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Problems playing vs the AI

 
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Problems playing vs the AI - 10/14/2012 2:35:25 AM   
Suhiir

 

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Believe it or not (and I'm sure you won't once you've read this) I really like and want to play the game, the concept and level of detail is amazing.

That said I have to wonder about the game mechanics.

I'm playing the Guadalcanal scenario and keep running into "situations" where (to me) it's obvious there are problems.
I know the Japanese have an experience advantage.

Note: I cheated and used the editor to give the allies 10x the political points they normally have so I could actually do something about my generally incompetent commanders. And did so before any of the battles below.


Surface Combat

OK, it's 1942, don't fight the Japanese at night, so I'll ignore their overwhelming night action victories and concentrate on the few day actions I've had.

Japan 2xCV, 2xCA, 7xDD - Allied 3xCA, 2xCL, 6xDD.
Japan 67 hits result in loss of 1xCA, 4xDD, rest pretty well trashed.
Allied 21 hits result in 1 moderately damaged CA, 1 trashed DD.
Replay:
Japan 63 hits result in loss of 2xCA, 3xDD, rest pretty well trashed.
Allied 29 hits result in 1 lightly damaged CV (still operational), 1 moderately damaged CA, 2 lightly damaged DD.
Replay:
Japan 81 hits result in loss of 2xCA, 4xDD, rest totally trashed.
Allied 15 hits result in 1 moderately damaged CA, 2 lightly damaged DD.

During the battles I noted that apx. 25% of allied shots hit belt or tower armor, for the Japanese this happens maybe 5%.
----------
In other actions it takes the Japanese (ignoring their nuclear torpedoes) an average of 4-7 gun hits to sink an allied DD.
For the allied part it takes between 15-30 gun hits to sink a Japanese DD.


Air Combat

Japanese attacks are all perfectly coordinated, their Zeros easily hold off 2-3 times their number of Wildcats and without fail 25-50% of their Vals and Kates get thru and hit at least 25% of the time, in general 2-5 hits will sink any allied ship. Regardless of the number of escorts at least 50% of Japanese aircraft target carriers.

Allied attack always result in 1-3 unescorted groups getting shot to hell, Zeros blow thru 2-4 times their number of Wildcats and decimate the attack planes who are lucky to achieve a 5% hit rate and rarely sink a thing, even with 5-10 hits. Allied aircraft apparently attempt to hit every ship in a Japanese task force so very few even attempt to attack the carriers. At least 75% of torpedo planes go after Japanese DDs so almost never hit a thing.

In other actions 4-15 Zeros can keep 10-30 land based fighters off the Bettys who hit 33%+ and one hit one kill is the rule.
----------
In all instances allied fatigue was in the 6-15 range (I'm intentionally not including battles were allied fatigue was 20+) , their commanders were the best available.
Several times I replayed battles varying the altitude of allied fighters and never noticed a significant affect on the results.

####################
So gee, I figure apparently this scenario is designed to give the Japanese overwhelming advantage, let's play from the Japanese side!

Amazingly now it was the allies holding off twice their number of Zeros, hitting 25% of the time (to my 5%), getting one hit kills, etc.

I can only conclude that:
A - I am totally incompetent
B - There is code to give the AI a "break" vs a human player.
####################

I really want to play this game and bought it specifically so I could enjoy a campaign style game. No one in my area is available for such a long human-vs-human game.
But as it stands now I'm afraid that vs the AI the game is all but unplayable.

< Message edited by Suhiir -- 10/14/2012 2:38:20 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/14/2012 2:56:56 AM   
PaxMondo


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What AI level are you playing?  Normal?  Hard?  Very Hard?

PS: I only play AI and it works just fine for me ... Andy kicks my butt fairly routinely ...

< Message edited by PaxMondo -- 10/14/2012 4:52:51 AM >


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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/14/2012 2:57:56 AM   
Fallschirmjager


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On on the 'Very Hard' difficulty setting the AI get bonuses to it's combat dice rolls.

< Message edited by Fallschirmjager -- 10/14/2012 3:36:13 AM >

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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/14/2012 3:29:57 AM   
jmalter

 

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hi Suhiir,

i disagree w/ you that the AI game is unplayable, or that it's unbeatable. but it'll thrash you if you don't watch out! this game has a steep learning curve, it takes a while to figure out what to do, & the various short scenarios (combined w/ extensive reading of this forum) is a great way to start. i will mention that quite often, running in w/ all guns blazing at every opportunity isn't the best way to play the game.

wrt the surface combat you described, IMO it's not a good idea to mix CAs & CLs in a SurfTF. optimally, you want to have ships w/ comparable main-armament ranges in a SurfTF, essentially this means that a SurfTF is best composed of 'sisters' for both its heavy & escort components.

can't really tell much from your description of the carrier action, other than the Allied strike-coordination failure. most important here is, to place all your attacking CV sqns (F, DB & TB) at the same alt, i use 13k' vs. the AI, but i would vary this between 10 & 15k' against a human oppo. this'll put the DBs in the dive-bombing range, the TBs will automatically peel off to drop torps at 200', the F escorts will protect the entire strike when it arrives over the target. next, don't put all your CVs in a single TF, Allies suffer penalties in the early war, it's better to have 2 AirTFs of 2xCV rather than 1 of 4xCV.


