First of all, I have really enjoyed this game, it is very good and enjoyable, but I feel that there is still alot to improve in the area of balance in multiplayer games. At the moment there are a few things such as naval warfare which aren't properly developed and which leads to exploits in PvP games. I would like to put in some effort to come up with ideas, and if I have time perhaps even mod the files to come up with a more balanced game in multiplayer for all starting years. At first I'd like to list the areas that need improvement from most needed to less need of attention. I think it wise to wait for the first batch before actually starting to mod the files though.
Any help is appreciated, either by posting your thoughts and ideas or by volunteering to help mod the files when the time is there.
Areas that need improvement
Code Navy-Blue: (I think naval warfare and all the related things are really the biggest factor for the imbalance in multiplayer games, therefor a special category is warranted in my opinion)
Naval warfare (most preferred is a complete overhaul, but if that is not possible perhaps submaring/naval combat or naval production needs to be looked at)
* Submarine warfare, the way subs are intercepted, the way convoys work (5pp for germans, 5-8 for allies), the limit on merchant convoys the Germans can sink
*Upkeep for the navy now generally prevents any potential of waging war on the sees for the CP. I know this is kinda historically correct, but for the sake of dynamic games, it would be nice to atleast have the opportunity. This includes lowering the cost for Naval upgrades which are now extremely high.
*Add the Goeben (Battleship?) and Breslau (Cruiser?) cruisers to bring a new dimension to the Black Sea and Mediterrean naval arena.
Artillery production (The artillery production is really unbalanced and in favor of the Allies who can possibly have 5 ammunition and artillery producing countries while the central powers can have only 2. This is not really noticable in PvC but creates a very big advantage if properly exploited by the allies in multiplayer because the artillery is arguably the most important and effective unit in the game)
Artillery deserves some closer attention, the current system has pro's and con's and these need to be evaluated properly. Perhaps artillery should become less deadly with direct fire but more deadly indirect, in the sense that it disrupts efficiency. I would like to see artillery barrages become more common but at the same time less effective. This way you will have to pound away at the enemy over a prolonged period of time before the line will dislodge (this is already represented in the game but I think the dislodging is too quick right now if multiple artillery units are involved)
The Central Powers have a massive disadvantage when it comes to artillery producing nations and raw ammo produciton as well as the ability to increase this ammo production. This needs to be fixed in order to create a more balanced game.I'm not sure whether the best way is to increase the ability of the CP to produce artillery, perhaps by giving Turkey the option to get artillery and by increasing the CP ammo production through events or by each year. Or if the better way would be to decrease the Allied capacity to create artillery by making artillery more expensive so that they can't afford a ton of artillery as they can now (this expense would be compensated to the CP by giving them some extra pp income)
Artillery should be more or less effective depending on the unit it is attacking, the terrain of the defender, the level of entrenchment.
Counter battery fire should no longer cost ammo.
Offensive warfare in winter (As pointed out by MajPalmer in another thread, winter offensives were really rare and at the moment, while it is annoying, is not nearly as unforgiving as it should be)
Supply system needs some reworking (Most notably how cities provide supply and how units go out of supply and are resupplied in the field)Winter should be more unforgiving in certain areas (mountains as opposed to farmland) and climates (Russian winter should be worse than French or Italian winters and there should not be a winter penalty in Arabia or Persia) than others
Dynamic winter periods is a good idea!
More historically accurate starting positions for all scenario's. (Smaller manpower pool for Serbia, better positioning Russian army 1914 etc)
The 1917 scenario needs to be looked at (It seems massively in favor of the Allies, while historically the Nivelle offensive was a disaster that brought the French army to the edge of destruction)
The 1918 scenario needs different win objectives or more turns (that represent less days passed)(Right now this scenario isn't really winnable by either side, it can be fixed by my first suggestion or put both sides way closer to breaking point than they are now)
Persia needs a fix (Tehran should be a capital and should have production points, perhaps an infantry unit there, atleast to avoid neutral country pp exploits. Persia did not really pick a side in WW1, but perhaps with some more in depth diplomacy options an alternative scenario can be construed where Persia actually picks a side.)
