Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Amatiel
Command Sergeant Major
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun 26 May 2013 06:57
Contact:

Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby Amatiel » Sun 18 Aug 2013 10:10

Another game with heaps of potential, yet ultimately found to be lacking in a few crucial areas.

I have put many hours into this game, and have previously been in the top 20 on leaderboard, when I last played was in top 50, now i feel the need to write a review to explain this game from the point of view of a fan of the genre.

This game will give the average player many hours of fun, its only when you start to get good at it that you start to notice some glaring issues. If you, like me are the kind of person who always seems to push a game to its limits, exposing its flaws disappointingly quickly, then id advise you to listen well.

ALB provides a modern simulation with a level of realism that is currently unmatched, a game with vast potential for improvement and I daresay will have loyal fans for the forseeable future. There are a few glaring issues however, that I will describe here.

- Flawed victory conditions: The available gamemodes do not allow for a proper assessment of who was the better player. The current default ranked gamemode "destruction" only takes into account unit losses/kills. So you can pretty much sit and camp for most of the game once you get a slight lead in points, which is exactly what usually happens. The new gamemode "conquest" does the opposite. It only takes into account victory points (land held) and not kills, which means you could have lost twice, three times as many units as your opponent yet you still win if you had a slight advantage in positions held.

A gamemode which took into account both unit kills and positions held is the obvious answer, yet due to Eugens lack of interest/vision/intelligence, this has not materialised.

- Broken deck system: The deck system is horribly broken, making cheese tactics like helicopter spams or other types of ridiculous spamming techniques not only viable, but often optimal. The deck system is simply too complex and poorly thought out. For NATO players who want to be competitive, they are forced to use a mixed deck, with national decks being simply too uncompetitive, and use the same units. In fact most players use a NATO mixed deck, being the strongest deck in the game at this time making for extremely repetitive, boring gameplay. 800+ units were advertised as being available in Wargame: Airland Battle, yet you will learn that only 200 or so of them are actually viable for use. For PACT players, the USSR is the only viable choice, with all other PACT minor nations being utterly useless and pathetically weak.

A lot of this comes from the way prototypes work. Prototypes are units that are BOTH outside of the game time frame (post 1985) and are therefore restricted to national decks. However this means that many units that are extremely effective are available to both mixed and national decks. It is not possible to balance a unit that is NOT restricted to a national deck. You just end up making a unit OP for mixed decks or under powered for national decks. Read the forums to get an understanding of the sheer frustration that this has invoked.

For any future wagame, I would strongly reccomend that Eugen makes the map sizes big enough to allow for actual unit engagement ranges. Big ask I know, but many issues interconnected with those listed above would be resolved by doing this, and would keep the 'realism at all costs, even at the cost of balance!' fanboys happy, and keep the game arguably balanced, or at least easier to balance.

It is a great game and the casual player will get lots of enjoyment from it, just dont expect it to be the kind of game that encourages highly skilled competitive gameplay (despite being primarily a MP game). The devs themselves have said many times on the forums that the national decks, for example, are just there for lollygagging around with or for use as a 'challenge' (translates to: you will get crushed by anyone who isnt a noob, was soley a marketing ploy).

Remember, this is a critique before you go accusing me of leaving out the positive points, of which there are many.

I hope you found this critique to be revealing and helpful.

Iris
Brigadier
Posts: 3422
Joined: Tue 14 May 2013 00:41

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby Iris » Sun 18 Aug 2013 10:16

I actually agree with every point an OP made. What world of shenanigans has the Wargame forums come to.

Bryan
General
Posts: 5993
Joined: Mon 7 Jan 2013 07:16
Contact:

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby Bryan » Sun 18 Aug 2013 10:38

Da
Correct.
This game is degenerating into Starcraft...,

User avatar
DeuZerre
More than 10 000 messages. Soldier you are the leader of all armies!
Posts: 11125
Joined: Mon 27 Feb 2012 23:17
Location: Universe, Galaxy, Solar System, Earth, Ground, Eurasian Continent, Main Landmass.
Contact:

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby DeuZerre » Sun 18 Aug 2013 10:43

I don't agree with all of it (especially the deck system. It's designed so USSR vs Nato Mixed are the most viable decks. The rest are for playing for fun) but I agree that once you reach a certain point, you can either go two ways:
- Quitting due to the flaws
- Start having fun and see how much you can push it and still win.

And I'm at the "Have fun": I create national decks from stupid countries, and see how well I can do with them.
I created stupid thematic decks and have fun.

