“Sir I think it’s time we gave up on this war effort. Relic obviously doesn’t care enough!”

"Sir I think it's time we gave up on this war effort. Relic obviously doesn't care enough!"

Time for some straight talk, Sarge.

A line from Corkscrew’s previous post stuck out like a sore thumb and looked to me like it was screaming for attention and needed to be addressed. No, he did not write anything wrong. If anything, everything Corkscrew said was right (and I’m luffing at the compass analogy lol).

It’s true that the COH community has thinned considerably in 2008. I haven’t been around long enough to remember the dark days of pre-1.5 when the wehr army was getting stuffed left, right and center from american-loving Relic patching team. But I do know the game’s visiblity and popularity increased exponentially in 2007. The golden age of COH has imho, definitely gone us by.

A computer game, like a commodity in the stock market or a jar of peanut butter in the supermarket, experiences high and low sales. Like a seasonal reflection of buyer’s attitude towards 2007’s Hugo Boss collection, staunch haute couture fans would only be seen in this year’s Hugo Boss outfits. It’s up to the non-purists or new fans of Hugo Boss to keep the designers happy.

I still log on and play COH as often as I can but I find the attitude and enthusiasm that made the COH community and gaming experience enjoyable has waned. The purists have lost interest in the game as the designers are no longer coming up with something avant-garde or distinctive enough to keep them happy. Instead, now we have newbies, old farts and try hards attempting to take the game to another level when the state of play has not changed for a good six months.

Many skilled veterans of the game have echoed my sentiments as we muster another boring Allied AT win over Axis efforts. It no longer takes skill or effort to win with Allies. It’s been a year and several patches but nothing has changed. This has sufficiently dulled the senses of many COH players and of course, when the shit hits the fan, people start looking elsewhere for their gaming fix.

This time last year I can easily count in excess of ten friends I regularly AT with. Now, with the depressing state of COH affairs and the inept ability of the patching/beta team to come up with anything worth blinking for, I have only one friend I AT with. And we AT twice a week. And that’s saying something.

The enthusiasm is no longer there. The heart is willing but the will is weak. Many players I have spoken to tell me they find it refreshing to learn a new faction and interest in the game increases marginally for a few weeks. After awhile it degenerates into another piss fart contest in the gr.org forums as disgruntled players complain about the incompetence of the patching/beta team.

Nobody is ever happy. Nobody cares. New patch, old habits. It’s the same vicious cycle that plagues this wonderful game. What pisses me off most is the non-communication between the big entity that sits atop the food chain and us underlings as we scrounge for some scraps of food. All we need is a ray of light. A glimmer of hope. That things will be better. But we keep getting mooned in the face with a big FUCK YOU.

Is this what we, as paying customers and friendly, motivated forum trolls want? What is keeping you from throwing the COH disc into the fires of Mount Doom?

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14 Responses to “Sir I think it’s time we gave up on this war effort. Relic obviously doesn’t care enough!”

  1. Jaeger_II says:

    I’ve managed to keep from chucking CoH into Mount Doom because CoH is still a fairly good game. While I agree what balance is far from perfect, CoH is still, sadly, patched more often than other rts and rtt video games such as Age of Empires III and World in Conflict.

    I don’t want to get into an economics argument here, but there’s a constant, industry-wide theme of support negligence.

    Perhaps I’ve been lucky. I still manage to experiment with new strategies and vice-versa, while still having some fun and not playing that many games. Your post is relevant, but particularly so to competitive gamers.

  2. The Hat says:

    Can’t really argue with anything here. Me, I’m very new to the CoH scene, having picked the game up less than a month ago. And man, wow. I’ve played my fair share of RTS’s, but I’ve never picked one up that holds a candle to CoH in depth, immersion, or just plain badassery. We all know those awesome moments of satisfaction we get from the best moments of great games. CoH throws ten times as many of those moments at me as almost every other game I’ve ever picked up.

    Everything about this game just continues to blow me away. In the month I’ve had it, I’ve made sure that no less than five of my friends got hands on copies of their own, and It’s since become a staple at local LAN parties.

    Admittedly, yes – there’s some issues with support / balance / bugs, as well as generally dwindling community interest in the game online. There are certainly problems with the game itself if you look hard enough. But man, it ought to tell us something that we have to look as hard as we do to find the potentially game-breaking problems. It may not be perfect, but it’s the best damn piece of RTS I’ve ever laid eyes on, and I don’t plan on putting it down for a long, long time.

    That you guys here at Rifles Ready continue to crank out these excellent articles even given the state of the game is absolutely phenomenal – I love the work all of you do. It keeps me coming back for more day after day, makes me think about the game constantly, and keeps my interest level peaked even when I don’t have time to play for days at a time.

