Objective: Explore game play experience and improve game play balance concerning USSR's 2800 range units in "sweet spot" 2v2 - 4v4 sized games.
I have been playing Wargame ALB with EPIC since the beta. Our game preference is standard play, during destruction we used ranked game logic. During Conquest V1 we, like other clans maxed out score to win. Currently we're looking at 600 or 800 score to win for big games on Conquest V2 as there isn't an official stance on what's balanced yet. We enjoy 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4. Overall 3v3 feels like the best spot in the Goldilocks zone for us. We don't play ranked but we do well by playing with and against ladder topping players like Tommoscimma, Marshals and top clans like No Unit. At this level play is about excellence, strategic choice optimization, communication, and team synergy. I don't consider this game to be about 1v1 or 10v10 when the community has decided that the sweet spot is in team games with a multitude of tournaments, one which I participated in during the mind numbing days of Destruction. If you're curious about my play you may check out http://www.twitch.tv/watchtriumphhappen for a few highlighted games and some a-move public play casted. I am also in some replays on http://alb-replays.info/#/ however I am not sure if there are many if any featuring conquest or conquest V2. Please be aware that I would love to see Multinational PACT, Poland, CZ, France, FRG, and USA as viable faction picks. Those are big fun factor issues and deserve a topic. But for now we take a look at the team games biggest issue, the 2800 range game.
What is the range game? The range game is about optimizing the use of high powered 2800 range missiles and long range anti air in an area where a player can spread out and use a concave formation to lessen the effects of artillery and air strikes. Who can play the range game? T80a, T80u, BMP-3, and to a lesser extent units using kokon and sheksna missiles. With anti air this is about maximizing the amount of Tunguska, Buk, and Mig-31 in order to negate or punish air counters that are certainly in lesser quantity than MBT's.
Open area, a good spread, and long range weapons means soviets get the initiative in many situations where the map is open. It can be argued that some maps are unplayable because of the situation. And large urban sectors do not help due to the accuracy, range, and squad size of USSR Konkurs and the inability for air and artillery to effectively deal with this out side of the opening of the game.
With units that complement Soviet range game such as the 1D, BMPT, and an assortment of high HE value MBTs it's easy to see why Soviet players would have to be incompetent or not recce a cheese opening with a Mig in order to fail on maps that cater to them.
After speaking with top players some common suggestions about how to solve the problem emerged. Suggestions such as "reduce the AP of the missiles" and "reduce the missile range to a uniform 2625" and a future Wargame title should feature deck type specific prototypes. These changes, while obvious, will remove the developers vision for a unique high tier national advantage. This leaves handles to work with like pack amount to manipulate activation points, unit quantity, unit experience level, unit price and map design.
Solution 1 - Balance by Activation
Splitting the quantity of soviet tank prototypes into two packs for the T80u, and T80a will result in removing utility from ones deck if they wish to max out on long ranged units. In order to max out on 2800 range heavies they will have to spend around 2 or 3 additional points during deck creation.
T80a quantity from 8/6/4 to 4/3/2
T80a pack from 1 to 2
T80u quantity from 4/3 to 2/1
T80u pack from 1 to 2
This type of change can limit the amount of additional infantry such as konkurs, spetz, or igla's, artillery, and aircraft, low tier and vehicles a player can obtain before cutting into top end unit use.
A player may have more incentive make the strategic choice to go Armored in order to have an easier time maxing out on the units they need. Or perhaps save points when using T80a by using Mechanized.
Omni USSR decks geared towards all around utility will feel less incentive to attack into Nato air (Super Etendard) play.
This alone does not solve everything because map specific decks, especially for specific positions will emerge and in actuality players will lose little utility at the cost of a pregame click. Given this some additional pack splits should be explored and may be required.
Solution 1a - Pack split BMPT
In addition to solution 1 the BMPT is split into two packs (4,3) to consume at least one extra activation point
Solution 1b - Four single T80u packages
Instead of splitting the t80u quantity the t80u is cut down to one per pack to encourage armored deck use.
Solution 1c - Pack Split powerful aircraft
In addition to solution 1 split the mig-31 or Su-24mp into two packs. Currently the mig-31 is flavor of the meta game and contributes to easy hard countering of anti slow ATGM plane such as the A10 or Harrier in big games on narrow maps. The narrower the map the easier the kill as the they have a smaller area to cover.
Alternatively the Su-24mp could be split without hurting multinational PACT because they have solid alternative options for aircraft that drop small bombs. If this unit is split then the total pack amount needs to be increased to 3 or 4.
Solution 1d - Pack split M
In addition to solution 1 the Tunguska M is split into two packs to reinforce Mechanized deck use and even them out with nato players that take 3-4 AA packs to form a solid anti air net.
Solution 1e - Three T80a duos and decrease overall quantity
Instead of splitting the t80a in half its package count quantity becomes 2 hardened, 1 veteran with an over all decrease in quantity due to the removal of trained status.
T80a pack from 1 to 3 (0,2,1)
T80a trained status removed.
Solution 2 - Balance by Price
Increasing the price for having a powerful 2800 range by at least 15 or 20 points will allow soviet decks to maintain their utility while punishing poor offensives. This could put an inherent emphasis on soviets playing defense after the opening maneuvers or force them to open with the T64 line and perhaps, less durable, more abundant 2800 range carrier units. However wide open spaces will remain an issue, especially when city sectors become involved. Small changes to soviet konkurs squads and small buffs to key units such as the LARS and MLRS may allow nato the opportunity to go on the offensive over distances.
t80u from 170 to 185
t80a from 130 to 145
bmp3 from 60 + 10 to 70 + 10
FRG LARS from 60 to 50
FRG LARS-2 from 75 to 70
US MLRS from 90 to 80
US MLRS suppression increase
USSR PTUR Faktoriya Strength from 2 to 5
USSR PTUR Faktoriya from 6 to 8
USSR PTUR Konkurs from 25 to 20
USSR PTUR Konkurs Strength from 5 to 2
USSR PTUR Konkurs missiles from 8 to 6
*Note Konkurs changes would not apply to the Czech konkurs ergo multinational retains the super effective infantry ATGM choice.
Solution 3 - Balance by Map design
Ensure that maps give the option to allow players to avoid long stretches of open space that promote the use of 2800 range and perhaps konkurs abuse. Adding dense cover forests or hills to traverse could help solve a lot of issues. Here is a sample of maps with issues:
Burgen - Open flanks allow for the glory of the soviet A-move. Urban sectors allow them to enjoy a solid konkurs defense.
Vasterbotten - This is about as wide open as it gets. Although it is nice to have one reason to take a recon jeep.
Gavle - A whole flank is dedicated to open ground with a couple of scattered buildings. Enjoy the konkurs. The opposite side could have a slightly different forest lay out to make the area easier to to play around in and devalue the range game overall.
Telemark - The center of the map is completely biased towards one side with free forest cover and structures. Naturally soviets do better on that side.
Lilliehammer - the center of the map is range game territory.
Stavanger - Center zones with mostly open ground and scattered buildings that deny a major focal point of the map for Conquest.
Mora - The Burgen situation made for 4v4s.
Solution 3a - And A Slice of A Solution on the Side
Include Konkurs and Faktoriya change proposal from Solution 2 to decrease the potential lethality of ATGM infested city sectors.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this. Feel free to comment but beware if you sound like you're not playing games in the "sweet spot" or don't have a lot of experience with optimized play then it will be as if you have a sign hanging on your neck saying "Open Season."
*Edit: I feel the need to make it clear that this topic isn't a do-all package. Read the spoiler