Queued evac doesn’t always work?

Most WRD players use automatic plane evac. This means their planes evac after they’ve dropped their bombs or otherwise used up their main armament, without waiting for player orders to that effect. It minimizes mistakes and decreases the micro needed when using bombers.

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Perhaps you want to snipe a squad with the rockets and then charge an enemy fighter to wound it for your Mig-25PD following close behind, but automatic evac will make your plane uncontrollable if it uses its rockets.

A flaw of automatic evac is that sometimes you want bombers to stick around after dropping their payload. This is often the case for multiroles – a C-Hornet for example has great ECM and missiles lethal enough to act as a fighter, but you can get silly situations where the hornet charges an enemy superheavy, kills it, and then can’t attack a nearby enemy bomber because it was forced into an evac winchester.

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I use a lot of multiroles, so I’ve gotten used to playing with manual evac. If you disable automatic evac, you will at first often forget about your planes and leave them circling over enemy AA, ammo expended and waiting to die. The main trick to avoid this is to get in the habit of queuing evacs – you can reproduce the effect of automatic evac if you press shift+E (evac hotkey) after every attack order you give. Sometimes it helps to queue it after normal move orders too: I usually give a move order with the intent to follow it up with something more specific, and if I end up forgetting to followup, it is safer to retire the plane than to keep it on the map on the off-chance that I notice it before it tips the opponent off.

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A failure mode of queued evac is that, for planes with guns, the evac will only happen after the gun run. The Soviet Su-24M for example has 30 bombs and a gun, and you always want to drop the bombs and immediately evac, not drop the bombs and do a pointless risky gun run and then evac. The solution here is to disable the gun so that the plane doesn’t attempt to use it, but rather just drops the bombs and cleanly evacs.

There’s one more pitfall! The gun has to be disabled before the target is chosen and the evac is queued. If you order an attack, queue and evac, and then disable the gun, the plane will not evac. It took me a long time to notice this, and for my first year of using manual evac I kept having inexplicable failures due to it. Presumably when you order an attack, the order gets decomposed in its elements and put on a stack ([drop bombs], [use gun]). Adding the evac order, the stack looks like ([drop bombs], [use gun], [evac]), but a disabled gun makes it impossible to clear the second element and reach the third.

Regardless if my speculation about the cause is correct, the fact of the matter is, you must disable the gun before giving the attack order, not after – otherwise a queued evac will not work.

Interface settings

This site is meant to be a guide on gameplay mechanics and strategies, but I’ll be frivolous and talk about something else for once. Red Dragon gives you some freedom to customize how the interface looks, especially the unit labels, and in this post I’ll put down my thoughts about each option. When changing these, I strongly recommend starting a skirmish game with no opponent and checking the effect of every change as you make it – a lot of these are about picking an element size that is small but still easy to read for YOU.

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The image above is a screenshot of my current settings. These won’t be ideal for everyone, in fact I think they’re bad for the majority of players. But the thing is handy as a list to go through. Starting from the bottom:

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The unit view panel is visible on the left, above the airport.

-Display unit view panel by default: The unit view panel is the thing above the plane panel. If you have it open it will display a model of whatever unit your mouse is hovering on. It takes a lot of screen space, but it allows you to parse unidentified enemy units without needing to zoom in (as long as you can recognize units by their silhouette). It doesn’t really matter which option you choose here as you can freely open/close the panel at the start of the game.

-Close production menu: With “always keep open”, you have to manually close the menu after buying units (if you want it out of the way). With the other two options, the menu closes after each purchase, which can be very annoying if you need to buy different units at once. I can only recommend “always keep open” here.

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-Minimap size, HUD size: Start a skirmish and change these to see the difference for yourself. In my opinion you don’t gain enough screen space for smaller elements to be worth it, and the text and pictures become too small. The code for scaling to smaller HUDs also seems wonky – note the big distance between unit picture and availability in the image above.

-Labels size/number of lines in multiple selection: This refers to the unit labels shown on the bottom of the screen when you select stuff. I don’t see a benefit to decreasing the number of lines, if you change it and there isn’t enough space you get an ugly and unwieldy scroll bar. As for the sizes, there is a lot of choice and they can be made very big indeed, very small or small seem good to me.

