Dear Star Wars and Company of Heroes fans,
First of all, we would like to give huge thanks to our entire community, which made us win the 6th place of 2017 Upcoming Mod of The Year Competition ! It feels incredible for us, as well as the number of watchers and comments we get every day. So, a very, very big thank you all !
This article is about two things : showing off some of the latest features we've been working on, and explaining a bit of the gameplay of the planned first release. So that you can sort everything out and be aware of what is coming.
A word about Alpha 0
I want to say it as many times as I can, so nothing is misunderstood : our first release will be nothing more than a demo. A gift to let you toy with our assets and work so far.
But, even though it is absolutely not representative of the final game, we want to pack as many gameplay ideas as possible in it, so it gives the right feeling when you play it. It will miss a lot of features : upgrades, some abilities, base building, vehicles, etc... But in the great lines, we want to give you a first overview of how it will feel as far as balance and infantry are concerned.
We are only missing one important unit model for now : the Rebel SpeOps. Nevertheless, we have complete troops rosters for both factions. Moreover, we will have one complete Doctrine Tree for each side. Most of it is explained below.
The Rebel Alliance is composed of a few, valuable soldiers. Every man is important and can play a decisive role in the battle. As such, their units are very specialised, and must be maneuvered carefully to not be outnumbered by Empire forces.
The Guerilla Doctrine :
It is the command tree available for now. It provides a passive bonus (see in the troops section) and nasty abilities to be used in a very versatile way. It ranges from booby traps to camouflages, but most importantly, the Listening Post system :
Smugglers are allowed to build small camouflaged antennae, which act as on-the-field reinforcement points (remember, no vehicle, so no half-track role) as well as giving field of view. It also allows, once the corresponding command ability is unlocked, two specific units to be deployed on it at any time.
But that's not all : you can deploy useful booby traps to disorient, reveal and entually (for more resources) kill the enemy. You can create camouflage for all your static units.
The late game abilities are the SpecOps call-in : they can be deployed on any Listening Post and will do a wonderful job as one of the best infantry unit of the game, all situations included. Then, the Spies ability will grant you field of view, camouflage vision and will reduce the enemy's fov so you can strike a decisive hit.
All in all, the Guerilla Tree is a quick, harassment-based doctrine relying heavily on intel, camouflage and on-the-field troops deployement. It will ask a lot of micro, but this is the entire idea of the Alliance.
We now have our first custom gameplay building : a landing pad with light and smoke effects ! Imperial version will have the Empire sigil in the center.
Basic troops :
- Smugglers : At the same time the engineering unit and the basic soldiers of the Alliance. This 4-man squad is thus very valuable. It can hold a position quite effectively but it will quickly get outnumbered too. With the Guerilla Tree it can camouflage from the begining of the game, making them even more useful.
- Fireteam : A very quick, not too expensive, 2-man squad used for gathering intel and sniping. With the Guerilla Tree, it will capture points faster and gain better sniping abilities (as well as fov). It is one of the squad that can be deployed on LPs/
- Weapon Team : A 4-man squad with a DLT-19 blaster mg. The biggest firepower you will find in early game, and a good solution to the overwhelming imperial troopers. You will have to protect them carefully though. Once vehicles and appropriate models are out, they will be upgradeable to mortars or AT units.
Advanced Troops :
- Assault Team : A 5-man squad able to defeat Stormtroopers in the good situation. They are equipped with assault blaster for a lot of firepower. Their goal is to keep attacking. They will receive bonuses while moving and will be granted a grenade assault ability to sweep enemy defensive positions. They are the second deployable unit on LPs.
- Fleet Troopers : The opposite of the previous Assault team. Fleet Troopers must be used in defence. They will be granted bonuses while static and even more when under cover. These 2 squads used together in their corresponding tactics will be the most effective combo you can find. When using their bonuses, they will be able to easily fight against Stormtroopers.
Advanced troops are the second line of units in the single building that is available for now. They cost fuel and thus are more of higher tier units. In the case of rebels, you must really try to save time until you can field both of these squads.
The Rebels have 3 Warfares. These are passive abilities that improve some of your troops. Each Warfare is associated with the corresponding Command Tree. But you start with all 3 available. It is only when you select a tree that it will lock the other 2 Warfares and only keep the corresponding one. As a result, as long as the rebel player does not choose any tree, it benefits from the bonuses of all 3 Warfares, making all its troops a bit more effective in early game.
One of the model we are working on : a small walker scavenged from the Clone Wars, the AT-RT will serve the Alliance as fast recon and anti-infantry units.
As opposed to the Rebel Alliance, not all soldiers of the Empire are worth worrying about their lives. Only the Stormtroopers will need attention. But overall, you will need much less micro to drive an imperial assault. Do not think, however, that the Empire is that brain-dead faction where you just create a lot of dudes and send them to slaughter. Rebels are easily able to counter you with a bit of effort.
