Category Archives: design

Fixing the Oberkommando West in Company of Heroes 2

Currently there are a lot of people who are not happy with the current state of balance in Company of Heroes 2.  There are some quite valid arguments on why, specifically, the OKW (Oberkommando West) needs to have their late game potential reduced.  As proof from my latest game play, this can be a very valid statement.  Also valid is the need to help solve some of the OKW’s other glaring problems.  Without further ado, here is my solution.

First thing is first, the main offender in 4v4 games is the King Tiger tank.  That needs to be moved to a new commander.  If Relic has sense, they make the commander free for all current Western Front owners.  Honestly I think a Schwere Panzer Commander would be fun for the OKW.  This would put the King tiger in the same league as the of the ISU-152, Tiger, and IS-2.

Next OKW needs a reliable way to handle swarms of infantry.  As cute as the kuble wagon is, it has no mid game use.  As nice as Obersoldaten are, you cannot rush them out onto the field.  The trucks take way to long.  So I feel you should be able to upgrade the Volksgrenadiers with an MG34 LMG.  This would give them a good early game punch.  Now the question we ask, will they be too good early game?   Well this will require another adjustment, removal of Sturmpioneers as early game units.  As a first unit, Sturmpioneers are amazingly good, and I don’t want to see them nerfed, just adjusted how they come out.  Beside that, the OKW does not need any engineer unit due to the function of the HQ trucks.  Now poping LMGs with level 1 Volks is pretty powerful.  To help balance it, and to reduce the late game potential of the unit, I replace the current veterancy 1 to unlock the purchase of the MG 34s.  This means that OKW still stays a late game army, but now, assuming a competent player, mid game, they get a bit more potent.

The final big issue for the OKW is its anti tank.  Now that Volksgrenadiers may not always have the panzerfaust, it’s time for a new unit, the SdKfz 251/9.  This is basically a half track with a pak 40.  As a neat feature, and to require a bit more micromanagement for the OKW commander, disallow reloading the unit while moving.  Also while moving, have a rather high penalty for firing on the move.  This will fill a much needed niche and could replace the basically useless Sdkfz 251/20 Half-track w/Infrared Searchlight in the tech tree.  With that said, the IR Half-track is a really neat unit and perhaps (with a small cost decrease) could be moved to where the King Tiger was in the tech tree.  A cool thing about this swap is the removal of requirement of the Mechanized Regiment HQ.  The Battlegroup HQ now become and interesting choice to counter early armor.  Perhaps swaping the Puma fron the Mechanized Regiment and with the SdKfz 251/9, you have some very interesting options with a half track heavy force or a motley collection of weapons.

British Forces for Companies of Heroes 2

Continuing from before, we will create the British Army roster.

britcoh

The focus is to give Allied forces the late armor punch and heavy artillery support.  We’re also adding new functionality, towed artillery.  These fixed guns rent trucks to tow the placed artillery to a new position.  The trucks cost munitions and, like portee, make the item more fragile.  British level similar to the original forces in the base game, building a tier one building, the hospital, tier two, infantry command, and three, armor support command center.

Tier 0:

The British start with a sapper unit, similar to the Wehrmacht Ostheer pioneer unit.

Tier 1:

The British will get a core four man rifleman unit with upgrade-able PIAT and Bren LMG.  Also at this level they van build the infamous Vickers HMG.  This HMG can be fire indirectly, doing light damage and pining units outside it’s line of sight.  Finally,  the British has the 6 ponder AT gun and the Bren Universal Carrier as a half track.

Tier 2:

Here the British get their first towable  weapon, the Bofos 40mm.  This AA gun also easily remove light armor and infantry.  For the first tow-able artillery unit, the British receive the 25 ponder.  For the first Tank they receive the Valentine.

Tier 3:

The final tier holds all of their heavy weapons which are 17 ponder tow-able AT gun, the 75 ponder tow-able howitzer, and the Cromwell tank.  I think the the Matilda heavy infantry tank belongs in the army as well due to it’s iconic role.

Airborne Commander:

The British need the Royal air force represented.  This means including the British Paras with equitable SMGs.  We can include the 3″ airborne mortar they used as well.  To represent the British working with local forces, we could give them the Russian Irregular call-in.

Royal Engineers:

The commander could include the 4.2″ mortar and the Sexton mobile artillery piece.  They could also give some upgrade options for the sappers or call in a new sapper unit with more firepower.

British Expeditionary Force

This force could include some elite infantry.  This would mean sharpshooters (snipers), heavy assault troops, and the 4.2″ mortar.  Finally we find a place for the Churchill heavy tank.

Italian Forces for Companies of Heroes 2

Continuing from before, we will now create the Italian Army roster.

To balance out the Axis late game, we are going to create an Early/Mid army..  The Italian Army is also adding a new set of functionality, portee.  Motorcycles are one type of portee under this system.  It can be used to give rapid mobility to a unit,  in hit and run attacks, or rapidly move them to a point and unload the unit and they turn into foot infantry.  Portee support weapons were put on trucks, and unlike towed weapons, were fired from trucks.  Units loaded in this way are more vulnerable.

The view of this army is similar to the current American army.  It has one base where the Italian commander has to call-in three different sub commanders to gain new units.  These sub commanders can be upgrades to exist Bersaglieri.  So instead of them being whole new squads, they make existing squads better.  This means if you want to fully tech up, you’re required three core infantry squads.  The first commander could be a mobile command center.  This can provide healing for munitions and allow nearby units to reinforce.  The second tier commander can give the unit Brenda LMGs.  The final commander could be used for offensive and defensive bonuses.

muss

Tier 0:

The base pioneer unit that the Italians used were the Demolishers.  Armed with flame throwers and rifles, they are a slightly larger version of the Soviet engineer unit.  The core Italian unit are the Bersaglieri.  This unit should be the largest unit in the game, keeping in the theme of the million man that Mussolini had for the Italian army.  They can be upgraded by the Solothurn Anti-Tank Rifle upgrades and able to throw Passaglia Bombs AT grenades at level 1.

Tier 1:

For light artillery we look to the Brixia Model 35 45mm mortar light mortar, a weaker mortar but with little setup time (keeping on the theme with mobility).  Breaking the theme a little bit, we give them a power and slow HMG, the Mod 37.  This was the basic heavy machine gun for the Italian army, a heavier mg than any other currently in the game, giving early game punch.  For AT they have the 47/32 gun, light AT gun.  Finally, the first portee unit, can be built from this tier, the Motociclisti Squads.

Tier 2:

The Italian elite infantry will be Fucilieri, armed with Breda 30 6.5 mm LMG and gaining Passaglia Bombs at level 1.  Another portee can be added, the 20/65 Autocannon AA guns.  Also, the first armor unit, the light tank/recce – L6/40.  Finally for artillery support, the Cannone da 65/17 modello 13 is addedwhich can be fired direct fire for AT.

Tier 3:

For heavier artillery, the Italian army has the Obice da 105/14.  The Italian assault gun is the Semovente 75/46.  Their armor is Carro Armato M 14/41.  Another special thing which would fit the Italian mobile play style is an in base call-in, the FIAT CR.42 Falco.  It can be called and it will patrol a point, but unlike other aircraft, this is a biplane.  Lacking any armor and heavy guns, it’s a light flying mg with damage similar to the kublewagon and just as easily shot down.

Paratrooper Commander:

This consist of  the Paracadutisti (Paratroopers) and are basically Fallschirmjäger.  Armed with carbines and Passaglia bombs, they can also set booby traps.  They are upgradable with Bretta SMGs or the Brenda 32 lmg.  This unit can be deployed via houses like their German counterpart.  They can also get a heavy mortar, 81/14 mortar.  Give some more light armor support, they have access to the AB41.  They also get the Falco 2 AT strafe and medical supply drop.

Training Commander

The Italians used French tanks for training, and this formation represents a training formation.  They get another light tank they receive is a Renault R-35.  The mid level tank they receive is the Somua S-35.  The top tier tank is the Renault Char B-1 BIS.  While the Char B-1 was only used by the Germans, it would be fun to see it in the game.  Other abilities could be awarding veteran-ency and smoke launchers.

Heavy Armor

There are other fun Italian units which we have not added yet.  These include the widely used Italian light assault gun Semovente 47/32.  They also receive a new heavy tank, P40.  Finally it receives the largest portee gun, Lancia da 90/53.  They should also get some smoke abilities.

