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Has 4.0 made the stock campaigns unplayable?


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I was two thirds of the way through playing a mission from Conrath's Counterattack. I forget which number mission but it's the one where the Germans have to fight their way up a valley and capture the crossroads. I had been blasting away at the American foxholes for what seemed like an eternity with machine gun fire and tank 50mm and 75mm HE. Progress was tough and slow. Within five turns of upgrading to engine 4.0 all the American troops had fled and I was able to just amble up and take the crossroads with hardly any additional casualties. I am also playing through the Road to Nijmegen campaign (where the boot is on the other foot) and have reached the missions where hordes of Germans attack the US paras around the windmill and hotel. For some reason the designer has chosen to make all the paras regular troops and so are constantly fleeing for their lives when confronted by such numbers and fire-power, making the battle hopeless and pointless. It seems to me that suddenly a lot of the fun has been taken out of these battles unless you play with veteran or above. As I tend to play more scenarios/campaigns than quick battles this is very seldom possible.

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It has been mentioned elsewhere that troops seem to flee from trenches too often in this current update. But I don't know if BF has tweaked something related to this behavior. Maybe is an unexpected reaction to something else, like the new spacing or peeking around corners have unexpectedly changed the trench behavior? But that's just my guess.

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I welcome all the other changes in 4.0 , particularly the more robust hunt command but it's the change they made to the troop AI and the effects of HE fire that's causing the trouble. It could do with another tweak to bring it somewhere between the two in my opinion.

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I like the fleeing soldiers in 4.0

 

Played a German campaign where you play some scenarios with elite SS or Falschirmjäger troops and others with green Luftwaffe or Marine troops.

The difference is huge!

For the green soldiers it is essential to keep them in command range.

And your enemy's will flee too!

The fleeing soldiers seem to be especially happy for big shell holes....

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I'm a bit on the fence with the new Infantry behavior as well. Oh the one hand I completely agree with what @Erwin said. Before, in many cases troops tended to stand their ground to the death too frequently. Specifically when taking direct HE fire from a tank they can see. "Displace dammit!"

However on the flip side now with 4.0 and the new behavior, I've run into a few situations where Infantry break and run when they absolutely should not. In CMFB there is a mission that features a mixed group of US airborne and regular infantry defending a town against an SS attack with a king tiger and some disguised SS in American uniforms, and even a captured Sherman. Cannot recall the name of the battle at the moment. The battle begins with a germanartillery barrage, and to my horror, just as the rounds started landing my riflemen abandoned their defensive positions inside of houses, running out into the open and being cut down by subsequent shells. I've observed other cases of Infantry bailing from foxholes and/or trenches when they clearly should have stayed in place. 

A lot of the missions/campaigns in CMFI are based around entrenched defenders, specifically the Monte Casino campaign. Playing it in v3.0 is quite a challenge, as it should be seeing how difficult the campaign was in real life. But now with the 4.0 Infantry changes I'm afraid that the campaign will be too easy, as all you'll have to do to drive the enemy out of their defensive positions is put some HE in their general location. Doesn't seem right. 

I haven't upgraded CMFI yet because I'm away and haven't had the chance to do so. When I return I will be upgrading despite my few nitpicks with v4.0 as I think by and large the update was very good. And I already paid for it ;)

Is there any info about possible tweaks to this new behavior to make dug in Infantry more resilient? Right now the only thing I know that can be done is to give u it's you do not want to leave an indefinite pause command, but this obviously doesn't work for the AI in a campaign battle. 

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"...riflemen abandoned their defensive positions inside of houses, running out into the open and being cut down by subsequent shells. I've observed other cases of Infantry bailing from foxholes and/or trenches when they clearly should have stayed in place."

That's not ideal...  The AI should give troops an experience or morale boost when they are in good defensive positions in addition to a defensive bonus.

Edited by Erwin
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Cpt. Miller, I see the same thing. Troops under a barrage or stonk, or just receiving very heavy fire break and run at all the wrong times after 4.0.

There's a fix of sorts. Thanks to IanL for this:  If you want your men to stay put while getting shellacked, give them a full Pause order--not the timed ones--hit the farthest left button above the Orders box. It's an "O" with a horizontal line through it.  Works very good to keep your men put.

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Agreed, I've been seeing in v4.0 infantry fleeing foxholes under HE fire far too easily (when they wouldn't previously), only to be cut down metres away by that same HE fire.

Considering foxholes are 'relatively' easy to spot, their benefit currently (in V4.0) is highly debatable: enemy spots them rapidly, drops some HE and voila; a moving shooting gallery of men appears (likely rapidly mowed down by the same HE barrage).  

 

It's one thing for men in the open to flee under a HE barrage, but it seems foxholes/fortifications need to add a significantly bigger morale boost to offset the v4.0 changes in AI behaviour under HE fire.  Note that i am seeing this in both CM: BS and CM: FB.

