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Showcase of one of the major features of Company of Heroes: Back to Basics 5.0; the revised Wehrmacht faction.

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The next topic we are covering are the design changes for Wehrmacht that are part of the upcoming Company of Heroes: Back to Basics 5.0 update.

Introduction

The Wehrmacht is a versatile faction with a wide variety of units in the base arsenal. However, it became apparent that some unit and tech choices were favoured heavily over others. This resulted in a limited amount of viable strategies which in turn led to repetitive army compositions.

The tech tree features a linear progression in the form of phases that are researched at the Headquarters. These phases unlock the respective tier structures, but players aren’t obliged to build them to progress further. The faction has a unique trait of featuring two distinct main infantry units: Volksgrenadiers and Grenadiers.

This unique trait could rarely be used to its fullest potential, as the faction was forced to open with the Wehrmacht Quarters (T1) due to the high cost and long research time to advance to the Skirmish Phase. Additionally, the faction often relies on utilising the MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team, further emphasizing the dependency on T1.

The reliance on T1 and long research times meant that the Wehrmacht was often forced to build T2 after T1 in order to gain access to reliable anti-vehicle capabilities. This in turn led to an overall poorly scaled progression towards the later stages of a game, as both the Sturm Armory (T3) and Panzer Kommand (T4) were expensive and time consuming to tech towards.

The late availability of T3 meant that players would often favour T4 in the end, which also resulted in that the Sd.Kfz. 251 “Stuka Zu Fuss”, Ostwind Flakpanzer, and Panther were preferred over units such as the Nebelwerfer 41, Sd.Kfz. 234 Puma, Sturmgeschütz IV, and Panzer IV.

With the removal of purchasable veterancy for most unit types, the Kampfkraft Centre has for a long time seen little to no purpose besides holding some universal technology upgrades. Lastly, the faction was missing a form of passive healing, and was forced to rely on singular medical kits that cost munitions to use.

Core design changes

Our goal was to permit additional tech progressions and strategies, while at the same time increasing the appeal of certain units. The result is that the unit availability within the respective tier structures was reorganized, and additional resourcing and technology upgrades were added.

To summarise addressed items:

  • Rebalanced the upgrade costs and research/construction times of all the phase upgrades and tier structures.
  • Panzer Kommand is now available during the Assault Phase, and the Ostwind Flakpanzer and Panzer IV may be deployed during this phase. The Panther and Tiger require the Battle Phase.
  • Reorganized the base unit arsenal to make both T1 and T2 openings possible.
  • The MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team and Leutnant are now available in the Headquarters (T0), and the Gr.34 81 mm Mortar Team may be deployed from the Wehrmacht Quarters (T1).
  • Knight’s Cross Holders are now available in the Sturm Armory (T3).
  • “Stuka Zu Fuss” upgrade was removed from the Sd.Kfz. 251 Halftrack as it reduced the appeal of the Nebelwerfer.
  • Introduced two new units into the base arsenal: The Opel Blitz Ambulance in T2, and the Tiger in T4.
  • Kampfkraft Centre was revised into a proper auxiliary tier, with the focus on resourcing and technology upgrades.

The revised tech tree is as follows:

tech tree new

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hq T0 – Headquarters



pios Pioneers (3) (200 mp)

A small but adaptable engineer unit equipped with MP40 Submachine Guns. Decent at supporting mainline infantry in close ranged combat. Can perform repairs to structures and vehicles, and when issued with Improved Equipment, throw Grenades. Can be upgraded with a Flamethrower for increased firepower, or a minesweeper to counter minefields. Pioneers construct basic defensive structures as well as all base structures.


hmg MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team (3) (270 mp)

The iconic Heavy Machine Gun Team that forms the backbone of early game Wehrmacht forces. The MG42 is great at providing area suppression and supporting advancing infantry. Devastating on all ranges, the MG42 synergizes well with fire support from Mortar Teams, or mainline infantry.


lt Leutnant (1) (220 mp)

Offers an overall boost in combat efficiency to all infantry in its vicinity, whilst also able to use Inspire; temporarily increasing the firepower of singular squads. Captures territory twice the default rate, especially useful for early game map dominance. Gains veterancy from nearby infantry squads that share a percentage of their veterancy progression.

