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1939 Game Balance - 10/10/2021 7:34:01 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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Hi everyone

I'm starting this thread as it has been suggested that the 1939 campaign is very difficult for the Axis to win.

Now, this could be because it requires a bit of experience coupled with good strategies. Or, the campaign is imbalanced and needs a little TLC.

Please comment below on your recent experiences. It's also good to know if you're playing PBEM or the AI.

Thanks

Bill

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/10/2021 9:06:41 PM   
archmache


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Experience

1) In regards to HQ experience - they are capped at 3. So if a loss occurs it goes down to 2.9 -> which then shows 2 dots. Potentially allow HQ to go up to 3.9 (only show 3 dots) so that when it loses it does not fall to the 2 threshold.
2) If not too imbalanced allow units to go to 5 experience - this would help Axis a ton. If HQ went to 5 experience it would change the game a lot. Currently I get level 3 HQ by the fall of France so my Army peeks then.

Unit Cap

1) There are not enough garrisons to cover all the partisan spots in russia/yugoslavia/greece. Potentially allow more
2) Industrial Technology should allow an increase in unit build types. - meaning can get another heavy tank, fighter group, or bomber.
3) Production Technology should allow an increase in build speed of unit
4) Norway can fall very easily to Allies - maybe put a maritime bomber unit and fighter unit in Norway to deter invasion - Norway is difficult to represent ... I know that's why there is a DE event.

Anti-Air
1) If planes fly over a space with AA then the AA should fire - this would hamper SB runs. Currently it only fires if unit within radius of being attacked. I cannot mimic flak alley for the axis!
2) German AA units should double as Anti-Tank / Artillery. This would be a cool change as the 88 was versatile. I almost never build the dedicated anti-tank unit as they are too expensive to research / upgrade. Potentially have this as an upgrade for infantry to get +1 against tanks.

Flanking
1) Russia is big - bold spearheads should be reward but carry risk. Potentially add in the ability for a unit that is attacked from side or rear to take % more damage. Normally encirclements don't occur as the breakthroughs are not rewarded due to supply crunch - it's almost better just to WW1 and use the tanks as double attacking infantry.
2) Tanks should be able to hold supply behind enemy lines for +1 turn; to balance though it should take them twice as long to resupply. At low supply tanks should be more ineffective than infantry.
3) Axis should be able to build the recon unit that the Afrika Corps has but get a couple for Russia. Also make that unit for Axis and Allies (like The SAS) not take damage when it runs into unseen unit - after all its scouting. Maybe reduce attack but increase defense (like takes reduced damage).

All in all I think the reason why the '39 campaign is so difficult for Axis is that over an extended fight (6 years) small changes have big effects. The first time I played as Axis the AI wrecked me - over time I have got consistently better (I have only played the '39 campaign) and now I can consistently win against the AI (hardest difficulty) with multiple different strategies. Personally I don't fight it to be impossible to win but it is a challenge.

The advantage the Germans have in the '39 campaign is
1) Ability to move troops fast and create a heavy attack in one direction. Most good players are decisive. As Axis you have to set the tone of the war - not let the Allies dictate it.
2) Warfare upgrades - the double attacking tanks, and superior aircraft allow for total Axis air-control for at minimum until 1943. This has to be used to the advantage - either in taking Malta and Egypt or reducing the Allies SB runs. Russian air will get pummeled by the Axis tanks.

The Atlantic War is almost lost the game begins but that's ok. The allied naval superiority is very strong. I would say reduce the ability of the "naval cruise" - by this you can "naval cruise" a destroyer by hitting control in a circle and cover a massive amount of the ocean to find the subs. I would say that if you naval cruise you should take x2 damage by running into a sub.

One thing I have noticed is that artillery is useful but useless as the same time. I almost feel that its just better to have another corps or bomber. Potentially having artillery research go up to 5/5 an increasing its attack would make it more useful. Artillery warfare could then allow +1 shell per turn and +1 shell total.

I've played over 100 hours of the '39 campaign - mostly AI.

Hope my thoughts are not too out there.

(in reply to BillRunacre)
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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/10/2021 9:34:00 PM   
PvtBenjamin

 

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Bill,

I haven't played vs AI in this version but from reading comments I think you would better served if you made the middle to lower versions easier for the Axis. Keep the higher versions more difficult. If you look at the recent comments one guy thinks the game is very unfair vs AI and another experienced wargamer had no problem with it, ready to play PBEM. Just from a marketing and player retention standpoint I'd make the game easier for new players.


