In a post on the main page, Brad said that a focus of the remaining development will be balancing and that he will be looking to player feedback on that issue. I think it may be helpful if we had a central thread devoted to racial balance issues. In particular, I think that balance is best tested on higher difficulty levels, though any feedback is sure to be helpful. If a number of players could take the time to answer the following questions, I hope that it could be a useful resource. If there is a clear consensus on any given issue, particularly among the more experienced players, then that might be of particular interest to the developers.
Question 1: In the games that you have played in Beta 6A (or other recent builds), are there any races that seemed comparatively too strong when you used them? If so, which race(s) and what suggestions do you have for balancing them?
Question 2: In the games that you have played in Beta6A (or other recent builds), are there races that seemed comparatively too weak when you used them? If so, which race(s) and what suggestions do you have for balancing them?
Question 3: In the games that you have played in Beta 6A (or other recent builds), are ther any races that seemed too strong or too weak when played by the AI? If so, which ones, and what would you recommend to balance them?
Question 4: Which races seem "just right" to you?
I'll fill out my own questionaire first.
Question 1: None of the races have seemed so strong as to be imbalanced that I have played. I have tried the Drath, Arceans, Krynn, Korx, Thalans and Terrans, and comment on how the others play.
Question 2: The Thalans are basically crippled. Their production and research facilities are brutally expensive in both upkeep and research points. At the end of their production tech trees, these facilities are inferior to their equivilents in the standard tech tree. The technologies they get for the Xeno Ethics line are vastly inferior to the advantages offered by concepts of malice in the standard tech tree (+100 econ for the Mind Control Center and +50% military production for the Artificial Slave Center). They desperately need tech trading, but they have a harsh starting diplomatic penalty. They are slow to develop, and are dependent on getting a +700 bonus square for the hyperion matrix to have a chance. Even then they have major economic problems. On top of it, their troops are very weak. They have some really fun late game techs, but it takes a succession of small to moderate miracles to get there in decent shape on Suicidal.
As to how to fix this, I think that giving the Thalans back there +25 starting econ and +10 miniaturization bonuses would be resonable, as would cutting the diplomatic penalty to -15. There are a lot of other options of course. I think it's pretty clear they need a boost.
To a lesser degree, I think the Krynn are weaker now than they were in DA. Their new buildings have very high upkeep, and they've lost their econ and defense bonuses. They are still competitive, but they are no longer top tier. I think that the upkeep for their unique buildings should be cut significantly and that they should get their 50% defense bonus back. That defense bonus really made them a unique race to play, since they could have an entirely different military strategy. Personally, I miss that.
Question 3: None of the races seems too strong when handled by the AI, though the Torians are always strong. The Thalans and the Altarians seem consistently weak.
Question 4: I absolutely love the Drath, Iconians, Terrans, Korx and Arceans. Based on significantly less experience the Torians and Korath look quite good also.
If anyone has opinions on any of these 4 (or any related) questions, please share!