Good work YertyL keep the analysis coming. Khasei I am not advocating making ZC the weakest faction. I dont mind them having some of the best gear but it has to come at a price. I think each factions should have its specialities, say for example, Rebels get the best fighters, Imps get the best cap ships and ZC get the best special weapons and abilities; but other factions should not get totally crapped on in areas where they are not strongest... The ZC should have alot fewer ships and a player must really use their brains to use them to their full effectiveness and when they do they are more than a match for the Rebs or Imps. That would be cool. ZC should be high cost and in the minority but have elite stuff. Thats what they were meant to be but it doesnt play like that.
Im sure Petro are grateful for your faith but this game has always had balance issues and they just cant seem to nail it. To put it simply, I would not be using the playtesters they used on any project if I were a dev. They must be yes men with no balls to play the game and say "erm sorry but this isnt quite right" or they are dummies because after a mere few days of playing hordes of us players can see this just doesnt work.
I also play against AI much more than I play multiplayer unfortunately, and even worse I cannot get online due to a variety of reasons. This is the most important part of any game but its really fallen down. I agree that when you have a human factor they are always going to looking for the exploits or power-plays but thats humans. All games should be made to be balanced against AI because that is how most games are played and what gives them their longevity. Sure multi-play is important these days and helps to extend the life of a game, but after a games popularity has fallen, people that really enjoy playing will generally come back to it as a single player. Games that dont seem to fade are simply classics, like Starcraft for eg. If peple want to power play in single play, they cheat themselves out of some fun; if they do it against another human, they will get the same in return.