In PBEM the game is close to balanced just look at the tournament. The issue is the Axis is much harder to master. So for players of equal newer ability the Allies have an advantage, middle ability its equal and high ability the Axis have an advantage. So unless you want to put an ability rating on PBEM games I'd keep it as it is. The best change you could make to the PBEM is greatly limiting amphib abilities early in the game.



Edited added links

https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=5084682

https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=5084682



< Message edited by PvtBenjamin -- 10/10/2021 9:40:47 PM >

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/11/2021 9:22:53 AM   
Mithrilotter

 

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If the issue is new human Axis players vs. the Allied AI, the easiest way to adjust play balance towards the human Axis would be to reduce the massive number of bonus free Soviet AI units at the lower and middle difficulty levels. I hear that the Soviet AI gets a bonus of around 60 free units.

If the issue is adjusting the play balance slightly towards Allied in a human vs. human game, perhaps the easiest way would be to give the human Allied player a few more free Soviet units.

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Post #: 4
RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/12/2021 1:20:52 PM   
Alter Native

 

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I think the game's balance is fine and does not need any major changes, however generally speaking it is much harder to play the Axis compared to the Allies, especially for new players.

I have played around 5-6 games as Axis vs AI starting 39 and 3 Allies campaigns at different difficulties.
I've also played the other campaigns (Barbarossa, Case Blue, and 43 Citadel) from the Axis perspective and for experiences players the balancing of the game is good, but I can understand why new players are struggling.


Poland and France are very easy to do and they are more or less impossible to fail as Axis. Even if you mess up as a new player and it takes you until September to take Paris you still feel like you are doing ok.

In my opinion the new player problems start at the eastern front when all of a sudden effective play and a good understanding of the game rules is required. During the eastern campaign you are on a clock against the soviet infantry lvl 2-3 upgrade and you need to take enough MPPs from the soviets before they can outproduce you with cheap units.

In order to play effectively you need to have a good understanding of the supply system as well as managing your HQs well. You need to understand some advanced mechanics such as HQ chaining and encircling of units. You also must have enough HQs in the first place to supply and command all of your troops to begin with.
I assume most new players will increase the amount of tanks and armies they have, but not the amount of HQs. Therefore lots of your units will fight poorly supplied without command against cheap soviet units until they outproduce and outgunned in 43-44.
However until Barbarossa you never dealt with supplies and HQs much, as everything was running fine on auto pilot in France. When you realize you made big mistakes they are too late to fix.

Furthermore if you make mistakes it's almost impossible to comeback as Axis, as your units often die with <5 supply and you can not afford to loose large parts of your army in order to keep the Barbarossa momentum going until you control all soviet victory points.

Playing as the allies things are way too easy against the AI as you basically just have to sit back in the USSR and watch the AI grind their army to the ground against your cheap units. Unlike the axis there is very little rule knowledge and clever strategic thinking required.

So, people are right playing the Axis is a lot harder. It's mechanically harder (Supplies and HQs, being the attacker), strategically harder (prioritizing the right targets in a multi front war) and time is ticking against you. If you screw up big in one of those areas you loose. But in my opinion this is how it should be.
The war was never fair and balanced and you need to be smarter than the historic counterparts despite the odds against you.


Some ideas on how to help new players:
- Remove the Murmansk hint that is given in 41. I feel like this is a big newbie trap. Taking Murmansk is completely unnecessary and as a new player shipping HQs and armies to Finnland is hurting more then it helps. Cutting the soviets of MPPs is better done with U-Boats.
Even if you control Murmansk you are not taking any MPPs from the allies, you are just preventing the UK from shipping it to the USSR for 3 turns.... wow.

- Maybe consider giving the Germans another free HQ in early 1941 as an easy fix to help new players. (It's not necessary imo, but I think it would help new players)

- The interface is hard to understand for new players and a lot of important information is hidden, I already discussed this point in some other suggestions I made a couple of month ago:
(I can not post links as a new member, it's in the steam forum called "Feedback and suggestions" from June 20th)

- Maybe give Italy the navel warfare moral upgrade at the beginning. From my understanding the Italian navy was (unlike the army) pretty strong and a serious opponent for the UK. Even though large in numbers the Italian navy is still relatively lackluster.

- Maybe increase the MPP damage U-Boats do to trading routes in order to make the Atlantic war more rewarding.

Also, please allow the bonus MPP difficulty setting to be more then just +20%. I'd love to set this to +50% or more when playing the Allies in order to get an interesting game, but the game doesn't let me.


