Oh, but that is ALSO true... a ruleset shouldn't dictate to me how my optimal choices of a strategy can influence my performance as it compares to some AI opponents.
Yeah, curse those games with rules! Being constrained into chosing just one of a number of sets of rules and options is terrible, nobody likes that! Well, nobody except everyone who has ever played an RPG or an MMO, or an RTS with unique sides like Starcraft or Sins of a Solar Empire or whatever. Or all those silly people who play single player games that put you against boss enemies or some such. Why shouldn't you have your cake and eat it too?
Why? Because rules are what makes games GAMES.
Once known, any rules can be adapted to -- but, seriously, if an AI has built-in "functions" that favors it too much why should i even bother myself trying to find THE way to defeat it **IF** i'm enforced to play under a different (and most probably weakened) ruleset.
Good point. Twilight of the Arnor was really just a vehicle for a major racial overhaul, changing how they play, so that no race played similar to another. That makes me seriously ask the question of why you even bothered with the game, if you find asymmetrical games to be completely broken, leading to your crushing defeat at the hand of Altarians equipped with Drath Temples.
You're right, we should remove the unique techs and go back to the Dread Lords style tree for everyone. While we're at it, remove Super Projects as well - why should they get the Repair Bots and not ME? That's not fair! In fact, remove governments as well, it's no fair playing against a race with a bonus to research while you only have a bonus to economy. Don't forget to whack ability bonuses too. Hell just remove every race and replace them with the Terrans. And remove random planet quality, as well as random planets altogether. Every star should have one PQ9 and one PQ5 planet, and be placed in the very center of each sector. It's JUST NOT FAIR! WHAT IS THE POINT IF THEY HAVE A +300% RESEARCH BONUS ON THEIR PLANET AND I DON'T!?
All this does is create the illusion that *wow* these AIs are sooooo greatly coded, i can't even match their strengths while in fact, the tactical aspect of competition becomes simply useless not to say hopeless.
Should Iran get the Nukes? If somebody else has it. That's reality. If the past is any indications, we may yet again have another Cold-War where nobody *would* win, but everyone *must* lose. Now, that's stupid... using your words.
... wow. I just... um... wow.
So ultimately, from what I gathered from that glut of exaggerations, half-truths, and melodrama, is that you're opposed to most restrictive tech trading because either:
1) You consider unique and semi-unique racial techs extremely unbalancing, giving collosal advantages to the AI, and make the game completely unplayable, because the Drengin having Slave Pits tips the scales so wildly you can't stand not having them too...
2) You can no longer exploit, cheat, and metagame in a way that the AI will never emulate, stacking bonuses on bonuses to achieve ungodly levels of power, so that you can effortlessly crush the AI.
Now considering how many people play TOTA with tech trading off and have never complained about the balance, in additon to how I myself can't think of any unique or even semi-unique technologies that I would describe as giving a race a hideous advantage, I can only assume it's the latter - that you just care about your metaverse scores or something trivial like that.
I'm pretty sure you're the first, and only person I've seen, and will see, who has alluded to the unqiue tech trees, and even by extension the uneven nature of the game as 'game breaking'.
And I'm pretty sure the large number of people who play with tech trading off and manage to win think you're a loon. If anything, it speaks of your own inability to play the game if you can't do it without abusing AI behavior to stack up a stupid number of bonuses for everything for cheap.