User's guide to versions 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 consolidated

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A User’s Guide to the 1.1 Update

Anyone who has taken the trouble to read through the enormous “readme” that comes with this update may well come away wondering what it’s all about. As one player’s contribution to highlighting the more significant changes among this thicket, here is a user’s guide to the most significant changes you can expect to see in-game from it.

Land Combat

A great deal of attention has been paid to slowing land combat down and making it more difficult. “Fortress Buster” generals are now less powerful, which translates into making fortresses more effective. Attacking in poor weather will now prove more harmful for the attacker, and both sides will find attacking (or counterattacking) at night more difficult. The bonus awarded to dug-in defenders now has a maximum of 20%, doubling the old bonus of 10%. A number of factors affecting land combat have been exported to the misc.txt file, where they can be modified according to your priorities. In particular, the effect of experience on combat have been halved in this patch and exported to misc.txt, where it can be adjusted further. Note too that the delay for units to recover from combat has been extended to 24 hours and also exported for further tweaking. A lot of comment in the general forum has already focused on the centrality of this factor in gameplay, so its availability for adjustment is particularly noteworthy. Another change, which Johan signaled would be forthcoming after discussion about it in the general forum, was to make it possible to arrange for units from more than one province to arrive at their destination simultaneously. So now, when you give the order to a unit to attack, you will see a button on the pop-up allowing you to designate simultaneous arrival. Note, however, that ordering the units to arrive simultaneously doesn't actually make them all pop into place at the same moment. But it will get them there closer together.

Convoys and submarines

If I had to pick the most significant group of changes in the entire update, these would be my choice. The intent of these changes has been three-fold: 1) To make submarine attacks on convoys less lethal, both by reducing the number of attacks the subs can make and by increasing the convoys’ protection by escorts. 2) To make convoying less susceptible to sub attacks by directing the convoy a.i. to choose sea zones that are not currently being attacked by submarines. Of course, this places a greater burden on a nation’s convoy pool, but the advantage for convoy survivability should be noticeable. 3) To make submarines less vulnerable to detection and destruction by aircraft carriers or sub-hunting surface ships. The overall effect, therefore, should be to keep submarines at sea for longer periods without being destroyed and to reduce their effect on convoys. You should note that the presence of the submarines will also have an effect on the efficiency of your trade agreements. More subs at sea translates into lower trade efficiency, which is handled separately from convoys.

Air combat

In an attempt to avoid the creation of huge stacks of air units locked in seemingly eternal combat, a limit of 4 units has been placed on the size of any one single air stack. The command limits of commanders have been defined as 2 units for a major general, 4 for a lt. general, 8 for an air general and 16 for an air marshal. In principle, this means an air marshal still could assemble and command a 16-unit “stack” (4 x 4-unit stacks) for a major “Battle of Britain,” but given the randomness built into the air mission routine this should not be too frequent. Noteworthy too here is the attempt to better coordinate the air and naval portions of the game. The a.i. will provide better air cover for naval units and the effectiveness of naval bombers has been raised slightly.

Diplomacy and political considerations

One of the most important changes in this part of the game has been made with respect to guarantees of independence. When countries are a.i.-controlled, those guarantees should now be honored more often, making it more difficult for would-be world conquerors to go rampaging around without consequences. Some effort has been paid to keeping an a.i.-controlled US from entering the game too early. Isolationist countries (read “USA”) will no longer provide guarantees of independence or form alliances. The effects of breaking non-aggression pacts are now more severe in terms of a country’s belligerence rating, which again should slow down WC (World Conquest). One of the most important changes is a small one: dissent now affects your IC total, just as it did in HOI. Dissent had lost much of its meaning in this game – this change makes it something you once again have to pay attention to. It now should be easier to create puppets from your conquered territories, a must for countries hoping to reduce their belligerence levels. And on the subject of puppets, veterans of HOI will want to know that now you can attack from a puppet's territory, and, when a province is taken, the province falls to the puppet master, not the puppet.

Production and research

A number of miscellaneous changes have been made in the production of particular units. Air transports are now less expensive, as are rockets and atomic bombs. When you deploy province installations such as radar sites or air bases, what you are “deploying” is only an increased capacity for those installations. Only over time will they grow to be the size specified. The effects of tech advances on the rate of airbase construction has been reduced, which should slow a player’s ability to continually hop forward with new bases (again, slowing WC). One of the more interesting and easily overlooked changes has been the placement of an upgrade and reinforcement cap (a limit on the sliders, actually) on a.i.-controlled countries. The aim here has been to get the a.i. to produce a more varied military force. These caps have been exported to misc.txt for further tweaking. A considerable number of tech blocks (i.e., instructions not to research given techs) have been inserted for a.i.-controlled countries.

