GC West on FM difficulty

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timek28
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GC West on FM difficulty

Post by timek28 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:39 am

Hi all,

Has anyone completed GC West on Field Marshall difficulty? That is has anyone got a DV on Sealion 45?

I did several tries of different scenarios within campaign but failed to pair effectively with enormous allied forces. I get mostly MVs (maybe one loss), and Bastoigne siege is impossible to DV. Most of my units have 3.25 stars (that is the cap in 45'), and with that kind of experience I'm unable to blast through Ardennes and reach Bastogine fast enough. It seems that those scenarios are made expecting player to have most of his armor up to 4 or 5 stars.

I played GC West eariler on Colonel and it was much easier task I recall, and that time I got to Sealion 45. So did anyone complete this on FM and if he did how? Also I'm not sure weather I should turn down the prestige cap for this campaign since I believe that GC West was introduced before prestige cap and I do feel that lack of prestige is killing me as well (beside lack of experience caused by FM difficulty).

Resolute
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by Resolute » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:02 pm

GC West has become a lot harder with the 1.20 ruleset, especially the changes to entrenchment makes West'45 a real pita. You also need a lot of infantry in West'45 and artillery to dig those heavily entrenched units out. Overall, in my observation, the late campaigns be it West or East do not work really well with the some of the new rules.

captainjack
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by captainjack » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:07 am

I've once managed to complete the non-Sealion route in West on General, but on General, you gain experience fast enough to have at least some 4* and 5* units in 44 West before the cap comes in.

The experience cap prevents you getting a unit beyond 3* but if it is already more experienced it keeps that level. Provided you can afford the elite reinforcements you can maintain the 4 and 5* units at that level.

I could see that the half experience gain rate on FM would make it a lot harder to get units to 4 or 5* by the end of 44, so you would be stuck with no top level units.

As for Sealion 45, I have just started to play through intending to go West, and may choose that path though I will stick with General for the moment.

timek28
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by timek28 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:44 am

Guys I agree with you both.

@Resolute - yea 1.20 really spoils the GC West. I didn't know that there are changes to entrenchment rules in 1.20. Which are they?
Both late scenarios in GC West and GC East count on experience supremacy of the player. That is very difficult to achieve on FM. Right now I restarted everything on colonel and 1.14 rules, and already I feel that game is much more playable. It isn't easier per se, it is just more pleasant to see normal prestige gain, as well as normal experience gain without nerve wrecking experience of not gaining experience fast enough.

@captainjack - I agree with you. I know the experience rules in GC West 45. However with FM difficulty it is almost impossible to get units beyond 3.5 stars in 45' no matter how much time they spend in combat. I tried to challenge myself but it seems impossible that way. Also all my FW190s are at 3.5 stars. AI is usually reluctant to attack them, until the first P47N arrives. Then even 3.5 star fighters are a target!

So campaign was definitely aimed at having 4-5 stars units late in the game (AKA less then FM difficulty).

ThvN
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by ThvN » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:24 pm

timek28 wrote:I didn't know that there are changes to entrenchment rules in 1.20. Which are they?
The only thing I can think of is the fact that entrenchment in 1.20 gives a higher defense bonus when attacked by artillery. So, in 1.14 a unit with 5 entrenchment would get +5 defense vs. artillery attacks, but in 1.20 it would be +10 defense. It can make a big difference.

Overall, I agree that the soft cap is too harsh for the later war years, but there is always the option to play at a lower difficulty. I had to go back to a lower level after running into a wall in 1943. But some extra tweaking for the soft cap to get a better balance is needed. I've been making some changes and testing them, but progress is slow.

timek28
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by timek28 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:48 pm

@ThvN

Thanks for the reply! Now it makes much more sense. Bastoigne assault is impossible map with 1.20 rules. Especially since it is snowing all the time, the tanks and artillery are running out of ammo and fuel very frequently. Wurfrahmen40 is good but even it cannot dig out all those heavily entrenched US units (large concentration in the middle of map). I recall digging out was much easier under 1.14, and if you screw that scenario you are done.