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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/14/2012 5:23:16 AM   
JeffK


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A

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Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum

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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/14/2012 6:31:29 AM   
jmalter

 

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mebbe also you should re-examine your tactics in the scenario - going head-to-head at near-parity against IJN TFs isn't working for you. i don't think it's out of the way for a newb to edit a scenario file for PP or supply increase, i did it myself. but IMO you'd be better to edit the map-area, give yourself 4-8 add'l hexes in each corner, gives you more room to maneuver & puts you 'in context' in the global map.

i played the Guad Scen awhile ago, seems to me your 1st order of business is to get your troops ashore in good nick at Lunga - w/ CLs in the AmphTF to suppress enemy defensive fire, & CAs in a BombTF to mung the defenders. once you've captured Lunga/Tulagi, the order of business is to bring in Engr LCUs & supply, build up the port/air/fort capacity, so you can fly in the USMC F/DB sqns for local air defense and DB attacks against the Tokyo Express. a successful assault on Lunga is meaningless if you can't preserve surfTF/CV air to cover the subsequent build-up phase, you must pass on the opportunity to attack IJ fleets, you'll just get chopped up.

& if you expend your USN surf & air assets against the IJN TFs, you're much more vulnerable. don't go out looking for a losing battle, adopt the 'fleet in being' idea. rather, get some NavSearch going w/ Cats supported by AVD ships disbanded at advanced island bases - run your TFs away when IJ fleets show up, run your TFs in as they withdraw. your surf/air TFs should act to protect/aid your AmphTFs, & live to do it again later. when you lose ships, or get your CV sqns trashed, you lose the ability to aid&protect. you can win this scen by successfully invading Lunga, building/supporting its airbase, then extending to Tulagi/Tassafaronga. you can lose this scenario by trying to fight the IJN on 'even terms'.

< Message edited by jmalter -- 10/14/2012 6:46:30 AM >

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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/14/2012 7:04:32 PM   
inqistor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Suhiir

Surface Combat

OK, it's 1942, don't fight the Japanese at night, so I'll ignore their overwhelming night action victories and concentrate on the few day actions I've had.

Japan 2xCV, 2xCA, 7xDD - Allied 3xCA, 2xCL, 6xDD.


Are you completely sure that was CVs?
Any surface combat against CVs, will end quickly because their TF will try to retreat as soon as possible (unless they fight against German guy, on wheelchair, with artificial arm)

Have you compared ships for both sides? For starter - Japan have 40-50% bigger ships in terms of tonnage.
Japanese CAs are best ships in game. They not only have more armor, than American CAs, but they also carry torpedoes, and US ships have only guns.

Also, ALL US torpedoes are faulty:
Those carried by submarine have 80% failure rate
Those carried by ships 60%
Those carried by aircraft 50%

(Japanese torpedoes have around 10-20% failure rate)
Taking all this into consideration - you have only guns, and DBs to fight with Japan. So you need at least 30% more ships in your TF to even achieve parity (not taking experience difference under consideration)

quote:

In all instances allied fatigue was in the 6-15 range (I'm intentionally not including battles were allied fatigue was 20+) , their commanders were the best available.
Several times I replayed battles varying the altitude of allied fighters and never noticed a significant affect on the results.

It is all about having fighters in right number in right place. That generally means, that you should patrol at bombers altitude, and have radar at base (if there is much difference in altitude, or enemy is detected too late, there will be no time for interception)

quote:

Amazingly now it was the allies holding off twice their number of Zeros, hitting 25% of the time (to my 5%), getting one hit kills, etc.

Japan can get to Guadalcanal only from Rabaul, and it is at extreme planes range, which is main disadvantage.

quote:

I can only conclude that:
A - I am totally incompetent
B - There is code to give the AI a "break" vs a human player.

Definitely, on higher levels, AI gets bonus at air battles, but I do not see anything special in naval combat. (it also probably do not follow standard rules for supply/replacements/pilots).

The main problem is that you try to counter enemy with exactly the same forces it uses.
To sink ships, you use planes. Your ships are only to sink loaded transports.
To get his planes, you try to catch them at airfield, not in air.

Anyway, this whole Scenario is about Guadalcanal, and Port Moresby. You just have to defend both bases, and keep them supplied, and operational. There is no need to sink enemy ships.
I have not played it from Allied side, but considering number of their bombers in this Scenario, I would first secure New Guinea (closing all Japanese airfields, and then invading bases), and then take care of Rabaul - the same way. I do not see use for Guadalcanal, aside from keeping there some DBs/Fighters - to sink enemy ships.

