The chain of command

Salute soldiers!

Before I tell you about some exciting new changes with regard to the chain of command, I'd like to give a little insight in our content strategy for this blog. Eventhough the entire game concept will be finished within a month or two, we will not immediately be posting about new/changed features whenever they are decided on. There are only so many features to talk about, and a very long time (approximately a year until the golden release is planned) to talk about them. So we have decided to somewhat spread the information. This does not change anything about the fact that we love to hear your input! Changes to the game concept can and will be made during the development proces.

The ones present at the kick-off meeting can be considered 'special', as they will be hearing most of the game concept content in one go. This is because the main goal of the kick-off is to discuss the game concept.

A unique feature
The chain of command has always been and still is quite a unique feature which really adds another dimension to our beloved game. Among other things, it has a massive impact on how both LOS and weapons are distributed. In line with what I mentioned in the paragraph above, we will post about these features and how the chain of command impacts them at a later stage ;)

Strategic view
The chain of command will be visible and adaptable in the 'strategic view'. The strategic view is also the place where the team commander and subordinates who'm he allows can create and modify the battle plan. Our post about the strategic view and the battle plan can be found here. In short, this is where the team commanders can set up all of the instruments available to them before the battle starts. As well as adapt them while the battle is underway.

In the old call of combat, the chain was nothing more than a vertical line of direct subordinates. The new chain of command will be structured like a tree. We feel that a tree-structure is a far better reflection of how a chain of command is structured in reality. Also, it enables the in-game commander to group soldiers based on the battle plan which is made. This way, a player who is not the team commander, could for example be the direct commander of two subordinates. We hope that this will result in a stronger sense of responsibility. And subsequently more interaction between players and (thus) more teamwork. We are currently investigating even more possiblities to enhance the amount of teamwork within the game.

Other important details
The chain is, just like it was in the old call, rank-dependent. In less serious game-modes such as the old open games the chain will be set-up automatically. In the more serious game-modes such as the old AG games the chain must be set up by the team commander. And last but not least: whenever a soldier in the chain dies he will be automatically replaced by the highest rank underneath him in the chain. This way the team commander doesn't have to (but still can if he wants to) manage the chain while the battle is underway.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


Foggy Dewhurst's picture

This sounds awesome, Erik! Can see you guys are planning this out really well. I like the tree idea, it gets rid of the old CoC's arguments of "i have more PPs than the other guy the same rank as me so I should have his eyes" and the other guy "I signed up 2 days before him so even if he has more PPs I should have his eyes" etc.

Some great ideas, can't wait!
Costas's picture

Only newbies would argue about things like that Foggy. Subs (eyes) were supposed to be assigned based on the plan to accomodate players holding key positions. For instance, in farmfight, the stone house defender should have the eyes from the guy defending big house. From a strategic point of view, this would oblidge the commander (if he was a good one) to assign positions and subs in a way that the eyes would play a very crucial role. My concern since it's not clear from this post is if you have a tree chain of command, then the individual teams wouldn't have eyes on the other side of the map/battle for instance. By the way, I don't see this being a new option as you could implement tree structure in the old chain as well. Maybe the only new feature is that actually you can ONLY implement the tree sturcture now? Am I correct in my assumptions Erik? Also I'm not sure how the dead commander would be able to keep on commanding, does this mean that he will retain eyes after he dies?
Erik's picture

Yep, only a tree structure. With small teams being the exception which proves the rule of course. I realise that perhaps the most important consequence of how the chain of command is set up, is the distribution of LOS. Because we still need to dot some i's and cross some t's, and because we like to tease you, I cannot say much about LOS just yet I'm afraid ;) The plan is to cover LOS in our next post.

To answer your question about a dead commander: a dead commander will be removed out of the chain as soon as he's dead. He will be automatically replaced by the highest rank underneath him. A dead guy giving commands doesnt seem right to me ;)
Costas's picture

"A dead guy giving commands doesnt seem right to me ;)"

I misread your last line about managing the teams, I thought the dead commander would still have the ability to do it. Correct me if I'm wrong but in our last game, this was also done automatically, right? What seemed to be a nuisance though was an alive player disconnecting and reconnecting, then the whole chain had to be redone. I hope this might be something that can be anticipated with the design of the new game to retain the chain as structured in such a case...I know I'm steering away from the topic :) And since I already got sidetracked, it would be useful to have on the command panel the subs sorted by rank rather than alphabetically....we've all experienced in large games this: after you were almost done you found at the bottom of the list a high ranking officer and had to redo it all over :p
Erik's picture

