Well the two things he mentioned are obviously big factors. Your points are more speculative.
When I say CoH3 is in a better state than CoH2 was early on I'm thinking of how many steps are necessary to make this a good game. And I think CoH3 is far ahead of CoH2 in this regard.
I don't think you can conclude much from the playernumbers. CoH1 multiplayer scene was larger than CoH2. The initial steam playernumbers are almost completely irrelevant here because a very large portion of that is campaign players. Also the reason people are staying away from the game is super important. If the game becomes good some of the hardcore people will come back eventually and there will be a very slow influx of new players. I don't think there was much growth potential in the first place with relic's marketing approach. Barely anyone even perceives CoH as a MP game.
All these debates we're having are soooo similar to CoH2's realease. Yes, there is a chance this time the game doesn't make it, and a lot of you guys will end up quitting and never bothering with CoH3 just like the COH1 boomers do to this day. And that's fine. But still, odds are CoH3 becomes good and establishes its own playerbase.
The exact reasons why players stopped playing CoH3 were never my main point, at least not in the part of the discussion when Aerafield quoted me. Whatever the reason is, CoH3 does not manage to retain players.
And the player numbers do matter. I guess we don't need to argue about MP, but they matter even for SP. I'd rather buy a single player game that has thousands of players months to years after launch than one that died quickly, because this game is apparently replayable and has a lot of content to offer, while I have to assume that the one that dies has not. It might still be a strong story and worth it, but if that's not written in the reviews, why should I buy it? The safer bet is to buy different game.
That's why it also doesn't matter if the drop has partially occured due to campaign players leaving. Your argument just proves my point: Relic has failed to keep the SP people and casuals engaged. This was the whole purpose of their Italy campaign.
Currently, a potential buyer of CoH3 sees bad reviews and even worse recent reviews, a hard drop in player numbers and low current player numbers. Unless he knows that this is the game for him, there's not much reason to buy it. But those people you don't have to convince anyway, Relic is losing out on the crowd. Relic and Sega see this, and it will hurt their business down the line and influence their decision making on CoH3.
Which is also why I concluded that they will probably need to rebuild it from their hardcore fan base - the others are gone anyway. The game becoming good eventually is unfortunately no guarantee that it will survive long term and rebuild a community. It might happen, yes, but there's also plenty of good games that just took too long to patch and are now dead. We don't know what will happen with CoH3.
You're just making bold claims here as to why people stop playing CoH3, that the game is not good fundamentally or targeted the wrong audience etc etc.
Nearly every single person I have spoken to and myself included stopped playing CoH3 because the map-pool is horrible and I mean HORRIBLE in 3v3 and esp. the most popular mode 4v4. Imagine you play CoH2 4v4 but only on Hamburg and Lorch Assault all day every day, even the most diehard CoH fan can endure this only for so long.
It's that and axis queue times that kill the MP experience currently. It sucks but both issues can be fixed with ease down the line
I really don't know how to respond to that.
Me saying that there is a variety of reasons why players drop out of CoH3 is bold but you saying "it's exactly these two reasons" isn't?
C'mon Aera, you know that's nonsense as well.
As an example is will bring up COH2 commandos on release. They where a CQB that could ambush other units and their TTK has extremely low . They offered lots of "OH F... moments". Where they good for the game?
I think we can agree that they where not.
A game like COH should be played at two levels a tactical one (like using cover and grenades) and a strategical where a player has strategical options and has to make decision that effect the game long term.
Coh1 had such decision, in Coh2 two most of those decision where watered down and in Coh3 I an attempt to go back to such decisions and that imo is a good thing.
Look, no one argued for an extreme stance. Squads should neither evaporate within a second like they do in MoW nor should a normal shoot out last half the game.
Dirtyfinisher criticized that CoH3 is too forgiving, mostly because the TTK is too high (which is obviously a personal preference). I share that opinion. As I stated in the opening post, I haven't played CoH3 after launch, but trying to watch tournament games the game just looks super boring. Regularly cutting into retreat paths of low health squads is not being rewarded by a squad wipe. There's very few moments were the viewer sees a turn in gameplay, a move that one player took high risk for and either got rewarded or punished for, because the higher TTK reduces risk and reward. Tournaments being boring to watch has other reasons as well, this is just one of many. Still, for me it's not much fun to watch players slug it out for ages, with the main difference that player1 killed 20 more models than player2 and therefore gained an MP advantage over the last 15 minutes of the game which long term leads to victory in the next 15 minutes. There's no spectacle in there, no moment that would figuratively speaking take you to the edge of your seat. If I see a fight in CoH2 and player1 flanks into the retreat path, there is tension. Will the flanking squad be spotted and player2 see the danger in time? If not, can he somehow reduce the damage by smoking the retreat path, sending a vehicle to deal with the squad (even cheesy model pushing)? Do the retreating squads have enough health to make it through, will he be lucky or unlucky? Yes, this leads to some RNG wins and losses, but as a viewer it is ultimately fun to watch.
