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Vortexxx
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This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Mon, 22 November 2010 15:44
There will only be fewer and fewer players as everybody's initial 100 ingots run out. Based on what I've been reading in the forums here and BGG, there's a lot of unhappiness with the current ingot policy.

Using some simple maths,

X = Number of players who join open beta

Once their initial allocation of 100 ingots run out, we start losing players, i.e. those not willing to buy more ingots,

A = Players who only want to play for free
B = Players who only want to pay a fixed fee for unlimited play
C = Players who are turned off by DOW's insistence on charging extra ingots for special units/rules

Z = X - A -B -C

To me, Z means DOW staff, closed beta testers and other hardcore DOW supporters.

That to me is a sad thing. I love M44 Online because it allows me to play with people all around the world. Current ingot policy will only lead to the end result that only a small group of users will play the game in the long term. If I had wanted to play with a small group, I'd just continue playing the board game in real life.

If any higher up is listening/reading this, please let us know what's your definition of an open beta. If it's just to gather bug reports and there is no willingness to listen to player feedback with regards to ingot policy, then let us know now.

Please don't disillusion yourself into thinking that M44 is a gateway game like TTR which attracts tons of players. The right move would be to try and retain as many of the existing M44 players who don't mind paying a reasonable fee for playing. We would love to introduce this game to more friends. But as of right now, I feel as if DOW is just fleecing us for our loyalty.

Lastly, something is truly wrong with how your scenarios are being developed if you need to justify the variable extra charges between scenarios. As a programmer, I'd say the effort to program in custom units like 4 figures special forces german tank would be a one time charge of $x.

Looking at Axis side for the following 3 scenarios:

Mont Mouchet: +3 ingots for 2 Special Forces tank unit
Operation Cobra: +2 ingots for 1 Special Forces tank unit
St Vith: +4 ingots for 4 Special Forces tank unit

The above comparison makes it look like we're being charged extra for more units of the same type. I seriously doubt adding one more unit involved more effort in terms of scenario development.

Save yourself from such troubling comparisons. Average out the scenario cost and go with a fixed ingot cost. At the very least, you'll be able to salvage the players in group C.

Other benefits of fixed ingot cost are:

* Easier to determine how many games can be played when buying ingots

* All scenarios get their fairshare of play time. Hands up those who have been playing quite a fair bit of Arracourt lately Wink

Thanks again for a fantastic online implementation of the game.

[Updated on: Mon, 22 November 2010 15:47]

      
Vulch
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Mon, 22 November 2010 15:56
I think your group "C" will be the largest group.

I don't mind paying to play, but I do fall into group "C".

My son prefers to pay to play rather than a fixed monthly cost as he says he will have fads of playing, then go off it for a while, then come back, etc. This may go for a lot of people his age (18). However he is also in group "C".

He did suggest that if you win, you get half your ingots back, but I suspect this falls into gambling law and would be a nightmare.

I love M44 and don't mind paying (and I am lucky that I can afford it), but the paying extra for units that are already in the scenario may put me off playing on principle.
      
eric
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Mon, 22 November 2010 16:48
Vortexxx wrote on Mon, 22 November 2010 06:44


If any higher up is listening/reading this, please let us know what's your definition of an open beta. If it's just to gather bug reports and there is no willingness to listen to player feedback with regards to ingot policy, then let us know now.



Just quickly: Yes. we are reading all messages here, and usually try to do the same on BGG. Our lack of response to individual enquiries, complaints or suggestions does NOT mean we're not reading or listening.

And for that matter, thoughtful, coherent posts like yours (both this one and the one you posted earlier last Friday) get our attention and are discussed internally with a lot more care than outright angry or dismissive ones. Rolling Eyes

If I haven't taken the time to reply yet it's because:
- it's not practical for me or anyone else in the company for that matter to respond to each message, complaint or suggestion individually;

- when I do discuss our pricing model, I'll want to be as comprehensive as possible in my initial reply as can be, so putting it all together takes a bit of time;

- and incidentally we're a bit busy between the christmas season and this launch (and the past week-end).

