Tell me about Difficulty

Order of Battle is a series of operational WW2 games starting with the Pacific War and then on to Europe!

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Epperaliant
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Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:43 pm

So, I recently got this game and really feel overpowered by the amount of content.

I won't start my playthrough soon, since I got other stuff to finish first but plan to do it by the end of the month.

So I was just wondering, how difficult is this?
I am the kind of guy that usually starts with the hardest and learns fast.
People adviced me to not start Panzer Corps on Field Marshall but I did and ended up finishing the vanilla campaign and Afrika Korps quite easily, despite some save-summing.

Now, what do you suggest?
I see that the game gives reinforced units to the enemy on higher difficulty and that looks quite unfair.
I suppose you really need to maximize your advantage, move slowly suppress enemies and forego some of the secondary objectives.
Is this a case like Armageddon where the hardest mode is totally unbalanced and unfun?
Also, how forgiving is the game with losses?
Assuming you avoid totall steamrolls, can you replace losses without gimping the future of the campaigns?

How about the army composition?
In panzer corps I usually made 2-3 teams with overwhelming Artillery support, heavy infantry, pioneers and the heaviest tanks I could field and it worked fine.

prestidigitation
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by prestidigitation » Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:14 pm

I was actually planning to make a post requesting a higher difficulty level because the current maximum is pretty easy for me at this point. I’ve also been playing since launch as OOBP.

I found Panzer Korps a lot easier than this game. There aren’t very many systems, the actual unit combat is pretty minimal, and once you understand arty triangles you have basically solved the game.

Especially in the vanilla German campaign of PzC it is very boring as you have elite super stats German amaze tanks and planes and whatever as just a given. Which is dumb, but speaks to the franchise. The US Corps campaign is much tougher as you can’t rely on simply overwhelming the enemy with better stats and also better designed.

OOBWW2 has a number of additional systems that will take a while to fully grasp, especially the cover system and the combat modifiers that come from terrain. The efficiency system is also much more complex than the morale system from PzC. And then there’s the naval system which has a number of modifiers that come from direction and amount of movement and whether you’re at optimal range for your guns (1/3rd of max +1). Air is not nearly so easily overwhelmed as in PzC and in several campaigns you will find you are wasting a ton of req on fighters if you don’t bring light AA.

Unit selection is usually a good bit tougher than in PzC, in part because you have to assess the expected average cover level of the terrain you will be fighting in to figure out which units will actually have good stats as cover hugely impacts that. Light tanks typically have better high cover stats than heavy tanks for example, and their light treated trait makes them much more mobile in rough terrain than motorized infantry which basically won’t be moving much at all.

Reaction fire is provided by AT, while arty is a standoff combat weapon. Battlefield prep is a thing and situationally very useful. AA and fighters also provide reaction fire. Flanking is a thing, mass attack is not. Initiative is not a thing, it is handled by the cover system instead which works much better.

It is very rare that there is a clear best unit in OOBWW2.

I’d personally recommend starting with the campaign that looks coolest to you. My favorites are Burma, Soviet, US Pacific, with Soviet at the top for sure. The China campaign is also fun but unfortunately you can’t play as the KMT so it’s pretty easy.

As far as what difficulty to start at, if you want to have a good time start at regular. If you want to see how well the AI handles tactical combat start at max and expect to have a beating delivered unto you. It is very much possible to lose, but you can always start a new game.

I suggest heading to the AAR section for ideas on gameplay.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by GabeKnight » Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:14 pm

prestidigitation wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:14 pm
I was actually planning to make a post requesting a higher difficulty level because the current maximum is pretty easy for me at this point.
With this request, you'll definitely find an ally in Kondi.... :wink: :lol:

Epperaliant
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:09 pm

What stuff/mechanics are not included in the manual and the tutorial?

bru888
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by bru888 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:17 pm

What I am surprised about is that none of you fellows mentioned that the degree of difficulty is actually up to the scenario designer, not the game designer. Now, what I am about to say must be tempered with the need to adhere somewhat to actual history. Any otherwise reputable designer would be irresponsible indeed to allow for a shattering victory of U.S. and Filipino forces over the Japanese in the Battle of Bataan.

That said, however, I could design a Battle of Bataan in which the Allies would easily accomplish their goal of temporarily delaying the Japanese advance. Or, I could make it so difficult that you would be complaining and dialing the difficulty setting back.

