Yes, on the other hand some players were very comfortable with using well known tricks and exploits to win, and didn't want to start from a level playing field, having to find out and learn what works in place of their previous skills. There are also players who vastly prefer one side to the other (Axis or Soviet), and are furious everytime their favourite side gets a nerf, while being inconspicuously quiet when the other side gets a nerf. My stance on global balance is well known now, I think, where I don't want to see any sudden death Axis victories in 41 or 42 (including easily overruning Leningrad, Moscow and Rostov before winter'41), and I want to see Soviets in Berlin sometime in 1945.
Long-living computer games usually undergo some meta shakeup to keep things interesting. Without any patches player interest fades away as well. Of course if any changes are introduced there are possible rage quits etc from those who don't like new meta or don't want to make the effort to learn it.
I'll start by being clear that I (and I'm sure the rest of the community) am really appreciative of the continued support that this game receives, from yourself in particular.
But I do feel a bit uncertain about a lot of the above. It feels as if much of the 'design brief' of the recent patch is to balance out strategies that have been used by what you might term as the 'elite' players who are very active on the forums, have large amounts of time to commit to the game and who tend to have an approach geared towards getting the most out of the mechanics of the game rather than seeking historical realism. To be clear I am not taking sides for or against that approach or those players, just expressing an opinion that they may be different to the more 'casual' players who may fall under the radar a little.
The problem I see is that if you go too far in the direction of acting as 'referee' in the games between those players there is a risk that it turns into whack a mole. Every time a new patch comes out the elite players will go back to the drawing board to find new 'slack' in the engine. The next patch goes after these new 'tricks and exploits' and the process repeats itself. In the end I fear this could lead to a bit of disillusionment on all sides - especially as the nature of the game is such that most matches, even between the quickest players, will go through a number of patches if they go the distance. A game in 44/45 might have gone through 3 major updates and by the end of it it becomes difficult to tell how much of the final result is down to player skill and how much is due to having the rub of the green with the 'meta' of the patch changes.
Alongside this, from the perspective of a more casual player, a patch like this brings its own problems. For understandable reasons much of the official documentation is now out of date. Very big changes not only push the official manual further out of date but also potentially undermine the 'alternative' way of learning the game which is to go through the forum and the AARs and learn from the experiences of others. The more the game changes from patch to patch the less useful that resource becomes. Plus there is the risk that changes aimed to balance the 'elite' games have unintended consequences for games involving more casual players. You mention players leaving the game due to not wanting to relearn a new version - I think this is a much bigger risk among more casual players who may have found an approach which works satisfactorily but which suddenly stops working in a new patch version.
I think that many of the balance issues can be dealt with by players without intervention in the rule-set - either on a general level through people being explicit about whether they want to play 'historically' or (for want of a better term) in a min-max fashion; or through specific house rules on 'borderline' practices; or even just through natural selection as players really pushing something to the absolute extremes run out of competitive opponents willing to play them.
Going back to the original starting point - I really appreciate the continued work that goes into this game. But with WITE2 on the horizon I'd personally rather see a rule-set that stays stable up to that point, with work being more geared towards bug-fixes and 'quality of life' improvements rather than large scale balancing experiments.
This has ended up a bit of a ramble - I hope that it makes some kind of sense!
< Message edited by Sammy5IsAlive -- 6/8/2018 12:14:09 AM >