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A worthy foe - The difference between CMSF and CMx1's


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While waiting for Brits, and WitP:AE (but that's a different story . . .), I have been playing Combat Mission in my free time once again. Now a days, 9 out of 10 times this is CM:SF. The other 1 out of 10 times, its CM:BB or CM:AK (unfortunately CM:BO wont run on my computer). I have enjoyed CM:SF since it came out, but most especially after the v1.11 patch and the Marine module. The return of the blue bar, vehicle pauses in congestion instead of going all over the place, and the Marine OOB brought CM:SF to a great level in my opinion. While there are little things I miss about CMx1 games, they are blown away by the many new things that v1.11 CM:SF brings to the table.

That being said, from the beginning, something has always kept me from getting the same total enjoyment from CM:SF as the CMx1 games. At first I thought it was the theater since I much rather prefer WWII. Then I thought it was the lack of the blue bar, or some other technical aspect else along those lines. But that wasn't it either.

Today I was playing CM:BB for giggles, and I finally realized what was missing in CM:SF: a worthy foe.

This is not a bash on the real life Syrian Army in anyway, this is purely from a game point of view. That being said, today I realized the reason I have had a harder time enjoying CM:SF is that I feel like my opponent (the reds) are so vastly inferior, that I get mad every time I loose a single soldier to what I feel like is an inferior foe. I will walk out of an urban fight in CM:SF where I loose around 2-3% of my men and feel like I messed something up, even though my kill ratio is close to 100.

This all comes in contrast to the CMx1 games where I *felt* like my foe was a capable and worthy opponent. Whether it was the Germans against the Russians, British or Americans, I felt like each side could put up a great fight and victory, especially in PBEM, didn't feel like me using the full tactical firepower of a world power to beat up on a bunch of kids with toy guns. When I play CM:SF, that's what I *feel* like. I certainly understand that scenario creators can, and have, create situations that present a huge challenge to the Allied player in CM:SF, even against the AI. But much like the real world conflict over there, these are bad, a-typical situations where the Allied player is terribly outnumbered and are holding on until the cavalry arrive. I also understand that due to modern weapons, even an untrained foe can be deadly. But let me again emphasize that this is how the game *feels* when I play it. Unbalanced and a unfair fight.

Anyways, the reason I post this is I wanted to see how others feel about this. I may be the only one. I understand that BFC needed a break from WWII, but I miss the feel of victory from a foe that was both worthy and capable of my simulated forces. This is especially true for PBEM. I have not played a single PBEM in CM:SF for that reason.

Thanks

Chad

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Well, I like to play as the underdog, which at least gives me a 'worthy foe' :D

There's nothing like nailing an m1a2 SEP with an RPG-7 in the ass :)

It can be frustrating to be unlucky though at times, especially in PBEM battles. But thats the nature of asymmetric warfare.

A WWII battle is completely something else though, i'm quite interested how it would play out in cmx2.

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I had to restart the Objective Pooh mission of the Marines campaign three times to get the necessary victory.

So there is proof that challenging scenarios are possible.

Best regards,

Thomm

I hope I didn't come across as saying there are no challenging situations in CM:SF, whether it be campaign, scenario or QB. I have had my fair share of restarts in many situations. Some of the post release scenarios by our greater community are down right cruel to the Allied player.

But this is all beside the point. As far as this game simulation goes, the Syrian and Unconventional armies can only win tactical victories. The simulated war was lost the day it started. Certainly those tactical victories as the red's can still be challenging and rewarding against a much greater foe. Like was mentioned by Lethaface above, I am sure it is hugely satisfying to get a single Abrams in a PBEM game!

In my many, many CM:BO PBEM games (ahhh, Rugged Defense!) I always felt that both my human opponent and his simulated forces were worthy opponents, regardless of the side I played. We always used the QB system, and just about everyone I played went with 'regular' troops thereby creating a level playing field in every battle. Victories had *so* much more meaning because not only had I beat another human, but our forces were equal foes. I just remembered the whole short 75 rules. Fionn wasn't it? Wow, that was a long time ago. 8 or 9 years ago now? Where did all those old names go off too? Hopefully we will see most of them come back with CM:Normandy.

Anyways, I just don't get that feeling with CM:SF. I still have fun playing, but as I mentioned above, I come away feeling like I beat up on some kids rather than feeling like I won a good fight. To put it more bluntly, in CM:SF, when playing as the Allies, if I take a single casualty I feel like I made a mistake and did not beat the mission.