But be assured that a response is forthcoming, and that is my intention to discuss plans and rationals openly. Perhaps, just perhaps, we're not as crazy, dumb, ill-intentioned or outright evil/greedy on the business end of things as some have suggested we might be. Either this or our programmers (every one who's tried the game seems to love it, so it looks like they've done a very nice job) should fire me! Very Happy

As for answering your above question more precisely - Our objective with an Open Beta is three-fold.:

- To find bugs that would be harder to detect with a smaller group of players (eg machine compatibility issues such as video driver errors,...);

- To test the scalability of our servers;

- and last but NOT least, to get feedback and gather real world data from players on ALL aspects of the game, including pricing & al.

So please be assured that a comprehensive, open response to all the questions raised by our choice of a Pay to Play pricing model and its implementation with Gold Ingots is forthcoming. We care just as much as you do!

Sincerely,

Eric Hautemont
CEO - Days of Wonder
      
gheintze
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Mon, 22 November 2010 16:57
Thanks for the great response, Eric.

Although I'm not a big fan of the pay to play model, I can deal with it -- but the extra price for the specialist units is a little annoying. I wanted to play a 2nd scenario last night againg somebody, and was out of gold because of the units.

That being said, the program is so great that I bought the $60 pack anyway. Embarassed

I guess i just defeated my own argument...

Great job on the game! I look forward to many enjoyable hours playing it.

Geoff
      
Vulch
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Mon, 22 November 2010 17:19
eric wrote on Mon, 22 November 2010 15:48

So please be assured that a comprehensive, open response to all the questions raised by our choice of a Pay to Play pricing model and its implementation with Gold Ingots is forthcoming. We care just as much as you do!

Sincerely,

Eric Hautemont
CEO - Days of Wonder



Eric

Thanks for taking the time to answer this thread.
I will look forward to the forthcoming response.

Vulch
      
Pauly629
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Mon, 22 November 2010 19:37
Please let me begin by stating that minus a few minor things the game looks and plays great! I love that I can jump online whenever I want and find someone to play Memoir with.

That being said I completely agree that paying extra for special units is not the way to go. I am not a huge fan of the pay to play model to begin with, but I am getting over that. The real issue I have is being part of the "C" group Vortexxx mentioned above. I have found myself limiting my play to one side of maps, or playing without the extra units if possible, because I don't want to pay 3 or 4 times more just because that side has some special units. I have also noticed that many other people are just not paying the extra ingots. This is too bad b/c, for the reasons mentioned above, I almost never get a chance to play a scenario as it was written to be played. It seems that people would get a more well rounded experience if both sided paid the same amount. Even if each game was 2 ingots I wouldn't mind that nearly as much as paying extra just b/c the side I am playing was written to have special units.
      
Caboose
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Mon, 22 November 2010 21:36
And it is sometimes hard to find bugs without playing. But if one plays, they lose ingots to find some items (and Eric knows I have written quite a few items up..so far on average 4-10 items / day, barring the weekend where I have a life <G>).

But yes paying for additional items, namely if they are suppose to be for that campaign/scenario, etc just doesn't make sense. If they are part of the released scenario..why have to pay more for it, since it is a released one. I can gather why it is set up that way [for user created scenarios and all - might be one reason why]. But paying more for something that should be there I think makes some people scratch their heads.

Also I think there should be some incentive to play a bad scenario (i.e. playing Axis on Arnhem Bridge which has a 88% win percentage for Allies) - barring the ranking of course. But that one, currently for Axis, has 3 ingots to play if you play with a human. That has got to change - i.e. maybe balance the additional units with how the win% for that side is - is just one idea i can come up with).

Cab
      
marnick
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 00:22
I agree with parts of this post. I posit the following:

1) Buying a 30 or 60 dollar pack gives unlimited access to playing games, as in buying a game one time fee.
2) Elite units and special rules still cost gold. I have absolutely no problem with this. However I prefer a little more customizability, like being able to choose which 3 units to promote.
3) Expansion maps are bought with gold, with discounts for whole expansion packs. 40gi per map (around 1 euro), 300 for an expansion (around 10 euros).