The 501st Legion Doctrine :
This tree is an exclusive support to your infantry. The right side will provide you with morale, rate of fire and damage boosts, as well as an ability to reduce the infantry recruitment time to 0, allowing you to create a massive force quickly. On the left side you will find the deadly 501st Stormtroopers and an ability that has not yet been found. So if you have any idea, please comment below.
The late game abilities are the orbital bombardment, which will cause total destruction in enemy ranks if you manage to aim it right.
More interesting is the left side last ability : Jedi Hunters which will give 501st Stormtroopers an incredible two-sided ability to basically track, and murder a single infantry unit. Making them one of the most fearsome squad on the battlefield.
Orbital barrage in action. Video was made for MoTY but for some reason I couldn't upload it sooner on ModDB. So don't mind the last part.
Basic Troops :
- Engineers : As opposed to rebel ones, imperial engineers are NOT supposed to be used in a combat role. Only once it is clear you will be able to use them for heavy demolition work. However, in this first version (so they are useful to something) they will be able to build the powerful DF.9 turret.
- Army Troopers : A 9-man squad (yes, 9 !) used to capture and outnumber rebel position. They are cheap, but only effective when 3 against 1. Meanwhile, they can be used to desguise the real assault, or to disturb your enemy mgs.
- Scout Troopers : Pretty much the equivalent of the rebel Fire team, so that snipers are the same.
- Stormtroopers : THE imperial unit. A versatile 6-man squad usable in every situation. They pack a punch and are hard to take down. Thanks to their plastoid armours, they can survive a laser hit, and have a chance to get back on their feet. However, they cost A LOT. The goal is to make their cost decrease as the battle goes on, so they become your main force at the moment the rebel player gets his "advanced troops".
Advanced Troops :
- Shocktroopers : Pure firepower in a 4-man squad. They bring 2 DLT-19 but should not let enemies close up with them.
- Storm Commandos : Pure stealth. Not incredible in terms of combat performance, but perfect at sneaking and eliminating lone targets.
The Imperial Officer is being questionned, as we don't have a model for him.
The Dark Side of The Force :
It would be a shame to have a Galactic Civil War thing without having a Darth Vader. However, let the hype get wrecked now, it won't be possible in CoH. It would require heavy animating work and would be more ridiculous than useful. Plus, how do you balance such a unit ?
As a result, we have, instead, the ability to use the powers of Vader as an off-map support : it costs a Command Point, but will allow you to reveal the map, camouflage your army or strike fear in the enemy troops to force a retreat.
The famous AT-ST ! Not finished yet, but ready soon. Special credit goes to KaelusSkevardKS for helping Ebonhawk with this model.
The map you saw in the trailer had to be re-done from scratch, because of mapping mistakes like playable area size and technical stuff like that... But the new one will keep the exact same atmosphere. It is a very small, action-packed map, suitable for infantry combat.
We have a variety of 7 different buildings, that are unfortunately not destructible now, and not enterable (which isn't a problem since they don't have windows anyway). The map will feature small compounds around each of the strategic point and an avenue at the central VP. Enough for epic combat !
Heavy WIP, and low res shot from the Worldbuilder. Missing splats, ruins, cover, etc...
We hope you enjoyed that little bit of an update/explanation. Let's end it with some FAQ :
- Q : Where is the download ?
- A : There isn't yet. Once released, you will find it within the files section of the site.
- Q : Will it be released on Steam ?
- A : No. Because we want to avoid Steam as much as possible for multiple reasons.
- Q : Will there be The Clone Wars era ?
- A : Not yet, but this is planned. As soon as the Galactic Civil War is done.
- Q : Why are you removing base building ?
- A : We are not. It's only because we don't have enough units to make base building worth. Once we get more squads, more of CoH original gameplay will come back.
- Q : Will there be heroes ? (Vader, Luke, etc...)
- A : ... No... Because it would be way to hard. And you coudln't balance them properly. And what would be the reason to make them play a role in a random battle ?
- Q : I disagree with some of the points you explained above !
- A : Please comment in a constructive manner. We like getting everyone's two cents, but you must also understand that we can't change the ideas we have ENTIRELY.
- Q : How can I help ?
- A : PM me if you want to help. I'm sure we will find something to do together. And as always, mapping is the easiest way to get involved.
- Q : Why is the foot of the AT-ST black ?
- A : Excellent question, that render must have f*cked up somewhere...
- Q : Can I comment because my question isn't there ?
- A : Sure, please do.
And that is all ! Stay tuned for more, and as alway, May the Force be with You !
The Star Wars Frontlines dev team
Ebonhawk - 3D and 2D artist, project lead
Eol - Game design, programming, ModDB management
Ragpost - Music mix and design (with respect of J. Williams' work of course)
SirPsycho – Skill, time, patience and knowledge. Thanks a lot.
And BurtondrummerNY for his greatly appreciated help and very first models !