Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Pleb Squasher
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Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Pleb Squasher » Tue 30 May 2017 10:21

Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

While very similar to the wargame series in some ways I'm finding Steel Division to be a refreshing experience. I just wanted to provide brief feedback of some of the new mechanics for discussion! :)

Dynamic Infantry design
The trend away from the 3 tier infantry classification system seen in wargame, towards more specialised and unique infantry roles is easily one of the biggest achievements of SD. The fact that all infantry fight differently, however all have a distinct place on the battlefield makes infantry combat a lot more immersive and intuitive compared to the in the wargame series, 10/10.

Morale system
The morale system while not perfect, really adds more to the game. It adds more tactical options which were really lacking in wargame. The morale system allows for a lot of play that simply wasn't possible in wargame and is especially prominent in infantry combat, where it enhances the design improvements of infantry even more. Once the unit fallback pathing is fixed this system will be 10/10 too.

Vehicle 'HP' system
The new system took a bit of getting used to for me, however it's a nice improvement over the wargame system, feels more realistic and suits the game well. The only issue I have with it is the unpleasant rng it sometimes contributes, losing a tiger to a 41% to hit, 16% chance to pen round is frustrating, however I found practice and sensible play mitigated this substantially.

Vehicle vs. infantry balance
IMO, wargame was really heavily biased in favour of infantry. Vehicles just didn't do enough damage/suppression to dominate the battlefield as expensive units should and the insane long range, accuracy and kill power of man portable AT weapons in wargame really killed it for me. The new system of super short ranged but high potency AT weapons feels more realistic and makes play with vehicles much more reasonable.

AA vs Aircraft
This is where I think SD has dramatically failed, forgoing the simplistic system within wargame for a complex, awkward and unrewarding system of gameplay. It is immensely difficult to deal with aircraft in SD. Everything from the awkwardness of intercepting planes with fighters, to the generally poor role AA has been given makes dealing with aircraft a nightmare. Dealing with aircraft heavy divisions is especially frustrating. I dislike the concept of AA having zero kill potential against aircraft as enemy aircraft flying around with relative impunity, even if they are sometimes routed, is very annoying. Losing all your fighter aircraft is also just such a crushing blow, as many multirole options are so bad against hostile aircraft that it's better not to risk them pursuing enemy planes you wish to shoot down. Almost all AA units are very lackluster, they are subpar against aircraft even in the stunning role, their cost is meant to be offset by their ground support potential, however they seem to contribute very little in the way of damage and only moderate amounts of suppression, often using normal combat units works better. I find it very very hard to justify the purchase of AA units in game, aside from stuff like the 88, which is actually exceptional in the ground support role, and I know will reliably deny aircraft strikes with it's decent range. Perhaps some AA units need redesign, or just need to do more damage to air/ground targets?

Aircraft vs Aircraft
Obviously the shooting down aircraft mechanic is limited by the design concept of the system, this doesn't make the system any less awkward/frustrating though. The only element that seems to fit well is how control of the airspace is somewhat dictated by the purchase of AA, although it's a difficult system to learn and it feels like their is little finesse to it. The design of aircraft units is also poor in my opinion. If multirole options were better at engaging enemy fighters, it would definitely make combat in the air a bit less of a strain. I was fairly critical of the air to air combat in wargame, the system seemed overly simple, however in hindsight wargame's system, while very simple, worked well and made for better gameplay.
The principle in SD is sound, the execution just isn't great imo.

What are your thoughts?

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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Markenzwieback » Tue 30 May 2017 10:47

Generally I fully subscribe to your points.

But some other aspects I want to add:

1) Off-map artillery.
In my opinion, this simply should not have been introduced. The possibility to call in artillery at any given time without resupply, line-of-sight, corrected fire, etc. being an issue simply kills a lot of the on-map artillery mechanic. Further, the killing power of the more expensive pieces is simply beyond insane. While the cheaper variants are all but useless for their random, big dispersion fire, the heavy artillery assets of some airborne division simply eradicate entire forests from infantry and support units. This goes to the point where you take down entire cities after you lost the opener or easily make up for the points spent by killing several squads (or at least draining them down to two or three soldiers.

2) Assault flamethrower meta.
Playing infantry heavy divisions (mostly Allied ones, 101st, 2nd ID) over the last couple of days, I have the feeling of being back in ALB. Spamming dedicated assault engineers in the opener when choosing the forest heavy and CQC parts of the map always wins me the fight. Most Axis divisions (even 3rd Fallschirmjäger) who lack similar capabilities in early game are simply unable to contests these areas, mainly because there is no way of dislodging well microed flamer units. Something needs to be done about this in my opinion. Either move flamers up to phase A for most infantry-heavy divisions (support tab flamers don't really count, as they die in a heartbeat) or lock them to phase B or C for additional support in the combat phases.

3) Phase A anti-air / interceptors.
Particularly problematic about the air spam meta is the inability for many German divisions to counter early game plane spam. Having to face, for example, two vetted Tempests and two Mosquito bombers (which you already hardly catch due to their speed) in phase A can destroy almost all Axis divisions which lack a) at least some form of interceptor AND b) some form of useful AAA (Flakvierling, 88mm and to some extend single 37mm). While I do like the asymmetrical balance of air power vs. heavy tanks in SD a lot, you should at least be able to do something against this without running 716th or 116th all the time.
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Hidden Gunman
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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Hidden Gunman » Tue 30 May 2017 11:51

Hang on, you are saying you can't justify using AA ingame, except for '88 types due to the dual purpose role, but complain that AA isn't powerful enough?
A Firefly killed Wittman...

