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God TOW is awful


sandy
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Originally posted by Jeff Duquette:

The basic infantry unit a player has to manuver in the game should really be either a squad or a fire team. Perhaps give the player the ability to break down squads into individual men if the player is so inclined. Having to command individual men as a default game play setting is too distracting for the typical scenario sizes.

Assign a number key to selected bunch of soldiers by pressing [shift]+1, 2, 3, ... You can assign a number to any amount of men/tanks up to two squads of men. Then recall this group/selection just by pressing the number key.

[ May 16, 2007, 05:26 AM: Message edited by: Jippo ]

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Some undocumented (I think, I only have the demo) bits of information. Double left clicking on ANY infantry will bring up it's squad in the panel, and ctrl left clicking on aunit will bring up all the units of that type on screen. Also clicking on the unit icons at the borders will take you to those units (friendly and enemy).

My issue with this game is the extensive use of scripting combined with the lack of both individual unit and group unit routines, which limits competetive gameplay and also limits the number and variety of scenarioes that will be produced.

That and the lack of multiplayer support.

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great -- danke for the tip. i'll give it a whirl. is there another key i need to press to get my infantry to take cover and to stop running off on their own ;o)

i love being the last post to a particular page of a thread. it pretty much ensures your post will never be read.

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As I had a quick reply and I'm still about I'll post some more.

I've done alot of testing of the game and in regard to the visibility problems these are my observations:

Firing units tend to aim at a center point of the object. So when they tell you they can't fire at their target, use the aiming cues and try telling them to aim for the turret or head (Alt 1 hotkey by default). Higher skill shooters I found tend to take these shots on their own while others need to be told. In the case of infantry try telling them to stand up and they will often take the shot.

The visibility model is very dependent on the scouting skill. When this is combined with the three hundred and sixty degree spotting ability of all units I feel you get strange results. However, within certain confines of the scouting skill on both sides you do get reasonable results. It certainly needs work and in my opinion is the weakest part of the design.

Infantry are not useless, far from it. All the lessons learnt from Combat Mission are applicale here. Move them short distances in bursts in covered terrain. Tell them to hold fire, as often this is what is giving them away to the enemy. Learn to crawl and don't do head on assaults, and when you do keep it to twenty meters or less on a suppressed foe. Detach MGs from the squad (in their own group with a staff leader for support) put them prone elsewhere for best results, the same with snipers (and keep them prone too). The most infantry you want to place in any one trench is equal to the number of firing postions. Grenades are your friend, make sure someone in a given position has some. Keep leaders in defensive positions on reverse slopes as they are the first to go. The wandering behaviour is them picking a target and moving forward to get a shot (don't let tanks do this and issue the hold order. Do let infantry do this. They will both return in any case), OR they have panicked.

Learn to use the area fire order. It is important.

I cue my hotkeys so they are all within grasp as follows;

Q-forward W-stop E-reverse R-turn to

A-area fire, S-storm D-defend

Z-next unit X-previous unit C-pick up

And don't RUSH. Headlong flights into the enemy are most likely what are causing pain. Do it on your time, not his.

I can vouche for the multiplayer, I created a scenario of a reinforced company of US infantry attacking an outpost of German infantry backed with tanks in low light and fog and it was a blast (for the record I used a cronies copy via LAN on his machines).

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how do i get my infantry to lay down -- or crawl for that matter?

i'm still pretty skeptical of the infantry having much use -- even after your last post. Unless dying is considered an asset. i'm not a total 'tard. i know a tad about real world infantry tactics -- using suppressive fire and the like, and I suppose I can wag on about bounding-overwatch or whatever. i'm just not seeing how it can be implemented realistically within this game system. but i promise that i won’t throw a hissy-fit or act like a bloody drama queen just cause the game isn’t my personal idea of perfection. moreover I am willing to learn.

for starters how do I get my infantry dudes to lay frickin’ prone ...and stay frickin’ prone until i tell um' to do something different? My dudes are constantly wondering off lookin’ for smokes or beer or a bologna sandwich or some such thing. mmmm...bologna and beer. No idea wtf they are doing but every time they wonder off they invariably get mowed down by a tank or by MG fire or the like. I usually have no idea what happened. I am always coming back to a scene from Custer’s last stand as I was off engrossed in some other part of the battlefield. Hmm..guess my frickin’ infantry sprites decided to go off looking for poon-tang again. I told um’ to sit tight – now they’re all dead – again.

some of my lack of continued enthusiasm for the game is doubtless associated with me playing this thing solitaire only. i recall from my days of playing Close Combat the solitaire play was fun, but had its own peculiar foibles. a whole new world of gaming goodness cropped up out of being able to play Close Combat online. I know this game ain’t Close Combat or Combat Mission or Squad Leader – or whatever. But folks are invariably going to make comparisons to past game designs that have been successful.

