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The example of a Champion rank Greatsword vs a Boar Rider is a horrible one. Especially from an optimal gameplay PoV. Also incorrect.

Champion rank Greatsword gets 70 HP, 12 DEF, 9 RES and 17 DMG. 20 is only with War Cry. Nor do they get Killing Momentum.

A plain Boar Rider has 57 HP, 13 DEF, 10 RES and 12 DMG. Charge will give +6 DMG once.

Sure, the Greatsword will win. But getting them to Champion is difficult without micro management manual combat cheese.
Looking at this from a live MP PoV there was absolutely nothing valid about trying to use this strategy in your game.

I could build a Barracks > War Hall before you've even gotten a single unit leveled up to Champion.
You can also go from War Hall into your special building for T3 units. Why bother with them at all?

Do you know how AoW III was played? Builders' Hall > Siege Workshop > T3 unit/class structure.
You simply cleared with your starting army and heroes supplemented by a summon if required.
The only time it made any sense whatsoever to build low tier units was on a small/rush map.
 
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The example of a Champion rank Greatsword vs a Boar Rider is a horrible one. Especially from an optimal gameplay PoV. Also incorrect.

Champion rank Greatsword gets 70 HP, 12 DEF, 9 RES and 17 DMG. 20 is only with War Cry. Nor do they get Killing Momentum.
If you had read the whole post (or, if you did, correctly), then you'd have seen that I wrote a Champion 1 Greatsword built in a town with Dungeon and with Orcs RG 1 (giving +2 Damage + Killing Momentum +1 Damage, respectively).

A plain Boar Rider has 57 HP, 13 DEF, 10 RES and 12 DMG. Charge will give +6 DMG once.
No idea why you come up with that one. It just shows what I wrote.

Sure, the Greatsword will win. But getting them to Champion is difficult without micro management manual combat cheese.
Looking at this from a live MP PoV there was absolutely nothing valid about trying to use this strategy in your game.
For one thing "micro management manual combat cheese" is pretty condescending when you consider that this cheese is half the game and 90% playing it. It's also no cheese, because you need a certain skill to do it, even for the "micro management" - and don't tell me that you do NOT micro-manage the whole rest of the game in your precious little live mp games. Maybe it's a shock for you, but I'm not looking at this from a live mp pov, and I didn't offer a strategy. I just brought an example up that you can bring T1 units to T3 and even T4 level, especially in the context of a full army, and for not more gold than the basic T1.

Yes that's the thing, no one seems to play the game as you think it was.
In PF you could do a lot of heavy lifting with Indentured armies for example even vs high-tiers when both were modded to the brim. You can call it an illusion if you want but it worked unlike in AoW3 when there was no base to make even an illusion.

Are you really making an example that a T1 could win vs a T2, is that your example of low tier viability, seriously. AoW4 has better viability for low tiers than this by light years that's how bad it was in AoW3 and we aren't even talking about high tiers at this point.
You basically went from "T4s aren't OP, they are just T4s" to "but it is a win condition" to "T1s can win against T2s".
You could have finished your boars vs greatswords example on how both of those were explaining how viable they are to the Shadow Stalker and then Gold Dragon dropped by to listen to that mythical tale, Manticore wanted to come too but sadly it was a win condition.
I don't even know if you played AoW 3, but you can also take a Manticore Rider. The basic thing has 85 HPs and a 23 damage melee strike plus charge. With it's defense of 13 it will still feel the hits of the Greatswords. It costs 270 gold and 60 Mana in the basic variety and has an upkeep of 32. The Greatsword has an upkeep of 4.
For Shadow Stalkers, just switch to the Storm Sisters example - that's EXACTLY why the low tiers are valuable, because the Sisters will give the Shadow Stalkers a tough nut to crack. They have only 60 HP and the shock damage will blast fully through, without any protection (they would suffer from Fire and Spirit damage as well).
Whether you like it or not, it's true.

But sure - play on easy settings, build things up to special dwelling, found a couple additional towns right next to your starting town to maximize income, crank out your racial T3s and then complain about T3 swarming and a rush to T4s.

