Oh well, I'll give the answers directly in the quote. My answers as usual in
Just been playing the Mod after a very long break from balancing and I’m here to post my thoughts. For those of you who don’t know me I used to be a keen balancer back before Ost was released and around the time it was released. I also played in the various Tournaments of the time and came third in EF’s competitive 1v1 tourney that was held.
While I’ve always loved the EF mod and I think its fantastic, overall a lot of the changes that have been made over the last few years I don’t like, and if I may be frank for a second, a lot of the armies feel all over the place. I don’t mean to be cruel, I really don’t, I know a lot of work was put into this mod, but criticism is a balancers job and I shall do my job with gusto! I shall start with the Ostheer as I feel they are the easiest target.
As you know, criticism is always welcome as long as the feedback is constructive. Mind that some aspects of game design are flavor based, so you can see it either way, depending on the personal preferences.
First off, the innovative pool system that was originally a central feature of the Ostheer is now completely pointless. I played a skirmish for the first time today and I didn’t select a pool once, yet I still had access to all the units. I don’t know if this is intended or not but I think its obvious to say that this should not be the case.
To be frank, the pool system was not "innovative". It was a mess. I tried several versions and none worked in a successful manner. The original concept of the Ostheer never featured pools, instead players could decide their veterancy on the training time of infantry. The longer the training time, the better was its performance. I honestly do not know who came up with the pools, but it was initially meant to provide a key feature to the Ostheer that was "flexibility". Pools should symbolize that - players should be able to field units fitting to a certain strategy and react to enemy units. But, if you actually put some thought in that - this is a default thing players do. They build tier buildings and choose their units according to the battle situation. There is no need to split up the army in two parts with a pool. The choices are already determined by the type of tier building you construct.
The pools were simply an artificial limit for the player. And since the pools had to be equal, they were made like a build-in reward unit concept. Each role (AT gun, MG team, tank, artillery) had 2 units that did pretty much the same. This only bloated the faction. The default Ostheer had 24 units! that's more than Wehrmacht has, including all doctrinal call in units on top. It was too much. Especially considering that every pool unit was redundant.
The second feature that was at the heart of the old OH was modernization. While it’s still here, its very much a shadow of its former self, as the only unit that it modernizes as far as I can tell is the Pak. The infantry modernization is more or less a unit upgrade with a ‘modernization’ veneer and the Panzer modernizations just unlock certain units, not only needlessly complicating teching but also not influencing units to any great extent either. Armoured skirts is totally superfluous as there is nothing stopping you either adding it into Panzer modernization or making it into a munitions upgrade for vehicles.
Actually, this is what gives ostheer actual flexibility. You can construct tier building and you unlock interconnecting units with a single tech. in the old Ostheer teching was very specific, time and fuel intensive and only offered a limited amount of additional content. Just like PE, but without the shock value. It was the opposite of its intention and was reworked because of that. Armour skirts are a different matter and is not settled 100% yet. However, I prefer a fuel tech instead of ammunition, simply because Ostheer has lots of ammo sinks already.
Third, the tier system is totally out of whack.
Actually, you're wrong. The old teching system was out of whack.
Why is there a medium tank in T2? And don’t give me that ‘The P3 is like the M8’ nonsense because the P3 absolutely rocks and is definitely worthy of medium tank status, not to mention the fact that its description clearly says ‘medium tank.’
Okay, let me explain:
Ostheer is about flexibility. Flexibility means that you can quickly adjust your plans and unit compositions to match an enemy. That's why the teching was reworked. It's essentially a reverse Werhmacht teching. With Wehrmacht, you tech a phase and unlock a building. With Ostheer you build a building first and then use modernization to unlock units simultaneously based on their teching level.
Example - Schutzen War Camp (t2)
You start with support units, which is a support tier for a low fuel cost. Now you tech the first modernization for 40 fuel and you receive a Halftrack (which is "t2" in Wehr teching at ~60 fuel) aswell as unlocking the Pak 97/38 in T1. Now if you tech modernization II and you receive a tier 3 unit, which is the Panzer III, for a similar teching time and cost like the Panzer IV from PE. To get real combat value you need the Long barrel, which is a seperate tech and requires additional fuel.
Why is the Pak in T1 but the MG and Sniper in T2?
