I started writing these down, and eventually it turned into a big messy document which I thought I'd share with everyone (lucky you!). Comments and discussion are welcome, and if you've got an idea of your own, feel free to throw it out there.
I've arranged these into smaller sections for easier reading. Enjoy (maybe)!
General ChangesGeneral Changes
Tier 2 and 3 upgrades to the stronghold should both cost 250/100.
Tier 1 and 2 units' power costs and some upgrades should be lowered.
Currently we're seeing a trend in games where players will tech up out of the prolonged tier 1, and because resources are coming in at a decent clip, there's no reason not to go to tier 3 right away and start bringing out some tanks. There's a number of reasons for this, but the biggest I think is that there's so much of a need for power to thrive inside of tier 1 and to get to tier 2, you need a full blown gen farm to make it happen. You can get by with fewer gens, but you're taking a gamble.
With both players investing in power, because so much of it is needed in tier 1, a number of things happen. It limits possible builds because of the need to develop farms, whereas in 1.3.2 we had viable strats like Sepha going to and through Tier 2, maintaining map control, and never building a generator. I don't think that would be viable with the new power requirements, you are basically forced to build a gen farm, which I think is limiting play style. With gens being more in demand, power harass is more useful and more successful, making babysitting farms the new pasttime in a game about holding victory points (Also in part because they are a little too easy to destroy right now). Most of all, with so many generators going, the option of throwing down 200/100 after throwing down 300/125 is very attractive, almost a natural.
By lowering the tier 2 cost (and the cost of tier 1 and 2 units' power) we bring back a more natural tiering progression, we open the option to more build strategies and play options as you could get by more easily with 1-2 farms and lingering in tier 2 as opposed to rushing to 3, and we return more focus to the battle in the field instead of SimFarm. 1.4's tiering change is a step towards a better game, but it feels like a bit of a misstep currently.
HQs should heal at a rate roughly equal to 2/3 the Techmarine's Relay heals. Each HQ Turret should heal at roughly 1/3 the TM's Relay.
This would allow troops who are "resting" at home to recover at a rate that is competitive with the TM, the only hero whose army can heal in 1.4.1. Barring the Artificer Armor bug, the relay heals at a rate that seems appropriate, and I think it's fair that all factions have access to this, not just a single space marine hero.
By having the healing split between HQ and turrets, you do a few things. Players have to position themselves between turrets and the HQ to maximize healing, which requires a tiny bit more attention. They also have the option of spreading out around and behind turrets and still healing a bit instead of huddling around HQ if being pushed at their base. Finally, it makes annihilation more viable, as the loss of a turret would be a loss of healing, loss of both turrets would mean significantly decreased healing, making destroying base defenses more rewarding.
Tier 2 AV setup teams (plasma devs, brightlances) now have a power cost.
Nothing major, about what the other setup teams cost. This would allow you to lower their req costs. I think this would help prevent massing of certain AV options (why stop for a dread when there can so easily be 2xbrightlances meeting them), and facilitate getting that first one out when you need to. If a vehicle's been loose early on, it's not really the power resource I feel I am lacking, it's requisition because A) I had a shitton of power getting here and B) That vehicle's been giving me losses which need to be reinforced. It would also bring them in line with the power costs for lootas (which might need to be lowered in cost and adjusted in stats to compensate) and venom broods (which might need to be raised in power cost to justify a buff).
Pathing should be modified, and the rules for retreating units changed.
No knockdown/stun/freeze/hold abilities work on already retreating units.