And it would not just be a matter of the number of units on each side. Experience, entrenchment, supply, logistical support (an extra fighter? how about a couple of friendly destroyers offshore?); all sorts of ways to adjust gameplay balance.

The game itself is balanced as to gameplay if two experienced players with the same setup go at it head-to-head and it can go either way. Or if the player is battling the AI with similarly matched setups on medium difficulty and the chances are even. I think the game has this basic balance.

So how does one design a Battle of Bataan competitively when the actual battle was such a lopsided affair? By coming up with unique goals that are attainable with a good amount of skill and effort. That is on the scenario designer, be it custom or official DLC, and not the game itself.

We can talk about the differences between PzC and OOB as to supply and artillery but I am responding to the OP as to his question about the degree of difficulty in this game. My assertion is that it is up to the content designers.

A final thought: Regarding official DLC, we must remember that the object is to sell this content so the designers must not make their scenarios too difficult. Custom designers are under no such constraint and the OP may wish to avail himself of that opportunity.
- Bru

prestidigitation
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by prestidigitation » Sat Oct 10, 2020 6:56 pm

I agree with your point, scenarios and especially knowing how to play the scenarios makes a huge difference.

For instance my Yelnaya experience this go round vs previous ones was very different because this go round I figured out the trick of it while last go round I brute forced it. The difficulty was lower the first time according to the game, but I definitely had a much harder time on difficulty 4 brute forcing it than max difficulty doing it right.

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Epperaliant
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:41 pm

So, would it be pure total madness trying the game on max difficulty?

I already got a basic grasp of the mechanics and I intend to make the most of the tutorial and the early Pacific battles.

bru888
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by bru888 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 10:35 pm

You will hear from some players as to them always playing on maximum difficulty . . . and wanting even more punishment! I am not the world's best OOB player but I am not an OOB noob, either. I have always felt comfortable playing on middle difficulty* and, to the extent possible, I have tried to attain gameplay balance versus the AI in the stuff that I create by shooting for "it can go either way" for an experienced player on medium difficulty.

*By the way, you are aware of what constitutes the difference between the various levels of difficulty in OOB? Basically, it's this: In the scenario editor, all units placed on the map are strength 10 by default. The human player's units stay at strength 10 regardless of difficulty. However, the AI's units remain at 10 ONLY on medium difficulty. For the two lower levels of difficulty, they are shaved back to 6 or 8. For the two higher levels, they appear as strength 12 or 13 (you get a prize if you can say why 13 and not 14 - nobody knows).

That's it. That is why I said difficulty is in the hands of the scenario designer, not the game designer. I bet I could design a Battle of Bataan in which, even at maximum difficulty, you still could push those 13-strength Japanese units all the way back to Nippon! ;)
- Bru

Epperaliant
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:04 am

I decided that I will try on the hardest and see how it goes.

By the way, do I get any bonus by playing the hardest? Like additional unit experience for killing more stuff?

kondi754
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by kondi754 » Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:26 pm

Epperaliant wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:04 am
I decided that I will try on the hardest and see how it goes.

By the way, do I get any bonus by playing the hardest? Like additional unit experience for killing more stuff?
Nope, just the opposite you will have much less everything, because you will have to spend more resources on replenishing your army during every scenario :)

Epperaliant
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:29 pm

kondi754 wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:26 pm
Epperaliant wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:04 am
I decided that I will try on the hardest and see how it goes.

By the way, do I get any bonus by playing the hardest? Like additional unit experience for killing more stuff?
Nope, just the opposite you will have much less everything, because you will have to spend more resources on replenishing your army during every scenario :)
So replenishing DURING scenarios is actually a thing? I remember it being a literal capital sin on PzC because it jacked up the prices sky-high