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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/12/2021 2:38:50 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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Thanks everyone and from my end, I'll look to make some adjustments at the Intermediate level for the Soviet AI. It's not quite 60 units, by default you will be guaranteed to see an extra 20 units (approximately) for the Soviets over the course of the war, and of course spread out throughout the map, while the rest are contingent on how far or not you advance as the Axis side.

But we are of course open to the recent suggestions and will make some changes that ideally works out better for newer players of the game that prefer to play at the default Intermediate level.

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/12/2021 3:48:59 PM   
Alter Native

 

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About the Soviet AI, in the 42 Case Blue and 43 Citadel scenario the AI is too focused on defending the Caucasus, disregarding other places such as Moscow. I understand that there is some historical motivation for that and that the Caucasus is indeed a key area for the USSR, but last time I played the 43 scenario Moscow was literally defended by just 2 corps while everything was stacked in the Caucasus.
Even when they were about to loose Moscow they didn't bolster the defences there. This seems to be better in the 39 campaign.

- When the Axis controls Turkey Soviet AI is counterattacking in terrible terrain into Turkey despite loosing key cities within the USSR, not sure if this is connected to the problem mentioned above.

- The US AI seems to not do anything throughout the whole game. They have all these production points but barely manage to do anything with it. Usually the US and UK spam cheap corps cluttering the whole island without ever becoming dangerous. When the map is revealed at the end of the game there are like 20-40 corps in the US idling around.
This is better in the 43 scenario as they constantly try to invade France.
Maybe one could make the US more interesting by having them invade other places like Norway, Denmark, Italy at random.

- The US/UK strategic bombing focuses too much on France and not on Germany, for historic (and gameplay) reasons they should focus more on German cities and mines, the Ruhr area rarely gets attacked while poor Paris is constantly attacked.

- The UK should defend Iraq once the Axis have broken through Egypt. After that point they just sit on their Island waiting until it's June 44 and they can start D-Day. Maybe have them ship units to Iraq trying to defend it/counterattack to Egypt until 44?

- Both UK and US should build more high quality armies and tanks instead of the corps spam, not sure why they are doing this. Also both are building too few HQs. Soviet army compositions and unit choices are much better.




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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/12/2021 4:18:37 PM   
Gilber


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Thank you Bill for this space for reflection,

the game seems perfectly balanced to me, in fact in the last PBEM tournament the win percentage of the axis was around 50%.

if on the other hand one considers in relation to the historical reality the AXIS is overdimensioned. there would be perhaps the opportunity to create a historical scenario where the axis can almost never take Cairo Leningrad or Moscow as in reality but gets the victory if it keeps a minimum of territory at the end of 1945 for example.

This would enhance the defensive qualities of the players and above all would allow to play with interest after the axis has lost the initiative. Today, as soon as the axis player is on the slope of defeat, he gives up immediately, having the hope to win even in a defensive situation, the games would have perhaps more duration and suspense.



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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/12/2021 5:26:34 PM   
PvtBenjamin

 

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I've argued that the game would be better served with airbases, limiting the air power in regions, particularly Egypt.

The issue is if the Axis don't push the Brits back to Iraq its very difficult to win. With limited air power that would be difficult.

So the game is fine as it is (for PBEM).

I think part of the problem vs AI is the games easy to pick up and hard to master. So people feel they are good at the game and think if they are losing its the games fault. Making the medium and lower versions easier will keep more interest.

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/12/2021 6:42:36 PM   
Sugar

 

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Yeah, just get rid of this over complicated supply system and return to the old one of WW1 Breakthrough and even new players will succeed.


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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/12/2021 7:52:30 PM   
Elessar2


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quote:

ORIGINAL: PvtBenjamin

I've argued that the game would be better served with airbases, limiting the air power in regions, particularly Egypt.


There are other unused features that apparently never made the final cut that I'd like to see, such as Mulberries.

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/12/2021 8:31:49 PM   
PvtBenjamin

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Elessar2


quote:

ORIGINAL: PvtBenjamin

I've argued that the game would be better served with airbases, limiting the air power in regions, particularly Egypt.


There are other unused features that apparently never made the final cut that I'd like to see, such as Mulberries.




While we are at it having more specialization of HQs (attack, defend maybe tank) with air HQs and Admirals




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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/13/2021 5:33:51 PM   
Duedman

 

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I also think the game is balanced fine but an easy mode for new players would be beneficial. I read some of Huberts answers to bad ratings on Steam and honestly they would not satisfy me. "Look into scripts and turn some events off" ... what newbie will know what to disable or even bother with that at all? Why not just handpick some unit scripts to deactivate and pack it into easy mode?

I liked the suggestion of having tanks store supply for 1 turn. Maybe with a similar mechanic like artillery shells.
Then restrict them to no movement when at zero supply maybe.

