Tell me about Difficulty

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Shards » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:44 pm

Don't forget that there are several scenario designers and the different campaigns do somewhat reflect those designers' styles.

US Pacific and Rising Sun are the campaigns from the original game and are indeed much longer form and because they have more turns, they need to have a lower income to stop resources inflation.

Many of the recent campaigns have been quite large land battles with very expensive tanks, and so they've had to have a much higher resource income to keep the player's forces on the move!

(Compare with US Marines where most of your units are infantry and relatively cheap to reinforce)

prestidigitation
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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by prestidigitation » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:27 am

gunny wrote:
Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:56 pm
Yeah what the others said you will probably have to only use "fresh troop reinforcement" instead of "Seasoned Troop Reinforcement" so basically your units will not gain experience. I hope I got this concept right who knows wheeeee
Elite reinforce correctly and play carefully so as not to waste points and you can easily maintain elite reinforce on every unit in almost every campaign. Generally you have to be more tolerate for the first mission or two when building your core, but after that almost exclusively elite reinforce. The impact of vet is so immense on front line units that not getting it is a big mistake.

Units worth elite reinforcing:
infantry and armor to vet 3
fighters to vet 4
heavy tanks to vet 2 (any higher will bankrupt you if something goes wrong and you take a big hit to the tank)

Units not worth elite reinforcing:
artillery (it vets to 5 even with green over the course of the more recent campaigns)
strats and tacs (too expensive, strats will vet up fine on their own. tacs late in a campaign can be worth paying for elite but well played will hit 3 with green)
AA (performs fine at low vet)
AT (performs fine at low vet)
recon (spends too much time getting clobbered)

Horst wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:19 pm
In at least the first two Soviet campaigns, especially from Barbarossa on, the German units have such crazy high experience values that even your best fighter aces get quickly down to half-strength in one turn including a regular visit in hospital. I'm already abusing dirty cheap recon planes as baits with escorts to reduce the strength of AI-fighters.
Also, there is no constant progression in core-slots during the Soviet campaign scenarios, so that leaves not much room for something luxury like strategic bombers. In some scenarios, you quickly regret to even field a tactical bomber with the many swarms of German flyers everywhere.
Strategic bombers aren't a luxury unit, tactical bombers are. Tactical bombers without precision strike are so worthless as to not merit inclusion in a force. Strategic bombers, like artillery, are mandatory.

BTW it is much easier to deal with the air attacks in the Soviet scenarios if you bring 37mm foot AA non-motorized for your infantry formations and any of the truck mounted AA for your mechanized formation. Light AA is disgustingly effective at melting enemy light planes and can easily take 4+ off an elite fighter or tac. I use my fighters exclusively for escort and cleanup duties, the AA does the primary work of killing enemy planes.

Same with enemy armor, simply bringing a foot mobile AT gun for each infantry formation and an SPAT for the mechanized group allows you to get substantial free kills from reaction fire grouping. There's no penalty to creating blobs around an AT or AA gun so why wouldn't you maximize opportunities for reaction fire when needed?

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by GabeKnight » Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:47 am

Well, I agree to disagree.

Experience is best spent on units with high stats. And on everything else that does not get damaged often, of course. I'm sorry if you can't handle your heavy tanks right, but they have peak performace with 5 stars. Less efficiency loss, more hitting power. You really should also rething your strategy with high-star AT and AA units. Just grand! And I can't imagine any of my battleships with less than 5 stars. Seriously!

Are you new to this game?

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by TheFilthyCasual » Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:36 pm

prestidigitation wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:27 am

Strategic bombers aren't a luxury unit, tactical bombers are. Tactical bombers without precision strike are so worthless as to not merit inclusion in a force. Strategic bombers, like artillery, are mandatory.
That's the thing though, dive bombers (tactical bombers with precision strike) are rather common and are so effective at what they do, especially with vet, that the long-term payoffs of strat bombers often don't warrant the investment. Yeah, sure, you could reduce the enemy's supply by bombing all game, or you could just capture the supply points by divebombing opposition into oblivion. The only major force lacking in dive bombers is the British, who only have a single campaign to their name - everyone else, except Finland obviously, has them.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by prestidigitation » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:23 pm

TheFilthyCasual wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:36 pm
prestidigitation wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:27 am

Strategic bombers aren't a luxury unit, tactical bombers are. Tactical bombers without precision strike are so worthless as to not merit inclusion in a force. Strategic bombers, like artillery, are mandatory.
That's the thing though, dive bombers (tactical bombers with precision strike) are rather common and are so effective at what they do, especially with vet, that the long-term payoffs of strat bombers often don't warrant the investment. Yeah, sure, you could reduce the enemy's supply by bombing all game, or you could just capture the supply points by divebombing opposition into oblivion. The only major force lacking in dive bombers is the British, who only have a single campaign to their name - everyone else, except Finland obviously, has them.
UK has something better than dive bombers: the Typhoon. A great fighter that also has great strike power, allowing you to have a force that is strats + fighters that work as well as dive bombers.

