I have been going back n forth in thinking, editing and adding information but got lazy in the last weeks. Thought might as well post it like it is now.
While i think that the current preview balance patch has overall good intentions in regards to the directions of changes for Soviets, i still think it's missing in addressing the deep root problems that Soviet has.
At the moment i think they have a few specific really good efficient units which are carrying the faction, while it has one of the worst efficient tech paths on top of having a big discrepancy between early performance and late game performance.
This post is mostly focusing on giving the faction a solid core structure from which then units could be adjusted in performance as necessary.
First of all here are tech cost.
1- Opening of the game:
The whole reason Soviet has always been hard to balance early on compared to other factions is because if you want to open up with anything other than Cons, you are putting 160mp on tech while starting with the lowest manpower pool (starting unit + mp). This means that the units you get from those tech structures walks a fine line between been able to carry that weight and been too good once you find yourself able to have any sort of map control. This also puts a heavier burden in balancing between team games and 1v1.
OH suffered the same problem (the other faction which requires to build tech) and the solution given to them was slightly improving Pios, increasing their starting mp by 60, giving them MG42 at T0 and more recently, reducing the cost of T2 by 100mp.
2- Light vehicle phase and the conundrum of the T70
T3 timing and why it can't arrive at simil as other factions.
The whole reason Soviets wouldn't have an early M5 for reinforce in the field was either due to it's stats when it was OP when upgraded with the Quad or because Maxim spam was a thing. Thank god both of those had been patched out.
What else? Right, Su76 spam with free barrage. Patch out.
What's left? The T70 which is getting nerfed this patch (and i wouldn't mind further nerfs to it if that's the sacrifice we have to make).
If the Su76 was early enough that it could counter enemies light vehicles without bleeding as much, maybe it would be useful. It's not like the 222 doesn't arrive early enough to counter micro lights or other factions get access to Stuart/Puma/AEC in a timely fashion as well.
Let me give you a list of different resources spent between factions for a similar amount of tools unlocked. Light vehicle cost itself not included.
3- First medium timing, with healing and infantry upgrades. With/out LV
I'll be honest here and say it was too much of a hustle to bring every permutation and combination possible. Skip. Will add in the future TM.
You skipped or survived all that text wall? Then here is what i'm thinking about.
Considering that ALL stock Soviet units are been adjusted in this patch, i think it's time to adjust the tech system properly. I'm pushing some of the discarded and implemented changes in the preview in a different direction.
Don't take changes in isolation as they are thought to be implemented as a whole package.
-Changing the cost of T1 from 160mp/10f to 80mp/15f. (Maybe +5f)
-(MAYBE) Changing the cost of T2 from 160mp/15f to 80mp/15f. (Maybe +5f)
-Reduce the fuel cost of the M3A1 by 5f (If cost of T1 goes to 20f then -10f)
-Penal requires Grenade tech in order to use Satchel/PTRS. Upgrade changed to Explosive/Demolition package.
-Package unlocks Satchel (non sticky), PTRS and AT grenades for Penals (maybe shorter range, current satchel range)
-Probable rollback changes in regards to building time and reinforce time for T1 and Penals.
-PTRS package cost increased to 90/100 muni.
-Gives 2 non droppable PTRS and 2 normal ones.
-Nerf AI performance. Maybe cooldown.
-The PTRS Upgrade replaces the AT grenade with a sticky satchel. Reduce AoE and REPLACE engine dmg with a temporary vehicle debuff (speed + temporary main gun disabled). (It shouldn't be dependent if you pick ANY PTRS)
-Zis gun barrage cost increased from 35muni to 50muni.
-Mortar flare back to vet1. (All mortars should receive other improvements see point below)
-See my other thread for suggestion in regards to mortars/MGs in general. https://www.coh2.org/topic/107022/infantry-mortars-and-mgs-relationship-and-scaling
This basically makes backteching into an AT gun easier and T1 openings are not gonna rely on 45mm doctrines in order to work. One of the specific reasons as to why T1 was been given PTRS penals was to reduce their entire dependency on Guard commanders. Which is funny cause now they rely on a smaller pool of commanders to actually work.
