"Heavy Vehicle" upgrade instead of "Light Tank"


#1

Now this is a story all about how the Vehicle Yard got flipped, turned upside-down.

I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you my idea of Heavy Vehicles in there.

Idea to replace “Light Tank” upgrade of Vehicle Yard with “Heavy Vehicle”.

This upgrade would replace many of the units in the Vehicle Yards with “heavier”, more powerful but altogether not overpowering versions, on the similar vain of the introduction of Light Tanks to the yards.

Why? It offers an excellent ability to introduce more variations of units while keeping them within the “balance” framework of the Light Vehicle Yard’s default unit selection. This will make it easier for players to understand the roles of each unit – they’re just better versions of what they replace and so should be used the same way. It’s a way to introduce more variation without creating duplicate roles – these will altogether replace their predecessors, not be available side-by-side, with access to them being “bought” all at once.

That said, possible replacements:

USA

M16 MGMC > M15 MGMC (Quad .50’s replaced with 40mm Bofors on same chassis; better AA defense but just as vulnerable to attack)
DUKW > LVT-4 (Larger amphibious tracked APC armed with .50 cal MG)
M8 Greyhound > M5 Stuart (Light tank; better armour, flechette rounds)
M8 Scott > M24 Chaffee (Light tank; increased range of 75mm support gun – we don’t have to give it AP ammo. The Chaffee may even be less armoured though)

GERMANY

Sd.Kfz. 250 > Panzer II ausf L “Luchs” (light recce tank; more armour)
Sd.Kfz. 10 > Sd.Kfz. 7 /1 or /2 (Replacing single 20mm with either quad or a 37mm gun; better AA offense, same lightly armoured vulnerability)
Marder > Hetzer (Light tank destroyer; better armoured)

GREAT BRITAIN

Staghound > 40mm Bofors SP (40mm on 1/2 ton truck; better AA offense, less (no) armour)
Daimler > AEC Mk II (6-pounder; better defense, better offense)
Kangaroo > LVT-4 (same vein as US; Kangaroo replaced with amphibious APC)

SOVIET UNION

BA-64 > BA-64DshK (Same but armed with 12.7mm DshK Heavy Machinegun instead of DP LMG)
GAZ-AAA > GAZ-MM 25mm SPAA (Same or similar truck mounting, but with 25mm anti-aircraft gun; better AA offense)
T-60 > T-70 (or BA-10 :smiley:) (Light tank; heavier gun)
SU-76 > Su-122 (Heavier assault gun with 122mm howitzer; IRL Su-122’s operated explicitly in conjunction with Su-76 in combined regiments. Would provide for an altogether heavier and more powerful unit; however as it uses the short-barreled 122mm its actual effectiveness would be more similar to M4 Sherman 105mm or Cromwell 95mm CS)

As you see this would provide every Vehicle Yard with either 3 or 4 upgrades instead of just 1, making it a more worthwhile upgrade rather than just a single addition of a single unit.


#2

Replacing units with ‘simply better’ versions is not good design because it results in the player just needing to figure out the optimal time to upgrade and then dominating (or getting the timing wrong and losing), and is really hard to balance. See the ongoing issues getting the balance between mediums and advanced mediums right. Another example of this (of which I’m not proud and want to address somehow) is the decisive advantage gained by getting vehicles first - by and large vehicles are ‘simply better’ than infantry in an otherwise inf-inf showdown, so much of that comes down to sorting out the optimal time to invest.

The point behind only adding that one unit is not to provide a unit which is ‘just better’, but to add a role to the yard which was not there before, making it a bit more flexible/extending the usefulness of the yard later into the game. That goes for all upgrades generally - the point is not to throw in a unit which is better in all respects, but rather add another unique tool to that particular toolbox which gives that player a fundamentally new capability.

This makes the upgrades generally strategic choices by the player, choices which have not just a timing/resource component (which is what a yard full of ‘better’ units would be - just deciding the optimal time to buy the better units), but also a ‘strategic’ factor - as in, what kind of tools the player thinks will be the most helpful. Often this eliminates other choices, making it an even more decisive pick, and making the decision even more significant.