Strat bombers are wildly effective on max difficulty for rendering trivial targets protected by AA which is an common occurrence. By contrast dive bombers are worthless against entrenched units and are shredded by AA.

They strip efficiency and entrenchment, making them effective against both infantry and armor because they boost the combat effectiveness of follow on assets and allow infantry to clown King Tigers as I demonstrated in my Seelow Heights max difficulty AAR. By contrast dive bombers are only really efficient against armor and support assets unprotected by AA. Against heavy infantry you're liable to take damage.

Another niche but very helpful benefit of strategic bombers is their ability to zero out the supply in a node. I've used a mobile attack plan several times where a mechanized formation bypasses a strongpoint as my strats bomb it while a light tank goes around the other side allowing me to trap all the units inside with zero supply. Follow on footmobile formations can then quickly sweep through for zero cost kills.

As a last benefit strategic bombers are usually more durable than tacs against enemy fighters. The AI tends to have mostly or entirely light fighters which have much higher light attack than heavy attack. While tacs suffer from this imbalance, strats benefit hugely from it. Meanwhile their primary predator, heavy fighters, is easy meat for light fighters.

In short if you aren't using strats you're missing out on one of the most potent tools in the toolkit.
Last edited by prestidigitation on Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by TheFilthyCasual » Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:11 pm

prestidigitation wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:23 pm
In short if you aren't using strats you're missing out on one of the most potent tools in the toolkit.
Their advantages take too long to come to fruition, especially in newer campaigns which have fewer turns than old ones. The only campaign where I use strats is Burma since the British don't really have dive bombers and the Typhoon is not quite a replacement for them. In theory they could be useful in the original campaigns but they cost too many resources that need to be used for other similarly expensive things, like ships. Plus they can't be deployed on carriers, which automatically limits their usefulness there. As the Germans or Soviets I simply obliterate individual targets with Sturmoviks/Stukas; concentrated attack by 3 or 4 can destroy even AA rather quickly, allowing you to kill anything it was protecting. Artillery and AT guns become non-issues due to how vulnerable they are to air attack; in general, they just make your advance go more quickly.

The value of strats exists but simply isn't worth the investment at the moment; this could be mitigated by simply designing scenarios around making you use them, such as an air-only campaign.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Sun Dec 06, 2020 9:31 am

I have yet to start my play-through, another game got in the way!

I was wondering, when played on max difficulty, does the game give you some breathing room or you need to do everything 100% super efficient and perfect?

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Erik2 » Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:17 am

The various difficult levels simply add or remove AI units' strength points. So the only change is during battles.
You can be more reckless or need to be more careful depending on the level.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:39 pm

Erik2 wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:17 am
The various difficult levels simply add or remove AI units' strength points. So the only change is during battles.
You can be more reckless or need to be more careful depending on the level.
The question is, how careful?

For comparison, in order to win battles in Warhammer: Armageddon at hardest difficulty, you need perfect rolls and the most efficient strategy, one bad roll or slight mistake and you're back at reloading the game.
That was no fun, I remember, and that game reloaded FAST.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Shards » Sun Dec 06, 2020 9:32 pm

Several players here actually enjoy playing at level 5, and can win reliably. So good play is generally rewarded and there's considerably less dice variance in OOB compared to Armageddon

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by TheFilthyCasual » Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:04 am

Can one of you devs explain why level 5 gives enemies 13 HP instead of 14? Since level 1 is basically impossible to lose, then likewise even if 14 would make level 5 impossible to win I don't see how that's really a problem.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Shards » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:19 am

I seem to remember it migrated to 13 soon after launch so that all missions were indeed physically completable on all difficulty levels

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:50 am

Good, I'll try at level 5 then and see if I can handle it.

By the way, is there any trick to speed up re-loading the game? :)

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Shards » Mon Dec 07, 2020 11:07 am

I don't think so. When you load a save, you load in the whole battle, which takes a while for the bigger ones

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:56 pm

Thanks, hopefully it wont be a savescumming marathon like Warhammer.

By the way, I have a programmable mouse that can pretty much do anything (macro included) and has many extra buttons to spare that can be binded to anything.
Besides the obvious "double click" shortcut (yes, I am THAT lazy) is there any other thing I can bind to make the gameplay smoother?

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Erik2 » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:12 pm

There 's a list of keyboard short-cuts under Options. Maybe you can bind some of these to the mouse buttons.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by prestidigitation » Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:14 pm

Epperaliant wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 9:31 am
I have yet to start my play-through, another game got in the way!

I was wondering, when played on max difficulty, does the game give you some breathing room or you need to do everything 100% super efficient and perfect?
You'll see 13 strength units on max difficulty, that's the only difference. I play pretty much exclusively on that level and haven't noticed it actually making much of a difference. The first hit is usually a doozy, but you can mitigate that with good use of terrain, force composition and hasty reconnaissance.

Scenario design is far more important and impactful for difficulty. Operation Cannibal even on standard is going to be a challenge to hit all eight objectives simply because of the time it takes to get from one end of the map to the other. Impahl is going to be easy no matter what difficulty. The Soviet missions are tough if you don't understand the absolute criticality of attacking efficiency with artillery and strategic bombers, and getting free kills from reaction fire for 40mm AA and 2 movement AT guns. If you do understand that stuff, the next step is understanding the impact of the cover percentage and the attacker/defender modifiers from terrain. With those tools in your kit you're fairly well done learning the game and can execute violently.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Epperaliant » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:57 am

About force composition, what do you guys suggest?
I know this probably varies between different campaigns, but generally speaking what's a good infantry/armor/support ratio?

About recon, in panzer corps 1 it was essentially a wasted slot, as you could easily scout with tanks/planes and then reload the game.
I read that in Panzer Corps 2 recon gives real combat bonuses. How does it work here?

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by Shards » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:55 am

Some people use Land Recon, some don't

I always try to have some aerial recon, but I've started to try and use the Light Tanks that have recently gained 2-step movement for recon-in-force.

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Re: Tell me about Difficulty

Post by prestidigitation » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:18 pm

Epperaliant wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:57 am
About force composition, what do you guys suggest?
I know this probably varies between different campaigns, but generally speaking what's a good infantry/armor/support ratio?

About recon, in panzer corps 1 it was essentially a wasted slot, as you could easily scout with tanks/planes and then reload the game.
I read that in Panzer Corps 2 recon gives real combat bonuses. How does it work here?
Campaigns will alter any composition massively. You will want substantially less armor fighting in Burma in a bunch of rugged jungle than in Eastern Europe with a bunch of woods and flat lands and marsh. Island landings can make use of a little armor, but you won't want as much as you'll want marines.

I personally think armor is extremely weak and bring the minimum necessary. For me in the Soviet campaigns that meant 1x heavy tank (later ISU) for each infantry group and 2x medium tanks for the mechanized group for four tanks total, two of which were mostly fighting as artillery. This allowed me to strike a good balance between the need for a fast moving mechanized formation to maneuver at the operational level and the need for the workhorse units -- infantry, artillery and support weapons.

Land recon is IMO essential. Many units -- snipers, bunkers, most infantry, ATG, mines -- cannot be detected by air recon and they make up the bulk of the forces you will be fighting in many campaigns. Land recon also has the quick retreat ability that allows it to absorb hits from the heaviest of tanks while taking only 1 or 2 dmg which is fantastic. In addition the recon ability to double move and ignore supply allows it to work its way around an enemy defensive position giving you the very nice mass attack bonus from the rear as well as the ability to hit artillery or chase down weakened units. Finally land recon is a mechanical unit, meaning it will easily defeat any early game infantry in the open and even late game will handle itself competently. The downside of land recon is that it is very much road bound and on maps with lots of difficult terrain it can struggle. I always bring one for my mechanized group and if I can fit in 1 for each of my infantry groups I will as well. They also happen to be supremely CP efficient although unfortunately the req cost of reinforcement is higher than I'd like.

In campaigns with lots of enemy tanks -- the Soviet ones in particular -- you will absolutely want an anti-tank gun for every single one of your groups. I would always and everywhere recommend using the more mobile 2 movement ATGs over the sluggish 1 movement ones. I also always take my infantry ATGs dismounted as they can keep up just fine along a road and if there isn't a road you won't be desperate for them anyway because you'll probably have plenty of difficult terrain or forest to ensure your infantry are fighting well against tanks. I do recommend bringing a self propelled ATG for your mechanized groups as tanks and mounted infantry are too fast and mobile for even a towed ATG to keep up, but otherwise I think these units are overkill in most cases due to the high CP cost.