Adding Commanders in Companies of Heroes 2

Continuing from our previous post, we now need to come up with the commanders to add excitement in the new expansion.  These commanders need to logically fit historically and show off new features.

officergerman

Wehrmacht Ostheer

Already containing an Ostruppen support force, the Italian forces can bring its light infantry mobility instead of just cheap troops.  One of the new units, the Motociclisti, fit perfectly into this role.  This is also a portee infantry weapon with the ability to mount and dismount their motorcycles.  Other call-ins include the light Brixia Model 35 45mm mortar.  To continue with the theme, a light AT gun can be added, like the Cannone da 47/32 M35.  Now that we have some core units for the army, we can model some support call-ins around their WW2 role of a blocking unit.  On the Soviet Front, when not used as cannon fodder by German generals, blocking units were used to cover flanks for German assaults.  This means the call-ins could include defensive artillery and some fortifications.

okwestOberkommando West

There are fewer commanders for Oberkommando West, so we have more options.  Instead of starting with the units, we can start with the history.  Italians were defending their homeland at this point of the war. What that in mind, we can give this commander some slower units to show they are a fortification company.   The baseline Italian infantry, Bersaglieri, will fit this role.  It may also be interesting to give them the heavy mg, Mod 37 HMG.  Now we need at least one portee weapon.  The 20/65 Autocannon AA guns fills the role of AA and light AT.  For the rest of the commander abilities, we can have some defensive abilities like S-Minefields and tank traps.

sovietscoh2Soviet Union

This is a more difficult group to build a commander for.  The only idea I could come up with is the British lend lease program.  They gave the Soviets Valentine tanks, which were used in the defense of Moscow.  Also for a towed item, they could be able to build the 25 ponder howitzer.   While this contains less units than the previous factions, we could look at a Hurricane strafe run.  We could also include a some 75 ponder off board artillery and a supply drop.

americanscoh2Americans

The Americans and British shared armories.  This make the choices really flexible.  You also have Canadian Armed forces, which even sound similar to American forces.  This commander could have the Bofos 40mm towed gun and the Cromwell heavy tank.  Support call-ins would be different air attacks, like strafes, AT attacks, and bombing.

Building a Company of Heroes 2 Expansion

coh2ae

Tis the season of gaming.  The winter months are too cold to get out and play, so we turn to our computers and warm chairs to provide entertainment.  Lately I’ve been turning to Companies of Heroes 2 by Relic.  With the Western Front/Ardennes Assault expansion out,  I thought I would go over some core concepts that are used to make new expansions in games.

To make an expansion we come up with a concept,  think of features to add to the game, and then implement the features in a fun way. So using this formula, I can now make a concept for new expansion in Company of Heroes 2. The concept I’ve decided to create is over the battles in the Bloody Boot.  This is during the ’44 time frame with the British and Italians.

Now that I have a basic concept, it’s time to come up with some basic features. The core feature I’d like to add is broadening support weapons on a much grander scale.  In WWII, weapons were towed onto the battle field.  I think this could allow the British forces some powerful weapons while sacrificing mobility.  Every army did this, but the Italians had some interesting weapons which were towed and still fire-able.  This procedure is called portee.  While this was used by the Germans and British as well, this fits for our army deigns for the Italians.  A secondary feature I’d like to add to this expansion is to implement an early army for the Axis and a late army for the Allies.

The model of the last expansion was:

  • Add a commander as a preview for existing armies
  • Add playable multiplayer armies
  • Add a campaign

We will keep to the same release cycle.  This means that, with four existing armies, we need four new commanders.  These commanders will show off some of the abilities of the new armies and fill in deficiencies in existing forces.

The next stage of the release will be creating the new armies with the three starting commanders.  These armies need to have weaknesses, strengths, and be fun!

The final stage is adding a campaign to play through.  While we won’t cover the details of the campaign, we can model it after something similar to the Ardennes Assault campaign where you make strategic decisions for fighting up the boot.  We can also add another chapter to the neglected theater of war saga.  The Italians were present during the battle of Stalingrad. This could give an interesting look over the focus of the base game.