Yep, in the old CoC dead links in the chain were replaced automatically as well. I think I might have aroused certain expectations by starting my post with "exciting new changes". Perhaps this was a bit too enthusiastic. I release that not that all much is new except for the structure and the place where it can be managed. As well the bugfixes such as the disconnection problem of course (good point). Personally I still find these changes to be quite exciting though ;)

Ordering the subs by rank is definitely a good idea! Thanks :)
Muramasa's picture

can people obtained officers ranks without the CO giving it to them ?like one's get officer ranks by winning games
Erik's picture

We're not sure yet how the rank system will be structured. But a combination which includes gaining officer ranks through skill is inevitable in my opinion ;)
CookiePanda's picture

How about earning officer ranks by being one of the tops performers in a certain game mode (ie Pstats, opens, whatever replaces those) for a month?
Erik's picture

In all honesty I dont remember exactly how it was sorted. But either way there is indeed only one good way to sort them: and thats by rank :)
Colethemole69's picture

Sounds mega cool...wish you would give more details NOW though! Haha I know you have it all in line though and Im just super excited to hear the details and to play this :P

Keep up the good work so I can own you sometime down the road Erik ;)
Dyer's picture

love the eyes idea always hated that arguement and in ag you should.fix it to where he can assign any rank under him not just the next highest rank lets there be more attacking and defensive players just an idea
Erik's picture

Thanks to the branches that come with the tree structure this willl definitely be possible. The branches and the chain in general are rank-dependent though. Meaning that you cannot place a higher rank beneath a lower ranked player in a specific branch of the chain. But you could indeed split them up into several branches and get the effect that you are suggesting :)
Costas's picture

I'm probably pushing it, but what are the chances that the "strategic view" could actually be in a minimap that's open during the game and shows action right on the map? Instead of screaming on ventrilo "WHERE?" to actually have flashing circles where there is a battle going on?
Erik's picture

We are definitely planning on implementing a mini-map as well. I say as well because the strategic view and the mini-map are two very different features. Whereas the strategic view is an entirely different screen for setting up the chain and a battle plan (and adapting them while the battle is underway). The mini-map is located on the battle-screen and will supply you with a map overview while you are in battle. A communication method such as the one you speak of, a 'ping' or flashing circles, which allow players to clearly indicate a point on the mini-map is absolutely in the plans. We'll have to find a proper balance between the tactical support system (see the strategic view post) and a communication method such a ping, or flashing circles etc. Because in principle the tactical support system is designed for on-map support only (not the mini-map). By either making the tactical support system commands visible on the mini-map or by adding a location indicator (with perhaps even more options such as retreat, assault, etc.) we have a found a plausible solution I think.

Am I making any sense? :)
Costas's picture

I've been trying after 10 years the wwiionline game. They have implemented a key function where you open up the strategic view let's say map and right click on a spot->add report->enemy infantry.
Then the whole team sees a red infantry icon on their minimap (radar) based on that report. Something similar could be the solution perhaps. I thought this might help.
Erik's picture

Yeah, thats pretty much how the 'ping' feature works which has been discussed already quite a few times on the blog here. Only then its accompanied by a sound as well. We'll have to see how it will turn out exactly. But a feature which enables player to communicate in such a way is definitely something which is desired by quite a few as far as I can tell. Therefore it is in the development plans :)
Colosuss's picture

Erik just found out this new version of Coc and I´m amazed on what you are doing. Just came with Costas´ ventrilo comment thinking we should be independent of it. Have you thought about a game integrated communication feature that could be easily used depending on the room you are in, a general ag room or even opens room? Honestly i alwasy had problems with vent.
Erik's picture

Heya Colosuss. Good to see you've found us again :) We have planned to integrate a voice comm feature into the game. We havent worked out any details yet. But for it to work per room seems quite plausible to me.
sopho's picture

I always thought it'd be cool to have a report button. It'd give eyes to the person above you for a minute or so. If the button is not pressed then the peron above sees nothing (or has very temperamental insight into subords). The player above would subsequently have to give their eyes above as well. I admit it wouldn't work too well in practically FFA games like opens but think it'd encourage better team work in AG games.
Erik's picture

Thats a very interesting idea! I'll make sure this is discussed in our next meeting. We have several other ideas for the distribution of LOS and we'll be making a final decision this week. Stay tuned for the next blog post as it will be about LOS :)
Jeff's picture