In CoH3 there is nothing. The flanking squad will probably not wipe anything anyway. Will the flanking squad be spotted in time? Maybe yes, maybe no, probably doesn't matter an awful lot either. Can player1 deal with the new situation? The deployed smoke maybe saves a model. Is that good? Probably, but nothing game changing either. Do the retreating squads have enough health? 95% of times: Yes.
I don't want to watch that. CoH3 needs interesting tournaments to draw in new players, because the Steam rating sure as hell won't. Maybe I am in the minority with my assessment, but still I wanted to phrase it. If I am not, then CoH3 is in even more trouble.
You underestimate how subjective presentation is. You're saying CoH2 looks good to this day but the complaints people have about CoH3 are extremely similar to what people were saying about CoH2. Bad contrasts, cartoony, ugly UI. People have an extremely strong bias towards what they are used to.
Edit: And you were saying that conparing the technical state of the games comes down to preference. That's what I was referring to mostly. CoH3 has good playability. The game just works. It may not be very good atm but at least it's not dysfunctional like CoH2.
The problem for CoH3 is that players apparently decide that the strengths of the game are not worth it. Yes, CoH2 got similar critiques, some rightfully, some as you say because it is new and not what everyone is used to, but the extend seems to be different. All the critique did not stop players from playing, at least not as quickly as for CoH3. Like it or not, but despite a bad release as well, CoH2 had something going for it that CoH3 can't replicate. It might be presentation, sound, whatever.
Having a smoothly running game is great, but doesn't help if the game itself is boring. There's people loving CoH3 in its current form. The overall majority however doesn't, and that's why we see a huge drop in player numbers and the efflux is still not stopped. CoH3 has lost players compared to last week, probably another 200 on average (just estimating), which comes down to ~10% of the player base.
Relic partially focused on the casual gamers, but those will not rebuild the game. They either had their fun or didn't, but moved on either way. They're not going to buy a game with 40-55% positive reviews on Steam. Relic has to rebuild it from their main, die hard audience. Which is not what they have been aiming for, and worries me if CoH3 will get the support that it needs to make it a good game.
Coh always had micro but there is difference between COH1 and COH2.
Coh1 give player more decision making than COH2. The tree like commander abilities and tech structure/cost forced player into making decision that had an impact on the game.
In coh2 and especially after the "community" patches decision making become less important.
In COH3 there attempt to return closer to COH1 model (even if not successful implemented) and that imo is a good thing.
Turning the game into a LOL type of game where one controls 10 units instead of one would be bad direction imo.
My original point is that game should not be only about micro with high TTK where, for instance, how well one dodges a grenade wins or lose the game.
CoH2 has design issues no doubt about that. Doesn't change the fact that the whole series is very micro intensive. The whole point of the cover system is that the player has to order the squad behind to take cover behind the tractor and not 3 meters next to it. That you need to place that grenade yourself down to the centimeter instead of just clicking the 'throw a grenade' button and it is resolved automatically. That doesn't mean it becomes LOL or any other game, but that's just the way any CoH has been designed from the get go. Therefore, this grenade should also matter. It should not decide about the game, but about the battle between those two squads. As you said, a good strategy game is about decision making. If this grenade doesn't have an impact on the battle, there is no point in the ability, especially no point in having the player control it to the finest position of the throw. If that's not the case, just automate it and let the player focus on the grander scheme of things.
There's a lot of grey areas to the exact outcome obviously, which cannot be properly discussed without having an example. I personally also had the feeling - at least by watching the tournaments - that Coh3 is not punishing enough, that the decision to flanking and other movements doesn't matter enough. CoH2 hasn't hit the sweet spot either, but CoH3 probably doesn't as well.
