Covering (but not limited to) all of my thoughts on the PC gaming scene.
Company of Heroes has just got better
Published on June 27, 2008 By Phazon88 In Real-Time

Most of you know Company of Heroes was one of the first "next-gen" RTS titles to come out in recent times. It brought RTS gameplay we all have come to know and love along with cool other elements such as dynamic cover (including destructibles), intelligent squad AI and havok physics. The game's level of detail rivalled that of FPS games.

The game has had a pretty good life so far, although it hasn't been without its balance niggles and bugs. However overall the game has been a good title and I think most of us who've played it definately got our money's worth over the past year or so.

Then came the expansion, Opposing Fronts. At first the thought of Company of Heroes with 2 additional factions was tantalising. That would mean twice the potential strategies in the game. However I personally felt that come release time the expansion didn't really forward the game in any great way and infact it some ways detracted from the whole Company of Heroes experience (main offender here being the dreaded infantry "blob" tactics). Imbalances from both new sides really shook the game (and one could not help but feel sorry for the old factions caught in the middle who up to this point were pretty balanced against each other).

Whether or not Relic pulled Opposing Fronts a little too early out of the cooker is debatable. However that hasn't stopped the developer from releasing some substantial patches, including the first balance playtest ever conducted for a game for Relic. It was a pretty big success, and lead to alot of community concerns being addressed in the relatively short period of time it ran.

Now Relic has gotten ready for round 2. The second playtest has already begun and you can be apart of it! All you have to do is download the playtest client (along with enough storage space) and you'll be all ready to play.

So far changes have been coming in from all sides and have really lifted the quality of gameplay overall no matter what side you play. I have had a fair CoH hiatus and it was only until I started playing in this second playtest I remembered why I enjoyed the game so much in the first place. Also, Relic is using this playtest to make it possible for players to test and vote on new maps that have been submitted by the community. Alot of these maps are high quality and if anything playing the playtest makes it easy to see what the community has to offer as the patches install the maps automatically without any fiddling.

 

Also, a significant bonus of participating in this playtest (apart from bettering the game and giving testers people to test gameplay changes against) is that the top 100 players who put hours in testing and play games will recieve invitations to a currently unannounced beta to a game Relic has in development. Whether this game is the recently announced Dawn of War 2 or maybe a Company of Heroes expansion / sequel remains to be seen but regardless I'm sure everyone would love the opportunity.

You can catch me online as Phazon (surprise surprise). Add me to your friend's list in-game for some fun 1v1 or team games.


Comments
on Jul 13, 2008

Reading this makes me want to load the game up again and see whats new. Even with the Opposing Fronts expansion pack I'm still a die hard Werchmant player and I always struggled against British players.

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