Mirez wrote:Why would it be harder to balance? As long as the 1st tier's upgrade matches to the other factions' first tier it's fine.
I don't really understand this. If it means what I think it means, then the faction which has to upgrade one creature to match the strength of unupgraded creature from the same tier but different faction, then the first faction (the one which upgrades) is in clear disadvantage, because it spends an extra turn and resources to have what the other faction has for one turn less and probably fewer resources. Additionally, if the unupgraded creature of the first faction battles the non-upgradeable creature of the other faction, then the second should always win because it is stronger by default. These are a bit simplified examples, but they explain the basics.
f you have upgraded your lower tier units and he upgraded higher tier units he SHOULD win. You should blame yourself for not pressing your advantage early on.
I already pointed that this is not always possible. Quite often you need creatures with certain stats to engage other creatures on the adventure map and if the unupgraded versions do not have these stats but the upgraded have them, then strategy-wise it is better to have something upgraded ASAP. In order to make one map good and always challenging and interesting, you rarely place stacks of, say, Vampires, or Imps, or Minotaurs, but rather stacks of random tier 1, 2, 3, etc. creature, which is always different when the map reloads. All the editors so far make this even more random by placing basic and upgraded versions of all creatures, so wherever you have a random stack, you could expect an upgraded version of something. This could be remedied by adding the appropriate tool to the editor (for example - you place random upgraded or random unupgraded stack, not just random), but does not really solve the problem. Dealing with high level archers, whether upgraded or not, will normally require fast creatures, attacking tough, but vulnerable to particular ability opponents will need the creature possessing this ability, which could be the upgraded version of something and so on. In order to reduce the negatives, you will have to destroy a great deal of variety and the map, if not the game itself, may ultimately become boring after the first few replays. Which is not exactly the desired effect.
Moreover, I don't think that many people will like the number of choices they have to be restricted and locking certain creatures for upgrade because of exhausted "upgrade limit" is a restriction. This also reduces the total number of tactics for each army, because only a few creatures can reach their full potential.
Anyway, even if we take HoMM as a single town vs a single town business, where no other factors can be used to balance starting faction' temporary weaknesses, the problem would be IMO elsewhere. Namely, if the building rate about one structure per day and *weekly* creature growth is kept, problem is significant if one faction can build a high level dwelling at day 7 or sooner, while other cannot have a matching strength before the start of next week.
This is part of the problem indeed. I think HoMM IV's system was an excellent achievement in this regard - it does matter when you build something, but it doesn't matter whether it will be at the beginning or at the end of the week, because the population is generated every day/every few days. I would gladly welcome the return of this approach. But it won't solve the balancing issues on its own.
Beware Kreegans bearing gifts.