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The Comprehensive DoW2 Analysis Article, Detailing every component of DoW2

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    The Comprehensive DoW2 Analysis Article, Detailing every component of DoW2

    EDIT 2/2/2009:

    Updated in response to the tremendous volume of feedback across the 4 forums this article was posted in (DoWsanc, RN, GR.Org, DoW2 Official Forums). Numerous updates throughout the article to clarify, expand and update many different sections.

    There are several suggestions I’d like to make for anyone attempting to extrapolate on my meaning or thinking and also state a few basic assumptions that I’m operating under:

    1. Note that I haven’t played DoW1 official in a very long time – so any comparison relating to DoW1 you must assume I’m relating it to DoWpro....and by that DoWpro:SS. DoWpro:SS is different to previous versions in both concept and implementation so if you’re trying to draw from comparisons I’m making regarding DoWpro vs DoW2 you’ll need to familiarise yourself with a relatively recent (ie. less thant 3mth old) version of DoWpro.....or just take my word on it :P

    2. I have played CoH online. I just never got into it nearly as much as I did DoW1/DoWpro


    3. I have NO desire to make DoW2 into DoW 1.5. I’ve already made my ideal version of DoW, its called DoWpro and I’m very happy to accept that DoW2 is its own game and own style. I’m NOT interested in making DoW2 a rehash of DoW1 or CoH.

    4. All my suggestions are based on taking DoW2 as it is now + Relic’s suggested balance changelog and making it a deeper strategically, richer tactically, more polished in general and overall more fun. I’m not looking to redo DoW2 into a new game – simply improve what’s already there so everyone enjoys it more, casual and pro gamers alike.


    5. My underpinning philosophy is that there shouldn’t be “no brainer” decisions. Every decision, no matter how small, ideally should have some degree of “cost/benefit” to it. When combing through the various mechanics and principles that DoW2 is based on I can see many decisions that don’t require that kind of thought and I believe if the player is faced with a continuous string of such decisions from the start to finish of a game that ultimately they’ll have more fun and be more rewarded for their decisions at its conclusion. If a mechanic doesn’t have clear cost/benefits – an effort should be made to sufficiently revise or add to it such that it does. Every mechanic should be interesting – DoW2 has fewer mechanics than previous Relic games which makes the remaining mechanics MORE important.

    I can be reached @ irc.quakenet.org #DoWpro and am online most days



    Introduction:

    I've played a lot of RTS in my time. I'm an accomplished DoW1 player and the creator of the DoWpro mod which is currently available for SS. I'd like to think I know a fair bit about how to get the gameplay mechanics of an RTS working together and would offer the current release of DoWpro as an example of my work. However, in compiling this article I have sought the learned opinions of many players and taken onboard the ideas of individuals such as Vaul (the illustrious VoD caster), UltraSimon, KoMMoRRaGH, Yaoquique and many others.

    DoWII is an interesting intellectual challenge. My current thoughts on it are mixed - there's both positive and negative elements to the game. It has potential, particularly as a team game but it needs some revisions to reach it. I'm inherently an elitist when it comes to RTS (and make no apology for this - I did make dowPRO) - I love deep strategy with multi-dimensional units but also really enjoy the tactical elements that exist in the faster paced games like DoW1. DoW2 thus far has been particularly enjoyable in team games for me rather than the 1v1 game – the quality of the 1v1 play remains an ongoing concern and I am eager to re-evaluate my opinion once the large list of balance changes proposed by Relic are implemented.

    My assessment of things at present is that DoWII is lacking in depth and in general needs more polish - a conclusion I believe many have also reached. My first iteration of the Comprehensive Article led to a LOT of confusion as to what I exactly meant about shallow and led to all sorts of allegations that I wanted DoW2 to be shiny DoW1 and that I was patently wrong – DoW2 is plenty deep. I stand by my initial statement however, I now realise I should’ve defined my opinion more clearly such that no one could misunderstand my position.

    When I say DoW2 is lacking in DEPTH or is SHALLOW I mean strategic depth. Strategic choices are those that determine the entire style of your play – they are often long lasting and are typically goal orientated eg. I’m going to get unit X with upgrade Y now with the intention of later getting unit A with upgrade B and develop a pincer combo attack with the two units. Strategy can be most simply defined as your gameplan in a given match. DoW2 permits you to choose units (as all RTS's do) and your hero but that's about it. Saying that "my unit choice hugely affects the game in DoW2" is applicable to most RTS – it’s the OTHER choices that other RTS features that affect your overarching strategies that DoW2 simply doesn't feature.

    Lets be clear about which elements DoW2 doesn’t feature which typically factor into your strategies in other RTS’ (specifically prior Relic games):

    - Fewer unit types in total that previous Relic games per race
    - Fewer units on the field at any one time
    - Fewer upgrades for standard units in general. Heroes are obviously the exception to this and it must be said that not all hero upgrades are made equal and with the current stats the player has only a few effective options with heroes (and variation is usually MU specific)
    - No base building (hence no macro associated with bases and branching tech trees)
    - No researches
    - Fast, cheap tiers (hence no "tough decisions" as to when to tech)
    - A more simple economic implementation - thus decisions relating to eco are easier to make


    Quite clearly there’s overall LESS variables at play here which affect the STRATEGIC decisions the player must make. The net result is that the player is faced with fewer and easier decisions when playing DoW2. This is what I mean by SHALLOW. There are FEWER and EASIER decisions regarding overarching gameplans than in previous games.

    A valid counterargument to this is “DoW2 is more tactically orientated – less strategic thought is inevitable and should be accepted”. This is fine however, I think DoW2 does itself a disservice by having such a weak strategic element when there is potential to increase the complexity and number of strategic choices facing the player WITHOUT significantly redoing the game. I agree it is inevitable that DoW2 is less strategically orientated than say DoWpro – there’s simply too few variables that affect strategic choice to make that possible. There’s nothing wrong with that except that DoW2 does not fully maximise its remaining strategic choices and THAT is the sin that I am criticising it for. DoW2 is not maximising its strategic choice possibilities nearly enough and for that reason it feels unduly shallow.

    People have in responses to the original article said that “DoW2 is more deep than DoW1/CoH”. I can only assume they’re talking about tactical depth. Indeed DoW2’s concrete and well developed tactical metagame which it has inherited from CoH is a very strong portion of DoW2’s appeal. Whether or not its deeper than CoH – I don’t really care. I fully recognise DoW2 containing an already strong tactical metagame however, I strongly believe that this could be further improved and developed via a combination of balance and gameplay tweaks. I’m going to largely ignore balance tweaks – Relic has already posted a substantial list and I’ll trust them to do a good job with those, there’s no point me going on and making my own list when theirs is going to be implemented. What I will comment on is how to improve the depth of tactical gameplay. Building on DoW2’s existing strength in this area to be even more dynamic and thought provoking.

    In summary: Beta 1.0 is decent but could be a lot better by focusing on improving the strategic options and deepening the tactical metagame by making some of the weaker mechanics more interesting and powerful and also providing more options in dealing with the stronger ones. In my mind every decision the player makes must have a cost-benefit associated with it. Each mechanic should be reviewed to make that mechanic as interesting and fun as possible - currently many are fairly simple and lacking clear globally applicable rules for how they work in the strategic and tactical metagames.

    With this in mind a question must be posed. How can DoW2’s limited strategic depth be increased, existing strong tactical metagame further improved and more polish be applied in general?

    I posed a similar question with DoWpro and it led to a diversion from some of the elements of the key game. What I'd like to do this time is to stay AS CLOSE TO THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF DOW2 AS POSSIBLE, making changes in areas that need reworking but doing so in a manner that it is not terribly difficult to implement. Ideally I'd like the recommendations discussed here to be considered for implementation in an official patch from Relic. I'm not convinced I'm really interested in going off and making DoWpro 2.

    I guess the final point to raise is why does DoW2 NEED more polish/strategic depth/extra tactical depth? For starters, many of the issues raised in this article will annoy even the most casual player. Now the prevailing attitude is that games should be simple to get into so as to appeal to casual players. However, even the most casual player will rapidly determine after only a few games that certain units are far better (compare your ASM to tacs) and that capturing Req points etc doesn’t really matter at all.

    The premise of DoW2 is a sound one – make a game that anyone can jump into and enjoy. The reality is that everyone will. However, many will lose interest in the shallowness of the strategic gameplay – many of the talented RTS gamers here immediately saw the profound issues with DoW2 within hours. They’re plain to see for anyone who knows how to look – we can quibble over minor points and subtleties but key issues do not take long to become evident.

    DoW2 has promise, however SC2 is coming and if DoW2 wants any kind of long term community in the face of that kind of competition it needs to reach that potential FAST. Additionally, I don’t think Relic can afford for DoW2 not to be a hit. If DoW2 isn’t a great game that sells by the truckload – I wonder whether Relic can really survive the worsening economic climate.

    There’s high stakes here. There’s reputation of a franchise and a company. The faith of fans – casual and pro alike. The looming shadow of mighty competition and the worrisome problem that DoW2 probably isn’t good enough yet to really excite the entire spectrum of its fanbase.

    Ultimately I’d like to see DoW2 as good as it possibly can be. Some have criticised me saying that it’s already good – and I agree. However, I’d argue that there can be no disadvantage in seeking to climb the highest peak and really make DoW2 as good as it possibly can be. Not everyone will appreciate the changes I’ve discussed, but someone will and ultimately DoW2 is about reaching the broadest possible audience and get the most sales. If DoW2 can continue to be a game that is easy to get into and excite casual gamers whilst also having enough depth to keep more serious gamers interested – I’d say that’s worth working towards.


    So the question is this: How does one broaden DoWII’s appeal with a richer strategic and tactical elements, add more polish across a wide array of areas and do so without a complete redo of the game that could be readily implemented in a small number of patches by Relic?



    Note that there is an official buglist here: http://community.dawnofwar2.com/view...hp?f=42&t=3500
    And a technical issue list: http://community.dawnofwar2.com/viewtopic....t+list+#p129658

    This article goes beyond these lists in scope and assumes Relic is already aware of the aforementioned list.


    Exploring the Problem

    DoWII's problems are multifactorial but the key summative effect is that ultimately it’s not particularly strategically deep as a RTS and that 3v3 play totally outshines 1v1.

    The gameplay elements inherited from CoH are all implemented with varied degrees of success and I believe the only real way of truly exploring the problem is by going through EACH gameplay element one by one and highlighting individual difficulties.

    In addition to gameplay elements I will be discussing UI, online lobby, visuals, maps and DLC implementation.

    So without further ado.....lets start by breaking down the problems into manageable pieces.


    Problems with the Lobby

    Interface/lobby - Generally needs a lot of work.

    The online lobby is woeful and very "console". The lack of a chat lobby is stunningly poor. The join casual game lobby text is LARGE and the lobby auto-refreshes ..... making it difficult to scroll through the huge list (since the text is SO big) before it freezes and resets to the top of the list.

    The NAT overall offered me better connectivity than previous Relic games (first Relic game that didn’t need router port tweaks) - which is great. However, this may not be applicable to all users.

    The Beta did not come with a small connectivity/net testing tool - honestly there's been 3rd party community small apps written for previous Relic games to test net connectivity. The failure to not include similar simple tool that helps less savvy users is an unfortunate oversight. If users could readily test their system, be given tips by the app on what to change or where to look for info that’d be a big step forward in connectivity troubleshooting.

    I have noticed MANY drops/lag issues whilst playing online. There clearly needs more work to be done on netcode to improve this. EDIT: The more I’ve played online the more this has become a critical issue in my mind.

    Finally, Relic are still relying on users to upload replays manually. Other RTS's such as supcom manage to employ an integrated upload tool. Surely DoW2 could've gone for a more progressive approach here.


    Problems with GFWL

    A lot of ppl are reporting being dropped from GFWL. Whether this is DoW2 crashing or GFWL is difficult to determine. There are reports of packet loss by GFWL – if this is true the code needs tightening up.

    GFWL has pro’s and con’s. One difficulty I've found is getting a 3rd player for a 3v3 ranked game when none of your friends are online...I'd love to know a better way of doing it than randomly looking for someone who's online in the player tab and sending pm's. EDIT: and there is – you can just start a game and you’ll be matched up with a 3rd player. Perhaps a tooltip would make this more obvious.

