Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

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hansbroger
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Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby hansbroger » Fri 5 Feb 2016 03:34

Of all the factions added in after EE I felt that the Red Dragons held the most potential to be a great fit into the game ecosystem with a unique playstyle or "flavor" all to their own. Seeing the various Red Dragon related threads I wanted to make a best case menagerie of units for this faction, if only for Eugen to revisit if they ever make another wargame (Bringing them up to a level of Authenticity like the Vikings seems beyond hope). To be clear I think an excellent job was done in the Infantry, Logistical, Helicopter and Recon departments but the key backbone of the deck such as the Tank, Support, Vehicle and Air Tabs are seriously lacking. I intend to use the Red Dragon armor tab as an example of the pitfalls of Eugen's approach to Red Dragon armor and an example of what could have been done to populate it interestingly and authentically.

Sure the PLA and DPRK are not superpowers but I believe that these factions have not been convincingly modeled in an asymmetrical way that can overcome the various METAs of superheavy MBT+Superjet micro+whatever is the dejour flavor of the day. Furthermore I'd much rather have authentic units (even if OOTF) than highly fictitious re-skins like the T-90S which likely exceeds the capabilities of an OOTF tank like the Songun-915 or ZTZ-90-II. As it stands the PLA faces the dual challenge of asymmetrically compensating for a poor airforce AND a poor armor complement which in every single iteration of the air and armor dominated RD Meta has proven to be an insurmountable challenge. I believe the armor component of these factions has the most authentic growth potential with the relaxing of certain rules which though bringing in "new" tech remain completely within the flavor of their historical capabilities, unlike the PLAAF which would change into a radically different vision of itself.

First we have to remove SovKor. SovKor is an imperfect bandaid fix, a crutch who's intent was to try and get an imperfectly modeled DPRK used more (Because it didn't create a convincingly good faction with its original titular coalition partner the PLA). The DPRK will never be fixed while it has the specter of "But that in combination with T-72BU AND T-80UM AND T-80U equals armageddon..... etc etc etc" hangs over it. Simply put, RD can't have good tanks as long as the DPRK is tagging along with the USSR.

Secondly I have come to the conclusion that the prototype cutoff needs to be relaxed in the case of the Red Dragons (within the bounds of original factional flavor and authenticity). It is painfully obvious that PLA/DPRK afv developments extending into the 1990's only approach the capabilities of NATO afv's like M1A1 or Leo 2A4. The TL:DR is the huge deadzone of defense procurement and development post USSR should give RD (and NSWP but thats another thread) a bit more leeway with the proto cutoff as we see in the case of nations like the USA the development/procurement party largely kept going after the wall fell while concurrently most of RedFor ceased to even be the countries they are in game..... The problem with RD is the CatA timeframe is perfectly situated on a time when the West was still developing and fielding new systems while OPFOR was in 99% of cases simply not developing of fielding new systems. Tough luck? Yes. Do these hard and fast rules make for a good, playable, competitive faction? NO..

Finally these units had PROMISE! So little was and still is not known about them unlike NATO and PACT systems that they could have been assigned whatever stats were needed to make them flavorful, well balanced participants in the armor ecosystem of RD. Instead these factions are saddled with re-skins and Unicorns for most of their most important roles that unfortunately bring with them the same weaknesses and balance inflexibility of their parent units (See DPRK T-72M) due to their known and established capabilities. Furthermore it cannot be argued than any of them exceed the capabilities of NATO kit in the game. Even the ZTZ-96G/A that was a non-starter back in suggestions in beta days does not exceed the capabilities of a T-72B3 and the tanks included in this proposal hardly exceed even that level of capability.

My Rant:
Spoiler : :
Much of this stems from the mystery surrounding the capabilities of the units belonging to the PLA and the DPRK. Often little is known about Red Dragon units and their capabilities unlike Western units, many of which due to our wonderful military industrial complex driven system have demonstrated, even ADVERTISED capabilities or Soviet/Warsaw pact units which have been analyzed and their export variants studied to death. This however was a STRENGTH of the faction.

With so little known about indigenous systems and vehicles there has huge potential for Eugen to shape the stats and capabilities of the Red Dragons to create a faction with a playstyle and philosophy of use subtly different from that of the NATO/PACT duality that evolved across the Iron Curtain. Red Dragon units, especially those from the DPRK could very well have been assigned practically any stats that were required to achieve balance and a good fit with other factional units existing in the game (within reason) because much of the accepted knowledge of their "capabilities" is based on conjecture (informed guessing) and carefully crafted propaganda. So what happened? The opportunity to quickly create most of the new units for two entire new RedFor factions with simple re-skins proved too much temptation to resist.

