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powdermonkey

Over-Powered Artillery and general game lethality

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6 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

:), yeah i call them Leader-Seeking Shrapnel shells.

They also take out the..

6 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

That's when they are not rigged to take out your LMG guy

Exactly :)

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4 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

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

That's leaders for you... Perhaps not. But i wonder if there ever really were 'good' times to be in. Every age has its problems right? I mean, not nuclear to be fair. Does seem like the world could do with a little more sanity and understanding and a little less tension, true enough. If it helps i feel that most of those guys are enjoying the play too much to blow up the theater if you follow. But it is worrying and i suppose we always have to be aware and on guard. We know where complacency leads.

 

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52 minutes ago, powdermonkey said:

That's leaders for you... Perhaps not. But i wonder if there ever really were 'good' times to be in. Every age has its problems right?

Not to turn the thread political, but it seems that in the US at least, people had more faith in their leaders back in the day.

 

acrefore-9780190228637-e-77-graphic-004-

 

Trust in government in the US. Source: Pew Research Center

http://oxfordre.com/politics/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228637-e-77

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Lets also keep in mind that there are 2x layers in CM (any Tactical Wargame for that matter)...Strategic Layer and a Tactical Layer:

Strategic Layer: Players can do what they want in a Scenario, this compared to what actually did happen in a RL Battlefield...The Former tends to cause far more casualties in the end.  

Tactical Layer: The Game Mechanics...By adjusting certain aspects of this it will help reduce casualties and give us a more realistic turn-by-turn outcome.

@powdermonkey...When the Patch comes out it will help a little in the Tactical Layer in reducing casualties, however, the end result will probably be the same...Higher Casualties at each aspect of the game.

I also use to play HO & Micro Armor minis on Terrain Boards back in the 70's-80's first using TRACTICS (designed for HO) then as others came out...I still have a collection of those Micro-Armor and Terrain Boards.

Edited by JoMc67

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Other than the artillery issues which will hopefully be improved by the forthcoming patches, the biggest casualty producer in the game, to me, is the time limits and the overall aggressiveness of troops. It's really easy to get your troops killed by failing to scout and by making contact with too large a group of your men. If you use scout teams and move methodically, you will avoid running whole squads into kill zones. Your troops will happily barge forward into the kill zones if you order them to. The challenge then becomes dealing with the clock. If you've only got two hours to take an objective, you may have to press forward faster than historically would have been the case most of the time, and the result will be higher casualties. 

I don't think these are necessarily flaws (the game is already pretty sedately paced even with these design decisions), but it helps to keep in mind when you're comparing to historical casualty figures that CMx2 makes it a challenge to really take your time with many of the scenario timers, and the willingness of basically all troops to charge aggressively forward (until they start taking hits) will let you get them killed pretty easily!

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4 hours ago, powdermonkey said:

Heh, just realised i mistook Combatintman for someone in the company, that was a waste of good intentions. Meh.

 

No sweat and no need to apologise - I'm a tester, but by no stretch of the imagination am I a dev because that involves cleverness.

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Cool first thread. Welcome @powdermonkey. So @Combatintman pointed out there is a patch due that will help with reducing the tendency of troops to automatically withdraw due to taking some small arms fire (your squad enters a building and takes LMG fire) and the issue with troops sticking around while under HE fire or not staying in their fox holes during same. That's good but you raise a few other issues that are not going to be changing any time soon. I'm just inserting an expectation check here (it's my job) 🙂

BFC does not believe that they have over modelled artillery. There are no plans that I am aware of to change that.

BFC does not believe they have under modelled the protection buildings offer. There are no plans that I am aware of to change that either.

So, no patch is planned or due to "fix" those things because they do *not* believe there is an issue with them.

The issue of high casualties has another root that sometimes comes up - us, the player. In real life after taking some number of casualties the battle field leaders would have usually stopped the attack to regroup or wait for additional support. But *we* don't do that. We keep fighting.

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As to lethality, CM represents the 'tip of the spear' so will be considerably more lethal than occupation duties or supply convoys. The real world Battle of the Bulge, for example, lasted for about 40 days and in that time generated roughly 150,000 casualties, about fifteen hundred tanks lost and roughly the same number of aircraft (counting both sides).  In the ETO five US Divisions suffered over 200% casualties.

Here's a post from 'Warren Peace' to Battlefront all the way back in 2001.

Quote

My step-father lasted from July 25 to November 25 in the 5th Armored Division as a medic.

