Do you like playing COHO? I’ve got one great question for you: “Who have balance this game is a blind?”
This phrase has been seared across my neurons. One instant I was scanning for posts in Relic’s official COHO forums, the next I was rolling on the floor with giddy, joyful mirth.
To me this is on the level of such contemporary classics as “All your base are belong to us,” “I can has cheeseburger?” and the old RTS standby, “He’s in ur base killin ur d00dz.”
This is taken from the name of a thread on Relic’s official COHO forums, in which a poster named “Suen” — one hopes desperately he is not a native English speaker — offers no reasons why the game is unbalanced. He got as good as he gave; if you read the thread he gets bashed immediately by Relic, no less.
Relic moderator “Noun” replied in this fashion: “Unlike some more basic games for new gamers where the balance is very easy and simple, because they just mirror units on each side, this is a more advanced game for fans of video games. If you’d like to spend some time playing the game and learning how it works we’d be happy to accept your constructive feedback. But if you’re just wanting to point out that this isn’t an easy game that’s not as helpful.”
Well, while Suen offers no more than marvelous grammatical constructs — which are a worthy addition to the enterprise of written English — I will take Noun up on his offer. You want some constructive feedback? Trust me, it’s not for a lack of balance problems with your game. Suck on this bullet-point list, buddy.
These are in no particular order, and should be read with the caveat that I play mostly Americans.
Overall balance. In my opinion the Americans still have the upper hand in the early game, as you can win the field with one good flank unless you’re fighting against Recoup Losses spam. But the early advantage mechanic is reduced thanks to Hero Units like Bargain Volksgrenadiers and especially the Fatherland MG. The overall balance grows increasingly skewed as the match drags on, thanks Axis abilities that snowball to produce an overwhelming late game advantage. That being said, I will endeavor to be as bipartisan as possible in listing specific issues.
Infantry Attrition. Conceptually feasible, in practice this ability encourages mindless waves of infantry charges, tons of Firing Up defeating the entire suppression mechanic, and lots of griefing. Suggestion: Rather than replace units wholesale, this should be reworked. I would agitate for changing this to either offer manpower for lost infantry, combined with free level 1 or level 2 veterancy on new squads to distinguish it from the Axis’ Recoup Losses ability.
Recoup Losses. There is a replay on GR.org that offers a full-frontal showcase of the brokenness of this ability. When maxed, this yields an appalling amount of manpower, munitions and especially fuel for squad members, vehicles or even tanks lost by a Defensive Commander. In this replay you’ll see the Axis player rack up 1,500 fuel over the course of a 45-minute game. Suggestion: Nerf this bitch sideways. For starters, reduce the duration by 50%, or reduce the fuel yield by 50%, or increase cooldown by another 30 seconds. You could probably do all three. Conceptually this is puzzling, too. The more you get fucked up, the greater the bonus. Just make sure you don’t lose whole squads. Does this encourage unit preservation? Again, I refer you to the above replay.
Flare. It’s been long-known that the Sniper vs. Sniper balance is delicate. So it would seem a bad idea to give one doctrine the ability to instantly de-cloak an enemy Sniper whilst also making him much easier to hit, without any risk to your own Sniper, who is free to fire and relieve your opponent of 340+ manpower instantly. Flare is so broken at high levels that the preferred counter-tactic offered forth by top American players is to mix your Sniper with Riflemen, to make it physically more difficult for the Axis player to right-click on him. You see, retreating when the Flare falls is just foolish, as Flare increases accuracy by 45%, offsetting the -25% retreat accuracy bonus and offering a +20% bonus against retreating units. Suggestion: Flare needs a delay, plain and simple. It cannot be instantaneous. This is the simplest solution and requires no other changes to the improvement points for Flare. The alternative would be a severe reduction to its camouflage detection radius, so you’d have to drop it right on a Sniper to reveal him. You can’t simply slap it down anywhere you think an American Sniper may be and de-cloak half a screen’s worth of surface area.
Flare and Rocket Barrage. This merits its own separate bullet. You can literally press a few buttons and kill American base structures, or worse eliminate entire infantry armies with careful timing and a modicum of luck. Suggestion: Flare no longer provides line of sight (LOS). Or, Rocket Barrage doesn’t get Aftershock ability. Or, give the Americans the ability to base-rape somebody for free.
Field Repair. It’s too good during combat, and that’s really all there is to say. This is a simple tweak just to nerf the repair rate. Suggestion: You could get all fancy, and make each hit sustained with the ability active reduce the repair rate. Even so, between Panthers, Tigers, King Tigers, high-damage panzershrecks on more units, panzerfaust on more units and of course Paks, it’s difficult to suggest that American tanks are too tough to destroy.
Full-speed movement in camouflage. A strike against both the Infantry Commander and Blitz Stormtroopers, in my opinion. Invisible Riflemen for Stickies, lots of invisible grenade-throwing, everything at full speed, and so on. Suggestion: The speed bonus cannot be equivalent to moving while uncloaked.
Game-breaking hero units. Really I’m only talking about the Fatherland MG is absurdly good, forcing flanks to grow increasingly Kafkaesque, often requiring three or more angles of attack, and its health buff makes it highly resistant to grenades and small arms once flanked. To top it all off it doesn’t even have to retreat very often thanks to its ability to run on home turf. Assault Jeeps are good, but needs minor tweaking by comparison — after all, you now get Pioneers with panzershrecks, panzerfausts and of course a mine will one-shot the Assault Jeep.