Men of War: AS Patched, Interviewed

By Jim Rossignol on March 11th, 2011 at 12:27 pm.


Men Of War: Assault Squad just got a big old update, which you can download here. I took the opportunity to have a quick chat with DigitalMindSoft’s Chris Kramer about the launch of the skirmish and multiplayer-focused strategy title, which I reviewed here. Read on for Kramer’s thoughts on how the game was received, DLC, the problems with a large beta test, and what still needs to be done.

RPS: Presumably this first patch is based on feedback from the beta, which was a pretty extensive beta. Did it need to be so long and with so many players?

Kramer: From a quality assurance point of view we could have done with far fewer players, but Open Betas give players a good impression of what they can expect from the game. Since we are using a cd-key authentication system, Open Betas also serve as a preview of the multiplayer for players, because multiplayer demos can’t be done easily with such system. But it’s the best protection against piracy and assures that everyone playing online in lobby is an honest customer. Another reason for the length of the beta was that we had the game scheduled for an earlier release than we ended up with, so the first Open Beta was made available close to the previously planned release date. In the end, having 2 Open Betas turned out to be a quite positive experience, as we had enough time to adjust the game to the players needs and see the feedback to our changes once more before shipping the title.

RPS: How do you feel about the critical response to the game from the press? Has Men of War received any more attention this time around?

Kramer: It’s always quite hard to get the press interested in a WW2 game, there seems to be quite some resistance towards that era, which is quite understandable if you have tested such games for years. The fact that it’s officially a stand-alone expansion rather than an entirely new game doesn’t make things easier either, as one could imply it’s just more of the same. None the less, many journalists came back to us congratulating us for the title. It seems we also have a growing fan-base among the press. Surely we still don’t get the attention other (over)hyped titles receive on the big gaming platforms, but for that we have a growing amount of journalists who write great reports about the game, underlining their interest in the game, rather than just pumping out news. Also the number of publications focusing on PC exclusive titles is relatively small as well, so I think it’s fair to focus and give back to those websites with exclusive material.

In this case, we are sitting in the same boat and I would prefer to have 10 journalists who love the game and produce quality articles rather than 100 who just do their job without passion or real interest our game.

RPS: What are the most exciting changes on this new update?

Kramer: The most exciting thing for players is likely the significant amount of new vehicles and weapons which have been added. The “home guard” class of infantry especially, ended up receiving a lot of love and come with some new and interesting weapons which haven’t been seen in the franchise yet. On top of this, the Japanese infantry got a lot of additional attention to detail as well. We did a good amount of research to find weapons which would be fitting for their elite troops and to vary them a lot more from existing factions. I’m also confident we improved the infantry combat system even more, making the whole game more interesting. I hope players will see the dedication we have to our title and that we are determined to make this game even better.


RPS: There’s a big DLC button on the main menu, but currently no DLC to be had – what plans do you have for that?

Kramer: We are trying a very interesting DLC scheme, perhaps unique at this point, as other developers haven’t used this model yet. My personal belief is that everyone will benefit from a better game, so instead of selling new units, or new features or factions, we are going to sell new skirmishes and multiplayer map packs, but give away all the other content that is produced during that period for free. For instance, new vehicles or multiplayer features that are developed will be added into patches to improve the game and provide a more interesting and richer gaming experience. The system is simple; we continue developing the game while players support us through buying DLC. In the end they get new skirmishes and multiplayer content, as well as improvements on the game. The current patch is an example of this. Since we have no plans for another expansion for Men of War, we are really focused on providing continued support for this title. So while the DLC may add multiplayer maps and skirmishes, players are actually receiving a free add-on for the game from all the other content that is bundled with the patches.

Regarding the new skirmishes, they will be unlike any of the ones currently included in the game. They use the same basic concept but their mission objectives, units etc. will vary a lot from the ones you saw in the game so far. Today I’m going to reveal that we are currently working on defense based skirmishes, reminiscent of many of the missions in Men of War, while still providing all the new features and gameplay enhancements skirmish brings to the game. A massively action loaded package!

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17 Comments »

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  1. Dude (Darloc) says:

    I love that game, I have been playing skirmish a lot as I do not have the time for long Multiplayer game.
    One of the only problem I have with it is the amazing accuracy of the IA tank when it comes to snipe mine or my AT, while my tank if not directed by me would miss the broadside of a barn.
    That and I wish there were more unit available in skirmish, a form of arti would be nice…
    Look forward to the defence map in skirmish.

  2. Sarlix says:

    Sounds great. I like their approach to the whole DLC thing. Good stuff. Tanks, Jim.

  3. Warth0g says:

    Haven’t bought the sequel as I never made it past about the third level of the original. It’s just too frustratingly difficult for me which was a shame as I really liked the game itself. Played it on Easy too.

    I’m not getting any younger so maybe it’s just age, but was it really just me that found this game off-puttingly hard?

    • Sarlix says:

      I found it difficult as well, but that’s why I like it :-)

      Which is the third level btw? the train yard mission? Because that took me like six attempts to do. I can see why it could be off-putting, but it’s worth seeing it through. I found all the missions after the train yard to be quite a bit easier. And there are some really nice missions after that, so do try and stick with it!

    • Dude (Darloc) says:

      I think the problem with the difficulty is when you approach it as a standard RTS, I did that when I came back to AS after playing DoW2. I was frustrated by the difficulty as well and played it on easy.
      After understanding that location is everything I did better and can now play in normal. Still hard but more satisfying as I know how to hide my AT guys and guns and use infantry efficiently. Use terrain (house, bushes and so) to ambush tanks, do not move until they are really close and you should be fine.
      The main thing you really need to create a front and do not attempt to progress unless you have secured your line. That’s what I do on skirmish and it works well.
      I will have to go back to the original game sometime, I just didn’t like the commando like mission as they weren’t what I was expecting from that game.