 

My impression is that on Average US Infantry divisions suffered around 200% casualties from D-Day to VE day. Since 75% of the casualties were suffered in the 7200 individuals that made up the infantry companies. They would be turned over faster. If we do the math:

 

Assume 14,000 men per Division, therefore 200% casualties would be 28,000 casualties. 75% would fall in the combat battalians this would mean 291% causualty rate for these units (which would include the Machine gunner).

 

291% casualties/11months=317% casualties/year

 

or 6.1% Casualties per week. Your probabilites of being a non-casualty:

 

1 week= 93.9%

2 weeks=88.2%

3 weeks=82 %

4 weeks=76.7%

8 weeks=58.9%

12 weeks= 47%

16 weeks = 36.5%

11 months = 5.4%

 

Not quite 15 minutes, but still not great odds. Also, it should be noted that by far most of the casualties were clustered in June, July, November, December, and January, so for those months the casualty rates would be higher.

 

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55 minutes ago, IanL said:

BFC does not believe they have under modelled the protection buildings offer. There are no plans that I am aware of to change that either.

I think part of this is that barns are textured to look like strong stone buildings. So new players coming into the game find they offer almost no cover, but that's because under the texture, it's actually a wooden barn.

Old timers have learnt to recognise barns and avoid putting troops in them, but I can see how it would frustrate newcomers.

My suggestion would be to give each building a texture that reflects the cover it actually offers.

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Yeah, I am not too surprised that artillery is overly effective and infantry losses are disproportionately high. Ever since the dawn of the Industrial age, since Napoleon, artillery is the Queen/God/Whatever of War. I remember reading that German mortar fire was responsible for 75% of British casualties during D-Day. The capabilities of modern artillery is so terrifying that its a deterrent to conventional warfare.

Here's some stats from the US Army Medical Department (along with too much info on wartime casualties) : Table 14

60 percent of casualties were due to shell fragments. This is across all the theatres of where the Americans were (Arty being slightly more effective in Europe than Pacific). I imagine similar, if not higher, figures on the Eastern Front. The Soviet's take away from the crushing defeats in Barbarossa wasn't that they needed more tanks -- but more mortars. 

As for copious amounts of infantry casualties... Here's some stats on US casualties from 41 to 46: Battle casualties by duty branch

More than 2/3rds of ALL casualties the US sustained were Infantry. This is why you can't really have a "Balanced" game that's also plausible.

I will say that I find CM maps to be a bit on the tighter side. There is not a lot of opportunity to spread out your infantry.

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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

I think part of this is that barns are textured to look like strong stone buildings. So new players coming into the game find they offer almost no cover, but that's because under the texture, it's actually a wooden barn.

Old timers have learnt to recognise barns and avoid putting troops in them, but I can see how it would frustrate newcomers.

My suggestion would be to give each building a texture that reflects the cover it actually offers.

Oh an excellent point actually. I think someone did some experiments about how tough (or not) buildings were. The main take away was the look of the building did *not* matter as @Bulletpoint suggested only the type of building bar, independent building, modular building, church (technically a church is an independent building but they seem to be tougher)

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This is a very interesting thread. It's my first time of posting too so I may also be covering ground already discussed.

I feel the greatest flaw that the current mechanic causes in the game is that even if you do everything right and move your forces cautiously and effectively, even if you wait, watch and set up fire bases and advance scout forces etc. etc. you cannot accomplish any mission objectives without crippling casualties.

The game, the arty and the response to being under fire all means casualties are large and disproportionate.

If you manoeuvre well ,use cover and implement tried and tested infantry tactics you should be able to accomplish a mission with light/reasonable casualties. As this stands this is impossible and that is very disheartening.

2 particular bug bears for me is the habit of troops to run round the front of buildings to enter rather then through rear doors which gets men killed and the inability of advancing troops to react in a sensible way to coming under fire or to 'clear' out buildings they are supposed to be assaulting. Again engendering disproportionate casualties. 

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6 hours ago, MikeyD said:

As to lethality, CM represents the 'tip of the spear' so will be considerably more lethal than occupation duties or supply convoys. The real world Battle of the Bulge, for example, lasted for about 40 days and in that time generated roughly 150,000 casualties, about fifteen hundred tanks lost and roughly the same number of aircraft (counting both sides).  In the ETO five US Divisions suffered over 200% casualties.