-Units per company: When you group multiple units under a label, the number can be shown as a picture of 1-4 rectangles (“block”), or as a simple number. I used numbers for a long time, but they’re a bit hard to read with the game’s color scheme. The default option of “block” is better.

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Merging makes it possible to select any individual unit in the formation without having to select the entire formation first.

Labels merging: When multiple units are in the same place, their labels can merge in a big line. You can make this merging very aggressive, so it happens as soon as the labels overlap at all, or you can make it soft, only when there is lots of overlap, or you can disable it altogether. The big disadvantage of merging is that when a unit is moving past another, sometimes their labels will “shift”, merging or unmerging just as you’re trying to click them. The advantage of merging is that when you unload an infantry squad, its label will merge with its transport’s label and be easy to click, instead of getting perfectly covered. Most good players play with merging disabled, but I like having it on.

Labels size, vertical margin and icons: There are units everywhere during games, and their labels take up a lot of space, so keeping them as small as possible is good. It is doubly important if you allow merging, because bigger labels will cause merges more often. If you’re still learning the game, select a label size above minimal so you can enable unit icons – they do take up space, but they’re invaluable if you can’t instantly tell unit types from name alone.

-Icon type: Most players swear by NATO, but I disagree. Both RTS and NATO have weaknesses. Both sets contain some icons that are similar to each other – think a less extreme case of “l” vs “I” (lowercase “L” vs  uppercase “i”). The similar icons are still very readable, but add to the risk of misreading or missing stuff if you only get a short glance, especially when reading big formations.

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Even with 1000 hours using NATO icons, I find that the autocannon IFV stands out in this picture, but blends in when it comes to the NATO screenshot above.

With RTS, the icons for MANPAD and ATGM squads resemble each other. For NATO, IFVs and APCs use the same icon except for a small line on the side, and are also pretty similar to recon vehicles and infantry squads. This latter set of similarities is a bigger flaw – formations of APCs and IFVs are very common and the presence or absence of IFVs makes a significant difference to threat level, and it is useful to have marders use a maximally different icon from browning boxes. There’s still reason to pick NATO if you want authenticity, but gameplay-wise my advice is to use RTS icons.

Armor vs AP

A repost, with some additions:

Tanks of similar price generally have similar ap+av. For mediums, whether AP-weighted or AV-weighted is better is a preference thing. AP keeps the tank useful if more expensive enemy stuff shows up. AV on the other hand makes your light/medium a lot more versatile – it’s easier to provide fire support if you can survive an ATGM shot and you can fight infantry toe-to-toe despite good RPGs.

Wargame vets will remember how cheap high-AV units are capable of steamrolling infantry in their own forests – eugen have slipped up more than once by making and then having to nerf vehicles with a bit too much AV for the price. For the other extreme, Razzmann has demonstrated the ability of cheap high-AP tanks to dominate heavies as long as one can force the fights to happen up close, and prevent the heavy from retreating for repairs after snagging a kill.


For heavies however, AP-weighted tanks have almost no advantages on AV-weighted tanks. AV is useful against all non-tank threats, it lets you fight infantry, push with less risk, rarely even resist an AT plane. AP-weighted tanks on the other hand buck the price hierarchy, but for heavies this is a bad thing. Having AP over AV means your tank can harm more expensive tanks but can also be harmed by cheaper stuff; it’s a good trait for a 60pt medium since you’re usually not worried about 40pt tanks, but a heavy making this tradeoff is just making itself weaker to the cheap tanks you’re usually buying it to counter.

A heavy with an armor emphasis is superior to one with an AP emphasis provided everything else is the same. Having an AP-emphasis around and after the 100pt price mark is a downgrade, not a sidegrade, to being balanced or having an AV-emphasis.

Automatic turning

Tanks will automatically turn to face threats if given no orders. I tested the details of this behaviour with nande. The results:

Tanks only turn toward spotted targets. It doesn’t matter if the tank itself has line of sight, another unit can be doing the spotting, but enemy units have to be spotted to trigger automatic facing behavior.

Only units within a certain range are considered. A hind was ignored by a leclerc if moved beyond 2500m. It could have either been using the range of the weapons of the hind (fleyta, 2450m), or it’s a global ~2500m for all units [nande says it’s the former].