There you have it. Along with many, many other miscellaneous changes, I hope this provides a satisfactory overview of the 1.1 update. And by the way -- I have been playing with the beta version of this update as Japan on hard/aggressive and having one hell of a hard time. I hope you will have similar fun!

A User’s Guide to the 1.2 Update

There are three main elements to this patch. The first is a comprehensive upgrading of the AI. Now that the humans have learnt how to play HOI 2 well, the AI has been given the benefit of their understanding.

The second element is a large number of bug fixes and tweaks for gameplay, balance and historicity. Some important examples are:

  • The Soviet Union has a combat penalty in the early years to reflect the chaos, incompetence and paranoia of the purge era. It will find it more difficult to bully its neighbours and so the debacle of the Winter War against Finland may be reproduced. It only becomes more effective after the Great Patriotic War is declared and the country is fighting for survival.
  • You can no longer retreat immediately from naval combat. This means that you have to take your lumps before you can run away and so weak naval forces should be more cautious.
  • Fuel-consuming units like armoured divisions no longer suffer from such severe movement penalties in badlands like the desert. They will now outpace infantry in such terrain and so can more effectively be used for deep thrusts, flanking moves and encirclements. To help fuel these units, the effectiveness of the oil conversion technologies has been improved so that the output of converted oil increases as the technology is developed.
  • The technology teams have been reviewed and rebalanced. You will need to check the skills of your favourite teams to see if they have changed and maybe look for new choices for your research. Many technologies have an especially difficult prototype stage and the importance of this can now be seen more clearly.
  • The countries which have large peacetime penalties like the USA now get corresponding decreases in their raw material output too. This means that the balance between output and consumption of raw materials is more closely matched at a global level and so you will need to trade harder in the early years to build up large stockpiles.

The third element of the patch is the new features. There are interface improvements like the display of the techs that your allies are researching. There are new modding features like the improved support for the custom sprites that we'd all like to see. And there are new scenarios including a complete new campaign starting in 1938. This starts just before the Munich crisis - one year before the historical outbreak of the war between the Allies and Germany over Poland. This is intended to get you into the action sooner while still giving you some time to prepare for it. Germany has yet to develop its full strength but the Allies are still not ready for war and the Soviets are wracked by the purges. Who will make the first move ... ?

A User’s Guide to the 1.3 Update

There are basically three elements to this patch. First of all, we've worked on eliminated the reminaing bugs and complaints, as well as removing exploits. Secondly, we've finetuned and balanced the game, to provide a richer experience. Thirdly, we've severly improved the AI to provide more challeging and rewarding gameplay.

Features include the following

  • The Front AI has been vastly improved. Expect to see much more of a challenge in attacking or defending. You want to make sure that your units org is high and use the principles of combined arms.
  • The production AI will now do a better job of fielding the latest technology units.
  • The Production Queue AI has been revamped for many countries to produce a better mix of units. In particular national asset units like transport planes and paratroopers are now built in moderation.
  • The AI now knows better how to concentrate and use its Naval Power creating more effective Task Forces.
  • Polished MP game experience by getting rid of some annoying MP-only bugs, like the well known mismatch on serial production of province developments.
  • Revamped the cost and supply/oil usage of nearly every brigade to make them more worthwhile to build. You'll find that it's a good sport to build a mixed army more, instead of just plain infantry armies.
  • A bunch of new events were included as a feature: Vichy has a complete new event chain, there's surrender events for China & Japan towards eachother, Bulgaria can claim Constanta,... and more.
  • Beware of partisans now! They will be there. The partisans parameters were reworked and you'll actively have to suppress them in a number of areas.
  • King Winter is back in town and carries a big stick! Think twice before fighting long fights and carrying through big offensives in the heart of winter. You'll find your troops in a bit more trouble if you do, especially those nifty panzers, cool trucks and halftracks with their frozen engines.
  • Close Air Support and Tactical Bombing can now cause alot more mayhem amongst the enemy units. Use your bombers wisely though. They'll be more effective in a number of roles, ranging from bombing stationary units in defence to retreating units and units in a fight.