Admittedly, I'm not much of a competitive guy, and I don't play much ranked (Too tired by the Sitzkrieg) but with conquest possibly becoming the default game mode for ranked, you may end up getting happy. I'm telling you so you know: they are considering it, and working on improving it ATM.
Image
Marshal honoris causa
FLX wrote:Removing the weaknesses from the divisions leads to all divisions being the same in the long run. We won't proceed like that.

Amatiel
Command Sergeant Major
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun 26 May 2013 06:57
Contact:

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby Amatiel » Sun 18 Aug 2013 10:47

DeuZerre wrote:but with conquest possibly becoming the default game mode for ranked, you may end up getting happy. I'm telling you so you know: they are considering it, and working on improving it ATM.


You didnt read the entire thing did you? Like the part where i said conquest is just as flawed as destruction?

User avatar
DoktorvonWer
General
Posts: 5883
Joined: Sun 12 Feb 2012 11:24
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Contact:

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby DoktorvonWer » Sun 18 Aug 2013 10:47

DeuZerre wrote:I don't agree with all of it (especially the deck system. It's designed so USSR vs Nato Mixed are the most viable decks. The rest are for playing for fun


In a game wherein the non-USSR/NATO mixed options are not competitive, they're not fun... The point a lot of people are trying to make.
Image

User avatar
DeuZerre
More than 10 000 messages. Soldier you are the leader of all armies!
Posts: 11125
Joined: Mon 27 Feb 2012 23:17
Location: Universe, Galaxy, Solar System, Earth, Ground, Eurasian Continent, Main Landmass.
Contact:

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby DeuZerre » Sun 18 Aug 2013 10:54

Amatiel wrote:
DeuZerre wrote:but with conquest possibly becoming the default game mode for ranked, you may end up getting happy. I'm telling you so you know: they are considering it, and working on improving it ATM.


You didnt read the entire thing did you? Like the part where i said conquest is just as flawed as destruction?

DoktorvonWer wrote:
DeuZerre wrote:I don't agree with all of it (especially the deck system. It's designed so USSR vs Nato Mixed are the most viable decks. The rest are for playing for fun


In a game wherein the non-USSR/NATO mixed options are not competitive, they're not fun... The point a lot of people are trying to make.

I find it fun and challenging, and I'm not alone.
Playing with decks that aren't from the two competitive decks is, by design and since the game started being developed, not meant to be as easy as the other ones.

This is not starcraft where all factions/races have to be balanced.
Image
Marshal honoris causa
FLX wrote:Removing the weaknesses from the divisions leads to all divisions being the same in the long run. We won't proceed like that.

matrin
Command Sergeant Major
Posts: 346
Joined: Sun 11 Dec 2011 07:55
Contact:

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby matrin » Sun 18 Aug 2013 11:02

Personally I disagree with your statements about conquest that the loses don't matter, because they do. Maybe not in directly winning or losing the game, but indirectly in that if you maintain high casualty rate, then you won't be able to sustain yourself.

I do,however, think Conquest is flawed in that the VPs and your CPs are one in the same and not seperate. So if your losing in VPs you also have less income, which makes it increasingly harder to recover, whereas if they were separate, then you could have a more drawn out and intense fight over the strategic sectors, like 4-5 on a map.

User avatar
Scharnberg
Master Sergeant
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed 22 May 2013 11:17
Contact:

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby Scharnberg » Sun 18 Aug 2013 11:07

I dont agree with your points about the gamemode "conquest".

In real life it has been seen many times that the victorious part of a battle actually has lost more men than his enemy. Thats called and psychological victory - That may not be pratical IRL in the long run. But this is a tactical game - where it therefore makes perfect sense.
Pro Rege Et Grege

Amatiel
Command Sergeant Major
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun 26 May 2013 06:57
Contact:

Re: Wagame: AirLand Battle - A critique

Postby Amatiel » Sun 18 Aug 2013 11:08

matrin wrote:Personally I disagree with your statements about conquest that the loses don't matter, because they do. Maybe not in directly winning or losing the game, but indirectly in that if you maintain high casualty rate, then you won't be able to sustain yourself.

I do,however, think Conquest is flawed in that the VPs and your CPs are one in the same and not seperate. So if your losing in VPs you also have less income, which makes it increasingly harder to recover, whereas if they were separate, then you could have a more drawn out and intense fight over the strategic sectors, like 4-5 on a map.


Could you not envisage a situation where the players have more or less equal VP score yet one player had significantly higher kills? According to conquest thats a draw.

Theres your problem.

Return to “Wargame : AirLand Battle”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 17 guests