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I'm actually wondering if, all else being equal, I'll enjoy WWII as much as I did purely because actually seeing your guys die is a jolt. Pixeltruppen or no.

TBH I think the main reason SF is harder to get into is the lack of tactical feedback but most people can fill in the rest of my post for me ;)

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You could argue the same was true in Normandy after D-Day +7, It was certainly true after D-Day plus 30. The Germans were getting buried under metal and flesh on two fronts. The only real contest was between the US and USSR to see who got how much of postwar Europe. The tactical fight was viscous, but the war was already lost.

I would argue that the Germans certainly erred in their allocation of forces between the two fronts, but then Hitler was just a LITTLE nuts. ;)

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As for pure gaming purpose, pimped up Syrian special forces are lethal, and I would like to see some scenarios with larger unconventional forces with maxed out weapons and motivation. AT-14 & RPG-29 are lethal when employed right. Although it is difficult to attack with this type of units, defending- or hit and run missions could be worked out very challenging while still remaining realistic. Its a shame i dont have time / will to make one. Hope someone else does :)

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I'm actually wondering if, all else being equal, I'll enjoy WWII as much as I did purely because actually seeing your guys die is a jolt. Pixeltruppen or no.

For me, I think seeing my pixeltruppen go down is at least slightly more of a jolt in CM:SF than it will be in CM:Normandy, since in CM:SF you're dealing with an army (Blue, that is) which is under more pressure than ever before in its 230+-year history to not let its young men end up coming home in caskets or on gurneys. When playing Blue, even as a lowly platoon commander, each time I see one of my soldiers go down, it pangs me, since I know how little I (and, by extension, the army in which I serve) can afford to loose anybody, even as 'just' a casualty.

TBH I think the main reason SF is harder to get into is the lack of tactical feedback but most people can fill in the rest of my post for me ;)

As in, for example, no floating text saying "pinned" or "routed"?

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You could make a coherent argument that this was the case from either Stalingrad, or Kursk, forward.

No argument there. From 1943/1944 onward, much like Japan, the end result was without question it was just a matter of when, where and by whom. But for the Western Allies in 1939 and Russia in 1941, this was far from clear. Actually, it would seem the opposite was more likely. It was the strategic decisions after the war started where Germany shot itself in the foot. Its a scary thought indeed as to what would have happened if Germany never attacked Russian and instead made its conquests in Europe into one huge fortress.

That's why I love WWII as a game so much. Strategically, whether Pacific or Europe, the aggressor started strong, a while later things were even, then towards the end it was a desperate struggle to stay alive for the original aggressors.

On a smaller scale, the main combatants fielded troops and equipment that were more or less equal. Each major combatant stood a good chance of taking the day. One side may pull ahead tactically with a new tank or weapon for awhile, but later it evened out. Even in the end for Germany, their defense of Berlin made for great tactical fun in CM:BB despite the strategic implications of that fight.

The subject matter for CM:SF though falls from this. Strategically, the simulated war was over for the Syrians on day one. Tactically, while they have the potential to get a few kicks in here and there, they are under gunned, under experienced, poorly lead and without proper air or artillery support. In my book, that diminishes the playing experience.

In WWII terms, it would be like playing the entire tactical game within the confines of September 1st 1939 on the Polish front.

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For me, I think seeing my pixeltruppen go down is at least slightly more of a jolt in CM:SF than it will be in CM:Normandy, since in CM:SF you're dealing with an army (Blue, that is) which is under more pressure than ever before in its 230+-year history to not let its young men end up coming home in caskets or on gurneys.

I am glad to hear that it is not just me that feels that way. With family and friends who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, even within a simulated CM battle I feel each loss personally. Which is why I play CM:SF with zero KIA's as a goal. Wounds are acceptable to a degree, but deaths never are. With the whole buddy aid system, this is actually quite possible in nearly every scenario. This not only helps keep things more realistic as far as my tactics go, but it also helps hugely with the immersion.

Again back to the contrast, in CMx1, as long as I won the casualties were acceptable as long as I did not lose an entire rifle squad. That was the only time I took notice and felt like I did something wrong in CMx1 games.