The fuel changes are just there to accommodate for timings.
By giving them a snare, albeit weaker due to lack of oorah and maybe shorter range, their usefulness during the game is not gonna be relegated to just an early/mid game unit. While they get a boost of 80mp due to tech, they will now be spending 150mp/15f for this upgrade.
I think it's better to drop the whole "pseudo" effective AI/AT squad for Penals altogether and leave that for Guards only. The 4 PTRS and cost should put them equivalent to other factions heavy AT infantry units. I think it's important that they retain their first volley dmg but i think a cd nerf is warranted (at least on Penals) if they were to get 4 (due to treshold of number of volleys to kill light vehicles).
Now that vanilla Penals get access to snares, the sticky satchel no longer needs to crit vehicles engine.
Warranted change on the Zis barrage. Which is fine considering the changes to early game. Though this is also a direct buff to other builds (Conscript, sniper, Maxim), i don't think the maxim is that scary anymore, sniper is getting a "burf" (nerf and buff) and can always be adjusted slightly and conscripts are only an issue late game (early game they are getting the sandbag nerf)
At the end of the day the combined change of T1/T2 might be too much which is why the T2 can be optional. I think it's a much better idea to gate the cost opportunity of not skipping either tech with fuel rather than mp. Ideally it balance out with how you must buy Mobilize reserves instead of getting it for free at T4.
Mid game/Ligth tank phase
-Nerf as much as needed the T70.
-Reduce the cost of T3 from 240/85 to 200/55
-Mobilize reserves to T4.
Before: (includes medics)
T1 > T3: 480/70
T1 > Nade > T3: 80/15 + 200/0 + 150/15 + 200/55 = 630/85
T2 > Nade > T3 = 630/85
T1 > T2 > T3: 80/15 + 80/15 + 200/0 + 200/55 = 560/85
T1 > T2 > Nade > T3: 560/85 + 150/15 = 710/100
Mid game/Medium tank
-Change the cost of T4 from 240/90 to "200/110"
-Mobilize reserves no longer unlocks for free at T4.
-Mobilize reserves required to deploy specific doctrinal units. A little more margin to adjust cost/timing.
-After unlocking Mobilize reserves, it provides the -2mp on reiforce and +20% xp to Conscripts/Penals.
-Experimental upgrade on Penals. After mobilize upgrade they can upgrade to "---" for "xxx" munition which adds a commissar model (pistol, not sure how expensive the model is to reinforce) to the squad increasing the model count to 7 and reducing the popcap by 1 (keeping the same total of 8). Exclusive with PTRS.
---Optional: Improves "To the last man" vet 1 effect from +4% accuracy and -2% weapon cooldown to +6% acc and -4% weapon cd.
---Optional alternative: Let's them use Molotovs.
-Tracking: reduce cost. No longer improves vision. It provides minimap vision for VEHICLES (changed from infantry) and a small duration tracking when hitting a vehicle (UKF style).
This basically tackles the focused sight + tracking combo.
The idea is not to directly increase the DPS of Penals (the officer model does abysmal dps) but to improve over the effects of the vet1 "To the last man" as there is gonnna be an extra model in the squad. Yes, the idea is wild and might as well discard it. The safest option is to just make them be able to use molotovs.
The best of changing the cost of T4 and forcing you to buy mobilize reserves, is that you can have a way of making doctrinal vehicles timing and T4 non doc vehicles such as T3476 be different. Values can be fine tuned.
T1>T3>T4: 600/95 + 240/90 = 840/185
T1 > T3 > T4: 480/70 + 200/110 = 680/180 Adding Mob: 780/200
T1 > Nade > T3 > T4: 830/195 With Mob: 930/215
T2 > Nade > T3 > T4: 830/195 With Mob: 930/215
T1 > T2 > T3 > T4: 760/195 Mob: 860/215
T1 > T2 > Nade > T3 > T4: 910/210 With Mob: 1010/230