So now I have reduced difficulty, as well as started with 1.14 rules. Backward compatibility is a big issue within different PC versions. BTW. does switching to 1.14 automatically turn off the soft cap? I remember that in one mod switching to 1.14 didn't make a difference in soft cap, so I had to manually edit the file. But I guess that was just because mod uses it's own e-file or something...

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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by MartyWard » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:20 pm

[quote="timek28BTW. does switching to 1.14 automatically turn off the soft cap? ...[/quote]

Yes it starts the next scenario under 1.14.

ThvN
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by ThvN » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:21 pm

timek28 wrote:BTW. does switching to 1.14 automatically turn off the soft cap? I remember that in one mod switching to 1.14 didn't make a difference in soft cap, so I had to manually edit the file. But I guess that was just because mod uses it's own e-file or something...
You're welcome, using the standard 1.14 ruleset should disable the softcap, or you can manually edit the gamerules file for 1.20 to disable it.

And yes, the extra defense bonus will increase the time needed (and risks) to dig out those entrenched units. It's very noticable in certain scenarios, although when attacking with infantry the entrenchment bonus is only 50%. (So the entrenchment defense bonus is 200% for artillery, 50% for infantry and 100% for other unit classes)

captainjack
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by captainjack » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:50 pm

When I first started playing under 1.2 rules I couldn't get rid of any entrenched units, but it doesn't seem to be a problem any more.
I probably do play a bit more artillery, which allows more attacks to reduce entrenchment (even if they do no damage). The other change is that I pay more attention to artillery ammo (for ability to keep firing) and rate of fire (for ability to suppress once entrenchment is low) than I used to. Once the entrenchment is reduced enough a 10.5 firing at 100% RoF can suppress enough strength to launch a successful infantry attack, while a 15 or 17cm would do some damage but less suppression. If you have mixed artillery units/aircraft think about the sequence of firing to maximise damage and suppression.

Alternatively, if you can work out how to keep them alive long enough a 12 strength flammpanzer with 140% Rof and ignoring entrenchment can remove most (suppressed) soft targets in a single shot. There are mods for a Flammpanzer 3 which has enough armour to last long enough to reach a target if your Flammpanzer 2 never gets there in one piece.

Incidentally, while I like most of the changes introduced in 1.2, the soft cap was definitely not on my favourites list. I followed ThvN's advice on disabling it and went back to enjoying Panzer Corps - thanks ThvN.

Resolute
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by Resolute » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:20 pm

The problem with the new entrenchment rules is that you need a few more turns to reduce the entrenchment level down to a reasonable number in order to attack successfully. Especially in the last West campaign that is a real problem since due to lack of turns per scenarios. Celles e.g. is just brutal in that regard.
GC 45 West calls for a lot of infantry units and it's a huge pain to get them up to a reasonable level experience wise, especially since you do not need that many prior to 45 West.

timek28
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by timek28 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:24 pm

Thanks for the nice info guys!

However I don't understand why 1.20 introduced increase in entrenchment? Was it too easy to dig out enemy units before 1.20? I don't recall being it too easy.

The thing is that thick forests of Ardenes combined with sheer number of US units makes it impossible to blast to DVs or MVs in Ardenes. What ThvN suggested to me (my guess is) that I should use more infantry in 45 than tanks in order to blast US forces out, which is easier said then done.

I'm playing now under 1.14 and colonel and it is much much easier then 1.20 and FM. Although to be honest I like the 1.20 surrendering and suppressed replacements mechanic better then 1.14. But soft cap is just incompatible with predefined prestige for GC West. FM on the other hand is too much as GC was obviously made according to the premise that player would have 5 star units by 45'. Also I have nothing against larger entrenchment bonuses introduced in 1.20, but it is also incompatible due to extreme amount of US units needed to be rooted out in GC 45'. There are just too many of them.

