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powdermonkey

Over-Powered Artillery and general game lethality

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Morning all, 

this is my first ever post on this forum so please have patience if i am bringing up points that have already been discussed elsewhere.

Firstly i'd like to say that i love this game and have all the WWII releases. I have played it a lot. So, i do not speak lightly or from lack of experience when i say  that i feel it is currently unplayable. i have a number of issues ranging from the quite trivial to what i consider game-breaking.

First and foremost is the the vulnerability of  infantry to all the weapon systems in the game (particularly Arty), the ineffectiveness of cover and the futility i experience trying to keep casualties manageable. I come hot-foot from trying to play the second mission in the Polish assault on Monte Casino in CMFI during which i watched as a 110 man company hunkered down in rough ground was reduced to 20 men in less than ten minutes. The barrage was not heavy in either caliber or volume, i would have understood if it had been a heavy and sustained 210mm rocket barrage but it was not, it was a medium, probably 81mm mortar strike. In such a situation it is a matter of historical record that men will dig scoops in the ground with their helmets just to get a little lower and that once anywhere near below ground level you were afforded a certain protection from HE shells, even in relatively open terrain and excepting direct hits of course.

I feel that that unit would have been suppressed, yes, would be sustaining casualties over time, yes, been broken, quite possibly if the incoming fire was heavy and prolonged enough, going anywhere, no, annihilated almost to a man, no. This is only the most recent and pertinent example of this phenomenon.

A similar thing could be said for infantry suppressed in decent cover by small arms fire. Such a unit again will not be going anywhere, will not be returning fire effectively but will also not be taking excessive casualties as it is notoriously difficult to hit a human being in cover with direct small-arms fire if they are trying there damnedest not to be exposed. What i find at the moment is that one HMG at even quite long ranges will continue to chew through a unit suppressed, in heavy woods for example, until they break and run. 

i consistently use arty, smoke and heavy weapons over-watch to try and minimise infantry losses only to find that the moment they come into, almost, any sort of enemy contact a unit will regularly lose 50+ % of its strength.  I can attest that at the end of most missions these days infantry units engaged will have suffered somewhere in the region of +70% casualties across the board. It is my opinion  that this is highly unrealistic and unsustainable. If such had been the ACTUAL casualty rates in WWII there wouldn't have been anybody left to tell us about saving Private Ryan... let alone save him for that matter.

the second point i wish to make is the reaction of infantry when coming under fire small arms fire, which is, generally, hit the dirt and curl into a ball until they have taken enough casualties to stand up and run back through a hail of bullets. Standard infantry doctrine dictated that in such a situation they would take whatever cover was available and return fire, EVEN if they could not see exactly where the enemy fire was coming from, they would try and lay down counter fire in that rough direction in the hope of suppressing the enemy instead. This never happens, and rarely happens even if they can spot the firing unit.

In a related example about behaviour under fire, a twelve man squad enters a stone house and comes under fire from a two-man LMG team across the street. One man is hit and instead of taking cover behind the windows for example the entire squad turns around and runs back out of the house, taking an additional two casualties in the process. They were regular infantry. 

Apologies if this turned into something of a rant but i would be interested in your thoughts, and there are other points i should like to make, however, i think that's probably enough for one post.

Cheers all,

pm.

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hey Combat

thanks for your prompt reply, and that's good news. Is there a list of changes anywhere yet that i can look at? 

You know i am conflicted about whether to continue through my list of issues because i do think highly of your product, in many ways it is so very very good, and it is patently apparently that a very great deal of hard work, love and devotion have gone into creating it and i do not want to come across as ungrateful or that i am simply trashing your efforts for the sake of it. I do not generally bother to post in forums but i find that i care about your games, partly because i'm genuinely in awe of what you guys have achieved, and partly because i do not feel it is currently delivering the gaming experience you intend it to. Now, i don't know the first thing about coding or the complexities that go into making such a sophisticated game engine, however if in some small way mine and my friends observations can help highlight 'shortcomings' (subjective i know) then i'd be happy to continue, but i will do so in a proper spirit of respect. Also i don't want to go over ground you've already covered.

Thanks again, 

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Oh, and I for one understand that CM Casualties are far too great compared to RL Combat situations...

Your Arty comment is a perfect example...Troops (even in open) exposed to light/medium arty would just hunker down (and not get KO'ed every time by single mortar/arty Shell 25-50 meters away) and wait for it to cease before moving out again, and just taking a few casualties in process...Think, a better 'Savings Roll' would help out.

Small Arms is another...Small Arms casualties needs to be reduced a bit, especially at Close Range Urban Combat. Troops should just pop-up to fire a short Burst or couple Rifle Rounds across the street then drop-down for self-preservation and not continue until firing until magazine or clip is empty. And, or a better 'Savings Roll' (if you will) when hit to represent troops trying to dodge bullets or hugging terrain better within its own posture, etc.

