This subject, I believe, is of large interest to the community, specially now that NS is going official and there will be lots of new 32-player servers up and running. However, nothing has been done since 2.0, when this issue showed up (since there were no more perma gorges) and we are only one week away from the 3.0 beta 5 release.
The issue is alien res balance on large games. Currently the game flow and balance can be explained like this: When the game starts (early-game), marines can't cover the entire map, while the aliens, although a bit weaker at first, have much better mobility. They dominate the map while the marines are busy somewhere else and get enough res to go fade or put up the second hive. What would be mid-game: Ether second hive up or first fades up or PGs built. These change dramatically the game flow. As you can see, the team with most res forces the mid-game first. End-game would be when one team is clearly going to lose.
The problem is when there are, for example 12 players on each team. Aliens either reach the mid-game when too late or never reach it. This is because of res distribution among the aliens. To be even with the marines, the Kharaa would need to have 2 times the number of rts they need on a 6vs6 game. This slows alien progress so much that when the hive is built the marines siege rush it and when fades appear all marines already have shotguns. Thus, all that res spent is lost and aliens have a better chance building DC bunkers or doing desperate MS rushes.
Seeing how the NS mode is only balanced for a set amount of players, people prefer to play combat and we end up with many more servers running co maps than ns maps.
To help balance large games, we have already some plugins on sites such as modns.org. However, most server admins don't even know these exist and it shouldn't be necessary to run any plugins to play the game
My proposal is that alien res income is untied from the number of players. It would only depend on the number of rts. This idea is that of Cheesy's res balance plugin and I find it to be the best one. Some people defend a 50% balancing, so that aliens would get 1.5 times res (comparing to now) on a 12vs12 game instead os 2 times. Let me explain why I disagree.
You have to remember that alien upgrades are one-time only, while marine upgrades are permanent. Also, marines weapons can be picked up when the user dies. This helps counter the fact that higher alien lifeforms are better than lone marines. You also need to take into account that with more players the marines are likely to dominate the rts easier, since 1 LA is better than 1 skulk. All this makes me feel that aliens need the full boost instead of half of it.
I'm posting this because I want the Classic mode to be played. After NS becomes an official mod, the tendency is that the CO mode will be played more and more, while the NS mode will have a small increase. Balancing NS for large games may help it's growth.
So, please devs, hear what I'm saying and let aliens have their res on large games.
Any opinions? Do you agree or disagree with this post? Remember, this is my opinion and WILL NOT fit every one's view of the current balance, but I believe most people here will agree with this. This res thingy has been talked about so much that even Flayra has said that he would do some res tweaking if this continued to be an issue.
About the extensive discussion of this subject: all other topics seem to have died out, but if you think I should use some topic-resurrection-black-magic instead of posting this, feel free to lock it. I felt I had to post this because this is still an unsolved issue in the current version. And from my point of view it's a very important one.