    The trueskill matching system is nice in concept.....but we still have lvl20 guys being matched vs lvl1 guys. I’d argue a bit more tweaking is required.

    The whole “if a teammate drops.....the game no longer counts for points” issue is a concern. One that needs fixing for release otherwise it’ll just result in drop abuse and annoy anyone even vaguely interesting in levelling. EDIT: Over time it appears points are attributed some times but not others. Overall more robustness to net code and crashes will mitigate this problem but some additional thought is evidently required.



    Problems with the In-game Interface:

    A lot of polish work required here......


    Hotkeys:

    The lack of grid keys is poor - when will Relic learn that naming a hotkey based on an ability's name is a bad idea. Grid keys means that you only need to get used to one set of keys and it works on all races.
    EDIT: There are now grids available: http://dowcodex.com/User:Sturm/Grid_Key

    Missing Functions:

    No delete function – I agree that a delete function alone is problematic which is why I think the second option is more appropriate.
    There isn’t an ability to retire your units ie. return them to the HQ for a % cost back. At the moment the only way to get rid of units to free pop cap is to sacrifice them and give the enemy XP. I believe this is the most appropriate solution.

    There doesn't seem to be an overwatch function with regards to reinforcing units - I miss it already

    There’s no way to view the console aside from dev mod.....I miss the console! Probably not a big deal except that its difficult to see what’s happening with regards to networking – DoW1’s console allowed you to view a fair bit of info.


    Minimap:

    The minimap is lacking in detail and audiotriggers. It could be enlarged to take more screen space in order to be more visible - something many players complain about currently. Pinging is fairly discreet....failing to actually draw you to the pinged area. Moreover, CoH had a more developed array of pings (Attack Here, Defend Here, Capture Here).....surely a boon in a team based game like dow2. Better audio cues are needed as well – for example at present I’m not convinced that there’s a “unit under attack” audio cue + visual minimap ping, something that DoW1 had and alerted the player to new combat.


    Finally, the resolution of the minimap combined with the size of the VP/power/req points makes it often difficult to see your units. Revised icons/large minimap is needed to improve utility.


    UI:

    The UI itself has a reasonable layout (some will disagree)....that's made very clunky by the fact that there's no grid keys. However, even with grids stuff like ordering a unit to melee a squad is tedious....made even more so if you misclick the enemy since the delineation between different squads is not as clear as dow1 was. Thus if you misclick you must again Z+Click on the squad you originally meant to attack. The toggle stance system of DoW1 was superior. EDIT: I still prefer DoW1’s toggle but due to the low unit count DoW2 can probably get away with the new system ALTHOUGH I’d like more accuracy in selecting the hitboxes of units – generators in particular are quite difficult to accurately mouse over and there may be an issue with the selection priorities.

    It could be argued that the UI is a tad “busy” – Relic have packed a LOT of info into the bottom right corner. Perhaps eco could be shifted to be on top of the minimap to reduce clutter. This is not a critical issue as overall, the UI does its job of displaying the info properly. My recommendation here is to keep considering it for possible tweaks to maximise its visibility.

    Not being able to see individual hp bars for squad members is problematic and there should be a hotkey etc way to display it. Alternatively there could be a small dot representing each team member underneath the squad HP bar in the portrait pictures – green/yellow/red for each member representing how “well” each guy is.

    I liked the hero wargear system etc which works well once u know what happens. Again lack of grids makes this fiddly however, I believe it'd work quite nicely with a better hotkey array.

    A case could be made for a slight enlargement of the icons - at 1920x1600 they're really quite tiny. However, this isn't essential unlike prior points.

    Unit control is a step back in DoW2 over CoH. In Company of Heroes you could assign multiple squads of Riflemen to one hotkey, and then micro them through the UI to use their abilities at different times.

    In CoH, if you had multiple units selected, you could order all of them to do the same thing with one click. Alternatively, if you highlighted one squad in your Selection List then issued an order; only that unit would perform the specified action. You could go back to having all units in your selection perform the same order by clicking on the little shield icon (basically highlighting everything). EDIT: I believe Relic have mentioned there will be some improvement with patches to this system – wait and see

    In DoW2, if you have multiple units selected, giving an order will result in all the selected units to perform the task regardless of which one is highlighted. There's no way to switch between having all units do the order, and having just the highlighted unit.

    This should be changed and in addition there should be a visual notification on the unit as to which is the selected squad within the group on the field to further improve the intuitiveness of selection.


    In-game chat communication:

    In-game chat is really poor.

    The networking lag issues clutters the chat which makes it difficult to see messages from team members.

    Moreover, the actual amount of chat you’re allowed to write is tiny – a small sentence at best. Not everyone has mics and this should be rectified with more chars allowed and the networking stats moved to a better location.

    Finally....there is no audio cues for when a team member chats to you or an enemy -> there should be one.


    In-game voice communication:

    Whilst mics are a great feature. Not having push-to-talk isn’t. Add it! EDIT: I’m really not having a tremendous amount of luck getting particularly coherent voice chats happening – nor am I alone. As a result I’m not seeing many ppl using the voice chat – it may be due to low quality codecs being used or that PC users have poor microphones/setting selection.

    Also there should be an easier way to mute a player once you’re in game rather than having to go through gfwl >.< EDIT: I'm silly there is...just click the mic button from the player list


    Vote Kicking:

    Vote-kicking needs to be a consistent option throughout the game. I have now played a good 10 games of team games where an opponent or team-mate has lagged or dropped, a kick menu has arisen, people have said no the first time, but no other opportunities to kick have raised. A more robust solution is needed that provides more information and a more transparent kicking system. The lag issues we’re experiencing may be due to beta code – however, as I mentioned previously there should be a way to test your connection and tweak it with a small application to avoid user net problems whilst Relic fixes and code issues in the game. Finally, the in game system should be more robust. EDIT: This issue has become more and more frustrating over time. Many ppl crash during games and it causes loooong waits that no doubt annoy EVERYONE.
    *Credit to Ultra Simon for some of these points*


    Unit Stats in the UI....MIA:

    Unit statistics are missing. I know the difficulties in generating unit statistics – manually doing it is a nightmare and needs revision with every patch. In DoWpro we had an EXCELLENT tool called the AutoWiki that generated an entire wiki’s worth of information automatically – a similar tool could generate data files that could be imported into a revised UI. Alternatively Relic could choose to omit in-game unit data and just go with an AutoWiki or something similar themselves. Unit data needs to be accessible somewhere however. Relic should contact the DoWpro team if they’re interested in developing their own tool – we’re happy to give tips etc.


    Loading screen enemy list:

    In DoW1 your opponents were displayed on the loading screen. Either this is an omission or intentional. Given that you can readily find out who you’re facing once the game starts it seems there isn’t any real good reason not to put it on the loading screen. EITHER remove the icons showing player race for opponents in the player list OR add in loading screen races.



    Play Modes

    There is currently no observer mode - there should be an observer mode. Additionally there is no 2v2 play....this is a decision to streamline finding games. In DoW1 you had 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, Automatch, team auto and QS -> I believe the reasoning to cull some of these options was that was hard to get games with so many modes flying about. The question is whether removing observers and 2v2 is a good decision. I'm not sure if I can answer that yet.



    Problems with the Replays

    EDIT: I was criticised as being petty for picking on replays in this article. At the end of the day replays are a critical feature for the MP community and I thought it was odd it wasn’t already fully implemented. As such here’s a list of stuff that needs work such that the day0 patch can be sure to have all these issues ticked off and working great.
    - When you swap viewing players, the acceleration speed of the view rate reverts to x1 irrespective of the speed.

    - When viewing a player, any player in red's HQ/building will flicker unusually

    - When viewing a player, control groups show in top corner, but not heroes.

    - Occasionally, if a unit is selected on the team side viewing before/whilst an upgrade, research, or production is made, then when it is executed, it will appear in a panel in between the units/buildings portrait and the minimap, rather than where the research/unit in-production bar is. All production bars should be visible at all times.

    - If you switch which player you are watching all unit icons are removed.

    - Invisible units are just that, invisible. No matter what side you're watching in the replay.

    - Speeds of x4 x8 should be possible

    - Watching as observer is missing

    - You don’t see the timer of nades

    - You don’t see wargear or upgrades

    - You don’t see what the players are building in hq

    *Credit to Ultra Simon, Santiago4ever, IKnowShade for some of these points*



    Visuals

    Overall models are great. Textures sexy. UI shiny.

    One thing that IS fail is the lack of unit randomisation. DoWpro/Fok/DoWxp etc etc in DoW1 had it. It DOES look great and really helps make your army feel more individual. The fact that its lacking in DoW2 is something I can only urge Relic to change asap. There are already players who are complaining about units looking too similar/lacking in recognition, especially in team games. This will mitigate this to a certain degree.

    Fx's whilst nice don't appear to have the "Impact" of CoH. There appears to be less camera shake. Sounds are more muted. Death screams softer. Finally booms just don't appear as HUEG.

    For whatever the reason this contributes to the combat feeling more generic. Bring in more terrain deformation. More auditory cues. Bigger visual effects.

    The lack of persistent bodies we all loved so much in dow1 means that dow2 lacks the “horrors of war” feel that dow1 had. Without fields of slain warriors to march over I’m just not sure I’m playing 40k



    Visual Performance issues

    Seems a fair few issues revolving around performance here. Code should be improved. Perhaps some others can comment more specifically towards certain issues here, though I think Relic is aware of the issues of current through the technical hardware forums.
    *Credit to Ultra Simon for some of these points*



    Ranked Matches Rules/settings

    Once a game is starting its count down, the count down cannot be cancelled for any reason. This needs to be changed. Sometimes games will freeze just as count down ends. Sometimes a player will leave but the count down will continue.

    There seems to be a bug where it says count down cancelled, when in fact it hasn't at all. Rather confusing.

    When a player drops for some random reason during the count down, the game will replace with a different person looking for a ranked game - this REALLY needs to be fixed.

    *Credit to Ultra Simon for these points*


    Gameplay

    Gameplay as ever is the most difficult area to critique - its analogous to a living creature and thus biological terms can be used to describe and analyse it. There's more factors having interplay here than any other area of the game and the only way to really work out the “phenotype” of the gameplay is to break it down and look at the “genetics” and environmental factors behind it.

    I’ve already spoken about some of the issues regarding the game overall (ie. its phenotype) but to summarise:

    DoWII currently plays much better as a 3v3 game than 1v1. Its overall strategic depth is lacking. Whilst there is a rich tactical metagame, more depth could be achieved with tweaks to specific mechanics. Maps are generally small and despite the implementation of deformable terrain/cover etc the current maps don’t really provide many opportunities to really interact regularly with the map environment. Whilst there are balance issues present the real issues with dow2 are the gameplay mechanics that underpin the gameplay – fixing balance issues alone will not make dow2 as good as revision of its mechanics.

    DoW2 is a game with promise. With some key tweaks and adjustments it could succeed in being a game that new/casual players can readily get into (as they can now) whilst offering more serious players the depth and challenge they need to keep them interested long-term.



    Gameplay Genetic Factors:



    ECO:

    Currently Eco is one of the KEY issues with DoW2. Many players have realised that req points are fairly useless compared to VP’s (particularly in 3v3, in 1v1’s they have a larger impact....although its still fairly small) – its almost always better to cap a VP and worry about killing the enemy and THEN going for the REQ points. The HQ, with its huge req rate allows you to focus on VP’s and ignore reqs. Due to the cheapness of tiering in some situations this means that the static, stay-at-home player can successfully tech to higher power t2 units and slaughter their opponent who has gone and contested the map and invested in t1 units. Whilst fast techs are always nice – DoW2 offers one of the most lenient eco systems I’ve ever seen and due to turrets makes it near impossible to rush.

    Moreover, without any real way of securing points DoW2 has been criticised as an online game of tag – particularly 1v1. DoW1 avoided this by allowing LP’s to be placed on points. CoH similarly employed this mechanic to a lesser degree as they were not weaponised and also with its integration of the territory system that does not feature in DoW2.

    The Eco situation is further complicated by the small maps and sheer number of points on a given map. There’s loads. There’s no real way of securing them without camping and ultimately req points don’t really matter – its more cost effective to wipe out your opponent’s troops.

