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Thread: For HoI4 would you like more, or less, complexity?

  1. #61
    Field Marshal Cybvep's Avatar

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    I can't see why you are complaining about units then, because to be frank all the units in HoI3 do have their place for being useful. Any player worth his salt will know when to build the more specialised units. Of course the weapons of WWII were 'unbalanced' and that reflects in the concept that some of the units are in general, far superior in the general sense compared to others. All that your argument appears to be based on is; 'A gamey player will only build X, Y and Z, when there is also A,B,C in the game; y u no luv A,B,C Paradox?'.

    I make a joking comment there, but the jist of it is like the punch line; if units A,B,C were not historically 'that useful' then they shouldn’t be 'that useful' in HoI either. Since units like AT, Engineers, Battlecruisers, Cav, Militia etc. do have their place for certain nations and strategies. Then they are; "...useful at least in some circumstances." which is what you claim you want... ¬.¬
    I think that it's more about the fact that some units are more or less useless in HOI3 despite having distinct and important roles IRL, e.g. ATs and AAs. You can run around with ARTs only and do more than fine and you "save LP points" by not researching ATs. This suxx. Of course you can pretend that it's not the case, but why should you? Other units that were effective IRL are only useful in gamey, unrealistic combinations, e.g. all-HARMs units because of their low softness. This is a typical example of bad balance and it is not historically accurate, either.

    Another problem is that uber-specialisation is everpresent and everybody is building 2 ship types unless they are RP or playing a heavily modded game (but even then uber-specialisation may still be common). It's similar in case of air units.

    IRL every major army/navy/airforce in the world was and is a mixed force. In HOI3 it's the opposite.

    Lastly, if the game makes no effort to fight hindsight, then it will never be properly balanced or realistic. Building only CVs from the start is neither historically accurate nor balanced. We will always get flawed results if things are kept that way. It's even worse when the AI is told to always make the historical decisions, even if they were not the best ones.

    There should be mechanics in place in order to encourage/force the player to build BBs, just as not everybody should be using armoured divisions in Blitzkrieg action. Otherwise, I think that we are all just pretending that there is sth called "choice" and we can just as well remove half of the units from the game. It gets boring when I start reading another AAR and see that everyone believes that CVs are the future and that the next war (which will come in 1939, of course - everybody knows that!) will be decided by rapid armoured breakthroughs and massive encirclements.

    You cannot seriously expect that a player will deliberately constrain themselves by building inferior unit types, because, well... why should they? IMO the game should put the player in a position of a given country and they should face similar constraints as RL leaders did. If there were good reasons to do X, but with hindsight we know that Y was the better option, then X should be a very tempting choice in-game.
    Last edited by Cybvep; 07-05-2012 at 18:15.

  2. #62
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    Gensui,

    1) No, that's not correct. There are many units which are completely useless, for example: Heavy cruisers, Battlecruisers, super heavy tank brigades, military police (due to the broken suppression system) and so on. In addition to these, there are several barely-useful units like multi role fighters, battleships (these get owned by carriers and super-CAGs due to the naval battle mechanics - unless they were changed in a recent patch), engineers (only useful against forts) , militia (too expensive to research, usually), AA (interceptors are much better), AT (tank destroyers or armour are much better) etc. etc. Then we have the ultra-OP units V1 and V2.

    2) Thanks for explaining to me the definition of coding and scripting . I truly did confuse them, and I did state that I had little knowledge in programming in one of my previous posts.

    Regardless, complexing the gameplay with more unit types, more techs, more policies etc. will just require more work on the AI. The point is that if PI wants a good AI, they will have to either spend more time on the AI, or simplify the game for the AI.

    BTW: What is wrong with scripting? Just let the AI be scripted until the war starts, and then release it. What has scripting to do with naval invasions? Those seem like just bad coding 2 me.

  3. #63
    IMO one way to fix the battleships vs. carriers issue might be to start off with battleship doctrines several steps ahead of carrier doctrine for most nations (IJN excepted) and make carrier doctrine more expensive/lengthy to develop. This would be justified in a historical sense seeing as most navies had had battleships for decades and long records of actual combat service with them.

