Thoughts on patch 2.400 and beyond

reliclogoWell sports fans, it’s finally here. The complete changelog for patch 2.400, the final patch for COH: Opposing Fronts that will mark the end of the incredibly long balance beta and the reign of patch 2.301 for the retail game. It’s taken Relic nearly a year to get here, and let me tell you — 2.301 is tapped out. Being an American fanboy, I’m sickย in particular of always fighting the Panzer Elite with one hand tied behind my back. This is a long-awaited moment for us all.

I’ve read through all the 2.400 changes and I’ll offer my opinion in the full post, but here’s an amusing sampling of the comments that burst forth on GR.org as soon as the changelog was posted:

  • “They nerfed OF factions by a great deal and buffed vCoH factions… Bull.”
  • “You’re right, the former should have been patched out completely. Thanks Relic for finally fixing the terrible piece of shit you dumped on us a year ago.”
  • “Yey. Time to play PE with a clear conscience!”
  • “def med bunker spam is going to be the standard for wehr now.”
  • “spam bitches! watch my 20 medics recover for me my ARMY of the DEAD muahaha.”

The retail game will get 2.400 very soon, presumably timed to coincide with the April 8 release of COH: Tales of Valor. I hope you all have preordered; I know I have. It smells like a pretty weak expansion, but the new multiplayer game modes should offer some less stressful cooperative play (2v2s and up can get really stressful given how competitive and nasty people get about ranked games).

Patch 2.400 has a huge list of changes, far too long for me to comment on each one. Instead I’ve taken the complete list and pared it down to the ones I think are most significant (more after the break). You can read the full changelog and less (or more) intelligent commentary by going to GR.org.

v2.400

***** Bug fixes*****

– Kettenkrads no longer run away from Jeeps. This fixes the exploit of players using Jeeps to block Kettenkrad movement.
I think this is pretty fair given the PE nerfs in 2.400. Jeeps are still great against Kettens, it just won’t result in an automatic Ketten death every time.
– Panzer Elite Overdrive ability now requires an engine that is not damaged or destroyed.
Yes, thank you. One ridiculous advantage removed. God I hate Armored Cars escaping via warp drive with 2 pixels of health left.

***** Gameplay *****

General
– All Tank Main Guns now have an equal chance to target the crew of a Towed AT Gun as they do of targeting the AT Gun directly.
This is a change that will have a major impact in late games with lots of tanks. I applaud.
– Tank gun targeting priority increased significantly vs. Marder IIIs.
Nothing worse than circling a Marder but your M10 is shooting at halftracks or infantry instead. Thank you Jesus.
– Mines are deadlier to retreating units.
The question is, how much deadlier? I like it in theory, but we need to see this one in practice.
– Vehicle dropped mines (i.e. M8 Greyhound) short and medium range accuracy increased.
So M8 suicide mine drops are deadlier now, it sounds. Again, we need to see just how much we’re talking about here.
– AT guns (Wehrmacht Pak 38, American 57mm, etc.) are less accurate versus other AT guns.
Fantastic. Hopefully the accuracy reduction is MAJOR. Say 80% less accurate.
– Tank Guns, Artillery, AT Guns, and Rockets do slightly less damage (-10%) to Wehrmacht and Panzer Elite tanks with armored Skirts.
Feels unnecessary, but not enough to make a difference either way.
– The guns for the Bofors, Flak 38, 222 Armored Car, and 234 Armored Car all have decreased accuracy against infantry garrisoned in buildings.
Again, we’ll need to see how much less accuracy. Could be infantry AT squads in buildings will force vehicles to retreat.

