What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Share your gameplay tips, secret tactics and fabulous strategies with fellow gamers here.

Moderators: Joel Billings, Campaign Series Matrix Edition Development Group

User avatar
karonagames
Posts: 4701
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:05 am
Location: The Duchy of Cornwall, nr England

What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by karonagames »

If two average players with equal experience and skill play a full game should they expect a broadly historical experience influenced by hindsight and the avoidance of historical mistakes?

In actual game terms what should this look like?

Most average Axis players will allocate more resources than were allocated historically in order to attempt to capture Leningrad and/or Sevastopol in 1941, but what should the quid pro quo be in terms of how close the rest of the frontline gets to the historical frontline? Should the Axis fall short of capturing Kallinin and Rostov and be 4 hexes short of Moscow instead of 2 hexes? In some AARs, above average Axis players who capture Leningrad and Sevastopol are struggling to get beyond the Rzhev/Bryansk/Orel/Kursk/Kharkhov/Stalino line of VPs and bonus VPs.

Average Axis players should be able to provide enough logistic capacity for their army to survive up to 16 turns of Blizzard and not lose more than the 450 hexes that the Axis army was forced to give up historically from December 1941 to April 1942. See my “winter blues” post for my opinion on how good a job the game currently does with this. Because of hindsight the Red Army in December 1941 is not as weak as it was historically, probably to the tune of 500-600k if the Kiev and Vyazma pockets are not duplicated, so how much stronger should the winter offensive be, and how many more hexes should it be reasonable for the Red Army to capture because of this? If the Red Army has avoided encirclement what quid pro quo should the Axis get? - in theory the Soviets have to provide the historical logistic tonnages to 600k more men so shouldn’t they have less rations/ammo and not be able to sustain 16 weeks on non-stop offensives with a larger army? Against above average Red Army players I have lost from 600-1000 hexes depending on the actual number of blizzard turns.

Average Axis players should then be able to recover from the winter offensive and have a reasonably historical start line running from the Volkhov river to the Mius river with sufficient offensive capability to consider the strategic option to get enough VPs to win a sudden death victory by going for either Moscow or Baku in 1942..

The 1942 summer campaign should then be an exciting and hard-fought battle with both players trying to achieve and/or defend their objectives. The Axis will avoid an army level encirclement and therefore end 1942 with about 300k more men in his OOB than historically.

If the average Axis players fails to achieve the Turn 68 sudden death threshold, and the initiative moves to the Soviets, the rest of the game should then reflect how a Red Army 2.0 with 500k-600k “extra” men does against an Axis Army with 300k “extra” men and whether it can achieve a better rate of advance than was achieved historically against an Axis Army that will be worn down by attrition until it reaches the point of collapse, but may be able to do enough to prevent Berlin from falling in April 1945, and the average Axis player has to believe he does stand a chance of holding out to the bitter end, and not give up because it is obvious that the Red Army 2.0 can simply stroll into Berlin.

Based on the evidence gleaned from playing the Stalingrad to Berlin campaign and the published AARs, stronger Red Army 2.0 turns into a Juggernaut at least 6-12 months earlier than it did historically in the hands of average and above average players, and above average Axis Players are unable to survive beyond the spring of 1944.

If there is a skill/experience mismatch, should the game do more to avoid/reduce variance from the average, or should we accept that once players realise there is skill/experience mismatch they resign and write off the time and effort invested in the game?

As yet, I have not experienced an average game. I have won games in 68 turns against less experienced/skilled players, and lost against more experienced/skilled players in 52 turns or less.

Should the game try to do more to reduce the impact of skill/experience mis-matches, or do we accept that the vast majority of H2H/PBEM games will result in resignations before June 1942?

At the very least, I think there should be a 26 turn 1941 full-map “Barbarossa” campaign, And a 26 turn 1942 “Fall Blau” campaign that will allow players to hone and practice their skills, knowing they are committing to a fixed period of time, and maybe a 16 turn “Retreat from Moscow” blizzard defense practice campaign.
It's only a Game

AlbertN
Posts: 3948
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:44 pm
Location: Italy

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by AlbertN »

Personally my goal when I bought the game is to experience a '41-'44 campaign (I understand the '45 may be written history for who gets there at the current status of affairs and not that interesting to play).

But I concur presently it appears games will rarely make it to '42 - at least in my case - due to the Soviets stopping point blank the '41 Blitzkrieg.