Because t1 is a structure that is always built. This way both t1-t2 and t1-t3 strategies have easy access to a anti tank cannon.
That makes no sense, you’re definitely going to need infantry support weapons before AT guns.
Not necessarily. Ostheer mainline infantry has ways to deal with armour *cough* Panzerschreck/Gretchen*cough*
Why don’t sturm pios have a flamer? The grenade launcher is not an anti-building tool.
Actually, yes it is. Flamers on Pios are broken because they can halftrack rush enemy bases. Just like wehr, but 50 fuel earlier and more efficient. That's why the Flamer is removed from them. The Riflegrenade serves a similar purpose and keeps enemy units out of buildings. I know that the missiles sometimes phase through buildings but I'm preparing a fix for that to make it more reliable.
Why are landsers 6 men? Seems to go against the commonly understood Coh theory of Germans having small but durable squads while the Allies have larger and more expendable squads.
Because Ostheer with 4 men squads plays like PE. Ostheer is not PE and features its own gameplay.6 men also increases their overall survival potential as they have more chances to avoid area of effect targets. Since Ostheer cannot buy vet it's important to keep Landsers alive. Also, 5 men Landsers look like volks reskins, which I/we want to avoid.
Why did the healing halftrack get removed?
Because it's a useless concept.
Now OH have this overcomplicated heal drop that’s incredibly inefficient and micro intensive. Every time you retreat your squads it’s like coming home from work to find your kitchen a mess, a tedious chore basically.
I know that the healing drop requires some attention, but it does not only have drawbacks. Maybe you should consider taht you can also use it in battle aswell? You can drop it for an ally or for yourself to provide staying power. Combine that with a halftrack and you get lots of staying power where you need it, especially if you're using Army Fortress' counterassault ability. It has very strong synergies with other axis armies. And just as a sidenote, if you want an easy heal, pick the Support pool. As long as your units are in friendly territory they heal themselves over time, just like Wehrmacht vet 1
Before I continue laying in, I like what has been done with the observation post. Nice job. As well as S mines and regal mines. Great stuff.
Why is the P2 light tank in OH top tier? Why don't OH have indirect fire units, that only costs manpower, before T3? Why do MG bunkers cost fuel? Why do Med bunkers cost fuel? None of this makes sense.
Gameplay reasons. Indirect fire units may be in the 3rd building, but they arrive at tier 2 (60 fuel/~5 minutes of game time). And the LeIG is certainly better than a 81mm mortar.Panzernests for manpower only are broken because they can lockdown large portions of the map as they're constructed rapidly and supress/kill fast. I agree on the Med bunkers though and will remove the fuel cost. That's a leftover from earlier versions.
Why do Sturmpios have panzerfausts? And why do sturm pios get a fourth man after you tech infantry modernization? I can’t wait to hear the balance justifications for those.
4th man is experimental and considered to be removed again. The idea is to create an option to use Sturmpios as a combat unit and evolved from the old "survivability training" upgrade they had. The Panzerfaust (Gretchen) is a one time AT weapon because Landsers have Panzerschrecks. Imagine it like this: Sturmpios = support unit (mixture of Volks and Luftwaffe Ground forces), Landsers = mainline infantry (Grenadiers).
I’ve always felt that putting the P4, Panther and Tiger into the same role was a shockingly bad balance move and doesn’t make any historical sense (Which is something I’ve never cared about but its not often that a balancer can use history to his advantage).
Why do elite troops have a panzer faust ability and an AT grenade ability? Overkill much?
Why is MP40s a global upgrade for Landsers? What if you want some of your infantry to be better at long range?
Then don't tech it. Landsers performe fine without infantry modernization II as they have access to grenades and there are various support weapons that can replace the second upgrade. The only reason to tech Inf modernization II is to increase their close combat performance. There is no harm in not doing it. It's a tactical decision, just like teching bars.
Fourth, a lot of the interesting units that OH had at launch have been unceremoniously scraped. Admittedly I missed all that and there is a potential reason as to why they are no longer here but I really can’t think of why you would take out great units like Panzerjagers, LMG squads, Bombadiers, Panzerfusilers (non-doctrinally) the Kugelblitz and the Panzerwerfer. It only made the army dull and less strategically diverse.