    And perhaps if there were doctrines that reduced the stacking penalty for ships, the early war battleships would have the advantage of being able to form larger fleets whereas the carriers could only work well solo or in pairs (as they were used early on in the war by all except Japan, who had their concept of a single massed strike force). Later in the war, when the CV doctrines catch up to BB doctrines, the carriers can form larger groups of their own and sink battleships (as was the case with the US Navy vs. the Musashi.

    Super heavy armor actually should be pretty much useless; but most of the other examples given are correct and have something genuinely wrong with them. Perhaps the militia weapon upgrades should be done away with all together.

    With regard to production strategies, they should be a mix of both scripted and non-scripted. Germany, for example, should be scripted to build a minimum number of infantry, tanks, planes, or whatever to ensure that it can meet its scripted goals like invading Poland, France, and Russia, and then have the rest of the IC be "discretionary," based on its own analysis of what it needs.
    Last edited by Flayer92; 08-05-2012 at 02:13.

  4. #64
    As I see this discussion it boils down to the fact that we as players have complete control of nearly everything and a knowledge of history to guide us. Add to that all the analysis of the relative strengths and weaknesses of various units and approaches that we have due to our active player base.

    We do not have to build AA because we don't have a population that sees and hears them going off, feels that something useful is being done, and thus doesn't protest the governments inaction. There is not a push back from an organized group that sees battleships as the be all to end all because that was what they truely believed or had a major financial stake in believing.

    Politics is what drove much of the activity at the time the war happened and still does. Some individual or group was important enough and had enough power, to be able to influence the decisions of the time to cause events to unfold as they did.

    But isn't that what we represent as players. What is lacking is a push back to the player's powers if you want a more historical feel. Game play by committee anyone? Or is that what this discussion is really all about?

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Wminus View Post
    ...There are many units which are completely useless, for example: Heavy cruisers, Battlecruisers, super heavy tank brigades, military police (due to the broken suppression system) and so on. In addition to these, there are several barely-useful units like multi role fighters, battleships (these get owned by carriers and super-CAGs due to the naval battle mechanics - unless they were changed in a recent patch), engineers (only useful against forts) , militia (too expensive to research, usually), AA (interceptors are much better), AT (tank destroyers or armour are much better) etc. etc. Then we have the ultra-OP units V1 and V2.

    BTW: What is wrong with scripting? Just let the AI be scripted until the war starts, and then release it. What has scripting to do with naval invasions? Those seem like just bad coding 2 me.
    Heavy Cruisers are 'vital' if your playing a mid-minor with a naval focus, since they are the only way you can really get a fleet out, although they're not very good in my opinion compared to CL, or BC which will leave me with a general focus for either of those given the chance. BC are very useful for a majors and mid-minors again in a naval game. SHARM is pointless, but then it was historically, they really shouldn't be in the game as they are. Same with MP, Paradox doesn't really like the SS and all that, which is what I liken them more to, again they shouldn't really be in the game either from a Politically Correct standpoint if anything. Multi-role are great for interdiction missions in general, TAC and LB/CAS for ground attack, STRAT for Log.Strat bombing. Battleships great for minor navies or nations with Green water operations; Russia, Italy, France, China* Engineers have uses all-round from extra fort defence, to increased movement/reduced combat penalty in rough terrain as well as fort/urban attack. Really engineers are OP in some respects.

    Militia too, often they get poo-pooed, but the Manpower heavy nations of Japan, China and Russia can make huge use of them since they are supply unintensive and a good enough to 'hold the line' and can really be worth their weight in garrison duty later preventing whack-a-partisan where cavalry would normally take a week or two to close with them. But militia are cheep enough to stick everywhere. AA guns aren't as good as they could be, but then they weren't 'all that' terribly effective during the wars either in some respects. They could do with tweaks, AT again TD were better in many respects, the downer with AT guns is they take up a brigade slot when normally there was a greater mix of gun types in an army during the time. Tweaks, but not useless, indeed as a minor they can save your very bacon against a larger power.

    Agreed with the V-weapons, again they could be better represented.

    But this isn't; 'They have no use' it is that they are; 'less useful than [XXX]' and so a gamey player, games the system by building the best they can, because they know the game mechanics work to say make Art more generally useful than AT. Which is the point Darlor makes. It's not bad game balance per se, its bad player balance.

