Writers wanted!

July 31, 2008

Legendary World War II reporter Ernie Pyle preps a post for Rifles Ready!, the popular COH blog

It’s simple: we need more writers, due to the fact that adrock and myself have lives and jobs. Plus, Surprise is on hiatus, so we’re hurting a bit for content. You don’t necessarily have to be a good writer, but that hardly seems to be a problem given the number of articulate, even eloquent people I see posting on GR.org’s COH forums all the time. A lot of that stuff would be excellent material for Rifles Ready!, it just takes a little extra effort to snag a picture, write a caption, and BOOM, instant post. In any case I will continue editing posts for grammar and punctuation so you won’t be embarrassed by glaring errors. And you’re not limited to writing about COH exclusively, either — you can do reviews of World War II movies or books or anything related to the last great war (my favorite phrase for WWII). Just run it by me if you’re feeling creative. If you wanna be a champ and step up, shoot an email to me by clicking here!


Advanced Tip: Using Panzershrecks

July 29, 2008

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes!

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes!

How do you use panzershrecks? It’s simple, right? You got some guys with a stovepipe, you let your guys automatically shove a heat stick in the stovepipe, there’s some aiming, there’s some stumbling around in the grass, then BOOM, say auf wiedersehen to that nasty M8 or Stuart, right? Sadly, after the nerfing of the panzershreck (I believe this was in patch 2.300, if memory serves), you can no longer just point and shoot with panzershrecks. If you try the above point-and-clickery, your stovepipe-bearers will be kited all around the map while under heavy fire from the M8’s main cannon and vicious .50 cal gunner. There’s also probably some Riflemen somewhere that the M8 is leading your AT teams towards. As your men have to keep moving, they suffer penalties and of course have no cover. So they are highly vulnerable while being kited. In the end you may score one or even two hits with your panzershrecks at range, only to have the super-fast M8 or Stuart or even a Sherman retreat somewhere for repairs. Your AT squads are typically in dire shape as a result of being kited.

Fast light armor is deadly in the hands of a kite-happy player.

Fast light armor is deadly in the hands of a kite-happy player.

This is a state of affairs that has frustrated even the Fuehrer:

But don’t you worry! There’s still a way to effectively hunt speedy light vehicles like the M8 and Stuart with your panzershreck squads! It just takes more effort and forethought, that’s all. Read on to find out how!

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OpenOffice’s Luftwaffe-inspired logo

July 28, 2008

A really random thought, but I downloaded OpenOffice a ways back on my laptop. It occurred to me just the other day what a striking similarity there is between OpenOffice’s gulls logo and the Luftwaffe’s Fallschirmjaeger collar tabs, which indicate rank. You can see on the left here some fairly accurate modern reproductions of Fallschirmjaeger collar tabs and those cool-looking steel gulls. This is by no means a plug for OpenOffice of course, which by the way is a fantastic open-source suite of applications mirroring Microsoft Office. Just a random thought for you good folk to dwell on. Meanwhile, the Red Alert 3 beta looms large on the horizon, plus I have high hopes that the current COH playtest beta will wrap up within two months, tops. Just some rumors…

Battle Report: Airborne weaknesses (vs. Azza)

July 27, 2008

REPLAY: CorkscrewBlow (Airborne) vs. Azza (Luftwaffe), BETA

Lit by lightning, P47s are intimidating... but I guess the weather screws up those sights!

Lit by lightning, P47s are intimidating... but I guess that stormy weather screws up those gun sights!

REMEMBER: You can download the replay of this match by clicking the link above the banner image.

This was a LONG, back-and-forth game on Semois vs. Azza, who plays Panzer Elite (probably not his best faction, but he’s a solid player) against my Airborne U.S., probably my best faction. Is it just me, or does Airborne seem pretty weak in 2.501? Two accurate Strafing Runs killed practically nothing this game, and I was a little off with my single Bombing Run. A LOT of misses by Recoilless Rifles as well. I honestly don’t think my Paratroopers killed a single vehicle despite spending like 15 minutes on the field before dying. However, this game shows the effectiveness of full-tech Rifles backed up by a conservatively-used Quad Halftrack, and I constantly displace my Riflemen pretty effectively, making Azza’s Mortar Halftrack miss just about all the time. There’s a few spectacular full-out, set-piece battles, plus two Rifle squads that survive the entire game, becoming lethal grenade-tossing, Sticky-hurling, BAR-wielding killing machines.

Anyway, let’s get right down to it. Azza is off to an aggressive start, rushing multiple PGs right down to my strategic point choke before my second Rifle can even emerge from the Barracks. There’s really no point trying to fight off entrenched PGs (including a G43 squad) when I have no real sectors tied to the strategic point they’re holding, so I decide to move across the middle foot bridge.

