Review: The Art of Learning

September 30, 2008

Reading is learning.

Reading is learning.

“The Art of Learning” is a book I recently picked up, it was written by Josh Waitzkin. Some of you may recognize his name as he was the subject of the book and movie, Searching for Bobby Fischer. The book is part autobiography, as Josh describes his journey from chess prodigy (he was only 8 years old) to the World Chess Championships, and finally to the 2004 World Tai-Chi Championship — which he won. The book also covers performance psychology, where it really shines. Josh has become a master of the mental side of competition, and shares all of his secrets. From teaching readers how to slow down their perception of time to building a reliable trigger to get “in the zone,” the book is loaded with mental tricks. I have said it before and I will say it again: COH is not about the micro or even really the macro, both are important but at an advanced level, the game is about mind games, baiting and trapping and staying focused. More than anything getting good at COH requires you to get good at learning, and that’s a discipline that will take you far in life, period.

Without becoming overly profound or dramatic, allow me to heartily recommend this book, available for purchase from the Rifles Ready! Store via Amazon.com. If you actually want to buy this book, do it from our store so we get a little love. It costs you nothing to support the blog in this way.

For a sense of the man, Josh Waitzkin himself, check out this 10-minute interview with him on YouTube.

A true must read for everybody that wants to take their game to the next level, I would even go so far as to say this book is my secret weapon for the WCG USA Nationals, albeit in C&C 3 and not COH.


Site Update: Covering McCain

September 29, 2008
I endorse this blog. I also endorse all COH tips and tricks written by Corkscrewblow.

I endorse this blog. I endorse all COH tips and tricks by Corkscrewblow. I also endorse free-market Axis doctrines.

Just a head’s up to our loyal readers — this week will be extremely busy for me professionally. Along with a fellow reporter, I’m working on an in-depth story on the U.S. presidential candidates’ proposed health care policies. Specifically, I’m covering the McCain campaign and finally heard back from their press office after a series of increasingly impertinent demands on my part. As a result, I won’t be posting as much as usual this week, not until after I’ve filed my story, anyway. Still, this week you can look forward to a book review by our star tactician, the Rifles Ready! resident dean of strategy and chair of the Surprise Institute of COH Metagamery, Mr. Steven “Surprise” Uray. The book will be made available for purchase in our Store when the review is posted.

Come the weekend, expect a new Battle Report, featuring Sepha and PvtRusty in a death-defying duel on Langres that sees Stormtroopers dueling Rangers, a Tiger dueling a ridiculous number of M-10s and of course, Pioneers dueling Engineers. ‘Twas truly the most explosive game I’ve ever seen, and it will be the first Battle Report written from a Wehrmacht player’s perspective.

Next week I plan to start adding detailed unit usage articles to our Advanced Tips section, starting with a unit that was conspicuously absent from the Sepha/PvtRusty matchup: the 57mm AT gun.


A history lesson: Volksgrenadiers

September 28, 2008

A regular firing squad.

We all know them: ragged guys, trained to pass the time until the first grenadiers arrive, constantly spreading their smell in halftracks. But who were they in reality? Well, COH´s Volksgrenadiers differ from the real deal: for instance, there were no Volksgrenadiers around during D-Day, for they were founded later, during the autumn of 1944. At this stage, the shit had truly hit the fan for the Third Reich.

Fifth Panzer Army had been trapped in the Falaise pocket and at the same time the red army had started Operation Bagration and eradicated Army group Centre. On top of that, Germany had serious manpower shortages. The Volksgrenadierdivisions were a more manpower-economical version of the standard Grenadierdivisions. The name “Volksgrenadier” (“grenadier of the people”) was chosen for propagandistic effect.  The same thing had happened even earlier, when all “Infanteriedivisions” were renamed “Grenadierdivisions” because “Grenadier” just sounds cooler and more professional.

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Battle Report: Sepha (US) vs. SgtMorelloo (PE)

September 26, 2008

REPLAY: Sepha (Airborne) vs. SgtMorelloo (Tank Hunters) RETAIL 2.301

If Morelloo sticks a toe out of that door, he is DONE.

If Morelloo sticks a toe out of that door, he is DONE.

I admit it freely: the Airborne Company is my absolute favorite subfaction in COH. They’re cool, they’ve got planes, guns, bombs and bitchin’ recoilless rifles — plus the ability to drop troops and AT anywhere on the map. Right behind Airborne on my list is Luftwaffe, which is pretty much Axis airborne. I mean, how badass are Fallschirmjagers? And who doesn’t love the sight of Butterfly Bombs twirling gracefully to earth like leaves on a gentle autumnal wind? To say nothing of the sight of a Henkel circling the map, relentlessly pounding Allied armor.