    This section of the article was one of the key areas of controversy in the feedback on the forums. DoW2 employs an anti-slippery slope mechanic whereby players who are pushed off their points have a strong chance of regrouping and pushing back. Many players have voiced their concerns about any changes reducing this mechanic’s importance. When considering this mechanic it must be considered whether its too great or not. At this stage I don’t have a concrete opinion – I’d like to talk to one of the devs about it (I’m merely posing a question to the community here). For argument’s sake lets assume that the degree of slop protection is adequate – my real goal is how to make economy factor more into a player’s thinking ie. demand more strategic thinking by the player without affecting to a great degree the current slippery slope mechanic.

    To be clear: I want the choices regarding the economy to be more difficult and also present more options in the style of play a player can choose to engage in.

    1. Power:

    I’d say that overall the power mechanic is fairly fun and reasonably well implemented. Although – I still think powerscaling as applied in DoWpro should be considered to encourage more serious and fastidious eco management and reward players for gen harass. In DoWpro power gens became progressively more expensive after the first, costing req AND power. This worked extremely well and I’d urge you to see its implementation in DoWpro to help illustrate my point.

    In Dow2 I’d envisage that scaling be applied on a “per node” basis. Thus building 2 gens on one node would incur a scaling fee on the second generator. In contrast building 2 gens on two separate nodes would incur no scaling fee. Thus spreading gens across several nodes would be a cheaper way of getting power – but opens you up to harass risk as it’s more difficult to defend 2 nodes than one.

    I fully agree power harass is a viable strategy in DoW2. The suggested changes would raise the stakes higher and create additional excitement as players are forced to make difficult decisions about their power economy which will have effects on both how they defend against harass and also how much spare resources they will have after they’ve purchased generators.


    2. Req points:

    As mentioned. They’re superfluous. The HQ generates LOADS of income and doesn’t really reward contesting the req points in any real way due to their meagre reward. Req nodes are particularly useless in 3v3 – there is some argument that in 1v1 req points have a minor influence on gameplay. Ultimately req points do not have a huge impact on play when compared to VP’s and power gens. The decisions facing the player with regards to req points are simple and I object to this.

    If it is determined that the slippery slope protection mechanic is too strong in DoW2 then one solution could be to reduce HQ income. Starting req could then be increased to compensate for the lower income over the first 1-2 minutes. Finally, req points income could be increased making req points a far more critical element in play and increasing the amount of variables that player must be aware of during a game.


    3. VP’s:

    By far the most important capturable in the game. Power coming in second. As a mechanic I have no problem with it – my issue is mainly that they’re SO important in the game that the team/individual that secures them early invariably wins. Victory is typically decided early in the game in DoW2 even if games drag on for a bit. VaulSC has made numerous posts and discussions in his vods regarding this and I agree completely.

    Until there’s a way of offsetting VP dominance – I’d postulate here increasing the impact of req points – games will continue to be decided by who takes the VP’s early.


    4. Race zeal/waaagh/psy/biomass eco’s:

    Another underdeveloped economic mechanic. The 3rd resources are generated by kills. Unfortunately most of the abilities are t3....and horrifically expensive such that they’re almost never seen in a 1v1 game.

    There’s no way of increasing your income here either beyond killing – there’s no relic points or the like that could serve as a supplemental point.

    One option could be to make req points give a tiny amount of zeal etc although this is probably diversifying the mix here. A better implementation would be to make req points MODIFY the amount of zeal etc generated per kill eg. Zeal per kill = 1+(1xnumber of captured req points).

    More robust ideas are needed for the 3rd reasource – it remains a novelty at present and must be expanded to permit more utility and increase the decision load placed on the player.



    Unit Upkeep:

    As it stands the player who actually manages to keep their squads alive is penalised for doing so. Its often better to simply shed weaker, lower tier units in favour of higher tier units.

    A revision to the upkeep rates is probably required OR perhaps tying upkeep into veterancy – where veteran squads require LESS upkeep. This would be a more interesting use of the mechanic and also reward the savvy player.



    Maps:

    Currently a weak feature in DoW2. They’re small. They’re loaded with points and cover....but have few structures and afaik NO other interaction with environments. Eg. There’s no destroyable bridges or rock formations.

    The small maps, hundreds of points and inability to secure the points without camping VP’s help contribute to DoW2’s “game of tag” feel (that’s particularly bad in 1v1). The lack of map interaction is also disappointing.

    Relic should release a map editor now and offer free copies of DoW2 for top notch maps made in the beta period OR some other kind of shiny incentive. A willing fan base should be put to work for The Greater Good. Something must be done because the current crop are uninspired and serve to further the more tedious aspects of gameplay such as suppression spam and the exciting “lets play capture point tag”.

    Finally, we’ve been told not to expect more than 9 maps in total on the PATCHED release (correct me if I’m wrong).

    EDIT:
    On the possibility of larger maps:

    I do not think larger maps would play particularly well in DoW2 – largely because the basic movement speed is so varied between races and some races have access to structures etc that allows rapid movement across the battlefield.

    On a large map, retreating back to base would inevitably disadvantage certain races more than others. I’ve been criticised for even suggesting the possibility that DoW2 could have larger maps “omg DoW2 is for small maps! Stop making DoW2 something its not!!!”. I argue that There's nothing wrong with having small and big maps - it promotes a wider gameplay spectrum which can only serve to increase interest. Currently I just think DoW2 lacks a few elements to make larger maps viable – there isn’t actually a lot that needs doing to get the maps viable (aside from making bigger maps :P).


    To address this 2 things are needed:
    1. A way for all races to have a forward reinforce point eg. Like the tyrant hive node. Such that the max distance to retreat is reduced. Alternatively a new kind of capturable point could be available on larger maps that functions like a forward HQ.

    2. Transports need to function better as transports to facilitate faster troop movement. See the transport section for further explanation


    Game modes (take and hold, annihilate):

    Annihilate is currently a joke. Turrets are dominant. HQ’s have incredible HP. I could go on but this problem is obvious to even the most casual gamer. Something needs to be done. Remove the game mode or do something even vaguely meaningful.



    DLC:

    We’ve been teased with DLC promises. I hope we’re not going to be asked to pay for maps etc when the initial release will contain <10. DLC should value add DoW2. Not add to DoW2 what it should’ve had on release and ask for extra cash.



    Online Ranks:

    Currently Ranks offer visual tweaks. Pretty limited change but better than nothing. I’d be interested in a more exciting implementation. We’ll see on release.



    Combat mechanics: (1-16)



    1. Suppression

    An interesting mechanic that allows a single HW team to have an impact unlike DoW1 where you needed a critical mass of HW’s to overcome melee units (before they could disrupt your ranged squads).
    The current difficulties with suppression is that its excellent. The units not only slow down units A LOT but they also do SUPER damage for a relatively inexpensive squad. There’s not a very developed mechanic in getting out of suppression short of retreating.

    A lot more brainstorming needs to flesh out the tactical counter to suppression short of pure flanking and retreating. As it currently stands you cannot typically fall back unless you use the retreat function even if you’re in cover. I’d be interested to see how higher cover bonuses vs suppression speed nerf would function (ie. you could get units into cover when suppressed, to disable or reduce it).

    Alternatively, the degree of suppression could be ranged based (or more obviously ranged based). Even at the extremes of HW range suppression causes a huge speed nerf. Perhaps a less severe nerf could be applied at longer ranges.

    Finally, all the suppression causing units have excellent line of sight which makes it difficult to scout against them because as soon as you come into range you’re near instantly suppressed. Perhaps a slight LoS nerf once setup relative to regular units to permit some degree of scouting vs HW suppression dealing units.

    EDIT: This section caused significant controversy. Aside from the thoughtful lectures on how I was unable to grasp the concept and with time I’d get used to it, I remain close to my original impressions.

    Units that cause suppression:
    6. Typically have excellent LoS. Thus if you happen to walk into their line of fire you will be suppressed. Now it’s all well and good to suggest that you should be flanking said unit – however, since they have just as good LoS as you do and their range typically extends to their LoS – you get hit with suppression AS you see the unit. Flanking is a viable option ONLY if you already know the unit is there. I’m a little disturbed that people so blatantly missed my point here which is why I’m spelling it out more clearly now. Yes you can flank but you need to know the unit is there FIRST – difficult due to great LoS
    7. Moreover, if you get caught at those extremes of LoS and suffer suppression just about the only thing you can do is hit the retreat button (or if you’re lucky jumper unit....jump). Particularly slow units will take a lot of damage before they reach cover and the CLEAR solution when suppressed is to retreat.
    8. The upcoming patch will address the relationship between cover and suppression (ie. cover reduces suppression) however, I don’t think it will really relate to the situation I’ve explained here (units being hit at the extremes of range/LoS and being fully suppressed). I still maintain that a reduction to the suppression effect at the long range zone of ranged fire may well be needed even after the changes to allow players to more readily pull back without the need to hit the retreat button.

    2. Deployable weapons

    I’ve removed this section – It was largely based on feedback from UltraSimon and I’m not sure it really needs its own point. My issues related to suppression.

    3. Retreating

    Currently this mechanic works well except that it is very vulnerable to knockdown. Indeed this makes the use of knockdown weapons one of the best options to employ in dow2. No other ability/weapon has the ability to so thoroughly deny the opponent’s ability to retreat and slaughter squads wholesale.

    Whilst debate will rage as to what % conceal is appropriate for the retreating function – ultimately balance testing will dictate this.

    EDIT: Knockdown is THE most effective way to prevent units from surviving when the conceal bonus is applied as they retreat. I hope the upcoming balance patch will improve this issue.

    4. Infiltration

    There’s not a whole lot of units that can infiltrate and the effectiveness of infiltration is largely determined by the effectiveness of the unit which employs it. Eg. Scouts are excellent with shotguns + infil since shotguns are excellent.

    There’s no real added benefit to infiltration and it’d be more interesting if an extra mechanic were added eg. A first hit “backstab” melee bonus (rangers knifing Tac HB teams).

    Finally....using tooltips only to represent detectors is a fairly poor system. DoWpro used small icons on the unit icon to represent units which could detect. Far more intuitive that trawling through tooltips. DoW2 aims to be casual player friendly – something that’s immediately obvious as a detector is needed.

    EDIT: It may be that with revisions to the effectiveness of various units in the upcoming balance patch and hopefully some tweaks in LoS that we get to see more use of infiltration. I’d still like to see some interplay with the unit’s melee functions for units like rangers and scouts – if only to add some more depth and interest.


    5. Cover

    Cover is much more interesting in dow2 than dow1. However, there are issues. As I’ve described later in this article, the “auto-seek” for cover is often problematic with unit pathing and behaviour. I’ve described this more fully later.

    The key issues with cover is that it becomes almost redundant once vehicles come out as they can destroy it at whim. Give that so little new cover is generated during the course of a game from environmental damage, this is a key issue for later game infantry combat as HW + mass spam becomes more important with more units fighting in the open.

    There needs to be a revision either on how cover is destroyed OR have it such that much more cover is generated during a game – thus preserving later game infantry combat.

    EDIT: cover generation remains an important issue in my mind – there’s not enough of it. Also some consideration should be made in making some cover non-destructible.


    6. Line of Sight (LoS)

    A relatively poorly developed mechanic. Most units have HUGE line of sights which makes scouting units fairly redundant unless the individual scout unit is great (ie. shotty scouts). Combine this with decent LoS from captured points and tiny maps and you really don’t have much of a need to have a dedicated and ongoing scouting effort. Given that you’re always better off capping rather than scouting, that HW’s see just as far (or near enough such that it doesn’t matter) and that your pop for certain races should be spent elsewhere on your scouting units – scouting as a mechanic really doesn’t get much love.

    I have noted that scouts do seem to have larger LoS than HB’s – but this is purely anecdotal since there’s no readily available stats at this stage. At any rate the mechanic is fairly undeveloped overall (eg. There’s no LoS modifiers for being in cover, or whilst moving, or garrisoned etc).


    7. Garrison buildings

    When you actually FIND one of the few buildings and garrison it you can make an impact. Unfortunately there’s not many buildings around and invariably its always better to just mass units to attack a garrisoned structure rather than use the dedicated anti-garrison HW upgrades because they’re fairly useless.