Azza anticipates this move and already has his same three PGs moving to hit green cover around the foot bridge by the time I get there, so I send my first Engineer to go harrass the single +10 fuel by his base — the key to teching up on Semois. Azza does the same thing, sending his troops to decap my +10 fuel. This opens up the strategic point that’s the natural entry point into the map from my base, and I send all my Rifles through there unopposed to start capping other important points. I figure we’ll be equal on fuel because we’re both harrassing our +10s, and this won’t equate to any significant fuel gap.
This sort of fuel-harrassment game happens fairly routinely on Semois, the trick is to maintain even fuel income. If he goes for your fuel, you go for his. If you can, try and sneak a non-combat unit (Kettenrad, Engineer) to decap the +10 fuel while your main combat troops engage the enemy. This is a good way to apply pressure and delay teching. What NOT to do is panic over losing that fuel point, and send all your troops to stop the point from being lost — especially if it’s a single crappy unit like an Engy or Ketten that’s threatening it.
This is exactly the kind of reactive response your opponent wants to elicit from you. It’s particularly bad to constantly react to enemy moves if you’re playing as an aggressive, mobile faction like the U.S. or PE — you should be the one causing the enemy to react to you and fight on your terms. In this particular game, Azza did have most of his army (about 3 PGs) focused on decapping my +10 fuel, which to me is an even greater reason to go cap other stuff and threaten his fuel and strategic cut-off point — I know I won’t run into any major opposition.

Anyway, as soon as my fuel is down Azza shifts towards my strategic point once more; meanwhile his new Infantry Halftrack engages the two Rifles threatening his strategic point and battle is finally joined in earnest. Read on to find out what happens next…
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Craziest bug ever?

July 26, 2008
The vehicle refuses to respond to any orders and won't unload infantry inside.

The vehicle refuses to respond to any orders and won't unload infantry inside.

I’m really curious if anyone has run into this particular bug before. I certainly have never seen its like before this game, and I’m wondering if this is a Panzer Elite bug only, or if it happens to other units as well. I drew Chevrolet during a beta automatch and everything started out fine. About 4-5 minutes into the game, I pack my Infantry Halftrack with two G43 Panzer Grenadiers and send these guys off to attack a Tommy squad capping my +16 ammo on Angoville. They fire, the HT fires, a few Tommies die, then the HT changes its angle and stops firing its MG. Chevrolet retreats his squad, after which the HT IGNORES ALL ORDERS. It won’t move, won’t fire, WON’T UNLOAD MY MEN. The HT’s unit acknowledgements sound tinny as if it’s on the radio, even if I am clicking on it when its on my screen. I was dumbfounded. This is pretty much GG of course, to lose an entire HT and 100 MUN in G43 upgrades plus two full-health PG squads. Chevrolet later destroys the HT with a Stuart, and this reveals that the Infantry HT seems to be the unit at fault. The moment it goes up in flames, my G43 PGs pop out and behave normally.

Anyone else had this happen? Does this happen only with the PE or are garrisonable vehicles for the U.S. and Wehrmacht also affected? I plan to send this replay off to Relic.

Site Update: Surprise going on hiatus

July 23, 2008
This man is suspected of having lured young COH players away to play C&C 3 instead. Beware.

This man is suspected of having lured young COH players away to play C&C 3 instead. Beware.

Friends, fellow Romans, noobs and COHers: ‘Tis with a heavy heart that I announce the temporary departure of Steven “Surprise” Uray, who announced to me last week that he must take a leave of absence from writing for Rifles Ready! as he prepares for the Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath event at WCG. I have been assured that this hiatus isn’t necessarily permanent, and that Surprise will occasionally pop in with wisdom and advice when he has time. His avatar, of the enigmatic Oro from Street Fighter III, will remain proudly on display under our authors list. He will of course, continue to post on GR.org, presumably focused on the Kane’s Wrath forums. He will, presumably, lurk on the COH forums to make sure all is well and that children turn in prior to curfew at night. Fear not; Surprise will always be a part of the COH community. His frequent words here will of course, be missed until he can find the wherewithal to return (Relic, how about that COH: Eastern Fronts expansion to bring our boy back into the fold?).

In the meantime, this is an open invitation to all COH players who feel like they would be a good replacement for Surprise: EMAIL ME IF YOU WANT TO CONTRIBUTE! I’d love to have more authors.

On Balance: Beta playtest as of 2.501

July 21, 2008

I’ve been very impressed with almost all of the patches released in the beta, but no more so than the latest pair, 2.500 and 2.501 respectively. I’ve heard of some latency issues immediately following the release 2.501, however I haven’t personally run into any connection issues. If anything, network stability seems noticeably more reliable and consistent. The main problem with getting a game going in the beta remains the shortage of players. Now, I fully admit this problem has gotten better thanks to Relic’s promise of riches and harems and paradise — but it still takes too long to get a 1v1 during slower periods of the day and getting a 2v2 automatch requires an average wait time topping 10 minutes in my experience. But I digress…

The 2.5x patches have really been a breath of fresh air into the playtest and 2.501 has been a Godsend to American players such as myself. I think it might be a tad heavy-handed against the Panzer Elite, but we’ll get into that in detail…

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