Getting wipes and having big explosions might be "spectacular" but this type of play style where "micro" makes all difference belongs to games like LOL not RTS.
RTS games should have "strategies" in them and not just "micro". Player should be reward/penalized for their decision making and not just for their reflex.
Just a quick note on this one:
As far as strategy games go, coh has been on the very micro heavy side.
There is no real economy to manage as in most and especially classic RTS games, base building is non-existant either, and additionally it portrays smaller battles. You're not managing hundreds of units, you're having about 10 squads/units before you're pop capped. If there is any game loop to be had, it is about the exact positioning of units, movement and timing of abilities. The only non-micro elements are army composition decisions and if you focus on munitions or fuel. That's the way it has worked since coh1.
What on earth are you talking about. It actually boggles my mine that someone who was around for CoH2's launch would make such a claim. CoH2 was barely playable. It had ABYSMAL performance both in terms of input lag and FPS. It had HORRENDOUS core design. The whole game revolved around ridiculous AoE damage, absurdly high ranged super units and other super gimmicky shit. It had the worst feature of CoH history in the form of Col tech. It got reviewbombed to pieces. It certainly didn't have 85% positive. I don't remember the exact score but I'm not confident that it wasn't lower than CoH3. Everybody who had been hyped for the game was completely disillusioned. People who had had big plans for COH2 quit the game for good after a few months to a year (Tommy, Fatal, Ami etc.). It had paid commanders from the start. It had no ladder at all for months.
Then march deployment happened and the core gameplay improved massively. But roughly at the same time relic released the most bonkers P2W commanders in CoH history. All the stuff people call OP these days is a joke in comparison. These commanders would almost literally autowin the game for you. Saying CoH2 never dropped below the player count of its predecessor also makes zero sense because CoH1 had not been a steam game until then and transitioned to steam servers at that time which basically killed the game.
You make some good points, especially the one about coh1 not being a steam game, which is an oversight on my part.
However, as Spitfire said, I am talking about the overall state of the game. Coh3 surely has strong points like optimization, but also some serious weaknesses, most of all presentation. Coh2 is a beautiful game to this day, coh3 has overall good graphics, but I wouldn't say that they are really special apart from the vehicle damage model. Anyway, I am not keen on iterating every point here.
The player numbers speak for themselves: coh3 cannot retain players as coh2 could. We're not even 3 months after launch, and numbers for coh3 are as bad - if not worse - than for coh2 at the lowest point the game ever had. And this despite coh3 starting with 50% more players at launch, allegedly more single player content etc etc. Relic has always been slow on patches, but the environment in the gaming industry has changed in the last 10 years: gamers expect now quicker patches and fixing of the prosuct (which surely is due in part to more games being released in a broken state). Relic does not do itself a favor by not adressing issues quickly enough and bad communication.
The longer this process takes, the harder it becomes to salvage. Old Relic has shown they can pull it off though. New Relic did a decent job with fixing AoE4 as well, and the community in coh is pretty sticky and will try out the game a couple of months down the line. The longer Relic takes, the worse the chances get though, especially if Sega becomes doubtful that the game can be salvaged
Im gonna make a really "bold claim" now and say it's because the MP content & experience is in a very dry state with lack of maps and features on top of all the annoying bugs. But definitely not because of stuff like TTK or "game's too similar to CoH1"
Just to clarify: My post was about how boring I find CoH3 to look at. The TTK might be fine when playing yourself, but as a viewer this can be different. CoH has the chance to draw many players in by great visuals and intuitive gameplay. But, despite me playing CoH2 for hundreds of hours and understanding the mechanics of CoH well, I found it odd how many "good plays" top level players didn't take, because they know that they won't be able to kill a low health infantry squad. This is probably worse if you're new to the franchise.
This on top of the SP players leaving the game after finishing the campaign and you get such numbers. Of course I would have loved if CoH3 launched in a way better MP state so we could have kickstarted with much more player retention, but now it's CoH2 launch all over again basically.
CoH2 MP blew horseshit for the first ~6 months and it took almost a year to recover
Let's not kid ourselves, CoH3's launch is worse than CoH2, by far.
On a technical level, both games are/were pretty bad. Which one is better or worse is probably up to personal taste and another debate that has been fought multiple times by now, so I'm not going to re-re-reheat it.
Communication by Relic is really bad and I doubt they realized the extend of it.