American
– American Rangers and Airborne ‘Fire-Up’ ability now causes a 10 second exhaustion after use. Exhausted units move slower for the duration and have a slower rate of fire.
Probably fair, though coupled with added upkeep on Rangers and Airborne it feels stiff. I thought the cooldown nerf was adequate.
– Browning HMG damage modifier vs. Panzer Elite, British soldiers increased by 33%.
Much-needed. Much, much-needed against PE.
– American Strafing Run ability arrival delay increased by 1/2 a second.
I’m not clear on this. Is the 2.301 Strafe with a new delay? Or does the beta’s greatly weakened Strafe get nerfed even more?
– American Sherman and M3 Halftracks now benefit from vehicle cover.
Outrageous that they didn’t before.
– Paratroopers and Rangers have their upkeep increased by 20%.
See above comment on Fire Up!
– M10 main gun range increased by 12%.
– American War Machine from Armor Company Commander cost decreased from 250 to 200 munitions.
– American Self Repair from Armor Company Commander cost decreased from 200 to 150 munitions.
– 90mm Pershing main gun area of effect increased 66%.
– 90mm Pershing main gun effectiveness vs. Panzer IV and Panther armored skirts slightly reduced by about 5%.
– 90mm Pershing HVAP main gun area of effect increased by 50%.
– 90mm Pershing HVAP main gun has increased penetration versus Panzer IV, Panther, and Stugs with armored skirts.
– 90mm Pershing HVAP main gun has increased penetration overall, by about 10%.
These are much-needed and great changes. The M10 needed like +20% penetration, not a range increase. It will still get completely owned without doing sufficient damage in return.
– American 76mm Sherman main gun area damage tuned.
What does “tuned” mean?
– American .30 Cal HMG squad veterancy requirements reduced for level 2 and level 3 veterancy.
– American 60mm Mortar damage modifier increased by 75% vs Panzer Elite and British soldiers.
– American 60mm mortar weapon health has tripled (this is the gun, not the entire squad).
Weapon teams and WSC now potentially useful against PE infantry.
– American 57mm AT gun penetration modifier vs. Jagdpanther increased by 10%.
– American M10 main cannon penetration increased 20% vs. Jagdpanther.
– American Sherman 76mm upgraded gun penetration increased 20% vs. Jagdpanther.
Hell yes. Couple this with Jag nerfs in PE section, and you got a supertank that’s almost balanced.
– American Pershing gets increased penetration (approximately 35%) on its main gun when the 76mm Gun upgrade is researched at Tank Depot (note, help text has not been localized).
Great. Pershings now have the best tank gun in the game after this upgrade.
– American Fire-up ability time increased from 60 seconds to 90 seconds, but is reduced by 15 seconds at each level of veterancy.
See Fire Up! comments above.

Wehrmacht

– Reduced cost of Firestorm to from 200 to 160 munitions.
– Firestorm damage over time modified to have a decreased radius, but a longer minimum duration and much lower damage frequency.
– Firestorm is less accurate and less damaging to all buildings.
– Firestorm falls more quickly after being requested.
– Firestorm sight radius reveal timer reduced.
These sound good, but really it will take several games where I’m attacked by Firestorm and where I use it, for final judgement to be passed.
– Improved the MP40 medium range accuracy by 225%.
– At veterancy level 2, Volksgrenadiers get a +10 meter sight range addition.

Volks certainly needed help, and these changes are fine in and of themselves, but I really worry about the tier 2 stage of the game, which will be much deadlier for Americans fighting the standard tier 2/Terror strategy from Wehr.
– Wehrmacht Panzerfaust damage modifier reduced (-45%) vs. American and British heavily armored vehicles.
Good. American tanks needed all the help they could get. Brits, not so much.
– Wehrmacht Knights Cross Holder squads reinforce time down from 30 seconds to 15 seconds per soldier.
Probably OK, but I thought tier 4 Wehr was plenty strong to begin with. KCH really requires a Sniper to fight unless you have vetted Rangers with Thompsons, which isn’t a great solution since it’s doctrine-specific to fight a non-doctrine unit.
– Stormtrooper suppression recovery now matches that of a Grenadier squad, previously they had recovered from suppression roughly 4-5 times slower.
Fair. Just goes to show how little I play Wehr; I never noticed this before.
– Wehrmacht Sdkfz 234 Armored Car first level veterancy bonus changed from a -15% received enemy accuracy bonus to a -15% received damage bonus.
I thought the nerf should be more significant, but tier 3 Wehr could use it. Then again, with Nebels being effective and the Stug getting additonal buffs (see below), maybe this could use future tweaking.
– Panzerschreck chance to drop decreased by 50%.
Sigh. I love picking up weapons. But I guess this is fair.
– Wehrmacht infantry retain their veterancy on recaptured Wehrmacht weapons (Nebelwerfers, MG42 HMGS, Mortars, Flak 88s).
Question: if you have vet 3 infantry but vet 0 weapon teams, does that mean you get vet 3 weapon teams without needing the research? Does this seem right to you?
– Panzerschreck accuracy vs AT guns reduced.
A much-needed change.
– Wehrmacht Stug main gun tracking speed increased by 66%.
– Wehrmacht Stug frontal armor increased by 20%.

I can agree to these for now.