    Units in structures die reasonably easily and only HW teams like tac HB’s are going to have much dmg output. An interesting scenario to watch is how a HB team in a building loses to a HB team in green cover behind a tree log....why bother getting tac flamers/nade hard counters when you can spam a unit that’s already generally effective against most unit types. Whilst the changes needed here are balance changes – ultimately the thinking behind it should come from looking at garrison buildings as a whole and determining more coherent global rules that can be applied to all races.

    There’s not enough buildings on the maps. The maps are small anyway which would probably make adding more a bit campy. Counters aren’t really that effective and don’t have much utility against other units in other situations and invariably you’re always better off either massing + overwhelming now OR teching to t2 and getting your walker unit to dominate the structure and those inside.

    Neat idea. Let down by implementation of counters and maps.


    8. Wargear and Unit upgrades

    A great mechanic. Hero wargear works well. Offers a possibility for strategic depth (.....which dow2 is sorely short on).

    Unfortunately.....for heroes the upgrades are NOT created equal. This effectively means that there’s only a few viable combo’s and as such the depth of the system actually falls short of its potential. Hopefully ongoing balance patches will address this.

    More concerning is that only heroes have this system. ALL units that have upgradeable heavy weapons should be able to refit with other ones rather than being relegated to a single role. Timers could balance this out for problematic units such as WL’s but the fact remains that until all units with upgrades use hero style wargear we’re going to have a fairly shallow and uninspired relationship with basic units. Your uber-tacs are only ever going to be used for AV if they’ve got a rocket – it boxes them into a single role, decreases the interest for the player in the unit and also may force a player to sacrifice said unit to free up pop.

    One of the most important changes needed and it applies to many units:

    Scouts, Tacs, Nid warriors etc etc

    Furthermore, units such as platforms and Devastator squads should be MERGED into a single unit and given the option of upgrading their weapons. A timer modifier applied in the base could allow this to be done rapidly to avoid issues of deploying a counter – whilst keeping field refits balanced with a long timer cost.

    EDIT: I continue to firmly believe all units should be able to refit (even if it is in a limited fashion ie. near hq/transports/reinforce nodes) and that certain units should be merged (tac devastator teams, elder plats etc).

    9. Abilities

    The abilities should be reviewed for initial timer values to ensure they all occur in a timely fashion.
    Moreover, there’s obviously many issues regarding balance and power levels of various abilities – I think this is best discussed in balance issues.

    Until grid hotkeys arrive – abilities will remain fiddly and frustrating to use. EDIT: Yay grids are great


    10. Unit Levelling

    A fun mechanic. Everyone likes being rewarded for using their units well. Unfortunately this becomes fairly superfluous since ultimately you will need to deploy certain counters eg. Tac rockets and this suddenly relegates your elite veteran squad to a fixed role and reduces the potential flexibility and interest you’d have with a more flexible unit that can refit AND have veterancy. Unit levelling will be a more important and interesting mechanic once hero wargear is applied to all units.

    However, Relic’s implementation is woefully simple. From what I can tell levelling is a simple multiplier effect. Essentially units with high HP get MUCH more benefit from levelling than low HP units. Eg. Compare a 420HP SM scout to a 4500hp terminator squad. Fully levelled the scout is ~630HP vs ~7K HP for terminators. Clearly there’s a MUCH better bonus for the terminator despite having the same % bonus. This means that late game there’s no reason to keep low tier units and you should aim to get high tier units and get them levelled.

    A more complex system is needed. Its not necessarily appropriate that scouts become HP monsters once they’re levelled. However, their utility could be improved via other means such as: faster capping, faster re-equips (assuming my re-equip suggestion is implemented), lower upkeep costs. The point is that the current system lacks depth and can cause problems. A more detailed and interesting system is needed to smooth out issues and to actually promote the use of elite level t1 squads in later game rather than recycling to free cap.

    EDIT: Note I’ve only made some suggestions here – the actual changes to levelling will inevitably need to be determined when considering other key changes such as eco. Ie. if no global mechanic is arranged for generation of the 3rd resource then perhaps higher level units could get more 3rd resource per kill.

    11. Tiering/Teching

    Currently tiering is FAST and CHEAP. The only one I really have issue with is its cheapness and its value. T3 is currently fairly useless for most races. Most of the great abilities come at t2. Most of the great units come at t2. T2 is the best upgrade you can buy in DoW2. With some pieces of wargear costing similar to a tier....but clearly not possessing as much value – you have to question why are the costs so skewed.

    The following rule served me very well in DoWpro:

    “Everything should be costed according to its worth/You get what you pay for...and you should get it fast when you’re paying cash”

    I’ve no problem with fast tiering. I think it works well. Cheap tiering is a different issue especially compared to the more useless HW/Wargear items that cost comparable amounts.

    The aforementioned rule should be applied to EVERY FACET of dow2. It does work and it works well.


    13. Unit AI

    Auto-AI cover is frequently frustrating. Often it overrides player commands. Ideally a stance should be added to allow units to cease auto-cover seeking and let players seek cover manually. This would mean casual players can still enjoy the auto-cover whilst more advanced players can micro more and have greater unit control.

    Irrespective of what worked in Company of Heroes, units moving by themselves to take cover rather than shooting a retreating enemy or utilising a powerful ability/weapon whilst they can is NOT REALISM! Let players micro to cover directly themselves OR add stances that permit the auto-ai to be disabled. The system for moving behind cover and using direction is rather good and intelligent - no need for AI to intervene.

    Additionally, you can’t cancel orders by moving a unit, this should be changed (e.g. if a squad is about to throw a grenade but are given the order to move, the action interrupts and they move)

    *BUG* Commanders in particular occasionally freeze and ignore all commands including retreat.....potentially game-losing bug


    14. Stances

    The lack of stances in general is something of an issue. Units will often chase into the enemy’s base and die to turrets. A hold position stance would also be beneficial and stop your units from auto-seeking cover.

    DoW2 has removed the Stand Ground, Hold Ground etc stances from the original game. In Company of Heroes there were also no stances, but units would simply hold their designated position, save for moving to better cover during the course of a firefight. In DoW2, ranged units act similarly to CoH, essentially defaulting to DoW1's "Hold Ground" stance. Melee units, however, (which CoH never had to deal with) seem permanently set to DoW1's "Attack" stance, and will willingly follow a retreating enemy the entire length of the map, dealing little to no damage on the way until at last they come face to face with the enemy's HQ turrets and are turned into a fine red paste.

    However, while these units blindly follow enemies the entire width of the map, their melee-activation radius (how close they have to be to the enemy to charge in) is tiny: unless the enemy comes within around 4-5 units' width of them, my sluggas are content to stand where they are and occasionally take pot-shots with their pistols at the scouts standing 1 second worth of movement away.

    Also, the removal of the Ranged/Assault stance leads to unncessary awkwardness. For example, sluggas upgraded with burnas default to the "Ranged" stance, requiring a specific "Melee Attack" command to be issued to make them engage in close combat -- where, it must be noted, they do far superior damage than they ever would at range, burnas or no. Which means the stance is simply changed upon upgrading, and not dictated by choosing the stance which deals the greatest damage.

    Perhaps a related note, sending a unit after a specific unit only works until they disappear into the fog of war. This is most noticable and frustrating when sending a unit to attack an enemy that's in the process of decapping a point: the second the point is decapped, and the visibility around the point disappears, the unit you sent can no longer "see" the enemy and so stops dead in its tracks, instead of carrying on to defend the point. Which results in both losing map control and having units standing around in the open scratching themselves. Annoying.

    *Credit to Bandolaf for his views on stances*


    15. Transports

    Destruction of transports causing insta-death to all inside is a bit of a concern given the cost of certain units and the inherent weakness of transports. This is a particularly harsh mechanic and given the woes in pathing with vehicles at time.....this can be very frustrating for a player struck with pathing glitches.

    I’d advocate a HP hit to transported units rather than instadeath.

    Transports are currently far more useful for their HW’s than anything else. They’re too risky to transport troops in due to low hp + pathing issues + instadeath for transported squads. They’re not actually THAT much faster than the infantry on the small dow2 maps – given the risks its better to just footslog.

    EDIT: I’m aware that transports let you reinforce troops etc. The fact remains that they’re still fairly average as TRANSPORTS and that’s what I objected to. If price hikes are needed to reflect their new improved utility – so be it.


    16. Knockdown

    One of the most effective unit abilities at present, ranking right up there with suppression. The difference is that knockdown will even affect retreating units and let you trap and kill with enough mass of knockdown units. A concern since no other mechanic beyond overwhelming superiority of numbers will let u wipe out retreating squads.




    Known Current imbalances (balance is not the prime focus of this article....but a comprehensive list of units will be provided regardless):

    WIP – there’s LOADS and they will affect gameplay. Will update this section asap.




    Conclusion

    I’ve been pretty frank in my assessment of DoW2. I make no apology for this – as I said DoW2 has potential but needs work to reach it.

    I hope that in providing a single coherent article to outline the numerous concerns I have with the game to help illustrate the areas that need work and development to increase the depth and fun for all players of DoW2.

    I look forward to receiving your thoughts and feedback and will continue to update and amend this article with the intention of providing a single, definitive resource which outlines the key areas in which DoW2 could be improved upon.

    - Korbah



    Contacting me:

    I'm readily reached via irc @ #dowpro on irc.quakenet.org
    Last edited by Korbah; 1st Feb 09 at 8:39 AM.


    To Join the DoWpro Team - PM me!

  2. #2
    McGibs
    Guest
    I agree wholeheartedly. I played both DoW and CoH for several years, and thus far DoW2 seems like a huge step backwards. There were so many things that just worked in both of the earlier games, but were for some reason removed completely and not given a replacement. The game just feels so dumbed down, and much less deep then its predecessors.

    The UI especially frustrates me. at least 75% of my micro is just tabbing between squads to monitor their strength, and having to individually select each one in order to do an action. The squad UI in CoH worked flawlessly, you could have a dozen squads of panzergrenadiers and control them all with ease. Now I loose entire squads of orks just because I cant see which squad is taking the hits quickly enough, or hit the retreat key in time.

    VPs tick down so fast, that once a team looses control, there usually isnt even enough time to mount a counterattack. I know relic wanted to speed the game up, but now 3v3 games are being decided in the first 5 minutes! 500pt VP games of CoH took twice as long to tick down, giving time for the players to actually fight over the points a few times.

  3. #3
    I agree with everything in that post. Relic would do well to pay serious attention to this stuff. Korbah has worked hard on it.

  4. #4
    Member Atritas's Avatar
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    The article's cool and all, but do you think Relic will listen? Do you think they will redesign the game (and risk testing it all over) that much? Especially after the game's gone gold? Although I agree with almost all of your points, I think it's too late... At least too late for vanilla DoW2.

    Wanna know what that "almost" means? Sure:

    - the T2 upgrade isn't so valuable for 'Nids for example since their walker comes in T3
    - Warriors respecing on the battlefield would be pretty lethal, changing synapse on the fly and countering what would have slaughtered them otherwise (I'm not saying I wouldn't WANT that though, heheh)
    - while the higher veterancy = less ukpeep idea is excellent in my honest opinion, there's the problem with 'Nid Gaunts not getting any veterancy... That could be a problem.
    My reaction to the DoW:SS 1.1 patch: http://forums.relicnews.com/showpost...0&postcount=82
    Prolly the best post I'll ever make.

    My GFWL gamertag is: NekroJakub

  5. #5
    Member
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    This is the advantage of being a modder.

    Aside from some of the UI/Bugs/Engine glitches. There aren't many changes that can't be done via simple attribute changes.

    That being said some of the key changes like hero wargear system for ALL squads may require more than basic attribute editing. As I have no access to the mod tools - I can't say for sure.

    Regardless, many of the points I've raised should be very easy to implement.

  6. #6
    Also there should be an easier way to mute a player once you’re in game rather than having to go through gfwl >.<
    There is, click player list at the top left, then hit the mic button on whoever you want to mute.

    The whole “if a teammate drops.....the game no longer counts for points” issue is a concern. One that needs fixing for release otherwise it’ll just result in drop abuse and annoy anyone even vaguely interesting in levelling.
    As for this one ive had plenty games where people have dropped and its still been recorded. I think its more a case of it randomly doesnt count, regardless if someone happens to have dropped or not.

  7. #7
    Wew... much text, (nearly?) no bullshit.

    nice one

  8. #8
    Member
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    Germany
    Relic can always change the game after release with patches. I think many from above points will be changed to improve the game. I agree with the article, the mentioned points should be fixed to make the games what it should be, a rising star on the RTS universe.

    However, i don´t think that we can expect much change on Windows live like the mute thing or push to talk button. It´s Microsoft territory and if they had that shit not fixed by now (considering the previous multiplayer live games like Shadowrun, Halo2, Universe at War) i don´t think we can expect a quick change in the DoW2 future.

    -----Red Dox

  9. #9
    Member
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    I agree on the GFWL point Red Dox....but I still thought it bore mentioning.

  10. #10
    Excellent post.
    Maybe you should post this in
    http://community.dawnofwar2.com/index.php
    in order to be read by developers.
    There's a lot of good ideas in your article, but I don't know to what extent is Relic willing to implement them.

  11. #11
    NEWater
    Guest
    /Signed.

    Relic, please pay attention to this.

  12. #12
    Member
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    Cheers Calamoide - I've reposted it http://community.dawnofwar2.com/view...hp?f=43&t=6449

    Unfortunately its attracted some early flaming which started to derail the thread - luckily it seems back on track.

  13. #13
    Possible solution to vehicles destroying cover in late game:
    Terrain Deformation. CoH had this in abundance, especially once tanks and arty hit the field. Not to plug CoH's annihilate Victory Condition, (I hated it, VPs ftw), but Annihilate CoH games would almost inevitably end with pretty much half the map covered in light cover that ignored fire direction.

    Persistent bodies providing cover. A macabre thought of mine, but hear me out. Infantry and destroyed vehicles should leave corpses, destroyable only by crushing/ordnance/AT fire. These corpses would provide directional Light Cover in the case of infantry corpses, and directional heavy cover in the case of vehicle corpses. Make infantry corpses are affected by physics so a grenade going off in their vicinity blasts them away, negating the benefit.
    Hiding behind the piles of your slain enemies is just so Grimdark its not even funny.

    Make Support weapons need support:
    Reduce LOS of support weapons so that a spotting unit is required for the support weapon to fire at its optimum, long range. CoH had this. That DoW2 does not really have it is beyond my ken. Already, this stops early game Plat/Dev spam from reaching full effectiveness. Besides, it encourages combined arms. Patton didn't win by spamming M2 50cals. Neither should commanders in the 41st millenium.

    Make field upgrades able to be switched only near a transport or near HQ. Just as CoH had upgrades only progress while in friendly sectors.

    Just my 3.1415 cents.
    Irreverent derision is just one of the many quality services I provide.

  14. #14
    Member Insano-Man's Avatar
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    I agree, as well. The game is great, but it's not going to live for very long. Considering its potential, that's a damned shame.

    Don't let this one slip, Relic. Make Dawn of War's fame carry on into its grandson.
    What?

  15. #15
    Reclusiarch
    Guest
    Looks good, hope you posted this on the official community forums as well.

    Keep up the good work. I am enjoying the game very much at the moment, but I'm sure these changes will change the game for the better.

    EDIT: Saw that you did post it on the official forums as well.

  16. #16
    Member
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    Great post, Relic read this.

  17. General Discussions Senior Member Modding Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #17
    Why shout... Octopus Rex's Avatar
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    Finally, we’ve been told not to expect more than 9 maps in total on the PATCHED release (correct me if I’m wrong).
    As far as I can tell, there's only going to be 7 after the patch. According to this article there'll be a MP balance patch on day one, then two extra maps within a week. I don't think we'll be getting 2 pairs of maps across two patches within the first week, but then I haven't been keeping up with all this, so maybe there's more recent news.
    "Life is not full of successes, it is full of failures from which we learn" - Tony Benn
    Octopus Blog (14.02.10)DOW2 GridKeys
    DOW1 Modding Tutorial ListDOW2 Tactical Primer

  18. #18
    1.I'm an accomplished DoW1 player
    2.DoWII is lacking in depth and needs more polish
    3.What I'd like to do this time is to stay AS CLOSE TO THE ORIGINAL AS POSSIBLE
    4.The lack of grid keys is poor
    5.No delete function!!!
    6.Minimap:
    7.In CoH, if you had multiple units selected, you could order all of them to do the same thing with one click.
    8.there is no audio cues for when a team member chats to you or an enemy -> there should be one.
    9.EITHER remove the icons showing player race for opponents in the player list OR add in loading screen races.
    10.economy bla bla
    11.There’s no real added benefit to infiltration
    12.Finally....using tooltips only to represent detectors is a fairly poor system.
    13.There needs to be a revision either on how cover is destroyed OR have it such that much more cover is generated during a game
    14.One of the most important changes needed and it applies to many units:
    15.Stances
    1.like already said on the community forum, post your CoH history also, dow one isn't as important when talking about DoW2, it's like posting your Supreme Commander history when discusing F.E.A.R. 2
    2..agree with polish, don't agree with the depth part
    3.compleatly disagree, just beacose it is caled doW2 doens't mean it has to try to stay as close to the original as posible, the original had a lot of flawed gameplay mechanics and CoH is overall the better game in every way
    4.I would like that they alow us to map our own keys, everygame basicly has it, why the hell relic games don't? (I don't remember it being in Coh or DoW1)
    5.good, delete shouldn't be alowed in this game, if you make a wrong choice you shouldn't be alowed to just delete your unit, you should either sacrifice it, or try to use it to the best of your ability.
    6.agree
    7.agree, I would also like for the selected units icons to get bigger and get moved to the middle no be down there in tiny icons
    8.this, put it in, now :P
    9.agree, althrough i am in favor of removing the icon of the enemy in the player list, the game should promote scouting early on to know who you are up against
    won't comment on replay since "save replay" is greyed out and I think the whole thing wasn't suposed to be in the beta anyway
    10.agree with this, on one side I understand what they tried to do that players should still have a chance to make units even if they are pushed back to their base, but req is just comming in to slow, can't be secured and is basicly unimportant. That's why I am telling from the begining that there should be a upgrade on req points that secures it and increses the req by some 30-50%, solves a lot of problems, but zeal etc is fine with me, don't have problems geting it
    11.aperently they get a defence bonus, althrough i have no idea how high it is, maybe increase it to green cover level
    12.I think some stuff players just need to learn and not get handed everything to them on a silver plate, detector units is one of such things.
    13.I think the basic squads (guardians, scouts etc) should be able to build cover by an upgrade researched at T3, since the whole thing is a late t2-t3 problem anyway I see no reason for them to get it earlier, would also add another behefit to t3. Destroyed building generating cover is also an idea
    14.like I already said in the community forum, kinda agree with this, but units should only be able to change weapons near the HQ (heroes still everywhere)
    basicly like this:
    flamer- normal cost, normal time, everywhere
    plasma gun - normal cost, normla time, everywhere
    flamer - 30% of cost, normal time, only at HQ
    15.stances would be nice yes
    Last edited by Enosh; 29th Jan 09 at 6:53 AM.

  19. Dawn of War II Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #19
    so amaze Hirmetrium's Avatar
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    I'm a long time Korbah fan, and followed him like some sort of devout priest. However, I never took a fancy to DoWPro (or many mods at all, even my own). I found DoWPro overly complex, and added a lot of things that ultimately weren't needed. In fact, DoWPro did what many complain about DoW2 does - make it impossible for a losing player to catch up. Power came in so slowly in DoWPro it was GG when your opponent even had a slight edge.

    This is a really good post, and I suggest everyone read it to provoke more ideas about how the game feels and how to develop it further.

    I agree with a great deal, but feel that the economy section and the technical/online sections are mostly wrong.

    Power - The current system for power is very punishing - once your opponent kills off your generators, takes the point and secures it, in tier 1 your effectively unable to kill the point without some serious amount of firepower on it. This works remarkably well and has great synergy with the requisition system, with generators taking a large investment, trading tech speed for additional forces.

    Requisition - This is a system that I think everyone has issues with. Personally, I dislike how half the map is useless requisition points, which take forever to capture and very little time to decapture. Their time to benefit ratio is pathetic. The system needs a redesign, but then this poses another problem - how does this affect the power/requisition balance? What about races who's units are cheap vs those who's units are expensive? If Space Marines gain an economic advantage they would slaughter everything. We really have to think carefully about this, the pacing of the game, and how it all ties together, especially with commanders in the mix. This isn't Dawn of War, and Company Of Heroes was able to operate perfectly fine with a fixed manpower income.

    The Global resource issue is a commander balance thing - some commanders, like the Kommando, have AMAZING global skills, like infiltration on a normal squad or an early, cheaper tier 3 unit, while lacking combat skills. Others, like the Force Commander, have 1, incredably situation skill which can only effectively be applied to one unit - devestators, with amazing combat abilities. Then there are others, like the Apothecary who has a huge amount of powerful skills and is himself an extremely powerful hero, winning battles others can't simply through the power of heal.

    I agree with a lot of the combat mechanic arguements. Annhilation will only be valid when base defenses and turrets get an armor change, and HQ's HP is at least halved.

    Also Korbah, a lot of your post is seemingly pointless Beta whine as well. GFWL is still being developed, the netcode being worked on, and even replays I don't think are yet meant to be used (although if thats the final replay system, I'll be disappointed). Compared to Gamespy GFWL is still better, and I am one of those people who thinks the removal of a lobby is a good thing. However, the lack of password protected games and the poor functionality of the custom lobby are definate downsides.

    Oh, and be sure to send this off in an email to Jonny when you get the chance Korbah - he told me he misses his discussions on such things with an equal.

    @ Enosh: For the love of all that is holy, please do not Omnislash such an amazingly large post. We can all read it at the top of the page too, making most of your quoting irrelavant...
    You should check out Priority Vox Channel Secundus, a blog!

  20. Modding Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #20
    Fixin yer bonez! Grabnutz's Avatar
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    Good post Korbah (and contributors), some really good points which I definately agree with, and a few more which look interesting but I haven't had enough experience to agree or disagree with yet.
    What exactly is "upkeep" for one thing?

    I'll point out that the replay problems are likely purely with the beta, since replays are meant to be disabled, its only us tricksy little hobbitses who figured out how to force them

  21. #21
    @Hirmetrium
    I kinda tried to make it as small as posible, but things need to eb quoted so that people know which part I am refering to, I'll try to trim it even a little bit further

    besides every forum got each own quoting policy and I am fast to mix things up

  22. Dawn of War II Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #22
    so amaze Hirmetrium's Avatar
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    yeah thats ok Enosh. Sorry my eyes bleed when too much "Relic Blue" background shows in a post. Removing returns after a quote like so is good:
    (Quote)your text here(quote) I agree with the quoted text.

    Another thing I should point out that Delete is removed for exploitation purposes - deleting a unit prevents global resource and experience gain, making it very powerful when abused.

  23. #23
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    Req points are currently what strategic points were in CoH, but without any of the strategy. Strategic points were almost always in important locations that connected territories together, and controlling them could seriously cripple your opponent by cutting their supply lines.

    With no territory or supply lines in DoW (again, I think a serious step backwards), req points are just floating in the void.

    I'm comparing it almost exlusivly to CoH, which I really feel its DoW2s spiritual predecessor (it just doesnt share many similarities to dow1, which played more like a traditional rts but with squads)

    Unfortunately, I really cant name a single thing that DoW2 has improved upon from CoH. It just chucked alot out the window.


    Its also unfortunate that the official beta forums seem to have a smacktard fanboy infestation.

  24. General Discussions Senior Member Modding Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #24
    Why shout... Octopus Rex's Avatar
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    Minor point @ Enosh:
    What I'd like to do this time is to stay AS CLOSE TO THE ORIGINAL AS POSSIBLE
    compleatly disagree, just beacose it is caled doW2 doens't mean it has to try to stay as close to the original as posible, the original had a lot of flawed gameplay mechanics and CoH is overall the better game in every way
    I interpreted that to mean keep as close to the original DOW2 as possible i.e. don't suggest changing the game drastically and, say, try to make it like SC2 or something, just stick with the initial DOW2 concept but tweak and improve. I don't think he meant "it should be just like DOW but better because it's DOW2", I think "original" might've been a poor choice of word, because, yeah, that would be dumb!