Here's a post from 'Warren Peace' to Battlefront all the way back in 2001.

 

 

5 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

Yeah, I am not too surprised that artillery is overly effective and infantry losses are disproportionately high. Ever since the dawn of the Industrial age, since Napoleon, artillery is the Queen/God/Whatever of War. I remember reading that German mortar fire was responsible for 75% of British casualties during D-Day. The capabilities of modern artillery is so terrifying that its a deterrent to conventional warfare.

Here's some stats from the US Army Medical Department (along with too much info on wartime casualties) : Table 14

60 percent of casualties were due to shell fragments. This is across all the theatres of where the Americans were (Arty being slightly more effective in Europe than Pacific). I imagine similar, if not higher, figures on the Eastern Front. The Soviet's take away from the crushing defeats in Barbarossa wasn't that they needed more tanks -- but more mortars. 

As for copious amounts of infantry casualties... Here's some stats on US casualties from 41 to 46: Battle casualties by duty branch

More than 2/3rds of ALL casualties the US sustained were Infantry. This is why you can't really have a "Balanced" game that's also plausible.

I will say that I find CM maps to be a bit on the tighter side. There is not a lot of opportunity to spread out your infantry.

 

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CM scenarios actually tend to underutilize the game's robust artillery assets.
Scenario designers are loath to include Calliope or Katyusha or BM-21 GRAD artillery rockets in their scenarios because they can be game-enders. Artillery rockets were entirely left out of CMBS. Players have often asked "Why do Germans field Nebelwerfer so rarely?" The answer is 'because using area saturation artillery in scenarios kind'a sucks.'

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1 hour ago, MikeyD said:

CM scenarios actually tend to underutilize the game's robust artillery assets.
Scenario designers are loath to include Calliope or Katyusha or BM-21 GRAD artillery rockets in their scenarios because they can be game-enders. Artillery rockets were entirely left out of CMBS. Players have often asked "Why do Germans field Nebelwerfer so rarely?" The answer is 'because using area saturation artillery in scenarios kind'a sucks.'

Working on my dense urban map for CMRT (to be released after the CMRT module comes out), I've found that artillery feels underpowered on that kind of map. Building type matters a lot. Independent building types offer far less protection and durability than modular building types - even if they are similar in size. A large, tall multi-section modular building can hold up to a pretty massive amount of artillery. I've seen regular (with reg motivation) platoons hiding on the bottom floors of that kind of building take very light casualties from standard medium and heavy howitzers until the building section they are in actually collapses (then they get wiped). With say, 122mm howitzers, that usually takes 20-30 minutes of point arty at lower fire rates (which overall bring the building down more efficiently because they hit more often due to higher accuracy).

So, it really depends on the map type, design and tactical situation as to whether arty is overpowered or not. On my urban map, medium mortars feel like pop guns vs the buildings and a full battery of point 81mm probably won't cause any noticeable damage to even a small modular building (still useful for other things, though). Players are going to get to use arty types and amounts they normally don't have access to because the map provides enough protection to facilitate it. But, like I said at the beginning, I've been suprised at the durability of the modular building constructions vs artillery.  I feel like they hold up too well (and the independents are a bit too weak).

On infantry, setting aside the unrealistic level of aggressiveness the player demands from his pixeltroopen, which is a BIG factor, I'd say that the current casualty rates are by design choice to facilitate enjoyable scenario lengths for most players. The more realistic the combat becomes, the slower it becomes. And that, while pushing up the enjoyment level for a smaller section of the player base, will push it down for a much larger section of the player base. My guess is that quite a few folks who think they would love slower, more realistic play, would find themselves playing less often for some reason. I think this is one of those cases where BF, in their experience, knows what most customers really want, even if the customers don't (rough edges, like rout paths, still need to be improved 😀).

Having said all that, I'm one of those nuts that likes to push the realism side, so with my map project, you're going to get 4-hour battles. The concept may flop (and that's okay), but it should be a good testing bed for the community and hopefully will be good fodder for design discussion and ideas.

Looking forward to the patch and CMRT module!

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3 hours ago, Farmer George 1745 said:

This is a very interesting thread. It's my first time of posting too so I may also be covering ground already discussed.

I feel the greatest flaw that the current mechanic causes in the game is that even if you do everything right and move your forces cautiously and effectively, even if you wait, watch and set up fire bases and advance scout forces etc. etc. you cannot accomplish any mission objectives without crippling casualties.

