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Interception Out of Whack?


Good Soldier Svejk
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Salute, all,

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that intercepting aircraft take exagerrated losses? It isn't unusual, it seems, for interceptors, even when intercepting like aircraft and similar numbers, to lose heavily, 4 and 5 points isn't unusual, and I've seen as much as 7 and 8 on more than one occasion. And they don't seem to inflict anywhere near these kinds of losses in return. Compared to all the other combat in the game, these numbers are warped. (I can't think of another situation where a single combat dropped 5 or more points out of a unit).

I'm not one for suggesting tweaks and fixes, but it seems to me that this might be one area to look at for the next version of the game (or the next update). My guess is that the intercept on/off toggle issue would be solved if the intercept combat resolution wasn't so skewed.

Salute!

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Yes I have noticed this too and I have the latest and greatest patch. I have seen interceptors take staggering losses even against unsecorted bombers. A friend and I (Axis) were playing the 1944 sceneria, so the Germans even had higher level tech AC but I can't rember for sure but I believe experience was equal or close.

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Would anyone be in favor of some kind of option to NOT allow your air fleets to intercept? I am finding the same result you guys are, that my airforce is seriously damaged not by combat I initiate, but by intercepting air strikes that I dont really care to defend anyway. I would much rather have a corp or army take a hit of 2-3 (and that is about the limit in my experience) than to loose 4,5 even 6 strength points to an air force. Shouldnt the defending force have the OPTION of intercepting or not. I dont know of any other computer strategy game that has mandatory interception. Can this be an option in future pathes or versions?

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From a quick test, an inexperienced 10-factor German air fleet attacked the port near London and was intercepted by an inexperienced 10-factor British air fleet. German losses were -2 and British losses -3, but then the Germans took another -2 due to port AA. That's with no experience and no HQ command bonus for either side. Equal strength and supply, and same tech level. So, these very limited results seem OK based on all that.

Now throw in all sorts of changes to this situation and see what happens. It gets complicated quickly, but the bottom line is that if you're experiencing heavy interception losses, there's probably a good reason for it. He has a HQ and you don't. He has experience and you don't. He has higher tech levels and you don't. He has good supply and you don't. Etc. If you want different results, try changing whatever it is you're doing. ;)

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Originally posted by Bill Macon:

From a quick test, an inexperienced 10-factor German air fleet attacked the port near London and was intercepted by an inexperienced 10-factor British air fleet. German losses were -2 and British losses -3, but then the Germans took another -2 due to port AA. That's with no experience and no HQ command bonus for either side. Equal strength and supply, and same tech level. So, these very limited results seem OK based on all that.

Now throw in all sorts of changes to this situation and see what happens. It gets complicated quickly, but the bottom line is that if you're experiencing heavy interception losses, there's probably a good reason for it. He has a HQ and you don't. He has experience and you don't. He has higher tech levels and you don't. He has good supply and you don't. Etc. If you want different results, try changing whatever it is you're doing. ;)

I agree with your suggestion, and I have adapted my strategy to account for this aspect of the game play. I guess what bothers me most is that I have to worry about it at all. Shouldn't I be able to determine whether my air force is used to repell enemy air attacks? In 3R and other games an air fleet is given the option of intercepting or not - and if it does intercept then it cannot also attack in the same turn. That sounds reasonable given that there arent actually "turns" in an actual war - forces are acting simultaneously. So would an air fleet be able to perform a major offensive AND be used to intercept. I dont think that is reasonable. Plus even if the air fleet was not used in comabt during that nations turn, the air force commanders would have had the option of intercepting enemy attacks or not. Toward the end of the war germany conceeded air superiority to the allies, with good reason. Any significant interception by german planes would have meant the total destruction of what little remained of the german air force. They were able to pick and choose when and where they would operate. I think we should be given that same option - to intercept or not.