#3

Except that the introduction of Light Tanks to the vehicle yard is only the most basic improvement and an attempt as you say to make the vehicle yard “useful” in the late game – and it needs this “usefullness” because once the introduction of the Tank Yard bears fruit most of the units in the Vehicle yard are simply ignored. Even the Light Tank upgrade only provides usefullness for a very short period of time until those light tanks go up against proper medium and heavy tanks. In pretty mcuh every game i’ve been in or spec’d the vehicle yard is the only factory in the game which is left idle, on purpose, for any measurable period of time; everyone always has barracks and tank yards building at max capacity while the Vehicle yard essentially becomes defunct and completely replaced by the Tank Yard.

So I fail to see how a single unit addition is considered a “Strategic Upgrade” while a “modernization” that would greatly extend the usefull life of the Vehicle Yard by providing for units that actually have roles in the late game is considered superfluous.

Consider a comparison of roles:

DUKW vs LVT-4: Nobody builds DUKWs anyway, there aren’t enough good amphibious maps, but the LVT-4’s ability to protect against small-arms would allow it to survive showers of gunfire to deliver assault troops across water.
M8 Greyhound vs M5 Stuart: Nobody builds Greyhounds once the Stuart comes around; its better armoured and has flechette rounds.
M8 Scott vs M24 Chaffee: The Scott is sometimes built into the late game because of its usefulness against infantry but its short range leaves it very vulnerable to anti-tank guns, tanks and the like; the Chaffee would provide the same role but better adapted to the late game as its longer-ranged gun (with similar/equal firepower) will afford it better survivability against the plethora of long-range guns being fielded.

Sd.Kfz. 250 vs Panzer II Luchs: The 250 is rarely used mid to late game because of its vulnerability to everything and the short range of its gun. Infantry fire, grenades, anti-tank rifles and explosive ordnance (light artillery) make mincemeat of it. The Luchs would allow the role to be continued by offering full protection from smallarms and better protection against grenades, anti-tank rifles and other explosives.
Marder vs Hetzer: Like the 250 and other units the Marder is usually abandoned once medium tanks with the same gun roll around. However its low cost and powerful AT gun keep it going for the most part, however it is usually phased out by the StuG III and then by better tank destroyers from upgraded gun yards. The Hetzer would provide for a cheap TD better able to stand up to the visciousness of the late-game battlefield; full protection from small-arms and resistent to artillery shrapnel and even armour piercing weapons.

Kangaroo vs LVT-4: Kangaroo is hardly used but is used sometimes. The LVT-4 provides for amphibious operations – but again, there’s a lack of good amphibious S44 maps.

BA-64 vs BA-64DshK: BA-64 is only really seen in the very early vehicle game to try and rush very cheap anti-infantry support but is abandoned when people realize its DPMG is short-ranged shit thats available in pretty much every Soviet assault and rifle squad and its very vulnerable to smallarms. With the DshK the BA-64 could be revitalized as it would gain a good range advantage with a machinegun of similar capability to the .50 cal on our beloved APCs, but of course without the APC or logistics capacity. Would make for a fine infantry support light vehicle.
SU76 vs SU122: SU76 like Marder is sometimes used later-game simply for cheap firepower but largely its replaced by T-34s with the same gun. SU122 would offer the role another chance as a heavy support gun in the same vein as the Cromwell CS and Sherman 105’s, with better protection and a bigger explosion (but about the same anti-armour capability), while being more accessible and cheaper than the ISU-152 monster.

From where I’m sitting, these upgrades would, as I mentioned, revitalize the Vehicle Yard and give it roles (or enhance its roles) that allow it to be used better in the late game. Rather than “shit, my opponent is rolling out his first medium tanks, time to halt production in the Vehicle Yard and spam me some Tank Yards” a player could be enticed to upgrade his Vehicle Yard (if he hasn’t already) to get access to more suitable units. And undeniably this upgrade offers much more result than the addition of a single unit/role which is made obsolete by the Tank Yard.


#4

But I don’t think that’s really how games go. People use vehicles all throughout the game - tank production tends to compliment vehicle yard production. Particularly marder, Su-76, wasp, AA vehs, halftracks and scott - mostly because those units provide a role for a particular cost, attached to a particular speed, or just are totally unique in terms of the functionality they provide.