While there were many new models implemented in RD it was the reliance on a ToE mostly filled out by re-skins that doomed these factions to mediocrity. Excellent AFV's like the Chonma-Ho V, Pokpung-Ho, numerous IFV's and seemingly the ENTIRE PLA/DPRK Self Propelled ARTILLERY PARK.... were completely overlooked in favor of units that could be shoe-horned into existing skins. As the debacle that was NAVAL became a greater burden the necessity of relying upon re-skins became even greater and the faction acquired a serious unicorn problem as Eugen tried to balance out the high end of the faction. Why was this a problem? The celebrity appearance of existing units such as the T-90S, the T-72M, the Su-27SK and Mi-25 among others completely hamstrung the balance potential of the Red Dragons by filling these slots with units that had concretely known capabilities and LIMITATIONS.

Furthermore these decisions were limited by an unrealistic insistence upon adhering to an arbitrarily decided cutoff timeline for units and prototypes. Without even going into the Dev's apparent confusion with DPRK designations (where a M-2002 may have been fielded in 1993) it is patently absurd to hold the Red Dragons (Or USSR/NSWP) to the same timeline as the USA/NATO. The Cold War ended in 1991, Countries like the USSR/NSWP ended most defense procurement and fielding of new equipment on an appreciable scale in 1989-90, the systemic effects of this also severely affected procurement in RD nations..... In many cases Bluefor (especially US) kept on developing buying kit like it was 1981. The result is a deadzone of RedFor defense evolution for up to 10 years in the case of the RedDragons, even today in the "Tank Biathalon" we see the capabilities of the quite recent and modern ZTZ-96A falling behind that of the near antiquated T-72B3.

The truth is most of the units being fielded by the PLA/DPRK in the mid to late 1990s and even early 2000s only barely approach the capabilities of US/NATO units fielded in the 1980's/early 1990's. The relaxing of the completely arbitrary WESTERN BIASED prototype cutoff dates for Red Dragons would have resulted in the faction being populated with interesting, flavorful INDIGENOUS units and systems that would hardly have been overpowered despite their "impressive" service dates in the 1990s.

So what does this faction now look like?

Tanks: This is where it went really bad. On the DPRK side we have authentic factional units up to 65 points. The PLA side is better but the ZTZ-85 line only brings the authentic vehicle pool up to the M1A1/Leo 2A4 135-145 pt. capability level and even then the coverage provided by the ZTZ-85 series is sparse and wanting and hardly compares to the variety per price slot you find in other factions like USSR, NSWP, USA/NORAD, EURO, VIKING. What is missing is more flavor in the 60-100 point range and 120-180 point heavies to round the faction out...

Being a generation behind the West in AFV development it is possible to bring 1990's (and 2002 for DPRK) tanks of the PLA and DPRK into the game under some justification which accelerated their development in this alternate timeline where Scandinavia is fighting in SE Asia.... It's not like we're throwing M1A2's into the 1970s Fulda Gap here and in my proposal I exclude developments like the ZTZ-96A/98/99 etc because they belong to a new generation of AFV's in their respective programs. Furthermore all currently OOTF proposals are developments of systems currently in game. FFS most of the DPRK Cho-ho V variants are still carting around a 115mm gun!?

Ideally the DPRK contributions should have been drawn from:
Chonma-Ho
Chonma-Ho II
Chonma-Ho IV
Chonma-Ho V ('92)
Chonma-Ho V ('98)
Chonma-214
Chonma-215 (can mount ERA)
Chonma-216 (can mount ERA)
Songun-915

While the ZTZ-88/85 populated PLA MBT series should have also included the following on its high end, allowing for the stats of the ZTZ-85-III to be deflated.
ZTZ-88C (ie ZTZ-96 not ZTZ-96A)
ZTZ-90-II


DPRK:
Spoiler : :
The DPRK Tank Tab is the decidedly flavorful Chonma-Ho I/II/IV, T-62D, T-34-85, Sinhung and Type 59/59-I which authentically fill up the tab to the level of 65pt mediums. However if the DPRK wants to use anything approaching (let alone exceeding) the capability of a Leo 1A5 it must rely on ahistorical unicorns like the T-72M or T-90S.... Funnily enough, a cursory English language search turns up indigenous alternatives to these T-72 re-skins. Turns out North Korea has a ton of armor that could conceivably bridge the capability gap from 70-150 points, specifically FIVE variants with capabilities optimistically approaching that of the T-72 Obr '89 (Songun). Allowing for UGBEAR these would require all of two base models plus individual paint jobs to realize, that's including the Songun. These tanks could had very easily have filled the 70-140 point high tier medium/medium heavy roles currently lacking in the Red Dragon faction, there's definitely one or two variants which would have fit well and I feel most should have been in game.
Image

1. The Chonma-92 "Chonma-Ho V" Image Welded turret with composite armor however possessing obvious shot traps rectified on....
2. The Chonma-98 "Chonma-Ho V" Image
But wait, if you look past the biased timeline there's another 115mm gun armed tank...
3. The Chonma-214 Image Observe the new turret but retains 115mm gun and inline 4 grenade smoke discharger.
4. And the supposedly 125mm armed Chonma-215 "Pokpung-Ho I" Image
Observe subtle differences in turret shape and chassis as well as glacis armor and new arrangement of smoke grenade discharger into cluster of four.