I dont know if you plan on implementing something similar to the old campaign games for CoC v2 but the tree structure idea would be perfect for that! Hopefully we do get some kind of weekly/monthly campaign game though because huge games like those really show off the games sense of community as well as the responsibilities involved in a chain of command!
Erik's picture

Definitely. A campaign mode has great potential and can really add another dimension to the game. We might not implement it just yet in the initial golden release, but a campaign-mode absolutely is a desired feature on the long term.
Alex's picture

The campaign mode was 1 of the biggest pulls alongside AG games. New players wanted big games, that's why opens was popular as they typically were bigger. The main issue with campaigns were organisation which we were asking for years for help over!

You get 1 chance to make an impression on players, especially with a reboot so I'd strongly suggest its included or combine it with the respawn format to make an objective based large game where players can drop in and out. Starting from scratch is the ideal opportunity to add things being requested by players consistently over the years. It was the prime complaint that suggestions were ignored - I'd hate to see the mistakes repeated.
CookiePanda's picture

I think we should replace opens with a respawn format and have Pstats games become the regular non-AG game format
Costas's picture

Again getting off topic (meh we need a forum LOL) but I agree with Alex. Campaigns had great response and were tons of fun when they lasted. If you put aside some primadonna type of attitudes from certain AGs or their high ranking officers, in the last campaign we had games 20vs20 in sizes and people were too eagger to join. I was there for all those games and I can atest to their success (kudos to the people that put a lot of effort in it like shiva, phil and blue to set them up). Where they felt sort was the luck of a bigger scheme and organization, definately not luck of interest. With Philster we even conteplated on having an ongoing campaign on weekly basis over a predefined European map with occupied teritorries and a newsletter that went with it. As Alex points out, we would all hate to see the same mistakes repeated. One of the biggest mistake was how Florian was allienated from the game itself, leaving the Head of Staff stranded. Perhaps some of the old staff memebrs like Alex, have invaluable input to offer that at least should be taken under some consideration.
Alex's picture

I think I'd conflict heavily with Florian as I remain sceptical on this project, not over the initial game development which looks promising but more the long term running of it. I'm not convinced this wont become a case of Erik being another HoS left totally isolated and helpless when bugs appear and updates being once a year. That is something that needs to be taken seriously by the current team.

Being an indie developer is fine, but generally they aren't volunteers and a hobby. A business plan would be preferential, even better would be to see individuals employed to KaVa Gaming and it being run as a business.
Erik's picture

I understand your concerns. Both Florian and I are very aware of the mistakes made in the past. All I can say now is that hopefully with time we will be able to take your concerns away. We are taking this project very serious. It is not a hobby anymore.
Foggy Dewhurst's picture

Just wanted to say I don't share those concerns. If Kading wasn't serious about this, he'd have just closed old CoC and left it at that.

He understands old mistakes. I'm an online community manager, completely different but with similarities, I've managed many online communities and sometimes when a community is dwindling and spiraling and there's so much to do.. it gets the better of you and you do get de-motivated. You WANT to do something.. but.. you think what's the point?

This time around they've registered as a business, have a proper team in place. Kading's got fantastic support in Erik, whose passion shines through.

You can just sense and tell that they're 100% serious and behind this. You only have to read the blog posts.

Also you have to remember after all these years programming skills of said individuals will be a lot better than they used to be - that goes without saying. From what I understand, the code of old CoC was so messy and partly deprecated it'd need an entire re-write for Kading to really do anything about it.

So since it needed re-writing anyway.. here comes CoC v2 :) that should say it all really.
Florian's picture

That has been my conclusion as well Alex. This is not simply a hobby project as CoCv1 was, as I am dedicating a large portion of my work week on this and have made sure I can continue to do so for at least the coming 18 months. I know Erik has done the same.

After release this game has to be at least sustainable. We therefore aim for a business model that can pay for both maintenance and continued development, so we need to generate the income for dedicated and professional staff and not just rely on volunteers.
Erik's picture

Yes, I know that the campaign-mode was very popular. I am huge fan of it as well. As I said, it can really add another dimension to the game. Not just because of its scale (this can be achieved in other game-modes as well, indeed such as a respawn-mode for example), but also because of the 'story-mode' which comes with it. And of course other elements such as tying in AG's. We have lots of ideas for a whole bunch of very cool game-modes. We will have to make choices for the first release though. If we would implement every feature that we've thought of (or which has been suggested by you guys) then the game wouldnt be published until 2020 :P Our plan is to release a great version in the spring of 2014. And subsequently continuously develop and implement features while the game is up and running.

