Site Update: Getting a new PC

January 23, 2009

Sorry for the lack of updates, I know I’ve promised a great deal of stuff. However I’m in the middle of upgrading to a new computer (had this current one for 3.5 years). So Rifles Ready! will be in a slight holding pattern, probably for 1-2 weeks maximum. I will respond to comments and maybe make a few posts, but I won’t have access to Photoshop or the game itself until the new PC is built and readied. In any case, it appears the COH community itself is in a holding pattern, waiting for the Promised Land where the beta patch will replace the retail game and COH: Tales of Valor will resolve any lingering, outstanding issues like the Allied resource sharing imbalance. Please feel free to leave comments or otherwise reach me. I will have full access to the Internet via my laptop.


Relic: 2.508 imminent, beta to end soon

January 15, 2009

relic_logo2Well Houston, we’ve got an update. Relic community mananger Thunder reports today that patch 2.508 for the beta playtest is “impending” and that we can expect the retail game to be updated with something very similar to 2.508, SOON. That’s the key here, troops, soon. To quote Thunder himself: “We’re locked down on balance right now and just in bug fix mode in anticipation of finalizing the patch for retail.”

I know I usually post the patch notes, but here they are so scant as to barely be worth mentioning. Of note are some AI fixes, like AI can no longer use abilities like Sector Artillery unfairly. I’m not sure how you can possibly use Sector Artillery unfairly, outside of spamming it in enemy sectors. Imagine how amusing it might be to have the computer activate Sector Artillery in your HQ. For all you comp-stompers, this one’s for you.

With COH: Tales of Valor still slated for a March 9 release (see Amazon.com), the endgame is very much in sight. At the earliest I predict the beta patch will go retail in early or mid-February. At the latest, it will be concurrent with the release of COH: ToV.

So dear readers, mark well the date March 9! And stay tuned for more Rifles Ready! content this weekend!


WCG: The Road to Glory, part 3

January 11, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: Return with us to sunny Los Angeles, Calif., where Steven “Surprise” Uray picks up his tale of adventure at the World Cyber Games U.S. national final. When we left off, our hero was heading into battle, readying for his first match. Will he reach his dreams? Or will they be brutally crushed beneath the mouse-clicks of the world-class competition that awaits? There’s also more of Surprise’s astute and touching observations on gamers and the gaming culture they perpetuate. Readers, you may recognize yourself in the characters he describes. – Corkscrewblow

The venue.
The venue.

I began walking toward the convention center after breakfast. I remember it was a cool and cloudy morning and the walk from the hotel felt refreshing. I didn’t make it very far before I heard somebody yelling my name. I turned around to see my roommate, Judgepowr, eating at Starbucks with a few new kids, including Zero, Kifire and Sharp. They invited me to join them and, unable to think of a polite way to decline, I sat down.

Zero, a fresh-faced 16-year-old, introduced himself to me. He was tall, with black hair and blue eyes and he was the only gamer I met who seemed neither too skinny or too fat. He was from a rich family in North Carolina and also lived in England for 14 years. He talked excitedly about everything and gave off a very energetic vibe. There was a striking innocence about him that stood out above all his other personality traits. He had lived a sheltered life and didn’t really know much about the real world other than the little glimpses he’d seen of of Los Angeles. His combination of enthusiasm, curiosity, and naivety will doom him to be ripped off by somebody or another down his road, but his innate intelligence will only let it happen once.

Zero. Behind him, in the black T-shirt, is the author.

Zero. Behind him, in the black T-shirt, is the author.

Kifire was a short, talkative Jewish kid with glass. I wasn’t sure how well he was going to get along with Khufu and Sharp, considering they had been calling him a dirty Jew online for months, but evidently this didn’t carry over to their real-life meeting. We all walked down to the convention center early, hoping to get in some practice before the competition, but the expo was closed until 10 a.m., meaning we had to sit in a line for an hour and a half. Everybody else from C&C had met up with us by then, and we moved into the expo as one large group.
Read the rest of this entry »


Site Update: Busy weekend, sore throat

January 8, 2009

winterblues-vi1

Sorry updates haven’t been as quick or consistent as promised. I’ve got a bit of a sore throat (seems to have hit after I spent this morning tramping around chilly Washington D.C., under-dressed, to cover a meeting for my job) this evening and hopefully it will pass without me getting sick. Also this Saturday I’m having a big housewarming party with a ton of folks coming over, so that cuts down a bit on writing and posting time. Still, I plan to soldier on next week — stay tuned for a more detailed in-depth post on the M8 vs. the Light Anti-tank Halftrack. This particular issue has been burning up the GR.org beta test forums, with some folks arguing that the M8 is too strong/effective. Also there are more Battle Reports in the works, and the next segment of Surprise’s WCG series.