Yes, Combatintman, has suggested a New Patch will come out to address some issues regarding casualties, but most other issues your referring to will not, and simply the way the Game Mechanics work...We just have to pretend that 1 minute in CM is like 5 minutes of RL Combat, and so whatever casualties that have been inflicted by games-end is half of what it should be.

Yes, this is a Great Game compared to what is out on Market today with lots Time, Passion & Dedication put in, and I will continue to play it until I can't anymore...You will sleep better at night.

Joe

Edited by JoMc67

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Hey Joe

thanks man. Yeah, i have my ways of rationalising it away too. I try to look at casualties not so much as simply dead and wounded per se but rather as also men who cannot go forward, have given up and are no longer combat effective, with only the men still represented as being in the fight. However, this doesn't work in linked campaigns where casualties carry over. One sticking plaster work a round might be to have a percentage return to the ranks between missions, but that's a question of revisiting campaign design right? retrofitting existing game content like that sounds like a headache for someone. And it still wouldn't address the fact that most infantry units as it stands are depleted after two or three phases of engagement, lets not forget that at that point, on top of casualties sustained they are usually rattled at best, broken at worst, which makes them very difficult to use effectively. 

frankly, and i know this sounds a bit daft, but i care too much about those damned sprites. To me they really do represent the guys that went through that terrible war and i want to be able to shepherd those little digital heroes through these fights with as few losses as i can manage. I am loath to play at the moment because i'm tired of feeding those guys into the merciless meat-grinder of this beautiful game. Now, i understand and except that under certain circumstances whole units could be wiped put but it was pretty rare. Most often attacks broke down and fell back to regroup and return for another try before losses reached silly levels, not so in-game at the moment. partly, i think, because the ballistics modelling is so good and so accurate (except perhaps for the spandau being altogether too accurate, it was after all more of an area suppression weapon historically... but that might be just splitting-hairs no pun intended) that the ''survival' aspect needs to be re-balanced to compensate. 

what are your thoughts,

pm.

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5 minutes ago, Zveroboy1 said:

Powdermonkey you sound like you're ready to play Black Sea. 😃

Hey Zveroboy1

haha perhaps, but not until i scrape together some cash :), and also, i'm a fan of the WWII period, never really got into the more modern stuff. Not to say i might not at some point of course. But why,  does it not have the same problems then?

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8 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

thanks man. Yeah, i have my ways of rationalising it away too. I try to look at casualties not so much as simply dead and wounded per se but rather as also men who cannot go forward, have given up and are no longer combat effective, with only the men still represented as being in the fight

Exactly, and the only way to look at it...Overall Combat Effectiveness (thou, that was better suited for CMx1, then CMx2 where Bullet/Arty trajectories are calculated).

Edited by JoMc67

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1 hour ago, Combatintman said:

Welcome and you'll be pleased to know that a patch should be released soon which will address a lot of the issues that you raise here.

Sorry Combat, mistook you for one of the game devs... told you i was new to this :)

 

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14 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

Now, i understand and except that under certain circumstances whole units could be wiped put but it was pretty rare

Oh, and most definitely a Unit can get wiped out (by games end), but (as you say) under rarer circumstances...

Edited by JoMc67

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8 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

Hey Zveroboy1

haha perhaps, but not until i scrape together some cash :), and also, i'm a fan of the WWII period, never really got into the more modern stuff. Not to say i might not at some point of course. But why,  does it not have the same problems then?

Yeah, Monkey of Powder...I'm with you, and will only stick with WWII.

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it's partly to do with the cushioning effect of history, i'm actually a little squeemish about wargaming conflicts that are too 'fresh' as it were, but that could just be me. But hey, i'm probably being a little hypocritical.

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5 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

:) Solidarity brother

 

And, I will raise you one...When ready for some CM Meat-Grinding against Human Opponent, then PM me :-) 

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haha, thanks Joe, i'll bare that in mind. Might have to see what this new patch is all about before i commit to that though, i'm serious about not playing it as is. Gives me heartburn 😜

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I said that in jest. Black Sea is three times as lethal as the WWII games lol.

Joke aside, yes I agree it is a bit too lethal especially for infantry in cover like buildings, foxholes and trenches. The protection offered by these types of cover is currently under modeled. It is a pity because this is pretty much my only gripe with the game. Otherwise it would be almost perfect. And it doesn't sound super hard to fix. You'd think tweaking a few values would go a long way toward making it more realistic. Of course it is probably not as simple...

On the other hand, some scenarios can last 2 hours, 2 hours and a half. So you'd have 4 or 5 hours longs scenarios. Not sure this would be such a good idea. So at the end of the day it is like JoMc67 said. Just imagine 1 minute in the game in an abstraction and covers 5 minutes in real life.

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17 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

...i'm actually a little squeemish about wargaming conflicts that are too 'fresh' as it were, but that could just be me.

