The game has reached its Esports peak - if the requirement for Esports is high CPM and arcade game like reflexes, that goal has now been reached.
Wrong moves are punished instantly and completely. Squad wiping and chasing or cutting off retreats is meta. Even with an assault squad, it's really risky to charge a unit in green cover unless you have elite infantry (MP40 volks and such will never survive crossing red to assault something in green, for instance.) So you need to blob. All the time.
But what's been lost?
Harassment. Flanking to a large extent. Moving around the map and setting up complex 3 or 4 unit flanks from different directions. Something is going to get caught, and will be forced to retreat before it gets into position, if not wiped. Why flank and risk losing a unit to focus fire when you can use indirect fire? Attacking needs to be done with tactical battle groups, aka, blobs.
Overreliance on indirect fire, of course. Basically a very fast early game followed by a fairly static mid and late game, with tank battles deciding the game (which, I think, has a big problem with an RNG being a bit too determining sometimes.)
And of course, having a good time. I enjoyed being outmaneuvered by better players and learning from them, I do not enjoy losing because my reaction time is a bit slower. There aren't enough audio cues in the game, and the ones there are don't always fire. So who wins? Fast multitasking screen switchers. There is NOTHING more important than unit preservation in the game, because frankly, in most games, resource income doesn't really matter. If you're destroying your opponent and have all the fuel, then you've already won and the the tank a little bit sooner is just icing on the cake. Yes, you still have to fight for them but there is no strategic depth to the game, only squad preservation.
I really hope COH3 is different, more like the original. There was a lot more maneuver, a lot less death (until the Calliopes or Staghounds showed up ) and more strategy (maybe because of the often derided Wehrmacht veterancy system, which created very different strategies and army bulds, but also stuff like the supply yard upgrades for US,.) There was also the possibility of replacing units without using a specific commander when they were killed (med bunker and med huts.)
It wasn't always like this - the "weapons profile" patch generally increased damage across the board, and ever since then it feels like the DPS has just risen higher and higher with each patch. I don't remember which patch did it, but units not surviving retreats is a lot, lot more frequent, and I think that was more recent. As I remember, people wanted the infantry fights to go faster, but I think there was a middle ground that was missed.
If nothing else, I'd really like to see a future patch give higher retreat bonuses to units. Just let people learn from their mistakes, they will still get outplayed, but they won't quit in 5 minutes because penal blobs wiped their stuff on retreat. That's why people quit games, folks, the game is just too frustrating. And good players know a squad wipe or two early is GG, you don't come back, not at a high enough skill level.
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