The Leutnant can supervise structures for vastly faster production times, a unique trait that scales well together with both T1 and T2 openings. Limited to one.


grenade Improved Equipment (150 mp, 15 fuel)

Issue Stielgranate 24 Grenades to Pioneers and Volksgrenadiers, and Panzerfausts to Volksgrenadiers and Knight’s Cross Holders.


phase2 Escalate to Skirmish Phase (140 mp, 25 fuel)

Requisition the Krieg Barracks, and Medical Kits for infantry squads.


t3u Escalate to Assault Phase (150 mp, 45 fuel)

Requisition the Sturm Armory, Panzer Kommand, and Kampfkraft Centre.


phase4 Escalate to Battle Phase (150 mp, 50 fuel)

Requisition the deployment of the Panther and Tiger, and Field Medical Kits for infantry squads.

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t1 T1 – Wehrmacht Quarters (180 mp, 15 fuel)



volks Volksgrenadiers (5) (280 mp)

Basic main infantry unit. Volksgrenadiers are equipped with Kar98k rifles and excel at fighting on longer ranges, synergizing well with the suppressive capabilities of MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Teams.

May be upgraded with MP40 Submachine Guns to transition their combat effectiveness to close and medium ranged combat. Volksgrenadiers can throw Stielgranate 24 Grenades and use Panzerfausts when issued with Improved Equipment.


mortar Mortar Team (4) (260 mp)

Mortar Teams offer effective indirect fire support with the Gr.34 81 mm Mortar. Besides the default mortar barrage, Mortar Teams can also barrage areas with smoke to screen units from fire.


sniper Sniper (1) (320 mp)

Specialised anti-infantry unit. Equipped with the Gewehr 43 Sniper Rifle, Snipers elimate infantry targets with single shot precision at extreme ranges, albeit with a long initial aim time and slow rate of fire. Sniper are more combat effective when remaining stationary, and suffer from movement penalties right after firing. Snipers are also less efficient when close to friendly infantry squads.

Snipers offer a way to dictate engagements against infantry targets, are great for initiating attacks, and provide excellent fire-support against team weapons.


bike Motorcycle (160 mp, 5 fuel)

schwimm Alternative: Schwimmwagen (180 mp, 5 fuel)

Agile reconnaissance vehicles capable of capturing territory, strong spotting capabilities and providing early game fire support. Motorcycles and Schwimmwagens offer additional utility in the form of Mark Target. Marked units will temporarily suffer from increased received accuracy and damage. While the Motorcycle is vastly more agile, the Schwimmwagen is capable of reversing.


vet1 Veteran Infantry (200 mp, 70 fuel)

Higher level training results in higher combat efficiency. Local and future infantry units are issued Veterancy Rank 1. Affected units include Pioneers, Leutnant, Volksgrenadiers, Grenadiers, Stormtrooper, Knights Cross Holders, MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Teams, Mortar Teams, Sniper Teams, Schützen, Stormtroopers, and Obergrenadiers.

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t2 T2 – Krieg Barracks (200 mp, 25 fuel)



grens Grenadiers (4) (300 mp)

Versatile main infantry unit, capable of adapting to any situation. Grenadiers come equipped with kar98k rifles and Stielgranate 24 Grenades by default, and thrive at static ranged combat. Can be upgraded with an MG42 Light Machine Gun for an overall boost in firepower, or a Panzerschreck for reliable anti-vehicle capabilities.

Grenadiers offer exceptional flexbility and synergy with most units the Wehrmacht can field, forming
a solid backbone throughout the course of any game.


pak40 75 mm PaK 40 Anti-Tank Gun (4) (290 mp)

Powerful Anti-Tank Gun capable of tackling all vehicle threat types with menacing accuracy and stopping power.