  25. #25
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    @Enosh

    1. I didn't play CoH competitively - was busy with DoWpro and QW:ET

    2. When I said "Keeping to the original as possible" I meant keeping it as close to DoW2 as possible - not DoW1. I fully appreciate DoW2 is a dramatic shift from DoW1 and have no urge to make a shiny version of DoW1. I think you've just misunderstood me there.

    3. On the point of Detectors. You say that players should "learn and not be handed everything on a silver platter" when its quite obvious that the design goal of DoW2 is to be as intuitive as possible. Part of making a game polished is to ensure coherency of core themes and vision. Therefore, Detectors should be readily obvious from a quick glance at the unit or UI.

    4. On the point of deletion. As both upkeep and pop caps are quite harsh.....there is a real need for a way of recycling units. I mentioned a more sophisticated mechanic of "retiring" units into the HQ as against simple ol' delete. I think it addresses your point about abuse but also takes into account DoW2's low caps and levelling system (you don't want to gift your opponent experience)


    @Hirmetrium:

    - In fairness you haven't played a new version of DoWpro....and haven't for a long time. We spent all of 2008 addressing the very points you complained about because ultimately intuitiveness and coherency ARE great things to implement. Its one of the things I like about DoW2 and its certainly something you'll see a LOT more of in DoWpro's current iterations than any of the old versions you played.

    - I'll amend the mute button...I didn't realise it could be done like that and was going thru GFWL to mute

    - The power issue comes into play though with the relatively under-developed Anti-Building roles. There aren't clear base bashers except for flamers which are variably effective at that role. Moreover, gen scaling would make gen harass even more interesting because the player would be faced with the decision to either play it safe but costly with all gens at a single point. Or spread out gens across several gen points to avoid cost scaling.

    - I fully appreciate global abilities vary in power. However, ultimately the mechanism for generating it is simple. There's no way to strategically PLAN to "tech" towards those abilities....they inevitably become available over time. You can't vary your BO to maximise their availability. I think that's what I'd like to see - a way to strategically work towards gaining 3rd resource in preference to getting more troops/tech etc.

    - I freely admit I've criticised GFWL and whilst we can all assume things are being worked on, surely its worthwhile to provide feedback as to what's the key issues affecting players now such that GFWL updates can be reviewed by developers to ensure they're meeting player demand

    Cheers for the feedback guys - keep it coming!

  26. #26
    I'm super cerial Energizer Bunny's Avatar
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    Exceptional post Korbah. I agree pretty much accross the board.

  27. #27
    Banned Tseng_Fox's Avatar
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    Korbah that was fantastic.

    Relic should have had you on the team. You would have fixed this sloppy made game.

    Agree on all the fixes. Email it to relic.

  28. #28
    Member D-coy's Avatar
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    @ Korbah

    I haven't read your whole post yet, but from what I've seen it's well thought out and very coherent. Thanks for sharing.

    I have an idea regarding the global resources (Zeal, WAAAGH etc.). While I'm no balance, gameplay or fluff expert, I'd like to suggest tying some global resource income modifiers to Requsition points. This might make them more valuable and would add another layer of strategy. Could be a 20% extra resource gain per one captured Req point. For example if you had no Req points killing a Tac would give, say 20 Zeal, but having one Req point would up that up to 24. Having two Req points would boost that to 28, so it wouldn't stack, only add the 20% one more time etc.. You might be able to kill two birds with one stone.

    Cheers!
    GFWL gamertag/ LoL name: ReadInPeace

    Just call me Readin'

  29. #29
    Agree on some points, disagree on others, offended by the obnoxious "I am the chief designer of DoWPro, here's some plugs".

    I agree with you that the game is generally not complex enough; there's not a lot of play for multiple strategies. Unit deployment is fairly straightforward; there's no choice in army types.

    However, I disagree with you on the economic aspects of the game. I don't think the game design should encourage slippery slope; if you achieve a victory, that's a victory. Your opponent should not be completely destroyed and playing only because he's too noobish to realize there's no possibility of victory. Instead, I favor the increase of upkeep so that the only victories obtained when killing units is the progression of units and increase in unit XP. This way, the game will begin to resemble various sports; a come back is always possible provided the leader makes too many mistakes or the follower devises a novel stratagem.

  30. #30
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    Korbah, I commend you for the effort that you've gone to in creating this article, it must have taken some time to gather all this information together and post a thread like this.

    While I agree with you on some of the points you brought up, I do however disagree with you on much, much more.

    What I gathered from reading your article is that you, and the ones who contributed are looking at the wrong game to play. Dawn of War 2 is not, and never should be Dawn of War 1 with fancy graphics and new units.

    As you've broken your argument up into section, I shall break my Counter Argument and only focus on the parts I feel that you are either wrong, or un-educated in the area of the argument.

    UI:

    Coming straight from Company of Heroes, the true predecessor of Dawn of War 2, I've found the UI to be someone good to use. The interface (besides the massive portraits) displays the relative information that I need to know on first glace.

    Furthermore, the whole need to see individual unit health is irrelevant when you look at the total health of a squad. Of course a squad with 8 members by a health bar at 25% is not going to last long in combat; it doesn't take much to figure that out, and individual health bars will only add more clutter to the screen.

    In CoH, if you had multiple units selected, you could order all of them to do the same thing with one click. Alternatively, if you highlighted one squad in your Selection List then issued an order; only that unit would perform the specified action. You could go back to having all units in your selection perform the same order by clicking on the little shield icon (basically highlighting everything).
    The Above was already labelled as a bug, and is being worked back into the patch for the beta.

    A lot of the UI is to taste, and it's quite obvious that YOU dislike the look, however; I am fairly sure there is quite a lot of community members that disagree with you on that point.

    Hot Keys? Yeah, I'll give you that one; except I hate grid keys because they are usually qwerty style, where as I prefer to place my hands elsewhere on my keyboard during a game.

    Unit Stats in the UI....MIA:

    Unit stats in the UI, I've always found this to be somewhat irrelevant in RTS games of late. Why? Because they take up space and obscure the view of the battlefield, that an they don't really rely relative information.

    It's not hard to read the current tool tips for units and upgrades to see it says "X units is good verses all units" or "X upgrade to increase anti-tank attack power", where as the old number system, just sits there and takes up space and doesn't add much.

    Problems with the Replays

    This one I found really petty. Why? Because replays are not fully functional in the beta to begin with. This is because the beta is going to change versions so rapidly that it will render any previous versions of a replay file automatically invalid. Considering we already had 2 patches with the first week of the beta, it says quite a lot of how fast Relic intends to fix problems and I doubt they want consumes complaining they can't watch replays any more.

    As it is, it should have given people a hint as to why this is so when you can't physically click and save your replay. The replay feature isn't fully implemented!

    Unit Upkeep:

    No player is penalised for keeping squads alive, as you gain veterancy for those squads, which makes them more powerful then their vanilla counterparts. Upkeep is there to prevent people sitting in their bases and turtling to a large army quickly.

    This system was in Company of Heroes and works quite well at countering spam more so than a population cap.

    It also places a large emphasis on keeping your current squads alive, as your resource pool to replace them should they die is already quite low.

    Maps:

    I think you are looking at maps in the wrong way, they seem to designed small to keep you constantly on the watch for where your enemy could come from. They have enough paths to allow flanking and generally you can surprise your opponent by deploying rather sneaky tactics that they may not expect, such as blowing up walls with grenades to flank HWTs.

    Players who have extensive experience in Company of Heroes probably adapted to the maps faster than those who came to Dawn of War 1, and there is a good reason for this, COH players saw the battle field as they would in COH, one to be exploited at every turn.

    I've played a large number of Dawn of War 2 games where it never felt like tag, what it felt like was every point along the map was it's own little battlefield, each to be fought hard for. And I believe that is what Relic is trying to encourage with their more compact map design.

    Just because you DOWers are used to having the points rather, simply placed doesn't make the maps flawed. Perhaps you need to think differently and more open minded.

    1. Suppression

    You're thinking like a DoW 1 player when it comes to suppression, all those points you argued which should be implemented are currently already in the game.

    Suppression is reduced in cover, units in cover recover from suppression faster ect. It's all ready in it. There are relatively a lot of counters to suppression in the game, and just because you don't like flanking, doesn't make it wrong or broken. Again, players from Company of Heroes probably faired A LOT better at facing suppression weapons than those of DOW1 background.

    Why is this? Because they understand it's strengths and limitations. Suppression is a powerful force on the battlefield, but it is also flawed. It can only be focused on one squad at a time, so break up your units and spread them out. Use a squad to take the suppression while you come at the weapon from a different angle.

    You need to approach these weapons with more of a tactical thought process rather than a conventional. Charging into the cone of fire is not the best idea, and leaping from cover to cover in front of the cone isn't either.

    2. Deployable weapons

    Deployable weapons are a massive part of Company of Heroes, and they to have their limitations along with their strengths. Setting up a Deployable weapon is not a choice you make lightly, nor should it be. If you plan on defending an area you should have already scouted out the best places to put your teams, and where the firing arcs will be.

    I know that from my experience with HMGs and ATGs in COH has taught me to guesstimate the range and cone of those weapons, not because I am super awesome at things, no because I use objects on the map to judge the distance of the limit of the range of the weapon.

    "So, If I deploy this here, it will reach to those rocks, so that's max range"

    Things like these thought process make up for the lack of being able to fully see the range, but it also puts more depth into the placement of those weapons and stops them from being a deploy and forget type weapon. You need to manage them properly.

    4. Infiltration

    It's all apart of learning the game, and one of the biggest things is reading the tool tips. It takes you about 3-10seconds to figure out that X unit can detect cloaked units, and then again, all units can if they walk on top of them. Having an extra symbol is not needed and will only add more clutter and confusion.

    5. Cover

    Cover is everywhere and it is always there, it doesn't have to be green, it can be yellow. As long as your not in the open then you should be fine.

    You forgetting that the biggest valid strategy in this game is the denial of cover, if you want cover for yourself, don't destroy your own; however, if you are overrun, that cover will be your enemies. You have to take care of your cover crushers and micro them around cover, as it's not the games fault for your laziness now is it?

    Also, Cover is NEVER EVER EVER redundant, to say that shows that you underestimate it value in the late game. If a tank rushes and destroys your current cover, then the "idiot" controlling the tank is actually one of the smartess players in the game, He just denied you your bonus, Congratulations; he's playing the game tactically.

    8. Wargear and Unit upgrades

    Just as you buy your units which could have consequences just over the next battle, (why did I buy that Guardian Squad, I could have used Banshees here!) so should upgrading your units. When you choose to upgrade your unit, you should be doing so under the assumption that you know what it's going to be for and what it is going to counter on your enemies army.

    Having the ability to undo your mistakes isn't needed, as you have to go through with your tactical achievements and tactical failures in the same bowl.

    Remove this aspect reduces the depth the game has, which you yourself stated that you wanted more of.

    9. Abilities

    Abilities are what you make them, currently they are great. Just because you can't be bothered to learn the hotkey for them doesn't make the fiddly or useless. It doesn't take much effort to look and see that Fleet of Foot is F, and press it when you need it. Nor is to hard to press T to tunnel.

    10. Unit Levelling

    Unit levelling is balance by how quickly a unit will gain enough experience to get the next level.

    I'll use your example;

    Eg. Compare a 420HP SM scout to a 4500hp terminator squad. Fully levelled the scout is ~630HP vs ~7K HP for terminators.
    While the Terminators do gain a rather awesomely, all most bullshit amount of health at max level, you have to remember; you're going to have to get them that level to earn that bonus, which could take a unit like Terminators nearly 500 individual unit kills depending on the unit.

    Where as a unit like Scouts could take considerably less to gain that amount of experience and level. So while yes, the Terminators do get a better bonus, overall you're probably going to see and use the scouts at that level more than the terminators.

    13. Unit AI

    This is another thing DoW1 players seem to have a massive gripe with, and while it can be frustrating at times, it is also rather helpful in others.

    Having a squad or Homragaunts seek cover after I told them to capture a point is great, they will still listen to me if I tell them to go stand in the open and won't disobey direct orders if I issue them. But if I leave them to their own devices, say I'm busy with other battle, they will try to preserve themselves.

