(may preview) Sturmpioneer veterancy & schrecks

#1
4 years ago

(This is a crosspost from a coh2.org thread: https://coh2.org/topic/52619/may-preview-sturmpioneer-veterancy-needs-to-be-looked-at)

Sturmpioneer Veterancy needs to be looked at. And in particular, the Stun grenade they get at Vet3.

The addition of the schreck upgrade on Sturpioneers will have the following effects:

  • It will be able to spam Sturmpioneers; now with near impunity, as they get access to anti-vehicle
  • Schrecks will allow SPs to reach Vet5 at astronomical speeds, simply by breathing (I had 3 Vet5 Sturmsquads by the minute 28 on Rails and Metal, even though my opponents fielded no light vehicles).

This immediately becomes a major issue when somebody takes a look at the Veterancy achieved by Sturmpioneers. I am breaking that Vet down into pieces.

I know that this is a test patch, and the whole point is to actually try things out. It will be interesting to test how SPios with Schrecks behave. However, I don't feel we mete justice to the time testers take to evaluate the changes, when an issue such as this is immediately obvious:

  • If Sturmpioneers are supposed to get the schreck, their Veterancy has to be significantly slashed (just like Volks' veterancy was).

1. Stun Grenade

  • Achievable at Vet3

When that grenade hits any member of an enemy squad, the entire squad gets stunned for 5 seconds.

First of all, this grenade is bugged as hell:

  • Retreat becomes unavailable during those 5 seconds
  • If you were retreating, retreat becomes cancelled (and you get stunned)
  • The nade also occasionally derps and causes issues with weapon teams and the like.

This easily becomes a terminator grenade, the moment you realise you can use it to chainstun any collection of enemy squads. Already with 3 squads chainstunning you, this amounts to 15 seconds of non-breakable stun. This will cause your infantry to bleed a lot, when you are supposed to be fighting -- what should have been -- a dedicated AT squad (which can also repair stuff; and lay mines too).

In miragefla's competitive edition mod, stun/concussion grenades have been changed to have the following effect:

_Concussion and Stun Grenades
No longer stops units from retreating but will still slow the target momentarily when hit.

-Stun grenades now reduce speed rather than forcing units to the ground where they are unable to act._

That should address the (bug-borne) broken-ness of stun nades. However, it will also make them near-useless vs weapon teams/garrisons.

If schrecks remain on SPs, changing stun nades in that way is probably a good thing:

  • It forces the player to also invest in Volks for garrison-clearing (thus, we move away from the "1 single unit that does everything" situation which was a feature of the Volksblob)
  • Compared to PGrens, Sturms will have a disadvantage in that they have inferior grenades (even if PGren nades are overpriced).
  • If OKW wants to invest in a schreck-heavy blob, they are making themselves extremely vulnerable to MG spam.

2. Combat Veterancy

If Stun grenade wasn't as big of an issue, just look at the Veterancy bonuses. Cummulatively, Sturmpioneers achieve:

  • -48% received accuracy (Vet4)
  • +68% accuracy (Vet5)
  • (-30% cooldown)

(PS: if somebody could convert the cooldown/accuracy changes into a single + percent-DPS increase, please do so :) )

When we compare that veterancy to other, dedicated AI squads, we have:
Riflemen

  • -40% received accuracy (including Vet0)
  • +30% accuracy
  • (-20% cooldown)

Volksgrenadier

  • -29% received accuracy
  • +50% accuracy
  • (-20% cooldown)

Suppose you try to kill each of these squads using only small arms fire. If we factor received-accuracy-per-model AND the squad size, we have that:

A Sturmpioneer squad (4-man)

  • is 35% more tanky than a Volksgrenadier squad (5-man)
  • is only 7% less tanky than a (vet3) Rifleman squad (5-man)

Corollary:
A Sturmpioneer blob will bleed 35% less manpower in a firefight than an equal-cost Volks-blob.

  • It takes 125 MP to reinforce 5 Volks models.
  • It takes 120 MP to reinforce 4 Sturm models
  • As we have already shown, a Sturm squad is 35% more resistant to small arms fire than a Volks squad

Not only Sturmpioneers start strong (that's supposed to be the early-game advantage of OKW), they will scale better, and also vet faster than dedicated AI squads.

When we factor the Schrecks, the tankiness and the stun-grenades, you are going to be killing that blob, how?

  • Tanks will be put off by the Schrecks
  • Infantry can now be wiped by stun-nade spam

3. Utility/Construction

Veterancy aside, the newly-introduced Mech HQ repairs upgrade is going to be a slap to the face to whoever does NOT want to blob schrecks with the current OKW. It is completely unnecessary when you can have 3+ anti-everything SP squads.

4. Comparison to other Schreck-equiped squads

If we try to compare Sturmpioneers to Panzergrenadiers in a vacuum (just by looking at the bare stats), we have:

Sturmpioneers (300MP cost, 30 reinforce):

  • Stun grenades (gained indirectly, when upgraded with Schrecks)
  • Insane combat veterancy
  • Repairs, mines
  • (maybe minesweepers too, on top of that)

Panzergrenadiers (340MP, 34 reinforce):

  • They lose a significant portion of their AI when upgraded with double Schrecks.
  • Only have access to overpriced normal grenades.

However, there is more to that. If you must absolutely build a schreck blob, OKW will let you build up your critical mass immediately, the moment the game starts. With OST Pgrens, you still have to spend your initial manpower on something else to hold out. That something is probably going to be AI. Thus, by the time Pgrens become available you probably have to invest on something that's dedicated AT.

With OKW, there is no lossage. You can spam sturmpioneers as long as you manage the bleed. By the time the first enemy vehicle hits the field, it's a blessing; you can now begin vetting your blob, and steamrolling over enemy infantry.

Finally, I'll close this post with a quiz. Assume you have 3 Riflemen squads, and you see the enemy approaching with one Obers squad, one Sturms Schreck squad and you also spot one MG34 setting up in the distance to suppress you. Who do you focus fire on, first?

Recommended build order for 2v2 and up:
(initial SP) - SP - kubel - SP - Volks - (doesn't matter which truck; prolly Med for healing) - MG34 - MG34

Battle tips:

  • If the enemy fields an early light vehicle vs you, try NOT to finish it off. Instead keep it alive so that you can accumulate veterancy faster.

Comments

  • #2
    4 years ago
    ImperialDaneImperialD… Posts: 3,197 mod

    Kindly refrain from backseat moderating.

    Regarding the post itself. Erm.

    Your arguments seem rather thin. 3 vet 5 sturmpioneers at 28 minutes. That's hardly egregious. That's roughly when they might get vet 5 in the regular game. if you're lucky. There's a reason why a lot of players don't bother with sturmpioneers much. Their veterancy gain is terrible. So to claim it is astronomical rather raises eyebrows.

    1) Or they could just fix the stun grenade. By that same logic the wehrmacht would be impossible to stop with elite troops. It isn't. It should be fixed. But it's not the end of the world as you try to make it out as either.

    2) The Sturmpioneers also cost more in the first place than either of the other two squads and is also a lot more likely to get wiped due to it's 4 man status.

    Otherwise if what you said was such a huge issue. People would be using them a lot more. They don't. Because, they get easily wiped. That also happens to be why that spamming panzershrecks on them won't be the end of the world either. Because they are a lot more vulnerable and easier to deal with in some senses. Sure they can be a lot more potent with veterancy. But that is rather the OKW thing.

    3) Or it's not because having them repairing things means they aren't fighting, also means management. Also assumes players will only go for sturmpioneers.

    4) yeaah. Here is where it all comes falling out. You're clearly neglecting very important things here. That the Sturmpioneers ALSO lose anti-infantry by upgrading panzershrecks, and somehow try to tie the stun grenades into that. Also neglecting that Panzergrenadiers through a doctrine can also get them. And again. Stun grenades while needing a fix. Are not a wunderwaffe that will end all the allies. Also neglecting the Panzergrenadier veterancy which is also pretty solid. Also Panzergrenadiers are harder to hit, have better assault rifles and vet faster.

    It seems pretty clear you're trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. Blowing things out of proportion, resorting only to the most extreme of examples and making comparisons that clearly neglect a lot of elements.

    Fact is. They are a 4 man squad that costs 300 manpower and is slow to train. If you blob them they will have more distinct weaknesses than the Volksgrenadier blob preceeding them. That they can actually regularly hit the higher levels of veterancy is a GOOD thing since most people never bothered with more than 1 squad of them since again. They vetted terribly.

    Fact is. A lot of the stuff you are complaining about easily applies to them now yet they aren't everywhere. And the Panzershreck won't massively change that. Some will try, some will fail, some will succed. That is the game. Currently trying to go for more than 2 sturmpioneers tends to be a bad idea.

    So yeah. I disagree with your post.

  • #3
    4 years ago
    Mr_SmithMr_Smith Posts: 343
    edited May 2016

    The veterancy gaining speed is astronomical because it matches that of Volksgrenadiers. Period.

    In my 28-minute experience, each SPio squad would gain one veterancy start per 1-2 minutes AFTER the enemy started fielding vehicles. The fact that I didn't achieve Vet5 much earlier was because the enemy did not field early light vehicles that I could abuse. If this were a game on automatch, my SPs would have barely hit Vet2 by that point.

    Basically. There are 3 lesser problems here, that when combined create a balance issue:

    • Stun grenade is the big offender here
    • Enormous received accuracy is the enabler (aka, why Wermacht blobs won't work)
    • And you have single-schreck upgrades on top of that (which means that the unit is still potent in the AI department)
    • (also there's the insane thing that they have access to both sweeper and schreck at the same time, but it's so obvious I forgot to mention :( )

    I am specifically referring to Schreck Sturmpios in the balance patch. The rate that they receive veterancy is astronomical. This is similar to just about ANY infantry that can get access to AT weapons (be it Schrecks, Zooks, PIATs, etc).

    People do NOT spam Sturmpios in the live version (automatch) for the following reasons:

    • Sturmpios confer absolutely 0 AT utility. You only need 1 Sturmpio for mine-play, and that's about it
    • Volks are cheaper and simply have more utility (garrison clearing + AT + some semblance of long-range DPS)
    • Also, the rate which they gain veterancy is attrocious, since they are AI-only, and are squishy unless they vet

    In short, you would have to be insane (or RedxWings) to spam Sturmpioneers in automatch, currently.

    In the May Preview version, none of these statements hold anymore.

    1) There is no question that the stun grenade should absolutely be fixed. That would already solve 90% of the things I mention in my post.

    Regarding the "if stun nade is so OP, why haven't we seen Wermacht do the same?". The short answer is because Wermachts' equivalent units are (i) squishier, (ii) cost more, (iii) offer way less utility (sacrifice AI for AT, no repairs, no mine-play). If you combine these three facts you have the ingredients for complete failure.

    The long answer is Sturmpioneers receive enormous received accuracy bonuses. None of the Werhmacht units get even close to that. Also, Sturmpioneers cost less to produce and reinforce compared to similar wer units. Not to mention their utility (mines/repairs).

    Compared to Sturmpioneers(300MP), the following units are easier to hit:

    Panzergrenadiers(340MP): 10% easier to hit (squishier) than Sturmpioneers
    Stormtroopers(330MP): +3% easier to hit

    Both units almost completely lose their AI capability, since they are forced to double-schrecked upgrades. Sturmpioneers do not; and they also repair, and get superior combat veterancy.

    2) I deliberately picked Volks & Riflemen squads to compare Sturms against for these reasons:

    • Riflemen get broken veterancy, and are already considered "tough as nails". Sturm blobs will be comparable to that, and more.
    • People still believe that Sturmpioneers will be squishier than Volks due to their squad size. I compared the entire Squad Size to Volks squad to correct this false assumption.

    Sure, smaller squad size will make Sturms more abusable vs sniper play. However it will aid them vs MG play (smaller squad size = lower suppression received).

    Volksblobs of the yesteryear also used to suffer from the "OKW Veterancy thing". However, the developers, thankfully, acknowledged that the rate of Vet-gain was broken, and the Veterancy bonuses of Volks were slashed. I would expect the same treatment for Sturmpioneers, as the new Schreck host. Conversely, I would expect some of the Vet bonuses of Volks reverted.

    3) If you have 1 Sturmpioneer doing the repairs, they will be doing the repairs most of the time, when you might also want them to do some mineplanting.

    When you have 4 Sturmpioneers repairing, any repair will be done in significantly less time (also accounting for the repair speed veterancy.... ), and then you have your entire blob again. Alternatively you can only solicit the repair speed of just one Vet5 guy, while the rest keep doing their fighting.

    Your repair rate will be faster, since your engineers gain veterancy (and repair speed). Moreover, you also have the option to mass all your sturmpios for near-instant repairs.

    Having access to more options (more engineers), may only lead to better results; not worse.

    4) Please go ahead and give the May balance preview a whirl. When I mention veterancy gain speeds I am specifically referring to the new Sturmpioneers. NONE of the things I am pointing out in this thread actually apply to the current version:

    • Sturms got AT utility (and, thus, spammability)
    • The rate of gaining veterancy was drastically increased.

    I have the feeling that you are relating to your personal (extensive) experience with CURRENT (automatch) Sturmpioneers vs Panzergrenadiers. What I am referring to is May Preview, Schrecked Sturmpioneers. I am making this post because I used them myself, and I saw how broken they are. Have you actually tried this strategy yourself on the MAY PREVIEW mod?

    Conversely, have you actually seen somebody try this strategy on the MAY PREVIEW mod and fail hard?

    Sturms USED to vet slower than Panzergrenadiers, before we gave them the schreck. I don't know which one is currently faster, but now the time should be comparable. Thus, Vet5 (hence Vet3 nades, too) will be a reality.

    Sturms USED to have (fickle) AI-only capability. Now they have AT utility and on top of that gain (bugged) AI capability on top of that.

    Sturms receive only ONE schreck. If you believe that this diminishes their AI capability enough, please try it out for yourself. If you feel lazy/want a fast assessment, try it with a 3-man Vet5 Sturmpioneer squad on cheatmod. You will be amazed.

  • #4
    4 years ago

    Mr_smith has some good arguments that we should check.

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