At some point we will make a post about game-modes. As with everything, we would love your input at that time. For now its a bit too early to discuss game-modes as we still need to work out some issues.

Lets get this show on the road baby. I'll be donating money whenever I get the chance
Erik's picture

Thanks Heineken! Great to see another enthusiastic supporter :)
lorekiller's picture

Sounds awesome! This will be the only game where true teamwork is really necessary!
dooiefries's picture

It might be interesting to enable these extra pings, vision, tactical communication for people who unlocked a radio guy for their squad. These might be the kind of things you want to implant that keeps giving players things to play for. Choices to invest earned experience/promotion points in etc.
This also allow for differentation in team compostions and roles players can fullfil in their teams. Other options can be that squads being able to equip a heavy machine gun must first unlock a fireteam skill. Their mg has to be mannen by 2 people now. Squads could also unlock a medic. This would, however, have a major game changing impact, as it would mean soldiers can get wounded.
Above is just to name some examples I can think of the top of my head. These might not be right for the game, or wathever. The main point I want to make is that a game needs continual objectives that players can work towards. In previous coc this was only gaining ranks. Most players stabilized at a certain rank and after that there was not much to play for. Most posting here might not see this, cause we all had enough enjoyment out of competing for ag standings and having fun playing in general. However, I have spoken many (newer) people in the game that were bored by this fact.
Colosuss's picture

Wow, i havent used my Coc account in a while and jsut found out we are having a new version. That is awsome. I agree with dooie, most of the ppl that played Coc and stayed were just addicts meanwhile new ppl didn´t care much about just earnign ranks. I agree there should be some unlockable features with xp but in the other hand what i really liked about old Coc was somehow everybody were equal from the begining. As a noob you ahd the same tools as any other rambo on the map. Plus, as a noob, you felt bigger than anyone with an mg. In my opinion unlockable features should increase your success rate but not make some invincible machines. I suggest things like wider field of sight depending on xp (shooting range should be the same for everyone), the possibilitty of carrying more nades not jsut 7, unlockable ammo refills spots or units, commander features that can lead other squads within the right strategy (flares or point designators), etc... I mean there is a lot of stuff that commanders and really experienced ppl would help lead an army to victory without the necessity of unlocking more firepower. All guns and basic skills should be given since the moment you open your account...
Erik's picture

Thanks for your replies dooie and colosuss. Its very interesting to see that you've come across the exact same issue as we have :) And your suggestions are very much appreciated!

One of the current issues we are discussing is indeed how to keep the game attractive for players on the long term. Like both of you have rightly stated, pretty much all that provided players with an incentive to keep playing were achievements such as pps, rank, medals and the leaderboards (monthly AG competition, super soldiers lists, etc.).
And the community aspect of course, but thats a seperate issue. The question is: is this enough? And if it isnt, which features can we implement that do provide a player with an incentive to keep playing on the long term. Subsequently, the big question is: what kind of impact do these new features have on the gameplay experience.

I agree with colosuss when he says that one of the cool things about CoC was that every player started out with exactly the same each game. Winning or losing was a result of skill (and perhaps a bit of luck ;)). Not of for example an item build-up thanks to experience.

However, the conlusion might very well be that we have to step away from that because otherwise the game simply wont be interesting enough for players on the long term. Building up a personalized squad, consisting of soldiers each with its own special abilities, is an option we are currently discussing (quite similar to your suggestion dooie). Limiting it to features as the ones you are suggesting colossus, could indeed be desirable. I dont completely agree with you when you say that they do not increase your success rate though. Even the ability to carry more nades for example already increases a player's success rate. I expect that if we come to the conclusion that an addition for the long term is required it will pretty much always come alongside with at least some increase of a player's success rate. However, to which degree is something that we can control of course ;) A balance needs to be found between creating a skill-based game and creating incentive for players to keep playing on the long term.
Costas's picture

