I have a clear direction I want to take Empiresmod in, and I feel certain that this will make the game much better than it currently is. Please have a read, have a think, and let me know what you think. Empires used to be about somewhat harder counters than these days, and I want to balance back towards that, keeping in mind that the player must always have options to choose as well as the commander, and that we must ensure there are counters to every strategy. I have ideas about how to do that, but they need to wait for balanced vehicle combat. I think it is impossible with the assymetrical nature of heavy tanks, to make any significant changes without running great risk of making the game unfair to NF or BE in the process. In fact, I would argue that is already the case, but it depends on the situation - I feel that at least when you get to heavies, some maps favour BE while others favour NF. That's why I want to move toward symmetrical tank combat as soon as possible. This opens up a lot more possibilities for strategy, because commanders will no longer be "locked in" to research paths by their faction. What needs to be done: -both NF and BE heavy tanks get 2 ML and 2 CN slots. Could also fix some of these imbalances, not essential: -NF CV rescaled to the size of BE, with the handling and physical aspect (physics wheels, scripts) copied from BE -NF light tank reskinned to replace BE AFV, exact same handling and hitbox. -BE medium and heavy reskinned to replace the NF ones, exact same handling and hitbox -NF and BE jeeps should be the same - ideally you start with a 2 seater but have a quick research that buffs the HP and expands it to a 4 seater, with still the same handling and hitbox. -NF's APC needs a seat at the top hatch, just like BE Why? -It will make balancing easier if we don't have to consider the relative merits of vehicles of one team -This gives both commanders more choices, because they can choose between cannon and missile heavies. (solves the strategy limiting problem) -Knowledge gained on one team will aid players on the other team as well - for instance, your muscle memory in how to 180 the CV can be carried over to the other team. -We can pick and choose from all handling sets for both teams, which means we can give all players the joy of riding around in (current) NF light handling. Strategy limiting problem explained by example: Researching railguns is simply twice as good a choice for BE as for NF. Hence, BE never has to counter railguns. That means absorbant would be less useful to BE (if we still had hard counters)... this ripples on and on through balancing, and that's what locks you eventually down to "there are like 3 or 4 valid heavy tank strategies". With symmetrical vehicle combat, the following tentative suggestion for a counter system would be feasible. A potential ideal of counters to work towards. This diagram represents how armours and weapons would counter each other. A few things to note: Situational influences It leaves out a few additional influences that could change the situation: -Reactive being high HP low resistance means it takes longer to repair -Regenerative by its nature is better against sustained low damage than high damage bursts -(homing / guided / dumbfire) Missiles, cannons, nukes and machineguns have different map situations in which they are each easiest to get on target Subset cycles These situational influences could create a subset of researches that form a cycle of counters. This is okay, as long as (1) the subset is different for different maps, (2) together, these subsets do cover the whole research tree, and (3) for all common situations, the subset should be quite large, so that we see a lot of variety of weapons and armours used. Also, I've left out deflective and composite, because (1) I think that the system is complicated enough with 3 armours, (2) every armour having the deflective property will add to the fun and skill of general tank combat, and (3) I feel that they never did have a place in the counter system of old - these two were in my memory only used during patches when they were better in all situations; there was never really a situational advantage to them (except when compo was expensive). Mixed strategy Nash Equilibria NB; it doesn't matter that some armours have more arrows coming from them, or fatter or thinner arrows than other researches. As long as all pure strategies have a dominating pure strategy, there will be only mixed strategy nash equilibria, which basically means it's best to keep switching armours and weapons to counter the enemy, all throughout the match. However, what makes it much more difficult for Empires compared to simple games like RPS is that the situation imposed on you by the map and by the composition and size of your team creates a subgame that must itself still hold the desired property of having no dominating strategies. For common situations while commanding, when the arrows have been adjusted to take into account the situational effects present, every armour and weapon should still have an arrow pointing to it; because that means that for every situation, there is still a counter to every strategy. To explain that better, let's imagine a situation where this fails to hold due to situational influences; for example, the situation is that you're playing a map on which reactive and regenerative have been disabled as researches. This is a major situational change, thankfully not one we will need to take into account as a "common situation while commanding", but for the sake of argument; If you remove those armours and their arrows, you get this. With only absorbant to choose, there is no arrow pointing into missiles, which means that missiles are just better, and no variety will happen during this map. Even in this extreme case though, we don't have to try to buff railguns to give BE a fighting chance on the map, ruining the balance in other situations in the process - because both teams have heavies with 2 CN and 2 ML slots, the only unfortunate consequence of this limiting situation is that both teams will go with missiles. For a more realistic example, imagine the situation of tight corners where infantry are of great influence to the tank battles. This makes some of the arrows a bit thinner and others thicker, but it doesn't completely remove any armours or weapons. I've attached the dia file with which I generated that diagram, so that you can edit it and propose things very specifically. I realise mine is quite limiting, since I've globbed HIT ML and HEMG, two very different weapons; quite likely we will need to list every weapon seperately in order to present the full picture. A problem - Comm is playing RockPaperScissors and I'm his pawn There's a problem with the counter system as it was previously implemented, due to the fact that a commander's first choices are basically a random guess, since you can't see what your enemy might be getting yet. If you just implement rockhard counters, the player will feel like their commander is playing rock paper scissors and they just have to hope their armour is rock and the enemy's is butter. Two proposed fixes: A leading research into armours... so you still start with plain, but in order to research other armours, you must first research "Advanced armour". This replaces plain with an armour that is exactly the average of other armours, just as good against each weapon. Later in the game, when a commander sees his enemy's weapons, he can pick a counter armour, with his players always able to switch back to "advanced armour" when they see the fight turn against their specialised armour. This also makes it easier to command, since the situation may make one armour really bad, and a leading armour research means that commanders can't completely screw over the team with armour. Another way is to simply dim the differences, so that armours are not quite so different, and you can suffer to wait while your commander goes for a counter armour (assuming that he does). Even with the first approach, of course, we will need to balance the degree of our counter system to make it feel right.