    • Warth0g says:

      Thanks for the helpful comments. I don’t want to give up on the game so will persevere. It wasn’t actually the trainyard it was the mission after that where you start with a lone wolf and pick up a few (fairly useless) resistance squadmates. I found myself massively outnumbered the whole time.. I guess I’m approaching it wrong and will check out a video or two to see if they help..

    • Sarlix says:

      @Warth0g: Oh the one after the trainyard…I must admit that took me a few attempts. It kind of throws you a bit coming from the trainyard mission to that one. They couldn’t be more different.

      They way I did it was to take control of the big building opposite to where you start. If you can clear the snipers from the windows then clear out the main building using grenades. Once it’s clear, put all the resistance fighters at the windows and just try and take out all the guys in the building opposite the one you’re in. Once the road and outside of the building are clear you need to go into that building and take out the guys in the back room – be careful though, as they are laying prone on the floor with M-guns!

      I just tossed in a couple of Nades. Be sure to pick up one of their machine guns, then head back to the big building you initially took. Defend from their until you get given the work to retreat. Then it just a case of running back past where you started the mission and into the woods. :-)

    • Dude (Darloc) says:

      When I was playing MoW I did unlock all the mission following a post on digitalmindsoft forums:
      http://www.digitalmindsoft.eu/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2499

      It allowed me to pick the missions I wanted to play avoiding the commando type missions. Maybe you can try that.

    • Premium User Badge

      El_MUERkO says:

      I did the train yard mission on my first try, largely due to some well placed mines however I’ve found a lot of missions are only doable with hindsight which frustrates me at times.

      I beat the train yard by:

      I got my infantry (the ones your screen is focused on at the start) to empty their inventories of weapons and stock up on anti-tank/infantry mines, then liberally place them around the map on all entry points, I had 70% of the mines in those crates on the ground before the first attack and used the gaps between waves to plant the remainder

      While they were doing that I repositioned my rear guard artillery so they had line of fire on choke points. Once my men were finished mining I got them using MG’s were possible.

      Finally I manually controlled the tank during the fighting, moving to where the enemy were attacking and targeting any armour I could see.

      My defensive line collapsed eventually but the mines stalled the Germans long enough for the train to escape. It was a rewarding experience.

  4. Sweedums says:

    I can’t wait for new skirmish maps, having great fun at the moment playing them through with a housemate in co-op. finished them all on easy (we kinda suck…) so it will be fun to see some more being added for us to send our brilliant little heroes to their inevitable deaths.

  5. scottossington says:

    What would you think is the better game, the new men of war or retribution?

    • ceriphim says:

      AS was my first foray into the MoW world, and I really like it. I *love* the very tactical nature of the combat, the see-saw of, “Yay I’m winning!” then “Oh shit tanks!” back to “Yay got ‘em!” and so on.

      I was pretty disappointed overall with Retribution. (Level 10 cap, extreme scripting of missions, regular is VERY easy, overall very few items of wargear vs the other expansions, few optional missions for fun & l3wtz). I’ll admit, playing the Impy Goo on Hard has been… Somewhat hard. First time I’ve ever actually lost a mission, and there are quite a few where it’s been touch & go until I get my Heavy Weapons Squads out. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had playing it. The SM (with the stupidly overpowered DLC wargear) on Normal was almost a complete waste of time. Hard should have been Normal, then maybe I would have been slightly challenged. As is, I’ve no desire to play through a third time. Thanks for a fun 6 days, Retribution.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    Assault Squad is a gem. I only really play it on low difficulty with friends, but by God the action is orgasmic. Heroic infantry actions, incredible (and realistic) ‘the fuck?!’ moments, amazing destructible environments, and so much detail and sheer battlefield size.

    I sometimes wish I could give certain men a medal after a battle. Last game I played I was holding the central road when 2 tanks rolled in and shot my AT gunners and MG’s to crap, ready to tear through our entire line of offense. As the first tank rolled near the middle of the road, I noticed the AT gun it fired at wasn’t destroyed, just damaged (left wheel). I see a guy behind a wall nearby, make him sprint to the AT gun at an incredible personal risk (the tank was 15 metres in front of him), swivel it slightly to the right and SHELL that bastard from point blank before he could react. Glo-ri-ous. What a hero.

    (but yes, the sniping tanks are annoying. As is the sometimes inefficient unit distribution system)

  7. timmyvos says:

    Anyone else having problems with the download? It’s only about 6.8 kilobyte per second, are the servers overloaded or something?

  8. leeder krenon says:

    fucking love a bit of men wot war. this game definitely needs more variety of 1p skirmishes though, so that’s good news. although it sounds like we might have to pay for them. not quite sure what the DLC bit was on about.

  9. oatish says:

    I picked this up cuz I loved the 1st one and the gents on the forums here gave it a dazzling recommendation. The action is unmatched across the spectrum of RTS’ and there are a million stories of improbable success and, of course, defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory.

    One note to any fence sitters or 1st timers: play it like a wargame. Maintain a battleline, do not neglect supply and make moves to take valuable ground when it can be held – not just because you see an oppourtunity.

    My next step is to go for MP but I am still quite slow at handling reinforcements and individually placing my soldiers for maximum fire efficiency. I will keep learning the game and jump in when I’m more comfortable playing on a higher difficulty in skirmish.

  10. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Still waiting for the Amazon release. Very, very patiently.