Being a rather time demanding game for what concerns turn producing, presently I look forward to things to be addressed and solved. It will take time though.
User avatar
Seminole
Posts: 2109
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:56 am

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by Seminole »

There are too many variables for the game to run on historical rails, but I suspect the logistics constraints in’41 help leash the Axis high water mark.

I’ve played through some scenarios both sides and the game balance has much to do with experience of the player.

I would suggest the ‘butterfly effect’ will make subsequent years less and less aligned with history.

For that, I’d go with the later scenarios that feature those historical jump off points.
"War is never a technical problem only, and if in pursuing technical solutions you neglect the psychological and the political, then the best technical solutions will be worthless." - Hermann Balck
User avatar
tyronec
Posts: 5086
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:11 am
Location: Portaferry, N. Ireland

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by tyronec »

In WITE1 just a few games went the distance. A lot ended in '41, some more in '42.
WITE1 had supply as a controlling factor for the Axis advance early war, so no matter how well Axis played they was only so far they could get in '41. And to a lesser extent that applied to '42.

The much improved supply system in WITE2 has less restriction on where Axis can go in '41 according to how they allocate their resources, FBDs moving at 8 hexes instead of 4. The Soviets have to stop them with combat power rather than depending on a max supply range. So the game is more volatile, the snowball effect is more pronounced and I think we will see less games go the distance.

If you have had several games where the more experienced player has had the advantage then I think that is not bad at all. My personal feeling is that the game is great fun to play, because of it's complexity it has more 'flaws' than some other war games. Probably it is not 'balanced' yet and may not be for some time.
The lark, signing its chirping hymn,
Soars high above the clouds;
Meanwhile, the nightingale intones
With sweet, mellifluous sounds.
Enough of Stalin, Freedom for the Ukraine !
AlbertN
Posts: 3948
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:44 pm
Location: Italy

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by AlbertN »

From my perspective, in the present incarnation, the 'Average Player' will meet a very one-sided experience. Assuming both are 'Experienced at Average level'.

The Soviet players will tuck units in bad terrain, go Assault mode, follow a few other wise guidelines (this is not sarcasm), and I believe they can excel.

Right now I feel that the game to be 'played well' requires a really novice Soviet player and an average German player.
The 'really novice' Soviet player will do 'somehow historical mistakes' that the German player can exploit.
The Soviet player has the benefit of overflow of tanks, planes, soldiers and guns. It has overflow of Admin Point, enough excellent leader and Assault HQs on steroids so in time it will stem off the Axis tide. (That assuming the really novice player gets these things which are quite basic).

That way, in time the 'Really Novice' player is not so novice anymore in '42, and improves on and on as time goes.

Pratically the game gives in '41 Soviet capabilities of '43 or so already at operational level. So the game does not mirror the Soviet Army increase in skill and all (ontop of a sensible decay of German one - excessive in my perspective but it is an impression right now).
The good idea is to get a Player to learn the game on the go . for the Soviets . and a German player that knows already how to play (as if they had alraedy many campaigns on the shoulders).

Then you may have an enjoyable game. Til things are addressed.
HardLuckYetAgain
Posts: 7060
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:26 am

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by HardLuckYetAgain »

ORIGINAL: karonagames


Should the game try to do more to reduce the impact of skill/experience mis-matches, or do we accept that the vast majority of H2H/PBEM games will result in resignations before June 1942?



Programming to reduce the skill/experience factor always results in failure. The best fix for that is for the player to dedicate themselves to learning. I am not just talking about mimicking someone else but to actually try new things yourself.
User avatar
Joel Billings
Posts: 31340
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2000 8:00 am
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Contact:

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by Joel Billings »

While we can and do expect to make tweaks over time to improve balance, for H2H, which is the minority way people play WitE2, there are always house rules to arrive at a balance that players agree to try out. Also, players can try a bidding system, either in terms of creating house rules, and/or bidding for auto victory levels to play for. This doesn't address getting a "historical" longer lasting game, but you could always bid the number of points the Soviet player must be over the German HWM as of the end of 1944 and/or create your own test in mid-44 and bid for that. Of course this only works with players willing to play either side. However, players playing 2 player should expect to play both sides if they expect to be truly good at the game. If you limit yourself to playing one side only, you don't really begin to understand the issues the other side is dealing with. I see the best players trying both sides and learning, as HLYA says. There is no doubt the German side in this game is less forgiving, and more prone to gain from experience. I realize it's tough to go into a game that takes hundreds of hours to play, thinking it's unbalanced. Bidding for side is usually the best way to even things up, as well as make every game unique. Not for everyone, but worth considering. Bidding a set number of points up or down across all auto victory levels could lead to some very tense games.
All understanding comes after the fact.
-- Soren Kierkegaard
IanW
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2021 8:46 am

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by IanW »

ORIGINAL: AlbertN

The Soviet player has the benefit of overflow of tanks, planes, soldiers and guns.

This is actually hilarious, as it perfectly reflects the thought process of the historical 1941 Germans.

They thought the Red Army was a lot smaller than it was, then whined a lot when there were always more Russian divisions.

Additionally, the attitude of 'I run the German Army - I shouldn't need to worry about logistics. Ever' is also historical, despite the game's ~3x increase in German truck capacity over reality, and the bullshit that is super-depots.
AlbertN
Posts: 3948
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:44 pm
Location: Italy

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by AlbertN »

@Joel:

A Player at 110 Morale (Percent) does not benefit of the same stuff of AI.
It just gets a 10% extra Morale / Efficiency yes?

Because I think the 'Bid' has to go via that, not via VPs.

Percent points for stuff.
It would do good that productions and other things too may have these parameters to tweak as form of bidding.
AlbertN
Posts: 3948
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:44 pm
Location: Italy

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by AlbertN »

ORIGINAL: IanW
ORIGINAL: AlbertN

The Soviet player has the benefit of overflow of tanks, planes, soldiers and guns.

This is actually hilarious, as it perfectly reflects the thought process of the historical 1941 Germans.

They thought the Red Army was a lot smaller than it was, then whined a lot when there were always more Russian divisions.

Additionally, the attitude of 'I run the German Army - I shouldn't need to worry about logistics. Ever' is also historical, despite the game's ~3x increase in German truck capacity over reality, and the bullshit that is super-depots.

We can do a Match.

You Axis.
I Soviet.

Latest Beta Patch.

Want to?
HardLuckYetAgain
Posts: 7060
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:26 am

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by HardLuckYetAgain »

ORIGINAL: IanW
ORIGINAL: AlbertN

The Soviet player has the benefit of overflow of tanks, planes, soldiers and guns.

This is actually hilarious, as it perfectly reflects the thought process of the historical 1941 Germans.

They thought the Red Army was a lot smaller than it was, then whined a lot when there were always more Russian divisions.

Additionally, the attitude of 'I run the German Army - I shouldn't need to worry about logistics. Ever' is also historical, despite the game's ~3x increase in German truck capacity over reality, and the bullshit that is super-depots.

The game is pretty much not going to be won by the Germans anyway, barring some mistake on the Soviet part. Even if the truck capacity of the Germans is or isn't ~3x over reality it really doesn't matter one bit. The Soviets are going to win. Anyone with two eyes & a brain can see that.

Now the real question is, "will you be able to find German players in the future for the game". I can only say, "Good Luck"


HardLuckYetAgain
Posts: 7060
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:26 am

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by HardLuckYetAgain »

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain

ORIGINAL: IanW
ORIGINAL: AlbertN

The Soviet player has the benefit of overflow of tanks, planes, soldiers and guns.

This is actually hilarious, as it perfectly reflects the thought process of the historical 1941 Germans.

They thought the Red Army was a lot smaller than it was, then whined a lot when there were always more Russian divisions.

Additionally, the attitude of 'I run the German Army - I shouldn't need to worry about logistics. Ever' is also historical, despite the game's ~3x increase in German truck capacity over reality, and the bullshit that is super-depots.

The game is pretty much not going to be won by the Germans anyway, barring some mistake on the Soviet part. Even if the truck capacity of the Germans is or isn't ~3x over reality it really doesn't matter one bit. The Soviets are going to win. Anyone with two eyes & a brain can see that.

Now the real question is, "will you be able to find German players in the future for the game". I can only say, "Good Luck"



I am speaking of H2H not the AI.
HardLuckYetAgain
Posts: 7060
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:26 am

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by HardLuckYetAgain »

ORIGINAL: AlbertN

ORIGINAL: IanW
ORIGINAL: AlbertN

The Soviet player has the benefit of overflow of tanks, planes, soldiers and guns.