Review wise, CoH3 is doing horribly. Overall user reviews at Steam are below 60% and the recent ones are ~36%, showing a mostly negative, which is quite a big deal for everyone that got interested by a trailer or stream and then sees that the game is not just divisive, but definitely bad. No one is going to buy it that way. Even if Relic turns manages to turn everything around in the next couple of patches, the mostly negative label is going to cling on for weeks. It will be hard for Relic to every breach the 70% positive reviews again. I don't know how well Steam reviews worked back when CoH2 launched and I know that the game has been review bombed by Russians due to CoH2's campaign, but filtering for the earliest reviews gives +85% positives? Anyway, I doubt CoH2 every reached the level of CoH3's negative reviews. CoH2 had the chance of surviving by new player influx. CoH3 probably not so much.
CoH3 also lost more players post-launch than CoH2 back then. Peak players dropped way harder for CoH3 two months after release.
There's also more indicators. CoH2 never dropped below the player count of its predecessor, even most positive reviews on Steam are pretty critical, players seem to be concerned about the roadmap and Relic's prioritization.
It's not all bad, but the biggest issue is that players are still leaving from CoH3, and the negative reviews will surely hamper CoH3 bouncing back quickly for months to come. CoH3 is in a worse position than CoH2 back then. Tournaments and streaming could help out Relic a lot (and even for free), but they don't seem to be willing to get replays and observer mode going.
Firstly TTK out of cover, is more then alright, for me it works even better then in CoH2. Because in CoH2 cover really mattered only if your opponent was in cover in most cases, having it is really good, but lack of it was usually not a as big of deal. In most cases at least, busted LMGs\MGs of CoH2 forced to used cover, but all other small arms not really. Not saying cover was pointless in 2, but rather less important when you compare it to vCoH\3.
Units in CoH2 were significantly more tanky out of cover then in CoH3, maybe due to RNG based received accuracy. In 2 you basically had understanding of how fight should go, but it was still fully RNG based. Like Stumpios dropping 0 models charging rifles and winning or dropping 2 models against combat engis for example. In 3 inf fights are very predictable, you in most cases just know when you can and cant win, there is almost no middle ground or gambling.
And wise versa TTK in cover was faster in CoH2 for the same reasons basically. In CoH3 frontally fighting cover to cover is basically a stalemate, where you have to find better angle or flank. I would say, I like this system much more, tho small TTK increase could be done for sure.
Secondly, if you watch vCoH top play its pretty much the same as in CoH3 (but actually even slower), with a difference being that vCoH is much less forgiving then 2\3, with call ins on the base, instant wipes and much less friendly gameplay. So fun in vCoH basically comes from occasional money shots and really bold moves.
Also you should take into a consideration, that CoH2 basically was a meat grinder for a VPs. Maps across the board were much smaller, resources distribution was basically uncontested, aside from cut-offs and occasional de-caps (in 1v1 that is), but over-all harassment of the economy and map control played much lesser role in CoH2 then in 1\3, so all focus was on the action. In teamgames, it was either the same meatgrinder for VPs (if fuel\muni points were safely placed) or the same meat grinder for both VP\res points, because they were located close to each other, creating constant unit concentration in small areas.
As for retreat TTK, its a double edge sword. Units having like 40% damage reduction during retreats, make them super hard to kill\damage during retreats, but at the same time, loosing units in CoH3 is much more punishing then in 1\2 because of how fast passed games can be. Meaning that you most likely then not, wont even have spare resources to recover from losses, because your opponent will be snowballing like crazy and VP drain is insane. This is mitigated a bit in late game, but in early-mid game its super brutal. So this alone kinda forces players to play much safer then in 1\2 and at the same time much dumber sometimes, because they know, that unless its a major fuck up, they can easily retreat. I also believe that in vCoH retreating units were also very hard to kill, but it was mitigated by instant wipes with everything else.
Lastly you shouldn't disregard technical problems of the game. Pathing is unit responsiveness especially, its mediocre to put it lightly. So vehicle play is much more stale because of it.
Thanks for the insight.
My concern is less about balance itself, but about how boring it makes it to watch CoH3. In the previews, I didn't feel like TTK was overly long either, although I didn't have the time to play much.
I am obviously biased by CoH2, but watching CoH3 tournament play feels like a constant stream of misplays not being punished and good plays not rewarded. There have been quite a few moment where I thought that the correct move should be to go all in, to focus down that completely overextended, wounded squad, but nothing like that happened. This design might male more sense when playing the game and might also be decently designed, but they take away from the spectacle that watching a CoH1/2 match was. Eco damage is just really boring to look at.
