Basic Tip: Using buildings against MGs

December 29, 2008

Heavy MGs are very intimidating, especially if you’re new to COH. The Wehrmacht MG42 in particular can suppress Riflemen so quickly it often feels like you’re doing nothing but retreating against a skilled opponent.

Here’s a great illustration of how an MG can be defeated easily by using Riflemen garrisoned in a building to draw its fire. Everyone knows the “classic” MG flank, wherein one squad deliberately enters an MG’s firing arc so that multiple other squads can close in on the MG from other directions. Having a squad in a building draw fire is even easier, as you can see in this example on Sturzdorf.

You’ll notice how the Volksgrenadiers have trouble fending off Riflemen at close range, which is the optimal position for Riflemen when fighting Volks. Also notice how the garrisoned Riflemen take minimal damage from the MG, even after sustained fire — the long range and building defenses make a huge difference.


Battle Report: ikillmedics (USA) vs RukAcIDHorse (PE)

December 24, 2008

REPLAY: ikillmedics [IplayforKeeps] (Armor) vs. RukAcIDHorse (Luftwaffe) RETAIL 2.301

Sorry for the long delay, but this is my best and LONGEST Battle Report yet! Finally, I feel like I’m back in the saddle. The holidays should give me some good time for more Battle Reports and Tips (more so because they take much less time than writing Battle Reports). We’ll kick off the countdown to Christmas with an epic battle between ikillmedics (better known as IPlayForKeeps) and  RukAcIDHorse, two excellent players who are true COH veterans, ranked at the top of 1v1 and 2v2 team ladders.

The rockets' red glare...

The rockets' red glare...

This is a LONG game. There are multiple Panther Battlegroup call-ins, multiple Pershings, fleets of Calliopes, massive set-piece fights between Riflemen and Panzer Grenadiers, and so and so forth. The match itself is a good illustration of how underpowered the Armor Company is, even against a Luftwaffe player (remember that in retail 2.301, Luftwaffe’s end-tree ability, Henschel Runs, are broken). This shouldn’t be news to anyone who’s been playing COH seriously for any amount of time. But the match still shows how the U.S. can compete — in my opinion, mistakes decided this game, not balance. You can see from the flow of the match that to win, the U.S. player must really capitalize on his early advantage, inflicting mortal damage (either in terms of killing units, starving resources or bleeding Victory Points) before the Panzer Elite player can access his dominating late-game abilities, from super heavy tanks to fully upgraded elite infantry and end-tree doctrine powers.

relic003531And now, with that little preview, let’s begin our analysis of the match. The battle takes place on the killing fields of Angoville, which is famous for the back-and-forth nature of its terrain. First off, we have ikillmedics (aka IplayforKeeps, aka 300, aka THIS IS SPARTA!) in the north, pushing south with his first Rifle squad, capping his crucial strategic point. He holds them there briefly, anticipating an early attempt by his PE opponent to choke off his resources. It’s a good idea, because PGs start heading in that direction almost immediately. This is a common PE tactic, the Rifle vs. PG matchup is largely skewed toward PGs given the high lethality of multiple G43s at range. Try and close, and you’ll lose a squad rapidly to focused fire.

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Site Update: Back up and running

December 17, 2008
Where the magic happens.

Where the magic happens.

My monitor and replacement video card arrived today. Props goes to EVGA — I think. They replaced my dead Geforce 8800 GTX with a new Geforce 9800 GTX+, which is a more advanced card, theoretically. But my old 8800 packed 768mb of memory, while the 9800 has just 512mb. I don’t think the performance difference will be noticeable, however. In any case, with my sick new 24″ BenQ monitor and my bedroom-den fully set up in my new house, I’m ready to start rockin’ and rollin’ with Rifles Ready! posts again — including Battle Reports. Our next one will be an epic showdown between Rukacidhorse and ikillmedics, a US vs. PE match on the killing fields of Angoville (I love using that phrase to describe just about any COH map). This astounding game earned 180 wubs on GR.org! Whoa! Nuts! Ruk goes for a standard PG/Infantry HT strat while medics goes for Armor Company! So yeah, expect some action this weekend.


Advanced Tip: Looking for blind spots

December 15, 2008

It’s a common situation: You have just secured a position inside a neutral building and are now awaiting the inevitable counter attack.

lorraine_haus
But more often than not, you forget to secure the blind spot of the house with barbed wire or similar defensive measures. The blind spot on a building is any location outside of it that doesn’t have a window. Thanks to COH’s somewhat nonsensical urban combat mechanic, outside units can attack infantry inside, as if firing through the wall. But the infantry inside — while benefitting from defensive bonuses — can’t return fire because there are no windows to fire out of.

This is a problem if you’re the guy holding the building; an enemy squad standing directly in front of the house can do considerable damage in a surprisingly short time.