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You know, I think more animations might solve this problem. Instead of have some icon flashing saying a unit is pinned, I think it's better to animation for this. Right troops *look* the same no matter their morale (OK vs panic). Something like the cowering mechanism.

(of course now I'm gettin waaaayyyyyy of topic)

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Again back to the contrast, in CMx1, as long as I won the casualties were acceptable as long as I did not lose an entire rifle squad. That was the only time I took notice and felt like I did something wrong in CMx1 games.

I'm thinking that the individually rendered squaddies have something to do with that difference now. In CMx1 you just had a counter ticking off casualties and the animation might lean back a little when a casualty is taken. In CMx2 you actually see them dropping individually. At least they aren't screaming "MEDIC" while they lay on the ground wounded.

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While waiting for Brits, and WitP:AE (but that's a different story . . .), I have been playing Combat Mission in my free time once again. Now a days, 9 out of 10 times this is CM:SF. The other 1 out of 10 times, its CM:BB or CM:AK (unfortunately CM:BO wont run on my computer). I have enjoyed CM:SF since it came out, but most especially after the v1.11 patch and the Marine module. The return of the blue bar, vehicle pauses in congestion instead of going all over the place, and the Marine OOB brought CM:SF to a great level in my opinion. While there are little things I miss about CMx1 games, they are blown away by the many new things that v1.11 CM:SF brings to the table.

That being said, from the beginning, something has always kept me from getting the same total enjoyment from CM:SF as the CMx1 games. At first I thought it was the theater since I much rather prefer WWII. Then I thought it was the lack of the blue bar, or some other technical aspect else along those lines. But that wasn't it either.

Today I was playing CM:BB for giggles, and I finally realized what was missing in CM:SF: a worthy foe.

This is not a bash on the real life Syrian Army in anyway, this is purely from a game point of view. That being said, today I realized the reason I have had a harder time enjoying CM:SF is that I feel like my opponent (the reds) are so vastly inferior, that I get mad every time I loose a single soldier to what I feel like is an inferior foe. I will walk out of an urban fight in CM:SF where I loose around 2-3% of my men and feel like I messed something up, even though my kill ratio is close to 100.

This all comes in contrast to the CMx1 games where I *felt* like my foe was a capable and worthy opponent. Whether it was the Germans against the Russians, British or Americans, I felt like each side could put up a great fight and victory, especially in PBEM, didn't feel like me using the full tactical firepower of a world power to beat up on a bunch of kids with toy guns. When I play CM:SF, that's what I *feel* like. I certainly understand that scenario creators can, and have, create situations that present a huge challenge to the Allied player in CM:SF, even against the AI. But much like the real world conflict over there, these are bad, a-typical situations where the Allied player is terribly outnumbered and are holding on until the cavalry arrive. I also understand that due to modern weapons, even an untrained foe can be deadly. But let me again emphasize that this is how the game *feels* when I play it. Unbalanced and a unfair fight.

Anyways, the reason I post this is I wanted to see how others feel about this. I may be the only one. I understand that BFC needed a break from WWII, but I miss the feel of victory from a foe that was both worthy and capable of my simulated forces. This is especially true for PBEM. I have not played a single PBEM in CM:SF for that reason.

Thanks

Chad

I agree wholeheartedly with this... and you are not alone... entire gaming clubs that had a huge following of players in the CMAK and CMBB games have completely turned their back on CMSF...

Maybe it is the theatre (context of Syria), maybe it is too much competitive playability was lost in the pursuit of realism. Dunno. As much as I try to like CMSF, I find that I am always awaiting my CMBB and CMAK files with youthful enthusiasm and exuberance... while my copy of CMSF collects dust.

We will know soon enough whether or not it is the theatre or the progress of the new game engine that is what turns our noses up when CM Normandy comes out.

Cheers!

Leto

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I'm thinking that the individually rendered squaddies have something to do with that difference now. In CMx1 you just had a counter ticking off casualties and the animation might lean back a little when a casualty is taken. In CMx2 you actually see them dropping individually. At least they aren't screaming "MEDIC" while they lay on the ground wounded.

I'm worried what it going to be like to now watch one by one as your squad gets torn up by that MG42 you didn't know was there until you got too close.

Will be different for sure.

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...

Anyways, the reason I post this is I wanted to see how others feel about this. I may be the only one. I understand that BFC needed a break from WWII, but I miss the feel of victory from a foe that was both worthy and capable of my simulated forces. This is especially true for PBEM. I have not played a single PBEM in CM:SF for that reason.