1990's/2000's Unicorn MBT's for the 160-180 point range that are soooo much better than the decidedly 1990's/2000's T-90S..... These tanks may approach the performance of a T-72 Obr 87/89 lacking a GLATGM. The Chonma-216 and Songun-915 are both great flavorful tanks which being ultimately flawed (flavored) by their parent technologies are an interesting alternative to the ZTZ-85-IIA/III, the Songun-915 is in my opinion the best candidate for the Red Dragon's 160 point second tier superheavy like the M1A1HA/HC or the T-80U.
Chonma-216 "Chonma-Ho VI/Pokpung-Ho I" Image
Songun-915 "Pokpung-Ho II/III or Songun-Ho" Image

PLA
Spoiler : :
Thanks to the ZTZ-85-I/IIA/III and ZTZ-88 the PLA is far more competent than the DPRK but still leaves a high end gap that it is uniquely capable of filling with the ZTZ-96 and ZTZ-90-II (Not ZTZ-96A or ZTZ-99). I believe that the PLA is most capable of the two of fielding a tank capable of filling the top tier 165-180 point tank role out of DPRK and depending on what people think, I think its a dead heat between the Songun+ERA and the ZTZ. Furthermore I believe most attempts to get this tank have failed because they pushed for the ZTZ-96A/G or the ZTZ-98/99.

I believe that the original ZTZ-96 stands a great chance of serving as the PLA's medium heavy tier MBT because it was an incremental development of the ZTZ-88, namely being the ZTZ-88C. Viewing the visual similarities of the ZTZ-96 to the ZTZ-85 it becomes clear that the PLA is literally A PAINT JOB AWAY FROM A MORE CAPABLE MBT. ZTZ-96 (ZTZ-88C) provides an excellent 155 point Obr '89 analogue to the Red Dragons and continues the developmental lineage of the ZTZ-88 through the ZTZ-85 and is the next link which leads to the top tier MBT of the Red Dragons, ZTZ-90-II, unlike previously called for PLA mbt's like the ZTZ-96A or ZTZ-98/99 the ZTZ-90-II is the pinnacle of the previous evolutionary generation of PLA MBT design. I believe it will be capable enough to be a one card superheavy but will not outperform its Western competitors, in other words a great fit.
Image
And finally the top Tier Tank for the Red Dragons. The ZTZ-90-II, an incrimental development of the ZTZ-85 and ZTZ-88, it was the basis for the eventual Pakistani MBT-2000 (once that got through nuclear test sanctions), It is a developed and ITF mature piece of kit that is not a unicorn, in fact its age was telling when it eventually lost out to the ZTZ-96A/99. Here is a tank with capabilities that fit perfectly into the top tier of MBT's in the game and again.... The Red Dragons are A ZTZ-85-III PAINT JOB AWAY FROM A TOP TIER MBT THAT'S NOT T-90S!!!!
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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby APSinc » Fri 5 Feb 2016 10:56

hansbroger wrote: Good stuff

I have faith in FLX, but not in Eugen's agenda.

Some lovely changes, and with such minimal effort, too. Maybe some dead units could be repurposed by Eugen to avoid the no new units rule?

Given all they need is a new texture, and can copy the existing model, I suspect the only excuse here will be flavorful reasons, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby remilia019 » Fri 5 Feb 2016 11:07

I like these, ZTZ-96 and Pokpunghos are something I definitely have wanted for a long time. now if only there's also J-10 and J-11
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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby 47andrej » Fri 5 Feb 2016 14:11

I'm all in for this idea.
-Remove T-72S and T-90S unicorns. It would also make SovKor much more balanced without 6 superheavies.
-Rename/reroll/remove T-62D since its designation for soviet T-62 equipped with Drozd APS, which was never exported.
-Bring in atleast Chonma-Ho V. Damn even first Pokpung-Ho/Songun could be used if we look how OOTF K1A1 is.
-Equip late Chonma-Hos with Strela/Igla launchers.
-ZTZ-96 for China.

However its something for Wargame 4 since thats quite some work which devs wont do at this stage.