British
– Reduced cost of British Glider HQ from 340 to 200 manpower.
– British Tetrarch main gun area-of-effect radius slightly reduced, slightly reducing effectiveness vs. infantry targets.
– British Tetrarch Littlejohn Adapter has increased penetration rates vs. all Armor by 20%.
– British Sherman Firefly Tank Commander upgrade cost increased from 10 to 30 munitions.
These are all good, and should make Tetrach spam less effective against AT infantry. There was a spectacular replay from somebody a ways back showing Tetrach spam being used to totally reverse a game against tier 2 Terror.
– British PIAT launcher scatter radius reduced.
– British PIAT reload tuned.
Gives British a decent AT option before the 17-pounder, without needing to pick Royal Engineers for the Churchill.
– Artillery Barrage cooldowns have been increased across all British Artillery. Note, most upgrades for Royal Artillery reduce these incrementally.
Good. Another example of Relic’s incremental improvement mechanic.
– British Churchill 6 pounder Gun has 30% better penetration vs. Hummel, Jagdpanther, and Hetzer.
– Area of effect range on Churchill 6 pounder gun reduced by about 66%.
– British Churchill damage vs Marder III reduced by 12%.

I’m pretty indifferent to these changes. British have never had a problem fighting supertanks with their 17-pounders and Fireflies.

– Buttoning speed modifiers on British Infantry squads are dependent on squad size. Small squads apply fewer speed penalties, large squads apply full speed penalties to enemy targets.
– Button Down ability targets the coaxial guns on the vehicles first, giving the main weapon a 5 second delay before it will stop shooting as well.
A great change, and one that ought to reduce Axis angst against the British (remember that guy on GR.org whose sig read “whoever plays British deserves to get an incurable illness within 48 hours?)
– 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.

Long-awaited changes. I hope this will reverse the Allied-dominated 2v2 arena.

Panzer Elite
– All Panzer Elite vehicle veterancy curves now escalate (previously many obtained veterancy level 2 much slower than they would obtain veterancy level 3).
– All Panzer Elite Soldiers obtain veterancy level 3 at a slightly slower rate.

Yay. This also makes the Veteran Sergeants upgrade more worthwhile for PE players.
– Panzer Elite Marder III damage vs. the American M10 and M4 Sherman reduced by 25%.
About time. Armor was of extremely limited use with Marder IIIs and panzershrecks in the field.
– Panzer Elite Scout Car will now detect snipers at half the radius of a Jeep or Motorcycle.
Probably a fair change. The Scout Car previously was unable to detect Snipers. PE still suffers vs. Snipers because so few PE players go for a Logistik start, which is obviously needed to produce Scout Cars.
– Panzer Elite G43 Rifle long range cooldown penalty reduced to 25% from 50%, overall cooldown increased by 25%.
Goes a long way to making G43s more fair against Riflemen.
– Panzer Elite Suppressive Volley Fire will slow retreating squads to normal movement speed temporarily.
Works in conjunction with the change above to allow Rifles to survive long enough to obtain veterancy
– Panzer Elite Armored Car 20mm cannon effectiveness reduced vs. American Riflemen.
– Panzer Elite Armored Car’s ranged increased by 15%.
– Doubled the fuel drain of the Panzer Elite Armored Car 222 Overdrive.
The outrageously high-flying Armored Car gets knocked back down to earth. We’ll have to see just how well the the range buff works out, because it will improve the kiting abilities of a unit that was already a master-kiter.
– Panzer Elite Vehicles shared veterancy radius reduced by 10 meters.
– Panzer Elite vehicle and infantry veterancy sharing tuned.

Again, no one knows WTF “tuned” means. Presumably in this context it means “nerfed.”
– Panzer Elite Jagdpanther health reduced by 11%.
Wonderful news.
– Panzer Elite Marder III Site Main Gun sight bonus reduced by 75%.
Also a great change. Encourages the use of infantry or Kettens to spot for the Marder III.
– Panzer Elite Kettenkrad has its sniper detection radius increased by 30%.
Speaking of Kettens and spotting, this makes Snipers riskier still against the PE. You’ll really want to keep squads near the Sniper for defense.
– Panzer Elite Infantry Halftrack MG42 is less effective vs. squads in light cover. Damage has been reduced by 25%.
This, plus the G43 nerf and the Armored Car nerfs, ensure Riflemen will have a fair chance against the PE.
– Panzer Elite Hummel artillery barrage ability increased by 30 seconds.
– Panzer Elite Hummel artillery barrage ability decreases by 10 seconds for every level of veterancy.
Mirrors British artillery changes.
– Panzer Elite Wirblewind has increased penetration vs American Halftracks and M8 Greyhounds.
– Panzer Elite Wirblewind deals more deflection damage against armored targets.
If this becomes like the PE’s Flakvierling base defenses, I think it’s reasonably fair.
– Previously when a Bergetiger recovers a vehicle, it came back with 50% of its of max health, the vehicle now returns with 40% of its max health.
– Axis armor recovered by the Bergetiger is more likely to return with either a damaged engine or destroyed main gun.