Anti-Tank Gun mechanics have seen a series of quality of life improvements, including more responsive crew behavior for easier and more comfortable setup and relocations.


halftrack Sd.Kfz. 251 Halftrack (260 mp, 25 fuel)

Armoured troop transport that offers great early and mid-game synergy with infantry orientated tactics. Up to 10 infantrymen, or two squads in total, can be loaded into the halftrack. Loaded infantry will visibly occupy the truck's open-top compartment, and can independently target enemy units with their own weapons. May capture territory with infantry loaded, and can Set-Up in friendly territory to offer a small reinforce radius.

While somewhat sturdy, the armour cannot withstand continuous fire from small arms, and is easily countered with armour-piercing ammunition and other anti-tank weaponry.

The Sd.Kfz. 251 can be upgraded with a dual set of flamethrowers to provide excellent area of effect firepower, but loses the ability to transport and reinforce troops.


opel Opel Blitz Ambulance (150 mp, 15 fuel)

A mobile and unarmed healing vehicle, capable of passively healing infantry that are out of combat. Synergizes well with set-up Sd.Kfz. 251 Halftracks, or may be placed within the base to quickly heal retreated infantry squads.

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t3 T3 – Sturm Armory (240 mp, 35 fuel)



kch Knight’s Cross Holders (4) (360 mp)

Elite assault infantry equipped with STG44 Assault Rifles and Stielgranate 24 Grenades by default. Knight’s Cross Holders excel at close to medium ranged combat, posing a formidable force against any infantry unit. This offensive playstyle synergizes well with the suppressive capabilities of the MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team, and fire-support from mainline infantry.


puma Sd.Kfz. 234 Armored Car (250 mp, 25 fuel)

The Sd.Kfz. 234 “Puma” fills out the mobile roster of the Wehrmacht, capable of providing efficient fire support with its fast firing 20 mm KwK 38 cannon and coaxial MG42 Light Machine Gun. While somewhat sturdy against small arms fire, the Puma is vulnerable to armor-piercing ammunition and anti-tank weaponry.

Can be upgunned with a 50 mm KwK 39 tank gun that trades anti-infantry effectiveness for increased anti-vehicle capabilities.


nebel Nebelwerfer 41 (4) (300 mp)

Rocket artillery capable of providing effective long range indirect fire support. The Nebelwefer is an efficient tool to soften up defensive positions and flush out infantry with its incendiary ammunition.


stug Sturmgeschütz IV (340 mp, 65 fuel)

Heavily armoured assault gun featuring a forward mounted 75 mm StuK 40 tank gun. The StuG has strong frontal armor capable of deflecting incoming fire, but the limited gun traversing angles make it vulnerable to flanking attacks.

The StuG can be equipped with an MG42 Light Machine Gun for additional firepower against infantry, and may be upgraded globally with Schürzen (Armor Skirts) for increased protection against infantry anti-tank weaponry.

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t4 T4 – Panzer Kommand (240 mp, 50 fuel)



ostwind Ostwind Flakpanzer (410 mp, 70 fuel)

Mounting the rapid firing 37 mm Flak 43 gun, the Ostwind is a specialised platform that is highly effective against Infantry and Light Vehicles, and has the capability of shooting down Aircraft.


pziv Panzer IV (420 mp, 90 fuel)

The Panzer IV is a flexible tank outfitted with the long barreled 75 mm KwK 39 L/48 tank gun, that is capable of adapting to any situation. The Panzer IV can be equipped with an MG42 Light Machine Gun for additional firepower against infantry, and may be upgraded globally with Schürzen (Armor Skirts) for increased protection against infantry anti-tank weaponry.


panther Panther (580 mp, 140 fuel)

The Panther is a highly efficient machine that sports excellent overall dynamics with regards to mobility, survivability and firepower. The Panther can be equipped with an MG42 Light Machine Gun for additional firepower against infantry, and may be upgraded globally with Schürzen (Armor Skirts) for increased protection against infantry anti-tank weaponry.


tiger Tiger (680 mp, 160 fuel)

A formidable heavy tank that combines thick allround armor with the devastating 88 mm KwK 36 L/56 tank gun. The Tiger is capable of handling any threat type with great efficiency, but its inadequate mobility and large size make it vulnerable to flanking attacks. Can be equipped with an MG42 Light Machine Gun for additional firepower against infantry.