The game, the arty and the response to being under fire all means casualties are large and disproportionate.

If you manoeuvre well ,use cover and implement tried and tested infantry tactics you should be able to accomplish a mission with light/reasonable casualties. As this stands this is impossible and that is very disheartening.

2 particular bug bears for me is the habit of troops to run round the front of buildings to enter rather then through rear doors which gets men killed and the inability of advancing troops to react in a sensible way to coming under fire or to 'clear' out buildings they are supposed to be assaulting. Again engendering disproportionate casualties. 

Yes, and this is exactly how me and powdermonkey feel about the situation...

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There is also the issue of engagement ranges which of course depend on the map being used. Often CM maps are too cramped, almost claustrophobic in nature and don't use realistic  distances for the terrain being portrayed. If you have a firefight taking places at longer range, if you replace veteran troops with green pixel soldiers and you don't push as hard, casualties will be lower. Give it a try, play with green soldiers instead of veterans, the results will be a lot different. They don't spot nearly as well and their accuracy is a lot lower.

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8 minutes ago, JoMc67 said:

Yes, and this is exactly how me and powdermonkey feel about the situation...

I agree as well and definitely want BF to improve things like infantry's choice of doors, how they react to coming under fire, and assault tactics (being able to split off as many two-man teams as you want would help).

On the other hand, at the macro level, there is the sticky problem of how the resulting extention of game time would effect overall player enjoyment. I'd very much like to see the obvious rough eges removed, but think there is a wall there on how far BF can push adding realism in terms of game assets being lost in relation to real world game time spent before it pushes overall game enjoyment down for most players.

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16 hours ago, Farmer George 1745 said:

This is a very interesting thread. It's my first time of posting too so I may also be covering ground already discussed.

I feel the greatest flaw that the current mechanic causes in the game is that even if you do everything right and move your forces cautiously and effectively, even if you wait, watch and set up fire bases and advance scout forces etc. etc. you cannot accomplish any mission objectives without crippling casualties.

The game, the arty and the response to being under fire all means casualties are large and disproportionate.

If you manoeuvre well ,use cover and implement tried and tested infantry tactics you should be able to accomplish a mission with light/reasonable casualties. As this stands this is impossible and that is very disheartening.

Ah guys this view is logically flawed. You are saying "if I perform well I should win with light casualties" but flip that around. If the other side says the exact same thing they both cannot be true.

If you perform well you will minimize your casulties but remember the other side is specifically trying to *cause* casulties and therefore even if you do things right your pixels will be at risk of undo suffering.

16 hours ago, Farmer George 1745 said:

2 particular bug bears for me is the habit of troops to run round the front of buildings to enter rather then through rear doors which gets men killed and the inability of advancing troops to react in a sensible way to coming under fire or to 'clear' out buildings they are supposed to be assaulting. Again engendering disproportionate casualties. 

True, path finding can be trouble some and could be better. One thing we can do now is learn how things work and plan our orders better - it really helps. The coming patch should help somewhat with the coming under fire behaviour while clearing buildings.

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16 hours ago, Farmer George 1745 said:

I feel the greatest flaw that the current mechanic causes in the game is that even if you do everything right and move your forces cautiously and effectively, even if you wait, watch and set up fire bases and advance scout forces etc. etc. you cannot accomplish any mission objectives without crippling casualties.

If you manoeuvre well ,use cover and implement tried and tested infantry tactics you should be able to accomplish a mission with light/reasonable casualties. As this stands this is impossible and that is very disheartening.

Unfortunately, that's how it was back then. Time was often a more valuable resource than human life. If you can't take the objective on schedule, that means that other elements of the operation won't be able to do what they need to do. Then, the entire operation goes Market Garden -- and more people could die in other engagements because you decided to spare yours. War is a terrible thing, and field officers often have the unsavory duty of being forced into no-win situations. It /is/ disheartening -- that's CM.

I would like an option like in the newer XCom that doubles time limits.

16 hours ago, Farmer George 1745 said:

2 particular bug bears for me is the habit of troops to run round the front of buildings to enter rather then through rear doors which gets men killed and the inability of advancing troops to react in a sensible way to coming under fire or to 'clear' out buildings they are supposed to be assaulting. Again engendering disproportionate casualties. 

On this, I totally agree. I'm waiting on those AI patches -- maniacs getting up and trying to run away from mortar bombardment, when they should be burying their face in the dirt.