All the infantry units you mentioned had conceptual weakness, were very blob friendly and redundant for the most part. They only were a result of the pool system to keep the unit numbers per pool equal. Panzerwerfer as non doctrinal unit made the game dull, especially teamgames. Teamgames were all about building t3, then building multiple Panzerwerfers and raze the soviet base or support teams. There was no skill needed, just A-click and win. That's why it was removed from regular teching. While the Kugelblitz looked cool, it was unoriginal and redundant. The Panzer III flamer tank, Sdkfz 251 with Flakdrilling and Luchs with Incendiary ammo already hardcounter infantry in much more unique ways. That's why it was removed in favor of the other anti infantry hardcounters.
Fifth, if you’re going to add an auxiliary tier, it can’t replace normal tier structures. Soviets, US and Wehr all have Auxiliary tiers and all of them have 4 levels of tech, why doesn’t OH? What makes it worse is the Luftwaffe tier is boring. The resource bonuses are, not only superfluous, but also a US rip off and the air powers require 2 expensive upgrades for an otherwise lack lustre unit that you might not even build or could have died in the first few minutes of the game. It’s bad design.
Why do you think it's boring? One thing I agree with - the current resource increase tech is unoriginal. But it's just a placeholder until I find a solution for a way more unique implementation of the resource bonus. It just has to work right now, and the way it's implemented atm it does work. That's all that matters to me.
but apart from that - why is the Luftwaffe HQ boring? No axis army actually features a real, air based support. Of course, PE has Luftwaffe Tactics, but those are mostly limited to Ground Forces. The usage of aerial support is a completely new feature for axis and has not been covered at all yet.
The "2 expensive air powers" on the other hand are actually extremely useful. You can drop brandenburgers anywhere, they are not automatically targeted from enemy units and can instantly take over territories, lay down explosive charges and create chaos behind enemy lines. Combined with abilities like "Kesselschlacht" you can cutoff the enemy and watch his units getting razed by artillery strikes within the cutoff territory. This is just one possible way to use thm. The second ability, the Stuka dive bomb, works as a precision tool to weaken enemy defenses just before an attack. What does happen if your enemy looses his AT guns or MGs to a stuka bombs and you rush in your tanks? Utter destruction, and he has only little time to shoot down the plane if at all. It's very useful. Of course, costs can be tweaked and reduced if necessary, but that does not change the potential effect and synergies for the faction itself.
That’s more or less all the criticism I have, aside from minor nick pics like why does it take the same amount of kills to vet up a kubel and a P3 to vet 1?
Believe it or not I do have some praise. The doctrines are much better than they were before. Originally, Support and Elite used to be a complete mess. Seems like they have been tidied up nicely. Fortress is still the most interesting and best designed doctrine though. It literally has everything you want and is thematic. My only criticism for Elite would be that the elite infantry come out too early, and that I question the balance wisdom of allowing infantry to vet up faster than everyone else. I’m also not 100% sure about support but I’ll look at it again later.
Okay, so what do I suggest. I know that most likely none of the changes will come about but that’s up to you. It’s just my 2 cents.
- Bring Landsers back to 5 men, four kars and one G41. There’s just no need for a 6th man, increase their health and accuracy if needs be.
- Give Sturm pios back their flamer upgrade and remove the Grenade launcher upgrade.
- Remove the panzerfaust abilty for sturmpios
- Remove schreks from Landsers.
- Remove the fuel cost from the med bunker and leave the MP cost as it is.
- Remove the fuel cost from the MG bunker and reduce the MP to 150.
- Remove the healing drop.
- Remove the ability for sturmpios to get a 4th man
- Increase the Vet requirements for the P3.
- Remove armoured skirts upgrade.
Apart from the P III vet requirements and Fuel cost for the medic tent and the sturmpio 4th man proposal - nope. I suggest you to either play a couple more games or play a different axis faction. Ostheer isn't made for everyone. Just like people prefer to not play USA, or PE, or Wehrmacht because they do not match their game style. Which is fine.
- Add the medic HT back to the HQ, literally the exact same as before.
- Remove the famo from the HQ.
- Have separate infantry, support and panzer modernizations.
- Keep the pools exactly the same.
