The purpose of starting this thread is to give players who have played fairly consistently over the last few years an idea of how the game appears from the position of a relative outsider, as well as give some suggestions and start discussions about what can be improved that is within the realistic scope of both the devs AND the wider community. The Good The core gameplay loop is still great fun and really addictive. Changes to the lobby system and bots have worked. Vehicle handling is in a really solid place. Research balance is the best I can remember it. Whilst people will whinge endlessly about this or that being overpowered, different comms really seem to go for different options, to the extent that I have seen and used all but one armour (reactive) and two engines (bio/electric). This is comparatively fantastic. Cannon/missile balance is also good, with good options for both. The draft system works well more often than it doesn't. I've noticed that at low player counts I seem to really unbalance the teams (I assume because I am treated like a completely new player), and the commander variance plays a large role, but it's better than it ever was before. Likely in part due to the above system, there are very few dead games - where one team has no comm for 5 minutes and they lose over the next 20. Could be improved Infantry loadout is more confusing than ever. There are more weapons than ever, and the scripts seem to run counter to the design decision. I still have no idea what to pick as engineer - SMG1/2 seem to behave really differently but are equally capable at different ranges, just with different fire patterns. Shotguns are really bizarre due to the pump rate, meaning that headshots feel super unfair if they happen to you. BE/NF balance in both infantry and tanks are off. I've seen on the forums that this was due to the scripter before Security not using any data to implement changes, and the recent changes in terms of buffing both BE rifles and tanks are going in the right direction. I would say that you have not gone far enough here - both my own observation and community perception is that there is a strong bias towards NF tanks. I have to ask here - if you just copied the NFAR onto one of the BE rifles exactly, would anyone care? In game community aid for new players. Over three weeks I've seen well over 100 new names, and just looking at the scoreboard its clear that they are at least newish. It feels like there is less communication/encouragement of new players than in the past, and a big part of this is... Clans. What happened? When I started playing, I knew I could ask someone is CW or EPIC a question and I'd get a proper answer (even BSID would help occasionally!). Tagged players would usually squad lead, and you knew there was someone to follow who knew what they were doing. In CW, we encouraged everyone to comm pug games if required and had internal guidelines and expectations about how to behave when doing this. It was also a nice aspiration to join a clan, if you ask any old player they'll reminisce about applying to different clans, like a community promotion. Video tutorials and commentated gameplay. This was just not as much of a thing in 2012 as it is now, and it seems crazy that this hasn't been mentioned more in recent years. Empires' core gameplay is really simple and intuitive for most gamers, yet there are so many nuances that increase the skill ceiling or act as a roadblock. An explanation in video form could be short and very effective, unlike the tutorial which is woeful. If a dozen people spent 3 hours designing/scripting the videos, then 20 hours recording and editing footage, it should be possible to create a series of 3-5 videos under 10 minutes each to explain and, crucially, show Empires' many complexities. "How do you comm?" "Watch the video." "What is squad lead?" "Watch the video." Crucially, this requires zero dev time. Substandard maps in rotation and an over abundance of voting. I am writing this post in spec (sorry). I joined to emp_railroad_bc1 , an excessively bland rectangle with little to recommend it. The server is now on emp_massacred_rc1 , which at least looks finished but plays like an objectively worse version of Slaughtered, whose footprint the mapmaker has used. As we go into 'peak time' the player count has halved. It would be interesting to see the player counts on map switch, but my guess is that there are ~10 maps, among them the stock like mvalley and canyon, which retain players substantially better than others. There are maps without textures in rotation. The plugin's decision about what is a high and low pop map are wrong. It would be interesting to hear others' thoughts on this, especially as most of these development points are not actually aimed at developers!