Awesome ideas dooi. Either personal pps or rank or both could *unlock* different abilites or weapons allowed. Either that would be extra granades, the ability to use an MG, perhaps a radio communication in the form of having the eyes the commander has, great potential for development. Me like it. Also those could be branch type depending on your personal type of playing...a defensive player could use the MG ability or extra ammo, whereas an offensive player could use extra eyes or submachine guns or extra nades. Besides and IF there was a way to implement something like that, shouldn't the aim% grow higher the more experienced you are? I'd think it would be fair if every rank gave you an increase of hit chance of 10% higher than the previous rank maybe with a cap at 30% max or something, or a lesser percentage the higher the rank gain. Similar with stress levels. The more experienced you are, the less stress occurs during fire suppression.
Erik's picture

In all honesty we are not big fans of giving experienced players a large in-game advantage over new players. Instead, we are actually big supporters of creating a skill-based game (for as much as possible). A skill-based game where whether you win or loose is decided as much as possible by a player's skill, not by for example the amount of games which he has played. Increasing the hit% for experienced players would just seem wrong in our opinion.
Alex's picture

Perhaps a hybrid may be a good option?
A slow progression from experience with a quicker progression by skill.

The problem I would assume you are already discussing would be:
- A regular player that isn't very skilled, surely they should be rewarded for loyalty?
- A newbie who is very skilled, how do you keep them interested?
- How is 'skill' measured? Stats can show anything and you have the 'kill steal' issue so kills is an unreliable though popular statistic. Ill repeat as I always have, look to battlefield 3 that rewards teamwork! Every game naturally has 3 types of player: defensive, offensive and support- all 3 need rewarding imo
Erik's picture

There is a difference between progression and gaining benefits when you progress. Its the benefits which we want to keep at a minimum in order to keep it skill-based.

All players should/will be able to progress. Players of different skill levels will however each have its own ceiling as well as a different pace with which they reach that ceiling.

We'll have a look at how battlefield 3 rewards teamwork, thanks :)
Rezurexc's picture

I was thinking of Costas idea, and your idea Erik, why not combine them? You see, Costas idea is to make a soldier better the more time he is in combat, and keeps the exp, your idea is to show a players skill, without gaining anything. Here's what I say, At the beginning of each game, everyone starts at 0 exp and you can gain exp by killing an enemy, throwing a grenade, shooting your rifle, being surpressed, pretty much being in the warzone. The experience should be distributed differently of course. So while your soldier, (individually) gains experience, the more accurate he gets with certain skills, as in, if you have a soldier that shoots more, and another that stays in cover more, the soldier that shoots more will have better aim throughout the mission/map. Of course, there is always that chance they will die. So, when that mission/map is over and you join another mission/map. Every soldier starts with 0 exp.
Erik's picture

Interesting option Rez. I'll make sure its discussed. I do think it kind of defeats the purpose though. The idea is to create long term goals. This would be very short term ;)
Rezurexc's picture

Yeah, I like long term goals like what dooie said about unlocking classes and such the more you play. Its all on you guys and how you want the game to be. :)
SemperFI's picture