PF is a completely different game. You don't have a lot of different units, your secret tech doesn't give many. What you have in masses are different mods (I obviously like PF a lot, mainly because it plays different), which you can combine. You might be able to do that in a fantasy setting as well, dividing between weapons/equipment and enchantments, but that would mean, everyone would start basically with the same, err, Swordguy, who had a slot for a sword, one for shield, one (or more, like a hero) for armor, plus a couple of additional ones for enchantments, but as in PF you'd be able to make dozens of different versions of the same basic unit, which seems a shame in a FANTASY game which simply comes with many dozens of different units anyway.
 
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If you had read the whole post (or, if you did, correctly), then you'd have seen that I wrote a Champion 1 Greatsword built in a town with Dungeon and with Orcs RG 1 (giving +2 Damage + Killing Momentum +1 Damage, respectively).
And you just assume that having Slaughter Pits and Racial Governance is free and on turn 1?
You're comparing a super buffed T1 unit to a fresh T2 and calling it a fair comparison, lol.

There is something known as cost of opportunity and your investment is absolutely pointless.
By time you reach this special buffed Greatsword I'm pumping out T3 units and outpacing you.
 
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I don't even know if you played AoW 3, but you can also take a Manticore Rider. The basic thing has 85 HPs and a 23 damage melee strike plus charge. With it's defense of 13 it will still feel the hits of the Greatswords. It costs 270 gold and 60 Mana in the basic variety and has an upkeep of 32. The Greatsword has an upkeep of 4.
For Shadow Stalkers, just switch to the Storm Sisters example - that's EXACTLY why the low tiers are valuable, because the Sisters will give the Shadow Stalkers a tough nut to crack. They have only 60 HP and the shock damage will blast fully through, without any protection (they would suffer from Fire and Spirit damage as well).
Whether you like it or not, it's true.

But sure - play on easy settings, build things up to special dwelling, found a couple additional towns right next to your starting town to maximize income, crank out your racial T3s and then complain about T3 swarming and a rush to T4s.

PF is a completely different game. You don't have a lot of different units, your secret tech doesn't give many. What you have in masses are different mods (I obviously like PF a lot, mainly because it plays different), which you can combine. You might be able to do that in a fantasy setting as well, dividing between weapons/equipment and enchantments, but that would mean, everyone would start basically with the same, err, Swordguy, who had a slot for a sword, one for shield, one (or more, like a hero) for armor, plus a couple of additional ones for enchantments, but as in PF you'd be able to make dozens of different versions of the same basic unit, which seems a shame in a FANTASY game which simply comes with many dozens of different units anyway.
Yeap I did, but it was quite a while back so I do not remember a lot of minute details like unit names or exact upkeep. The main thing I do remember is that game was heavily tilted towards vertical balance and this leads in to high tier unit escalation. You pointing out the upkeep cost/gold price is actually a good example of how vertical balancing is usually done - around a price that in itself brings a lot of problems with it sadly. The idea is that big costs be it upkeep or just a regular price will somehow prevent exceptionally strong units to be fielded in massive numbers, but it never works especially when said resource is plentiful and relatively easy to acquire like gold or mana. There can be some limited success with specialized tightly controlled resource, but even then it's not a perfect solution. Cosmite was a reasonable attempt in part because it was in combination with mods, but Imperium is less so 'cause it is in so many systems and in a way it turned in to green gold. (that's why btw I'm somewhat opposed balancing units around price primarily)

When it comes to AoW3 I strongly believe that low vs high tier balance was it weakest point and I do not want it repeated pretty much ever. I also suspect that when it comes to that particular issue changes were made in newer games based of the pushback and complaining that devs got in AOW3, like T5s enchantment lock or even enchantment system itself that is a play on PF mod system that was an answer to AoW3 low tier viability problem.
 
@ Cody and Kitschy

Guys, AoW 3 has an insanely good Random Map Generator that you can fine-tune with the settings of how much you want more or less from each stuff, diggable walls and so on, and the amount of water you set will also influence number and size of continents and so on.
Then you can set game speed (that is, research speed, slower, but also faster). You can set the number of heroes players can have. You can set the level up to which heroes develop; you can set how you start - for example, you can pick a Settler start. You can set how good your starting forces are, how hard the guarding and marauding stacks are, you can set how rich or poor is a map, you can set alternative victory conditions. The game is wonderfully adjustable, but it's also a very easy set-up process.
You can set the game any way you want - if you WANT low-tier unit to be important and viable, you can have that, you just need to pick the settings THAT SUPPORT THAT aim - which is actually not such an outrageous thing. It's what you usually do, setting up the map for the things you want, large, small, few opponents, many and so on.