Greeks joining the war if Serbia isn't defeated by 1917 (Historically they joined around that time, only really interesting to add for the 1914 and 1915 scenario's)
Repair costs for mechanical units (Mostly an issue for ships and airplanes, it seems that their repair costs are so high that they become cost-ineffective in the later stages of the game when anti-aircraft is provided to the infantry and the damage airplanes take while protecting from enemy fighters is also substantial. This makes that fighter planes become less effective the longer the game goes on and that is a bit strange.)
Finding more functionality for certain units (Some units, such as armored trains, armored cars, train artillery but even tanks or to lesser extent zeppelins do not seem to be very functional in this game. Sure their upkeep is low, but their ineffectiveness combined with relative high production cost makes them really unuseful and I see no reason to produce them ever. This is ofcourse a sad thing, and I hope something can be done to fix that. A suggestion is to make them more effective but also alot more expensive, this way you would really want to have one, but it would be hard to afford one, and more than one would be generally imposibble)
IdeasArmored Car: Slightly enhanced offensive capabilities, no techlab required for upgrades?
Armored Train: Slightly enhanced defensive capabilites, more movement points? An upgrade that starts to come in effect when the tanks start to become a factor, this way Armored trains can be used to defend against tanks.
Armour (Tanks): More attacking punch, most effective in the middle upgrade when the tanks became technically better and anti-tank tactics were still lacking, more expensive in upkeep
Railroad Gun: Range increased to 4 (I'm aware that 3 is closer to its historical range but I think it's too little for the game.), research speed increased to be ready at fastest early 1916 or at latest autumn 1916 (instead of late 1917 now), make the railroad gun available for germans already in 1914 (it seems like the artillery in 1914 near Liege is supposed to represent the big bertha, perhaps change that into a railroad gun?), possible add more upgrades (early railway guns can have 3 or 4 range while later railway guns have increased range to 5, (perhaps increase upkeep and production to make sure they dont become too overpowered, they should not become the main artillery piece.) I'm not sure what to do with this unit, it has alot of potential but it shouldnt become overpowered. Perhaps the best way to represent them is as city/fort breakers, they are inaccurate so shouldnt be very effective against entrenched infantry in the field but they should do very well vs forts (which may mean that atleast Verdun needs a buff because I'm afraid it might fall too soon otherwise)
Fighter: Not sure if this needs any attention, seems to work fine early on but perhaps needs to be looked at to become more effective later in the game. Maybe lower repair costs, they were mostly wood and cloth early on and metal later on, not very expensive materials i think.
Airship (Zeppelins): I think they need faster upgrades, I'm not sure if they were extensively used for offensive warfare later on but they were for scouting purposes I believe. Perhaps give them the ability to scout just like fighter planes. Like all fighters, lower repair costs. Perhaps make them more effective at chasing down subs, I havent figured out yet how they come in handy. They were used early in the war but became outdated later, I think this is already fairly well represented in the game but perhaps make them more effective early on and totally useless later on (this is quite historical I'd say) so that atleast it will be a valid option.
Bombers: Fine unit overall, maybe lower repair costs, but perhaps thats not even needed, they do not often take alot of damage.
A research tab for home defense, which would include upgrades for ports, cities, forts and coastal defense?
Include the colonies more into the game, for example by extending the map to Africa, special colonial units, more colonial related army events for mostly the UK (ANZAC and India) and France (Morocco and Algiers)
There are some bugs with loading games in multiplayer, it would be nice if this could be adressed in the patch.
There is also a bug that makes landing units invisible (when they are on your border shore) while they can be seen in the minimap. I think it has something to do with the border mechanics (you also can't see what happens on the other side of your border, but I'm not sure. For the sake of the game though, it would be nice if we can still have vision of the shore, perhaps to simulate coastguard etc. You can't really keep things hidden in the open sea like you can on land