Another situational but very valuable unit is the AA gun. In some campaigns -- the Soviet and Finnish campaigns in particular -- you will not have the option of seizing control of the skies without paying an unaffordable price and giving up all your strike capability. In these situations, AA makes all the difference. I strongly prefer the 40mm caliber AA with 2 foot movement for infantry formations and the same caliber AA self propelled on a truck or mechanized platform for mechanized formations. These calibers typically perform the best against light enemy aircraft, the bulk of targets. You can go through the entire first Soviet campaign with only two fighters while still dominating the sky even on the hardest difficulty through proper use of positioning and AA. In other campaigns -- UK in Burma, US to an extent -- you'll thoroughly dominate the the skies with superior planes or will be fighting over open water where AA isn't accessible.

Infantry is of course the most important unit in the fight and the least understood IMO. It is exceedingly terrain dependent and a good eye for terrain will make the difference between infantry that loses 0-7 to enemy armor and the same infantry winning 2-1 against the same armor. The key element here is the difference in mech attack -- 50% or more! -- for infantry in close terrain (woods, cities, jungles, difficult terrain) and the reduction in the enemy attack modifier alongside the immense benefits of entrenchment (a scaling 0-10 modifier that will make all the difference). Generally your best bet in most non-jungle terrain is the standard infantry, and even in jungle campaigns (where a marine complement is helpful) you will want standard infantry for a good chunk of the fighting as they perform better against enemy armor and are much cheaper to reinforce. You will want a mechanized heavy infantry for your armored group as the light mortar it brings is very helpful and it has by far the best open ground performance against enemy armor, but the high CP cost (that of a medium tank) and low foot mobility means it is generally a poor mesh with foot mobile formations. Engineers are also key as they do 7 damage to entrenchment and have very low reinforce cost, allowing them to do the work of three rounds of artillery bombardment by a siege gun in a single turn. They can also clear mines, lay pontoon bridges, speed the entrenchment of nearby units, lay mines, inflict efficiency damage and -- a niche use -- repair the supply output of cities/airfields that have been hit by strategic bombers. Engineers are your utility knife.

Artillery is another vital unit, and here a close reading of the unit statistics is in order. A novice doing unit comparison through hover will only see 0% cover values compared. These values differ little between artillery pieces and are exceedingly uninstructive. However a more experienced player will note that small caliber artillery typically has poor soft attack values in 100% cover terrain, as much as 60-70% lower than their 0% cover values! Therefore small caliber artillery is usually of minimal use in attacking infantry dug into cover and should not be used against those targets (engineers will help here). Instead it performs exceedingly well in the job of suppressing enemy units in the open, where its values are usually almost exactly those of heavier artillery. Therefore artillery should be selected to cover the needs of the formation! For a mechanized formation that needs to move quickly and will generally fight in the open, siege artillery is of little use, while self propelled lighter guns will do just fine at suppressing enemy artillery or AA and you can simply use engineers to crack the fortified enemy defender and attack! By contrast for slower moving infantry formations siege guns are much more valuable as most of their fighting will occur in close terrain against dug in enemies while the need for speed is not at nearly so much of a premium.

Attacking enemy efficiency is a key part of the franchise and will make an enormous difference in the ability of your own and enemy units to fight. A max strength unit that is at 2 efficiency is far weaker than a half strength unit at max efficiency and will lose terribly to it! Therefore units like artillery, engineers, flame tanks and strategic bombers that attack efficiency are all critical. Tanks that can fight both direct and indirect (like the Calliope and ISU series) are FANTASTIC support for infantry formations.

In general I structure as follows, adding support units based on the needs of the scenario. Note that this is the OOB I hit mid campaign usually, not the one I start with as CP is limited early and gradually expands over the course of a campaign.

2x Footmobile Formation
Mission: capture heavily entrenched areas, when necessary fight enemy armor formations
Avoids: open terrain
* 2-3x foot infantry
* 1x short range siege artillery (at least 4 range, at least 2 damage to entrenchment, best performance vs entrenched units)
* (scen dependent) 1x AA (prefer 2 movement, prefer footmobile)
* (scen dependent) 1x AT (prefer 2 movement, prefer footmobile, prefer AT+ART)
* (if CP permits) 1x Tank (prefer TANK+ART)
* (if CP permits) 1x ENG

1x Mechanized Formation
Mission: move quickly to capture distant objectives
Avoids: densely forested terrain, lots of hills/mountains, dense urban areas
* 2x Tank (prefer medium, 5-6 CP, best in class)
* 1x Recon (prefer best combat stats)
* 1x Heavy Infantry (motorized or mechanized)
* 1x Engineer (motorized or mechanized)
* 1x ART (prefer self propelled or if unavailable longest range)
* (scen dependent) 1x SP AT (prefer medium, prefer AT + ART)
* (scen dependent) 1x SP AA (prefer mechanized)
In jungle heavy scenarios or scenarios with frequent landings I will often have 2-3x Marines that I will sub in to other combat formations.

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