I'd pay for this in a heartbeat.
      
Mike H
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 04:45
You guys have really done a great job. I enjoy playing on Vassal, but this is a much more satisfying and smooth experience. I will be happy to pay for this when the time comes.

That being said, I'm having the same glaring problem as many others. I simply cannot justify playing a scenario that costs me 4 or 5 ingots, compared to playing a scenario that only costs me one. I simply do not have 4 or 5 times as much fun or even 2 or 3 times. I enjoy playing the axis on the paradrop mission just as much as the allies, so i'll do it for 1/4 the cost of my opponent every time.

Unfortunately, this means that I'll only be playing some fraction of the scenarios, which is frustrating. I have no problem with pay to play, in fact I think it's great for an online system like this. But the extra gold ingot cost on certain scenarios really really turns me off. For whatever reason it makes me feel like i'm getting ripped off for no reason. If I sign up to play, I'd like to have equal access to all scenarios.

Again, you folks have done a wonderful job with M44' Online. So far i'm having a fabulous time, but i really hope you revamp the current ingot system.
      
Nightrain
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 05:03
Dear Eric,

in my opinion, the Pay-to-play policy is acceptable to keep the support of server maintenance, updated expansions, improved AI, and many things, and I find that the price you offered is okay and there are several things that should be considered before it fully comes into play :

1. This is still open beta phase, means that the game is still have lots of bugs to be fixed, lots of bugs to be found, lots of scenarios to be added, and lots of things to improve, and to achieve that, you have to have a lot (and i mean a really lot) of human players to join and test, therefore this phase can be considered as your marketing phase to gain tons of new players and no fees should be charged at all.

The reason is because beta/game testers should be rewarded because they do the works for you, but in this case, after spending lots of ingots to test, then we even should pay to
test the game and experienced lots of frustrating bugs, and that doesn't make sense to me, it's like buying an incomplete/defect product for a full price, and I don't think many people will voluntarily buy that kinda stuff. This is why there's a big risk of losing players as they ran out of gold.

Another reason/strategy to implement a free play for a certain amount of time is to entice lots of new players to join and try, this will create a rapid Viral Marketing effect as players will spread the words across their network and probably in no time, you will have thousand of players registered and tried your product. You can anticipate any server crash due to high traffic (means you probably need a bigger server and stuffs like that) and lots of bugs reported, and no one should really complain because this is still free and under heavy development.

2. I also agree with Vortexx opinion about the flawed ingots implementation of special units. I consider myself into C category and completely disagree with this one. Instead, I think it's better to keep the special units as it is without extra cost, but you can have a dynamic ingots cost where the least-favored side only cost 1 gold and the other cost 2 gold. A complete games will cost 3 and for players who voluntarily take the weaker side, it's only 1 gold, so it's cheap and can urge people to play that side.
      
sam1812
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 06:19
It is clear that a lot of thought, effort, and love went into the creation of M44 Online. (We'll need a catchier abbreviation, though. Smile ) I've been making notes based on my games, and will categorize and submit them some time in the next few days.

In the mean time, the ingots seem to have become one burning question for many of us.

I believe the biggest GI pack is 1,200 for $60, with a $30 credit toward future merchandise. For the many of us who will buy an expansion some time in the next year, that reduces the effective net price to $30 -- or 2.5 cents per ingot. Even if the average game costs 4 GI, that's 10 cents/game (1/5 of the cost of a quick game of pinball), for 300 games (which is more than most people will play in their lifetime, for about the cost of an expansion). I'm pleased to pay a fair price for a good product.

However, like many others here and in my weekend of M-Onlining, I am bothered by the idea of having to pay extra for units and objectives that are already part of the published scenario. I actually feel a twinge of resentment when I open a scenario and see the surcharges. (I'd much rather feel the love of the game when I open a scenario.) And I shudder to think what it will cost when we hit a scenario with SF infantry and armor, engineers, air rules, and Combat cards.