I approve.

Final thoughts:
I think Relic deliberately avoided significant game changes in patch 2.400; rather it’s a very incremental patch whose changes will compound themselves within the meta-game. Changes won’t become immediately obvious. I think most of the changes are in the right direction, though glaring opportunities still exist for balance tweaks, particularly within a faction. For instance, no one is going to pick Blitzkrieg over Terror. Storms and the Stuh just aren’t good enough on their own, nor should they be. Hopefully the American doctrines will be better balanced with the slew of improvements to Armor Company.

Everyone who’s stuck with COH after all this time should clap themselves on the back and pop open a cold brewski. Your patience is finally about to be rewarded.

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13 Responses to Thoughts on patch 2.400 and beyond

  1. Fratt says:

    Great analysis !

  2. Runfree says:

    Most of change seems fair … even if as a pe player, i think the jag is going to be less effective … it seems to me, bonus to americans + malus to jag health , are too much but may be it’s fair ๐Ÿ˜‰ (not forget you have only 1 jag, you can call pershing more times even if the cost are not the same) …

    I don’t see changes about the “indestructible” british mortar or the bug that does british captain is near invincible …

    1/2 seconds for strafing run, i understand it as you have 1/2 seconds to avoid it … i think this change is ridiculous to most players ..it is just for some skilled player … Personnally, i never see strafing run arrives, i just cry after ๐Ÿ˜‰ …it sounds like Churchill tank become dangerous to ohter tanks now …

    Most of pe changes seems fair to me. But overall i think that is going to have more changes than this …..

    1 year to do this seems a long time ….

    i prefer 2v2 play, i’m curious to see if it’s now more fun to play against allied players …

  3. Michael Schmidt says:

    Personally I was hoping for a lot more Brit nerfs to overrepair, upgunned bren carrier, and emplacements, of which overuse is still definitely a problem.

  4. Michael Schmidt says:

    Nevermind, looked through the full patch list and those are addressed.

    However: “- Barbed Wire and Sandbags can no longer be scuttled.”

    What about trenches???

  5. Runfree says:

    i havn’t read well, you havn’t put all the changes, i’m going to see that afterwork in GR ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. If they make trenches no longer “scuttle-able,” then it needs to be much easier to destroy trenches.

    Right it’s just about impossible to destroy a trench with anything less than multiple bundled grenades.

    I really think trenches should work like two rows of green cover, only with stronger defensive bonuses. They offer damage reduction from artillery and tank fire, but not invincibility. Once units flank it to fire at the sides of the trench, entrenched infantry take full damage.

    Trenches are just too extreme the way they are. Extremely powerful, or extreme liability if any enemy gets inside. Extremely easy to spam 90% built trenches, then finish and hop in as needed, then extremely easy to scuttle and move on. WTF.

  7. The Hat says:

    Trenches are of the devil. Also monkeys.

  8. Michael Schmidt says:

    I agree, trenches don’t make any sense. Give them reasonable HP, and have them offer building cover or something along those lines. And they should not be buildable in non-controlled territory, for the love of god. Especially since they can’t be burned out until T2 typically…

  9. 13acon says:

    trenches are fine. 50 munis for flame pios comes quickly, and 20 (?) fuel for incendiary nades isn’t earth-shattering. both are hard counters for a trench-happy brit, who’s giving you all of the resources if he’s digging in somewhere…

    also, great to see RiflesReady back in action! keep up the good work lads!

  10. Bitter Boy says:

    I agree that the changes are minor. Even though there are a lot of them, I see only the smallest of tweaks.

    Of course, when you patch a retail game that’s appropriate, but why did it take a year to decide to increase the range of some gun by 12%? A lot of these changes could have been implemented and tested in a month or two.

  11. […] Remember to read my reaction to key 2.400 changes in this post. […]

  12. coh mastermind says:

    well that patch never lasted dam long

    as soon as its retailed relic under pressure repatches back to 2.301.0 wast eof time

  13. You know it’s April Fool’s Day, right?

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