Frustration from Map Size in Campaign Compounded by Bad AI

cace26
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Frustration from Map Size in Campaign Compounded by Bad AI

Postby cace26 » Wed 19 Jun 2019 07:26

This is the review I want and entend to post on Steam when the 20th roles around unless Eugene devs are willing to make changes to their campaign battle systems that I focus on in this review.


This is a review focused mainly on the campaign as far as I have tested, but I played a significant amount of the multiplayer in the beta before the release of the game.

My biggest complaints with the campaigns are that the battle maps are way too big for you to have a fluid front line over and keep focus on, and giving the AI control over units is basically committing suicide for your units.

The AI is there to relieve you of having to watch every inch of these massive maps (or at least that's what it seems like since you can decide which brigades and units the AI can control before the battle, if you give them any control at all) but they don't take advantage of buildings, forests for concealment and recognizing threats to their own units. As an example of how dumb the AI can be, if I micromanage a single squad of infantry with AT well enough in a forest, I can kill dozens of tanks with it before it dies just to the fact that eventually the enemy tanks will wither the squad down with narrow opportunities of attack. The AI doesn't care if the squad stays in the forest, it will continue to drive tanks close to the tree line, committing suicide to all it's armored units. The AI will also throw infantry out into vast open fields when there are plenty of patches of trees or buildings to maneuver them under concealment or in cover. I've also tried just giving the AI command over air squadrons and instead of being useful and calling in airstrikes or shooting down enemy planes, they just fly recon plans around all day in circles, not being particularly useful to me in any way.

So why would I ever give the AI command of my units if I know I'm basically giving them a death sentence? Because the battle maps are so massive I can't possible keep tabs on everything going on around them. Sure, I could focus on one area and completely dominate the AI there despite the fact that their favorite tactic is to send massive hoards into the meat grinder and eventually smash their way through, but I would lose the rest of the map just because the AI would send random infantry and tank units through gaps in my lines. These gaps I couldn't even cover sufficiently because not only does the size of the map make it difficult for you to keep focus, but it also often leaves you with either a very thin line of units in hopes that you encounter every possible avenue which the AI could possibly wedge themselves through, or to concentrate your units in strategic locations in fear that the AI will send a massive wave wherever they go and you will have no hopes of holding them back.

I really enjoyed how you did it in Normandy 44 where the maps would shrink in width as the amount of players decreased in multiplayer. and I feel like this needs to be added to the multiplayer as well as the campaign of this game because many of the maps in the multiplayer are too big to be played with a small amount of players. This extends to the campaign, I shouldn't be forced to let the AI take control of my units if I don't want to just because it's actually impossible for a lone human being to command his army over such a massive battlefield. I don't mind having a small amount of units on the map at once if that's how I engage/am engaged by the enemy due to the positioning of my units on the campaign map, that's fine, but if I'm willing to fight the enemy on my own because I don't want to lose units due to the AI's futility, then don't make the game an exercise. It's frustrating because I love many parts of this game, I've been a fan since the Wargame series, but these things seem to be overlooked. A large part of your fan base doesn't want to play with the AI because it's terrible, and we aren't computers, we can't see the entire map at once and we can only click so fast.

If you only come for the multiplayer, then I think you will like this game quite a bit if you know what you're getting into. If you are looking for an enjoyable and rewarding campaign however, if you are like me, you will be frustrated by it within a few hours of playing.

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steppewolf
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Re: Frustration from Map Size in Campaign Compounded by Bad AI

Postby steppewolf » Fri 21 Jun 2019 08:22

cace26 wrote:My biggest complaints with the campaigns are that the battle maps are way too big for you to have a fluid front line over and keep focus on, and giving the AI control over units is basically committing suicide for your units.


Welcome on the Eastern Front.

I think the scale of the campaigns and tactical battles reflects the huge distances on the Eastern front very well and it is one of the best thing Eugen did to reflect the feel of this particular area of WW2. There will be gaps in frontline, there will be bad commanders and troops (hence delegate as rare as possible).