I'll put my further thoughts on various business models in another post, so this one doesn't get too long.
      
sam1812
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 06:36
If I were King, I would make it a flat number of GIs per game. (Let Breakthroughs and Overlords cost an appropriate, different amount.)

Why do I like that better than various alternatives?

> Flat fee for lifetime use of everything? Bad idea. DOW wouldn't be able to support it in the long run. Lifetime subscriptions are dangerous for publishers.

> Flat fee for each add-on expansion? Well, they do have to program each expansion only once, but they have to maintain it for a long time -- including every time Windows releases new version. And a high fee would discourage infrequent players from buying in.

> Monthly subscription? Great deal for us frequent players, if the fee is low enough, but it can get incredibly expensive in the long run. Some of us are old enough to remember when you rented your phone from the phone company, and in the long run it could add up to hundreds of dollars. Plus, this option would be painfully expensive for infrequent players.

> Monthly subscription with different price levels for different numbers of games? That's basically the GI system -- except that the GIs can be transferred from month to month, and they never expire.

> Paying per game, as you go? Not enough money up front to cover DOW's development costs.

> Initiation fee plus flat amount per game? Probably doable, but risky for DOW if they don't know how much people will use it.

> Keep the GI system, but charge one low price for a certain group of basic scenarios, and one higher price for all the other scenarios? Hmmm...I only just thought of that. That could answer concerns of the people who want to keep it cheap. It might be an improvement over the current system.

I'm sure there are other alternatives, but these are the ones that come to mind.
      
Nightflight82
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 08:10
I think it would take a lot of steam out of the anit-GI rage if DOW would clearly state what they have in mind for further expansions and how they plan to adjust the payment system.

For instance i was told that DOW plans to have cutoff of maximum GI per Game. So you don t have to pay insane amounts once you pay for breakthrough map, airplanes, special units, special rules etc.

Another question that arises is what happens to the ingot cost of the older scenarios, once new expansions are implemented.

I think most would agree that the GI system was fair for both, if for instance the now implemented units (2 move infantry, 4 piece amour)in base game scenarios become gradually cheaper (under the idea that we have paid the costs for implementation) while the new units and new scenarios have a little extra charge.
I think that DOW will still generate a revenue because many people will still always try out and play the newer scenarios.

And another thing. I m with Nighttrain that the underdog in unbalanced scenarios should get a reduction on GI cost.

Björn
      
tank commander
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 11:45
I too think that charging different amounts in GIs per scenario based on special units (or whatever else in a scenario) is the wrong way to go too.

As suggested above, charge based on scenario type -- regular, breakthrough and overlord. That way, all the players know going in what the cost is to play a game.

      
NielsR
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 13:30
Before you read further, I want to clarify this: I haven't played the game yet. I only installed the game and I browsed through the scenarios as I'm at work at the moment.

The thing I like the most about the idea of having a virtual version on Memoir '44 is the fact that I don't have many friends that want to play it in real life. The main drawback by most of my friends is the fact that it's a 2 person game. Our game group mainly likes to play with 3 players and up.
Now I hope I can play more Memoir, although I'll be sitting behind a computer screen (which I already do for +8 hours/day).

The thing that might set me back buying any coins to play it after my initial 100 coins run out is the fact that the cost of the scenarios vary. And mainly because you have to pay extra to get e.g. the parachute drop etc, although these are part of the original scenario.

I rather like to pay 2 coin for each game than to feel obligated to pay extra to get what you normally would have.

I hope DoW will reconsider the pay model after the beta. I understand that they want people to pay for the usage (they are a business and micro-payment is a superb source of income), but I think you can't expect people to extra for basic stuff.

Also I think the extra fee for "special" units might make the game unbalanced when you decide not to deploy them because you want to save some coin.

Kind regards,
Niels R.

PS: Sorry about my English. It's not my mother tongue, so it's not always easy to express exactly what I'm feeling.