It's a 17lbr, not a 76.2mm.

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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Salamander7734 » Tue 30 May 2017 21:52

Markenzwieback wrote:3) Phase A anti-air / interceptors.
Particularly problematic about the air spam meta is the inability for many German divisions to counter early game plane spam. Having to face, for example, two vetted Tempests and two Mosquito bombers (which you already hardly catch due to their speed) in phase A can destroy almost all Axis divisions which lack a) at least some form of interceptor AND b) some form of useful AAA (Flakvierling, 88mm and to some extend single 37mm). While I do like the asymmetrical balance of air power vs. heavy tanks in SD a lot, you should at least be able to do something against this without running 716th or 116th all the time.


Just to make a point, if Germans are meant to have something to deal with allied planes in phase A, can allies have something to deal with German tanks in phase C? Right now, in 10v10 especially where you can end up facing 10 king tigers, there is little a team can do. I know 10v10 can be unbalanced anyway by default, but it's still a part of the game... Maybe adding limited APDS?

Or perhaps just going full realism and having the Tiger II's break down randomly on the battlefield :lol:
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Hidden Gunman
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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Hidden Gunman » Tue 30 May 2017 22:48

I said this on another post, but with so many King Tigers around, the lack of fuel should leave them stranded in the deployment zone.
A Firefly killed Wittman...

It's a 17lbr, not a 76.2mm.

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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Saavedra » Tue 30 May 2017 23:44

Personally, while I love SD and find it more playable than Wargame, I think it is starting to show one or two problems Wargame had. Specifically, low-risk high-reward units that pulverize the opponent. King Tigers and rocket artillery, for the most part.

It does not help that the main counter against heavy tanks are heavy AT guns which are easily spotted, and can choose between staying still waiting for the enemy and getting bombarded to death, or creeping forward to take pot-shots at the tanks from long range and getting killed in the process due to no cover.

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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Pleb Squasher » Wed 31 May 2017 05:22

Hidden Gunman wrote:Hang on, you are saying you can't justify using AA ingame, except for '88 types due to the dual purpose role, but complain that AA isn't powerful enough?


Not 88s type, literally only the 88. Every other piece of german anti air seems utterly useless against ground units.

The 88 is actually one of the usable units that I do use whenever I get the chance.

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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Pleb Squasher » Wed 31 May 2017 05:27

Saavedra wrote:Personally, while I love SD and find it more playable than Wargame, I think it is starting to show one or two problems Wargame had. Specifically, low-risk high-reward units that pulverize the opponent. King Tigers and rocket artillery, for the most part.

It does not help that the main counter against heavy tanks are heavy AT guns which are easily spotted, and can choose between staying still waiting for the enemy and getting bombarded to death, or creeping forward to take pot-shots at the tanks from long range and getting killed in the process due to no cover.


Arguably Tigers and rocket arty aren't very low risk. Rocket arty is pretty balanced if you ask me, decent damage, long reload, vulnerable to counter fire/counter attack if it's on foot. Mobile versions are obviously harder to deal with, although their short range still makes them vulnerable to counter attack.
You do have to just weather rocket artillery, as with other artillery units, it's factored into their cost.
I don't see how king tigers are high reward low risk? Tigers take ages to pay themselves off and are a magnet for enemy fire. Not only are they hard to get the most out of, they're also going to be outnumbered which further increases the risks involved in their use. They do cost 300+ points so it makes sense that they can stomp anything they spot.

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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Terracos » Wed 31 May 2017 11:23

If you allow the enemy to collect 380 points its your fault that he has a King Tiger on the field. Even in Panzer lehr it takes 4 minutes in Phase B and 3 Minutes in Phase C (where you will have 70 additional points to spend) to buy one. If you face divisions that can field the King Tiger you have to trade and pressure. Aslong as he has to spend his income straight away you will never have to fear the high end units. And additionally to this they will run low on Units pretty fast.

The swarm is the enemy of high end decks. ;)

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Re: Feedback: What Steel Division gets right and what it gets wrong

Postby Saavedra » Wed 31 May 2017 12:10

King Tigers are high reward, low risk units because they are pretty much impossible to kill from the front, and tanks turn around way too fast and accuracy is way too low to flank them and hit them from range. They don´t need to "pay for themselves" by killing enemy units if you can just hold the frontline with them and slowly roll it up, obliterating anything on their path (note that 380 points is a low cost for something that can face off against a whole tank platoon and kill it single-handedly). If you pair them up with nebels and just some infantry, you can easily sweep aside all resistance in forests and towns, the only terrain features that let you hold the Tiger at bay. All the points you get while the other player gathers enough points to call it in will get wrecked. AT guns and infantry to hold terrain features will get bombarded into oblivion, and no amount of airpower can kill the Tiger (I am not factoring in the 88mm AA that will be around).

The only way to win against King Tigers is playing Conquest (not that anybody should be playing Destruction in the first place) and attacking aggressively at game start to hold so much terrain that a King Tiger cannot possibly roll you back enough that you lose the conquered territory advantage.

At this point, the King Tiger is not so much a unit as a strategic asset. The equivalent of bringing one of those frigates from Wargame to a battle on land.

This is why either King Tigers and similar vehicles should go up in price, or mediums and anti-tank vehicles go down. 150 points for a standard Sherman is laughably expensive given everything else on the map. This is not Wargame, where tanks can practically flank and ignore infantry-borne AT weapons and missile launchers. They are not fast enough to do that, so medium AT guns costing 55 to 100p while medium tanks cost anything from 110 to 170p is just ridiculous.

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