Game balance

Firstly, please don't read this as qqing. It isn't. I just have some genuine observations about the game which I would be interested in hearing people's views about the way forward on.
Right now, as I see it, the Unity server is fundamentally unbalanced in a number of ways.
Primarily, it is the alliances that are unbalanced. HS is seriously dominant...to the point of indestructibility. Cluster all made of XX garris, many, many veteran players with maxed out gear specs of every different build, an active population that guarantees almost constant hunt fleets and bust/defence fleet capability at any time of day globally.
Bamf is also very strong, but weakened recently leaving HS players (to quote) 'aimless & bored'.
Bamf and HS can still FvF on demand, giving them a limitless supply of CP, further compounding the strength of their gear, resources and power.
As you all know, Assassins left Bamf with the desire to create a third alliance, hoping to bring about a different dynamic to the two-alliance domination of the game that a large number of people felt was making the game stale. We are still fully committed to and occupied with that mission. Every minute of lead/super playing time is dedicated to growing stronger...recruiting, growing members, building gear, researching garris, tfing planet, training players.
This is all fine, but we are also being told that a large part of the game-play is effectively off-limits to us.
If we bust HS nanos, HS will roll our cluster.
If we get HCs into the top ten, HS will roll our cluster and kill the HCs.
If we bust HS point, HS will roll our cluster.
If we kill an HS player in a legitimate hunt, HS may well roll our cluster. At the very least, the hunt driver will receive over 20 negative reps.
You might well say to that, fair enough...defend your cluster, get your garris to XX, put together a defence team that is in all ulti gear and available 24/7 and you'll be fine. And yes, all those things are our long-term goals for this third alliance of ours.
However, at what cost to player retention? The challenge of keeping players interested in playing a PVP game when meaningful PVP is mostly confined to the most powerful players in the game is a tough ask.
None of this is to say that HS should behave any differently...at the end of the day, if you can roll your enemies without worrying about retribution, then why the hell not. Only niggling worry there is that at some point, there may just be one alliance of maxed out players with very shiny gear that they never get to use as everyone else has finally thrown in the towel.
The other area of balance that worries me is in recent game 'improvements'. Ozy states fairly regularly on this forum that the problem with game improvements is that it is very difficult to come up with tweaks that only benefit newer players and don't just help to make veterans even stronger...see for example the garrison strike mechanic. This is a great addition, and is helpful to a smaller alliance like us because it does enable us to defend our cluster a little more effectively. However...it is still a mechanic that massively favours the veteran alliances. 8 XX garris get 40 strikes a day to our 10 or so. Couple that with strikes from the high ranked nanos the big alliances have, and the ability for more supers/leads to be online to deliver the strikes at any time of day or night, and you have a mechanic that delivers a very unbalanced benefit to the veterans vs new/growing players/alliances. Tweaks to gear have generally been about fixing balance issues at the top end of the game, rather then giving a way of accelerating the growth of players joining the game.
There has been the addition of a free common stealth at level 15...great idea but actually fairly useless as it is gone after one death. Perhaps better would be a free bound ulti stealth that expires and disappears at level 40 (plucked level out of the air so don't over-analyse!). Ie something that is only of benefit to a ship while it grows but at the same time gives some kind of protection from the veteran players.
Ozy, please don't take any of this as criticism of the new developments you have made to the game recently, or a critique of your commitment to the game as a whole. I have read your post about limited resources and I know you do everything you can to support the game.
Veteran players, don't take this as a request to be left alone, or allowed to bust/hunt who we like with impunity...it's a game, you've spent years getting strong enough to dominate the game, fair play to you.
I just worry what it all means for the future of the game.
Ideas on a postcard please...
PS 'Go and play on Gold' isn't the answer I am looking for either. My whole TIB life has been on first red server, then grey, now unity. My mates are here, my enemies are here. Going to play somewhere else isn't a solution that fixes balance on the Unity server...in fact, it makes the imbalance even worse.

I agree that there should be implemented something that benefits the new/lower players. However most examples you point out are alliance related. Not player related. In EVERY PvP game the smaller alliance have a disadvantage. Youre pointing out the strike system. Ofcourse an alliance with higher ranked garries has more strikes to spend. What kind of change would you like to see regarding the strikes?
" but we are also being told that a large part of the game-play is effectively off-limits to us. "
-nobody is telling you anything. Will it be harder for your alliance to participate in said gameplay? Sure will. But its not off limits. There are multiple ways for your alliance to participate. There is also such a thing called communication with your enemy alliances
"If we bust HS nanos, HS will roll our cluster.
If we get HCs into the top ten, HS will roll our cluster and kill the HCs.
If we bust HS point, HS will roll our cluster.
If we kill an HS player in a legitimate hunt, HS may well roll our cluster. "
- this is called competition. Action -> reaction
We do the same to bamf, bamf does the same to you and us. And it has always been like that.
Again, im all for ideas to help newer players in this game to keep them interested. We need those players to keep the game alive. But as i see your post, its more about the disadvantages your alliance endures compared to the 2 other alliances. Not player retention.
Hope i dont offend anyone here, im simply sharing me thoughts here.