Now there used to be a online game room thingie for Close Combat. sort of a neanderthal version of gamespy or the like. it made mutiplayer very easy in the sense that there always seemed to be dudes online ready to thrash each other. Insomnia bugging you – no problem. Get online on at 2AM and you could play a dude living in Helsinki or whatever. is there such a place available for ToW? or is it pretty much hunt down a buddy -- who also has the game -- and hook-up for human-bean’ play?

[ May 16, 2007, 07:06 AM: Message edited by: Jeff Duquette ]

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In the information panel there are three icons of a man (standing, kneeling and lying). These toggle with the left mouse click. If one is lit that is how they get about (running and firing standing, in dashes and firing kneeling, crwaling and firing prone respectively). If none is lit they choose depending on their circumstances.

Don't worry about them crawling about. As I've told you their looking for targets and they will return. Using the hold fire and holp position toggle will stop them harming themselves if you wish (bottom right of the panel).

Now some game.

Lets say we have three squads of Russian infantry and are setting up.

Divide it up into three groups (Rifles, SMGs and LMGS). Rifles are your fire base, SMGS are your assault group, LMGS another fire base. Choose the right leader to go with the right group and assign them. You can even divide these in half and place one under the command of an officer and the other a NCO (for bounding).

(edit; Took out a section that was wrong)

Now apply all the stuff you know with your optimised squads, and away you go.

Hope it helps.

[ May 16, 2007, 07:57 AM: Message edited by: PFMM ]

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PFMM -

You are 100% correct that Infantry is extremely dependent on scouting skill. One of the mistakes made by BFC and 1C is that the campaigns (at least French and Polish anyway) start the infantry out with very low scouting skills (most seem to be zero). The same is true with Marksmanship skills in the French campaign. I am sure this was done with the idea that the soldiers needed experience to improve. Unfortunately, a lot of the initial player mistakenly drew the conclusion that infantry is broken. The reality is that the average soldier was just bad and through the use of experience points they will learn and be much better soldiers if you can keep them alive. The great thing about this game is that it attempts to model this issue.

- hobo

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Originally posted by sandy:

I seem to have been accused here of being a "teenie wannabee general" - well actually, and perhaps sadly, I am in my 6th decade, and 5 of those have been spent playing serious wargames.

I had played TOW many times before my last go the other night - I preordered and downloaded on day 1.

Please believe me I really wanted to like and enjoy this game - I did not buy it to criticize it!

I have played several tutorials, and also started two campaigns (2-3 battles each) before the pain and disgust overwhelmed me and I stopped playing TOW. It was no fun and historical rubbish from the tactics and gameplay perspective.

It was everything CM was not.

After a week or so away from the game, the other night, I tried another battle and it was still as bad as I had remembered - hence my posting. My last posting was made after a few drinks and I agree it was not useful - but I had previously expressed more clear and explicit criticisms.

I am not a beta tester or reviewer.

My position is one who feels he has been VERY badly let down by an old and trusted friend (ie Battlefront, and also, to a very limited extent 1c)

The game has a clunky interface and a terrible view system - the units do not act historically and IT IS NO FUN and NOT INTERESTING /HISTORICALLY SATISFYING TO PLAY.

Yes, I was expecting something in the heritage of CM.

Yes, I am aware that Battlefront did not design it - but they did "develop" it to be "more historically accurate and realistic".

Here are some other comments (not mine) from another thread

#1 Ability of Tank Crew when buttoned up, or even when opened up, to spot Infantry in prone positions needs to be reduced considerably. AI intel needs to be toned down. Fire by buttoned tanks should be most often limited to area fire.

#2 Infantry needs to go to ground when fired on. No more of this continual getting up and walking into fire again, till everyone is dead. If fired on, Infantry should go prone, then remain prone and crawl to a position where they can engage if ordered to attack. And prone infantry should have considerable negatives applied to the ability of weapons to hit them, even in open ground. As anyone who has studied small unit tactics knows, most ground has dead spots, where the folds of the earth provide cover.

