Beta 5.3.0 (live on January 1st 2022)

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Beta 5.3.0 (live on January 1st 2022)

Post by MarKr »

Hi, a new beta has been released. I'm not at home right now and I am nowhere near my laptop either to provide a more detailed changelog so for now I'm posting this basic "basic" changelog and the standard longer version with more details to decisions behind the changes will come tomorrow.

A new update is out and it's brought some changes, some fixes and also some new things that have been brought up and we were curious to try them out.

One of the most discussed topic since the last update was the RAF or more specifically the SAS, which has become sort of a "always go for" meta unit. It got to this position after we gave them the "weapon package" upgrades which turned them into very capable tank/vehicle killers. The SAS in combination with other doctrinal ulock became sort of a "one unit army", which is something we've been trying to get away from in BK. Sure, it was possible to kill the SAS squads but their versatility and early availability made them a no-brainer unit to use and at the same time this one unit made most of the Commandos units obsolete simply because the SAS came with SMGs (so, better than Sten Commandos), could upgrade Enfields+Brens (so, better than Enfield commandos), could upgrade "AT package" (better than the PIAT Commandos) + they were 7 men squad (more durable) and also could reinforce anywhere. We decided to change the unit in such a way that it has its own purpose but does not make other infantry squads obsolete.
The first thing we had to do was finding some purpose for the SAS, something that isn't already the purpose of the commandos squads, but still something that can be useful. In the end we decided for the role of "sabotage and harrasment". The SAS squad now has fewer men, is equipped with SMGs only, got grenades swapped for gammon bombs and newly have the ability to build the Radios and also to crawl. They have SMGs because they are expected to fight only when really necessary and even then mostly at closer ranges, they are no longer assault units so their grenades got swapped for gammons which can help them to defend them selves agains tanks and later on in combination with crawl to get close to some units and disable/crit them (although attacking armored targets should be more of a last resort for this squad), they should be more helpful for placing the radio stations into enemy territory and so getting info on enemy movement, they can also be used to place mines at places where you expect enemy movement, but they also got a cost reduction as they are no longer in the god-like tier.
- SAS changed:
-- reduced squad size to 5 men (from 7)
-- weapons changed to Stens
-- removed weapon upgrades
-- Grenade Throw replaced by Gammon Bomb
-- Added Crawl (requires unlock)
-- Can now build Radios and Hawkins mines
-- Cost lowered to 400MP (from 480MP)
Along with this change we also made a few changes to the other Commandos units as there were complaints that some of them were not very useful (not just because of SAS but just in general). SAS was the main way to deal with tanks and it is now gone so it felt appropriate to compensate this in some way. Commandos have a dedicated AT squad so some changes have been applied to it. People like the double zooka + PIAT combo of SAS so this weapon loadout is now available to the commandos AT team. They start with one bazooka and one PIAT and you have the option to upgrade another bazooka to get the same loadout the SAS used to have. This combonation is indeed strong vs tanks but this squad still has 4 men which means they can get one-shot with a well placed HE shot, which is something that wasn't that easily done with the SAS and their 7 men, so this squad is still powerful but it cannot be used as recklessly as people used the SAS. Another change has been made in terms of RAF's short range squads. The Sten commandos have normal grenade throw and also the "assault" ability this should make them better equipped for all sorts of assault actions, because the "Assault" ability lets them completely ignore suppression, but thanks to smoke they can still retreat if things don't go as planned. The Royal Marines were originally added as a short range unit that can crawl. Crawl has been given to SAS now and Sten Commandos are the "short range combat unit" and so there was no more a reason to keep the Marines in the game therefore they've been removed.
