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Verdun Historical Events/Background and Problems
One frequently sees threads here asking if Verdun could someday become more realistic and historically accurate. The topic is complex and I am not a developer, but I think that I may have some interesting things to say since I have been active in four separate groups who have from time to time set up private matches using special rules with the intention of presenting a more historical and realistic option for Verduners. Let me first go over some history of those four groups.

BACKGROUND

On November 2, 2016 Abu Hajaar founded Historically Accurate Verdun with the goal of having custom battles based upon historical events. I believe the group had a total of seven separate historical battles until it became inactive around late February of 2017. I played in all seven and some were very interesting, such as the "1915 Ypres Introduction of Chlorine" which included both the proper chlorine gas and a special rule that nobody on either side could use gas masks (historical research indicated that even the Germans did not then have proper masks). The Artois map used for "1915 Loos" presented special rules to limit both the number of machineguns and to make those available function more like heavy machineguns with placement and movement restrictions and the players followed those complex rules surprisingly well which improved the play on the smaller Artois map. Although Abu's group had more than 100 members, getting 32 or more to one match was difficult due to different server preferences and time zones.

On November 6, 2016 Blarg_Master founded Verdun AUS Historical Battles. Playing outside my normal server, I joined our friends from Australia, New Zealand, and Asia from time to time in Blarg's historical battles. This group was very innovative and tried interesting things like using the Douaumont map with the Belgians to approximate "1914 Liege." Although less than 50 in number, the AU historical group slogged on until around late April of 2017. I think most of this membership eventually merged with the larger AU group Big"Azz" Verdun which remains active to this day and sometimes adds a historical twist to some of their weekly events.

On March 2, 2017 Colour Sgt. Frank Bourne founded Verdun Historical Offensives x64 which added some members from the large Verdun x64 group to the remainder of Abu Hajaar's company. Bourne's battles were very detailed and steeped in history, but the complex rules required a dedicated effort on the part of the players. His "July 1,1916 Somme Memorial" was pre-tested over many weeks to even time walking and sprinting speeds over parts of the Picardie map and weapon ranges from trench to trench. Special bombardment rules were made and the matches even had an unique way to deal with momentum clock of Frontlines for historical purposes. Unfortunately, the Somme was room-raided by four or more non-members who purposely broke the rules and wrecked the fun for everyone else. Bourne was upset and tried other events with mixed results but he declared the group inactive in late September of 2017.

The nearly 700 members of Group x64 entered the historical fray in October of 2017 with my version of "1918 Meuse Argonne," and the group has since had four other historical events hosted by Ranjid ("1916 Douaumont," "1914 Yser," "1916 Thiepval Ridge," and "1916 Le Mort Homme."). All of Ranjid's matches have had more than 32 players and fully 64 players appeared for Douaumont and Yser. Group x64 remains large and active and Ranjid is already considering plans for a future historical event.

PROBLEMS

The fact of the matter is that Frontlines Verdun was not made for historical battles and has required special rules in private matches to simulate in even an abstract way the various situations presented at differing occasions of the war. The use of private match commands such as /setsquadlevels, /setroomsize, and /friendly fire on have greatly helped in this effort. For example, Abu's and Blarg's groups both started before the /setsquadlevels command was introduced so even if the players agreed to play with only limited squad types those early matches might see some Poilus in red pants, some Poilus in horizon blue with caps, and some Poilus with helmets. With /setsquadlevels, at least those in one same type all wear the same uniforms and said uniforms can be issued based upon the year of the battle scenario. Likewise, /setroomsize for larger numbers and /friendly fire on for more challenge and realism have been typically used in special historical events.

Although the limited number of private match commands have been of great help in setting up these unique matches, four main problems remain. Two can be improved with additional private match commands, but two will probably remain reliant upon player honestly following special rules.

1. Problem One--Squad Types. With few exceptions, historical Verdun needs to limit squad types for the two sides. All four groups I mentioned have asked players to play under squad type restrictions. For example, Ranjid wanted all Entente as Poilus for "Le Mort Homme" and the Central to be a mix of half Landsers and half Pionieres. Currently a player joining such games has to manually change to the proper squad types and the vast majority do so willingly, but it takes time and votes to do so and some people new to these events do not understand or follow this simple guideline. New private match commands of /setsquadtypescentral and /setsquadtypesentente should solve this. For example, a command might be /setsquadtypesentente poilus and anybody joining the match as entente has to play as Poilus as default. Even better would be a number following the squad type based upon the size of the template. For example assuming 64 players and 4 man teams (so 8 squads per side), Ranjid would have used /setsquadtypesentente poilus8 along with /setsquadtypescentral landsers4 & pioniers4. I hope that the developers do this.

2. Problem Two--Squad Sizes. Public Frontlines Verdun (and also Tannenberg at the present time) uses four man squads. This is alright for public Verdun and most of the players have become comfortable with these small teams, but it is very much not historical. The typical squad for almost all nations at the start of the war was 16 to 20 soldiers. These large squads were found to be unsatisfactory and nations whittled down squad sizes as the war progressed until the 1918 squads for most nations had between 8 to 12 soldiers (it varied by country). No nation had regulation 4 man squads at any time during the war unless the squad was badly depleted in action. Four man squads also present a playablity problem since the usual Verdun match typically has too many artillery call-ins and machineguns when one out of every four players can be issued either mortars or a light machinegun. To solve this problem, I want yet another private match command of /setsquadsize. This number should be any number from the present four to sixteen for best results. Ideally along with this command, each resulting squad will have only one NCO regardless of size and only one machinegunner regardless of size. For example, one wishing for 1914 Marne could use /setsquadsize 16. I also hope that the developers do this.

3. Problem Three--Weapons. Historical matches almost always require some weapon restrictions. Most of these matches limit the number of functioning machineguns and early war scenarios also limit or prohibit grenades and other weapons. Players need to read and follow the rules closely or weapons like BARs and Mp18is will appear earlier than historically available. Artillery, gas, and planes are usually limited in quality, if not also number. Since Verdun has no heavy machineguns, historical groups have had to come up with special rules to have light machineguns work in an abstract way like their big brothers. It can become very complex and some scenarios had issues because a few players could not understand the various weapon restrictions. I have no solution except for player honesty and two other suggestions. I suggest that /setsquadsize will help at least with artillery and machineguns. I also suggest that all roles have the tiers eventually adjusted so that tier one for all roles (including the NCO) is the most common long rifle plus bayonet, as most historical soldiers had only the long rilfe plus bayonet and telling our guests to "use tier one" would be quite simple to understand.

4. Problem Four--Frontlines. It was common for a defending team to counterattack immediately if one or more of their trenches were captured, but one is hard pressed to find any example of both sides crossing back and forth over the original no-man's land within minutes or even days. I know that the Frontlines mode is fun to play and works well in public matches, but it is not historical in any way, shape, or form by design. There is not any easy way to fix this for historical scenarios, but some have tried by having one side on offense and having the other side only allowed to counter-attack for a lost trench with "victory" adjusted such as the defending team only needing to hold onto their first trench. Like all special rules, player understanding and honesty is required.

In sum, a more historical and realistic Verdun has been attempted by various groups in private matches. Some have been epic affairs and those participating long remember them. Additional private match commands from the developers would help these unique events and I expect more historical matches will be coming from Verdun groups in the future.

Last edited by biggalloot; Feb 22 @ 4:36am
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Showing 1-12 of 12 comments
Mhuur Feb 21 @ 12:24pm 
All very good points.

Its almost as if the devs wanted a consumable game, and not a historical military simulation.
I noticed how in the beginning of your post you accidentally started using 20th century dates as opposed to 21st century, I think it would be cool if you changed the dates on the groups to somehting reflecting ww1 era

So instead of 2017 for my group you could say 1917 afterall it was founded by history buffs for history buffs and any interested in a decently realistic WW1 anniverserial memorial match

I also wish to add that allowing more commands in private matches will ideally lead to less conflict within the community.
Last edited by The Vicar; Feb 21 @ 1:39pm
thank you Bourne, i made some edit.
Biggalloot this is the link to BigAzz verdun (BaV)