I don't like the new retreat and pathing. I don't care if I'm alone on this, but it really breaks the warhammer mood when orks politely stand aside for retreating marines, and then rethink the whole affair and decide to give chase after they are in the clear. I understand that units used to get caught and mobbed and killed before, and that sucked, but there has to be a middle ground. I wouldn't mind if retreating units had a much smaller footprint, or could cut around guys with ridiculous agility, or if they simply passed through enemy guys for some and/or all of their retreat...anything would be better than this. The current system, I think, even encourages bad play, because the damage I take when I pull my troops out of a melee before I hit X is far greater than if I hit X when mobbed...because the mob will scatter for me if I retreat while in melee contact. You can even abuse it a bit, engaging a capping squad in melee or blobbing up near them, then hitting X to force them away from a point (not often useful, but when VPs are thin after a long game it seems anything goes).
I think it should be legitimate to kill a unit that you've managed to completely swarm if they hit X right then. I think it's unfair to catch a squad in a lucky stroke of bad pathing and have them bump into your troops ineffectually while yours disembowel for 130% damage. BeasterReborn had a suggestion that seemed like a perfect fit. Retreat is already a gradual process, you get faster the longer you've been running. Apply a base set of modifiers upon first hitting the "X" key, then apply additional modifiers (including the "get out of my way" pathing mechanic) as time passes, the same way squads get faster as time passes. So, for example, you might take 130% damage from melee and 60% from ranged and move a little faster when you hit X, 4 seconds later 100%/45% and faster, 4 seconds later 65%/30% while moving faster still and "bowling over" troops in their path the way a retreating unit will currently.
Similarly, once in retreat (either immediately or after several seconds) a unit shouldn't be affected by certain abilities that currently haven't been adjusted to match more recent changes. The ravener no longer cripples retreating units, the lictor no longer pulls them. The scout's shotgun doesn't knock down retreating units. Stunbombing a unit in retreat no longer does anything. Other effects remain unchanged, like the apothecary's bolter, fire prisms, and the warp spider exarch's entangle. While I don't think retreating should save you if you are already caught by these abilities (retreating while already stunned doesn't cancel stun), I think these abilities shouldn't be able to stop you if you're already running away. Some exceptions might exist, like the farseer's Time Stop (because it also prevents most melee attacks), or the WS Exarch's Phase Shift (it affects friendly and unfriendly, and prevents damage), these should be few and far between.
Heavy armor should be modified
Plasma and power weapons are fine, but everything seems to tear apart heavy armor. The devs really need to adjust this, probably bringing explosives, grenades, and rockets back in line with what space marines used to take as regular infantry. Otherwise, buff the heck out of everything that uses heavy armor, because these counters are everywhere now. Tyranids can't bring Venom Broods to bear against a tank because the tank kills them as well as (if not better than) they kill tacticals.
And since I'm looking at this table...
Heavy melee damage type (walkers) and power weapons should be buffed vs vehicles.
Since vehicles can haul ass now, you've gotta give some better reward for pounding on one than a 70% and 25% damage reduction, respectively. This is a legacy issue that should be updated to reflect the newer, more effective role tanks have now. This would also benefit AG warriors a bit vs vehicles (maybe a good thing) in addition to carnifexes. Possibly also consider buffing heavy melee vs heavy infantry armor to buff walker role vs. more common heavy armor type (and give Dreads and Carnis a bigger role in mirror).
Oh, and also...
Building damage normalized, and generally reduced.
Melee is the new heavy bolter for gen farms. And ironically, heavy weapons are all pretty poor. Melee and power melee should both come down a bit vs light buildings, walker melee should go up, bolter type should do a little less and have plasma weapons roughly equal it (I think), heavy weapons should do significantly more than 1/100th of their damage (it's lame for a unit that pricey and counterintuitive).
Also, power weapons appear to do 75% of their damage to enemy HQs, and if you compare this with the rest of the board, that's way too much. Walkers don't even do damage like that to HQs.
Global bombardments should be rebalanced
They're all seemingly too expensive. Tyranoformation feels a bit underwhelming relative to Roks or Storm, and Roks felt too strong before, and got buffed to be unavoidable in addition to being already too potent. Space Marine bombardment should be a bit stronger (it should kill an ASM caught in the beams for the full central burn + shot), or the beams should fire in a random order (50% either left/top/right or right/top/left), or possibly do both a buff and randomization (i.e. make it as good as the others). Tyranoform could benefit from a second mirror pattern as well (theirs could be distinguished by the direction the capillaries are facing). Fix all this mess, and then bring the cost down so we can see them in use and test them out...hopefully in that order.