There is ONE thing that can be economically abused in the game, no matter whether you play SP or MP, which has nothing to do with battling, but with settling (but even THAT can be controlled by playing without settling (you can set that up as well)): The minimum diatance for settlements (and "settlements" include Fortresses which Builders can build) is 5 hexes (from center to center) for humans, but it is 11 for the AI. Also, the AI don't use builders. That means, the correct play is to have a builder and build Fortresses at near places you want to milk fast and/or build lots of towns fast (relatively near to each other), due to the income. That is not a thing in SP, because you don't have to play with weapons the AI can't use.

A simple thing to do is changing the minimum distance between settlements for humans to a bigger amount - this needs a mod, though, albeit just a changing of a number.

Anyway, with or without that, you can set up the game in a way that doesn't allow you to bypass lower tiers and go for your racial T3s in masses at the earliest point. It's not even a good thing to do, because your T2 Support is a pretty useful thing to have around anyway.

Lastly, some classes are actually based on swarming the opponent with stuff you get on the fly or evolve - mass attack.

Since you need units to work with initially (and you need a couple of them because "infestations" send nasty stuff around), those units will gain XP, and unlike the games afterward in that game a unit is never finished training. On the other hand, when you later summon or produce higher tier units, they may come with a medal, but that's it, mostly. So being able to produce a Firstborn is fine, but the simple Greatsword that came with your starting army may have the same 70 HPs and do 18 damage (21 with War Cry). At that point it will be on par with the Firstborn and a leading Hero will add to that. So if two stacks clash, one with that Firstborn, the other with that Greatsword, the Greatsword stack isn't bound to lose, on the contrary.
 
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Just to post something that's actually on topic (lol). The Planetfall upgrade system was ported, at least in part.
I don't know how functional this actually is in-game, but the options have been included in the editor.

1715868399051.png
 
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Wanted to add 2 takes to the ongoing discussion:
  • If we're talking about a change to Awaken for high culture, I'd suggest increasing the damage buff, increasing cooldown on Awaken & Twin Awaken by 1-2 turns (potentially increasing the duration too), and making the Twin Awaken a 1 ap action instead of free. The idea would be less busywork to keep everything awakened, and more focussing on which of your units benefit from being awakened most. Dormant traits can be buffed if needed. (so more like Overcharge/Imperial Augments from Paragon units in Planetfall)
  • This came from a discussion in the discord earlier in the week: Some of the power from enchantments come from percentage based damage modifiers (they always round up) combining with an enchantment that adds a new damage channel. If you have a buff on like strengthened, you can cause the damage to round up once for each channel, making stacking damage enchantments more effective than they otherwise would be.
I wondered what if damage percentage multiplers only worked on the base damage of an attack, but didn't increase bonus damage from enchantments to avoid this, but it seems the damage formula is unlikely to change at this point (honestly - fair, dangerous to alter fundamentals at this stage). Instead, I've been remebering how a lot of effects in AOW3 added flat damage/defence (Polearm vs cav, pike square, War Cry .etc) rather than using percentages and thus avoiding this problem.​
What do people think if a lot of the percentage based damage buffs in AOW4 were reworked to add flat damage instead, say if each stack of Strengthened added 1 damage for repeating attacks/2 damage for single attacks spread out across the largest damage channels in order, or if Spears did +4 damage per attack (or ignored 4 def) to Cavalry instead of a percentile damage buff? If the rounding were only kept for say flanking, crits and damage type weaknesses, I think it might be less impactful?​
(As a side effect, this would buff the effect of Strengthened .etc for lower tier units, and likely nerf them for higher tier ones, but I think that would actually be mildly beneficial too)​
Personally, I think something like this combined with an increased mana upkeep per number of enchantments/tier of enchantment type answer might work (though probably in combination with other changes), as this primarily affects people stacking multiple damage enchants on one unit?​
 
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Wanted to add 2 takes to the ongoing discussion:
  • If we're talking about a change to Awaken for high culture, I'd suggest increasing the damage buff, increasing cooldown on Awaken & Twin Awaken by 1-2 turns (potentially increasing the duration too), and making the Twin Awaken a 1 ap action instead of free. The idea would be less busywork to keep everything awakened, and more focussing on which of your units benefit from being awakened most. Dormant traits can be buffed if needed. (so more like Overcharge/Imperial Augments from Paragon units in Planetfall)
Wait, I'm confused. You want to buff the damage and potentially the effects? Awaken is one of the strongest combat passives.
It's actually capable of adding +3 Spirit damage to even Mythic units. It generally speaking beats most other cultures.

