Company of Heroes 2: The Basics Guide
After an intensive period of playing as both the Germand and Soviets in the Company of Heroes 2 Open Beta I feel that for all those who never played a Company of Heroes game, yet are curious how it plays out, I decided to write up this Guide. Company of Heroes 2 differs from Company of Heroes 1 in a number of ways. The addition of the Winter is one major change. The Economy has been slightly reworked, and it is much harder to “Spam” effectively, but it is still possible. I will try to include as much information as possible, even though a lot of it may be found in the game’s Tutorial and Tips Videos (as well as Hints). However, I will include a few Tips of my own, and Strategies you may use against you enemies, be it when playing as the Soviets or Germans.
Take note, this is from my Open Beta experiences, what you might have in the actual game can differ from what I state here, so the Guide might, eventually, also change, as I dwell into the main game itself. Also, because I had problems running the game on anything higher than MINIMUM graphic setting the screenshots look… terrible…
Also, in case you are wondering, the lack of links to a Wiki is because there is none (yet). As soon as some solid content appears I will link it as well. If you are looking for more info we have a general list of Company of Heroes 2 Guides.
Company of Heroes 2: The Basics
Company of Heroes 2 is an RTS. You construct and upgrade your base, unlocking more units and upgrading your troops on the field. Your units can level, gaining more abilities and improving their stats. There are currently two sides to the conflict, the Germans and the Soviets. Each side has its own strengths and weaknesses, all of which I will try to mention in the Soviets and Germans Guide. (Not yet written, because I have to gosh darn sleep!)
I will not focus on the controls themselves, since that you can figure out on your own. Let’s start with the two Multiplayer Modes available.
The Game Modes
There are two Multiplayer Games Modes available (aside from Theater of War that I did not have a chance to test). Both of these modes are similar to what we had in Company of Heroes 1. Annihilation and Victory Points. Annihilation is about the TOTAL destruction of the enemy. In order to win here you have to destroy every building the enemy team might had built. This is one of the longest game modes, so be prepared to have even two hours of free time, since a balanced game could well last that long. Victory Points can be much quicker, and in a “Total Win” situation the game could be over in anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes (unless the enemy surrenders).
Victory Points is about taking Victory Locations. The team that holds the majority of the points begins subtracting points from the enemy “pool”. The team which has a depleted point pool looses. There are three Victory Locations on each map, so both in larger and smaller games you are forced to often split your forces to hold even two of these points.
On Ranks, Commander and Bulletins
Each Online Game and Campaign Mission will grant you experience. This experience will allow you to increase your Rank. Your Rank does not only represent your (theoretical) experience but it also allows you to unlock more Commanders, Skins and Bulletins.
Commanders are your Special Abilities and Call-Ins. When you setup a Preset for your games you can pick three Commanders. In other words, if you had ten different German Commanders you can bring only three of them to a battle, and then during a Battle you can only pick one of them, with all of his benefits. Each Ability and Call-In a Commander has calls for a certain number of Ability Points. Ability Points are gained through actions during a battle, such as building structures or killing enemies. Some Abilities have the same Ability Point Requirement, which means you need, for example, two Ability Points in order to use the two Abilities that both cost Two Ability Points Each. You do not use up Ability Points, they simply unlock your abilities.
The more Commanders you have the wider your choice in strategies. You might be more defensive, more centered on Infantry or Armor, the decision is yours. It is a good idea to keep a decent variety of commanders, so that you can adapt to the choices your Allies and Enemies will make.
Skins make your Vehicles look nice. They come in the Summer and Winter variants, so depending on which map you will play on appropriate chosen skins will appear. They hold no special benefits, other than cool looks.
On top of this you also have Bulletins. You pick only three bulletins for your setup, and their task is to offer different bonuses to your specific units. Bulletins can benefit your different units in many ways. So, you might have a bulletin that allows your Panzer IVs to gain experience faster. Or one that allows for better weapon accuracy on your Stug III. In order to use a Bulletin you need a high enough Rank and then you have to complete a challenge (or set of challenges) associated with said Bulletin. This might be something simple, like building a certain structure or using a specific ability, a certain number of times. However, some Bulletins have very tough challenges, such as where Grenadiers have to kill 5 Heavy Tanks with Panzerfausts (good luck with that).
The combination of Bulletins and Commanders allows you to create Combos that you think will benefit you the most, during the game. Experiment a bit and you might find something you like… and be patient. You will not get the bulletins you want on your first few games.