You have campaigns with police and security battalions facing heavy tanks with very little AT ammo if any, what do you expect them to do unless a hero will make them behave much better than usual? ;)

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Re: Frustration from Map Size in Campaign Compounded by Bad AI

Postby astanid » Fri 21 Jun 2019 22:11

My biggest complaints with the campaigns are that the battle maps are way too big for you to have a fluid front line over and keep focus on, and giving the AI control over units is basically committing suicide for your units.

+1
Sinlge player campaign is unplayable for me. Maps are huge (much bigger then in Steel division). I can't keep focus on the map that big, and what is even worse player units need a lot of micromanagement. You have to position them properly, set attack waypoints etc. There's 'pause and command' button, but it doesn't help that much.
Here's what annoys me:
You can't save the game during battle
You can't set waypoint to a unit before battle starts. You have to place all of them, start the battle, pause the game and only then set all needed waypoints.
You have to call reinforcements all the time during the battle. But it doesn't work correctly when pause is activated - once you selected one unit - it's impossible to call the next one. You have to unpause the game and pause it again.
And again there's no way to set correct waypoints to this reinforcements. You have to wait till they arrive, only then you can give them hunt or unload command. If not - they will just move fast to spawn position and destroyed
I liked red dragon, i liked steel division, but these maps... They are too hardcore, too big. And there's no alternative in the campaign.

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varis
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Re: Frustration from Map Size in Campaign Compounded by Bad AI

Postby varis » Sat 22 Jun 2019 00:33

steppewolf wrote:I think the scale of the campaigns and tactical battles reflects the huge distances on the Eastern front very well and it is one of the best thing Eugen did to reflect the feel of this particular area of WW2. There will be gaps in frontline, there will be bad commanders and troops (hence delegate as rare as possible).


Hmm okay but if it feels more like bad AI or game design rather than authentic historical warfare... ;) I'm all for the big maps, for the historical reason you state, and also the opportunity for maneuver warfare in the WarGame: EE style. But there are issues, read on.

Also I don't - personally - have an overwhelming issue with playing alongside AI teammates who can have their frontline just randomly collapse against the same level of enemy AI. It's something you learn to live with if you do a lot of team skirmish with AI. Realities of war I guess - you can't expect to win everything just because you're a human organism and the enemy is a rather dull-witted computer algorithm. If you want to win the battle, it's you that has to make a difference.

There is a special case where the issue of a big frontline is really annoying! If you have just 1-2 battalions in the battle, you don't have that much AI teammates and have to manage a large frontline yourself. For new players especially this can be too demanding and in any case can make the game too much of an APM fest. Reducing the size of the map (or using just the smaller maps) in these cases would be a very good solution. Also letting the player know there is just one enemy division attacking would be nice so you can autoresolve ;)
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astanid
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Re: Frustration from Map Size in Campaign Compounded by Bad AI

Postby astanid » Sat 22 Jun 2019 07:46

Also letting the player know there is just one enemy division attacking would be nice so you can autoresolve

It's quite hard to understand what will be the result of autoresolve battle - you need to pre-save everytime before the battle. Why not leave opportunity to fight the battle tactically after bad autoresolve to achieve better results ?

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varis
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Re: Frustration from Map Size in Campaign Compounded by Bad AI

Postby varis » Sat 22 Jun 2019 14:08

astanid wrote:It's quite hard to understand what will be the result of autoresolve battle - you need to pre-save everytime before the battle. Why not leave opportunity to fight the battle tactically after bad autoresolve to achieve better results ?


Would feel it's a bit immersion-breaking, then again, single player, matter of opinion and I could see it as a game option.

Is the autoresolve algorithm unusually complex or capricious? (War often is.) I would think players will learn to estimate the range of expected outcomes (eg. there's simple things like achieving air superiority keeps the enemy bombers out, they can deal way more damage than the small group of partizans).

The option to semi-autoresolve also looks very interesting!
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