Basic Tip: Using booby traps

January 5, 2009

I’ve been accused of catering more to the Allies — specifically the Americans — and not so much our poor komraden fighting for the glory of the Fatherland. Well, that stops today with this post. What’s an excellent but underused doctrine-specific ability in the early game? That the Panzer Elite get? Booby trapped buildings, of course! Sure, it requires you to pick Scorched Earth, and forgo sick units like the Fallschirmjager, Hetzer and Jagdpanther, but on the plus side you get some truly satisfying low-micro, high-damage abilities, like Booby Traps for points and buildings, Sector Artillery and of course, Hummel mobile artillery pieces.

cmdr_pnze_booby_trap_buildingNow, the ability Booby Trap buildings can be had for a single Command Point and any Panzer Grenadier can place them in any neutral building. There are key buildings on every map (the house by the bottom player’s strategic point on Angoville, the church on Semois) that are almost guaranteed to be garrisoned by the enemy during the course of a match. These should be the first targets, but because you can use Booby Traps in buildings as many times as you want, feel free to keep idle PGs busy planting them in less frequently used or less strategically positioned buildings as well. It takes a good amount of time to booby-trap a building, and the gray progress bar is visible to your enemy as well as you.

Booby traps then, are best placed when your infantry are outside your enemy’s sight range. The same hiss-click noise your enemies hear when triggering a trap on a resource point is heard when their units enter a trapped building. They have a good 2-3 seconds to get out before squad members start dying, but frequently, your opponent will be too distracted to hear this noise, especially if they are garrisoning a building in the middle of a firefight. In the mid-game and beyond, your opponent may think the noise indicates another squad triggering a trap on a resource point being captured — great if you’ve conditioned him to expect lots of trapped points.

Argh, exploding boobies!

Argh, exploding boobies!

Squad members die rapidly once the trap is actually triggered, and an entire squad will be fully destroyed if the opponent fails to react in time.


Basic Tip: Base-rush on Lorraine

January 2, 2009

paras_by_doorI know some map changes await when version 2.507 of the balance beta, but I’m about 95% sure no changes will be made to Lorraine, one of my favorite 2v2 maps. This little tactic may be considered lame by some, but in my view it’s fair game. Note that this base rush can work against every player’s HQ sector, though the one pictured seems most convenient. This tactic is a base rush, executable once you have AT infantry like Paratroopers, Stormtroopers, Rangers or any mans packing Panzershrecks. Flamers work as well, though the short range makes AT weaponry preferable. Basically, you place infantry with AT weapons in the civilian building overlooking the MG structure of the player in the lower right of the map.

Surprise, kids!

Surprise, kids!

From here, you can rapidly destroy the MG closest to you — and the extra sight range afforded by garrisoning also allows you to fire on other buildings as well. What’s almost unfair about this particular position is that infantry can approach it from outside the range of the base defenses; in fact it’s very easy not to notice that this is being done to you, if you’re the hapless victim.

Cleaning house.

Cleaning house.

In my example, the Paratroopers can actually attack the second MG bunker from their position in the house, just astounding given the long range. I am not sure if garrisoned infantry receive a range bonus (weapon range, not sight range), but this is incredibly effective, as you can see. From here you just exit the building and sweep effortlessly into the base. Only a Defensive-doctrine Wehrmacht player has any change of stopping this, but given how fast buildings die to Satchel Charges, Panzershrecks and Recoilless Rifles, even they will be forced to retreat.

Normally there would be a just-retreated army to fight, but it was already GG this game.

Normally there would be a just-retreated army to fight, but it was already GG this game.

In the YouTube video below, it was almost GG anyway because my partner had captured an enemy Flak 88 and it’s firing on my opponent’s base already, using my sight radius to spot. Now, if the game is evenly matched, you will have to deal with your enemies’ armies (which they will retreat to fend you off), a great way to counter is using the Strafing Run. Any off-map direct-damage ability will do, 105mm Artillery, Firestorm, etc. and the effect is vicious.

Potential counters: Defensive doctrine Wehrmacht, with defensive base MGs and Registered Artillery and For the Fatherland. On the Panzer Elite side, Sector Artillery will likely make a terrific mess of things as well.