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Investigating this is near the top of my todo list. I have a couple of concerns - my gut says that I'll be able to make the case that troops should not flee from foxholes,trenches and buildings when under an artillery barrage but I am unsure how to make the case that they should not flee so quickly from just a normal ground assault. If you guys have ideas on that I'm all ears. Perhaps we don't really want to do that at all.

BTW someone (sorry whomever you are for not crediting you) suggested adding a pause to your troops in their fortified positions so they don't move even if they want to. Select the team in question press the P key 10 times or just the pause quick command once. Now they will not move even if the feel the need. There are downsides to this - they don't ever flee even if the become shaken, they stick it out even more than before - but it can be useful for some teams.

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It seems to me that the ability to 'Pause' the troops has already fixed the problem.....Clicking it is a bit like the squad leader shouting "stay put & keep your heads down". 

Presumably they will still fire their weapons if directly attacked, so the decision to abandon defences is in the player's hands under those circumstances.

Just my tuppence.  ;)

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21 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

It seems to me that the ability to 'Pause' the troops has already fixed the problem.....Clicking it is a bit like the squad leader shouting "stay put & keep your heads down". 

Presumably they will still fire their weapons if directly attacked, so the decision to abandon defences is in the player's hands <Snip>  

Yep, they will still fire their weapons.  Or at least Pause will not stop them from shooting.  This permanent Pause works for PBEM games.  I think the problem is when a human is playing against the AI.  The AI is not able to use this workaround.  The 4.0 running away behavior tends to spoil scenarios created before 4.0.  Designers who tested and released a scenario with certain expected behavior by the AI can no longer expect that original AI behavior.      

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4 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

 I think the problem is when a human is playing against the AI.  The AI is not able to use this workaround.  The 4.0 running away behavior tends to spoil scenarios created before 4.0.  Designers who tested and released a scenario with certain expected behavior by the AI can no longer expect that original AI behavior.      

I don‘t think that this is something that relates to only older scenarios. Even if the scenario desigers are aware of this AI behaviour by now it may still be difficult to force the AI to hold on to a prepared defensive possition (trenches) in a  'realistic way' even in newly produced scenarious.

Obviously there are many wiews on what a realistic way is though. ;)

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6 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

Yep, they will still fire their weapons.  Or at least Pause will not stop them from shooting.  This permanent Pause works for PBEM games.  I think the problem is when a human is playing against the AI.  The AI is not able to use this workaround.  The 4.0 running away behavior tends to spoil scenarios created before 4.0.  Designers who tested and released a scenario with certain expected behavior by the AI can no longer expect that original AI behavior.      

This is my original point: the pause command trick is fine for your own troops, but when fighting against the AI they have no such trick as well, making attacking a position defended by the AI unrealistically easy. All you have to do is hit positions with a few HE rounds and the enemy abandons their positions. 

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13 hours ago, RepsolCBR said:

 Even if the scenario desigers are aware of this AI behaviour by now it may still be difficult to force the AI to hold on to a prepared defensive possition (trenches) in a  'realistic way' even in newly produced scenarious.

 

Problem is if scenario designers start beefing up the experience and motivation of defenders to get them to hold position and then BFC decide to edit the code to get defenders to hold position longer in foxholes/trenches/buildings we could be fighting some very tough dug in defenders.

I like the new dynamic of troops fleeing from a barrage too many times before men of average quality with shattered morale would hold till the last, it just needs tweaking a little.

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3 hours ago, bodkin said:

Problem is if scenario designers start beefing up the experience and motivation of defenders to get them to hold position and then BFC decide to edit the code to get defenders to hold position longer in foxholes/trenches/buildings we could be fighting some very tough dug in defenders.

I like the new dynamic of troops fleeing from a barrage too many times before men of average quality with shattered morale would hold till the last, it just needs tweaking a little.

I agree completely, and I'm confident there will be some such tweak in an upcoming patch. All that is needed is for foxholes/trenches and the like to impart some kind of extra bonus that keeps troops from fleeing from artillery barrages so quickly. 

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3 hours ago, bodkin said:

Problem is if scenario designers start beefing up the experience and motivation of defenders to get them to hold position and then BFC decide to edit the code to get defenders to hold position longer in foxholes/trenches/buildings we could be fighting some very tough dug in defenders.

True.

Another problem with this quick solution is that the scenario designers might want to depict a fight with low quality/ experience defenders.

Upping the experience and motivation a few notches to have them remain in their prepared possitions a bit longer might work well as long as they remain in their trenches but ones they are forced out of their possitions they will still remaine maybe elite troops with high motivations wich might not be what the designer wants if he is trying to depict a defensive line held by green troops

Some sort of moddifier to the trenches them self might be needed.

This nut that may seem like a fairly easy one to crack might not be quite so easy after all.

Hopefully some good solution will pop up.

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