My take on Armageddon

Forum for the strategy game set during the 2nd War for Armageddon.

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MiB
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My take on Armageddon

Post by MiB » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:36 am

Hi,
I have now played through the tutorial, act I and the first missions of act II and wanted to summarize my experience with Warhammer Armageddon.

Let me just say that I am a sucker for this kind of game. I played all of the original “Five Star” General games, starting with the original Panzer General, all the way to the Panzer Corps games. I’ve also played most of the WH40k games made, such as Final Liberation, Chaos Gate and Rites of War.

So what was I expecting? Basically, more Panzer Corps goodness with some 40k flavor thrown in.

Unfortunately, even after being a first day buyer and giving the game a decent chance, I am strongly disappointed.

I think the general production values are ok. I wasn’t expecting a triple A title, and I am happy with the look and feel of Panzer Corps. The unit graphics, sound and voice over are even somewhat improved in Armageddon when compared to PC. In particular, I like the different weapon animations, especially of the different Orc units. The game has a larger variety of infantry units and the drawing style somehow doesn’t benefit the tiny detail of multiple figures in a single hex. The super heavy tanks look great, however.
The more detailed artwork of the terrain hexes isn’t my cup of tea, but I guess this is a matter of taste. The reason may be that this style of game fits better to the country- and continent-spanning scale of Panzer Corps than the more tactical scale of individual cities as in most Armageddon missions.

So what are my issues?

The first and biggest is related to the game being on a more tactical level. Because of this, and due to the wide variety of weapons available in the 40k universe, the designers go down a road started with the old “People’s General” game. In an effort to model these weapons, units of all classes have widely varying ranges. This makes it basically impossible to protect individual unis by positioning as in Panzer Corps. In Panzer Corps, almost all units have a range of 1 hex, and knowing the enemies general angle of attack, it is possible to plan your advance in a way which exposes leading units to only a few attacks at a time, something a full-strength unit has a chance to survive. In Armageddon, no matter how you position your units, due to ranges of 3 or more hexes for many units, a single unit can easily suffer enough attacks to wipe it out, no matter how you positon it.

The second major issue is that the designers take away the “rock-paper-scissors” mechanic of Panzer Corps and replace it with a general “dakka-dakka” mechanic. What I mean is that in PC, each unit class had a designated role that made it valuable. Panzers are your blocking units that take the brunt of punishment and rule open terrain. Infantry fights in rough terrain and mops up after the panzers. Recon units had multiple movement steps, Artillery would provide defensive fire and provide attacks over range, similar to AA. Fighters had interception and Strategic bombers had persistent suppression.
Most of that has been watered down or taking away. Most importantly, there isn’t even aerial movement any more, making aircraft almost useless. Some tanks outrange most artillery units, and some infantry units provide supporting fire, whereas most artillery units don’t anymore. Suppression doesn’t seem to exist anymore. In Armageddon, most combats comes done to positioning your units in a way so they outrange the enemy and can whittle down their strength without retaliation, then you move cheap, useless infantry units in front of your expensive long range units, and accept the fact that they will probably be destroyed serving as a meat shield.

Again related to that is the way Armageddon handles resources, which prevents you from developing any kind of emotional attachment to your crack units, as one did in Panzer Corps. There are only green replacements, and they cost as much in combat as they cost outside combat. As replacements are automatically purchased after each scenario, and as you can disband a unit granting a full refund of the resources, there is NO reason to protect a damages unit. Even if it is a highly experienced unit, once it takes damage it is ruined, as replacements will be green, reducing the experience level. In Panzer Corps, you are faced with all manner of interesting decisions once a unit takes damage. Both green and elite reinforcements are available, and they are much more expensive during battle than between, so you have to decide whether to pull back a damaged elite unit to reinforce it after the scenario, pay a lot of resources to repair it in battle, or take a hit on experience and bring in green reinforcements. Also, experienced units have leaders and overstrength, making them unique. Why were all of these tactical options taken away?