However, you can solve this problem by simply destoying a part of the wall with a panzerschreck, a bazooka or a similar weapon.

lorraine_haus2
All you have to do is target the house with the attack-ground order in the control panel. NOTE: This may take several shots, as these AT weapons often miss randomly when manually targeted. The point is, this simple safety measure will make every enemy think twice before attacking from the blind spot again.

lorraine_haus3
Here you see the squad inside can now return fire at the Riflemen trying to abuse the blind spot.


In-depth: Adapting vs. planning

December 13, 2008
chessmaster

Professor Dumbledore plays chess!

In my quest to become a better RTS gamer, I found myself asking what traits separated the best players from the good players. One thing I looked into was top players and their ability to plan. I originally thought that the best RTS gamers would be much better at planning things out than their competition. As I looked into it however, I found that the best players usually walked into tournament matches without an elaborate plan, rather they went in with a basic plan to cover the first few minutes of the game with the expectation that they would find the way to beat their opponents during the game.

The lesser players almost always had more complex plans, yet they usually ended up losing. What was going on here? I figured out that the best players were always good adapters, and the lesser players were usually better planners. Yet the better players generally won. Adaptability was triumphing over planning and strategizing. This on the surface, would appear paradoxical. After all, “Real Time Strategy” has the word “strategy” built right in.

When someone thinks of strategy, they probably think of a wizened old chessmaster (refer to image above),  hunched over a chess board deciding how to play his next move on the implications it will have in the future vs the implications of other potential moves.

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Beta patch 2.507 is up!

December 12, 2008
Relic upgrades to honesty 2.0.

Relic is on the move!

I’ll admit we were a little slow writing about Thunder’s original post, but it’s still really fast of Relic to have patch 2.507 ready to roll today. That’s right, the patch itself is available for manual download, in addition to the patch notes being posted, of course. I’ll offer some more specific comments below the fold, but in one sentence: bug fixes over balance changes. Mainly it’s a slew of bug fixes, plus some major (much-needed) British nerfs.

Plus the following interesting statement from Thunder: “I’m sure some of you will note there is no change or fix in these notes for team resource sharing. It is a balance issue and it is something that we are aware of and would like to address. To truly fix team resource sharing, and fix it right, we’re going to need to go into the code that deals with the resource system and change it. It’s a risky change, especially as we’re trying to finalize this patch, and it will require quite a bit of programmer and QA test time that we don’t have to spare right now. As a result we’re going to be address the issue in a different retail patch. There are some steps forward that will be included in this patch, such as: ‘British Resource upgrades no longer share with teammates. Secured Resourcing, Captain’s veterancy resource bonus, and Improved Command Truck resource bonuses only apply to the player performing those upgrades.'”

Click to continue.
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Relic: Beta to go retail after holidays

December 11, 2008

relic_logo2It’s official, sports fans. Relic has all but confirmed the timeframe for the balance beta to end so that a final build of the beta can replace the retail game. The bottom line, according to an official Rifles Ready! analysis: final beta patch after New Year’s, then beta goes retail probably in late February, just before COH: Tales of Valor comes out.

Thunder, Relic’s community manager, says that 2.507 will “very likely” be the final patch to hit the beta, with a changelist coming soon.

“The next steps will be to give you all some time to play with the new beta patch to shake out any new/major issues. Then we’ll be doing a final round of bug fixes for issues that the new code and balance changes introduced to other areas of the game, such as the campaign, and the big final QA pass.”

How long will all this take? Well, it won’t be till after the holidays, Thunder says: “I’m sure there were players out there hoping for a final retail patch for the holidays but there’s still quite a bit of work that needs to happen. We also don’t want to release a patch just before everyone leaves for the holidays, just in case something goes wrong.”

That tells me the beta patch won’t hit till after “the holidays,” which probably includes both Christmas and New Year’s. Assuming the final patch is out in the first week of January, Relic will probably give it at least a month or more for players to play it and offer feedback. Hopefully the fact that it’s the last patch will improve player participation. Then there’s all that final bug-fixing and QA-passing, and finally the beta ends and goes retail.

If you are counting the months on this, you’ll realize this timeframe bumps up very near to the estimated release date for COH: TOV, which is supposed to ship on March 9, according to Amazon.com. It would make very little sense for the beta to still be ongoing when Tales of Valor comes out, so it’s probably safe to use that March 9 date as a drop-dead deadline for the beta to hit retail.

SITE UPDATE: In other news, my video card has been received by the manufacturer, and they’re preparing to ship out a replacement. I probably won’t get it till the middle of next week, or the end of next week. So that means no new Battle Reports for at least a week and a half. However, we’ll all continue to post and that means Surprise‘s highly popular WCG series will keep running. Hang tough, troops!