(in reply to Suhiir)
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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/16/2012 7:39:15 AM   
Suhiir

 

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Joined: 10/9/2012
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quote:

ORIGINAL: jmalter

can't really tell much from your description of the carrier action, other than the Allied strike-coordination failure. most important here is, to place all your attacking CV sqns (F, DB & TB) at the same alt, i use 13k' vs. the AI, but i would vary this between 10 & 15k' against a human oppo. this'll put the DBs in the dive-bombing range, the TBs will automatically peel off to drop torps at 200', the F escorts will protect the entire strike when it arrives over the target. next, don't put all your CVs in a single TF, Allies suffer penalties in the early war, it's better to have 2 AirTFs of 2xCV rather than 1 of 4xCV.


OK that's VERY useful to know.
From reading the manual it sounded very much like the dive bombers HAD to go in at 10-15k and the torpedo planes HAD to be at 5k, thus it was either split my escort, leave either the DBs or Torps unescorted, or (my usual solution) leave the Torps at home since they seem fixated on trying to hit DDs thus very, very rarely hit a thing.

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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/16/2012 7:57:55 AM   
Suhiir

 

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Joined: 10/9/2012
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quote:

ORIGINAL: jmalter

once you've captured Lunga/Tulagi, the order of business is to bring in Engr LCUs & supply, build up the port/air/fort capacity, so you can fly in the USMC F/DB sqns for local air defense and DB attacks against the Tokyo Express. a successful assault on Lunga is meaningless if you can't preserve surfTF/CV air to cover the subsequent build-up phase, you must pass on the opportunity to attack IJ fleets, you'll just get chopped up.


The invasion was a 'gimmie' as the scenario is set-up to allow the initial landing to be virtually unopposed.
The build-up has been impossible, between the Tokyo Express and those damn Bettys absolutely nothing can get thru.

I've tried backing off and hoping the Japanese would run outta steam, but they only get stronger as the scenario progresses.
I've tried as massed fleet reinforcement hoping a) some would get thru and b) the AI would blow away only part of my ships and the rest would be available for use later.
I intentionally split units into multiple transports, put each in it's own Task Force on the theory at least one fragment will make it ashore and eventually rebuild into a whole unit, but one quickly runs outta transports.
The only thing that seems to work is to send in a whole bunch on one ship (i.e. AM, PG, and other less then necessary vessel types) Task Forces at the same time as a large reinforcement Task Force is going in. The AI will pick and choose which Task Forces to attack and blow the single vessel away, BUT, since the large reinforcement Task Force isn't targeted it isn't attacked. But this tactic is WAY to 'gamey' - so it it's the sort of thing is needed, well ...

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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/16/2012 8:05:22 AM   
Suhiir

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: inqistor

Anyway, this whole Scenario is about Guadalcanal, and Port Moresby. You just have to defend both bases, and keep them supplied, and operational. There is no need to sink enemy ships.
I have not played it from Allied side, but considering number of their bombers in this Scenario, I would first secure New Guinea (closing all Japanese airfields, and then invading bases), and then take care of Rabaul - the same way. I do not see use for Guadalcanal, aside from keeping there some DBs/Fighters - to sink enemy ships.


That much I know, but given the low Political Points available it takes forever to transfer each Australian brigade to the SW Pacific Command so I can use it. It's fairly easy to get a Task Force to Port Moresby, but then the Bettys descend like a swarm of locust. And with them shooting up my CAP at 4-to-1 I very quickly run out of fighters.

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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/16/2012 8:14:08 AM   
Suhiir

 

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I did (finally) figure out why my DBs and Torps were hitting at such an alarmingly low rate.

Apparently if you don't have at least 30% of your fighters as escort they're too busy looking over their shoulders to hit anything.

Now I just have to figure out how to defend their home CVs so they have a place to return to after the attack.

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RE: Problems playing vs the AI - 10/16/2012 8:57:40 AM   
janh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Suhiir
Apparently if you don't have at least 30% of your fighters as escort they're too busy looking over their shoulders to hit anything.


Not exactly, but you are on a right track: the opposition matters, and escorts in an A2A environment as well. One thing to note, no matter whether it is aerial bombing/interception, convoy attacks/ASW or artillery/land combat is that many times it is not key to destroy the enemy directly to achieve your own goal.

CAP does not necessarily have to shoot down all of the attacking bombers, but often times disrupting the attack will already break it up into poorly coordinated, inaccurate attacks.

Try so with 4EB. As a Japanese you'll have a hard time shooting down B-17s, or even B-24s in the first few months. Occasionally B-17 pilots will even rack up a good number of IJ fighter kills because these flying fortresses are truly effective in taking down unarmored single engine fighters. Yet just having a few Oscars or Zeros on CAP already decreases their bombing accurate oftentimes, and damage to a few 4EB will cause them to be grounded a while or sometimes puts them into the ops loss section.

< Message edited by janh -- 10/16/2012 8:59:44 AM >

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