This is actually hilarious, as it perfectly reflects the thought process of the historical 1941 Germans.

They thought the Red Army was a lot smaller than it was, then whined a lot when there were always more Russian divisions.

Additionally, the attitude of 'I run the German Army - I shouldn't need to worry about logistics. Ever' is also historical, despite the game's ~3x increase in German truck capacity over reality, and the bullshit that is super-depots.

We can do a Match.

You Axis.
I Soviet.

Latest Beta Patch.

Want to?

I would say he will not play Axis. He is very pro Soviet. That is my bet.
AlbertN
Posts: 3948
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:44 pm
Location: Italy

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by AlbertN »

I and Ian have polar opposite views of the game.

I personally feel my view trascent the historical data and the like and has a simple approach that a GAME must be playable within historical settings but not historically scripted.

Total agreement that unless some severe changes happen alas what you wrote above will turn quite true and that there will a desertification of Axis players for HvH. But I saw that already in WITE1 in the past.
IanW
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2021 8:46 am

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by IanW »

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain

ORIGINAL: AlbertN

ORIGINAL: IanW



This is actually hilarious, as it perfectly reflects the thought process of the historical 1941 Germans.

They thought the Red Army was a lot smaller than it was, then whined a lot when there were always more Russian divisions.

Additionally, the attitude of 'I run the German Army - I shouldn't need to worry about logistics. Ever' is also historical, despite the game's ~3x increase in German truck capacity over reality, and the bullshit that is super-depots.

We can do a Match.

You Axis.
I Soviet.

Latest Beta Patch.

Want to?

I would say he will not play Axis. He is very pro Soviet. That is my bet.

I'm going to give a complicated answer.

The 1941 German Army was one of the most competent and effective military machines ever built. This machine was crippled in Russia, but even dying in 1944 and 1945 gave a good account of itself.

They also had a large blind spot, which was logistics.

Their logistics professionals told them the fundamentally horse-drawn German Army could only operate within 400 km of their supply bases, and after that it would stop operating effectively.

This advice was ignored as, in search of victory, the German Army operated beyond this range against Moscow in 1941, and then beyond this range against the oil fields of Grozny and Maikop in 1942.

Both times, the logistics professionals were proved correct, and the offensives were first stopped by the Red Army, and then the forces on the offensive were either forced to retreat, mauled or forced to surrender.

Never the less, the German Army was confident enough in it's own abilities to destroy itself maintaining the offensive against Moscow in 1941 and against the oil fields in 1942.

Added to this, the economic machine behind this war machine was frankly terrible - it was out produced by the British in aircraft in 1941, for example.

Now, there is an expectation by a number of games purchasers that the Germans should be able to "win" - to break the Soviets, capture Moscow and so on.

If you want realism, this should be impossible because the same limits that crippled the German offensives in 1918 - the inability for horse-drawn logistics to bring enough artillery ammunition away from railheads fast enough to support offensives - also crippled German offensives in 1941 and 1942.

The German Army of 1941 was good enough to ignore that it's logistics were terrible, and that it's panzer units could not be properly supported ... until it wasn't.

The solution is the VP system.

Just like it forces a hopeless 1941 charge by the German Army to VP cities, and prevents the WITE1 tactic of retreating back to Poland and away from the Soviet winter offensive, it should be forcing the Soviets to continually counter-attack the Germans and therefore allow the Germans opportunities (after all, the major key to building the Red Army 2.0 is not to lose the Red Army 1.0).

And if the Soviets do not counter-attack enough, then they should face an instant defeat - especially if the Germans get close to their historical 1941 performance.
Sammy5IsAlive
Posts: 537
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:01 pm

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by Sammy5IsAlive »

The way I see it is that the 'distribution' of victory dates will vary as the player base becomes more familiar with the game and balance issues are addressed.

So at the beginning you have a player base that is very varied in skill/experience and a game that is still quite 'volatile'. So I'd expect maybe 60% of games to end in 41/42, 20% to end in 43/44 and 20% to make it to 45.

As time goes on you'd expect that to balance out a bit to something like 40/30/30.

In terms of outcomes obviously you want them evenly balanced.

It's hard to really say where the game is at in terms of balance at the moment - I agree with others that the assault front issue probably needs sorting out (whether by patch or by House Rule) before we can get a proper sense.