Instead, in this week’s expert Battle Report, the bold young SgtMorelloo picks Tank Hunters against the legendary Sepha, which is a pity because Sepha goes ALL infantry. Still, this is an excellent albeit blobby match — and Morelloo gets credit for opening with a mildly effective Scout Car spam tactic.

The game begins with Sepha in the north and he opens with the standard 4 Rifle squads. Notice how he caps the high munitions point by his base — spreading the squad very close to the civilian building so he can claim it first if a G43 Panzer Grenadier should rush his men. I’ll be keeping a close eye on little stuff like this throughout the match; these are things you should try to incorporate into your game as matters of habit.

The small things matter.

The small things matter.

Would you like to know more? Of course you would! Click to read on.

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Site Update: Our German sister blog!

September 23, 2008
Guten tag!

Guten tag!

It’s been brought to my attention that Rifles Ready! has inspired fellow COH players in the Fatherland to start blogging about the best World War II RTS ever made. Tom “kastenbr0t” Siegel is the author of COH Blog, a German-language WordPress blog about our beloved game. Mr. Siegel’s blog has four contributors and they cover a similar range of COH issues, from tips and tactics to random observations about the game and Relic. Mr. Siegel has been reading Rifles Ready! since we launched way back in June (it certainly feels like it’s been forever).

Hopefully COH Blog will continue attracting readers from the major German-language COH forums and I’ll always be open to developing a closer relationship with our German friends — be it co-reviewing replays or guest authors or whatever.


Relic: Beta patch 2.505 hits this week

September 22, 2008

It’s that time again — beta patch time, baby. I have to give Relic some credit here, they’re ramping up their COH efforts again, particularly with the 2v2 tournament for the balance beta only. Sadly I find myself too busy with work and friends to participate in the tournament myself, but this move (there’s a cash amount of unspecified value, plus Relic T-shirts!) is sure to flush some pro players out of retail and into the beta — for a few days, anyway. I’d sure love some pro’s thoughts on the balance status of the beta. Word on the street is, the Panzer Elite are fair, Americans are fair, Wehrmacht is fair, and British still too strong.

Thoughts? If anything, the balance changes listed below ease up on the U.S. and Wehrmacht’s two strong points — though making upgraded Bunkers ungarrisonable seems like a pretty big change. I mean, how long have Medic Bunkers with MGs in them been around? Since the vanilla COH days, since day one, as a matter of fact.

v2.505

Online
– Further optimizations & fixes to the new network code.

Fixes
– Fixed some issues with Repair Station Engineers.
– Fixed a number of quite obscure in-game crashes.

Audio
– Fixed incoming projectile sounds.
– Collisions between physics objects now produce material-specific sounds. *this system is not perfect, and is meant to supplement the regular destruction audio (ie: a sound will not play for every collision, only those with a large enough velocity/mass). It’s fun to push around debris with vehicles though.
– Some cool new stuff with Nebelwerfers.
– Reduced volume on BAR to sit better in the mix, as well as many other smaller mix refinements.

NOTE: Due to technical reasons, some of the audio changes listed in the last patch didn’t make it in (ie. distant arty), but they are included in this one.

Gameplay
– Removed Riflemen Veterancy bonuses granted through researching grenades
– Adjusted cost of British Glider HQ to 200 MP from 100 MP
– Adjusted cost of American HMG Nest to 200 MP/15 Fuel from 240 MP/10 Fuel
– Reduced cost of Firestorm to 160 munitions from 175 munitions
– Reverted cost of Wehrmacht Panzer IV back to 80 Fuel
– Adjusted MP40 medium range accuracy to .45
– At Vet 2, Volksgrenadiers get a +10 sight range addition.
– When a Wehrmacht Bunker is upgraded to Medic Bunker/MG Bunker/Repair Bunker, it can no longer be garrisoned.

Maps
– Added Vimoutiers (6)
– Added Compound Conflict (4)
– Road to Montherme – Fixed the garrison problem with the upper wooden bunker near left VP
– Road to Montherme – Replaced the lower building near right VP to balance building capacity and fix garrison/shooting problems


Advanced Tip: The value of experience, part II

September 21, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: Surprise and reader colonelcommissar nailed some really good additional points on a recent post I made about the value of gaining experience. I’ve assembled them here in a single, organized post. — Corkscrewblow

Balrogs start level 12 and up

Balrogs start level 12 and up

Having to learn C&C 3 has been a really big eye-opener to me on how to learn a game from the ground up. Seeing as I’m a year behind experience wise compared to my competitors who started playing when the game came out, I’ve had to play a lot of catchup (something I never needed to do in COH). I’ve found that I have no problem competing even with the best of players when I don’t make silly mistakes, but that is always a huge ‘when.’

Read on for tips on how to avoid your own silly mistakes!

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