Which threat to turn to is determined by the weapon types of threats. A hind with a fleyta was considered more important than a tank (chonma V) at point blank range and more important than a lie ren squad (20AP). Varying range or introduction order of threats didn’t change anything, and the hind was respected even with weapons disabled and no ammo on the ATGM. So ATGM always trumps infantry RPGs and tank cannons. Rocket pod helos were ignored in the presence of tank threats.

Of course the tank will try to turn halfway and show its front armor to all enemies if possible, but if the threats come from too different directions that can’t be covered simultaneously, it will prioritize protecting itself from ATGM. Didn’t test what happens if there are multiple ATGM threats.


It might be viable on some maps to abuse this behavior by sending 20pt atgm jeeps to the side, so that enemy tanks will expose their sides in an attempt to face them. The challenge is in making sure that the jeep is spotted yet still alive.

EDIT: FLX said that unit facing is decided in code based on DPS. He was speaking off the cuff and from memory and  I’m not 100% convinced, but the mystery deepens. A theory of mine is that the puissance weapon stat (visible with mod tools) could be what decides the threat factor. But I don’t care enough to test.

Heliborne CV infantry

I’ve been using infantry in helo CV for as long as I’ve played this game, and it’s always been a no-brainer. But I’ve noticed lately that I hesitate to deploy the CV like this. In the opener, I really don’t want to lose my CV to a stray ASF or AA helo, so having my infantry in a helo forces me to cap even town sectors with jeep CVs.

Sometimes I need to cap with a helo CV after the opener, to bypass cheeki on a reinforcement route. But the risk of ASF snipes or stray LSTR is again present, and this situation doesn’t arise often either.

I’m still considering whether I should switch to jeep transports. Probably not, the utility of being able to cap an isolated 2pter is too great even if it happens rarely. Maybe in teamgames where the cheeki never quite gets that bad.

Faster ATGM

Someone in Steel Balalaika has discovered a pretty nasty one. Apparently, the missile launched by an infantry ATGM squad will be much faster if the squad moves buildings while the pre-launch aiming process is going on.

If the video disappears, the steps appear to be as follows:

  1. Get an ATGM team in a town to attempt shooting their missile at a target.
  2. Immediately after they start aiming, order them to switch buildings.
  3. If the building hop completes before the aiming is done (and thus before the missile is in the air), the missile will be much faster once launched.

Unloading too early

I’ve cultivated a habit of pressing unload as soon as my transports start getting shot, and sometimes it is doing me a disservice. Rocket pods for example have very little overkill, and they shoot in very fast bursts that end before the infantry from a killed transport has a chance to “appear”. If I unload, the transport gets shot and the AoE rockets kill the unloaded infantry as well. If I do nothing, the vehicle often survives. If the vehicle gets killed, a full or nearly full health panicked squad spawns after the salvo has finished, and it is going to survive unless the rocket helo has time and ammo for a second salvo.

A less practical example is rushing a town and unloading to avoid RPGs. Good players will rarely have more than 1-2 units guarding the perimeter, so it can be better to just rush in, lose a transport but get to unload the rest in the town instead of having to walk. If the opponent is using carl gustavs and other 16-18AP infantry and you have 2FAV transports, the squad that does get hit will unload panicked but nearly undamaged. Most RPGs shoot once every 6 seconds, so you’ll only get shot once.

Finally, getting shot at by tanks or autocannons. Autocannons similarly to rocket pods have nearly no overkill at range. Tanks are all different, but there’s broadly two cases as long as you have 2+ armor – your transports are getting oneshot with little overkill, or the first shot only heavily damages the transport, meaning the second will kill with a lot of overkill. Tanks shoot once every 6-10 seconds, so they have difficulty killing lots of fastmoving transports that refuse to unload.

There’s always the temptation to take action when your guys are getting shot, but sometimes doing nothing is better. This primarily applies to transports with 2 armor or more, but the rocket thing applies to all of them I think.

Smoke as a super forest

Two years ago, smoke was unseen in competitive play. I guess its most obvious use in blocking enemy firing lines was a bit too niche and micro-intensive. Eventually people found a way to protect their superheavies with it, and mortars became a nearly mandatory unit in every opener.