    You guys fucking rock. This game fucking rocks. So sayeth the lord. Amen.

    tl:dr I want some pizza.

  3. Kersal says:

    Like Jaeger_II said this game is still better than other RTS. The balance problems are relevant in team match more than in 1vs1. And even in AT some maps are almost balanced.
    Furthermore, after 3 years since vCOH the metagame is still changing. Every week a new strategy arrives and this is really good.
    Another thing that makes COH still the best is that doesn’t exist any game hack (drophack in this case doesn’t count). Try to play some other RTS: map hack, money hack, army hack…and thousand more! I left C&C and W3 for this reasons.

    I really hope that a new expansion arrives to give relic some money and so some breath, but telling you the thruth i could accept to pay 5$ monthly to keep the online service up and running every day better (more patches, more tournment, more events…)

  4. Yeah, I largely echo some of the sentiments here. There is enough to COH — the historical authenticity, the graphics, physics and gameplay — to keep me in love with the game.

    At the same time, there’s enough wrong with COH — longstanding bugs, balance issues, questionable design decisions (PE/British blobs anyone?), uncommunicative Relic staffers — to get my blood boiling about how much better a game it could be.

    Overall though, there is more than enough depth to the game and to its universe (and a fantastically fleshed out universe it is, obviously) to keep Rifles Ready! going for a long, long time.

    Till Starcraft II/Diablo III comes out anyway, lol. Just kidding! I can love two or three games at the same time!

  5. adrock2xander says:

    That’ll be funny Corkscrew. Maybe we COULD entertain the idea of juggling two/three games on the blog. You just have to change it to DiaRiflesCraft-Ready! blog. Oh, and hire more writers as surely the four of us aren’t gona be able to cope with the demand!

    haha.

  6. I might actually start a couple other blogs, but with more regular contributors. I don’t think it will be as hard for SC2/D3 because they have really strong fanbases and Relic pales to Blizzard.

  7. jodonnell says:

    Sorry adrock2xander; I’ve enjoyed all your previous articles here on RR! but I vehemently disagree with you on almost every level here. The doom and gloom you hear on GR.org is mostly unwarranted, speaking as an OG who has been playing since the original beta in summer ’06. There have been many imbalanced eras in the game, and frankly, we’re in a much better place than we’ve been before – even in 2v2 AT (US was widely considered quite superior to WM in 1.71 and earlier 2v2s thanks to the synergy of a split WSC/Brx start.)

    Anyhow, what irks me most is the intimation that Relic has somehow failed to support the game, and that is utterly false. How many betas have we done now? At least two balance betas (including the AT beta) and the beta for each standalone title. And you know what the pattern has always been? Interest is high for two weeks, then the novelty wears off and people pack it in. The moment that a week goes by without a patch, everyone mysteriously vanishes, and you hear people cry that the beta has been abandoned. It has been abandoned – by the players. People get all huffy when more than a week passes without a patch, yet those posters don’t seem to grasp that the beta should still be played – the metagame is not going to be exposed after a measly seven days worth of games. When players stop playing the beta and stop providing informed feedback, Relic assumes that the players are no longer interested, and they scale down their commitment accordingly.

    To put this all in perspective – I go to the arcade each week to play Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike, which debuted in 1999. It has remained entirely unchanged in the nine years since it has been released. There have been no patches, no post-release balance tests, nothing. Yet the game remains quite imbalanced – Ken, Chun-Li, and Yun are widely regarded to be the top three characters by a huge margin, and Chun-Li is well-known for being an “easymode” god-tier character. Many other competitive fighting games have incredible balance issues or massive bugs (the extremely small handful of viable characters in Marvel vs Capcom 2; roll cancelling in Capcom vs SNK 2 to name a few.) Despite this, people still play 3S in tournaments around the globe. Sure, many (if not most) players stick with the top three, but the other characters are still viable thanks to the hard work put in by top players dedicated to exploring the limits of lower tier characters (think RoboBobo + Defensive.) Sure, you have to work harder to win with those lower tier characters, but it can be done. People just man up and do it. We complain about balance, how Yun’s Genei-Jin has an absurdly short super meter, or how Chun’s back+fierce stuffs everything from an incredible range, but we just learn how to deal with it, knowing this is how the game is and it will always be thus. Frankly, I think the balance betas have actually done harm to the community, since they encourage players to demand Relic to swoop in and bail them out of all their problems, when the real burden should rest on the player to figure out a solution first. PC gamers are spoiled by the expectation of patches, IMHO.

