and infantry groups supporting each other, ATGs blocking roads etc.
I have fond memories mostly of the Winter version, however it was taken out of rotation soonish after I started playing online. Loved the frozen lakes in the winter version and blowing up the ice to sink tanks. Great stuff and good implementation of this feature. The northers side didn't see much action, but was always a good diversion strategy to draw away attention or just snack a couple of territories while the opponent was busy. On the negative, the houses generally were too dominant. If you got pushed to you side of the river, the game was sometimes just over. For the current maps, this has often been solved by moving houses or placing sight blocker bushes. Maybe this map could have seen a similar treatment. Otherwise I remember great matches and honestly would like to play it again.
Was in rotation for quite a while. It usually yielded good games, I didn't like the atmosphere and blocky design of the map. The map just never clicked for me. That's not how a city looks like. What's the weird green patch doing in the middle of the city? The lumber area? All the ruins are so far apart, as if no one wanted any neighbour in the vicinity of 50 meters. It just looked a bit cobbled together. For gameplay, every single part was well designed, although all of the were focused on long range combat. I even liked the usage of red cover here, forcing you to think about when and how to cross certain streets. I think this is the map that looked the most gamey to me: We have it because the gameplay works on it, not because it really feels like WW2 combat. A big plus though for the idea of putting some fences that block infantry movement in the early stages of the map, while you could later open those up by overrunning them with tanks.
I had a love and hate relationship with Poltava. The map is so linear it you'd just get stuck in MGs and TDs. On the other hand, the battle in the middle around those four houses worked so god damn well. The red cover streets were sometimes frustrating, but overall promoted thoughtful moving and use of smoke and grenades to transition between the houses and from the sides to the middle VP. The VPs in the corners were unfortunately pretty safe but could yield some really fun fights since these were the "enclosed" areas of the map. Apart from this, there were quite some issues: The munition points were pretty hard to take due to bushes and fences that would lead to weird shooting and pathing. I also felt like the northern side had safer fuel, although the map is supposed to me symmetrical. the roads on the very sides of the map were a bit too decoupled from the rest. They were meant to be highways to the fuel and corner VPs, but somehow I rarely used them. My fondest memory is getting my Sherman stolen in one of the corners because I thought the crew was safe to repair there. Good stuff.
Honestly one of the most freaking unique maps in automatch that I remember. It had serious issues, but I loved it. The middle VP on the bridge with no good retreat path and being a prime target for literally any artillery was atrocious - but sometimes in even a good way. Some games just ended by being pushed back to the base and then being artied to death because you couldn't safely cross your bridge anymore, definitely not one of the high points in design. But everything else was just so fun. The huge graveyard with the VP on one side with few vehicle entry points yielded really good infantry engagements early on and even good battles once tanks broke the walls. The enclosed VP on the other side in the courtyard was also great for infiltration and taking them unnoticed while the main fight was going on elsewhere. Actually, both VPs had cool infantry entry points. The wider area around the munition points were a struggle literally for map control to open up movement options and the possibility to get into the valuable middle VP. The houses were well placed and dominant, but manageable. I loved this map, despite some glaring issues. It was unique and offered some areas and play styles that are hard to replicate on the current map pool.
Not a "lost" map since it's still in rotation, but, for the love of god, a ton of lost potential. Mostly with the flanks of the map that are basically never ever used. I don't know why this was never fixed. The ruin area and the dry dock on the other side of the map look so cool, but there is barely any reason to ever be there. The channels, point placements, pathways and obstructions just make it so hard to ever use these areas effectively. At some point, the map makers realized that issue so the ruin area got an infantry bridge. Cool. Still, its hardly used. The dry dock would have benefited from some crossing as well apart from the main bridge. In previous game versions, you could also blow up the bridge and later on repair it. That was a neat feature, albeit not that great for competitive play. Looked cool for bot matches and low ELO play though. This map has unfortunately lost a ton of potential due to some bad map design decisions. It's one of the heaviest arty spam maps in the current rotation. It's not a bad map, but it feels like developing it has just stopped once it got to "okay", and the rest of the ideas that have been built in to 50% completion were just left to die.
Again not a lost map, just lost visuals. It is a good map for arty and a lot of explosions in a tiny area. A map with good interaction between team mates even at low ELO, because it just is so small. My only gripe is: We had visually more beautiful versions. The version I remember the dearest is a pre-war Ettelbruck with a beautiful café, I think even the middle and station sides looked more tidy. It was a version where you're fighting the very first fight in this city, and seeing what war does to a beautiful small town at the end of the game was the highlight for me. The current version is a "you're commanding the 10th assault on that area" version - half the stuff is destroyed already. Lost some of its flair. The main issue for me currently is that a Brummbar can completely block off one victory point with not much to do about it, otherwise gameplay is good, if arty is what you want.