There are exceptions like when multi damage channels get buffed by Stand Together or Focused Aggression.
But that only happens if they reach a certain breakpoint, otherwise nothing actually changes to the numbers.

A fully stacked Star Blades which is then buffed by even only 10%, will result in another +3 damage though.
Awaken can only get +3 when buffed by at least 70% and isn't multi channel. There's a lot of funky math stuff.

  • This came from a discussion in the discord earlier in the week: Some of the power from enchantments come from percentage based damage modifiers (they always round up) combining with an enchantment that adds a new damage channel. If you have a buff on like strengthened, you can cause the damage to round up once for each channel, making stacking damage enchantments more effective than they otherwise would be.
As for this part. Yeah, percentage buffs are heavily amplifying the enchantment stacking phenomenon.
Though this mainly impacts low buffs like 20% from Stand Together, which always adds +1 to a +2 channel.

This is where the other issue lies, all but one Ranged enchantment (Meteor Arrows) in the game add +2 damage.
Whereas Melee gets +4 and that number plays nicer with percentages like 20 but still horribly with 30 and 40.

At the end of the day we have 2 problems that affect and amplify each other:
  • Small numbers like +2 easily get bumped up to +3, so stacking those enchantments scales hard.
  • Percentage buffs only play well with higher numbers like 10 and beyond (base attacks).
This is just another reason why I think the easier and more realistic approach is to limit enchantments.
 
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Adding flat bonusses for everything would be better. No rounding necessary and therefore no rounding errors, advantageous for lower tiers, less buggy or prone to bugs.
Percentage based increases don't make a lot of sense, imo, when you have 6 possible damage channels in an attack. That's by the way one of the reason why the low tiers scale fairly well in AoW 3 - flat bonusses. :p.
 
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Wait, I'm confused. You want to buff the damage and potentially the effects? Awaken is one of the strongest combat passives.
It's actually capable of adding +3 Spirit damage to even Mythic units. It generally speaking beats most other cultures.

There are exceptions like when multi damage channels get buffed by Stand Together or Focused Aggression.
But that only happens if they reach a certain breakpoint, otherwise nothing actually changes to the numbers.

A fully stacked Star Blades which is then buffed by even only 10%, will result in another +3 damage though.
Awaken can only get +3 when buffed by at least 70% and isn't multi channel. There's a lot of funky math stuff.


As for this part. Yeah, percentage buffs are heavily amplifying the enchantment stacking phenomenon.
Though this mainly impacts low buffs like 20% from Stand Together, which always adds +1 to a +2 channel.

This is where the other issue lies, all but one Ranged enchantment (Meteor Arrows) in the game add +2 damage.
Whereas Melee gets +4 and that number plays nicer with percentages like 20 but still horribly with 30 and 40.

At the end of the day we have 2 problems that affect and amplify each other:
  • Small numbers like +2 easily get bumped up to +3, so stacking those enchantments scales hard.
  • Percentage buffs only play well with higher numbers like 10 and beyond (base attacks).
This is just another reason why I think the easier and more realistic approach is to limit enchantments.
With regards Awaken I don't actually have any opinion at all on how strong it is - I just wanted to illustrate that I think it'd create more interesting choices as a buff you only put on some of your units, rather than feel the busywork of using free actions to put it on the majority/all of them. If the community consensus is that it needs a nerf at the same time, then it'd be 2 birds with one stone to just make it less available without buffing the effects to compensate. I'm in danger of derailing the thread again with specifics of Awaken numbers here, so I think it might be best if we shelve the Awaken discussion for now, unless it comes back into the Monostacking Issue directly again :D
 
Speaking about the cultures in general my understanding they are reworking those or at least looking in to how they can be reworked, Tom Bird was talking about it in the last stream if I understood that correctly.