Commander wargear standardized
And by standardized, I mean that there's at least a couple of new things at every tier, with most of everything being in tier 1. Some heroes are very close to this, if not already doing this, right now (Warlock, Warboss, Force Commander). Others are crazy (Warp Spider Exarch). Every commander should have about 4-5 choices in tier 1, 2 new ones at tier 2, and 2 at tier 3. Sure, allow for some exceptions if it makes more sense balance-wise, but try to do this, and try to balance the wargear so that it is appropriate to its tier.
Eldar ChangesEldar Changes
Howling Banshees should no longer start with power weapons. They are available to all squad members when Aspect is researched.
They're just too good too soon against too much of the marine army right now. The only thing saving marines is overpowered scouts. They'll still hold down those first marines with their superior melee skill and frequent knockdown procs (same as sluggas do).
Power cost should be reduced on Howling Banshees Aspect upgrade, Ranger squad, shuriken platform, wraithlord, and falcon.
Not by much, about 5 on each. The shuriken platform and wraithlord should come down about 10. Eldar seem pretty close to right as far as cost and performance, and their exarchs seem to be right on target at 15 per. Falcons should be significantly easier to get out. They could be adjusted stat-wise to reflect their earlier presence in T2, and their T3 shield buffed to make it a better tank-hunter late game (if the TM has an 8/1 refractor field, I see no problem with better than 4/1 for the falcon...it's a tank). The cost reduction would be part of the global adjustments I talked about above, and to see these units used earlier, or see them more attractive as an option as opposed to flying right into tier 3 and d-cannons/fire prisms/gods.
Ranger kinetic shot should be available upon Pathfinder upgrade along with Holo-field, pathfinder cost changed to 15 power. Rangers should start with infiltrate. Ranger rate of fire increased and damage decreased and setup/teardown should be adjusted.
Kinetic shot, as it can target a model, should be coming out a little bit later than the weapon platforms it very safely negates (it's the Eldar answer instead of a jump troop). With rangers at 25, pathfinder at 15, it would equal the roughly 40 power all other jump troops should cost (the same that warp spiders do). ItsSexyTime pointed out to me that snipers shouldn't have a breakdown (I agree, a setup is plenty), though I think the setup time could afford to be reduced a bit to 1 second (ItsSexyTime also noted that Warriors are unaffected by Kinetic shot, which we both agree is lame...marines and orks can jump these guys, Rangers need a little something here).
Rangers could also be adjusted so their damage is less front-loaded to be more in-line with the changes to brightlances (now fire more quickly and for less damage per shot). This would distinguish scout-snipers + Mark Target from rangers + Doom.
Which is to say...
Farseer's Doom could probably be better, or at least as good as Mark Target.
Cost and tiering aside, conceptually the eldar should have a slight edge in Doom vs Mark Target overall effect, because marines typically have fewer, harder hitting guys with more damage up front than the eldar do. Make this trend consistent (it pretty well is already) and you're free to give Doom a little more love.
Warp Spider haywire grenade damage should be nerfed.
You don't really need brightlances if you just have enough haywire grenades, it seems. This isn't supposed to be the case, as warp spiders already shred infantry. Melta bombs do the same damage, but only slow the target. I'm cool with Haywires freezing tanks, but their damage is excessive. Maybe adjust casting and research costs to compensate.