Thanks for reading and replying Rampage.
Couple of things for clarification...
Re the strikes, I wasn't suggesting they need changing...I was just using them as an illustration of a great new feature, but one that has disproportionately benefited the existing power bases in the game. Possibly, as you suggest, a fact of PVP game life.
A few of us have been communicating with HS leads to get clarification on your strategy in repeatedly rolling us. And those have been the replies. 'If you bust our nanos, we roll' etc. I understand competition...I just wonder whether that is ultimately doing the game any good in the long term?
The point about player retention is that as a smaller, newer alliance, we recruit continually to grow stronger...however the hill to climb in a new alliance to become competitive is massive. So it becomes very disproportionately difficult to retain people when they realise just how long they are going to have to play, or how much they are going to have to spend, to get competitive.

Just as a for example, Assassins whole cluster has just been rolled by a pretty top-end bust crew because "we told you not to HC" (quote from sector chat on our last garrison).
At the time, we had one HC ship with XP...not in the top three, not in the top ten...they had dared to kill an NPC.
I am not sure that is something one can call 'competition'.
PS the above sounds a bit more like qqing...and it probably is. But hey ho.

What do you propose the solution be to the issues you are experiencing?
Re-introduce sector lock-downs?
We give you guys a lot of tools, and how you deal with them and interact with other players (and Corps) is really up to you. TIB is somewhat a social experiment, in that regard.
One issue we've always had are people (intentionally) handicapping their gameplay experience. The game rewards coordinated teamwork. If you're going to create your own small corporation or alliance, you're just a mouse in a room full of elephants.

Thanks for that reply Amcilla.
Just before I scurry back to my mouse hole, could you just clarify how players are handicapping their game experience?

Don't bite off more than you can chew. You're an emerging alliance. If you intentionally throw a rock at a lion, don't expect it to leave you alone.
Can I say any more cliche metaphors that are appropriate? The point is, the moment you start to flex your muscle, you attract attention. When you do so, you live with the consequences. If you use the 3 HC holes your cluster has to put a HC at the top of the board - we have 2 ways of competing. 1 is we roll your cluster. 2 is we try to knock you down. One of those is easier than the other.
I don't think anyone in HS has a problem with sins going out on a hunt, we will just hunt you back. If you bust a nano or 2, then we will bust some back. If you target a nano of ours and bust it twice in a day, of course we're going to mete out a reaction similar to what you've done to us. If you have a HC at the top of the board, of course we're going to do what we can to knock it off.
Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Forgive my mentioning the specific example from today.
My broader point is that the social experiment is not really fostering anything other than survival of the fittest.
Perhaps, Amcilla, your faith in the tib community to play the game with your personal (ie monthly pay cheque) best interests at heart is misplaced.
If we, the game players, carry on as we are currently, I forsee the few remaining players being maxed out end game vets in end game gear, lazily swatting the odd recruit who dares to leave grey space. Until we all finally choke on our glut of pointless cp and xp.
Just to throw this one back at you, Amcilla, in my working world, it isn't the customer's job to innovate, it is the supplier's...So to quote you...
What do YOU propose as the solutions to the problems we are experiencing?

I get what Aulda is saying, having been in that situation for much of my TIB career. A small alliance fires a shotgun, a big one reciprocates with a nuclear warhead. I think, really, that TIB was at its peak of fun when 4 alliances existed on a server.
In this current game, there really isn't room for or a lack of desire to keep more than 2 alliances. Part of that is population--we just don't have the numbers to sustain them. As it is, we are currently playing the reshuffle game over and over. The other is the amount of work it takes to play the political game here. If you have a regular job, it's impossible to maintain, in my experience, unless you have leads who can work well together and keep a constant presence.
Players will always flock to power. It's how things always work. Not many enjoy the uphill battles or underdog status. I did it for years in game until I finally couldn't. I do applaud you, Aulda and your team, for sticking it out this long. You've done something I could not.
One other last note of caution: when the constant rolls keep happening, the game gets frustrating for those constantly affected, they stop logging in, population dies more. We are in essence killing our selves by not instituting our own checks and balances.
Solutions? Maybe limit the number of times a corp can be hit in a day or week. Getting busted or rolled 2 to 3 times daily is frustrating, especially when the power balance is so skewed. Limit corp population caps to what they were on grey server. But, honestly, and this is to the developers, give the game more content so that there are more things to do than just bust or gank invys/riftys. Put in a pvp arena, new layer, etc etc.
My two cents. Probably worth less than that these days.

Kieran9316
Don't bite off more than you can chew. You're an emerging alliance. If you intentionally throw a rock at a lion, don't expect it to leave you alone.
Can I say any more cliche metaphors that are appropriate? The point is, the moment you start to flex your muscle, you attract attention. When you do so, you live with the consequences. If you use the 3 HC holes your cluster has to put a HC at the top of the board - we have 2 ways of competing. 1 is we roll your cluster. 2 is we try to knock you down. One of those is easier than the other.
I don't think anyone in HS has a problem with sins going out on a hunt, we will just hunt you back. If you bust a nano or 2, then we will bust some back. If you target a nano of ours and bust it twice in a day, of course we're going to mete out a reaction similar to what you've done to us. If you have a HC at the top of the board, of course we're going to do what we can to knock it off.
Don't bite off more than you can chew.


those derps consider them as LIONs ? he he.... lmfao