The strategic choice was more talking about upgrades in tank/gunyard where you have to pick one route. Even so, the unit you get is not ‘just better’ than the other units around at the time (this is what the PIII suffered from) but rather offers a new role. An upgrade which provides outright-better units is an upgrade which will eventually have an optimal upgrade time based on income/map size, and the only difference between games will be when to press that button.

That is not good or fun design, in my opinion - the tech transition periods already suffer this problem (ie, rushing vehicles/tanks/air/whatever), and we’ve only managed to get somewhat around it by incorporating so many counters within each yard system and by sticking hard counters into the base spawn (AA and AT guns).

This is why deployment is pretty attractive to me as a branch, because it totally bypasses that potential “victory from knowing when to press that upgrade button/build a veh yard”.


#5

That is sometimes true the only thing you can do with it then is producing more trucks or stuff.

Giving it a major update with more stuff would be useful… (maybe for updating you must have build a Tank yard)

=)


#6

It is how many games go; you said it yourself, the Vehicle Yard needs love, which the single Light Tank doesn’t really give it much of – it is still players forced to use obsolete units to fill a role they’re ill-equipped for compared to what more advanced tanks are capable of. Many players do use the Su 76 throughout the game, but there is always the teetering aspect of the T-34-76 being the better choice because it performs the same role – except ‘simply better’.

Having this upgrade would provide for a unique set of units that have specific roles that fit in better with the advanced late-game. Their specialties are more refined; they are better able to withstand the vagaries of tank domination by being better protected or more powerful. Currently, the Vehicle Yard may still see use once medium tanks are being built heavily by the opponent, but only as an extreme supplementary – as additional cheap filler units rather than units that have clear, valuable roles and capabilities.

And I guarantee you most of these units would be used a lot more in the later game than their predecessors.


#7

I am more in favour of adding new units/vehicles instead of light tanks which fill different roles or role combinations rather than replacing units with better versions. No argument has been made which convinces me that a replacement upgrade is a good idea - I personally still use the basic vehicles into late game and would probably still want access to the cheaper/lighter models even if I had heavy options - but I am still amenable to adding other heavy vehicles.


#8

I know none of you like compromise… what about two separate upgrade trees for the vehicle yard, like guns and SP/TD? No replacements, but useful additions in each upgrade. Operational decision to upgrade to X or Y, also promoting multiple vehicle yard usage as an option.

USA

Light Armour
M5 Stuart (Light tank; better armour, flechette rounds)
M24 Chaffee (Light tank; increased range of 75mm support gun – we don’t have to give it AP ammo. The Chaffee may even be less armoured though)

Heavy Vehicles
M15 MGMC (Quad .50’s replaced with 40mm Bofors on same chassis; better AA defense but just as vulnerable to attack)
LVT-4 (Larger amphibious tracked APC armed with .50 cal MG)

GERMANY

Light Armour
Panzer II ausf L “Luchs” (light recce tank; more armour)

Heavy Vehicles
Sd.Kfz. 7 /1 or /2 (Replacing single 20mm with either quad or a 37mm gun; better AA offense, same lightly armoured vulnerability)
Hetzer (Light tank destroyer; better armoured)

GREAT BRITAIN

Light Armour
AEC Mk II (6-pounder; better defense, better offense)

Heavy Vehicles
40mm Bofors SP (40mm on 1/2 ton truck; better AA offense, less (no) armour)
LVT-4 (same vein as US; Kangaroo replaced with amphibious APC)

SOVIET UNION

Light Armour
T-70 (Light tank; heavier gun)
Su-122 (Heavier assault gun with 122mm howitzer; IRL Su-122’s operated explicitly in conjunction with Su-76 in combined regiments. Would provide for an altogether heavier and more powerful unit; however as it uses the short-barreled 122mm its actual effectiveness would be more similar to M4 Sherman 105mm or Cromwell 95mm CS)

Heavy Vehicle
BA-64DshK (Same but armed with 12.7mm DshK Heavy Machinegun instead of DP LMG)
GAZ-MM 25mm SPAA (Same or similar truck mounting, but with 25mm anti-aircraft gun; better AA offense)


#9

I cast my lot in with Nemo; although I would like to see the addition of the armoured SPAA, M36 and possibly a replacement for soviet light SPAA with a DshK or 25mm.


#10

M18 Hellcat :smiley: