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My main concern about adding country specific setups and additional difficulty levels is user support. We are already getting some pretty bitter comments about cheating AI and impossible river crossings which may be to some extent due to the impact of various diff level settings and AI advantages. As Copper Nicus pointed out, certain AI advantages result in ahistorical setups which goes against one of the overall design objectives of the mod and in the worst case it can actually break the AI (additional IC -> resource shortages -> economy meltdown -> 0 org units).

Of course the absolutely "safest" option for extra difficulty is to simply give the opponent nations some extra tech. This is already done when a major nation player picks a higher diff level in the setup event (free tech is given to that nations historical opponents), however this is already causing some issues in MP games :( As I'd like to keep the MP/SP versions of the mod as absolutely close as possible we'll need to think hard about design choices here.
 

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Copper Nicus said:
Yes, that's pretty good alternative approach to rising difficulty of the game. :)

Every approach got it's pro's and con's though - current HARD CORE focuses on making player's life harder, while your suggestion makes AI life easier. Current setup makes AI work a bit more historical (less units, technological level close to historical) and human player - less historical (problems with resources, costly units/techs). Giving AI additional "perks" like shorter R&D times, cheaper units and hefty supply bonus can result in ahistorical AI as well (like UK fielding 100+ divisions or USSR 600+). Not that's bad, but not all players like that. ;)

BTW, do you find game still easy on the V.Hard/HARD CORE 3rd option combo in CORE 0.8? Thanks to the 1.06 supply and resource modifications general level of difficulty has risen considerably...

I can safely say that I'm hard to beat by any AI, but I ran into serious problems in a "quick" 0.8 try out. (V.Hard HOI/aggressive AI/HARD CORE) Although everything went historical and the RN posed no problems while landing in Norway and France was conquered quickly because I could walk into undefended Paris, the rest went completely from bad to worse. Some things were just A-historical (USSR attacking and annexing Sweden) and Lithouania was not afraid to stand up to the USSR and never gave into being annexed, I did have serious trouble helping out the Italians in NA and after "thinking" to be clever and get a nice headway in USSR later, I decided to try and get LIT into my alliance, well, BAD idea, USSR didn't like it and rightly so (was just checking) so DOW'ed me when I was moving into Yugoslavia. Quit that game not because I'm a bad loser, but because I know when I've been beaten. USSR units in Sweden would have marched over Norway amd Finland and strong forces on border would have invaded the east quickly and without any problems. Need to give next game more serious thinking and not select aggressive AI because the French AI lost precious divisions attacking Saarbrueken all the time and I'll go for Normal HOI setting, but keep hard CORE. ( I think :confused: )
 

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During my VH/Furious H.A.R.D. C.O.R.E. game as Germany, I occasionally loaded up as the SU to check how it was doing. By 1941, I noticed it had almost no resources. Russia had declared war on me in Aug 1940, but it continued to trade on the WM. They were losing huge amounts of resources because of this and thus had only a few hundred ICs. The conversion techs take so long to research in C.O.R.E. compared to vanilla 1.06 that it didn't have any of them either. During the course of the war (annexed in July 1943), the SU only built about a hundred more divisions.

Then again, part of that reason might have been because I had bled them dry of manpower 20 months into the war. They foolishly kept attacking my level 4 forts on the Polish border, then later when I advanced to the Dneipr and Daugava, over rivers too. And they did this during the winter, too, giving them atrocious penalties. They had twice the divisions I did, and they were 40% better due to higher tech levels, but it was nonetheless a bloodbath. From Dec 6 1941 to late Jan 1942 alone, the SU lost over 700MP. And that's even though they had a mass combat minister, giving them a gain of 60MP a month. In comparison, I began the war with 1300MP, and ended it at 1050, without ever using Man of the People. Then again, I started Operation Barbarossa with 34 panzers, 60 inf, and 16 mtn divisions, so a lot of my defending was conducted by my panzers, which accounts for my low level of losses.

