Late response but here I am.
!weapons and !tank has been added to RC (i assume) because shai and many others know that some mechanics of vanilla Ren are flawed, in the environment of the 'public game'. While a bad team should lose to a coordinated or good team, losing a building has for the average pubbie always been too much of a penalty, and can happen very quickly/easily, because of how quickly or unnoticed some events can unfold (hotwire in your base, tank rush knocking on your front door).
To add some stability to these 'public games', and to add a new kind of gameplay to the game, maps with advanced base defences have been added to the stock game. Base defences that are able to see and shoot even stealthed units, when in range. This takes some of the responsiblity away from the player, which allows him to focus on other gameplay elements, like shooting up people and tanks! It's not everyone's cup of tea to circle your base with an APC, and check the minecount every other minute. Things go bad however when these base defences take away too much of this responsiblity.
Base defences become too powerful when each building is very strategically placed, and when the size of the base increases. A perfect example would be Meadow, where almost always, the first building you'll see is the Obelisk/AGT, and the distance between you and the enemies' buildings is so great that you are going to get shot multiple times by the Obelisk/AGT before you'll get in shooting range of even one of them with a tank. And when there is only one building to shoot (realistically), there's only one building to pay attention to for the enemy team, if they are being rushed... Defending gets too easy, and you'll end up with boring stalemates. A map well done would be City, where the obelisk and AGT are very clearly placed in the middle, but all the way towards the big buildings with the tunnels. You can still shoot many buildings this way without getting zapped or tickled to death, but it definitely makes the task harder, as it should. Glacier on the other hand, while it is my favourite map of the game, I will admit that it is a bit too easy to circumvent the base defences. But that's frankly the only stock map where this is the case, and this map being infrequent, i think makes it tolerable for many.
Why am I talking about base defences now? Because !tank and !weapon are supposed to mitigate the consequences when you *do* lose a building, which are frankly too harsh, but their powerfulness are strongly dependant on the map itself. Take !weapon and !tank, and put them in a map where these commands are less important, like canyon or volcano (they are less important because both maps can still realistically be won without either tanks or advanced infantry, and sometimes even with free characters, because there are no base defences!): you end up with a feature that is designed to mitigate the consequences of losing a building, but on some maps only end up boosting the effectiveness of your unit when they are not necessary! This is the flaw that needs to be adressed to make these commands balanced again. Many of you guys already seem to know this, but I never really get to hear exactly why, and I think some people are misunderstanding the actual effect of these commands.
So how would you balance out such a feature, when its effects change per map? Well, most definitely not by raising the cost on its own, because all you have to end up doing is waiting for enough harvester dumps to get your valuable 4800 credit medium tank. When you lose the refinery however... But that's a different thing on its own, which !tank and !weapons are not designed for (or at least I think so). What I would like to see is a balancing factor where using these commands only become viable *after* you lose a building.
My proposals to balance !tank and !weapon (you can take whichever you like, not all need to be applied):
- Reduce the vehicle limit when WF/Air dies to a small amount, I would say 4 but it's entirely dependant on the amount of players in the game. This is more to give losing WF/Air at least some effect, because if you have the field in a marathon game, and some money, you have all the time in the world and you surely can wait 10 minutes to spam !tank once every minute, to build a very powerful tank rush).
- Make !weapon only purchaseable when Hon/Bar dies, and allow only for a single purchase per character (per death, off course not through the entire game). This way, when you spawn, you can still have your !srep on your engineer, but not a !ramjet aswell. Or, you can have a !rail on your grenadier, but not the !rep with it. To prevent your ally from purchasing an additional weapon (or suiciding with an engineer) for you, you could block backpack pickups for a minute after buying a weapon, and block usage of the !weapon command when you already are carrying an additional weapon. Off course this can all be circumvented, but you'd have to sit down in your base, doing nothing for a minute, while the enemy is pounding your allies in the field.
- Make the cost increase every time you buy from !tank and !weapon. The first !tank (light tank) purchase would be 1800, the next !tank purchase would be 2400, the third !tank purchase would cost 3000, etc. This cost increase could be per-player, or could be team-wide. If it's team wide, off course the cost increase should be lowered per purchase.
These changes will disencourage, or flatout block the spamming of !tank of !weapon when it is not necessary, because you may be screwing yourself over for when you lose a building.