How winter in Company of Heroes 2 will change online multiplayer

Relic Entertainment has added the dead of winter to its already formidable recreation of World War 2 in Company of Heroes 2. But Relic's Global...

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The biggest addition to Relic Entertainment's Company of Heroes 2 has to be winter. Braving the elements in a bone-chilling Russian winter will force players to approach online multiplayer in a new way.

"Tactical RTS is about being a smart commander and making smart decisions on the fly," communication manager Simon Watts told Shacknews at a recent multiplayer event. "If they're a great player, it shouldn't be just about having one build order. If a blizzard blows in, they should be ready to adapt to that. If they don't have a contingency, they aren't a great player. That's what strategy is all about."

Watts said winter effects make CoH2 a different type of game, and that playing between summer and winter will force different strategies. "You see that the match is winter, so you think, 'Alright, I was going to go heavy infantry, but maybe I'm going to go more mechanized.' Or vice versa. One blizzard could also be your savior because it forces an opponent to kind of hunker down and wait for it to end. We think that it could be something really exciting for the competitive game."

We'll have the full interview with Watts soon. Company of Heroes 2 is scheduled to come out in March for PC.

From The Chatty
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    December 31, 2012 10:00 AM

    Kat Bailey posted a new article, How winter in Company of Heroes 2 will change online multiplayer.

    Relic Entertainment has added the dead of winter to its already formidable recreation of World War 2 in Company of Heroes 2. But Relic's Global...

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      December 31, 2012 10:19 AM

      it's an interesting premise at least. I wonder how game-altering it could realy be though.

      /don't fight a land war in russia in the winter

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        December 31, 2012 11:38 AM

        my guess is about as much as putting infantry in buildings. can be effective, but limited.
        always wanted to be able to fire a mortar out of the windows...muhahaha

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      December 31, 2012 1:53 PM

      "If they're a great player, it shouldn't be just about having one build order. If a blizzard blows in, they should be ready to adapt to that. If they don't have a contingency, they aren't a great player. That's what strategy is all about."

      And that is why Blizzard sucks at strategy games. There are no dynamics, their maps are all symmetrical, the still isn't transferable. Blizzard has been a really shit company since (and including) Warcraft 3. I don't even touch there products anymore.

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        December 31, 2012 2:11 PM

        They're*

        Looks like you've not touched a grammar book since Warcraft 3 either.

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        December 31, 2012 2:17 PM

        I love Relic's mechanics, but their balancing is truly awful.

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        December 31, 2012 2:22 PM

        Same reason why Chess sucks and why Go is such a terrible game

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          December 31, 2012 3:15 PM

          Welllll ... in a sense, yes. You can be the most brilliant strategist in the world with an IQ off the charts, but if you don't have the 50 most common openings memorized out to 15 moves each, you'll likely get stomped by a crap player who does. Lots of IMs and GMs recognize this as a problem with chess and Bobby Fisher specifically created a variant of chess to avoid the reliance on memorization and dull repetition and put emphasis back on strategy and tactics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960
          It's been gaining traction slowly, with GMs participating in tournaments and such, but who knows if it will stick.

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            December 31, 2012 3:30 PM

            I know about Chess360 and I think its a cool idea.

            That said, Relic isn't the company to be "fixing" strategy in RTS, they've only shown regression in design and balance with every single game and expansion they've released. They might prove me wrong with COD2 though, we'll see.

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              December 31, 2012 3:36 PM

              Also, this is complete nonsense: "it shouldn't be just about having one build order. If a blizzard blows in, they should be ready to adapt to that. If they don't have a contingency, they aren't a great player. That's what strategy is all about."

              It is nonsense because in a game where you are dealing with build orders, you are still adapting to what the other player does. If I as Protoss FFE vs a Zerg player and he decides to 8 pool me (because he knows most Protoss will FFE in the current metagame), then as a good player I had better be ready to respond to that early attack on the fly even from a relatively weakened position.

              It isn't just two players blindly rolling dice with their build orders and seeing what happens, things move and shift depending on the current state of the game. I've had super long macro games arise from the cheesiest openings.

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                December 31, 2012 5:08 PM

                Yeah, that also struck me as odd. You react to a build order, to what the opponent does, not to a dice-roll.

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                  December 31, 2012 8:41 PM

                  It kinda felt that statement came from the old WC2 days. Back then, build order was everything; mostly because you were racing to bloodlusted orcs.

