Company of Heroes is better than Dawn of War

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Company of Heroes is better than Dawn of War

Postby Overload on Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:18 pm

I posted this on my WoW guild forum because people were saying that DoW was better than CoH. Since I ended up typing so much I wanted to post it here as well, because I want a record of it.

Okay let me clarify a little: Dawn of War is a fantastic game. I haven't played the latest expansion but I should really check it out. I think it's one of the best RTSs to date and that's the only reason I even gave CoH a try. I'm not a WW2 buff by any means, in fact I'm completely sick of the genre for games. If Relic didn't make CoH I wouldn't have given it a second glance. But boy am I glad I did.

I have spent a long time trying to figure out what it is about CoH that I like so much, and I've come up with the following main points:
1. The weapons are understandable. There is a huge detachment that I get when I am playing sci-fi RTSs because I just have to blindly trust that the weapons are doing what they're designed to do. When I play DoW I don't really feel like I know what kills what without diving in to the numbers because they're all make-believe weapons. In CoH, I know that if a guy shoots another guy, he dies. I also know that if a guy is using a mounted machinegun, guys will die very quickly. After each small battle in CoH, I always know exactly why the winning side won. Because of this aspect I feel a lot more "involved" in the game and I get a lot deeper sense of immersion, which is something I really like for games to do.

2. The resources. I like them. A lot. It's a perfect balance of needing to control the map without having to micro manage a bunch of stupid workers getting gold from a mine. This element was taken from DoW and I'm glad it was because it works great in both games. But beside the way you get resources, I like the actual resources that you get. Manpower is required for pretty much everything and it always comes in at a (near) constant rate. This means that even if one side is getting resource pummeled, he'll still be able to get infantry out to try to fight back. The fuel and munitions are used for vehicles and heavy-weapons support respectively which I think is a great element. I also love that different maps have vastly different resource points available. Some maps have a few "high" fuel spots so you know there is going to be a lot of armor action, while other maps are very short on fuel, meaning the game is going to be more infantry based.

3. The victory conditions. In DoW you need to control a majority of the victory points (critical locations I think they're called) for whatever the victory timer is (5 minutes?) - I like this because it focuses the action to specific points on the map and really keeps the action going. However, I think they took that idea in DoW and made it even better in CoH. CoH works very similar to Battlefield games. You have the same victory point style things that DoW has, but instead of just needing to control the majority for a time, each side starts with a certain number of "tickets" and those tickets count down constantly for every extra victory point your opponent controls over the number you control. This has the same effect of focusing the action and forcing people to fight the entire game, but also removes the "I just need to bumrush that point to break the timer" element that I don't like in DoW. Of course, that strategy still does some good; it might stop your tickets from counting down, but it's not like it just resets it back to the beginning like DoW does; rather the side that was losing still needs to be very careful to hold the point because of the enemy gets the point back, they'll be counting down right from where they left off. We had a team game where we came back from being 3-500 and WON. It was glorious.

4. Micro-managing combat. This is one of the biggest one. It's related to point 1 above. For the first time in any RTS I've played, I feel like micro-managing the combat really makes a HUGE difference. Getting behind cover is extremely important for infantry, and it's very obvious why. The microing is not arbitrary like I've seen in some games but rather maneuvering my guys in a way that seems strategically advantageous actually makes a big difference! I know microing is an important element in lots of RTSs but I've never really felt as satisfied as I do when microing CoH. In DoW I NEVER felt like moving my guys around in combat made any difference at all .There are so many guys running around being idiots (I play orks) and I have no idea what I should do during combat to make them fight better.

There are other elements as well, like squads, reinforcing, adding heavy weapons to squads, etc. but all of those things are in DoW as well. I would mention them if we were comparing CoH to a different RTS, but since it's DoW I figure there's no need to point them out.

Anyway, as I said I think DoW is great. But I think CoH is better, even if you aren't a WW2 fan.

I would love to see them take the above points I mentioned and roll them in to DoW 2, because I do like the universe a lot. :D

Keep in mind that I am a game designer. I like to play games that are designed well. So when I compare two games, I look at if the game mechanics are fun. I wouldn't care if CoH were set in care bare land and it had the care bears fighting the... uh... some other fruity thing; I would still play it just as much because gameplay is most important. I wholeheartedly agree with you that the DoW IP is way more interesting than the WW2 setting. God I hate the WW2 setting.
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Postby ThePumaman on Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:21 pm

I like your post, it's well thought out and articulate. I concur, your majesty.
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