I’m restarting the dev diary series. Note that the game is a work in progress. This dev diary reflects current thinking and any features may be subject to change. Not every system is fleshed out yet – please forgive any hand-waving.
In the original Unity of Command, units were expendable resources and pieces. You used up your men and units to reach your objectives on time and, even in Campaign games, losses didn’t matter. You’d always start the next scenario with the same (historical) units. It didn’t matter if you got Großdeutschland crippled in one scenario, it would be right back in your OOB for the next offensive.
In the new game, we want losses to matter in the course of both a scenario and a campaign. Your overall force strength will carry over between scenarios (more about the specifics of this in future posts), but so will the experience, which becomes an important element of the campaign game. To that end, we’ve revamped the unit experience system to enhance some old mechanics and add a few new twists.
There are a few things that will stay the same. Units come in familiar veterancy levels – Green, Regular, Veteran, and Elite. They gain experience points in combat and will be automatically promoted up through the Veteran level. We’re only making a few balance fixes with this: for example, Green units will now gain experience both in attack and defense, including a point simply for not retreating. The intention is to make it easier to promote units to Regular, which was notoriously difficult to do in UoC1.
Units lose veterancy when they’re reinforced, just as before. Veteran units can be reduced to Regular, but Regulars cannot drop to Green. We found this system worked well for simulating the various levels of proficiency found in units on the Eastern Front, but without being too complicated to be grasped at a glance.
Things will change significantly for Elite units. Their combat benefits are slashed to Veteran level, in a nod to people who complained (deservedly) that elite doesn’t mean superhuman. Further, Veteran units are not promoted to Elite automatically, the player must choose to promote them instead. This costs prestige, so a player won’t unthinkingly promote eligible units all the time.
Between scenarios in a campaign, Elite units have access to “elite” reinforcement steps (at increased prestige cost!), which help preserve the unit’s high veterancy rating. Elite units are also the last to run out of supply during a supply disruption – rear services will automatically hold back supplies for their best (“supply disruption” is an entirely new feature, more about that in a later post).
What these systems add up to, we hope, is a greater sense of investment in your units. To illustrate, an Allied commander could land a green infantry division on the beaches of Torch, blood its men in North Africa, see it promoted to Regular and Veteran status in Tunisia and Italy, then finally promote it to Elite before unleashing it on the beaches of Normandy. Likewise, a German commander would be incentivized to preserve as much of possible of the strength of elite units like Panzer Lehr, lest they lose their effectiveness. In this way we hope that players will mind their casualties, treating their divisions as more than expendable tokens.
About the big gap since our last dev diary – I’ve been through a family crisis in the past few months. Thanks to all who expressed their concern. The project is very much on and I hope this dev diary will mark a return to normal service on this blog.