Ork ChangesOrk Changes
Ork tier 1 and 2 units and upgrades decreased in power cost
To be in line with the other races have easier tier 1 and 2 units. I think stormboyz power cost is perfect for when they appear, and their power weapons make them a great counter to ASMs while keeping them in line with other melee troops. Lootas could be a bit cheaper to field and their cost + upgrade to beamy precludes them from being useful relative to tankbustas for AV. Deff dreads are pretty damn good as-is, maybe a little cheaper in power if all other walkers are reduced in power cost, or keep them as-is and boost their burny power with the upgrade, as their walker vs walker balance seems about right. Tankbustas are fine.
Ork waaagh should be rebalanced. Waaagh costs adjusted to a point between 1.3.2 and 1.4.1.
Ork units that score kills while under the effects of Waaagh, or through any Waaagh-costing ability, should now receive bonus waaagh for that kill
It feels like this is too easy to get right now. Orks should have a plentiful supply of it, but it should be acquired through stompin' 'umies and not just waiting for it to come to you. When the costs for everything was reduced, it seems like orks' waaagh powers were suddenly too easy to use, being no-brainers for cost. You'd always want to use it, and if your opponent runs without giving up some kills, wha' eva'! With this change, it would require an ork player to consider very carefully, "Am I going to make up this expense in red bar by scoring a bunch of kills?" This should be a fun mechanic to reward players for dynamic play and good decision making, both in spending waaagh and choosing when to stand against the green tide.
Stikkbommas should cost 25 power. Stikkbommas grenade throw range should be reduced and speed increased slightly, their stunbomb range increased slightly.
Stikkbommas are great now. A little too great too early. They should appear at roughly the same time as platforms, and platforms should maintain some advantage in their own static field of fire. Their vanilla grenades have range like setup teams, and they cost as much as a setup team in power, making them a counter to setup teams before they're even set up. With their advantage of being able to volley over scenery, their range should require them to at least step into fire if they choose to attack head-on. Their stunbombs could be buffed to better counter platforms, delaying their capability here but not removing it. Stunbombs could even be rebalanced as the regular stikkbomb was, throwing 2 (or more) grenades at a longer distance with less stun time, making them a better setup for a sure hit with the regular grenades, but requiring a bit more cost and planning.
Space Marine ChangesSpace Marine Changes
Scouts shotguns should be rebalanced (!) to do a low-dps, narrow area cone of damage that decreases with distance (like it used to be) that does no knockback or suppression.
Explosive shot should do less damage, but be fired from each scout
Sniper rifles moved to Tier 1 and rebalanced, or just rebalanced.
Scout shotguns are all or nothing currently. They do great single-target damage at middle or short ranges, meaning dollar for dollar, these will outDPS your marines. While marines take less damage, dead enemies don't shoot back at all, so massed scouts, with optional infiltration and grenades, can almost replace marines. If you decrease their single-target DPS to the neighborhood of their bolter damage, but allow them to gently scrub down bunched up targets (i.e. those banshees jumping around your marines) with that same damage, they become a much more consistent answer to melee. Melee targets uniformly become softer, allowing the marines to down them at an acceptable rate. Without the marines, the scouts would be able to badly hurt kited banshees, but the marines would be needed to finish the job. Explosive shot would become a more reliable ability if it were fired from all scouts (an idea Carl also suggested, and I conditionally think is good), but only if they all fired at the same moment, meaning if one scout were ahead of the others, and the others delayed their kiting while he finished his animation, this should not be done. They should all aim in the general direction of the same model, and fire away even if they can't actually reach him.
Finally, snipers are too expensive and too late in the game, currently. They should be significantly better for their timing and cost, or be made tier 1 and adjusted to be 30 power to be more in line with Rangers. They also should behave as described for rangers above (no breakdown, faster setup).
Tactical marines health should be increased to 400 per member
They'll need it to fill the role described under scouts, as scouts won't be the easy (read:cheesy) answer they are now. If ASMs are OK at 400, no reason for Tacs to not be this good if they're going to have to punch things. Or possibly even healthier, as Assaults used to be less sturdy than Tacs and do more melee damage, while not proc'ing as many knockbacks as they do currently. Tacs would need to hold up a little longer against melee, still losing to it if massed (and vs power melee, it would still be a slaughter).