13 hours ago, Zveroboy1 said:

Often CM maps are too cramped, almost claustrophobic in nature and don't use realistic  distances for the terrain being portrayed. 

Yep, my biggest issue. The engine can't really handle big sprawling maps. I often find the avenues of approach to be limited.

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I think that artillery is not overpowered, fortifications are underpowered in most scenarios. I am making scenario where I set ditches with 1-2m depth and trenches inside. I call 122mm howitzers exactly on this place (heavy, long), a lot of Germans survive.

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16 hours ago, Farmer George 1745 said:

If you manoeuvre well ,use cover and implement tried and tested infantry tactics you should be able to accomplish a mission with light/reasonable casualties. As this stands this is impossible and that is very disheartening.

I share your frustrations with casualties, and always try to minimise them. However, I think your thinking might be influenced by modern conflicts where friedly casualties are extremely low compared to WW2.

If a NATO nation had to fight a prolonged war against a real peer instead of scattered militants, losses would be enormous and would likely traumatise a generation - and that's even assuming nuclear weapons were not used.

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15 hours ago, Macisle said:

I agree as well and definitely want BF to improve things like infantry's choice of doors, how they react to coming under fire, and assault tactics (being able to split off as many two-man teams as you want would help).

On the other hand, at the macro level, there is the sticky problem of how the resulting extention of game time would effect overall player enjoyment. I'd very much like to see the obvious rough eges removed, but think there is a wall there on how far BF can push adding realism in terms of game assets being lost in relation to real world game time spent before it pushes overall game enjoyment down for most players.

In regards to the First Comment:..

Also, things like troops hugging outside of buildings (and not run in middle of street...stay on one side or the other), enhanced building combat that includes actual rooms and not just a left/right side building, troops popping up/down more often (flinching) when engaged in close range combat (Self Suppression vs. Combat Suppression) leading to less Small Arms exchanges (not using up a whole clip/mag every action-cycle, etc), reducing the HT gunners 100% casualty rate per game (small arms should be center mass just like gun fire), not having troops in building fire almost directly parallel (70 degrees) out of window/door but rather only 45-60 degrees), not having troops continuously moving back-forth within its own or adjacent action-spots before finally stopping...Not sure about the Infantry Spacing yet, but me thinks casualties are even greater due to too much spacing (some troops in squad/fire team straggle along too long before finally getting to destination, and thus potentially being casualties from small arms/arty.

All of the above (including yours...well, except the notion of other 2x man teams) should greatly enhance a Units survivability...Instead of loosing half-Platoon in one engagement you will instead loose a few troops per Platoon (couple per Squad)...Just think, even if loosing a few troops per Battle in a several Battle Campaign (for example), you will still loose 100% of your troops in the end (even that's a high casualty rate, but acceptable). As is stands now a player can potentially loose about 250% of his original troops that he started by Campaigns end (even more unacceptable).

These are just some of the things that I came up with that should greatly increase game play realism, but as you said, there are some things BF can change in time, cannot change due to game mechanics, or just have their own view how the game should be played.  

Edited by JoMc67

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I think @Bulletpoint stated that he felt the artillery was highly abstracted. I can't find the thread, but I am certain that at some previous point someone provided a lengthy discussion of why artillery works the way it does. It IS abstracted rather than modeled directly. An artillery shell landing triggers a probability calculation for each unit within a radius and that is the basis for casualty determination. The reason for this is that the "Action Square" system of the engine and the way squads and teams work mean that the troops are more tightly clustered than they would be in real life in many situations. As a result, if they modeled the artillery more directly, a LOT more squads would get vaporized by 155mm shells because they are all packed into an 8x24m box instead of spreading out over 50m+. 

Maybe someone who understands it better or has that explanation somewhere can share it. It might help. 

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CM is not particularly forthcoming about the mechanics involved in lethality assessment and such. They don't want you to play the 'game engine' but play-out the tactical situation like it was real world. The engine is very precise in what it does, down to the volume of explosive filler in individual shells, whether the round uses a thick steel case like an artillery shell or thin like a Nebelwerfer rocket. You may notice Panther 75mm HE shells are notably less effective than Sherman 75mm HE shells. That's because Sherman shells pack considerably more HE into the round. Panther rounds need to be more thick-walled to withstand the higher chamber pressure on firing. Stryker MGS fires a low velocity 'squash head' round that almost all HE and no casing to speak of. That's all buried in the game engine. You don't know its there but its there.

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