@ Cody and Kitschy

Guys, AoW 3 has an insanely good Random Map Generator that you can fine-tune with the settings of how much you want more or less from each stuff, diggable walls and so on, and the amount of water you set will also influence number and size of continents and so on.
Then you can set game speed (that is, research speed, slower, but also faster). You can set the number of heroes players can have. You can set the level up to which heroes develop; you can set how you start - for example, you can pick a Settler start. You can set how good your starting forces are, how hard the guarding and marauding stacks are, you can set how rich or poor is a map, you can set alternative victory conditions. The game is wonderfully adjustable, but it's also a very easy set-up process.
You can set the game any way you want - if you WANT low-tier unit to be important and viable, you can have that, you just need to pick the settings THAT SUPPORT THAT aim - which is actually not such an outrageous thing. It's what you usually do, setting up the map for the things you want, large, small, few opponents, many and so on.

There is ONE thing that can be economically abused in the game, no matter whether you play SP or MP, which has nothing to do with battling, but with settling (but even THAT can be controlled by playing without settling (you can set that up as well)): The minimum diatance for settlements (and "settlements" include Fortresses which Builders can build) is 5 hexes (from center to center) for humans, but it is 11 for the AI. Also, the AI don't use builders. That means, the correct play is to have a builder and build Fortresses at near places you want to milk fast and/or build lots of towns fast (relatively near to each other), due to the income. That is not a thing in SP, because you don't have to play with weapons the AI can't use.

A simple thing to do is changing the minimum distance between settlements for humans to a bigger amount - this needs a mod, though, albeit just a changing of a number.

Anyway, with or without that, you can set up the game in a way that doesn't allow you to bypass lower tiers and go for your racial T3s in masses at the earliest point. It's not even a good thing to do, because your T2 Support is a pretty useful thing to have around anyway.

Lastly, some classes are actually based on swarming the opponent with stuff you get on the fly or evolve - mass attack.

Since you need units to work with initially (and you need a couple of them because "infestations" send nasty stuff around), those units will gain XP, and unlike the games afterward in that game a unit is never finished training. On the other hand, when you later summon or produce higher tier units, they may come with a medal, but that's it, mostly. So being able to produce a Firstborn is fine, but the simple Greatsword that came with your starting army may have the same 70 HPs and do 18 damage (21 with War Cry). At that point it will be on par with the Firstborn and a leading Hero will add to that. So if two stacks clash, one with that Firstborn, the other with that Greatsword, the Greatsword stack isn't bound to lose, on the contrary.
That's good, but it is like saying that we have research speed settings in AoW4 when you are talking about making tomes bigger. Same with low tier problem in AoW3, to fix that you need to pretty much rebalance from the ground up, just adjusting the settings won't fix that sadly.
 
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Well, then set up a game with Settler or Outpost start, slow or very slow speed, weak starting force, low or very low starting resourcess, strong (not even very strong) defenders under reasonable map conditions and then go tell me again that low tiers are not up to it and it's all about high tier units.
 
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Speaking about the cultures in general my understanding they are reworking those or at least looking in to how they can be reworked, Tom Bird was talking about it in the last stream if I understood that correctly.
I've heard it's "on the backlog" but I didn't hear this part. I kind of skipped a large part of the anniversary stream tbh.
 
I've heard it's "on the backlog" but I didn't hear this part. I kind of skipped a large part of the anniversary stream tbh.
Exact words were "design pass" and it was regarding Dark culture, so it could have been just for that one culture. (it is around 00:23:56 mark)



Well, then set up a game with Settler or Outpost start, slow or very slow speed, weak starting force, low or very low starting resourcess, strong (not even very strong) defenders under reasonable map conditions and then go tell me again that low tiers are not up to it and it's all about high tier units.
Lol yes. If we make things really really slow it will some how solve the problem, it is the same logic that if we make OP units obscenely priced they will be less OP.
 
Here's a simple example of how enchantments are just too strong to not stack.

1716055476006.png


This unit has +4 damage on melee and ranged (single). It has +60% bonus damage in total.
20% Spawnkin, 30% Strengthened and 10% Strength Training. 1.6*4=6.4 which rounds to 7.

So, if you stack it with Zeal, Frost Arrows, Projectiles of Decay, Amplified Arrows, you get 4 damage channels of +2.
All of those are then amplified to either +4 on repeating or +7 on single attacks. Repeating is even crazier here.