#3 Infantry needs to have a better chance of taking out tanks with hand portable infantry weapons like Panzerfausts and Bazookas. In reality, a tank was very vulnerable to such weapons if it was maneuvering in close circumstances to infantry. Even infantry which is not equipped with these weapons had a chance to do damage with grenades and such like if they were close enough.

#4 The effects of Camoflauge and Cover needs to be added to the AI routine. Yes I know most of the maps don't have heavily enclosed terrain, but a force on the defence did what it could with the available materials, and often was able to conceal things like AT Guns or even Tanks. Look at the battlefield of Kurst. Flat open terrain for the most part, with a some agricultural development. Yet the Soviets were able to conceal most of their AT Guns pretty well.

At the beginning of a scenario, units should have a higher level of concealment, and less chance of being spotted until they move.

#5 The limited numbers of trees on the maps need to have more of an effect on line of sight. Right now, they have little or no effect. Not only is this wrong, it detracts once again from the ability of players to maneuver and use cover. Even an orchard, with its regular rows of trees had a negative effect on the ability to spot the enemy.

What are my conclusions?

I was suckered and Battlefront have my money...

(lesson is now learnt, my mistake, I won't preorder a Battlefront game ever again)

..and I have a game I will never play (still no DVD or manual)

But if my money goes towards a WW2 CM2 game, that's OK...

I agree completely with your observations. I am also disappointed because this came through Battlefront not some silly company like Strategy First. I see a hands off, "we didnt develope it" attitude from Battlefront, but they are distributing it, and anything that would ever have my company name brand on it, I would of scrutinized it hard before allowing my distribution label and good name go on the shelves.

That being said, I am satisfied by Moons post that things will be corrected, and offering a free addon campaign. That does make up for a very let down feeling but I agree with Sandy on one issue from here on, I wont pre-order again. I to have been wargaming for decades, back to the days of maps and counters to finally the satisfactin of CM and its lineage. I really dont care how his original post sounded, when you pay 50+ shipping and expect quality work which both IC and Battlefront are known for, you instantly get fairly emotional that you have been had by a pushed out project. I dont believe that a demo is an accurate way to perceive a game, it just gives you very basic ideas of what you may get, but if I depended totally on demos, I would of lost a lot of money, or lost out on a lot of good games.

I would just say wait and see, its on my shelf waiting for a patch and the promised addon. I have a better feeling knowing these are coming down the pipe.

regards

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Originally posted by PFMM:

In the information panel there are three icons of a man (standing, kneeling and lying). These toggle with the left mouse click. If one is lit that is how they get about (running and firing standing, in dashes and firing kneeling, crwaling and firing prone respectively). If none is lit they choose depending on their circumstances.

Don't worry about them crawling about. As I've told you their looking for targets and they will return. Using the hold fire and holp position toggle will stop them harming themselves if you wish (bottom right of the panel).

Now some game.

Lets say we have three squads of Russian infantry and are setting up.

Divide it up into three groups (Rifles, SMGs and LMGS). Rifles are your fire base, SMGS are your assault group, LMGS another fire base. Choose the right leader to go with the right group and assign them. You can even divide these in half and place one under the command of an officer and the other a NCO (for bounding).

(edit; Took out a section that was wrong)

Now apply all the stuff you know with your optimised squads, and away you go.

Hope it helps.

Okee Dokee. Thanks for the tips -- I'll give it a whirl.

If I use the "HOLD" command does that result in my dudes not using defensive fires and such? I mean if someone starts shooting at some of my guys that are in "HOLD" -- will they still drop to prone and return fire?

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Originally posted by PFMM:

Infantry are not useless, far from it.

Agreed, but the problem with infantry is that to get any use out of them, you have to micromanage them to such an insanely tedious level that it's usually not worth the effort.

Take the Bulge scenario in the Allied campaign, for example. You get 7-8 squads of infantry IIRC, and you can win the scenario without moving a single one of them. Your tanks, TDs and arty can accomplish everything that your infantry are capable of doing, and in a lot fewer moves. For example, I could spend a great deal of time moving a platoon in to clear the town of defenders, but why bother when I can park a couple of tanks on the nearby hill and pick off each defender with 'sniper' tank fire.

Again, I'm not saying that infantry don't work...they do as you pointed out. However they're not worth the effort required to get anything out of them once you make contact with the enemy. The game is really out of balance in this aspect. There should be situations where infantry are your best tool (e.g. urban fighting), but the game is unbalanced to the point where tanks do the job 10 times better. :rolleyes:

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I'm gonna give the infantry a couple more college trys with the various tips provided above -- just to make sure I'm not totally full of dog poop. But right now I gotz' to agree with Mannerheim Tanker's above post. The infantry sorta seems like tits on a bull. The game feels like it was optimized for panzer stuff. I'm just not getting a Combined Arms warm and fuzzy feel from game play.

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In response to Mannheim Tanker; yes I agree, but this seems to be as a result of the scenario design and visibility not working as well as it should. Let me put it this way, if you design a scenario in Combat Mission with as many tanks as Theater of War, would it be any different?

The move from turn base to real time is always akward so here are ome other tips:

DON'T PANIC.

Move small numbers short distances. This is not Combat Mission.

Stop fussing with your troops so much. Get them to the terrain in blocks in the right formation and they will do the rest.

Use the hold fire command for units in reserve, moving up and on ambush. Only release them when target is within range. Using this technique my best result in the Demo mission is about thirty enemy infantry and two enemy tanks with the a squad in the front trenches.

Shooting gives away your position. Number one rule, only shoot when required.

The column formation is best for moving troops in and around dead ground, it's nice and compact. I tend to use line or wedge otherwise.

What cover they take is highly dependent on which way they face. Make sure they are rotated in the right direction (do it on a unit basis).

Play online with a good custom scenario.

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I've come to the conclusion (after three days straight of play about a week ago) that this game is truly horrid, and needs an overhaul asap.

IMO: The ai is ****e, and the map is kaput (Yes map..all of them as so generic I forget i am in russia..or poland..or friggen west europe..) I have the notion that I am in candyland with this crap.

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Well I did manage to get my infantry to lay down prone and stay put for the first time. Life is good. ;) Thanks for the game command tips. I started doing the double click thingie on squad members so that the whole squad was highlighted for a specific command. It worked pretty slick -- I think that's the way to go for me.

I finally beat the AI in the Mortain scenario. Although to be fair I had to edit the base scenario and give myself four additional M10 TDs. Too many panzers.

I still felt that I only had time to futz around with the armor during actual game play. The game was again decided by the various tank encounters with the infantry acting only as decoration. This was perhaps a poor scenario to test the games infantry capabilities as it is such a tank heavy scenario. I think I need to try a scenario with only infantry present on both sides. Maybe I’ll dump all the tanks from the Mortain Scenario and give that a try.

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Well, my advice is really to go online with a custom scenario. Altering the computer opponent is more effort than it's worth.

The gameplay I have seen in the scenarios (albeit briefly from another persons copy) are all much the same, ie wave after wave of tank battles with infantry in the shadows. And I agree with your complaint.

Until the many other issues are addressed and a proper editor are provided I'm holding off purchase.

All the same, have fun.

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After playing the Bulge scenario I noticed the same thing. I carefully moved my troops up on the town only to find not a soul in it left to defend. All the fighting that decided the battle was done at range with big cannons. Adding a little AI to have defenders hide would be a great addition to the game. I did not see one faust the entire campaign from start to end =(

By its self the game has its own merits. Some things need to be tweeked, especially concerning infantry, but on the whole the game is entertaining enough for me to ignore my other games for the short term. I hope the designers keep pushing the limit of what can be done with this engine.

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You guys are lucky i'm still trying to get a response,ANY response from the game.Maybe i need a new videocard,maybe a new computer.Progress is very expensive for the common man who just wants to play a game.

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Originally posted by PFMM:

Well, my advice is really to go online with a custom scenario. Altering the computer opponent is more effort than it's worth.

Agreed. The only way this sort of game is going to have any level of longevity with game playing folks is through online play.

Regarding the editor -- I have been knocking this thing around a bit, and I think it works pretty well. I still have not figured out how to establish intial positions of new units. I see there seems to be some form of scenario map cordinate system, but I am unsure how to figure out map cordinates and how to set new units onto a scenario map.

Anyone have helpful hints on how to place units on scenario maps?

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Never mind -- I think I got it. Move the mouse curser over the scenario map. The X and Y coordinates appear in the lower left corner of the editor screen. I assume you than simply find the spot you wanna stick your new dudes via the curser, than simply enter the X and Y coordinates into the editor box over on the right side of the screen. Silly me.

mapgridcordinatesxk4.th.jpg

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