PS: I really look forward to play the game tonight and I'll post an impression afterwards.
      
LetItLoose
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 17:19
i'm in the same shameful boat as gheintze.

I bought the 60$ pack. Embarassed To me this seemed like a good value, but only because I was in the market for a second copy of the base game, which i ordered for 15$!! (can't wait to try hedgrow hell!).

I think it's kinda crummy that you have to pay for special units, and do find that people pick sides based on cost. Almost every game I have played, I have been the more expensive faction when we have not played both sides.

I'm also a pretty avid video gamer, so I know what 60$ of video game value means to me. and I think having at least 600 games of memoir will be enough time to be a good value for me.

I can see why people are angry about the cost, but really everyone just needs to evaluate if it is worth it to them individually.

Probably, zero of the 3 people i play memoir with in real life will play the online, due to the cost, but to me, i think it's a good deal and was glad to pay it.

[Updated on: Tue, 23 November 2010 17:22]

      
gheintze
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 17:39
LetItLoose wrote on Tue, 23 November 2010 11:19


I think it's kinda crummy that you have to pay for special units, and do find that people pick sides based on cost. Almost every game I have played, I have been the more expensive faction when we have not played both sides.


I'll play any or both sides. Very Happy

I'll look for you online... Life's too short to play without specialized units.

Geoff
      
rasmussen81
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 19:58
gheintze wrote on Tue, 23 November 2010 20:39

LetItLoose wrote on Tue, 23 November 2010 11:19


I think it's kinda crummy that you have to pay for special units, and do find that people pick sides based on cost. Almost every game I have played, I have been the more expensive faction when we have not played both sides.


I'll play any or both sides. Very Happy

I'll look for you online... Life's too short to play without specialized units.

Geoff


Truer words were never posted on this forum!! Life is too short and Ingots are just Ingots! Very Happy
      
gheintze
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 20:02
Thanks, Jesse! Cool

By the way, in the list of awards -- I still don't know what the Red, White, and blue ribbon with the medal is. Is that Total Victory?

Geoff
      
rasmussen81
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 20:12
gheintze wrote on Tue, 23 November 2010 23:02

Thanks, Jesse! Cool

By the way, in the list of awards -- I still don't know what the Red, White, and blue ribbon with the medal is. Is that Total Victory?

Geoff


It is Total Victory. "Opponent lost with 0 medals"

It's a fun one to get...not a fun one to give up to another player! Laughing I've done both. Rolling Eyes
      
LtRock
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Tue, 23 November 2010 20:32
Just to echo the thoughts of many others on the GI issue, I think that charging different amount of GIs per scenario based on special units etc is not the way forward. All scenarios should be played the way they were intended to ensure balance and fairness.

I am ok with the PAYG model providing that the average rate per game remains reasonable. I also think that during the beta stage GIs should be free. This way, and this has already been stated, you will build up a large fan base most of which will become hooked and shell out GIs for V1.0.

On the game itself, hats off to all the DOW Crew, first class effort and so far very stable for a beta release.

Thoughts for the future, the introduction of some form of ladder/tournament match or ranking system would be great.

      
philmcd
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Wed, 24 November 2010 16:13
eric wrote on Mon, 22 November 2010 15:48

Vortexxx wrote on Mon, 22 November 2010 06:44


If any higher up is listening/reading this, please let us know what's your definition of an open beta. If it's just to gather bug reports and there is no willingness to listen to player feedback with regards to ingot policy, then let us know now.



Just quickly: Yes. we are reading all messages here, and usually try to do the same on BGG. Our lack of response to individual enquiries, complaints or suggestions does NOT mean we're not reading or listening.

And for that matter, thoughtful, coherent posts like yours (both this one and the one you posted earlier last Friday) get our attention and are discussed internally with a lot more care than outright angry or dismissive ones. Rolling Eyes

If I haven't taken the time to reply yet it's because:
- it's not practical for me or anyone else in the company for that matter to respond to each message, complaint or suggestion individually;

- when I do discuss our pricing model, I'll want to be as comprehensive as possible in my initial reply as can be, so putting it all together takes a bit of time;

- and incidentally we're a bit busy between the christmas season and this launch (and the past week-end).

