This is the first in a series of articles based on the training missions included in Theatre of War. The goal is to explain the general game interface but also to highlight some of the tactical principles fundamental to understanding and enjoying a tactical WW2 ground combat game which, unlike so many other RTS games, involves more strategy than just "who can click faster wins".
This first article covers some basic game mechanics such as how to select and move units, while the following three articles will dig deeper into tactical problems and how to solve them using realistic WW2 tactics (and how to execute them in the game).
The series will cover the following four training scenarios:
- BASIC TRAINING
- ASSAULT TACTICS PRIMER
- DEFENSIVE TACTICS PRIMER
- COMMAND & CONTROL
Please note that all screenshots are taking from a beta version of the game, and do not necessarily represent the final release product. This is especially true for a lot of the english language in the beta at the time when the screens were taken.
The Basic Training mission consists of 5 individual mission objectives which the player has to complete one by one, while in the meantime learning and applying basic game functions, such as camera control, unit selection, movement and other commands. Since this is a training mission, none of the opponents really poses any threat, and in most cases they're either only weakly armed or even entirely unarmed (or have no ammo).
Objective 1: move a small squad of Russian infantry soldiers to a machinegun emplacement, man the MG and issue firing orders to fight attacking German infantry.
Objective 2: sneak into position with two snipers and take out a German Anti-tank gun crew
Objective 3: Setup an anti-tank gun and destroy an approaching German tank, then capture an enemy tank and destroy an enemy recon element
Objective 4: order an artillery strike on a German trenchline
Objective 5: order an air strike on a German gun emplacement
We're starting off with Lt. Dorofey Blokhin and his infantry squad. The goal is to move the squad to the MG position ahead and man the MG. Obviously that's not too difficult to do since they just need to walk over, but again the goal in this training mission is to first teach the ain interface functions and conventions.
In Theatre of War, each soldier is principally moved individually by left-clicking either on the soldier figure, or also on the hovering icon above him. But this can get difficult to do in the heat of the battle for each individual soldier under your command, as there can be quite a lot of units on the map at the same time, so there are some additional group selection options available. You can click-and-drag a selection box around the units you'd like to choose for example. Or you can hold the SHIFT key and
click on the units you'd like to group select one by one. Or, a special form of selection for infantry squads, is that you can double-click on the squad leader's icon, thus selecting the entire squad (no matter where the individual soldiers are). After you select a group of units, you can also assign such a group to a specific Group key, and can then select the entire group, regardless of their location on the map, buy hitting the number key of the group.
After selecting the soldiers soldiers, simply right-click on the destination you want them to move to. As soon as you have more than one unit selected, the game is treating your selected units as a "formation", and you can use any of the formation keys visible at the bottom of the user interface. With one click you could order the selected soldiers to advance in a line, or wedge, or no formation etc. By right-clicking and holding the mouse button you can change the facing of the formation at the
Formations automatically adjust to the terrain they travel, too. If a wall or house is in the way, the formation is adapted accordingly.