If I was the development team I would post a sticky thread in either the main board or the AAR one where people can post their game end dates/outcomes without having to post full AARs.

IMHO if the game is aiming to be historical then Moscow falling should be exceptional - perhaps in only 5% of games. However, as HLYA alludes, the development team and community does have a decision to make as to whether it is better in gameplay terms to have an a-historic game where Axis do better than history and frequently 'win the war' rather than just delay eventual defeat. I personally think it would be a shame for the game to go down that route and end up essentially becoming a 'Barbarossa simulator' rather than focusing on the whole war.
AlbertN
Posts: 3948
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:44 pm
Location: Italy

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by AlbertN »


Final VP Score does not make a game fun and enjoyable.
It's only a meter to determine who wins and who loses.
But if the rest of the game guarantees or almost a side to win - no one wants to be in the side that is going to lose.
Tenfold so if a side has few (15ish) turns of grandeur and then is a pungiball for 200+ turns.

@ IAN:
Anyhow we can argue a lot. I've forwarded to you a challenge.
I'll play Soviets - inclusive of Assault HQs.
You can have the Axis with their helluva of trucks, and all the other benefits you deem them to have.

We can see how the game unfolds yes?

@Sammy:
I do not think anyone wants a game where -frequently- a side wins. Not Axis, not Soviets. In general it should be roughly a 50%-50% win ratio (Winning the game).
Then there is the 'Win the War' perspective.

But the historical reaches of Germany should be your 'average' flex-point. The Germans can do better, and can do worse.

When 99% of the HvH games do not see Germans reach historical points (in losses inflicted, in ground seized, etc) ... there is a balance problem.

__


WITE1 turned in a 'Barbarossa' simulator with pratically a stage where barely few Axis player lasted past '41. (I admit I moved on since before that but I kept lurking the forums for a while)

And ultimately a game that is balanced is about PvP, not PvAI - majority can play PvAI, but the 'AI' balancing is made by 'Morale 120 for AI, Morale 80 for me' or that type of parameter.
Unless that is how PvP games should go as well.
Then we'll have anyone wanting to play Axis wanting 110 or 120 for them and 100 for Soviets.


Sammy5IsAlive
Posts: 537
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:01 pm

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by Sammy5IsAlive »

ORIGINAL: AlbertN


@Sammy:
I do not think anyone wants a game where -frequently- a side wins. Not Axis, not Soviets. In general it should be roughly a 50%-50% win ratio (Winning the game).
Then there is the 'Win the War' perspective.

But the historical reaches of Germany should be your 'average' flex-point. The Germans can do better, and can do worse.

When 99% of the HvH games do not see Germans reach historical points (in losses inflicted, in ground seized, etc) ... there is a balance problem.

Agree completely that in terms of game outcomes you should be looking for 50/50.

I also agree that if you are seeing either side consistently falling way short of the historical timeline in terms of territory that suggests a balance issue.

In terms of the second paragraph I think it depends on whether you are talking about 41 or 42? I don't want to derail the thread so I'll just say that if you think the December 41 Axis 'stopline' should be treated as a mid point that should be frequently exceeded we have very different views of the history. As above that should only be happening where there is a real mismatch in ability - so maybe 5% of games ending in Axis AV in Winter 41. In terms of 1942 I agree with you - a well managed Axis side with a decent advantage in terms of player ability should be able to exceed the historical Axis performance and get a 42 AV. At the moment it seems that this isn't happening, it remains to be seen what the effect of changing the assault front rules would have.
User avatar
karonagames
Posts: 4701
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:05 am
Location: The Duchy of Cornwall, nr England

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by karonagames »

I was really hoping that the thread would see more discussion of my suggestion for shorter full map campaign games that allow players to practice and try out different strategies knowing they are allocating a specific amount of time and effort.
It's only a Game

HardLuckYetAgain
Posts: 7060
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:26 am

RE: What should an average player expect their WITE2 H2H/PBEM experience to be?

Post by HardLuckYetAgain »

ORIGINAL: karonagames

I was really hoping that the thread would see more discussion of my suggestion for shorter full map campaign games that allow players to practice and try out different strategies knowing they are allocating a specific amount of time and effort.

I am sorry, I love the Macro game otherwise I would. It would feel like a scenario to me and I rarely, if ever, play a scenario.
Post Reply

Return to “The War Room”