So, all in all 1.20 is just incompatible with former scenario designs, and IMO player should play former campaigns either under 1.14 or do some tweaking in advanced menu in order to avoid game being a frustrating experience under 1.20.

Resolute
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by Resolute » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:55 pm

1.20 brought a lot of improvements and I think overall it has been a great patch. However it does not work well with some of the scenarios since those were never changed to reflect some of the drastic game changes. GC East would work a lot better for example if some of the Russian tank strengths would have been reduced to reasonable levels. Same goes with the entrenchment levels in 45 West which are too high. But back during beta testing there really wasn't enough time for in depth testing and a few of the flaws just became apparent the more people played through the GCs. Overall I am still happy with 1.20 though.

timek28
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by timek28 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:06 am

Whoa!

I've just realized the difference in entrenchment levels between 1.14 and 1.20... And it was never so apparent to me before.

I had grenadier infantry in the city and also one gebirgsjager in mountains. Both units had 4 or 5 entrenchment. The one in the mountains got hit by US plane and it took of 3 or 4 SPs of of it. The one in the city got bombarded by one artillery piece and it got suppressed very easily. When entrenchment was reduced to to 2 it got pummeled from 10 SP to 5 SP from 1 or 2 artillery hits...

All in all I don't like this! I will actually do the following. I will play the mod on colonel difficulty but under 1.20 rules. I like larger entrenchment much more. Sure it will be hell in Ardenes, but under colonel my units should be very experienced by then, although the prestige issue might be a problem, but I will try it anyways.

captainjack
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by captainjack » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:45 am

I play under 1.2 rules (but without the prestige soft cap), and find 44 East pretty tough even without prestige cap - it seems that the difference between success and failure is quite small. It seems reasonably straightforward if you get everything in the right place, pull out front line units to resupply and replace with a suitable unit at the right time and time your advances very carefully. Otherwise there's an unpleasant flushing sound as your experienced core units start disappearing down the toilet very quickly.

Good combat heroes seem to be more important than ever - especially defence heroes, but in defensive scenarios infantry with move heroes are particularly handy for getting through the lines of AA and artillery to reach the front. I've had a few nasty moments when there was a gap that nobody could fill - goodbye 5* artillery unit from 1939!

However, I've not yet made it to 45East, though each time I have got further into 44 East before heading to Africa for a change of pace and some sunshine.

In contrast, while West can be a challenge, I've always managed to do OK (so far) and I've only ever played it under 1.2 rules. I suspect it's because I'm more comfortable with attacking scenarios and don't mind being methodical, so the poor weather early in 45 West is mainly annoying for the constant refuelling rather than for other effects. Also under 1.2 I usually keep my airforce to a minimum due to the increased danger from enemy flak, so bad weather again has limited effect on that.

timek28
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by timek28 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:01 am

Nice observations. Obviously 1.20 has introduced the changes needed. I also agree about the heroes, although I must say I don't really micromanage heroes. The most important ones for me are the ranged ones and as you said movement ones. I know which are they. Others I use without checking out too much about their stats (usually +/- 1 attack or defense which makes things pretty much the same).

I cannot argue about GC East as it has been a long time since I have played it

On the other hand GC West is completely OK, but as you said I will probably need to turn down cap manually. Well even without the cap the prestige that player gets in the GC West is dismal. So sometimes there is not a big difference between having cap and not having it. What I hate about the cap is that it reduces your prestige per day (150 in Sicily is very important) as well as prestige per VH. Not so much that it reduces DV or MV prestige. For example sometimes it can reduce prestige for getting a VH from 100 to say 30 which is really too much.

I guess experimentation is the best way to find out which combination of difficulty to play on. The point is to find difficulty that is not too hard and frustrating and that rewards good strategy and planning. Of course one should avoid playing on easy difficulties that makes game boring and predictable.