Link
Last edited by Mikleo The Enforcer; Feb 21 @ 2:18pm
thanks Mikleo.
i know some are interested in more historical and realistic private Verdun events on occasion all over the globe and BigAzz does a super job.
Váli Feb 21 @ 3:19pm 
I think that Verdun is an inherently unrealistic game, where people have the ability to jump shoot, run around and be generally quick, when in reality there was mud, rationing and exhaustion
that would slow people down. Although I like that the guns do damage, such as one shotting people and rarely not killing, unless using a pistol or MG, which i understand, due to the rate of fire could be a balancing thing. The most realistic thing for Verdun could be (i am no expert) the clothing, weapons and equipment such as gas and artillery, so if they improve it then they could get a stronger hisorical fan base, but also not lose much, if any, of their gaming fanbase.
Originally posted by Váli:
I think that Verdun is an inherently unrealistic game, where people have the ability to jump shoot, run around and be generally quick, when in reality there was mud, rationing and exhaustion
that would slow people down. Although I like that the guns do damage, such as one shotting people and rarely not killing, unless using a pistol or MG, which i understand, due to the rate of fire could be a balancing thing. The most realistic thing for Verdun could be (i am no expert) the clothing, weapons and equipment such as gas and artillery, so if they improve it then they could get a stronger hisorical fan base, but also not lose much, if any, of their gaming fanbase.
There isn’t a way the devs could keep their competitive players if they go for a more of a sim game, rather they would lose most to half of their fan base. It’s also just to late for such changes to happen, the game has defined Its self as an arcady shooter with some elements of authenticity and any drastic changes towards more authenticity would ruin the games community and the game for most others
re: Weapons

another way to ensure historical weapons would entail both another private match command and additional developer time.

the suggestion is to tag all weapons based upon year and possibly month available and rarity. a simple example is the BAR which was rare even in late 1918 as some American divisions were never issued BARs until after the war concluded. in this case, the BAR would be tagged 18r to indicate that it is only available in 1918 scenarios and is rare even then. a more complex case would be the MG08/15 which would be tagged 15r/16r/17/18. this light machinegun would be unavailable for 1914 and would be rare until 1917.

once all weapons are tagged, the private match adminstrator would then use a new command of /scenarioyear with an additional option of adding rare weapons. for example, /scenarioyear 18 would eliminate the BAR, but /scenarioyear 18r would allow the BAR.

like i mentioned, more historical set-ups can become complex. i am guessing that the requested new private match commands of /setsquadtypesentente, /setsquadtypescentral, and /setsquadsize would all be easier on the developer's time than /scenarioyear.
Last edited by biggalloot; Feb 22 @ 6:10am
Originally posted by biggalloot:
re: Weapons

another way to ensure historical weapons would entail both another private match command and additional developer time.

the suggestion is to tag all weapons based upon year and possibly month available and rarity. a simple example is the BAR which was rare even in late 1918 as some American divisions were never issued BARs until after the war concluded. in this case, the BAR would be tagged 18r to indicate that it is only available in 1918 scenarios and is rare even then. a more complex case would be the MG08/15 which would be tagged 15r/16r/17/18. this light machinegun would be unavailable for 1914 and would be rare until 1917.

once all weapons are tagged, the private match adminstrator would then use a new command of /scenarioyear with an additional option of adding rare weapons. for example, /scenarioyear 18 would eliminate the BAR, but /scenarioyear 18r would allow the BAR.

like i mentioned, more historical set-ups can become complex. i am guessing that the requested new private match commands of /setsquadtypesentente, /setsquadtypescentral, and /setsquadsize would all be easier on the developer's time than /scenarioyear.
Yeah that’s a bit drastic of a thing to add to the game. I mean that’s just a lot of unneeded stuff that can easily just be done by how the historical groups do it already; haveing the admin of the match say what loadouts are fine
Are there any good groups doing these matches nowadays?
biggalloot Mar 11 @ 11:47am 
to Doomcookie:

this group tries various types of events, some of which are historical: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/verdx64

note that historical events are occasional and only part of their efforts: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/verdx64#announcements/detail/1662264271431579160

since last October, the group has had five historical events. 1918 Meuse Argonne, 1916 Douaumont, 1914 Yser, 1916 Thiepval Ridge, and 1916 Le Mort Homme/Cote 304.
Last edited by biggalloot; Mar 11 @ 11:58am
Ahh so this is the big boy. Ok, im signing up. Thank you sir biggalloot!
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Verdun > General Discussions > Topic Details
Date Posted: Feb 21 @ 7:44am
Posts: 12