Now. There’s two possible set ups for the first 2 tiers. But first I want to explain how I would change up some of the units:
Landsers have always been in this awkward position where they don’t excel at any range. The MP44 upgrade is the primary offender here, but they have always been difficult to use or strategize around because they have so many different upgrades and abilities. So I suggest making them a purely mid-range squad, beaten by Rifles at close range and not as good as PGs at long. At the start the only ability they have is to build observation posts and barbed wire. The first infantry modernization costs say 150MP 25 fuel and it unlocks grenades, S-Mines and AT grenades. The second modernization gives them the ability to upgrade the entire squads with G41s for 50 munitions. That’s it. The MP44 upgrade is scrapped but perhaps added to some other unit. Other than that they should stay exactly the same.
Originally Panzerfusilers were your go to close range squad and I think they should return to this. 4-man squad, all starting with MP40s and cost 300 MP. This makes them a dedicated close range infantry squad, meaning their role will never get confused with Landsers again. After the first modernization, they would get grenades. The second modernization upgrades all Panzerfusilers with extended mag MP40s. You could of course use MP41s or MP44s instead of extended mag MP40s but the point is that the second modernization improves their weapons.
I would bring this back, this idea didn’t get the proper treatment it deserved first time around. This is not to be confused with a HMG support weapon, this is the squad with LMGs. I would make them into a 4-man squad, starting with two MP34 LMGs and two luger pistols. Most of the DPS would be provided by the LMGs, the extra models are purely to make them less susceptible to snipers. After the first modernization, they would get the slow ability they had before. After the second modernization, the LMGs would get swapped out with LMG42s. Alternatively you could make it that they start with that new MG you’s added, the MG26 or something, and then after modernization they move up to the MG34. Its whatever works. Obviously, this squad is purely long range.
The exact same, except they start with two AT rifles and after the second support modernization they move up to two Panzerschreks. AT grenades are unlocked after modernization 1.
Okay. Now the structure of the first two tiers. The first option is:
T0 – Sturmpios, Medic HT.
T1 Neutral Pool = Landsers.
T1 Assault Pool = Kubel, Sniper.
T1 Support Pool = MG34, Mortar.
T2 Neutral Pool = Halftrack.
T2 Assault Pool = Panzerfusliers, Panzerjagers.
T2 Support Pool = LMG Team, Pak98.
That would probably be the most sensible way of doing it, where you add the officer into a doctrine (probably support) and place the P3 later in tech tree. All units would be available straight off the bat and after support modernization II the mortar is replaced by the Leig, the Pak 98 (or Pak 36, which would be a lot more interesting) is replaced by the Pak 40 and the MG34 is replaced by the MG42 (or potentially a flak 38?). This means that the first level of infantry modernization unlocks abilities for Landsers, Panzerfusilers and LMG teams, the second level; upgrades the weaponry. The first level of support modernization would unlock abilities for the MG34, Mortar and Pak and then the second support modernization upgrades the unit with a completely different gun.
The natural tier progression would be the standard t1 into t2. The advantage of setting up the tier system like this is because the pool system would actually mean something again. Kubel and sniper is a far more aggressive playstyle than MG and mortar. Likewise, Panzerfusilers and Panzerjagers are mobile, short range anti infantry and anti-tank where as LMGs and Paks are static, long range anti infantry and anti-tank. Two totally different playstyles.
This is one option; the other option would be as follows:
T0 – Sturmpios, Medic HT and Landsers (Unlocked after T1/T2 complete)
T1 Neutral Pool = Officer
T1 Assault Pool = Kubel, Sniper
T1 Support Pool = MG34, Mortar
T2 Neutral Pool = Bombadiers
T2 Assault Pool = Panzerfusilers, Panzer Jagers
T2 Support Pool = LMG team, Pak 98.
Where the HT is bumped up to T3. This is also an interesting option as by moving up the HT to T3 and landsers down to T0 you open up the possibility of having two totally different tier starts, meaning players could open with either T1 or T2. The first tier would have the advantage of having a stronger line up of support weapons to back up your Landsers, the second tier would have the advantage of backing up your Landsers with either short or long range heavy infantry plus early anti-tank. Tier 1s weakness would be light vehicle play, T2s weakness would be heavy support weapon play. Of course you can cover this weakness by simply building the other tier, giving you access to everything, but you still have the pools to contend with. With this design you would have 4 different starts, all with their unique benefits and drawbacks.