- AT Commandos team now starts with 1x bazooka and 1x PIAT (from 2x PIAT)
- Added an upgrade option for 1x Bazooka for AT Commandos (30 ammo)
- Royal Marines removed from the Commandos glider
SE is the other doctrine that has been discussed a lot. From the feedback we've gathered so far it seems that most people have a problem with how expensive everything in this doctrine is. We still think the doctrine is viable, but just a bit "slow". However, we still made some changes to costs to see if it helps the players with managing their economy.
SE has the strongest artillery pieces in the game but they are expensive both in terms of unit costs and also in ammo costs. This led to a situation where the units were limited by both MP and ammo which was admittedly quite a high tax. We decided to lower the MP costs of these units and also lower their high ammo upkeep so that their main limiting factor is their barrage cost, rather than high unit costs, high barrage costs and also high ammo upkeep burden. Their ammo upkeep is now set to the same level as 105mm howitzers. The "ammunition carrier" unlock now also affects the costs of Nebelwerfer barrages when the halftrack is nearby. This should to a certain extend improve the situation with the "constant lack of ammo" in this doctrine, it doesn't remove the lack of ammo altogether as we still want the ammo management to be what prevents this doctrine going OP. We might make further changes to the doctrine's economy but we want take smaller steps rather than big jumps.
- Lowered the cost of Hummel to 500MP (from 800MP)
- Lowered the cost of 210mm Nebelwerfer to 350MP (from 450MP)
- Lowered the ammunition upkeep of Hummel and 210mm Nebelwerfer to 10 (from 13)
- Heavy Ammo Supply unlock for Halftracks now lowers the 210mm Nebelwerfer barrages by 10 ammo
Then we have some experimental changes. One of them are changes to vision ranges of tanks and tank destroyers. This is an idea that was brought up in a discussion and got quite a good support. The original suggestion was to make tanks almost blind and so a support in form of infantry to provide vision would be needed. We liked the idea but still thought that lowering the sight range from 60 to 10 (or so) would be too much of a jump and so we lowered the the vision by about one third. Tank gun ranges are still the same but you will need some other units around to provide that "60" range vision on targets. This change applies also to tank destroyers to a certain degree. Open-top TDs have a bit more basic range than close-top ones, however the camo mode of TDs still provides some vision buff. Nevertheless, it will be a good idea to have some spotting unit near to take advantage of their maxim range.
This change does not affect light vehicles (Halftracks, light tanks, armored cars) and AT guns which should improve their viability throughout the game.
- Lowered the vision of tank destroyers (except for open-top versions), medium and heavier tanks to 40 when static and 20 when moving (from 60/40)
There is also a change where we removed the limit on US and WM Spotters. This is for now just for testing gameplay under certain conditions that might get applied to maps in the future.
- Removed unit limit on US and WM Scouts (this is testing for the beta testing only and most likely won't go to the live version for now)
We've also noticed that the topic about "axis 50mm mortar is a crap" got quite a lot of attention. It got changed to be the same as the british 2-inch mortar.
- 50mm mortar in PE now has same stats as CW 2-inch mortar
And lastly, there are also some bug fixes:
- Mortar smoke shells should no longer kill infantry
- Cost of Hummel's FERN barrage corrected to 100 (5.2.0 changelog stated it was lowered to 100 from 125)
- Capturing a 6 pounder as PE will now make the gun have a crew of 3 (instead of 5)
- Blitzkrieg ability is now properly available with its unlock (instead of being unlocked with the "Assault group" call-in)
- PE Ammo hlaftrack will now correctly lower the barrage costs of 120mm mortar in SE and paradropped 81mm mortar
As always, the changelog is not final and more changes might get applied based on the feedback we get from you based on your beta experience. Please try playing a few games and give us your feedback as it is easier and faster to get changes implemented before live release than implementing changes after the live release.