As of now, real big encirclements are nearly impossible to pull off vs experienced players. For me that only worked with Paras (or late in the game with Soviet mobile corps, but by then its over anyway)

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/13/2021 7:45:42 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Duedman
I also think the game is balanced fine but an easy mode for new players would be beneficial. I read some of Huberts answers to bad ratings on Steam and honestly they would not satisfy me. "Look into scripts and turn some events off" ... what newbie will know what to disable or even bother with that at all? Why not just handpick some unit scripts to deactivate and pack it into easy mode?


Hi Dudeman,

Perhaps my points were misunderstood as deactivating the unit scripts and packing it into easy mode is exactly what the GREEN difficulty level does in game.

GREEN level is essentially all UNIT bonus scripts (almost all) deactivated for you.

However, for those players that find the default INTERMEDIATE mode too difficult, and don't want to play in the easier GREEN or NOVICE modes (and most seemingly did not that were posting on Steam), there really is no other suggestion I can make other than to point players in the direction of disabling the scripts as needed.

In the end, selecting GREEN, or playing INTERMEDIATE and manually disabling the scripts, is essentially the same effect, but we were happy to let the players decide how they wanted to approach adjusting the difficulty in game relative to their preference.

* * *

That being said, we are listening and what we believe has happened here is that many players that first started playing/testing these releases a few years back seemingly came from an experience point within our older titles and we based the difficulty levels on this, e.g. the difficulty level of the games (relative to the bonus UNIT AI events) was set according to previous/familiar player experience with the game, and has not changed (for the most part) since original release so many years ago.

However, today we have the benefit of brand new players to the game, which is great, but as a result we believe we may have to tone down at least the INTERMEDIATE (default) difficulty level of the game accordingly.

Which is what we are planning with the next patch.

Hubert

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/13/2021 7:57:47 PM   
roy64


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hubert Cater


However, today we have the benefit of brand new players to the game, which is great, but as a result we believe we may have to tone down at least the INTERMEDIATE (default) difficulty level of the game accordingly.

Which is what we are planning with the next patch.

Hubert


You should leave the INTERMEDIATE level alone it works fine. Why not make another level between NOVICE & INTERMEDIATE?

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/13/2021 9:07:26 PM   
Soulcollector

 

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I think the most significant problem of new players is that they do not understand some key game mechanics. So maybe it would be a good idea to have a short tutorial mission to understand supply, moral, readyness etc. HQs are the most expensive units in the game and that has a reason. So new players should be guided in some way to be aware of that. Also on lower difficulty levels there could be some adjustments in the production line. Instead of more MPP, set some HQs in the production line.

I also like the idea of PvtBenjamin to have special admiral units. Probably Carriers could do the job.

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/13/2021 9:25:36 PM   
PvtBenjamin

 

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One of the most important concepts of the game is minimizing SU/US mobilization. The best way to mess that up is the wrong choice on DE's. They are really there to trip up new players. The game should either strongly recommend the choice on DE's or get rid of many of them. The problem is they initially give you the feel that there is a choice. Seasoned players probably make the same decision on 90% of the DE's, Lithuania is one exception. Maybe have more DE's like Lithuania that aren't so binary.

Bottom Line make the medium game easier vs the AI so new players stick with the game.





< Message edited by PvtBenjamin -- 10/13/2021 9:26:35 PM >

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/13/2021 10:45:32 PM   
roy64


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But what about people like me who play the medium level? I don't like to play against an AI that has any bonuses.

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/14/2021 9:15:14 AM   
Alter Native

 

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Isn't there an obvious solution for the problem?
Just rename the current easy mode to "normal" and have it be the default option when starting the game and rename the current "normal" to hard. The hard of the current version becomes very hard etc.
Basically just shift the naming of the difficulty settings by one, but keep all settings for experienced players that are looking for a challenge.

The problem is that many people are too proud to lower the difficulty to easy, even if they had a better experience with it. Many game developers know this and have the easiest difficulty as "normal" and then several hard options.

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/14/2021 1:08:21 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: roy64
But what about people like me who play the medium level? I don't like to play against an AI that has any bonuses.


What you could do here is play a modified GREEN level (or modified INTERMEDIATE level depending on how we want to look at it), which is to select GREEN which disables almost all the UNIT AI bonus events, and then set the AI MPP Bonus to 0% MPP from the -20% MPP.

This then gives you the INTERMEDIATE level without any UNIT AI bonus events.


