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Old 2013-05-08, 16:44   Link #1
Excessively jovial fellow
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: ISDB-T
Age: 32
Wargame: Airland Battle - we love big Hinds and we cannot lie

On January 20, 1985, Ronald Reagan is sworn in for his second term as president of the United States. In Moscow, the leaders of the "evil empire" are increasingly convinced that Reagan is not just all talk: he wants war. On March 10, Secretary General Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko dies of heart failure after only 13 months in office. The Politburo elects Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev as his successor, overruling the Communist party's "old guard", which sees him as far too weak and indecisive. They refuse to go along, and removes him in a coup. The new Politburo is dominated by the party's hardliners, who will not tolerate any American intimidation.

For a few months, the situation is tense but calm. However, on September 2, the US Navy runs a PSYOPS maneuver off the Soviet coast and intentionally violates Soviet airspace. Soviet fighters intercept and chase them off back to international waters, but during the manuvering a pilot loses his cool and opens fire. In the ensuing confusion, several fighters are shot down on both sides. Both sides blame each other for the incident, and start mobilizing troops. On September 10, 1985, from Bayreuth in southern Germany to Vadsų in the furthest northeast of Norway, forces of the Warsaw Pact attack. In Norway, the offensively is initially successful but soon slows down against the hardening Norwegian resistance. In Moscow, Soviet leaders are deeply concerned about the mobilization of the ostensibly neutral but heavily NATO-leaning Sweden: if it were to enter the war, the Soviet forces in Norway would be dangerously outflanked. On September 17, Polish and East German forces start landing in southern Sweden, as a part of a "preventive neutralization" operation. World War III is here; it's time to make the wargames into reality.

Wargame: Airland Battle is a real-time PC strategy game in a more "tactical" style (no resource management to speak of and no base building), set during the Cold War. It's developed by French studio Eugen Systems (Act of War, R.U.S.E.) and published by Focus Entertainment. It's the sequel to one of 2012's best yet least hyped strategy games, Wargame: European Escalation.

Basically, Wargame:AB is a game about the Cold War gone hot. As per above, the campaign is set in fall 1985 and involves the Warsaw Pact invading Scandinavia, starting with Norway. Do you feel attracted to the idea of sending a column of dozens of East German T-72's rolling through southern Sweden, only to get them strafed by A-10 Thunderbolts? How about reenacting Apocalypse Now by sending hundreds of Marines in Hueys to take a napalm-bombed town, only to have the Ride of the Valkyries fail miserably when it gets intercepted by half a squadron of Czech MiG-21's? Or what about finding out who's the king of the armor hill by letting your M1A1 platoons duel with T-80U's, or letting the French Foreign Legion duke it out with the Soviet VDV, or levelling entire cities with Polish rocket artillery?

Boy, do I have a game for you.

(If you think "Airland Battle" sounds silly, see this wiki article.)

When is it coming out?
It is slated for release sometime in May, but it's currently in open beta, to which you get access by preordering the game on Steam. It's 40 EUR/40 USD/30 GBP/whatever that is in your local currency but you get 25% off if you own Wargame:EE already.

Some features that are going to be in the release game aren't in yet (most notably single player, co-op vs AI and replays). Eugen has said that they'll keep adding stuff to the beta over time until the full game is released.

What does it play like?
It's a Cold War-flavored medium to large scale RTS (you usually don't have more than a few dozen units; if you with a very spam-friendly deck you might be controlling about a hundred units at a time, but they're usually organized in groups of 2 or 4, so you only actually have 25-50 unit icons on your screen; multiply this by the number of players, which can be up to 20 in a single match) with no base building and no resource management to speak of. Units cost deployment points to call in; you start with a small number of these points and earn more by controlling certain sectors of the map with your command units. The emphasis is on controlling your units well in order to kill more of the other guy's dudes than you lose yourself. You do this by having better recon than the other dude, taking control of advantageous terrain, exploiting combined arms to let each of your units work to their own strengths, holding the command zones so you have more income, and just plain outmaneuvering your opponent. You can play 1v1 or in teams of up to 10 people.

Before you go into a match, you have to make some interesting metagame decisions by selecting a "deck" of units you want to bring to the battle. The game has over 800 units to choose from, but you can only bring about 20 of them to a single match. This is where the deck system comes in. You can make a number of interesting tradeoffs here; for example you can choose to limit yourself to playing with a single nation's units (which gives you access to certain prototype units for that nation and gives you a few extra unit slots), or to limit yourself to units that were introduced in service before a given date (which gives you an availability bonus; i.e. you can call in more units of the types you choose). The number of deck slots is quite limited, which means you have to make some hard decisions about what you want to bring; no deck can be the best at everything.

are you seriously expecting me to buy and play a game with over 800 units in it
It's not as bad as it sounds. You really don't have to memorize the subtle differences between all of the game's twenty T-72 variants to be a good player; a tank is a tank is a tank. You'll learn to recognize the big threats soon enough.

Which countries can I play as? (i.e. whose funny toys are available?)
On the NATO side:
- United States
- Great Britain
- France
- Federal Republic of Germany (aka. BRD, Bundesrepublik Deutschland)
- Norway
- Denmark
- Canada
- Sweden (technically not a NATO member, but counts as a NATO country in the game)

On the Warsaw Pact side:
- United Soviet Socialist Republics
- Poland
- Czechoslovakia (aka. CSSR)
- German Democratic Republic (AKA DDR, Deutsche Demokratische Republik)

What platforms is it available on?
While Eugen hasn't said anything regarding Wargame:AB yet, Wargame:EE was initially Windows-only but got ported to Mac and Linux a few months ago. It's not unlikely that Wargame:AB could be available on Mac and Linux from release.

The graphics scale down pretty well; the game looks amazing on a good computer but it also works on pretty low end hardware.

What do all of these weapon attributes mean I am very confused send he;lp
- AoE: area of effect. The weapon can do splash damage around the point of impact.
- KE: kinetic energy. When targeting armored vehicles, the weapon fires kinetic penetrators, which in gameplay terms means that damage goes up as range goes down. If you get the message "ineffective" when ordering an attack with a weapon like this, it means you can't penetrate the target's armor at your current range. Get closer or flank the target, side armor is usually weaker.
- HEAT: High Explosive Anti-Tank. A different anti-armor ammo type. Damage doesn't change with range, but if the weapon has less AP than the target's armor, a hit will do 1 damage anyway.
- GUID: guided. The missiles this weapon fires are guided by a human operator, which means that the launch platform needs to have vision of the target for the entire flight time of the missile, and usually it also needs to stand still while the missile is in the air. If the launching vehicle is stunned, the missile will miss. The opposite of F&F.
- F&F: fire and forget. The weapon guides itself once fired; it will hit (or miss) even if the firing vehicle is destroyed or loses sight of the target.
- STAT: stationary. The weapon cannot be fired while the vehicle is moving.
- RAD: radar. The weapon is radar-guided and as long as it's enabled, the carrying vehicle can be targeted by SEAD missiles (in the current beta decks, only the French Jaguar has them).
- NPLM: napalm. The weapon burns things to crisps, removes forests and is generally unpleasant.
- CORR: correction. The weapon is some kind of indirect-fire artillery piece that gets improved accuracy if you can spot the thing you're firing at.
- SMK: smoke. The weapon can fire smoke rounds.
- SEAD: Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses. The weapon's seeker is designed to lock on enemy radar emissions. In gameplay terms this means that the launching aircraft will spot and fire the weapon on enemy vehicles that have enabled weapons with the RAD attribute from very far away, even if you normally wouldn't have vision on the target vehicle.
- SA: semi-active. The weapon is a radar-guided missile that requires the launching aircraft to paint the target with its radar for the entire flight time of the missile. If the launching plane dies or loses sight on the target, the missile will miss.
- CLUS: cluster munition. The weapon is a bomb that splits up into smaller bombs, intended to punch through the roof of armored vehicles, while doing next to nothing to infantry.

what about all these other acronyms that get thrown around, do I look like some kind of nerd or what
- MANPADS: man-portable air defense systems. A few dudes on foot carrying around an anti-air missile launcher.
- LAAD: low altitude air defense. In the game, basically means the same thing as MANPADS.
- ATGM: anti-tank guided missile. What you need to buy when you see the other guy rolling around with four T-80U's.
- MCLOS: manual command to line of sight. A method of controlling human-guided missiles. Basically, you get a joystick and fly the missile where you want it to go like a hobby RC plane. About as "easy" to use as you could imagine; requires very highly trained operators to achieve decent hit rates. MCLOS missiles fly pretty slowly, to give the operator time to react.
- SACLOS: semi-automatic command to line of sight. A more advanced method of controlling human-guided missiles. Unlike MCLOS, you get some kind of electronic sight that you point where you want the missile to go and a computer calculates how to steer it. Considerably more accurate and easier to use than MCLOS, and the missiles can be made to fly much faster.
- SALH: semi-active laser homing. Yet another way of controlling missiles. You point a laser at the target, the missile looks for the laser dot and goes there.
- MBT: main battle tank. Your average pile of steel.
- AAA: anti-aircraft artillery. Guns that fire upward.
- APC: armored personell carrier. An armored truck that drives infantry around. If you're lucky it has a machine gun or something on top.
- IFV: infantry fighting vehicle. Basically an APC with more armor and more weapons.
- Winchester: NATO brevity code, means "out of ammo".
- Bingo: NATO brevity code, means "out of fuel".
- ECM: electronic counter-measures. Various ways of attempting to trick systems that try to find out where you are (such as radars, infrared cameras, missile seekers etc).

Useful links and shit
- Official site
- Official forums
- Dev blog
| ffmpegsource
17:43:13 <~deculture> Also, TheFluff, you are so fucking slowpoke.jpg that people think we dropped the DVD's.
17:43:16 <~deculture> nice job, fag!

01:04:41 < Plorkyeran> it was annoying to typeset so it should be annoying to read
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