Not sure if it matters, but shortly after the Soviet Union DoWed me, it also invaded Latvia and Estonia. I took the opportunity to DoW Latvia, causing Russia to be at war with the Allies because Latvia automatically joined the Allies. Russia never did get any help from the Allies because of this.

Steel said:
Of course the absolutely "safest" option for extra difficulty is to simply give the opponent nations some extra tech. This is already done when a major nation player picks a higher diff level in the setup event (free tech is given to that nations historical opponents), however this is already causing some issues in MP games :( As I'd like to keep the MP/SP versions of the mod as absolutely close as possible we'll need to think hard about design choices here.

I'd personally prefer if you gave the SU more troops, rather than techs. German troops were better, so if you wage war against Russia, you expect them to be worse than your own. With UK and US, the difference was never that stark, so a few more techs won't seem ahistorical.
 

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It's true that USSR got problems with resources, but you have seriously speed up their downfall by not allowing them to take Baltic States via Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. :)

Current HoI 1.06 resources setup makes game seriously harder for all AI countries, and paradoxally using V. Hard setup makes game easier in the long term - AI simply can't handle it's economy with 20% more of the IC and falls victim of own bad WM deals. What's more, Agressive setting of the AI results in some really stupid moves - Soviet AI is programmed to keep attacking with wave after wave AFTER the winter of 1941, but with agressive setting it do this even earlier.

IMO optimal setting for the hard game currently is Normal/Normal/HARD CORE 3rd option, or Hard/Normal/Hard CORE 3rd. AI simply can't handle extra 20% of the IC - I've seen USA (!) running out of resources on that setting... :(
 

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Copper Nicus said:
It's true that USSR got problems with resources, but you have seriously speed up their downfall by not allowing them to take Baltic States via Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. :):(
I know, my panzers had to race to get to Riga and Talinn before the Soviets in order to capture the stockpiles. I was running out of resources myself, since after overrunning Europe I had about 900 ICs and none of the oil or rubber conversion techs.
 

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Here's a challenge for those with an analytical mind: what's the early, mid and late war (as defined by tech advances) ideal setting for the small_fort and large_fort parameters in the AI files considering the full range of forts from 1 to 10, terrain (incl river and urban), possible numeric superiority and the potential destruction of forts.

The analysis must answer two common player criticisms:

- "The AI did nothing, it just sat there for years in front of my forts"
- "The AI self-destroyed against my forces in a fortified line"
 

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Steel said:
Here's a challenge for those with an analytical mind: what's the early, mid and late war (as defined by tech advances) ideal setting for the small_fort and large_fort parameters in the AI files considering the full range of forts from 1 to 10, terrain (incl river and urban), possible numeric superiority and the potential destruction of forts.

The analysis must answer two common player criticisms:

- "The AI did nothing, it just sat there for years in front of my forts"
- "The AI self-destroyed against my forces in a fortified line"

:rofl:

Yeah, I had same dillema... The funniest thing is that the most agressive AI in CORE is not the USSR, but... Japan. To fight masses of the Chineese militias I had to tell it to ignore most of the terrain, odds and so on, since their infantry is so superior that they can safely attack even if odds are 3:1.

Still, I strongly suggest using Normal setting of the AI. Something is really wrong with Furious setting...
 

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A tactic I used to increase the SU's manpower losses about a year into the war, once I had mechs and more panzers was to leave my border provinces lightly defended with infantry. Panzer and mechs would stand by in neighboring provinces. When the Soviet Union attacked, I'd send in 12 or so panzers and mechs to butcher the Russkies. Even 4 infantry in a level 4 fort or behind a river with a level 1 fort can hold out for a couple hours until reinforcements arrived.

Also, I noticed my top generals were reaching ridiculously high skill levels. Before the war with Russia in Aug 1940, Manstein was already level 10. Guderian reached 10 shortly into the war, Rommel was at around 9 and a half, von Kleist was 8, and Model was 6 and a half. In C.O.R.E., I make it a point of starting a battle right after night falls.
 

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Executor said:
A tactic I used to increase the SU's manpower losses about a year into the war, once I had mechs and more panzers was to leave my border provinces lightly defended with infantry. Panzer and mechs would stand by in neighboring provinces. When the Soviet Union attacked, I'd send in 12 or so panzers and mechs to butcher the Russkies. Even 4 infantry in a level 4 fort or behind a river with a level 1 fort can hold out for a couple hours until reinforcements arrived.

Elastic defense? Very good... :)

Executor said:
Also, I noticed my top generals were reaching ridiculously high skill levels. Before the war with Russia in Aug 1940, Manstein was already level 10. Guderian reached 10 shortly into the war, Rommel was at around 9 and a half, von Kleist was 8, and Model was 6 and a half. In C.O.R.E., I make it a point of starting a battle right after night falls.

I think it's the time for reconsidering starting skill level of the commanders then... HoI 1.06 rised considerbly rate of the experience gain - it's now even faster then in 1.04. Good side of that is the fact, that Soviet/UK/USA commanders have fast exp. gain as well, but since AI is unable to promote commanders this gain is somehow wasted...
 

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Executor said:
A tactic I used to increase the SU's manpower losses about a year into the war, once I had mechs and more panzers was to leave my border provinces lightly defended with infantry. Panzer and mechs would stand by in neighboring provinces. When the Soviet Union attacked, I'd send in 12 or so panzers and mechs to butcher the Russkies. Even 4 infantry in a level 4 fort or behind a river with a level 1 fort can hold out for a couple hours until reinforcements arrived.

Also, I noticed my top generals were reaching ridiculously high skill levels. Before the war with Russia in Aug 1940, Manstein was already level 10. Guderian reached 10 shortly into the war, Rommel was at around 9 and a half, von Kleist was 8, and Model was 6 and a half. In C.O.R.E., I make it a point of starting a battle right after night falls.
So you are complaining that leader gain rate is too high but intentionally exploiting the system to maximise your gain? LOL :D
 

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Steel said:
So you are complaining that leader gain rate is too high but intentionally exploiting the system to maximise your gain? LOL :D
It just sounds ludicrous that anyone would intentionally begin a battle during the night, when their troops are firing blindly, in order to increase leader experience. Yet C.O.R.E. encourages such behavior.
 

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Executor said:
It just sounds ludicrous that anyone would intentionally begin a battle during the night, when their troops are firing blindly, in order to increase leader experience. Yet C.O.R.E. encourages such behavior.

Every good thing can backfire sometimes... Vanilla HoI is balanced for short, 2-3 hour long battles, where your/enemy units are vaporized in no time (so exp. gain is minimal). In current release of game we have decided to go for more logical (I would not use "historical" word, it's used way too much on those forums... ;)) battles duration - and 1.05c exp. gain rate was working quite right with it.

I guess we have to think about lower initial skill levels, night fight break is simply too good change to drop it just because it's prone to be exploited.
 

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Copper Nicus said:
Every good thing can backfire sometimes... Vanilla HoI is balanced for short, 2-3 hour long battles, where your/enemy units are vaporized in no time (so exp. gain is minimal). In current release of game we have decided to go for more logical (I would not use "historical" word, it's used way too much on those forums... ;)) battles duration - and 1.05c exp. gain rate was working quite right with it.

I guess we have to think about lower initial skill levels, night fight break is simply too good change to drop it just because it's prone to be exploited.

An immediate thought that comes to mind is to remove Himmler as a 2 point Field Marshal, he should first have -1 and second be a general to start with. I'd make him a 1 point general.
 

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Dropping leader skill is going to hurt the AI more than the human, so I'm not sure this should be done. Experience gain is the same for everybody, if you start a battle at night the enemy is also going to gain more experience. While I appreciate the point about Himmler's "skill" I don't think we need to revise the leader system because of a questionable exploit.

Has anybody quantified leader experience gain per hour and compared to previous versions? I don't recall any discussions about changing them in 1.06, the 1.05c level was fairly universally accepted, so this may be a bug (old code re-introduced). If somebody can post a test table comparing 1.05c/1.06 and demonstrating a difference then I'll take it to Johan.
 

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Steel, there is discussion on that topic on the old Starfire's thread:

http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123457&page=18&pp=25

EDIT: Pretty good examples of the XP rise (compared to the 1.05c) are shown on the page 24.

We can look on that from different angle - even commander with skill 10 rises units effectiveness by only 50%. That's really good value, but still it not overcomes some combinations of bad terrain/weather. :)
 
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Steel

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Copper Nicus said:
Steel, there is discussion on that topic on the old Starfire's thread:

http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123457&page=18&pp=25

EDIT: Pretty good examples of the XP rise (compared to the 1.05c) are shown on the page 24.

We can look on that from different angle - even commander with skill 10 rises units effectiveness by only 50%. That's really good value, but still it not overcomes some combinations of bad terrain/weather. :)
Reported as a bug, this was an unintentional change AFAIK.
 

Ghost_dk

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Copper Nicus said:
We can look on that from different angle - even commander with skill 10 rises units effectiveness by only 50%. That's really good value, but still it not overcomes some combinations of bad terrain/weather. :)

Right, They are by far still no super commanders and not unstoppable by any means.

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Steel said:
My main concern about adding country specific setups and additional difficulty levels is user support. We are already getting some pretty bitter comments about cheating AI and impossible river crossings which may be to some extent due to the impact of various diff level settings and AI advantages. As Copper Nicus pointed out, certain AI advantages result in ahistorical setups which goes against one of the overall design objectives of the mod and in the worst case it can actually break the AI (additional IC -> resource shortages -> economy meltdown -> 0 org units).

Of course the absolutely "safest" option for extra difficulty is to simply give the opponent nations some extra tech. This is already done when a major nation player picks a higher diff level in the setup event (free tech is given to that nations historical opponents), however this is already causing some issues in MP games :( As I'd like to keep the MP/SP versions of the mod as absolutely close as possible we'll need to think hard about design choices here.

I certainly understand your concerns. It is very difficult to have a game that appeals to all players.

However, I think this is the basic flaw in the approach of HoI in general. It tries to have everything in ONE game.

Instead, there should be one version or setup to be played ONLY in MP (all nations could be balanced)

One version or setup to be played ONLY as Axis.

One version or setup to be played ONLY as Allies.

Etc,. . .

This gives benefits to the Modder to allow him to be able to tweak a particular version without unbalancing any of the other versions.

You could have one download of CORE, but version-specific files that could be loaded for the version or setup a player chooses.

Just an idea :D
 

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The Federalist said:
I certainly understand your concerns. It is very difficult to have a game that appeals to all players.

However, I think this is the basic flaw in the approach of HoI in general. It tries to have everything in ONE game.

Instead, there should be one version or setup to be played ONLY in MP (all nations could be balanced)

One version or setup to be played ONLY as Axis.

One version or setup to be played ONLY as Allies.

Etc,. . .

This gives benefits to the Modder to allow him to be able to tweak a particular version without unbalancing any of the other versions.

You could have one download of CORE, but version-specific files that could be loaded for the version or setup a player chooses.

Just an idea :D

For one thing, it would be a lot of work to maintain four different releases of CORE simultaneously. We have our hands full trying to keep the single version that we have at the moment updated. If you then mulitply that by the proposed scenarios for later starting dates, it would quickly become unmanagable.

My other question would be; what would be the difference between the versions? One of the goals of CORE is to offer a mod that is as historically accurate and playable as possible. I can't see that we would change any of the tech settings or OOBs for the countries whether you were playing an Axis nation or an Allied nation. The events are all geared to work with all countries without bias. The difficulty that we have is trying to balance AI vs human players. Getting the AI to run historically and without problems is (and has been) our biggest challenge. There would also be questions about what to do if you are going to play a country that has the potential to go back and forth for their allignment or has no allignment. Do you create another version for neutral countries?

Although the idea sounds good, it isn't practical given the goals and design of CORE. We have been very sucessful in developing a product that is very balanced no matter which country you play. MDow