The game also lacks the sense of progression provided by Panzer Corps’ campaigns. There is no historical progression, new equipment basically “drops from the sky” at certain points in the campaign. And each unit can be up- or downgraded paying only the point difference. (e.g. a Leman Russ can quickly be “upgraded” to a Baneblade and back, whereas in PC, you would be able to upgrade from a PzIV D to a PzIV F paying the difference, but not to a Tiger (new equipment). Why not associate the otherwise meaningless Glory score with the kind of equipment you are allowed to purchase?
Also taken away were ammo and fuel reserves, which compared to the rest of my complaints, are minor. They were replaced with new options, morale and multi-hitpoint units. Both of them are interesting but lead to my third major complaint, which is the game’s documentation/manual.

Morale feels important, but there is now explanation of what it does, how it is lost and how it is regenerated. You just have the impression that it is good idea to rest your units once in a while.
Same with all the stats. How do armor, damage, accuracy of units interfere with cover and defense modifications from terrain. If a three strength unit has 4 Heavy Bolters, is this 8 potential attacks? What does initiative do? Does suppression still exist? Why is there no detailed combat result preview anymore? What do the individual special abilities of units (such as “Fearless”, “Assault”, “Cumbersome” mean? Why does the manual state some units have recon movement, but then none of the units actually have it? Why does the manual state the vegetation attacks units, and then it doesn’t? Why is the function of rails and other terrain elements explained nowhere? How do you earn prestige? Is it in anyway related to your performance? Or are just dealt out fixed amounts after some scenarios and none after others? Is the campaign linear? Do your dialogue choices have any effect?

So to summarize, the game is well presented, but from a gameplay perspective, a number of strongly flawed choices were taken, which essential make the game a very limited strategy game.

Caveman
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by Caveman » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:37 pm

I tend to agree to all your points. I especially like the trade of reinforcements to moral, this game is supposed to feel different to Panzer Corps and it should imho... but - I don't know if it is a lack of balancing or knowing the exact mechanics, for me it feels awkward different at the moment. I don't know which units are good against what until I have a look at the battle forecast, aside from the "titans and heavy tanks will rock"-rules of the thumb. I would like some more (or clearer) “rock-paper-scissors”-mechanics. I see some indicators for that, like the imperial riders against even heavy infantry in cc, but the unit is almost useless because it gets annihilated if moved close to the front.

But all in all I like all the effort that got into this game and I will be damned, if it can't get balanced, fixed, patched or modded to the full potential I can clearly see in it!

Kathapalt
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by Kathapalt » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:33 pm

Agreed

The unit count is so massive i wonder why cant they give few new units every battle for example give IG units gradually in act1 ending to super tanks.
The experince is useless because of rookie replenish. Auto replenish between missions, no thanks should be free and should not lower unit exp (a reason to protect injured veteran during battle)
Air units are basically land units O-o cant fly over mountains move 4 hexes.

But i do love the multi weapon system of units and how they handle transportation with infantry. lets hope this will be balanced and fixed

zakblood
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by zakblood » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:44 pm

must admit i also agree, good for a blast but like panzer corps before it, it also has no long term strategic or strategy appeal to me either, it's fun for a short blast and once done play around with the editor etc, but not really a strategy game as such or ever was meant to be either really, really fun to play all the same, but as it doesn't support many things needed to be a strategy game like supply, support, air combat, HQ and proper upgrades, morale or ammo or even basic elements, it's for me aimed at the starter section of the war gaming community and first time players and for those who like the format and fans of WH40K.

where as it may developer over time to full fill some of these roles with patches and fixes and upgrades / dlc / mission packs etc, as it is on release day and for the next few months at least, i'll just keep playing with the editor for now and come back to it, same as i did with panzer corps tbh

oh and MiB, you write and review very well if you don't mind me saying so, as i'm dyslexic i don't often say what i mean, or write what i'm thinking either so tend to edit a lot and re read more than a few times, you done yours in one go :wink:

Aekar
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by Aekar » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:43 pm

Good post and nice feedback.

From my experience, any need for suppression got nicely removed by the morale system.
Morale *is* suppression, and I must say, suppression in a very nice, 40K-ish universe way.
There is another thread where the need for ammo is discussed the same way.


The game also gave me a right combined arms feeling, with the need for direct fire support, indirect fire support, and artillery at almost every corner.

