Outcome undecided…

Campaign #45, Day #65! (Take that, 30 minute shoebox maps)

It can take our Axis players a little while to remember that the tales of invincibility are survivors tales. As a dev, it’s great seeing the positive chat that ensues when either side gets in that groove with their gear and teamplay kicks in – like the Tiger formation last night – with Stugs, IVgs and lots of supply vehicles outside Geel.

In some ways, the Tiger and the R35 share a lot in common… Axis players turn into headless chickens when they come across an R35 being well used – they insist on believing it’s a Char and much further away or that it can’t pose a threat. Likewise, Allied players panic when they encounter a Tiger that isn’t trundling happily across in plain sight with its turret counting daisies.

It also seems like the Axis cause is being helped a little by a new generation of tankers having longer with the upper-tier equipment to start realizing its pros and cons rather than just its cons; e.g. the Stug is an ambush predator, the commander having a range finder. Good Stug: drives further away, deploys his commander and gets a range fix before firing his first shot of no more than 3, repositions so as not to be spotted by the victim or any escorts. Bad Stug: drives into town with his commander out, loses him, fires 18 rounds into the bush he suspects the infantry is hiding in while an ATG pushes up behind him and blows him up.

Team-play on both sides seems to be growing a little, hampered by long-in-the-tooth players serious misjudging populations by basing them on how many people are on channel 37 or teamspeak.oldfarts.hum.bug. Resupply trucks, for instance, seem to be a great center for team-play; we need to prioritize rewards for supply trucks, I think, so that doesn’t die off.


My squad is growing. We may be getting our butts kicked nightly, but those occassional successes are keeping them on, and motivating them to work as a team.

Brave move by the GHC, we’ll be doing our best to close the gaps again tonight.

It all seems rather rediculous to me. Everytime I see one of these ‘Breakouts’, whether done by the Allies or Axis, it points out to me just how inadequate the Strategic side of the game…particularly in the way Brigades are moved.

Huh? It looked *exactly* like the 1944 breakout after Operation Cobra: 1 Divsion holds a town (Huy in this case) while the armour rampages out and tries to close the Flasie/Antwerp Pocket.

For that matter, Dunkirk! Though in this case the French Counter attack from the south Worked and cut off the gambit.

You could have made a history channel documentary on this. Add some talking heads and views of the map with big red and blue arrows.

Please…Operation Cobra was nothing like a WWIIOL ‘Breakout’. Operation Cobra took time to plan, time to disseminate orders, time to prep for the Operation. Then, once the Operation began, it ran (or tried to run) its plan until either its Objectives were achieved or it became clear that Objectives could not be reached.

You do NOT instantly set tens or hundreds of thousands of men and thousands of vehicles into motion without a coordinated plan without it devolving into a cluster. There is an unavoidable ‘inertia’ of trying to coordinate masses of troops that inevitably devolves into the old ‘hurry up and wait’ that has plagued every army since man first went to war. Even modern armies with modern communications do not react instantaneously to new orders.

When Patton told Eisenhower he could have two Divisions from 3rd Army attacking North in just 48 hours to relieve Bastone he was met with disbelief that he could respond so rapidly. Two Divisons in two days…yet in WWIIOL you can have two full Divisions moving within two MINUTES (Of course, in WWIIOL Time and Space are compressed so two Divisions in two days IRL would be the equivalent of two Brigades moving to the attack in ten hours).

Now, I’m not suggesting we take 10 hours (it is a game, after all, folks don’t want to wait hours to play it), but there really needs to be a delay from the time a .move order is given until the time the unit given that order starts to move…maybe an hour. HC should have to plan out their .move commands with a little more foresight instead of acting on a whim or trying to exploit the instant-move flaw of the strategic movement system when numbers are decidedly in their favor.

Thank you for making Comstar’s point, md. You’re protesting something completely other than what happened, apparently.

