Volume I: The final tracks

June 11, 2009
Rifle NOT ready.

Rifle NOT ready.

As promised, here are the last three tracks from the first volume of our COH audio strategy series, Mind of a Master. This concludes our special D-Day celebration, but fear not sports fans: World War II goes on year-round at Rifles Ready!

That being said, I apologize for the slow updates of late. Suffice it to say June is a really, really tough month at work with a lot of things happening at the same time — all of which I’m personally responsible for.

I am also aware that many of the topics in this last batch of tracks were addressed in the recently released patch 2.600 — my reaction on that in a later post. But there’s also a lot of other insight from Surprise so I think you’ll still get plenty out of these.

Expect that post, plus an interesting balance article from Surprise, in the coming days. There’s also a new Battle Report in the works featuring a really good up-and-coming player whose replays have gotten a lot of attention on GR.org.

Track 8: Controversial balance issues – The Strafing Run


Track 9: Controversial balance issues – Supertanks and British armor


Track 10: Controversial balance issues – MGs firing at multiple targets, Panzer Elite and end credits


A special gift for a special three days in June…

June 5, 2009
A time for heroes...

A time for heroes...

Folks, it’s that time of year again. Today is June 5, 2009. Tomorrow will be June 6, the 65-year anniversary of D-Day. The day 150,000 Allied soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy to end tyranny, free a continent and spawn a thousand film and video game adaptions of a climactic battle. It’s a special day to anyone who loves Company of Heroes or World War II games in general.

You'll like this.

You'll like this.

To commemorate this occasion, I have decided with Surprise‘s support to make ALL 10 tracks of our COH audio strategy series, Mind of a Master: Volume I, available on Rifles Ready! — free of charge.

Starting today and ending Sunday (D-Day +1), I will be posting several tracks daily for you to listen to.

The tracks will be playable via the native WordPress streaming audio applet (see below). Amazon.com is taking FOREVER to approve this MP3 album for download, and it’s a special time of year, so the hell with it. Please enjoy!

Tracks 1 and 2: Introduction to Surprise and his biography/A high-level overview of the state of COH


Track 3: Detailed Tales of Valor unit analysis


Track 4: Psychology and mind games in COH


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.

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.

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.

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

WCG: The Road to Glory, part 2

December 8, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: Steven “Surprise” Uray continues his series on his adventure to Los Angeles, Calif., where he faces  some of the best RTS players in the world at the World Cyber Games final. This is a tour-de-force that smacks of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Similar themes are explored: substance-driven soul-searching, shifting personal expectations, hopes being lifted then crushed, and true life lessons emerging from it all. I’ve even embedded a YouTube audio clip of the Steppenwolf song that defined the spirit of the 60s to accompany this excellent post. – Corkscrewblow

Fear and loathing in Los Angeles. With gamers. And some drinking and smoking. And other fun stuff.

Fear and loathing in Los Angeles. With gamers. And some drinking and smoking. And other fun stuff.

Lazerflip and the Starcraft players went to Quiznos, while I went with Crunk to Panda Express. We sat down next to a guy playing a piano for the mall’s guests, and I was surprised how quickly our conversation turned to gaming and gamers we knew in general. I felt pretty nerdy talking C&C strategies, but it also felt natural with Crunk. I wasn’t very hungry and Crunk was done with his two entrees before I was half finished.

Back at the hotel, we decided to split from the Starcraft players to go swimming and smoke some cigarettes. Now, I had decided to quit using all psychoactive substances two weeks ago to focus on gaming and have a clear head. Up until this point, I had been entirely successful except when I accidentally drank half a Coke (caffeine).

Now I decided this was taking it all a bit too seriously, and decided to smoke a little while I swam. While we were going to the pool we first met Judgepowr, who was to be my roommate for the trip. I had already met him at Pacific Regionals, where he handed me an embarrassing loss. He wasn’t very good at Command and Conquer, but he played well enough to beat me whenever I wasn’t at the top of my game. He was short, stout and dark-skinned, perhaps Hispanic or Arab, and wore broken glasses. After a few minutes of small talk, he announced he was leaving to put his car in his garage and disappeared. I was a little disappointed I wouldn’t get to play him here in group stages and get revenge.