Infantry in itself was there either to cover these, push a bit (and I had a number of "push, then retreat"; I love it when the AI forces me to cancel a given plan), or rush for a melee assault.
Snipers and light vehicles provided me a great "scout and hide" experience, and "call for artillery" situations.
The game manages Line Of Sight and we have to use it for our men.
You can't move a troop within sight of these ork machine guns and expect anything else than a Verdun's death.
Add to it the need for a cannon able to pierce tough armor, or the danger of tank destroyers, and I believe you have a nice overview of the whole game.
Is was great, and unexpected I would say, to discover that in a futuristic, W40K setting.
Dawn of War itself didn't provide me this in-depth view of the Imperial guard mechanized army.
It makes me want to be young again and go play some W40K squad tabletop.


This situation I described, changes a strong bit in Acts 2 and 3, to become a heavier play, with Titans and supporting units to mop up what the Titans left out, or to follow its progress in town areas.
Overall I can say the game became there more simple, instead of more complex.

But I believe it is a cost and setup balance to find, to continue with the same combined arms situation and make things more challenging to the mind, than to the tough armor.


So, with all this, I really understand why you point out the tactical trend of the game, instead of a more strategic setting.
I myself had a friend who translated the game values into terms such as "number of rolls", hit rolls, and so on. I believe it helped me get into it.
When you look at the game, and think its values like rolls and dice, and compare that from that point of view, you immediately get a superb feeling - I believe it is the way the game shall be played, and it does feel W40K too in that aspect.


I can't wait to see mods, with other races and campaigns, as this new setting that features equipment, weapons and morale is a good one for many tactical games.
I can also say this game made me want to play a lot of other GW titles.

However, I would have loved to see decisions using prestige and requisition, more commitment to my "batallion history setting" (as you said I would have preferred "no resell"; I actually played half the maps without noticing I could resell my units), and tough strategic situations. In the beginning I also thought the game was lacking tooltips and explanations, something I got beyond only thanks to a few forum posts. Without this understanding, I would not have been able to like the game.

IainMcNeil
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by IainMcNeil » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:55 pm

Thanks for all the feedback. We are making a lot of changes and hoped to have a patch out today but the compiler is refusing to compile a release build... argh!

As you point out there are so many units it was impossible to balance it all completely before release and we're listening to the feedback and making rapid changes. Please bear with us while we do. We hope to have 2 updates out before Christmas.

Loki1942
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by Loki1942 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Absolutely agree, couldnt have written it better myself :wink: Would have to say that i am fairly disappointed how this game turned out, if it HAD been Panzer Corps with a 40k setting i would be much happier :|

Kathapalt
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by Kathapalt » Sat Dec 06, 2014 12:10 am

I have not played Panzer corp, but what i have heard in this forum , lots of things have changed to worse direction, I hope they did not change things for the sake of being different than PC.

Aekar
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by Aekar » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:01 am

No, they added weapons, equipment, and allowed Armaggeddon to have a tactical scale.
This makes the game interesting enough to create mods even with a fantasy setting.

There is already Panzer Corps if I want to play PzC...
I don't think Armaggeddon deserved to be the same game, and in my opinion I am actually very glad they went another route and that it isn't a reskin.
I believe gameplay adjustments were needed, following the variety of firepower allowed in the game, and it seems that patch 1.02 goes in the good direction too in that aspect.

Kathapalt
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by Kathapalt » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:56 am

Good game mechanic are good, be it in same kind of games or not. Saying not using mechanic because similar game X is using it is just bad.
Games can use same mechanics as other games, for example many fps games use same mechanics and are still different.

Have to see how the game changes in the future, now its extremely interesting OK game=)

IainMcNeil
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Re: My take on Armageddon

Post by IainMcNeil » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:57 am

A lot of the problems are people are expecting the game to play like PzC and it doesn't. When you accept that and learn the new mechanics there is a huge amount of depth and I am still learning the tactics to use. It takes many many hours to really understand the intricacies. This is why balancing has been so hard as people at different points on the learning curve think different types of units are overpowered. The feedback is often contradictory and we're looking for the best solution for everyone.

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