Hello Erik,
It has been awhile since I logged onto CoC, and I was excited to discover that you guys are redeveloping an already great game, into something that could be a potential BLOCKBUSTER! I first played this game back in the early 90s when it was called Chain of Command, and then later in the early 2000s. I have never been a dominating player at this game, probably cause I can't type for $#!t and I have slow reflexes :-).. But I have a few ideas that u guys may not have already considered. I am a former Marine with advanced Infantry training in tactics and weapons. Command structure, unit cohesion, and morale are key to any successful combat op. Individual skill levels and training in various weapon systems are likewise tantamount.
In the summer of 1981 I attended Infantry Training School ( ITS) at Camp San Onafre which is located within Camp Pendelton. There are 4 different schools within ITS: Combat Rifleman, Machinegunners, Mortar School (60mm & 81mm), and Anti-tank weapons specialists. I volunteered for Infantry Rifleman when I joined up, (DON'T LAUGH, I was 17 at the time and dumber than a sack of hammers when it comes to "seeing the Big Picture" :-D). My primary MOS was 0311, I forget the various MOS designations for the other infantry types but they all were 03??. (03 being infantry in its various forms). In game this would apply to the generation of your characters, where you must decide what "specialty" you want to be schooled in after Basic training i.e. Bootcamp. At Bootcamp everyone is trained and must successfully qualify either as a rifle Marksman, Sharpshooter, or Expert., only those who qualified as Expert Marksmen may later apply for Advanced training as snipers once they graduate from ITS. I was not an Expert Marksmen in RL, I dang near didn't qualify.:-) (I qualified by like 3 points). Once training was completed each individual was assigned to various units according to the needs of the service and various TO&Es.;
Composition of an Infantry company when I was in the Corps was as follows: 3x 4-man fireteams /squad; each fireteam consisting of 1 Fireteam leader acting as a Rifleman, 1 Automatic Rifleman{AR-Man} [fires his weapon on full-automatic (this was me cause I wasn't a dead aim with the M-16, and I had to carry about 3x the ammo the other guys carried)], 1 Rifleman, and finally a Grenadier whose M-16 was equipped w/ a 40mm M-203 grenade launcher and a squad leader[(SL)Rifleman)]= 13 men/squad which = 7 Riflemen( one which is the SL), 3AR-men, & 3 Grenadiers per squad when at full strength.Usually 3, and sometimes 4 such squads would be comprised into a Rifle Platoon,(4 squads would be designated as a "reinforced Rifle Platoon").Full strength platoons contained: 21 Riflemen( 3 are SLs); 9 AR-men,&9 Grenadiers. Commanding the platoon would be a Platoon Sgt.(Staff Sgt. or Gun.Sgt. & a 2nd or sometimes a 1st Lt. in overall command of the platoon)= 41 men /platoon. A Rifle Company would consist of 3-4 such Rifle platoons plus a Company 1st Sgt, an XO usually a 1st LT. or Capt., and a CO (Capt. rarely a Maj.)=120 men/Rifle company. In addition to these 120 men would be a Weapons Platoon which would consist of 3-4 x2-man M-60 MG crews; 3-4x 3-man 60 mm mortar crews; 2-3x 4-man 81mm mortar crews; 3-4 2-man LAW ATrocket crews. and a 2 man Dragon wire -guided AT rocket crew and a platoon Sgt and a Platoon CO=33-44 additional men. Rankings w/i the fire team were usually E-1 to E-4s with the E-3s usually the AR- man and E-4s the FT Leaders. In game to field a full company w/o a weapons platoon would require about 30 individual gamers/side, with a full strength Weps. Plt. you would add another 10-12 people playing their 4-man fireteams. Instead of todays weaponry you would use the weapons for the WWII period.
Terrain and obstacles are very important components to the overall planning and execution of any mission. Things like Concertina wire, pits , minefields, dragon's teeth were generally used to funnel attackers into the kill zones of pillbox fortifications w/ MGs and fighting holes and trenches containing defenders with grenades and bayonets hungry for blood. Attacking such "hard points" required yet another arm of the Infantry...The Combat Engineer with his bangalore torpedos, plastic explosives, TNT, satchel charges, & flamethrowers. Casualties are inevitabaly going to be high, requiring the skills of Intrepid medics or Navy Corpsman to staunch the bleeding wounds, and ease the pain of the dying. stretcher-bearers, indomitable in their mission to transport the broken and bleeding to ambulances and field hospitals, thus saving as many as possible, so that once healed they can return to the fight and put down the oppressors of freedom, or defend to the last full measure the beloved Fatherland, or the home islands of the Emperor.
Colethemole69's picture

Actually sat down and read all of this...most might not have...and I agree that it could be a very cool idea to look into when you said that you would have a "class" to choose once you reached a certain level(graduating from bootcamp). Would like to see what Erik and other developers thought of this.
Erik's picture

Perhaps you should sit down and hand over that Twitter account cole :P

Thanks for your reply Semp. Very interesting indeed. As a game developer, one of your key objectives is to constantly offer new challenges to the players. This could be enhanced by letting players start off with only the most basic equipment and abilities (basic training/bootcamp phase :)). Subsequently the players will be able to 'earn' new equipment and abilities as they rank up. This can be done in several ways: with a class/specialist structure as mentioned, a completely 'free' system where every soldier can go several ways at the same time, or somewhere in between. Personally I must say I like the class/specialist structure the most. Among other things because its, as you've confirmed, the most realistic.

I think we must ask ourselves a different question first though: to what extent do we want these classes/abilities to go? This is what we are currently discussing. The further we go, the more we divert from the original concept. But at the same time, the further we go, the more options there will be for continuously offering new challenges to the players. There really is a lot to say for preventing players to become bored because they arent challenged anymore. But do we really want to integrate soldier classes such as snipers, machine gunners and radio men? What do you guys think? Right now we are leaning towards the feeling that we dont really have a choice ;) Competitions/ladders, rank, social status, achievements such as medals and enhancing current abilites (such as carrying a certain amount of nades) is likely to not be enough.