The pool was smaller than I expected for such a nice hotel, but it was refreshing and also had a nice hot tub. Eventually we got cold and jumped in the hot tub. After a little while, we got hot and bored and dried off and smoke some more. I went with them back to their room, and generally got more bored with them for around an hour before somebody jokingly suggested we act like stereotypical black people and get fried chicken with 40oz beers. After we all laughed, we agreed this was actually a good idea and decided to walk around downtown LA on a search for chicken and 40s in the blazing daytime heat. It took three hours, but we returned from our quest flush with loot: 50 assorted chicken wings, three Olde English 40s and a six-pack of Bud Lite.

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Advanced Tip: Stafe-pinning to kill elite infantry

October 20, 2008
A Rifleman weighs in on the opposition...

A Rifleman weighs in on the opposition...

Riflemen, even with BARs, can have a hard time standing up to Axis infantry armed with G43 rifles, FG42s and of course, MP44s (the most common SMG in the game). BARs are great weapons, but have a hard time chipping through tough, mid-game units like vetted Grenadiers, Stormtroopers, and G43/MP44 Panzer Grenadiers. Bring in Fallschirmjaegers and Knight’s Cross Holders and you got yourself something I like to call “a problem.”

In the late game, Axis players often have multiple squads of elite, anti-infantry troops with full or nearly full veterancy. Vanilla Rifles are owned outright, sometimes faster than you can hit retreat. The G43’s slowing ability combined with Axis SMG troops is simply murder. You really must preserve Rifle veterancy to have any chance in a straight infantry firefight against these troops.

But Airborne players DO have one equalizer — the Strafing Run. I’m not talking about the occasional Strafing Runs which mow down every man in its path. I’m talking about the nerfed, beta Strafe which primarily pins enemy soldiers, maybe killing one or two in the process. The video below shows what I’m talking about: careful use of air support that forces enemy squads to choose one of two very bad options: 1.) wait for the suppression/pin to wear off and eat grenades and focused BAR fire, or 2.) retreat, running past a shooting gallery of BARs.

As you can see in the clip, the Strafing Run did practically no damage to the enemy squads, however it pinned all three. This was a 2v2 game where I was the Airborne player. The Wehrmacht player immediately spams the retreat button, which results in his Stormtroopers being instantly cut down, because their position requires them to retreat through my three BAR Rifles. The PE player, noticing the fate of the Storms, crawls his Fallschirmjaegers away, hoping to recover from the pin in time to retreat down a different path. The grenade forces him to retreat from his current position, and both squads are eaten alive by a hail of BAR fire.

This is the absolute best way to eliminate very powerful enemy squads, and it earns your Riflemen a lot of veterancy, to boot. It should be noted the PE player complained that I was a “noob Strafe spammer,” which struck me as being particularly amusing. Strafing Runs are still good, they just require a little more combined arms to wipe out whole squads.

Advanced Tip: Airborne base rush on Langres

October 9, 2008
He is in your base killing your mans!

He is in your base killing your mans!

As far as I can remember, the earliest creative use of airdropped Paratroopers in conjunction with airdropped AT guns was by a great American player named PromethiusX. He used an M8 to spot inside a Wehrmacht base, then dropped Paratroopers and an AT gun into the base, with the aim of killing the Sturm Armory. Despite this spark of ingenuity, he lost the match to another blast from the past, Bentguru. This was during the first few weeks following the release of vanilla COH.

Now a recent replay featuring modern-day heavyweights 12azor and SayNotoStim shows off a much more evolved form of this concept, on a map that greatly favors this particular tactic: Langres.

12azor does some serious damage with this tactic, even though Stim’s doctrine choice, Defensive, seems designed to prevent base rushes entirely.

You MUST read on to see my super-detailed breakdown of how 12azor could’ve taken this rush to the next level and possibly ended the entire game in one fell swoop.

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Advanced Tip: The value of experience, part II

September 21, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: Surprise and reader colonelcommissar nailed some really good additional points on a recent post I made about the value of gaining experience. I’ve assembled them here in a single, organized post. — Corkscrewblow

Balrogs start level 12 and up

Balrogs start level 12 and up

Having to learn C&C 3 has been a really big eye-opener to me on how to learn a game from the ground up. Seeing as I’m a year behind experience wise compared to my competitors who started playing when the game came out, I’ve had to play a lot of catchup (something I never needed to do in COH). I’ve found that I have no problem competing even with the best of players when I don’t make silly mistakes, but that is always a huge ‘when.’

Read on for tips on how to avoid your own silly mistakes!

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