Thanks

Chad

I haven't played anywhere near as much CM:SF as I have CMx1 titles. But I've spent the vast majority of my playing time for each game playing PBEM rather than against the machine. My own experiences with CM:SF PBEM is that I've had my @$$ handed to me quite a few times by the Syrians.

I think if you play a couple of Marine module PBEM's you'll change your view of the situation... If you think you take losing your guys hard now, wait until you see a much larger percentage of them slaughtered by what you consider to be a lesser enemy.

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I'm worried what it going to be like to now watch one by one as your squad gets torn up by that MG42 you didn't know was there until you got too close.

Will be different for sure.

Or what it will be like to watch your MG34s mow down a couple battalions worth of Soviet infantry as they doggedly charge your dug-in depleted Sch├╝tzenkompanie...

Will certainly different seeing no-man's-land strewn with a few hundred dead and wounded, rather than just a couple dozen.

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My own experiences with CM:SF PBEM is that I've had my @$$ handed to me quite a few times by the Syrians.

I've found that we who consider ourselves 'tactical geniuses' often forget how badly we often do the first time a scenario gets played through. The second time around we know better that to walk our men down that particular street. ;)

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This discussion has amplified the stark contrast between world domination warfare (as we have known it in two world wars) and politically dominated limited warfare (as demonstrated in every war since Korea- which I think is ripe for a CMx2 simulation.)

It's not that the theater is wrong, or the opponents unrealistic. It's a different type of war altogether. Different eras, weapons, motivations, lethality, etc. I also suspect most of you are like me. We try to enjoy each kind of gaming experience for its unique challenges, accepting the limitations the historical and best-guess future conflicts impose. Part of what I enjoy about historical games is because I know what happened, I can anticipate and enjoy the fidelity of the recreation on my computer. Play "what-if" with history. On the other hand, 4 M1s charging up the flank is very satisfying indeed. I get to play with current technology. This is also why I still play the old Harpoon.

-Pv-

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I dont actually think its about a worthy foe but about the pace of the game. Blue vs Blue would be a perfectly balanced match but I find no joy in it due to the automation and lethality of modern weapons. Its just isnt fun to isntantly kill a tank from 2k with your 120mm robot gun. An Abrams might be a great sight at first but it gets boring after a while. 25mm auto cannons pin and then can vaporize a whole squad in a matter of seconds. Its too black and white for my tastes and pales in comparison with the unpredictability of WW2 combat where you can watch lenghty and gripping tank duels and try really hard to manuever your squads and flank enemy positions. A well positioned MG42 will provide you with a tough tactical problem while now a HMG is just another ready to die target under a rain of rifle grenades, smaw, javelins, and other laser accurate long range weaponry.

Its simply has less depth, like a hollywood block buster compared to a good old film. Its not Battlefront's fault of course. Once we move to Normandy the game will prove its great value and depth.

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well i keep lobbying for TCPip WEGO, it seems iam alone responsible for that, anyways since my beloved play mode is not in i had to try RT multiplayer a few times.

and all i can say, the syrians are no push over in multiplayer. i trashed REDs a few time and i trashed BLUE a few times as REDs BUT usually the fight ended in a stalemate. my opponent and i had that few troops and assets left that mostly noone moved towards the end. that gave me a nice win when i was playing red but on blue side that equaled a loss and it was a loss most of the time in victory points. i played "just another day" a couple of times as both sides and usually it ended in a stalemate.

now when we talk about AI, thats another matter, you can easylie push the blues to the ground, into a surrender, in maps like "Following the euphrates". and you can do it even easier on blue side.

now playstyle does matter to, as example, iam not worried about each and every casualtie i take as blue. i see that a hinderance to my enjoyment of the game, and a hinderance to the blue force, wich i eliminated for myself.

i play for "speed" you could say. syrians in "a crossroad at El Djerine"(sp?) surrendered to me after 50 turns of 120 turns. means i had 70 turns left... i took all in all 1 destroyed Abrams and about 18Kia/Wia. for some this would be horrible, but hell i dont care i pushed over the reds like a lightning, if i have to pay for it with pixel blood, so be it.

regardless of what i just said above, i cant wait to get my hands on CM Normandy and this Afghanistan game the russians do. even the afghanistan game should take the fight to a little more even level.

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