    It's a great enhancement to mirco, as it means not only do I not have to place each individual into cover, but it also means I can focus on microing other squads, while not having to worry much about the squads of Termigaunts just sitting out in the open while their being peppered by Shuriken fire.

    It's probably one of those things that comes down to taste I'd say.

    14. Stances

    Stances are overrated and out dated. The game is about movement, and position. Not selecting the right stance.

    Most of the examples you provided for this argument speak to me as poor unit control more than anything else. There are 'stances' in this game, You place a unit behind cover, they are in a Ranged Stance, order a squad to Attack Melee, then they are in the Melee stance.

    It's about using the tools provided to your benefit and controlling your troops with better ease then worrying if you've got half your army on Ranged or Melee before the next battle. Instead you can place X units behind a wall and know that they'll sit their and shoot at the next bastard that comes their way.

    My Conclusion.

    You're looking at this game as if it's a sequel to Dawn of War (or DoW1.5 if you will), rather than looking at it as it's own game. DoW was a fun game, but most of it's conventions are out dated and not needed, that is why Dawn of War 2 takes more from Company of Heroes than it does DoW1.

    You need to stop looking at why Dawn of War 2 is not Dawn of War 1, and start looking at it as the successor to Company of Heroes and apply the logic you would use in COH into DoW2.
    Last edited by Akranadas; 29th Jan 09 at 7:10 AM.

  31. #31
    a few trends i've spotted in many forums regarding DoW2....

    if you only played DoW1, then this game is totally the suckz, everything is new to you, u dont know what ur doing and how everything works, nothing makes sense because its so totally different....

    if you only played CoH, then this game is the best since CoH, everything is more brutal and faster paced, you know how to play it because its extremely similar to CoH even tho its not WWII, everything is intuitive

    if you only play TT, then you'll hate this game due to the lack of units found in TT, and you just dont know how to play it right....

    if you only play non-relic RTS, then this game is stupid as hell because its nothing you've ever seen before, and since you being a noob, and taking so long to learn a game is humanly impossible for you, it must be the game thats doing the sucking

  32. #32
    I have to say I agree with Akranadas, to some extent. And sturmtruppen, I have the same impression.

    Interestingly, I saw a vidcast by a certain Bentguru, who commented something that I thought was worth bringing along: The pace and style of DoW2 is far more suited to e-sport gaming than either of DoW and CoH.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
    -Winston Churchill

  33. #33
    Banned Tseng_Fox's Avatar
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    Its far more suited to e-sporting but theres no way it could ever come close the the e-sports juggernaughts coming out.

    Still, I had the same impression, except that most CoH players seen it as a downgrade of CoH (mainly cause theres no fighting over every req point)

  34. #34
    I'm in agreement with Akranadas here, the whole article seems written by one who never played CoH.
    Gewoan de baan ride

  35. #35
    Excellent post. I also like your statement out-of-the-gate that you want any suggestions to keep to the spirit of DOW2 as closely as possible.

    My only question is regarding knockdown's role in killing retreating squads. IMO, the retreat button is a complete noob button that acts as get-out-of-jail-free card. What RTS game allows a player to save his troops when he made such a blunder that under any other circumstance he should rightfully lose them?

    I do understand that Retreat is required due to the suppression-fire functionality in this game. It must exist in order for a player to react to suppression-fire. However, does that mean pressing Retreat should automatically allow a bad player to save all of his troops regardless? If the good player had anticipated a Retreat, and therefore built mines and set up ambushes in the anticipated fallback-corridor, shouldn't he be rewarded with the slaughter of hastily-retreating infantry?

    I do agree with the recent Banshee-knockdown nerf. That was too easy a way to slaughter retreating infantry.

    Edit:
    I agree with Ark on a lot of his points, except the stances. To say that he would rather press z+click every single time, rather than just toggle a stance, is kinda illogical. Aren't you all about eliminating useless micro, Ark?

    As for CoH-only players finding DOW2 to be "the greatest ever"... I had the opposite impression. Most players who played CoH seem just as bitter as many DOW1 players, but for different reason -- the CoH players know exactly what innovations are inexplicably left out of DOW2, while the DOW1 players don't.
    Last edited by mlai; 29th Jan 09 at 8:08 AM.

  36. #36
    Kurisu
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    I agree with Akranadas... Except that req points really are almost uselessness. And there is an overemphasis on the early game (how often have you seen someone come from behind?).

    However, if you make req points more important you give the player in control even MORE control, because now he/she controls more /your/ req points.

    Maybe if you increased the impact of upkeep...? So that after a certain number of units the players in control will be slowed down, to let the players behind catch up? Or I could be just commenting from the POV of a casual gamer, and l33ts don't have the problems I do.

  37. #37
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    @Inst:

    I figured that DoWpro has equipped me with useful analytical skills and also serves as a good example for certain points. I'm sorry you find that obnoxious but the reality is that DoWpro has some features that ARE far superior to what's available in the beta (most noticeably the AutoWiki) and I'd urge Relic to seriously take a look at things like that with the idea of making their own version (and hopefully taking it a step further).

    I'd ask you don't automatically assume this is all some grand ego trip. I've mentioned DoWpro when I felt it was appropriate.



    @Akranadas:

    EDIT: A few new replies before I posted this...was playing games whilst writing.

    For the record I have a copy of CoH/CoH:OF - I just didn't play it seriously on the competitive scene. I'm still more than capable of discussing CoH on a deeper than casual level.

    I'd advise ppl stop leaping to conclusions suggesting that I can't accept DoW2's new paradigm because I'm from the ol' days of RTS etc

    It's simply not true.


    In regards to Akranadas' points:

    UI:

    I think I said overall I liked the UI and was only took issue about a few tweaks and functionality. I made a point about icon size because on my 24" LCD they ARE bloody small!!! My main gripes were with the minimap and also hotkeys - which I do consider as needing key amendments.

    I'll re-read what I've written to ensure this section reads the way I meant it.

    Replays:

    I appreciate your angle here but the question must be begged....why isn't it functional already? If the purpose of the beta is to test the engine why isn't such a key feature already implemented for testing. At any rate highlighting current issues does no harm and merely serves to highlight problems that need fixing for release.

    Unit Upkeep:

    You need to consider my views on levelling tho....its not made equal which therefore influences my views on unit upkeep. I'm not against the concept per-se - but there has to be a fair and balanced reason to keep a lower tier unit around even factoring in levelling as against higher tier units that also level.

    Maps:

    Keep in mind that whilst I didn't make a name for myself in CoH....I did certainly play it. No need to assume I'm entirely fixed in the ol' dark ages of DoW

    My criticism of maps is that whilst they're capable of CoH style interaction - the implementation of abilities such as grenades etc means that it just doesn't happen as often because inevitably vehicles are available at the same time and they INVALIDATE cover.

    I'd question why you're bothering to fight over every point however.....req points are near superfluous.

    Suppression:

    Lets be clear...I'm on a 19:0 winning streak in automatch team games. I know how to flank. I know how suppression functions in real games. I know what counters it. I don't need a lecture on the basics here.

    What I was discussing is the finer points of exactly how suppression is implemented in the game - with revised cover vs suppression bonuses (something relic have made note of in the new patch log.....I'm not talking crazy here) and also varied suppression modifiers depending on range ie. lower suppression at maximum range.

    Deployable Weapons:

    Not sure what you're getting at....I'm fairly ok with the basics

    Infiltration:

    Someone made the point you did earlier in the thread - i'll repost:

    On the point of Detectors. You say that players should "learn and not be handed everything on a silver platter" when its quite obvious that the design goal of DoW2 is to be as intuitive as possible. Part of making a game polished is to ensure coherency of core themes and vision. Therefore, Detectors should be readily obvious from a quick glance at the unit or UI.

    Cover

    I'm fully aware on how to use a vehicle well to destroy cover - my argument is that there's few mechanisms for reseeding the map with new cover once it becomes denuded.

    Wargear and Unit upgrades

    We differ in opinion here - polar opposites. Due to cap limitations I don't think your argument is as viable as it was in say DoW1 where you could have many squads where it didn't matter that you could refit. Yes it means its a tough decision - but ultimately its one you only need to make once and it also forces unit choice and makes units less interesting overall.

    Again this is opinion and we'll need to agree to disagree

    Abilities

    Again I don't need a lecture on how to play....win streak is now 24:0
    My point is that current keys are suboptimal and that not all abilities are as useful as they should.

    Unit Levelling

    I'm aware how it works. Yes terminators are less frequent but ultimately - the rewards are far superior and easier to achieve - on such units the more you level the easier it is to get kills. Levelling elite units is easier than basic since their power increases with each level at a greater rate.

    Unit AI

    My points discussed errors but also that it behaves inappropriately at times by overriding player commands. A stance button that disables the ai would solve all gripes and keep the feature which can be useful as you said

    Stances

    The main stance i'm looking for is an aggressive stance with no auto-cover seek

    Conclusion

    I think you're misrepresenting me. I know the fundamentals - my article was on tweaking and revising them so they'd behave better. I'm well aware DoW2 =/= DoW1 and never sought to make it there. That doesn't mean I can't discuss DoW1/DoWpro and highlight some elements that worked because there ARE similarities. The entire point of this article was to make DoW2 a better game at what it already does. I wasn't arguing that the mechanics were poor - just that they're not implemented with enough sophistication to get the most out of them.
    Last edited by Korbah; 29th Jan 09 at 8:36 AM.

  38. #38
    I just don't see sales wise that their ideas are that smart.. but, I guess that the future will hopefully prove me wrong..

    I just don't find the game in it's current state any fun... me mates and me are hoping on Empire TW at this point.

  39. #39
    Member D-coy's Avatar
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    I'd like some feedback on my idea of Req points increasing Zeal, Waaagh etc. income. Maybe you've missed it, it's post #29.

  40. #40
    Matmoz
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    Good post Korbah. I especially share your concern about the maps being small and a not really helping gameplay much.

    Giving out a map generator would help a lot, with all the creative map-makers around, and would without doubt lead to some very interesting maps full of tactical positions and reduced feeling of "point tagging".

    Relic would benefit by taking advantage of the community's resources in this regard. This would also give their map-making team an indication of what type of maps are wanted, as well as what strategical options are popular within maps.

    EDIT: The zeal-on-req-points idea also sound good, perhaps a choice of 2 types of "LP's"? One with increased req and one with a steady zeal gain? Something to let you have economic choices throughout the game.
    Last edited by Matmoz; 29th Jan 09 at 8:43 AM. Reason: added stuff

  41. #41
    On the experience discussion.

    Why do you keep talking about Scouts vs Terminators?

    Just take... Sluggas or another *cheap*and indiviudaly weak unit and compare them to Tactical or Assault Marines.

  42. #42
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    I'm more than happy to read any Sluggas vs ASM comparison you want to make craNK.

    I've got limited time to go finding numbers and those were two that I could recall readily.

  43. #43
    Chappy FooF's Avatar
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    Having played DoWPro for the first time roughly a month ago, I found it needlessly complex. I know it was closer to the TT and there were far more unit choices, and to be fair, it had great production value but I could never get into it past the "what's this unit do" phase.

    Korbah's post is well thought out and I agree with most but not all the points. I would like to see stances back in the game simply because I find that my units have far too great a leash. I'd like to have a hold ground stance. The UI is being fixed as we speak but could be better. More Maps will come. I don't care about unit stats in-game simply because they're wrong after the first patch. Individual health bars would kind of be nice but aren't that big of a deal.

    I wholeheartedly disagree with making the Global Resource anything but what it is currently. I don't want Req points giving me any, Orks automatically generate 1 Waagh every 4 seconds. I want to be forced to kill my enemy. You can tweak the values of the of Globals all you like, but the basic fact is that I have to get out there and fight is a good idea.

    Complicating Power income is exactly that. It's hard enough to put up 450 Req to get 29 power. Gens go down to AV so quickly it's not funny and most players have learned that destroying the gens/cap is far more damaging to the player than stealing the point. If Power Gens went 50-100-150, that'd be one thing but increasing them beyond 100 is silly. Req becomes the limited resource late game, not power.