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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby Narcissistic Black » Fri 5 Feb 2016 14:27

Let me just summon frostypooky.

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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby keldon » Fri 5 Feb 2016 15:18

To be fair, the 85III right now is approaching 96A level of armor, only the rate of fire sucks hard. But afaik and the consensus in chinese forum, the so called type 90/98 and such are all prototype stages of the final ztz-96/99, but not real finalized tanks on their own. Finding their intern project number and a performance profile to refer to them is nearly impossible. But as you said, it can be seen as a oppurtunity to generously apply gamebalance reasonings.
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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby Demonicjapsel » Fri 5 Feb 2016 17:26

eh, its not so much the PLA armor that needs the help, its the north Koreans that need it. overall i feel that the PLA tank tab is allround decent, so the Type 96 isn't really needed

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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby keldon » Fri 5 Feb 2016 18:17

Demonicjapsel wrote:eh, its not so much the PLA armor that needs the help, its the north Koreans that need it. overall i feel that the PLA tank tab is allround decent, so the Type 96 isn't really needed


If you take away the t-90s and suddenly you have the demand for ztz-96. I think it is the premise of the thread to give kits to NK/China which will more identified as "domestic".
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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby hansbroger » Fri 5 Feb 2016 19:22

Don't get me wrong I think ZTZ-96A and ZTZ-99 would have made great tanks and likely would have still required creative stat massaging to play well with MBTs like M1A2 and Leo 2A5 but there was quite a strong reaction against those tanks so I decided to go with their developmental predecessors instead and surprisingly I feel like those MBTs are actually easier to justify historically and a better fit for the faction. Best of all they can be achieved with ZTZ-85-IIA/III re-skins which make for a compellingly easy least case fix.

With their proclivity for pilfering western tech I felt like the PLA should be the faction's possessor of a one card super tank (ZTZ-90-II) and the PLA and DPRK each having two cards of M1A1HA/HC or T-72Obr'96 analogues (Son'gun-915 and ZTZ-96 respectively). Giving the PLA the superheavy while not only more plausible, also has the benefit of keeping heavy tanks exceeding the 150 point price floor from pilling up in SovKor.

My decision to highlight the ZTZ-96 and ZTZ-90-II was to emphasize their very close generational proximity relationship to the ZTZ-88/85 series they grew out of. The ZTZ-90-II for example grew out of the ZTZ-85 series and 15 production examples were trialled in 1992 in Pakistan as part of the Al-Kahlid MBT program which resulted in the adoption of the tank (delayed by nuclear test sanctions) and domestic production by 1999 (easily in timeframe). It may be the case that none of the Gen 2 RD MBTs are capable of being single card heavies and I'm all for the ZTZ-90-II being a 2 card low end superheavy like the Scandi Leo 2.

Furthermore the ZTZ-96 is a ZTZ-88 with a welded turret and other improvements and is the height of fielded PLA second generation tank development before the transition to third generation designs, so not only is it more in timeframe but it lacks many of the "futuristic" characteristics of the third generation ZTZ-96A/G and ZTZ-99 which make people unsettled about their inclusion. Furthermore the ZTZ-96/ZTZ-90-II combination preserves the mobilization model/premium model duality emerging in PLA tank profiting production in the second generation.

Finally I don't think that even the mighty Son'gun-915 is going to punch much above 150 points. DPRK tanks from Chonma-Ho V through to the Chonma-216 or the Son'gun-915 s will likely provide a more mobile brawling alternative to the PLA ZTZ-88/85 series in the 70-150 point range. I'm for the inclusion of all Chonma-ho V+ series tanks because the DPRK does tanks, artillery, infantry and little else. This ultimately leaves the DPRK without a superheavy which preserves the possibility of masochistic national spec play and keeps the faction from overweighting the top end of the sovkor coalition. This also gives the DPRK authentic, indigenous tank designs to fill out the 70-150 point price range which is currently a black hole filled by unicorns.
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Re: Wider inspiration for RedDragon Faction Armor

Postby another505 » Fri 5 Feb 2016 19:50

keldon wrote:To be fair, the 85III right now is approaching 96A level of armor, only the rate of fire sucks hard. But afaik and the consensus in chinese forum, the so called type 90/98 and such are all prototype stages of the final ztz-96/99, but not real finalized tanks on their own. Finding their intern project number and a performance profile to refer to them is nearly impossible. But as you said, it can be seen as a oppurtunity to generously apply gamebalance reasonings.

Yup the only difference in stats of ztz96 and 85-3 is the refleks that it got

Maybe engine upgrade but i have to read that up again


90-2 isnt a super tank it might be even slightly wekaer than 85-3
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