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


More of the good stuff…

June 6, 2009


As promised, the rain of fantastical content continues with three more tracks from the first volume of our Mind of a Master audio strategy series. I’m also planning to release the long-awaited Battle Report sometime today or very early tomorrow.

Just as a reminder, tomorrow I’m flying out to magical Denver, Colorado — the Mile-High City — to run a conference for my company. I’ll be back late Wednesday night. So, here’s hoping Surprise or someone else gets in a post to keep things hopping while I’m gone (hoping — hopping, get it?).

Track 5: American faction overview by Surprise


Track 6: American faction-specific counters


Track 7: Controversial balance issues, Blitzkrieg doctrine


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


Get Mind of a Master early via PayPal

May 8, 2009
Statistics show early adopters do better at life.

Statistics show early adopters do better at life.

As promised, in light of Amazon.com‘s very long approval process, I’m offering Volume I of our COH audio strategy series, Mind of a Master, NOW. I’m afraid the purchase process will be somewhat unwieldy, but there’s no way to avoid it outside of relying on a middleman like Amazon.

Doing it early means you’ll have to buy the entire album (10 separate MP3s) without the option of choosing tracks. You’ll have to pay using PayPal, so obviously you’ll need a PayPal account.

After your payment is received, I’ll manually fulfill your order by emailing you a download link. To download the ZIP file (about 69mb), you will need to enter a unique password that will also be provided by me via email. The download link and password will be in the same email. Depending on many orders I get, it may take a couple hours to send you the email.

If any of this sounds sketchy to you, feel free to wait a week or two for Amazon to get its act together.

For you bold early adopters, you can order now by following these directions:

1. Send an email requesting the item by clicking here.

2. Please write “MOM Volume I order” in the subject line.

3. In the body of the email, write the email address I should send a PayPal invoice to.

4. Within a few hours, you should receive a PayPal invoice for $6.99 at the email address you specified. You can easily follow PayPal instructions from there to send the payment.

5. After I receive the payment, I will email you the download link and password.

COH audio strategy series: Mind of a Master, Volume I

April 26, 2009
Got questions? Get answers from a master.

Got questions? Get answers from a master.

With the release of COH: Tales of Valor and the latest 2.501/2.502 patches, we’re looking at the biggest changes to the game since more than a year ago. To help you step up your game, I’m pleased to announce a fantastic new concept, the COH audio strategy series, Mind of a Master. This will be a multi-volume series of podcast-style audios, primarily featuring Steven “Surprise” Uray. Calling on all of my professional skills as a reporter, I interview Surprise on tape, covering a huge amount of material, split into about a dozen or so tracks.

Volume I, which you can sample in streaming format below, covers the following:

  • A top-ranked player’s impressions of patch 2.501/2.502 and how it compares overall to 2.301, including faction-by-faction and army vs. army changes
  • A high-level take on the new ToV units, including detailed descriptions of each new unit and whether it’s underpowered, overpowered or just right
  • Deep discussion about COH psychology and how Surprise uses his opponents’ emotions against them, including a section on mind games and how they apply to RTS matches
  • Surprise’s American play style — which took him to #1 on the 1v1 ladder — carefully explained, featuring detailed, step-by-step explanations on his tech order and how he counters specific Axis strategies and units
  • Surprise’s opinion on controversial balance issues, such as whether the Blitzkrieg doctrine is underpowered and whether the perennial complaint about “free” super tanks is now dead

You will always get the first two tracks for free, to give you an idea of what’s in the entire volume. In Volume I, you’ll get the introduction to Mind of a Master and a bio on Surprise, plus his rundown on what ToV brings to the game and how army matchups have changed.


For everything else, it’s $0.99 for any single track downloadable in MP3 format from Amazon.com, or a more economical $6.99 for the entire volume, downloadable as one album. Look for Volume I to be available sometime next week on Amazon — there’ll be an announcement here.

Meanwhile — let me know what you think! I realize charging a fee may seem to go against the community-minded Rifles Ready! spirit, but let’s face it. At $0.99 a track or $7 for the whole volume, it’s not going to break anybody’s bank and it’s going to give us a great incentive to produce high quality stuff. If you can’t give up the money for a footlong Subway sub, then don’t — just listen to the preview tracks. Think of buying the whole volume as a way to give back to us and get a fantastic extra out of it: a chance to get inside the mind of current COH masters! Later volumes will feature other top players in addition to Surprise.