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Using the smoke placed nearby, the moderna can break line of sight at any time.

The technique is simple – you smoke on your heavy tanks, and keep them near the smoke. If you see an AT plane, you hide in the puff. Optionally, you can also play peek-a-boo, hiding while reloading between every shot.

Normally, it is suicide to move your superheavy in the open, as it’s guaranteed to be attacked by an AT plane. Using smoke as cover, heavy tanks are no longer restricted to peeking from deep forests. Even if you are operating from a forest, it still makes sense to use this tactic – the smoke is superior cover because it unconditionally and instantly breaks line of sight, whereas forests have a ~350m perimeter where you’re stealthy, but slower to move and still perfectly spottable.

It takes some practice remembering to refresh the smoke, and keeping your heavy close enough so it can retreat to it. That said, in my experience this is by far the most common and useful application of smoke.

Disable radar immediately after shooting

You should already be familiar with the tactic of keeping radar off unless a plane is in range – this protects you from sead planes attacking alone. By also disabling radar within the firing cycle, you can protect your AA even better from SEAD.

A couple months ago I tried using a single veteran Patriot as my anti-plane AA in ranked. One of the issues I faced with that choice was SEAD – I really didn’t want to lose my only anti-plane ground unit. Turning the Patriot on even against apparently unescorted bombers could and often did turn into a mini-crisis if stealthy sead was right behind.

Eventually I figured out a tactic to minimize this issue. Turns out, there’s no reason to keep radar on while the missile is in flight – the hit and reload will occur even with the weapon disabled. With patriots, this works amazingly well: You see a bomber, flick radar on for a brief second, the missile is in the air and radar is off again by the time the SEAD trailing the bomber is in range to shoot. Four – five seconds later the missile will have finished its trip and a new one will be ready for launch, and by that point it’s clear if there is SEAD present or not, so you can flick again without losing any fire rate or wait for a safer moment.

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I ditched the solo Patriot deck, but the habit remained with me. Every time I see a plane, I select my aa, enable radar, then disable it immediately after the plane gets in range (input delay and my slowness mean the missiles will be in the air by the time the command gets through). I repeat the process after a couple seconds. Whether you can use this to safely shoot at SEAD-escorted bombers depends on the range of your AA, the range of the SEAD, and how close the SEAD is following the bomber, but generally all it takes is a bit of muscle memory to increase your AA’s survivability.

Keep in mind, you still can’t move the launch platform after disabling radar with an airborne missile – the unit will keep guiding with weapons off, but it has to stay stationary as usual.

The myth of the ATGM reroll

You’ll commonly hear from people that ATGMs have lower than the displayed accuracy due to rerolls. Apparently during ALB ATGM was far stronger, then in some WRD patch they were nerfed, and one of the nerfs was to add these rerolls. I’ve seen different explanations for the specifics of the bug/mechanic, but the most common one by far is this:

The ATGM rolls for accuracy periodically, say every two seconds. If it fails the roll, it hits the ground or flies off. If it passes, it keeps flying until it reaches the target or it has to roll again.

If this explanation were true, this would mean that slow ATGMs are much less accurate than described. For example if a TOW 2 has to roll three times, it would have not 70% accuracy but 70%^3 = 24%. This is huge.

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But if you actually go and test the ATGMs, you’ll find that their accuracies are more or less the same as what the game says above the weapon [and the numbers above the weapon are what you’d expect given the unit card and veterancy]. It’s a really easy thing to test – the difference between 70% and 25% accuracy will be clear as day within ten shots. Even if a missile only rerolls once it would be pretty clear if Eugen are trying to scam us.

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So if testing shows the accuracies are as described, why does the myth persist?

One reason is that rerolls do exist. There’s a variable in the mod tools for them and it’s been confirmed by Eugen that a reroll mechanic is in the game, albeit one that doesn’t influence accuracy. In fact, the ATGM reroll bug may have existed in exactly the way the myth describes it for some time in the WRD beta, or at least a similar bug was in effect. Regardless, the intended role of rerolls is not as an arcane nerf. They’re meant to allow for missile accuracy to change if the shooter gets shot at and demoralized while the missile is in flight. More on this at the end of the post, from Eugen themselves.

