I keep running into people asking for “balance” in DCS, to benefit PvP servers, or the “competitive” scene or other reasons again (I’m not talking about exploiting bugs here of course). Besides the fact that I don’t get why everything nowadays has to be competitive (shoelacing word championship when?), everyone is free to do whatever they please, but simply put, there shouldn’t be any “balance” in a realistic military simulation and study sim because in reality, there is no such thing as “balance”. Actually the opposite, and the differences depend mostly on the budget of your military. The entire human history is a race to overcome other humans with new and more potent means. A game that aims to portray reality, must represent this aspect as well.
I can already hear the counter-argument: “but it’s just a game“, well, sure it is, but this game has the purpose of simulating reality and, again, reality is not balanced, especially when depicting such a wide timeframe.
Other games instead focus on balance (or should be) and simplify the gameplay rather than being close to reality, see War Thunder and similar titles, but those are not DCS. Different games, different targets. No forces anyone to play anything.
A semblance of balance in a sim such as DCS can be achieved in many ways, for instance, by means of “house rules”. The AIM-54 is too powerful? Limit their availability. The F-16 is a too superior aircraft? Replace it with the Hawk …oh wait 😦
Well, you got my point: if you are looking for balance you are not flying in a realistic scenario in the first place. Therefore, what’s the matter in limiting aircraft or specific ordnance? Or changing the map, limiting the AO, forcing a specific timeframe (ww2, cold war, etc), introducing mandatory minimum and maximum employment ranges and whatever else is necessary to achieve the balance you are looking for? It sounds definitely much better and makes much more sense than turning a study sim into something else by adding or removing realistic features due to debatable balancing criteria.