    The reason Req points are not working is because from the CoH-PoV, they were never in CoH. Strategic Points were meant to convey supply lines and they were never taken for the +3 MP. Since DoW2 doesn't have supply lines, no one is sure what to do with them. You have to have Req generated by the HQ to prevent a massive slippery slope but at the same time you have to Req points be worth something, which they're not currently. To me, they're lame duck carryovers from DoW1 that haven't found a purpose yet. LPs do not help the situation because you'd be spending resources on a point that doesn't deserve to be captured. Adding turrets and all that to them totally screws the fluidity of the game. There aren't supposed to be static defenses all over. That's why only two Commanders out of 12 can build turrets in the field. LPs turn the battlefield into a stalemate on such tiny maps and it's not the maps that are the problem.
    Semi-Retired


  44. #44
    I'm at work, can't get HP numbers right now ^^.

    Guardians vs Tactical Marines would probably be a real good comparison.

  45. #45
    Member D-coy's Avatar
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    I wholeheartedly disagree with making the Global Resource anything but what it is currently. I don't want Req points giving me any, Orks automatically generate 1 Waagh every 4 seconds. I want to be forced to kill my enemy. You can tweak the values of the of Globals all you like, but the basic fact is that I have to get out there and fight is a good idea.
    Maybe you weren't refering to me, but if you did, you clearly misunderstood. I never mentioned LPs, nor Req points giving you Zeal.

    I said it might be a good idea to have a modifier for Zeal which increases as you cap more Req points. You could only get Zeal from killing units, but with more Req points owned, you'd get more Zeal per kill.

    I hope it's clear now, sorry for the possible confusion.

  46. #46
    awefully doom and gloom.

    I find this game to be just as deep as CoH is, and that game is doing fine.

  47. #47
    Since you have a lot of positives for you, I'll just throw down the negative stuff . Because you constantly reference your pro mod, all these opinions will be to a 'pro' and not a casual gamer.


    Hotkeys:
    Lack of grid keys are annoying but you learn the keys and get on with it.


    Missing Functions:

    No delete function:
    If you spent all your points on anti infantry stuff and get trumped by a vehicle, you deserve to have some penalty. Units are only obsolete in this game when you cannot find any use for them. This goes on a per player basis because 'good' players will always find use for his/her units.

    overwatch function:
    with the few places that you can actually reinforce units, this would prove more annoying than helpful. Spamming 'R' on a unit is quite sufficient and sometimes you want to save up for juicy wargear/upgrades rather than reinforcing.

    There’s no way to view the console.....I miss the console!
    Its a Beta, same deal with the replay points you listed above.


    Minimap:
    The resolution could be a little bigger but one feature relic have lacked is the onmap ping, from CoH.

    UI:
    Enough about the grid keys already :\. Attack-move, Stop and Melee are all localised. Misclicking the melee is sometimes annoying when trying to pick out the lone force commander in the middle of my nid pack but that's probably because he's surrounded already. I have no issues, and you should not as well, with missing a melee move onto the all important heavy bolter teams.

    Not being able to see individual hp bars for squad members is problematic.
    How is it problematic? I see a squad with a combined health of 1/3 and retreat regardless of if there's 1 man left or 5 men left. If you really want to know individual health then take a look at the squad's health, take a look at how many guys are left then guesstimate. Same goes for attacking enemy squads.

    I liked the hero wargear system but lack grid keys:
    If relic grid keyd this as well as regular command orders then there's an issue. Either learn the hotkeys or *gasp*, click on the wargear that you want to upgrade.
    I must admit, the only issue I have with the hotkeys is them being 'R' which is primarily for reinforce. Since your HQ will default profile when selecting everything, this has led to some buying of unwated upgrades. At least relic didn't make standard squad upgrades with conflicting hotkeys.


    Unit control is a step back in DoW2 over CoH.
    It did annoy me at first but when you figure that there are fewer units in DoW2 than in CoH and follow the auto-key assignment style you quickly get over it. Instead of tab cycling to do multi grenades you use hotkeys. At the end of the day, you get better control.



    Unit Stats in the UI....MIA:
    You play the game for long enough to familiarise yourself to know what does what. You also figure out that unit stats are usually a bunch of bollocks and the approximation is crap.



    Play Modes

    There is currently no observer mode -
    I never fully experienced observer mode since there wasn't any in CoH so I hope they do introduce it.

    Other game types -
    Beta released for a game that has been PRIMARILY balanced for 3v3. I'm sure there will be the option for 2v2 in retail or may the heavens rain hellfire on their cats.



    Problems with the Replays
    Beta of a function you're not suppose to access. Only traditional issue is that there's not backwards compatability thus voiding good replays when there's a patch.



    Visuals

    One thing that IS fail is the lack of unit randomisation:
    Who cares. The only race this would apply to with any real distinction is orkz. Marines have standard power armour (some may argue the fluff), eldar have standard power armour and 'Nids have standard bio armour. Why waste so much effort implementing such a thing when there's very little gain. You already have unlockable armour and custom warpaint.

    Fx's whilst nice don't appear to have the "Impact" of CoH.
    Haven't messed with my audio settings. Voices and sound files may be cut back to reduce beta size.



    Ranked Matches Rules/settings

    Once a game is starting its count down, the count down cannot be cancelled for any reason:
    I have only witness a counter reset a couple of times to be annoying. Other than that the game has stopped timers when players leave on their own accord. I don't know how it handles players leaving during loading or when they first enter the game but allowing cancellable timers won't do anything to fix that.



    Gameplay

    Gameplay Genetic Factors:



    ECO:
    Don't know about sitting at home in your base but that has never worked for most. Maybe you have lucky opponents who let you have your 3 power gens or you've been turret spamming and they don't know how to counter.

    The Eco situation is further complicated by the small maps:
    You'd think smaller maps would be a counter to this 'game of tag'. The only real annoying bastard of the game is an AI who, in true relic fashion, will back base you. Its only a game of tag if you let it become one. Personally I figure where the next squad is going and shoot the crap out of him.
    If you are allowing VPs to constantly get 'tagged' then obviously you're trying to defend all your VPs with a massive blob army. Is this how VPs are intended?


    Power and Req points:
    I once thought that you could run your army comfortably on 3 power gens but when you have lots of power you don't complain. If anything, the upgrade power cost and buying power costs may be too cheap compared to the power income.
    Req points are a little subtle. Hard to really say unless there's a huge... study but I agree they are 3rd on the to-cap list.


    3. VP’s:
    Haven't listened to said vods, maybe I should. The rapid drain is to make players actually go out and take them rather than sitting back in the base losing tickets. Meaning that holding all points is very rewarding but very hard to do (given that you've made the point of dawn of war tag). 2/3rds control has enough drain to keep it interesting and comebacks all the more enjoying.


    Unit Upkeep:

    As it stands the player who actually manages to keep their squads alive is penalised for doing so:
    Partially true. If you have too many squads that refuse to die then I think it was your own fault for over production.



    Maps:
    The small maps, hundreds of points and inability to secure the points without camping VP’s help contribute to DoW2’s “game of tag” feel.
    Wait what? You want to secure VP's without camping them? And... small maps assist in such games of tag?

    Relic should release a map editor now and offer free copies of DoW2 for top notch maps:
    Novel idea but why would we get a game as a prize for making a map for said game we already own?


    Game modes (take and hold, annihilate):

    Annihilate is currently a joke:
    Yep, don't know why they put it in there.


    Combat mechanics: (1-16)


    1. Suppression

    You say its an interesting mechanic as if its new. Why should cover reduce the amount of suppression you recieve? It should reduce damage but the idea is there's a heavy weapon keeping your heads down.

    Alternatively, the degree of suppression could be ranged based (or more obviously ranged based):
    Interesting nerf but then it wouldn't make sense. Suppression is psychological, not physical. I'm pretty sure I'd keep my head down all the same whether I be 100 meters or 10 meters from a souped up MG.

    Finally, all the suppression causing units have excellent line of sight..:
    Another interesting suggestion but why should a heavy bolter marine with advanced sensory gadgets see shorter than their bretheren or scouts?

    2. Deployable weapons

    So you have to tell them to face up again. You waste 3 seconds but that's the price you pay for having a heavy weapon.

    Heavy weapons that use set up arcs need a button:
    no they don't, you just use the mouse gesture.

    would be nice if you could look around while setting up:
    If you have no idea where you should face your heavy weapon before hand, why give it the order?

    When a setting-up arc weapon is setting up/repacking, you cannot cancel the animation:
    Again, that's what you have to deal with when using a heavy weapon.


    3. Retreating

    Currently this mechanic works well except that it is very vulnerable to knockdown:
    Why wouldn't it be susceptable to knockdown? Currently its the overall knockdown of said weapons, such as shotguns, that is doing it, not that the retreat mechanic is flawed.


    Whilst debate will rage as to what % conceal:
    conceal... retreating units?


    4. Infiltration

    There’s no real added benefit to infiltration:
    Except you can tip toe around heavy weapons and you can SEE what your opponent is doing. Nup, no real benefit at all. Backstabbing rangers? They aren't even suppose to have knives!

    DoWpro used small icons on the unit icon:
    Annoying but you learn after you play the game. Besides, there's forums that tell you what is what anyway.


    5. Cover
    “auto-seek” for cover is often problematic

    There needs to be a revision either on how cover is destroyed OR have it such that much more cover is generated during a game – thus preserving later game infantry combat.


    TOTALLY AGREE.


    7. Garrison buildings

    Its hard finding a good building to cover from. On some maps there are good, on some maps there are bad. At the end of the day, either get in or don't get it. Getting into a building should never be the end all of all strats. There are enough counter-equipment for each army to dislodge units in buildings.
    Also a single squad in a building should never make it an impregnable fortress. You can take a heavy bolter at range in a building but suffer huge losses.


    8. Wargear and Unit upgrades

    Unfortunately.....for heroes the upgrades are NOT created equal:
    Certain combos do exist for now and will be determined by future nerfs. Name a single game that has a system like that min-max proof.

    More concerning is that only heroes have this system. ALL units that have upgradeable heavy weapons should be able to refit:
    I'd only agree with tactical marines at the moment since they are suppose to be that. Other than that, no the game punishes you if you made the mistake in the first place.


    9. Abilities

    Until grid hotkeys arrive:
    for the love of god.



    Unit AI:

    Additionally, you can’t cancel orders by moving a unit:
    Yes you can, they just cannot be in throw range, ie moving to get into ability range. And its all the better for it so have to THINK before you throw a grenade.


    14. Stances

    cute but no need.


    15. Transports

    Destruction of transports causing insta-death:
    then quickly unload before the transport dies. what's the issue here?



    Overall, I have found people complain about things because they have a specific point of view, and why wouldn't you. People complain about the lack of micro on one hand, and with the other complain that resetting weapon teams, not being able to easily tab through squad selection and orders, having 'annoying' hot key maps.

  48. #48
    I feel like Upkeep is necessary, especially with the quick build times of units. If there's no upkeep then someone tromping around with a mega army will be able to instantly replace it if they lose it...so they don't have too much of an incentive to preserve it or individual squads, compared to someone who may be losing and finally (maybe with a teammate) defeats the larger army and now has to face it again.

  49. #49
    Member black_ranger's Avatar
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    I totally agree with Akranadas and Sturmtruppen : ). People need to realize that the only similarities between DoW 1 and DoW 2 is the Wh40k universe, other then that everything is different.

  50. #50
    Member basuatreya's Avatar
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    Korbah,

    Excellent post!

    The thing that struck me most, and what you have also found, is that the game is Tactical not Strategic.
    While you would think that this leads to a lower entry barrier because games are quicker and require less investment, it turns out not to be the case. The game is less approachable because the action starts up too quickly for me. I cannot get into it, there simply is not enough time for me to mentally rev up. I miss the lack of strategic elements. The game simply is not as much, "fun" as DoW.

    I also find the maps too cluttered and small. It's great that there is such detail and possibility to use the environment, but I think that there is too much of it.

    I think DoW 2 is a great game, but probably not one I will buy. I bought 4 copies of DoW plus 5 copies of the various expansions just so I could play the game with my friends. To be honest, I am a little disappointed.
    Last edited by basuatreya; 29th Jan 09 at 9:34 AM. Reason: removed unused paragraph

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