                  Most of my CoH games were about plans on how to control the map. Very different from build order mentality. Granted everyone has a kind of opening build order to execute their general idea.

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            December 31, 2012 6:24 PM

            AFAIK go doesn't fall to that the way chess does! could be wrong though

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        December 31, 2012 2:28 PM

        "One blizzard could also be your savior because it forces an opponent to kind of hunker down and wait for it to end. We think that it could be something really exciting for the competitive game."

        I could see a random factor like this being absolutely infuriating in a standardized competitive match.

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          December 31, 2012 2:32 PM

          no, that kind of shit is fine. It's just like the ball bouncing weird in football.

          The key is that it can affect both sides equally. As long as the sides don't have an inherent advantage during a blizzard, the effect is fine.

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            December 31, 2012 3:44 PM

            nope. pro players hate random shit. like crits in TF2? drama bombs galore.

            everything must be controllable, in perfection, at all times. it must be neutral, or it will get screamed at.

            the environment can't spiral out of control, like a ball bouncing weird, because that automatically cannot affect both sides equally. a chance event will positively impact one side, and negatively impact another.

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            December 31, 2012 6:44 PM

            If it affects both sides equally at the same time (ie, the blizzard hits the entire map and not just small areas) then yes it's fine. You can gamble that you'll see a blizzard and build accordingly and suffer the consequences if one doesn't appear and the other player didn't, but reap the rewards if it does happen.

            But if its a random effect than can just happen to one player while the other player gets to ignore it then its not a good mechanic as it then becomes a random effect that directly impairs or benefits some players no matter what they prepared for.

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          December 31, 2012 3:39 PM

          The best competitive games (DOTA, Starcraft, Street Fighter) don't have randomized elements like that.

          Things like that have been done for funny showmatches in Starcraft 2, and its great, but those are just fun lols.

          But I dunno, if its balanced well enough then it could be a fun casual mode, like some of the silly custom games you see but made into a primary game mode instead.

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            December 31, 2012 4:06 PM

            Guess that depends on whether you want luck or skill to win out. In sports I suppose the idea is "may the best man win."

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            December 31, 2012 4:48 PM

            There are certainly elements of randomness in Dota (crits, neutral spawns to a degree). CS had lots of randomness compared to, e.g. Quake 3. It did fine with competitive gamers.

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              December 31, 2012 5:15 PM

              One reason CS:S failed in the competitive scene is that it made bullet spread patterns far less predictable than what was in 1.6. Pro 1.6 players had insanely high accuracy because the "random" bullet patterns were consistent and predictable.

              It all depends on a bunch of other factors, of course. Consistency of the rules and mechanics are only one element. :)

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              December 31, 2012 8:14 PM

              Crits are limited to a few characters only -- often are item / gold / level dependent on characters that are expected to do damage. Neutrals are hardly game breaking.

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            December 31, 2012 4:59 PM

            I am constantly surprised how much randomness there is in DotA and people don't care or don't notice.

            Void TImelock & Backtrack
            PA crit and evasion
            Basher or any bash-like passive (even on Roshan)
            Crystalus/Daedalus
            Butterfly/Talisman of Evasion
            Shooting uphill misses
            Ults (Omni Slash, Frost Nova, Eclipse)
            Creep gold

            ...even autoattacks are random between a certain range. Some of those can be absolutely gamechanging in the right circumstances. They're not one-off events, but maybe that's where people draw the line.

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              December 31, 2012 5:06 PM

              DOTA has a maximalist design compared to most games, and certainly over games like SC or SF, absolutely. A very simplified summation of the design is basically "everything is OP so nothing is OP".

              The thing is that are still constants that characters are balanced around, the main one being the map.

              A huge component of balance in Starcraft isn't races, it is the map itself. DOTA carries this even further by having only one single map and other constants like creep respawn timers, etc. Everything else is built around those things being consistent.

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                December 31, 2012 5:30 PM

                I dunno, there's still some really crucial random stuff built into the map like runes (location and type), and uphill misses are specifically placed in key locations like outside the bases and leading into the river.

                Creeps do spawn at the same time, but their damage is always slightly random (if you leave the map run sometimes a different lane is naturally pushed). Neutral spawns are also random.

                I just don't think DotA really proves your point very much. Street Fighter, yeah (from what I know). I know Brood War used to have missing uphill but yeah I think they removed it?

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                  December 31, 2012 5:59 PM

                  In Brood War there is a 30% less chance of being hit if you are on the high ground. This is a form of balance, not randomness though. It gives a positional advantage to one player over the other, it is not the product of imbalance within the game design. It does things like give the defender an advantage, it puts importance on positional play when taking the map, etc. The same goes for the high ground advantage in DOTA.

                  To be clear, I'm not talking about a complete removal of random elements equalling a well balanced game. A game being properly balanced around those things, in this case a randomized or lower hit percentage being the product of being in an inferior position, can be good game design and balance.

                  When some random element is there for willy-nilly or superfluous reasons, that's when its not so great. Like I said, we'll see how Relic does here. Their balance has consistently gotten worse with every release and expansion since the original CoH, but we'll see. They have to know that this might be their last shot at an RTS so I'm sure they feel the pressure to do well there.

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                    December 31, 2012 6:07 PM

                    BTW, the way DOTA achieves balance is pretty amazing. So many games have been nerfing things in the name of balance for so long, and here comes DOTA which does the opposite by making individual heroes seem broken on paper, but to compensate it gives you other heroes or team compositions (or items!) that are just as "broken" to compensate.

                    Lots of OP tools to survive with, its pretty cool!

                    I'm not sure but it might have influenced the recent HoTS balance patch, where instead of nerfing units they instead made a bunch of things SUPER buff (speed booster for medivac, 4x health regen and speed for mutas, insane speed for reapers, etc etc).

                    Anyway, DOTA's balance isn't perfect by any means, tournaments have gone to their own lengths to make the game more appropriate for competition. There was the recent banning of Drow Ranger in CM, banning a team rushing five Necronomicons, etc etc. It sure is fun though!

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                      December 31, 2012 6:55 PM

                      I like the idea of buffing to balance things. The thing you have to balance around is players still having time to react to things.

                      If you have an engagement where units die in 5 seconds, and you buff everything to where they die in 3 seconds, great! But if you go from things dying in 3 seconds to things dying in .75 seconds, that's pretty shitty.

                      Counterplay is pretty important.

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                        December 31, 2012 7:26 PM

                        Absolutely. I feel like all of these competitive games, LoL included, have been doing a really great job striking that balance between overbuffing but not pushing that too far past the limit. There's always a point where things get pulled back, and that's fine.

                        On a side note, what's funny though is when some mechanic that seems impossible or unreasonable for a time eventually becomes standard.

                        Creep spread for instance, at first people were like "Pff, who's going to bother doing that? Lots of work for not so much benefit!". Now good creep is an accepted requirement for good zerg play, and great players are lauded for how quickly they get it to the enemy base, some even using it to deny their third!

                        My favorite example is when MKP introduced marine splitting to counter banelings. It was a technique that was deemed a ridiculous and borderline impossible response to that sort of play, but now it is commonplace and is an almost standard way to play the game.

                        Anyway, its interesting to see how top level pros manage to push the game in ways beyond what the design intended or what "common knowledge" is.

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            December 31, 2012 6:53 PM

            Yup, and LoL too has been getting rid of randomness for a while. Dodge is gone, almost no spells can crit, etc.

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            December 31, 2012 8:49 PM

            It's true.

            I played in a L4D tournament back when stuff was randomized and it was the WORST ever because we were clearly the superior team, the other team just had vastly superior spawns of medkits and molotovs.

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        December 31, 2012 8:48 PM

        A random event should never affect the outcome or flow of a competitive game

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      December 31, 2012 2:22 PM

      When they added rain to various CoH maps, it was awful and distracting.

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        December 31, 2012 3:18 PM

        ^^ Most incorrect statement I've heard so far in 2013

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        December 31, 2012 6:46 PM

        isnt that the point?

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          December 31, 2012 7:57 PM

          COH2 is gonna be bad ass, period. Anyone whining because of a little snow storm is a crybaby. War is hell, bring it on.

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            January 1, 2013 8:48 PM

            I'm looking forward to this one, if for nothing else a different RTS at the very least!

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      December 31, 2012 9:02 PM

      PREORDER CAN'T WAIT!

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      January 1, 2013 8:12 AM

      It's a neat gimmick for a friendly comp stomp or something, but unfortunately no one's going to want to bother with it when they're playing even semi-seriously.

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