2*1.6=3.2 which is rounded up to +4 damage. So you're technically speaking getting more, for less.
 
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Lol yes. If we make things really really slow it will some how solve the problem, it is the same logic that if we make OP units obscenely priced they will be less OP.
No, that's just cheap rhetorics. It's not that. It's just about setting the way up in a way that makes the player work with the cheap low-tier stuff. If you set the way up in a way that allows a) clear stuff with what you get right away effortlessly and b) have for whatever reason enough gold to go straight to your racial T3 you not only devalue your low-tier units, you also devalue your class units and their research, because you don't actually need them. You can also play the fast game then in order to offer competition for the racial T3 which makes more sense then, but then it's a matter of income more than anything else.

Setup in AoW 3 is actually a complex matter since you need to fit things together the right way to deliver the game you actually want. I mean, just think about how massively you can influence the game just by the number of heroes you allow and the maximum levels gained. You could actually make Heroes meaningless, except for the leader, and even them you can limit quite hard - say at level 10.

As I said, AoW 3 has a fantastic RMG and a fantastic bandwidth to set up the game. It's actually completely underrrated.
 
No, that's just cheap rhetorics. It's not that. It's just about setting the way up in a way that makes the player work with the cheap low-tier stuff. If you set the way up in a way that allows a) clear stuff with what you get right away effortlessly and b) have for whatever reason enough gold to go straight to your racial T3 you not only devalue your low-tier units, you also devalue your class units and their research, because you don't actually need them. You can also play the fast game then in order to offer competition for the racial T3 which makes more sense then, but then it's a matter of income more than anything else.

Setup in AoW 3 is actually a complex matter since you need to fit things together the right way to deliver the game you actually want. I mean, just think about how massively you can influence the game just by the number of heroes you allow and the maximum levels gained. You could actually make Heroes meaningless, except for the leader, and even them you can limit quite hard - say at level 10.

As I said, AoW 3 has a fantastic RMG and a fantastic bandwidth to set up the game. It's actually completely underrrated.
Come on, saying that something is a cheap rhetorics is in itself a cheap rhetorics, but nice try.
What you are suggesting will just extent time before player will get to higher tiers it won't solve underlying problem of higher tiers being substantially better. You are making an argument "but what if you will play with low tiers for longer amount of time", yeah you will play with them for a longer amount of time not because they became viable but because you get no other choice.
You are trying to solve vertical balancing problem by extending chunks before power jumps, the only thing that does is extend time before said jumps nothing more.
 
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So, if you stack it with Zeal, Frost Arrows, Projectiles of Decay, Amplified Arrows, you get 4 damage channels of +2.
All of those are then amplified to either +4 on repeating or +7 on single attacks
So you get a bonus of 28 damage on the single attack, on top of the original 51, so that's ~55% extra damage.
Not sure how crazy that is. It's hit points went up from 80 to almost 120, which is also ~50%. So just number wise it doesn't seem too wild.

I guess one additional issue is that the additional damage is different types of magical, which probably has less resistance than the physical.
Oh and amplified arrows does 30% damage to another enemy, and all the other status effects (and this guy having piercing).

And as you said the melee attacks will get a bigger boost from enchantments, so that'll be more like +100% damage.
I think you forgot about focused aggression, which will add another +50? (or was it max 30?)
 
Come on, saying that something is a cheap rhetorics is in itself a cheap rhetorics, but nice try.
What you are suggesting will just extent time before player will get to higher tiers it won't solve underlying problem of higher tiers being substantially better. You are making an argument "but what if you will play with low tiers for longer amount of time", yeah you will play with them for a longer amount of time not because they became viable but because you get no other choice.
You are trying to solve vertical balancing problem by extending chunks before power jumps, the only thing that does is extend time before said jumps nothing more.
No, that's absolutely untrue. In every single respect:
1) There is no balancing problem at all: Higher tier units and later available ones should be better than lower and earlier available. That is logical, If it was different, no one would bother with them.
2) The longer you play with lower tier units the better they get due to unlimited level gain and the more you will have.
3) You are just denying map setup as valuable meaningful tool to create the game you want to play. You cannot seriously expect that no matter the way you set things up the game plays the same. Is that just laziness?