Back, say about 40 years ago, back in the heyday of cardboard games, I never felt good about NATO vs. WarPac games. Not because they were too close to home, but because there was no reality check on them. The battles they tried to depict hadn't happened, and thankfully never did. So there was nothing to compare the depiction to. It could have been way, way off, but the player would be blissfully unaware that he had been sold a bucket of fish guts.

Michael

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i see your point. On the one hand i wouldn't mind longer scenarios, but on the other i can imagine a way of keeping the balance by tweaking the morale values. What if broken units surrendered en masse or fled the field. Battles are then won by breaking the enemy morale rather than exterminating them, which is more true to reality. I'm sure we've all run into that one 'broken' guy (with, almost invariably, an SMG) in a shell hole who still has fight enough left in him to take out half a squad before he throws up his hands, whats all that about? :D

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7 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

Back, say about 40 years ago, back in the heyday of cardboard games, I never felt good about NATO vs. WarPac games. Not because they were too close to home, but because there was no reality check on them. The battles they tried to depict hadn't happened, and thankfully never did. So there was nothing to compare the depiction to. It could have been way, way off, but the player would be blissfully unaware that he had been sold a bucket of fish guts.

Michael

ahh, back in the day... was table top hand painted figures rulers and dice for me, showing our age Michael. Aye, that whole what-if Cold War thing always seemed one step from Sci-fi to me, for that very reason. all a bit un-tethered and hypothetical. Might as well be fighting on the moon :). But i agree, WWIII sparking off would have been a  high price to pay for a more credible wargame. Plus we'd have been marshalling battalions of pebbles in a cave somewhere right?

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3 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

Aye, that whole what-if Cold War thing always seemed one step from Sci-fi to me, for that very reason. all a bit un-tethered and hypothetical.

Precisely.

4 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

Plus we'd have been marshalling battalions of pebbles in a cave somewhere right?

Or dying in any of a host of very unpleasant ways.

Michael

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IMHO it's not that artillery is too strong. It's that the modeling is a bit off. It works in strange ways. Arty causes too many casualties far from the impact, and arguably too few for close hits. 150mm shell bursting in small trees directly above the heads of two scouts: 1 lightly wounded? A guy running out of a building just as an 88mm shell hits the wall next to the door: apparently no damage? At other times, a rifle grenade will cause a casualty inside a building 60 metres away, and that's while the guy is looking out the window on the other side of the building :)

I don't know how explosions are modeled in this game, but it seems to be very abstracted.

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1 minute ago, Michael Emrys said:

Precisely.

Or dying in any of a host of very unpleasant ways.

Michael

yeah, indeed, and heaven forfend. The horrors of a modern day global conflict are unimaginable Lets hope they stay that way.

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23 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

Lets hope they stay that way.

We'll be lucky if they do. A do not wish to sound all gloom and doom, but the signs are abundant that key of the world leaders are letting their egos run away with whatever good sense they might ever have possessed. I do not regard these as good times to be in.

Michael

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6 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

IMHO it's not that artillery is too strong. It's that the modeling is a bit off. It works in strange ways. Arty causes too many casualties far from the impact, and arguably too few for close hits. 150mm shell bursting in small trees directly above the heads of two scouts: 1 lightly wounded? A guy running out of a building just as an 88mm shell hits the wall next to the door: apparently no damage? At other times, a rifle grenade will cause a casualty inside a building 60 metres away, and that's while the guy is looking out the window on the other side of the building :)

I don't know how explosions are modeled in this game, but it seems to be very abstracted.

:), yeah i call them Leader-Seeking Shrapnel shells. That's when they are not rigged to take out you LMG guy, or both. Although, the behaviour of shells and shrapnel is pretty strange. There are plenty of recorded examples of people near to explosions not being seriously harmed whilst someone further away gets shredded, chaotic systems are unpredictable. But i have lost count of the amount of times that that one guy hit by a shell fragment from an impact 80 m away is your squad leader or gunner. Has had me looking sideways at my PC more than once.. I think the point i'm making about it is that the emphasis is too much on causing casualties generally than suppression and pinning units down. That cover doesn't seem very effective and infantry too vulnerable to the totality of weapon systems within the game. The Arty is just the most prominent example of a wider point. Although a point was made about keeping scenario length manageable but i'm sure that could either be lived with or worked around.Like i say, particularly if broken units were exactly that. 

I'm actually thinking i could really enjoy a five hour long mission, a hill assault say, one where units are thrown back and have to regroup re-organise and recover in dead ground before trying again. I could enjoy that i think, but possibly not everyone's cup of tea. But there are other things, like doors that aren't actually access points on buildings. You know, you think you're sending a squad into a building through the side facing away from the enemy only to have them run round into the line of fire trying to enter the building from the front. Silly things like that that seem easy to fix.

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