What usually happens to me is I use my air force to attack ground units in support of an offensive - so that turn they take some damage. Then during the AI or opponents turn an air attack is made on a ground or sea unit and my already damaged air fleets are further damaged. I have never had a unit completely destroyed - but they are depleted to the point where you loose virtually all of the experience you have aquired when you reinforce. I just think there should be some way of giving the defending player the option of expending his forces in this way - not if they are attacked directly of course, but in support of ground or sea units within range. Anyone agree?

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About the factors contributing to heavier losses for interceptors vs attackers, I agree that other things begin to contribute, but my impression is still that something is not quite right. Thank you for sharing your test, and I'd be interested to hear about other cases.

I'm not quite sure that figuring in losses incurred by the target (port or unit or whatever) is a valid factor when considering the relative losses for a separate event (the air:air combat). If the raiders lose 1 to interception and the interceptors 3, then the interceptors got shot down at a 3:1 ratio, regardless of how many of the raiders get lost to anti aircraft over the target.

My initial point, though, that I have yet to see any other unit in the game lose 7 or 8 points to a single round of combat like I have interceptors (regardless of the combination of factors were involved), still holds, however. And the 4 and 5 point losses which are routine in interception are still extraordinary cases in any other situations (all of them also having many of the same and varied contributing factors like leaders and supply in various combinations).

My guess is that whatever factors cause a minor loss differential between interceptors and raiders at low levels seems to grow exponentially--as I said, "out of whack"--as levels and factors progress. It might be a mathematical error of some sort in the program?

In the absence of more subtle mission planning (like dividing incoming air points into ground attack and air superiority), the losses between raiders and interceptors needs to be looked at, I still modestly propose.

Salute!

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My guess is that whatever factors cause a minor loss differential between interceptors and raiders at low levels seems to grow exponentially--as I said, "out of whack"--as levels and factors progress. It might be a mathematical error of some sort in the program?

It does grow exponentially, but this isn't due to math error - it's all in the combat formulas. If you're playing the AI at +1 or +2 experience, this will definitely give you a loss differential from the start. That in turn generates more experience for the AI units and their commanding HQs. Combat successes then translate into economic gains and increased investment in research, which then produces a greater differential as time goes on.

The experience settings do create a greater challenge, but at the expense of a level playing field. It's not like we're getting a smarter AI opponent, but rather one with unfair(?) advantages. It's up to you to determine what level of fairness you want with the computer. (I rarely use the +2 setting because that exceeds my fairness threshold!) We don't get these options setting up PBEM games, so interceptions and other combat results should be more balanced there.

An interesting and unresolved topic is how to make the AI "smarter" at higher difficulty levels rather than simply giving it advantages which tend to snowball as the years go by. It can and does get out of whack quickly.

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Good point, Bill, and thanks.

I have seen these sorts of results in a PBEM game, too, though, so I don't think it's a problem limited to the AI and those sorts of difficulty settings.

I don't intend to blame the game system for my own (many) flaws (although that's a handy thing to do). I've gotten a few air units clobbered by not managing them correctly or taking risks with them. And I can accept those sorts of setbacks.

I would say one thing in defense of the interceptors being "overmatched." It does create a built-in strategic penalty for abandoning or not contesting the airspace in a theater.

So long as you are "exchanging blows" with the opposing airforce, then things even out (you force him to intercept and he loses disproportionately, but then he raids you and evens things out).

If, however, you abandon an area or get blown out of it, then you aren't going to easily return there since your opponent will be able to force you to intercept before you can launch a mission (if he detects your return). In other words, you are going to have an uphill climb ahead of you to contest the airspace if, for whatever reason, your opponent has gained air superiority. You're going to have to compensate for not having the initiative in forcing interceptions by having numerical superiority (or technical superioirty) to compete.

This is a nice touch, whether intentional or not, strategically, but I think that in other situations, the exagerrated losses to interceptors causes other problems.

Now that I've come down on boths sides of the issue, I'll shut up for good ;)

Salute!

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