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Post #: 20
RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/14/2021 1:22:00 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alter Native

Isn't there an obvious solution for the problem?
Just rename the current easy mode to "normal" and have it be the default option when starting the game and rename the current "normal" to hard. The hard of the current version becomes very hard etc.
Basically just shift the naming of the difficulty settings by one, but keep all settings for experienced players that are looking for a challenge.

The problem is that many people are too proud to lower the difficulty to easy, even if they had a better experience with it. Many game developers know this and have the easiest difficulty as "normal" and then several hard options.


The only possible issue here is we have a bit of a sliding scale when it comes to spotting, experience and MPP bonuses for the AI. At the default INTERMEDIATE level those items are all at zero, but can be + etc as you select the harder levels, and - when selecting the easier levels.

Having GREEN become NORMAL would then have -20% MPP for the AI, which I don't think would feel right either.

Don't get me wrong, I understand where the suggestion comes from here, we also at one time had the default level named as BEGINNER which we then changed to INTERMEDIATE for similar arguments, e.g. players felt better not being categorized as a BEGINNER when playing at the default level (and rightfully so), but the other concerns here is that while some may find the default INTERMEDIATE level too difficult, some find it just right.

And going with a renamed GREEN level as the new default has the potential of then making the game too easy for some players and that might not be a good thing either. For example, one early review of War in Europe gave it a knock because he found the default level too easy.

I also completely understand where players are coming from in that they don't like the idea of the AI receiving free bonus units, however they are strategically laid out for an optimal experience for once you get a good feel for the game. It's not a matter of just throwing a bunch of extra units on the board and calling it a better AI, it really is game action dependent (e.g. not all will fire as it matters what the player is doing in game) and it does help to make up for some of the weaknesses in the AI big picture thinking.

We do feel it gives the player a much better game, but again, for those that may disagree or just want to remove them we also provide the in game option and methods to do so.

But that being said, if we can massage the INTERMEDIATE level just a little bit to make things a little bit easier at the default level, and some careful thought went into this for the next update, we are happy to do so.

Hubert


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Post #: 21
RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/14/2021 3:05:57 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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I've just updated the AI FAQ thread to reflect that selecting GREEN mode will also enable you to quickly disable all the bonus UNIT AI events.

https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=5075864



< Message edited by Hubert Cater -- 10/14/2021 3:06:11 PM >


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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/14/2021 4:54:12 PM   
roy64


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hubert Cater

quote:

ORIGINAL: roy64
But what about people like me who play the medium level? I don't like to play against an AI that has any bonuses.


What you could do here is play a modified GREEN level (or modified INTERMEDIATE level depending on how we want to look at it), which is to select GREEN which disables almost all the UNIT AI bonus events, and then set the AI MPP Bonus to 0% MPP from the -20% MPP.

This then gives you the INTERMEDIATE level without any UNIT AI bonus events.



Nah I probably not bother playing to be honest.

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Post #: 23
RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/16/2021 4:31:04 AM   
Sugar

 

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The question was how to improve the Axis performance in Russia, right?

- increase the speed of HQs by 1, enabling them to reach the next town in 1 turn

- cut the costs for mobility upgrades drastically

- increase the number of HQs to enable chaining

- overhaul the overcomplicated supply system, you`d be surprised how much the performances of new players increase

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/16/2021 6:18:44 AM   
roy64


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The funny thing is they've just made the game much harder now with the new patch

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/16/2021 10:32:22 AM   
Sugar

 

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What do you mean, Roy?

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/16/2021 12:34:22 PM   
roy64


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The increased severity of the Russian Winter.

Sorry wrong game I was on about the World at War game.

< Message edited by roy64 -- 10/16/2021 12:52:23 PM >


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Post #: 27
RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/16/2021 4:18:10 PM   
Elessar2


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Annnd the more stringent Scorched Earth settings.

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RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/16/2021 5:01:59 PM   
PvtBenjamin

 

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And the strength of SU Corps & Armies were reduced so....

"Corrected Soviet Corps and Army Combat Target Statistics "


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Post #: 29
RE: 1939 Game Balance - 10/16/2021 6:24:42 PM   
Sugar

 

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The strength was reduced as promised in ancient times: lvl. 3 sovyet Inf. should have the same values as all other nations lvl. 2 Inf..

Apart from the balancing question, I guess we all know the real issue of the SC series: it`s the overcomplicated supply system. That`s what newbies prevent from succeeding, as everyone recognizes who ever played some.

I know it`s not what Bill or Hubert want to hear, because they don`t want to jump in that rabbit hole and following balancing questions and a real major change, but this is undoubtedly the issue.


(in reply to PvtBenjamin)
Post #: 30
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