Another reason is that the myth gives us a good “just-so” story for why slow ATGMs suck. If you know from experience that slow ATGMs are pretty bad, hearing a theory whose consequences are that slow ATGMs are really inaccurate would line up perfectly with your experience. But slow ATGMs are bad because it’s much more likely for the launch vehicle to get killed or panicked, or for the target to reach concealment, not because their accuracy is fake.

A third reason is that people don’t test things. Which is fine, nobody has the time for it. People who do find the time once in a while should share their results. But I didn’t have a blog when I first heard about this, more than two years ago.

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Finally, here are some quotes from FLX, an Eugen employee:

You don’t have to get series of hit to actually it the target because if you roll a hit after having rolled a series of miss the missile will fly toward its target and hit it.

I change single roll to multiple rolls for different reasons :
– you cannot keep your static accruacy if you fire then move
– you can be stressed during missile flight
– you cannot predict if a missile will hit or miss from the start
– visually it’s rather cool

Compared to WEE, missiles cannot crash into the ground if a dice roll is a miss, only out of control missiles can hit hte ground.
To keep an accurate hit probability with multiple rolls you need as many roll as possible so I changed the check interval from 20 or so seconds ( = longer then the missile flight time) to 0.2 which is the maximum that the game authorize.
It works perfectly but there is a rule I misunderstood which says :
“If a hitroll is a miss in the final approach of the missile (calculated in 3D frames) then the missile is deflected to prevent accidental hit”

[Note from honhonhonhon – the rest of the quote describes a bug that has since been fixed, and may be what spawned the myth. It’s an old quote that I included because it describes the motivations behind the reroll system. Don’t get confused.]

What I didn’t know is that if you have multiple dice rolls in the final approach the missile is deflected anyway even if you have successes after an initial miss.

So with 0.2sec between rolls slow missiles could have 2 or 3 rolls during final approach which means you had to make a series of sucess to avoid being deflected.

Let’s take an exemple :
– Final approach distance is 500m
– Dice roll occurs every 0.2sec
– missile speed is 500m/s

hit hit hit hit miss = your missile miss it’s normal
miss hit hit hit hit = your missile is deflected anyway even if you have had 4 success after a miss.

So the only way to get a hit in my example is to make 5 hit in a row.

The faster the missile the less dice roll in the final approach, the more accurate the missile the more chance to make a series of success.

You don’t have to get series of hit to actually it the target because if you roll a hit after having rolled a series of miss the missile will fly toward its target and hit it.

In WEE the accuracy of ATGM was wrong because when you rolled a miss the missile got deviated in random direction and if it hit the ground it was destroyed.
Since there is 50% chance that the deviation is toward the sky and 50% toward the ground the practical accuracy was lower than expected.
With WALB we brought a new feature that prevents a missile from hitting the ground when the roll is a miss befor it hits or overfly its target which brings back the accuracy to what is displayed.

That’s the theory. In practice some elements can make your accuracy lower than displayed :
1) You get stunned during missile fly = you lose control
2) Target disappear for more than one second during missile fly = you lose control
3) You get stressed during missile fly = your next roll will have lower hit probability
4) Your missile deviate so much from its trajectory after multiple miss that when the last roll is a hit the missile cannot turn enough in the few meters remaining to actually hit its target.

Point 1 2 3 are designed that way and controlled.
The number of time point 4 appear is much harder to calculate. Your missile have to score multiple miss in a row and the random deviation must be several time in the same direction. Then the last roll that is a hit has to occurs close enough to the target and the missile rotation speed has to be low enough to prevent the missile from hitting the target hitbox.

To minimise this case the faster the missile the smaller the maximum deviation angle of the missile is.

[ Source: http://forums.eugensystems.com/viewtopic.php?f=155&t=56929 , pages 2 and 3, http://forums.eugensystems.com/viewtopic.php?f=155&t=56540&p=909524#p909524 ]

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Actually, one more thing. FLX’s explanation does leave some room for unexpected misses. As he says, if a missile rolls multiple misses in the same direction, it may stray too far from the target and be unable to turn fast enough to perform a hit rolled at the end. But this is very unlikely. I believe a forum member detected the effect after a lot of testing, and it was as expected within the single digits, but I can’t find the thread [and it is as of yet unreplicated, because nobody has tried it].