    And as Cybvep and others have pointed out, having a political system that would encourage more historical play (I think this would be best done with making politics count for a lot more with the real chance for revolutions and military coups if you don't do what your 'advisors' are suggesting), would be the best way to deal with these unit issues, rather than try and streamline the number of brigades. Indeed I would welcome a more detailed 'division designer' that would use 'hard numbers' of tanks, aircraft and men as a base, linked to a doctrine system. Helping to 'iron out' the ratio of generally useful, to specifically useful unit types.

    *Although going navy with China is a bit of cow pat...

    ----------------------------

    There's nothing wrong with either, but its when you try and mix the two types. For instance lets take the Vanilla Skirmish AI from the C&C series of games. It builds a preset force of infantry and tanks at specific 'waves of attack' which get progressively stronger till wave 5, at which point it sends essentially the same wave all the time.

    Its great and fit for purposes, because in a typical comp-stomp game, your done with the AI by wave 5, or your just sitting it out to deal with the AI once its exhausted the easy 'resource collection' slowing down its war economy. Fit for purpose.

    In the Civilisation series, if every nation had a 'war era' and 'peaceful eras' sending a preset force you'd know exactly when to have armies, of what size, and when to disband them to make the best economy. Not that fit for purpose. So it doesn't use that system, instead it checks off the game state to decide if it needs an army, or can expand economically. The course of events is not programmed to happen in a specific way.

    HoI kind of screws it up, because the code modders can't access is how the AI actually fights its battles, we can control what it produces and where, and even its diplomacy via events and the Lua files, but what we can't do is tell it how to use nukes, or subs, or naval invasions. That's all hidden away. Therefore we can't program in a better AI that is able to change its fighting style with respect to what it has at its disposal. We can only optimise what the AI builds such that it fits in line with the scripted diplomacy actions.

    This means that an AI nation is always unprepared to fight any war it is thrown into because the AI nation hasn't been able to decide if it can use the army it has, to fight that war, because the AI fighting code isn't linked with the production Lua strongly, and not at all with the diplomacy.


    For instance, I can mod Germany to produce an infantry heavy army for 1939, but the AI will always try a blitzkrieg style war that has the divisions in Blitzkrieg mode for a month or so making heavy attacks taking huge losses. Rather than sitting back on defensive. Or I tell Japan to build a tonne of tanks, it will send them to China whatever the terrain and have them get bogged down without supply.

    The point is that the AI doesn't check what it has at its disposal and make the right choices.

    Because the AI system isn't integrated with a good AI structure or framework and relies on two separate systems for different areas of AI behaviour it doesn't gel well together and leaves us with a clunky game. Not fit for purpose.



    If say the AI was scripted up to Danzig, and then free-to-choose that would be just like the start date options sans your nation, therefore instantly making it 'player unbalanced' or 'gamey' to play from 1936 etc. as per above and comment made by another. Opinion undecided here, but the points made are good. There's nothing wrong with this per se, except a good AI will immediately try and change track from Danzig to try and play the 'Metagame' with the other AI, you can put in bias here, but doing that, is exactly taking the route that leads you to Germany doing Blitzkreig attacks with infantry armies, or Japan not producing tanks to fight in the Kharbovsky'kray pocket etc.

    It's clunky to try and mix them both. That's the bottom line. I'm sure it could be done very well with some clever forethought, but it would be unique and very difficult to do and above all, either scripted or working on call statements is more likely to end up better for the same level of input.

    That was a long post, but I hope it was informative and thought proviking.

  6. #66
    The main thought it's provoking is that the fighting code needs an overhaul.

  7. #67
    Why can't I order around individual brigands around? Keep wondering this in the game.

  8. #68
    BS are not worthless. Early in the game they are very effective (if you start in36) but later the carriers rule. This is historically accurate because it took a while for countries to really use them effectively. Plus BS take so long to make the after a while it takes to long to make them. It should be noted that the US keep building BS in the war, mostly for shore bombardment at which they are very useful.

    My disappointment is that you do not get a choice to make the BS more aircraft resistant - more anti-air guns instead of the 5 inch guns. Alternate technology instead just what was used would be nice for all units also.