And this is the second time you’ve completely miss MY point. I am not protesting what was done, but HOW it was done. What we witnessed last week was an exploitation of WWIIOL’s extremely flawed Strategic Movement system (not to mention what appears to have been a population disparity at the time of both players and HC members). What you wish to see as a triumph of the Strategic side of the game, I clearly see as a failure of the Strategic Movement system. What Comstar wishes to see as a text-book ‘breakout’, I clearly see as gross misrepresentation of a ‘breakout’. You may want to take your blinders off and look at the mechanics of the game that made not only last week’s travesty, but every post-TOE ‘breakout’, a possibility.

> in WWIIOL Time and Space are compressed so two Divisions in two days IRL would be the equivalent of two Brigades moving to the attack in ten hours.

I don’t think it’s possible to unambiguously define a consistent WWIIOL time compression rate for strat movement. Sure, sunrise to sunrise is ~ 6 RT hours, but the game’s RDP Tiers more or less represent full years and yet don’t have fixed lengths and in some cases are only a few days RT.

It seems to me that, like most OLGs with simulation aspects, WWIIOL inherently uses fluid time concepts and excises non-action time from event timelines. To the extent that the complaint is about fluid time concepts being inconsistent with a fixed time-passage rate and thereby simulation-realism, somehow I doubt if the game is going to change that way.

Maybe you should take your own blinkers off and try playing the game. I could give a donkey’s gonads about how it “looked” by glancing at the map, what matters is how it played and the experiences that it gave in-game. I don’t doubt that your bleachers perspective showed a clear and obvious similarity between older incarnations of the breakout or something, but in-game it was very different, not least because what individual flags mean.

I’m sure it was replete with omissions from a break out like the Bulge – no units died of starvation, no units were captured and became Prisoners of War, many of the logistical concerns were missing. And yet, it reverberated within the game and the community with all the ethos and vigor of a well-executed and well-countered encirclement action from North Africa, Western Europe or the Eastern Front.

I have to conclude you’re speculating from without because the excitement here is over how it played in-game.

It is worth thinking about what the devs are trying to achieve gameplay wise by making a “breakout” possible.

-is it to embelish and improve the strat game for the grognards who move brigades around? No.

-is it to give the competition minded players (those who really care about which side wins) the possibility of delivering a knock out blow that would hasten vicotry? yep.

-is it to add more variety to the types of PvP encounters we have? Probably.

I’m a bit hesitant on the last point because I’ve not heard the Rats talk much about gameplay variety as a design goal (does not mean that they dont think that way)

If it is a design goal then I would love to hear more about what fun things are supposed to happen after a breakthrough, or what new features could be added to get the most out of these situations.

I’m a big believer that the rear areas on the map hold very little gameplay potential without the ability of defenders to spawn as reserves, or rear-area security forces. A true breakthrough only offers lots of combat against AI. Rear area paradrops or sea insertions (just did one last week) are pretty freakin dreary…


I think I’ve talked about gameplay variety as a design goal in the past – trying to find ways to integrate and nurture the various elements that different individuals enjoy, usually in the context of my desire to see not just more targets for the air/navy but different bombardment components; I’d love to have chance to work on a host-interference system – a sort of objective generator that specifically aims to derail the high commands by introducing a high-value objective that they are going to want to persue (think “News flash: Scientists in Wavre are on the brink of cracking the atom! Our spy networks indicate enemy forces are en-route to capture the laboratories right now. We must not let their research fall into enemy hands!”, and you get a very crude idea of the sort of thing)

Ok, no that got me excited KFS1!

Stop it :P

If the Objective Generator is able to grok an HC’s intent in order to be able to introduce a conflicting high-value objective, would it be a particulary large further step to make the Objective Generator operate independently of human HC participation, responding only to the opposing side’s Objective-Generator-originated actions?

Your August 19th discussion of the correlation between kill-dense tactical engagements and session duration clearly suggested that there could be marketing value to CRS in finding ways to re-shape the game’s strat direction from maneuver-and-cap primacy to intense-engagement coordination. Of course, it wouldn’t be desirable to totally lose maneuver-and-cap gameplay…but having some degree of assured intense-engagement activity at all times could pay big dividends.

Perhaps a pair of Objective Generators, tuned to interact with each other rather than being responsive to the actions of the maneuver-and-cap-oriented HCs, could adequately fill that Badger-and-Schilling role.

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