Aliens get a slight advantage from start
Achieving perfect balance is difficult for any game. Structure of NS (FPS/RTS) and the different weapons and abilities of both teams make NS much more difficult to achieve balance in the FPS or the RTS... and when you are kinda both at the same time it is that much more of an ordeal.
I was on the can (where I do my best thinking) and it struck me that maybe instead striving for total perfect team balance NS might try balancing with a slight tilt toward the alien team in the start. That's right, start the game slighty imbalanced toward aliens.
We know there are resource model balance problems in NS, the most significant problem being that the alien res flow is slower then marines. What if the aliens were given a slight advantage in the beginning, and when I say slight I mean not enough for them to formulate an effective "rush tactic" but enough for them to establish themselves on the map a little.
Storywise I don't see a problem.
The resource imbalance can be explained. The Aliens have slower res flow because they have to convert a human energy source to something they can use. The marines have no problem tapping and using the energy source.
The slight advantage given to aliens in the beginning can be explained by the fact that they took over the ship/base and the marines have come to eradicate them. It makes sense to me that the alien infestation would be be more "established" by the time the marines arrive to deal with it.
This doesn't solve all the problems but I thought it might be an interesting idea to leave the resource model as it is but give the marines a slightly more infested problem to deal with.
So an Off-Balance start to achieve a more Balanced middle/end game. It's kind of a bandaid fix, but I think starting the aliens off slightly imbalanced towards them but keeping the resource model slightly imbalanced towards the marines might come together to achieve a balance in the middle/late game...
I was just thinking of a way where the devs can tweak the overall structure of NS but keep as much as possible from the present structure as to reduce the amount of coding, changes, and re-balancing they would have to make for more radical solutions.
Just a few thoughts, feel free to share your own.