Thanks and we hope you'll enjoy the beta.

EDIT (01.12.2021):
We have an update for the beta before it goes live.
We've received a lot of feedback on the changes around SAS and most of it revolved around their ability to crawl and how it is delayed with CPs. We had several options which we narrowed down to two. Either we could keep the crawl delayed and buff the Sten guns to make the squad more combat-effective OR we could make the crawl available earlier but keep the Stens at their current performance level. RAF already has a short-range combat squad (the Sten Commandos) so there isn't a need for even more short range combat power in form of RAF. We also intended the SAS to be more of a utility and harrasment squad, for which you don't need overwhelming firepower so we decided to go with the second option:
- Increased SAS capturing speed by 30%
- SAS now has crawl from the start
- SAS limited to 1 squad at a time
These changes should allow the SAS to quickly cap a point and disappear and disrupt opponent's resource supply for a short time, forcing them to focus on some area of the map or divert their assests. The change also makes the squad a really useful unit for setting up the triangulation radios and so having more than one at a time would make this "map hack" too easily available, thus we limited the unit to one at a time.

There was also a conversation that showed up along with the conversation about SAS and that was the performance of CW short range weapons - the Sten guns. It is true that these SMGs have been the weakest SMGs for a very long time. It actually goes back to the time when Commandos had the "ninja smoke" which made them literally undectable for a few moments after acivating their smoke (even when leaving the smoke). The strategy there was to activate the smoke, sprint to enemy squad and spray them up close with the "weak" SMGs which were at point at a deadly close range but also got their buff for shooting from camo - then they were actually pretty strong. The "ninja smoke" was removed a few years ago but the SMGs remained the same. The Sten guns now received a buff to put their performance closer to the average of other SMGs.
- Changed Sten SMG stats (except for SAS):
-- Changed accuracy settings to 0.85/0.4/0.05/0.03 (from 0.85/0.25(30)/0.05/0.03)
-- Number of bullets per burst set to 10 (from 9-10)
-- Damage increased to 11-16 (from 10-15)
As I said before - SAS with more powerful weapons would be a problem so this change does not apply to Sten Mk V used by the SAS squads.

We noticed some comments about the "Observation Halftrack" in SE being not very useful because other spotting options were actually better at spotting stuff. Here come some changes to this unit too:
- SE Observation Halftrack:
-- Set stealth unit detection radius to 45 (from 0)
-- Set mine detection radius to 15 (from 0)
-- Increased basic vision range to 70 (from 60)
-- Added "Observe Area" ability
There was a discussion about the purpose of "normal" Stormtroopers in the BK doctrine, saying that their loadout after upgrades is the same and what not. There was a suggestion to give these units a G43 upgrade instead of StG44 to "make them more suited for long range combat". We honestly think it will actually make them worse at long range combat than sticking to their stock Kar98s but at the same time the change will make a better distinction between the Storms and Urban Storms so we decided to give it a shot.
- Stormtrooper squad changed:
-- Squad leader comes with G43 (from StG44)
-- Squad can upgrade G43 twice (from 2x StG44)
Through the never-ending rants of some players about "AB doc sUcKs!!!" we checked out some stats and ran into this thing where the stock M1 Carbines of the 101st squads had lower-than-normal accuracy and damage bonuses against targets with no cover and targets in red cover. The bonuses have been increased.
- Changed the accuracy and damage bonus of M1 Carbine vs targets in no cover or red cover to x1.25 (from x1.1 no cover and x1.15 red cover)
This will not make the stock Carbine some super-deadly weapon but trying to sprint to this squad to wipe it at close range will be a bit more risky when doing so over open terrain.

Another topic has been started around XP gain of some command vehicles and from there we got to the range at which these vehicles gain XP from other vehicles. There was a request to increase the range so the vehicles can get XP from any vehicle within their command range. Given the fact that it was pretty hard to get veterancy on these vehicles, and so it was hard to get their improved command bonuses, which are meant to be the main selling point of these vehicles, we agreed to this suggestion.
- Command vehicles now receive XP from units within their entire command aura (now range of 65 from 35)
Last thing changed in this update came also from a post here on the forum. It was about the Riflemen squad and their ability to suppress squads when a BAR is purchased. There were several suggestions, one of them was to buff the BAR but we still consider the Riflemen a "basic" infantry and as such it is not intended to stay strong later on (even if through upgrades), so we didn't do that. The BAR upgrade is there to provide your squad with more utility - to be able to suppress enemies without the need for an HMG team. However, the ability often took quite long to actually suppress enemies, sometimes it didn't succeed at all. These changes should rectify this problem:
- Lowered the cost of BAR upgrade to 35 ammo (from 45)
- Increased the suppression bonus of Riflemen ability to x5 (from x3)
- Increased basic suppression values and suppression modifiers vs different types of cover for BAR (even with the ability BAR applied no suppression to infantry in green cover)
The upgrade cost was also lowered to better reflect the fact that BAR is more of a utility tool than a "DPS boost".

Also a few fixes:
- M20 Command car can now get XP from tanks around
- CW Command tank can now get XP from tanks around at the standard range of 35 (from 5)
- US Captain squad now correctly shows reinforcement costs

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Re: Beta 5.3.0

Post by MarKr »

The main topic has been updated with the information on the latest beta update.

Please, check it out and provide any feedback you can.