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by cutydt02 » Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:34 pm

compare to PzC's army, OoB is much more complex. While in PzC, you just can field the best equipment + some inf to handle handicap, any damaged can wait to prepare phase to repair with 50% discount. It doesnt exist in OoB while you must control limited CP and you have to pay the same amount of money inside or outside battle. Unit upgraded is a thing too, while you can feel comfort with cheap upgrade cost in PzC, you must slowly upgrade obsolated units bcoz of high price. Most times, i just upgrade battered unit for eco reason (and it magically heals an unit to full strength, sometimes for tactical reason too). I almost get mad in PzC or PzC 2 when using Pz4Ds to fight KVs (when weather is bad or before i wipe enemy fighters out) but with supply mechanic in OoB, its just fine to deal with monstrous tank.
About formation, OoB has a bit inferior arty (no more support fire) and far more useful AT (opposing reason). Fighters still can escort bomber multiple times but with much weaker shoot. Weather is fixed in-game event not random. In late game of 2 trilogies, i have 4-5 fighters, 3-4 bombers and 1-2 recon, 6-7 infantries, 2 ATs, 4 towed arty + 2-3 moby arty + 1-2 rocket arty, the rest is for tanks
About difficulty, i can beat every campain in PzC with marshal diff (not 3 god-like above) but feeling good with middle diff in OoB, totally balanced for my mixed army. Some dlcs are harder, like winter war or kriegmarine but others're fine to me.

Epperaliant
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:47 pm

Is there any updated guide for the game?
Or is the manual fine?

In pzc it was much easier, just learn the difference between close and open terrain and the terrain were units excels in.

Here is so much confusing...like when the manual says there's "mechanized" damage and defense...how can damage be based on attributes like "mechanized"? Can you explain it to me?

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by bru888 » Mon Oct 12, 2020 2:08 am

Epperaliant wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:47 pm
Is there any updated guide for the game?
Or is the manual fine?
The manual has needed updating for years but the basics are unchanged. To my knowledge, these are the only major changes to the game that it fails to encompass at this time:

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- Bru

Epperaliant
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:58 am

Thanks.

At this point, the combat mechanics are enough clear to me except for 1 thing, the terrain's effect:

Do we still have the "close-open" terrain and the different bonus/malus for the various units?

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by StuccoFresco » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:19 am

Different terrains have different effects on unit's stats, you can check them on the map itself by clicking on the info button of the terrain tile. Close terrains like forest, etc reduce the attacker's stats a bunch, and the defenders' a bit.

Many units also have different stats altogather for close terrain: tanks have high values for clear terrain and low ones for close. The closer the terrain, the more the stat approach the minimum value.

So yes, the general idea of "put infantry in rough terrain" still works fine.

Epperaliant
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:03 am

Thanks Stucco Fresco (btw, italian, I suppose, right?)

But were can I see how each unit is affected by terrain? I only see attack value vs Mechanized/Infantry but not how this is affected by the cover modifier.
For example, I suppose a Churchill AVRE has very different modifier in close terrain compared to a Jagdpanther....where is this shown?

In some screenshots I saw you guys have additional icons, like "Mechanical attack" with a little sword on it, which I suppose it indicates a "close terrain" attack value....is that correct and why it doesn't show on my game?

prestidigitation
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by prestidigitation » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:22 pm

StuccoFresco wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:19 am
tanks have high values for clear terrain and low ones for close. The closer the terrain, the more the stat approach the minimum value.
Actually that’s wrong and a good example of why you should check an individual tank’s stats. Most of your post was unfortunately wrong.

Most tanks have a high value for vs infantry in open terrain and a low value in close terrain, but not all. The OT-130 and OT-34 don’t have any change in their stats in close terrain when fighting infantry. IIRC the M4 with the 100mm Howitzer even has higher values in close terrain. They’re also really great at fighting even entrenched infantry in cover.

Many tanks - especially the ones with large caliber guns - actually have LOW values for fighting tanks in OPEN terrain and HIGH values in CLOSE terrain. So if you are fighting loads of enemy tanks put your tank on a hill and you will do MORE damage and may take more or less depending on the difference between the modifier reduction for attacker stats vs the increased stats for fighting in close terrain against enemy tanks. Meanwhile many tank destroyers have lower values in close terrain.

Also just a note the cover impact on stats is a continuum not a fixed value. Units are assigned a 0% and 100% stat and the cover % of the tile they are on is used to calculate the displayed value. So if you want to see the impact of hills on your tank, stick it in a hill and the stats shown will be the stats they use when attacking into a hill. However only the cover percentage of the tile being attacked is actually used when calculating stats for combat.

Combat is complex in this game. Like, really complex.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:46 pm

What about the little sword icon and why I do not see it in my game? I can even see in the unit database.

prestidigitation
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by prestidigitation » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:24 pm

Epperaliant wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:46 pm
What about the little sword icon and why I do not see it in my game? I can even see in the unit database.
Screenshot it and post it

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