Combine that with the overall presentation being average, I found CoH3 just boring to watch. I might be in the minority with that opiniom, I thought there might be more people like me. Good for AE and all other streamers I hope.
I've been clicking into AE's ML3 semi final tournament to see the current state of CoH3 tournament play.
View number wise, the CoH3 videos seem to do alright. However, I don't know why. I absolutely don't have any immersion or see any tension whatsoever in those games. It is boring as hell. I have played neither CoH1 nor CoH3 (previews aside), but the CoH1 games he casts are so much more enjoyable and tense despite me not fully understanding how the game even works. CoH2 is through the roof anyway, I'd rewatch GCS2 any day. CoH3 has nothing.
Apart from the odd behaviour and glitches I see every other minute as I described in another post, CoH3 looks 'artificial'. CoH2 looked like a constant action movie with many "human moments" of struggle and despair. With all the gameifications in mind, I always felt like many scenes could have happened like or similar to this. Some moments of good luck and bad luck, units pushing and supporting each other to get your badly damaged tank behind the line or push off the enemy before he wipes your squad.
CoH3 seems to have none of that. It just looks like a game from start to finish, a game where I'd like to min-max everything because there is no spectacle to look at like in CoH2. Mind you, this is coming from someone digging unit stats and spreadsheets and having done statistical calculations on tank vs tank combat in CoH2.
But what is the issue? Sounds are overall okay, graphics and art have their ups and downs but I'd overall say they are good. What bugged me probably the most is absolutely the TTK. Nothing seems to matter in CoH3. We all know the meme moments in CoH2 as well when a lone wounded soldier retreats through your squad and does not get wiped, but overall, these are occasional moments. In CoH3 this is fully normal. A squad retreating at 10% health despite being under fire by 8-Rad and Grens? No problem. 2-3 8-Rads pushing in on a Riflemen, constantly shooting at it for 15+ seconds? 60%+ HP and no model dropped. You've properly overrun an MG, thrown a nade and shoot with a full squad from point blank? Yes, MG retreats with 3 models left how else should it be? Heavily damaged 2-men PGren having to retreat through two squads of bared up Rifles? Player chose to shoot at the incoming Pioneer instead, knowing he won't get them anyway. I've constantly seen this: No one shoots a retreating squad if there is ANY fighting squad left, even if the retreating squad is super high value and the second squad is a low value Pio. They seem to know that their chance of getting the wipe is minimal. I am at minute 28 right now and, having skipped a couple of minutes in between, have not seen a single squad wipe. Wtf is this? There is no meaning to positioning, nothing seems to get punished, you're good as soon as you retreat. Yes, you can't really see the eco by watching it. The model losses will hurt your eco, but that is inherently boring, especially for a game that should have top notch presentation and fighting such as CoH. Some of the balance changes that Relic provided look like quick band aids that will kill the game's design. I've noticed that MGs pin withing two bursts. I've read about the blobbing issue and frontal wiping of MGs before, their solution was apparently to just let MGs pin everything almost instantly. Why? Yes, MGs should control blobs, but instapinning is not the solution. Why having a suppressed state in the first place if it lasts only for about a second? That's just the one example I notices, regular players of CoH3 will probably notice more. It just created another moment where another flaw was thrown into my face so obviously, that I couldn't help but thinking: "That's not how it should work, that'll come right around and bite the rest of the game in the ass".
Team games and low level games might work a bit differently, but the TTK issue must be so glaring that it will always translate across modes. CoH1 also had higher TTK than CoH2 to my knowledge as well, but it didn't feel as boring. In the games I watched, players sneaked squads behind the lines as well to pounce on retreating units or team weapons. It was apparently worth it, despite that movement being much harder due to there not being sight blockers.
In CoH3, no one seems to dare to make a bold move, because most likely it won't pay off.
CoH3 is boring as hell to watch and while I appreciate AE's enthusiasm and work to keep ML going, I don't want to watch it. Watching CoH2 being played at high level was almost as good as playing yourself. But watching CoH3? Apparently I'm getting more fun out of writing this discussion/rant thread than watching it. I sincerely hope another ML will be hosted for CoH2, and not CoH3 until Relic fixes the game.