    BTW, I do no agree that some units are useless of near useless. What you have to remember besides just the strength of the unit is how much they costs and how long them take to make. Heavy cruisers take a lot less time to make, as so AT units. If you need units quickly then you may need them (like playing Poland, which is a lost cause from my experience).

  9. #69
    Both. I would like to see far more complexity and detail, but making sure any part of it can be automated by a far smarter AI (which would aid simplicity).

  10. #70
    Captain Wminus's Avatar
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    gensui: heavy cruisers, super heavy battleships and battlecruisers are useless they cost as much tech to research as battleships, yet they provide less efficiency per IC than battleships. It's really a nobrainer. Carriers are much better than battleships, even in areas where the BBs have air support, but they require a high LP investment.

    If you had looked at the stats of multiroles, you'd see that they're nowhere near as good at "interdiction" as tac bombers or CAS planes. The engineer bonuses are quite weak, and no way should any major other than China build militia instead of infantry. It's just too expensive in leadership.

    As for the AI: Yeah, but removing the scripting wouldn't be the solution. The solution would be making the coding better, so that the AI doesn't waste tanks on low-infra China, or tries to blitzkrieg with infantry.

  11. #71
    Field Marshal Cybvep's Avatar

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    It's not bad game balance per se, its bad player balance.
    Surely you must be joking? How can you blame a player that they are trying to win? This is the point of the game, after all. If the game isn't balanced, then the players will notice which units are superior to other ones and build only them. This gives them yet another advantage over the AI, which is stuck with building useless stuff or specialised troops which it doesn't know how to use.

    Let's look at ATs. They are useless because even when fighting against armoured divisions, they are often worse than artillery. ATs are only useful when the enemy is using very low-softness divs and they require two additional techs and good placement on the map, because if they are not facing armoured divs, they will be super-useless (and if the div is not very low on softness, then AT will be worse / less cost-effective than ART even against armour). Not worth the effort and it's even worse for the AI, which is bad at using anything else than INF+ART and GARs. This is the result of how the softness system works. IMO it needs a general overhaul, because it's nonsensical ATM. You can get the CA bonus by building gamey formations which don't even have any infantry brigades in them and heavy armour is actually MORE susceptible to AT guns than medium armour. This is simply wrong and it should be changed.

    Why the player should build ATs, then, if they know that in 99% of cases ARTs are better? How can this be balanced or fun?
    Last edited by Cybvep; 08-05-2012 at 09:57.

  12. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by Wminus View Post
    ...[BC] cost as much tech to research as battleships, yet they provide less efficiency per IC than battleships. It's really a nobrainer. Carriers are much better than battleships, even in areas where the BBs have air support, but they require a high LP investment.

    If you had looked at the stats of multiroles, you'd see that they're nowhere near as good at "interdiction" as tac bombers or CAS planes. The engineer bonuses are quite weak, and no way should any major other than China build militia instead of infantry. It's just too expensive in leadership...

    ...removing the scripting wouldn't be the solution. The solution would be making the coding better...

    Then the argument I made to Cybvep becomes the same issue; do you want a game where all the units are balanced so they all have equal 'efficiency per IC/LP', even if its unhistorical? i.e. 1BB = 1CV, ART has the same investment costs as INF, or ENG, or ARM etc.

    In such a case your just playing a more elaborate game of rock, paper scissors just like the 90% of all RTS games out there ¬.¬

    Of course the stats shouldn't be equal! It's the whole point that WWII was not fought with balanced arms, some nations wasted investment here, others didn't, others specialised. You've got the gamut of options here to play, and you will in many cases find that its worthwhile building specialised gear, and other times not.

    I mean, it makes little sense for France, UK or Germany to build many engineers, but Japan or the US has great incentive to do so. Similarly Italy can use her Med bases to utterly rape Allied CAGs and then close with fast Green Water fleets. Its situational. I did mention tweaks were needed for many of the support brigades, so it's not like I'm saying that everything is peachy, it's not. I mean I totally agree with Cybvep on his analysis of AT, but its not useless, it has a specific situation for use and if you find yourself in that position it can be worth it. Because of how it functions incorrectly in needs those tweaks and a general revamp to be what it needs to be.

    It's bad player balance, because we are smart enough to work this out, and then gamey players will 'max-min' to get the most out of their army. Knowing the AI won't.


    Its fine 'playing to win', but against an AI that you** know has great limitations in its scope, you should also realise that 'playing to win' on unequal terms makes it an 'easy game' for yourself. You are 'gaming the system' hence you can't really whine any more than already has been.

    You've got the choice. HoI could/should have a much better AI, and that would be the most desirable option, but until Paradox gets round to sorting that out, how you play with the AI is the only way your going to get fun out of it. If you find your beating the AI 4 out of 5 times, pick a minor and take on an AI a lot bigger than yourself and play gamey, or don't be gamey and play with units that 'don't really work'. Give the AI an advantage and make things a bit more equal.


    My final comment I want to make is that; do not conflate what I am saying with assuming that I believe HoI3 is 'perfect'. I don't. I believe that massive revisions need to be made across the board with the game, and that is why I'm slowly building up a list of modifications I want to add to my game*. My initial entry onto this thread was a statement about how trying to make HoI like an RTS by 'simplification' is not in the spirit of the HoI series, and that bad AI is more a function of having a poor AI structure than a game being 'complex' or 'simple'. Indeed some simple games can have terrible AI, and other complex ones can have really good ones as has been highlighted with a few examples, and there are several more. This rather than commenting on how HoI should be improved in detial as this discussion has shifted to, which is beyond the scope of my initial points.


    *These are focused at trying to make a 'historic sandbox' style to the game just like Wminus and others have suggested they want to see, however there are certain fundamentals that can't or shouldn't be changed. I'd prefer a unit that is historic in scope rather than balanced in scope.

    ** General sense, talking about a hypothetical player, rather than personal to any member here.

  13. #73
    Field Marshal Kovax's Avatar
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    Some of the problems with useless unit types shouldn't even be problems, because the units shouldn't exist as independent brigades in the first place. When is the last time you heard of a battle being fought by a purely "Anti-Tank" BRIGADE. They may have existed as brigades "on paper", but were not used that way. AT, mobile AA, and even most of the ART were generally deployed as small "attachments" to regular infantry formations. Exceptions exist, such as the massive Soviet concentrations of Artillery, but to have it as "standard" for everyone makes little sense.

    If AA, AT, and ART were abstracted as techs to increase the effectiveness of INF and other units, we wouldn't need to worry about them being dead weight chewing up a "slot"; they'd be an integral part of each unit. You'd still have to research them to get the benefit, but they wouldn't affect brigade count.

    The problem with MP's usefulness as a unit is that Revolt Risk either totally ignores suppression or is significantly reduced by it, depending on which patch or expansion you're playing, which form or occupation or annexation you've chosen, or whether the Dow Jones index is up or down for the current day. Some combination of suppressable and unsuppressable Revolt Risk would be far more sensible, where MP units can significantly reduce the risk but never eliminate it.

    SHARM, SBB, and other "flavor" units were never (and could never be) deployed in sufficient quantity to be "game changers". If they're included, fine; if not, that's fine too. Just don't make them "invincible".

  14. #74
    Captain Wallienator's Avatar
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    Problem is, 9/10 cases RR is already at the minimum possible because of nationalism..

  15. #75
    Captain Wminus's Avatar
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    Gensui, my point was that BCs, heavy cruisers super heavy BBs, super heavy tanks etc. are useless UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. That's simply not acceptable.

  16. #76
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    More complexity is good.
    Its perfect with a very clever AI.

    Personal I am playing in micro management, but after you hold much terrain, it will be necessary to use AI.

    I dont want miss the deepth of the game - in the opposite - I want more!

  17. #77
    Field Marshal Cybvep's Avatar

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    If AA, AT, and ART were abstracted as techs to increase the effectiveness of INF and other units, we wouldn't need to worry about them being dead weight chewing up a "slot"; they'd be an integral part of each unit.
    I agree wholeheartedly, but some players wouldn't like it because they would not be able to customise their forces at the individual division level. Not that they do it often now, as in most cases you just use ART brigades, but still...