    Anyhow, forgive the rant. It’s obvious CoH is still the greatest RTS around, otherwise we wouldn’t have quality blogs like RR! around providing some sound insights and analysis. CoH remains the most well-designed RTS since SC came out, and it will remain the most innovative even after SC2 hits store shelves. I hope that in nine years I will still be playing this, too. The state of the game is far better than the GR whiners would have you believe. Instead wasting electrons blaming Relic, lets continue to search for new techniques to overcome the dominant strategies in the current meta. Aniketos and HeroicCompany didn’t pack it in back in 1.3 when Wehrmacht was in dire straits; we should strive to reach that same level of mental toughness.

  8. Kersal says:

    @CorkscrewBlow:
    Starcraft 2 is Starcraft with better graphic. Nothing more. This is the difference with CoH. Relic dared a new type of RTS, and, for me , they win the bet. In SC you know that A kills B. In CoH is not. Blizzard doesn’t want to change the winning Formula because they have a lot of ppl playing SC that will buy SC2. I greatly awaited SC2 but now I’m really disappointed because CoH is here. Is still great and NEW.

  9. Lol jodonnell, you should just let me make that long reply into a rebuttal post, rofl. The Street Fighter analogy is likely wasted on many of our readers here but being a fellow fighting game fan, I’m with you there.

    Kersal, I don’t think it’s possible to pass judgement on SC2 at this point, seeing how the game hasn’t been released yet. That said, I would rather SC2 and D3 NOT be attempts at reinventing the wheel. I would like to see an improved wheel, not a super-duper teleporting wheel that may or may not work — but of course that’s because I’m an unabashed fanboy for both those Blizzard titles.

    I would be disappointed if SC2 and D3 were nothing like their predecessors, and I know legions of fans would feel the same way. You must preserve most of what people liked about the previous games, and that is not possible if you reinvent the game. I say leave the pure innovation to new franchises, like COH.

  10. adrock2xander says:

    Haha Corkscrew you’re right. Apologies to jodonnell. Mate, my memories of Street Fighter are severely restricted to the days of SF2. That’s mid 1990s when I was still a high school kid, getting pummelled by a Ken/Ryu combo as I fail miserably to execute a sonic boom. If anything, I’m much more familiar with the King of Fighters series. (haha).

    Wow Chun Li’s easy-mode win? In SF2 Chun Li’s a joke. Nobody played her. Ahh how times have changed.

  11. AdAb says:

    Really interesting, thoughtful posts by all.

    I too find so much to love about COH that the other stuff seems small by comparison. Points I might have made have otherwise already been made.

  12. jodonnell says:

    Heh, go ahead CSB. To me, in these tough times (both in CoH and in America generally) you see a lot of pessimism, and even though some of it is well-founded, things always get better eventually, because the foundations are sound. It’s always important to step back once in a while and take a broader view, because things are rarely as bad as they look.

    Thumbs up on the SC2 commentary as well – Blizzard’s strength has always been its tightly disciplined and conservative design philosophy. During a D3 panel at Blizzcon, one of the slides read something like “Different but not better is not better.” Blizzard is never going to make a truly “innovative” title that does something no one has ever done before, but they’re the masters at building on the foundations of others, building extremely accessible and polished front-ends, and cutting the design fat and excess away.

    adrock: Chun-li is easymode only in Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike. A friend of mine once described the tiers thusly: “Ken is top tier because he has an answer to everything. Chun-li is top tier because she has _one_ answer to everything.” She can pretty much get by on low medium kick (which can be canceled into her extremely strong super) and her back+fierce punch, which stuffs most attacks. Top Chun-li players like Justin Wong can be dull to watch, because they just stay at max range, stick out extremely safe low medium kicks, and if they connect, they immediately cancel into super and take away half your life bar. In this way she is quite analogous to the Brits playstyle as they are both very turtley and can win matches despite taking virtually zero risks.

  13. adrock2xander says:

    Yeah I don’t know remember any SF2 characters who’re even worth playing unless they had a projectile shooting out from them. There are of course, exceptions. But Chun Li was definitely the least-played character. Mmmm I’m gona youtube it now and see what it has morphed to in this century. Fast forward 15 years. Should be interesting lol.

  14. bob says:

    I was still in elementary when I was playing SF2 with my brother. Pardon me adrock2xander but I believe all of the players can boost their foes if you know how to press the right buttons. ๐Ÿ™‚ With or without projectiles.

    Anyway, as far as CoH goes, I’d say that CoH, like SC innovated something new as well. I guess you know what factors are those. ๐Ÿ˜€

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