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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by ThvN » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:55 pm

The softcap couldn't be tested very thoroughly, so I think Rudankort will be open to suggestions to improve it. For GC '44 West (and East) it is very restrictive, but playable on lower difficulty. I like the fact that it makes you think more about purchasing cost-effective units (like StuG IV) instead of just the best. But the later years become increasingly difficult because losing experienced units can cause some kind of reversed snowball effect were your green units never survive long enough (without expensive replacements during scenarios) to have a good chance. The only units quick enough to build experience are level bombers and artillery. But that doesn't help when facing three-star KV-85's.

I have been testing all kinds of tweaks and changes for myself, not only the softcap but also for movement (more movement types), terrain (ini caps, entrenchment levels), and some other things. I've decided on testing the changes in AK, since I have the most experience with that and can see the effects more quickly. Some mods did not work but I found some things that seem OK, and in the process learned more about the effects of some game mechanism as well. But it is slow work, as I have other obligations as well.

I am still playing with the softcap, but I've altered the values: it comes in a little sooner (!) but the prestige point where it maxes out is increased a lot, and the max reduction is also lessened. I'm hoping the effect will build more gradually and will be not as severe in the later stages. I didn't like that you had to save up a big pool of prestige to be able to survive the later years. GC West was designed to be very tight on prestige and force the player to be creative with selling units etc. . I haven't tested the current settings in the GC's though, but the GC settings can be tweaked seperately.

About the entrenchment bonus: my guess behind the changes is that artillery was too powerful and it was too easy to suppress heavily entrenched infantry and than attacking them safely with a tank. So all you needed were heavy artillery pieces and tanks to capture city hexes. I'm guessing that this was nerfed and infantry was given a little boost so they would be more effective in attacking entrenched units.

I've experimented with the entrenchment bonus, and in combination with modded terrain stats the results were 'interesting'. Fun example: I went too far one time and made it so that infantry would gain two entrenchment levels in certain terrain each turn. When I bombarded this infantry in a fortification hex I needed two artillery pieces and the entrenchment level would simply go back at the original each turn. So only with three units continuously bombarding them I could eventually reduce entrenchment. This is too much like WW1 so I toned it down but the difficulty from scenario to scenario is fluctuating noticably (like you noticed in Celles/Bastogne). To re-balance it would require some tweaks to the scenarios as well, but that is a huge amount of work.

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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by JimmyC » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:47 am

I’m almost at the end of ’42 and really like the 1.2 rules compared to the old ones – particularly:
- reinforcing meaning that unit is suppressed for the next turn (such a great rule. I cant emphasize enough how good this is!)
- being able to force surrenders
- artillery being a bit less OP
- Heroes
I’m playing on General and have amassed a heap of prestige (around 53,000 in the middle of escape Stalingrad now). I think its because I usually field a small airforce and also that I like the StuG (both AT and artillery variants) and therefore am generally fairly light on tanks. But I know things are going to be bad in ’43, so maybe I will change my mind then.

captainjack
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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by captainjack » Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:22 am

The custom controls should help solve concerns over too much or too little prestige, especially now that you can change difficulty level between scenarios.
If you think you are accumulating too much prestige - try reducing prestige setting to 75%. Not enough - try setting it to 120% or more.

I have tried AK at 75% - that can make quite a difference, but after a few tries in East I now leave it as standard and I view a big pile of prestige as a mark of success.

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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by ThorHa » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:55 am

JimmyC wrote:I’m playing on General and have amassed a heap of prestige (around 53,000 in the middle of escape Stalingrad now).
You might want to take a look on my previous analysis of losses in 43. Basically 53.000 is a good starter, 43 will cost you (good gameplay a prerequisite of course) about 10 to 12.000 net (gains minus repairs and upgrades).

Regards,
Thorsten

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Re: GC West on FM difficulty

Post by JimmyC » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:50 am

ThorHa wrote:... (good gameplay a prerequisite of course)...
A fatal assumption to make! My gameplay is generally ok, with bouts of retardedness that really cost me. :P
I'm actually yet to buy the '43 GC yet. Am thinking to perhaps try one of the mods for a while instead, as i'm not sure i will enjoy it when the difficulty ramps up... undecided at this stage.

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