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kkc Auxiliary Tier - Kampfkraft Centre (100 mp, 50 fuel)


The Kampfkraft Centre decreases unit upkeep costs by 10% by default.


popcap1 Level 1 Kampfkraft (350 mp, 10 fuel)

Expand operations by increasing the maximum population cap by 20 population.


popcap2 Level 2 Kampfkraft (350 mp, 10 fuel)

Expand operations further by increasing the maximum population cap by an additional 20 population.


skirts Schürzen (180 mp, 30 fuel)

Upgrade tanks with armor skirts, that act as spaced armor. Spaced armor reduces the penetration chance and damage taken from high-explosive and shaped-charged ammunition. Affected vehicles include the Sturmgeschütz IV, Panzer IV and Panther.

Weapons featuring shaped-charged ammunition are the M9 Bazooka, M18 Recoilless Rifle, and PIAT. High-Explosive ammunition includes all artillery shells.


manpower Manpower Push

Temporarily increase manpower income at the cost of fuel income. For a duration of 60 seconds, manpower production is boosted by 25% for a 80% fuel income drain.

The general concept behind this ability is to permit the Wehrmacht to translate fuel income into manpower production. Quickly accumulating a large amount of manpower can be especially useful when needing to reinforce multiple squads, or when saving up for an expensive unit.

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Epilogue

Thank you for reading this article! We hope you are all staying safe and taking care of one another during these strange times. If we've piqued your interest, please consider joining our Discord.

This discord server is where we keep our on-going changelogs, and offers the opportunity to be in direct contact with us concerning the mod. The platform is also the entrance to gaining access to the Back to Basics 5.0 Sandbox.

btb discord


Cheers,

AGameAnx and Celution

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Comments
Wingflierx
Wingflierx

Is it worth spending 150 MP and 50 fuel just to escalate to the Battle Phase so you can spend another 600+ manpower and ~150 fuel for a Tiger or Panther?

For the investment to be worth it, these would truly have to be game ending units. Being the rough equivalent of their COH2 counterparts seems like nowhere near enough.

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AGameAnx
AGameAnx

It's not wrong to say this at all. We might buff these vehicles further, the balance of everything is constantly in flux despite us working on this version for a very long time and quite actively now.

The heavy tanks have received a major set of cost buffs and T4/Tank techs have gotten cheaper just very recently, the numbers we've presented here are not very likely to be final on quite a few things, this is just to give a general idea of the faction's base arsenal.

That said, it's actually not that big of a deal to gather that much resources for a tank. It's expensive, true, but you can control your resources much easier with our conversion and upkeep abilities. It's much more likely that you will be able to align your resources perfectly due to conversion. The overall flow of resources has been changed drastically in 5.0 too, it's definitely not impossible to afford these tanks. I'd say you'll see slightly fewer units overall, but upkeep is also reduced slightly and reliance on territory is also reduced.

We're also preparing a command tree article which will further give an idea of how the factions play now. Due to command trees being quite flexible it's not that difficult to get "stepping stone" units which allow you to rush heavier tanks a lot more easily than in the past. On the other side of the coin, you can also rush quite powerful things on the command tree but the way those paths are designed might require you to invest more heavily in the base faction arsenal to not die to enemy pressure. For sure there was quite a long period of time where 5.0 felt like the best playstyle was to make various compositions of T1 to T3 units and then follow up with powerful doctrinal abilities or units. We're very aware of this being a delicate balance.