But be assured that a response is forthcoming, and that is my intention to discuss plans and rationals openly. Perhaps, just perhaps, we're not as crazy, dumb, ill-intentioned or outright evil/greedy on the business end of things as some have suggested we might be. Either this or our programmers (every one who's tried the game seems to love it, so it looks like they've done a very nice job) should fire me! Very Happy

As for answering your above question more precisely - Our objective with an Open Beta is three-fold.:

- To find bugs that would be harder to detect with a smaller group of players (eg machine compatibility issues such as video driver errors,...);

- To test the scalability of our servers;

- and last but NOT least, to get feedback and gather real world data from players on ALL aspects of the game, including pricing & al.

So please be assured that a comprehensive, open response to all the questions raised by our choice of a Pay to Play pricing model and its implementation with Gold Ingots is forthcoming. We care just as much as you do!

Sincerely,

Eric Hautemont
CEO - Days of Wonder


Well, that certainly seems more open-minded than your earlier response to me about changing the pricing structure, which was....

"Nope, this won't happen. We are charging a varying cost per scenario because the amount of work it requires to develop different scenarios varies depending on the special rules and/or special units it uses. This won't change. And yes, you can think of money grabbing on our part, in that we need to make money for that work, sorry."

Nonetheless it is a welcome step forward, and it is nice to know that your customers are listened to.

      
gheintze
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Thu, 02 December 2010 18:01
My latest trouble is -- I've run into a few opponents who don't want to pay for the special units so they can save gold.

I feel like that cheapens my victories, especially when we were going to play Arnhem and he didn't want the elites.

If you win a battle against someone who doesn't use the specialists, can you still get medals, promotions, etc...?

Is there some way to mark that you only want to play with all special rules?

Geoff
      
Vortexxx
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Thu, 02 December 2010 19:32
I think we should try to play with as many people as possible, irregardless of their preference to pay extra for special units. We can't blame them for trying to stretch out their initial allotment of 100 GIs. I myself did the same thing before the GI purchase.

The real fix for this issue is for DOW to change their ingot pricing policy with regards to special units. Yes yes, I'm still harping on this while waiting for their official reply to our feedback Very Happy

Btw, elite units in Arnhem being stuck so deep, are typically idle spectators in most of my games Wink

[Updated on: Thu, 02 December 2010 19:40]

      
Vortexxx
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Thu, 02 December 2010 19:50
gheintze wrote on Fri, 03 December 2010 01:01


I feel like that cheapens my victories, especially when we were going to play Arnhem and he didn't want the elites.



Even with all elite units turned on, doesn't it still feel like a cheap victory to you playing as the overdog? Overdog...hmmmm

Anyway, cheap as the victory might be, that is offset by the fact that your opponent will be flushed with delight if they manage to win...hehe
      
marnick
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Thu, 02 December 2010 19:53
Honestly... I use elite units all the time. I've won several matches because I could take just that one more hit with tanks or move up that one more hex with an infantery swarm. Or Savenne gap where just rushing past the defense with my whole army allowed me to sudden death the two towns, my opponent just didn't have enough firepower to stop me before I got there.
      
gheintze
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Re:This is the best time to play M44 Online because... Thu, 02 December 2010 19:58
I'll only play with all the special rules also. That is how the scenarios were designed.

In Arnhem, the key as the axis is to get those units involved while suffering minimal casualties. And for the allies, having the elites can really help to flush out the two infantry units that start forward.

I've also managed to utilize the elite unit on Omaha beach to good effect. They were killed eventually, but not before taking a unit with them.

I just prefer to play them as designed. The ingots really aren't that expensive. I guess I'll just have to talk to my opponent beforehand...

Hopefully, this policy is being reconsidered as we speak.

Geoff
      
    
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