However, I still think the first option is the more sensible design so I’ll continue with that. After building T2 you can then either build T3 or T4. The following units would be in T3:
T3 Neutral Pool = Brandenburgers, Famo
T3 Assault Pool = Luchs
T3 Support Pool = PanzerWerfer
And then T4 would be:
T4 Neutral Pool = P3, Stug
T4 Assault Pool = Tiger
T4 Support Pool = Kugelblitz
In this instance, T3 is the equivalent of the motor pool and the sturm armory, giving you an assortment of light vehicles, and roughly costing the same. T4 on the other hand would be along the lines of T4 for Wehr. The P3 definitely fills the boots of a medium tank and should start with the gun already upgraded, removing unnecessary teching. The P4 will not be missed, it was always superfluous anyway. Having the Panther and Tiger sharing roles was messy so just having the Tiger across the board would not only be more interesting, but also easier to balance.
Panzer Modernization would function like this; the first level unlocks abilities and upgrades for T3 light vehicles. This includes the HT upgrades, the Luchs (f)lame round (Which I think should be removed but anyway) and the Famo’s recover vehicle ability. The second level allows the P3 and the Stug to upgrade with skirts. Finally, the third modernization unlocks the Tiger. So the only upgrades in the entire faction would be those 7 levels of modernization; 2 for infantry, 2 for support weapons and 3 for vehicles. Simple.
I would remove the Luftwaffe tier completely. It’s just not needed. As well as the munitions upgrades being border line overpowered. The officer I would move to the position where Panzerfusilers occupied in the Support doctrine. I would give it an extra man, as it has a hard time vetting up, and then lock the Recon overflight ability behind Vet 1 and the stuka dive bomb ability behind vet 2. If you really wanted you could give him the med drop ability as standard.
Other than that, there’s nothing else I would change. I do think these changes are necessary though, you won’t reach a level of competitive balance in its current state, it’s just too messy. It still feels like it has just been released, especially since half the descriptions are no longer relevant and some of the units are clearly not finished yet (like the Hungarian infantry). There's also this weird glitch on the steam version where cover is invisible, don't know if everyone else has that problem. All of these old units are still in the game so it shouldn’t be a big ask to bring them back.
So that concludes my thoughts on OH. All things considered, its still a good Mod. I might write about Soviets later.
while I appreciate your effort in providing a possible layout for the Ostheer - I won't do another rework.
You can of course create a sub mod yourself and present it here to prove that your concept works better and is more fun, but I certainly will not do another rework. I spent weeks and months to revise the Ostheer, figure out ways to make them stand out from the other axis factions and provide an own flavor to them. I won't reintroduce another pool mess, I've considered various different layouts for the pools, and some of them were very similar to your layout. But overall none did work from one direction or another. If you have questions on how to edit stuff via corsix I'll surely give you a hand and give hints, but I won't introduce a new layout for Ostheer.
As a general side note: the current version still is work in progress, for both soviets and Ostheer. There is some missing stuff and a couple of missing models. I'm planning to release another larger update with bug fixes and stats fixes (like the pIII experience requirements, or double abilities for example) but this will take some time. Maybe I'll release another update prior to the new models, depending if I have some spare time.
And another general comment on the Tier/tech system:
A large advantage of the Ostheer teching is this fact:
If you decide to play t1 and t2, and then tech modernization I and II you receive the full array of units - Halftrack with Anti Inf and Mortar upgrade, Panzer III with Flamer or Long Barrel, a heavy mg, sniper, at gun (both pak 97/38 and Pak 40!), Mainline infantry and a scouting unit.
Now, if you notice that your current unit pool is not enough to deal enemy units, you can simply construct t3, and you'll have access to the LeIG 18, the Luchs, StuG and the Panzer IV, without any further teching required.
Its also the same way if you're going the opposite route.
If you're building t3 first and tech modernization I, you'll immediately have access to the Luchs and the StuG, plus the Pak 97/38. And if you then build t2 afterwards, you already have unlocked mg, sniper, and halftrack without further required upgrades. This is what "flexibility" means. You unlock units in every tier with increasing strength without having to worry that you teched the correct upgrade.
I hope this explanation clears up some confusion.