Thunder and Lightning upgrade should not require Tier 2 and should be reduced in cost.
Everyone knows this for the meltas (I guess that's the thunder part), but the blind grenades are essential to the early game with the large numbers of troops around. What's the point of this being available in tier 2, anyway? Counter a vehicle when a rocket is 10 power away? It's too expensive, and too late game.
Tactical and Assault Marine Sargeants should be buffed.
These guys are supposed to be tougher than the regular marines. Back when ASMs were 300, their sargeant was 400. He's still 400, so this seems like an oversight to me. They should each be at least 500 hp, and can we please get a plasma pistol on that assault sargeant? Plasma means a lot more now, and he needs it to maintain intra-faction balance against heavy armor and massed tactical plasma.
Tier 1 and 2 unit costs should be adjusted.
Like the other factions. Devastators should come out a bit sooner, Assault Marines should cost 40 power (possibly a stat modification, or a req. increase). SM T2 vehicles are a little pricey in the power department; Tier 3 and a Predator are too much of a no-brainer in most cases. Plasma Dev should have some power cost.
Techmarine's wargear rebalanced.
I know I haven't talked much about specific heroes, but this guy got a little too much love in this patch. His artificer armor outheals the Force Commander's armor of the same name in addition to giving him a special ability (and the FC is the front-line fighter), nevermind what it does when near a relay. His plasma gun is too good, heck I think his regular gun is a little too good. His other bolters are either lacking or simply outclassed by the insane plasma gun. Rebalance plasma for T2 (when all the other marines get it), rebalance his other bolters for T1. Make signum a little weaker than Doom (see above) or move it to T3 as-is and give him a slight damage increase with it to make him the Mega Man he is now. Make bionics useful in that it sweeps and stuns for a good amount of time with a click, and give him a passive melee knockdown that procs occasionally when he doesn't click.
Apothecary's combat stims should be buffed.
Since I mentioned Doom and Mark Target, I have to mention this as well. Combat stims are supposed to be better than either of the above, by a fair margin, because it can only affect one squad. Doom and Mark allow any and all squads to benefit at the same time by focussing their fire. You can focus as much as you want with Stims, but you're still only getting extra damage out of the one squad.
Now that we all understand this, can we get this cleared up, maybe with some cost adjustment if needed?
Predator price should be looked at.
Lowering the cost of Tier 2 stuff is half the equation, but due to the necessarily high price tag of SM stuff, that can only be reduced so far. The predator is a great tank, and it should remain the king of the tanks, but at a price that makes it less king of the space marine world. Adjustments to heavy armor will help with this, but remaining at T2 instead of a sprint to T3 should have its attractions in the SM vs SM games. If the predator cost just a little bit more (and maybe made a tiny bit better if needed to keep things balanced) it would still have the same relative presence, but be less spammable.
I'm hoping an increase in walker melee effectiveness vs heavy armor types + an increase in predator cost at tier 3 will make dreadnaughts less laughable in SM/SM mirrors.
Tyranid ChangesTyranid Changes
I'll admit that, of all the factions, I am least experienced with the new tyranids. My suggestions beyond the general ones I've already made are few, and generally conform to what is common knowledge (i.e. Carnifexes feel a bit weak, heavy armor VCs cannot stop tanks, spore mines' delayed/larger explosion is OP). Having noted that, the one thing I would like to add to the nid balance dialogue is:
Make raveners heavy armor.
These things are murder on most troops, but extra murder on warriors. Warriors should not lose to raveners as badly as they do. I'm not certain, but I think AG warriors might die to vanilla Raveners, and this is silly. Whatever they make warriors out of, I'm pretty sure they make the raveners out of the same stuff. Balance them to be more akin to a tyranid ASM, with warriors being like a tyranid tac, with similar (i.e. the same) weakness.