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The fifth and last article of our Gameplay Week series, detailing some of the gameplay changes being made for Dawn of Victory that will distinguish it from Sins of a Solar Empire. Today's feature is on the playstyle of the Greater German Reich faction.
Posted by hydrocarbon000 on Apr 3rd, 2009
Welcome to what's probably our last Gameplay Week feature, barring anything exciting we come up with. The German side is a lot less transparent as far as gameplay: I think everyone knows that the Soviets just run in with a lot of guns, but so far we've given very little information to how the Germans look and play.
Unlike the Soviet Union, German corvettes are few and expensive. This is for a reason, though: their variety and power rivals, if not exceeds, most of the other factions' frigates. Their corvettes receive stacking buffs when grouped, aiding their survivability and guiding the player toward using them in small packs. The German player has access to a railgun corvette from the beginning, as well as a heavy corvette with medium armor and both a cannon battery and anti-strike craft defenses and a standard missile corvette with anti-strikecraft capability.
In fact, the Germans have a playstyle that is almost completely the antithesis of the Soviet player. The Reich uses missiles for strike craft destruction and light duties, but switches to railguns, projectile weapons, for anti-cruiser and anti-capital roles. As expected, this gives them a rather nice boost to range at every point in the game. We didn't want to make them simply the opposite of the Soviet playstyle or vice versa in laziness, though: the German side has rather decent armor, and they have a couple different unique frigates to compensate for corvettes being the backbone of assault fleets. These frigates are more defense oriented: for example, the Interdiction Frigate specializes in detecting and delaying enemy jumps, and the Minelayer Frigate drops mines around planets.
Planet defense is a big deal for the GGR player: while losing a planet is usually disastrous for any other player, the German player has it even worse. Each planet gives much more resource income: this means the Reich player doesn't have to be very aggressive (we understand the irony here) at the start of the game to compete effectively. A Reich player should use their time and resources to raid enemy colonization with corvette groups and upgrade their own planets. German players will also be able to upgrade their planets with extremely powerful but expensive railgun turrets: these turrets have extremely long range and therefore provide each other overlapping fields of fire in most cases, creating a defense grid that's unmatched by any other faction.
Naturally, the German side gets quite a boost to propaganda, having a tree about as long as the Advent's and natural bonuses. This is not to say they can sit in their planet gravity well and flip everything through turtling, but it is a good way to sap the enemy's resource income.
German cruisers aren't particularly powerful in sheer weapon damage, but are agile, ranged, and have excellent special abilities allowing them to make powerful barrages and quickly move out of range. Their Medium Cruiser has excellent versatility, with a light cannon, light railgun, and regular railgun array, allowing it to tackle a variety of threats.
German capital ships are also relatively varied, with a pure damage battleship that has a similar weapon layout to the Medium Cruiser but with more armor (it's equivalent more to a battlecruiser with lots of plating), a carrier, but also an assault ship, the only faction to do so. Its options and special abilities will allow a GGR player to better engage ships in close combat, if they are forced to do so, and also wall off long range ships like railgun frigates with mines so the enemy can't close to destroy them.
The German Greater Reich player will be focused on corvette raids, planet defense, and firing from range. Their ships are agile and can quickly retreat, set up a position, then retreat again. Players will need to balance their time between management of units and management of planets more than any other player to succeed. If you've ever played Team Fortress 2, the German player is the Scout and the Soviet player is the Heavy: the GGR makes quick strikes darting in and out while the USSR has massive damage potential if it can survive a while.
Light Cannon/Deck Gun and Autocannon: the same role and damage type as the Soviet versions, although German autocannons are lower caliber.
Anti-Air Missiles: Missiles that take the place of flak: good damage and excellent accuracy, fire in clusters. Also present on the German Fighter (not the interceptor).
Anti-Ship Missiles: Anti-medium missiles that launch from a variety of ships even down into the cruisers, as well as bombers.
Light Railgun: Small railguns, excellent against heavy targets from range.
Railgun: The main weapon of the GGR, they fire from most larger ships, as well as surprisingly early on the Railgun Frigate, allowing these frigates to take on other factions' cruisers from range.