    The problem with MP's usefulness as a unit is that Revolt Risk either totally ignores suppression or is significantly reduced by it, depending on which patch or expansion you're playing, which form or occupation or annexation you've chosen, or whether the Dow Jones index is up or down for the current day. Some combination of suppressable and unsuppressable Revolt Risk would be far more sensible, where MP units can significantly reduce the risk but never eliminate it.
    MPs are superfluous, I think that GARs should just get higher suppression values with better techs. I also agree that it should be possible to suppress most if not all of the revolt risk, with the proper investment.

    Then the argument I made to Cybvep becomes the same issue; do you want a game where all the units are balanced so they all have equal 'efficiency per IC/LP', even if its unhistorical? i.e. 1BB = 1CV, ART has the same investment costs as INF, or ENG, or ARM etc.

    In such a case your just playing a more elaborate game of rock, paper scissors just like the 90% of all RTS games out there ¬.¬

    Of course the stats shouldn't be equal! It's the whole point that WWII was not fought with balanced arms, some nations wasted investment here, others didn't, others specialised. You've got the gamut of options here to play, and you will in many cases find that its worthwhile building specialised gear, and other times not.
    Balance can be achieved in many ways, not just by increasing stats of a given unit. Remember our CVs vs BBs discussion - both ship classes can be balanced with doctrines (e.g. better ones for BBs early on), ministers and events (e.g. people resigning when you ignore BBs and go for CVs only, disorganisation within the Navy), unit limits (e.g. you don't have total power and the Admiralty wants to achieve 1:1 ratio of BBs to CVs, when CVs score impressive victories, things change), MP restrictions (remember that you needed PILOTS for CVs - Japanese CVs were largely useless in 1944-1945 due to their pilot shortage) etc. I can come up with many ideas, it's not that hard when you think about it.

    If the game is poorly balanced, it will always benefit the player in the long term. The AI doesn't know that ATs and AAs are largely useless and that it would be better with building more ARTs and INTs

    However, if there is no point in building X, then it shouldn't even be in the game. I mean, SHARMs? WTF?
    Last edited by Cybvep; 08-05-2012 at 17:27.

  18. #78
    Field Marshal Beagá's Avatar
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    Well, IMO complexity for the sake of complexity adds nothing. I like Arsenal of Democracy and HOI 2 a lot, and only moved to HOI 3 because I´ve read the AI is smarter with air forces and doesn´t do pointless ground attacks versus the Maginot line, as well as being smarter with invasions as well. In fact I like more the streamlined ground and air combat of HOI 2 and derivatives (which is product NOT of the division system, but of less provinces); also, the supply system is simpler and more interesting. Logistical strikes there actually do a palpable difference and are easy to access, while in HOI 3 it´s sunks beneath a sea of interface and tiny numbers. Also, so many provinces mean that cutting supply lines is a chore. If you must leave a lot of things for the AI then the game is too complex, and must be reworked.

    AI above all, everything else comes in second place, but some simplification might be good. HOI 3 is very polished already. So, if I could change some things:

    1- Remove that sea of provinces, above all.
    2- Make numbers larger (everything so tiny OMG)
    3- Tweaks to supply system.

  19. #79
    Second Lieutenant dz_duck's Avatar
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    The idea of having certain ministers influence builds/tactics in a historical way is interesting. How about this: Hitler automatically assigns research points to HARM, SHARM, etc., and prioritizes it to the top of the research list. You as the player cannot change this research. This would give the game a bit of historical flavor. Heck, maybe Hitler would even automatically build divisions containing these units once they are researched. This is just an example, and another way that politics and personalities could influence the game in a historical way.

  20. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by dz_duck View Post
    The idea of having certain ministers influence builds/tactics in a historical way is interesting. How about this: Hitler automatically assigns research points to HARM, SHARM, etc., and prioritizes it to the top of the research list. You as the player cannot change this research. This would give the game a bit of historical flavor. Heck, maybe Hitler would even automatically build divisions containing these units once they are researched. This is just an example, and another way that politics and personalities could influence the game in a historical way.
    Interesting...Donitz makes you do subs, Goering does tactical bombers, Himmler wants military police...it's an idea.

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