I am an absolute die-hard fan of Company of Heroes. Relic Entertainment created a truly awesome franchise that allows WW2 game fans like myself to enjoy authentic combat in an exciting RTS setting. Both Company of Heroes 1 and 2 are incredible games with unique features that do not fail to amaze the gamer. I have played a great many hours of CoH 1 and about one hundred hours of CoH 2. While I did find many improvements in CoH 2 over its predecessor, I still felt that there were a few things that CoH 2 lacked:
- Bring back the old Faction-specific Multiplayer Ranking System!
What I liked a lot about CoH 1 was that its multiplayer had a detailed and sophisticated online ranking system. If you play the United States often and well enough (duh!), you will go from a Private First Class to a Tech 3rd Class. However, it’s not the same for the British. The British have Lance Corporal instead of Private First Class and Sergeant Major instead of Tech 3rd Class. For the Germans, you have the Wehrmacht and the Panzer Elite, whose ranking system mirrors that of the Waffen-SS. If you play Wehrmacht, you will start as an Obergrenadier and then Unteroffizier, the equivalent of the American Tech 3rd Class. This really helps players like myself to get immersed into the game because you feel like you are actually building up a military career of some sort.
However, in CoH 2, you have a unified ranking system for ALL factions. WHY ON EARTH would you do this?! I do not know how to say Sergeant in Russian but players who often play as Soviet Union would want Soviet-specific rankings. This should allow the player to become more attached to his favorite faction. Also, since all the ranks are stars, it becomes quite hard to distinguish the difference between ranks. These are medals that should enhance the prestige of a player and make him proud of his past victories and accomplishments. Alas, these unremarkable stars don’t really give us any strong reason to rise up through the ladders.
- No Infantry Half-Tracks for the OKW!
We all know that the Germans used infantry half-track vehicles like the Sd.Kfz.250 and 251 Hanomag extensively throughout WW2. However, I could not find any mode of transportation for my OKW infantry units like the Sturmpioniers and Volksgrenadiers. I often like to use my very capable combat engineers to lay down mines and other obstacles in key choke points on the map. Whenever I do this, I usually produce two to three Sturmpionier squads to manage specific areas of the map. If I had a half-track to transport my troops around the map in a highly mobile fashion, I could save those precious population points (I’ll get to this point real soon) for producing very pop-hungry tank units. According to Relic, OKW is supposed to be a faction that is resource-starved and must utilize every resource that it can at its disposal. This is why Sturmpioniers can salvage wrecked vehicles and even weapons for fuel. If OKW is so resource-conscious, shouldn’t they have a cost-effective transport to allow fewer number of troops to do more? I had this brilliant idea of allowing OKW infantry to hop onto the top hull of tanks such as the Panzer II Luchs and Panzer IV to improve their mobility. If this feature does get implemented, Relic can make the infantry highly vulnerable to all kinds of enemy fire directly aimed at tanks, including small arms fire.
- Population Cap does not change with territory captured!
One of the things that made me fall in love with CoH 1 was its unique resource system. It is imperative to capture territory throughout the game because each sector contains a valuable resource like ammunition or fuel. Your production capacities i.e. population improve as you capture new territories, making the activity much more meaningful. Now in CoH 2, you get a fixed amount of 100 pop points in the beginning, which feels a bit restricted in some sense as the strategy element is missing from the mechanism. In the old CoH, you could really put your enemies in a tough situation by capturing his territories, thereby reducing his population cap. Also, if I recall correctly, the original CoH could actually go above 100 population cap, which allows for more flexible unit combinations and therefore, more effective strategies. It would be nice to see the return of the old population cap system.
- Player color is not editable!
Oh the player colors in Company of Heroes… I understand that bright blue does make your units stand out and make them easily distinguishable from the enemy’s bright red. However, with majority of the German vehicles having an overall dark grey paint scheme, bright neon blue really ruins their appearance! In CoH 1, there is a modding program called Corsix Mod Studio and you can download it for free to change the color of the vehicle markings. If you are playing the Axis, your Balkenkreuz (the straight cross signs used by the German army during WW2) will change from bright neon blue to whatever color you desire. If you are playing the Allies, your star (American) or roundel (British) will change accordingly. However, as far as I know, there is no such modding option for CoH 2. Is it hard-coded into the game files? If so, I hope you fellows at Relic change this so that we can have more authentic-looking vehicles!
*** A SUGGESTION ***
It would be real nice if we could get permanent aircraft units that exist in off-map airfields and allow them to be summoned whenever we want. These aircraft should have normal health cars and experience/level system; maybe even a weapon customization option to make each aircraft a specialist (e.g. Stuka dive bombers can either be equipped with an optional 20 mm auto-cannon or an extra bomb). You should be allowed to give precise orders to the aircraft. For instance, you can tell Spitfire to patrol a certain area of the map for possible enemy bombers and then go to another portion of the map for the same patrol duty. The pilots should gain experience points after each successful air mission and eventually become indispensable assets to the player. Now, I am aware that CoH is mainly a land-based combat game but still adding more air power cannot hurt!