In my opinion coh2 tanks are already too game ending and too insanely powerful, I think our tank power level is still slightly below that of coh2. Sure, the power of coh2 tanks is offset by abundance of disabling abilities and very powerful and accessible AT guns and tank destroyers, but that's not how CoH1 is designed. Tank combat just feels different, in our mod it's mostly about keeping mid to long range and the general progression of combat in our mod is very different - much more methodical. Coh2 is very a-move-around-the-whole-map-oriented until super lategame where instead it becomes blob vs blob. I like how battles feel in our mod a lot lot more.

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AGameAnx
AGameAnx

It really wasn't that long ago where we basically thought of tanks as infinite value generators which are quite toxic on combat and how players interact... With max range shots stopping fights before they started, and armor, which meant that defensive players would never be in danger of losing their tank blob. All of this balance changed drastically in 5.0 and we're still in the process of fine-tuning it all.

There was a period of time where both the overall damage infantry takes and the speed of tanks was reduced. We introduced a new criticals system along with that to make tanks not just boring paperweight, which also included a hefty vehicle hitpoint buff. In 5.0 tanks will take a few more hits but will suffer more temporary and mild criticals, indicating them taking real damage. It feels quite unique and cool.

In the most recent iteration now tanks are once again meant to feel very powerful and mobile, the mobility values are back to what they were originally.

Despite us bringing back the mobility, and increasing the damage almost completely back to where it used to be, tanks also retained their survivability that was added with the criticals system. This is because of AT guns receiving a hefty range buff. AT guns are now properly able to dislodge defensive tank positions, mitigating a playstyle which used to be a massive balance issue of our mod.

The overall result so far is that tanks don't get to slowly bleed the opponent out by constantly poking them down from max range anymore (at least not nearly as much), it is much more about being mobile and avoiding arcs of fire. The tanks won't have as much of a combat up-time, but their immediate damage output is much more rapid. Feels a lot more fun in my opinion.

All of the above does apply to T3 units to some degree but those have seen a ton of rebalances of their own. Generally the T3 vehicles and lighter tanks remain extremely fragile. Staying on T3 for prolonged time is definitely possible, but it's not the same playstyle. It's one of those cases where the risk vs reward becomes too great after a while, and it's a tempo-based approach, mostly suitable for players who are supremely confident in their play and multitasking. Heavy tanks are much more of a brute force approach, often used for supplementing a solid core of infantry. And obviously there are playstyles which still focus mostly on infantry too (they're even enabled much more heavily in 5.0 due to conversion), something that doesn't exist in coh2 at all.

TL;DR - the balance concerns are probably warranted, but power level of tanks has been changed a lot and considered quite carefully. Judging it from a short bit of text or by looking at the initial costs is difficult. Tanks have seen major usability, accessibility and strength improvements over the course of 5.0 development, so even if these costs seem high, keep in mind that we basically only buffed them since 4.1.

Thanks for reading, if you've gotten this far. I typed so much I then hesitated to post it. I bet you weren't prepared for an article within an article...

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AGameAnx
AGameAnx

We'll probably do an actual general gameplay changes article before release as well, as there were a lot of updates in that regard. I guess that's why I had a lot to say.

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Guest
Guest

AFTER READING THIS I THINK THE Wehrmacht HAVE JUST BECOME EVEN MORE "OP" THEY ALREADY HAVE A VARIETY OF VEHICLES that can counter every thing you throw at them. i usually play the allies because more challenging but playing German on hard against allies feels like normal and the opposite is said about the allies.

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Celution Author
Celution

If you look at this with a vCoH mindset, then I understand your concerns. However, if one looks at a larger perspective of how the balance and dynamics between factions are in the mod, then it's not as extreme as you think.

All I can really say is join us on Discord and try out the 5.0 Sandbox, judge for yourself, and leave us feedback accordingly.

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Guest
Guest

this mod last version is 2016??

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Celution Author
Celution

Official version - yes. Although our in-development version of Back to Basics 5.0 is publicly available.

Check out this article: Moddb.com

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Guest
Guest

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