This template is my personal vision for how Eugen Systems could improve their games. This is both meant as an open letter to Eugen Systems and as a conversation opener for the Eugen Systems gaming community as a whole. I hope you find it interesting!
• Develop two game series in tandem, the WW2-focused Steel Division and the Cold War-focused Wargame. This is similar to what Bethesda does with The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, providing games for fans of both fantasy and sci-fi, and being able to tap into both markets.
• In Wargame, have 3 countries per faction (USSR, DDR, China. USA, West Germany, UK. Focus on the major players of the Cold War). In Steel Division, focus on the major players as well: USA, UK, Germany, USSR and Japan. Once the core factions are built and designed, you can add more through cheap DLC, to avoid bloating the base game. Invest more in the campaign narratives.
• Unit ranks should be Trained, Hardened and Veteran, since their meaning is obvious. Optics and Stealth should be classed as Poor, Medium and Good. Explain what these mean, for example: every level in optics adds 100m to detection range.
• Have 3 deck types: Motorised (Motorised and Mechanised), Armoured (Armoured and Artillery) and Airborne. Each of these have unique units (Elite infantry and fast transports. Heavy tanks, artillery and IFVs. Paratroopers and a better air force) and focus on a specific playstyle. Steel Division Normandy 1944 works as a baseline for this, but the system of historical divisions was too cluttered.
Double the availability for all units, to better reflect the massed battles of both WW2 and the Cold War. The problem with having many different deck types, is that they end up too narrow and most decks end up being ignored for not being competitive online.
• Separate lobbies for softcore and hardcore players. In softcore lobbies, resource income is much slower, vehicles have unlimited fuel and the focus is on macromanagement. No profile experience is gained and no Win/Loss ratio is shown.
The aim of this is to make the game more welcoming. The hardcore lobbies would emphasize a competitive, hardcore atmosphere. By clearly segregating these two player bases, both can enjoy the game without getting in each others way.
• Greatly reduce the number of units, since certain units are often more cost-effective or simply better than others. Have 2 wheeled transports, 2 tracked transports and 2 helicopter transports with major differences between them, such as Btr-70 and Btr-90.
Most units are slightly improved variations of the same basic unit with a different paint job, such as the almost ten variants of T-72. Focus instead on improving the game mechanics and realism in terms of unit stats and capabilities, as the the units are often criticised by the community for having "invented" stats. Increasing the total amount of units per game while neglecting to fix issues is not sustainable.
• The Armory UI is cluttered. All units within a category should, within reason, fit on one page, with multiple weapon and defensive loadouts per unit, in order to reduce the number of units using the same model. The stronger the weapon, the less of them you can have per deck (laser-guided bombs are less available autocannons), and the more they increase the unit’s final price.
• When clicking on a unit’s weapons, separate menus would open up, listing all available loadouts and the total amount of loadouts remaining.
• For example: USSR --> Infantry --> Anti-tank team --> Fagot, Konkurs or Konkurs-M missiles --> Konkurs-M --> 2/3 Konkurs-M loadouts remaining --> choose a transport --> Btr-70 chosen --> 3/4 Btr-70 remaining --> final price 30 points.
Another example: USSR --> Tank --> T-55, T-72 or T-90 --> Choose model, armament and armour upgrades (such as ERA)
The difference between this and Wargame Red Dragon is that in WG RD all unit variants are listed separately in the armory (especially with infantry), whereas this system focuses on a unit as a basis to build upon. The aim is to clean up the armory UI and give the player clear alternatives. Strive after a minimalistic UI with as little eye candy as possible, but as much explanation as possible.
• Add shrapnel mechanics and different shell types (HE, AT) to artillery, and increased lethality range around the impact location (the shrapnel kills, not the explosion itself). Currently, artillery is completely optional, which is unrealistic.
• Double the flight altitude of all flying units and the range of all AA units, for a cosmetic boost in realism.
• Different colour schemes for units. Resource income should slowly increase over time, to make instant rushing more difficult. The front line system from Steel Division Normandy 1944 was a good addition, since it increased focus on the actual battle rather than players hunting each others command units. Units should automatically attack enemies they see, because so many players use Attack Move by default.
• Invest more resources into moddability, with all files being in English. Modding provides longevity and attention for a game long after its launch has passed.
• Open a Patreon or something similar for stable income. There should be clear incentives for Patreon supporters, such as increasingly reduced prices for content. Interact with your community on a regular basis. Making your customers happy is good business.
In addition, treating your employees well results in more people wanting to work for you, more effective workers, a faster output of games and steadily rising profits with a low degree of risk, which keeps investors satisfied. There are cynical reasons to care about your PR.
• Summary: A smaller well-designed game is better than a larger mediocre one. Focus on player convenience, pragmatic game design and modding. Player support and community interaction is the key in a post-publisher gaming market.
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