Operation Sapphire Jackal, Company of Heroes 3's first "major" update, is out today. Relic has outlined what you can expect from the patch, including the ability to earn Merits that will allow you to unlock a variety of cosmetics from the in-game store, gussying up your troops.
The highlight of the update is the Challenges system, which will give your multiplayer and comp stomp skirmishes more purpose by letting you earn Merits that can be spent on some cosmetics in the store. You'll be able to tackle random daily challenges which will be refreshed at 5 pm PT, as well as weekly challenges available each Saturday from 5 pm PT.
New unit skins will work in multiplayer and singleplayer, some of which you'll be able to earn through Merits or War Bonds, while others will only be available for War Bonds. To get War Bonds you'll need to spend some cash on War Bond bundles, unfortunately, but Relic says there will always be cosmetics that you'll be able to earn for free when you visit the store.
Check out some of the cosmetics below.
Alongside the challenges and cosmetics are more than "1,300 bug fixes, changes and improvements". Here are some of the highlights ahead of the full patch notes:
- A small update to the Unique Player Color option. Allies will now be cool colors and enemies will be warm colors
- Fixed several icons and portraits with the correct Company of Heroes 3 assets
- All new voiceover for Gurkha Infantry
- Audio adjustments for map pings
- Added an option to enable Exclusive Control Groups. With this option, squads only occupy one control group at a time, like in previous CoH games
- Fixed the Recently Played With list
- Adjusted territory layout on (8) Mignano Gap and made minor adjustments to Strategic and Victory Point locations on (6) Gazala Landing Ground
- Fixed several issues where bridges did not correctly have cover
- Bloom was removed and we fixed blur or "haze" on the maps
Relic stresses that it's not made a full balance pass yet, but the update still includes "several changes to help shake up multiplayer and co-op". Here are the main gameplay changes:
- Pathfinders have had their utility and early power toned down
- The M13/40 has also seen some reductions in power
- Loiters have been toned down to be less oppressive
- Vehicles commanded to face in a different direction will turn properly instead of driving in circles
- Many tooltips and descriptions have been updated to better reflect the abilities, units, veterancy, and upgrades for greater clarity and information to the player
While there's a lot to like about the singleplayer campaigns, multiplayer and co-op vs AI skirmishes are what keep RTS romps ticking along, so it's good to see some more reasons to hop into a battle. The community largely seems pleased with what the latest update is touting, though players are still eager for replays and ranked multiplayer, which are expected in a later update.
Still to come is a new 3v3 map, Italian campaign map improvements and camera zoom distance changes. The future campaign map improvements are especially interesting to me, as while I am extremely fond of CoH3, the lack of dynamism on the campaign map is a serious issue, as I noted in my Company of Heroes 3 review.