Q: What the goose is this?
OPEN BETA IS HERE
You account will not be wiped on release day!
get out there and play!
A: Well, you might remember a little award winning RTS known as Company of Heroes. Looks like those dogs at Relic and THQ are trying to drum a little more out of the game by expanding it and making it free to play.
Q: What's that? Free to play?
A: Yeah, COHO is going to be a free to play game. If you've ever played a game like League of Legends, it has a similar system. You can do pretty much anything in the game for free with a little time and effort; shell out some real cash though can get you there faster or easier.
Q: Well, what's it like then? Surely they didn't just give us the game for free?
A: If you've played Company of Heroes, you'll recognize it instantly. It has all the usual squad based combat that you're used to.
There are differences between the original company of heroes and COHO though! You have a new commander avatar, a persistent level, a completely different company set up.
Hmmm. Why don't we go through the creation of a character to explore this further:
Spoiler'd for big:
To start off, you choose a side and doctrine.
You get up to four commanders, so you're not permanently stuck with one side or doctrine:
You can even do silly customization like your looks and name.
There's a whole new doctrine set up for COHO. For those unfamiliar, doctrines in company of heroes were a way to customize your forces to your style of play. Doctrines give commanders unique and thematic powers.
The American doctrines focus on unit types: Infantry, Airborne and Armor doctrines.
The Wehrmacht doctrines focus on an overall strategy: Defensive, Blitzkrieg, and Terror doctrines.
When you level up in COHO you are given new power slots and improvement points that let you choose and customize your doctrine powers in new ways:
spoiler'd for big pictures:
Choosing a power:
Spending Improvement points to upgrade and specialize a power:
Q: New doctrines you say? Is that all?
A: There are also new hero units and army items! Hero units are normal units with a twist or two: they might be more accurate, tough, or have new abilities. They can level up in battle, and retain those levels between battles. They unlock new abilities as they level up.
Hero units have disadvantages as well. Hero units don't have access to the same equipment as normal units. A heroic engineer or pioneer might not be able to get a flamethrower upgrade. A heroic rifleman will not get BARs when other riflemen do. Some doctrine abilities don't work on hero units. They also cannot gain veterancy like normal units and tend to be worse later on.
Items are another way to customize one's army. You can have 8 items in effect, each can provide passive bonuses to certain units.
Pictures spoil'd for big:
Equipping an item in the depot:
A heroic jeep crew resides in my barracks: