before I tweak stuff based off only a couple of peoples feedback
Just curious what "tweaking" means in this case.
I thought normal level was just the AI working exactly like the player, with no bonuses or penalties, and just plain smart/efficient AI.
So what gets tweaked?
As to level of difficulty at "normal" setting...
Hard to know what advice to give, because this depends on what you want your standard for "normal" to achieve...
But below, I have assumed that the goal is to make "normal" defeatable by an average (reasonably experienced) AOTS player, like myself, in one or two runs.
With that in mind...
Level 1 was perfect. It made me work just a little, and got me excited about what was to come. Good flavor and ramp-up. Just a little pleasant pressure in end game of level.
Level 2 was fine. Just a little easier than level 1, but within acceptable margin, in comparison to level 1. A solidly acceptable level 2.
Level 3 ... holy gawd this was hard... this was the Atwater level, I am thinking.
Level 4 ... WAAAAYYYY to cakey (far too easy). But honestly was perhaps a welcome win after the six hours spent on Atwater. I did very much like the concept of the command nodes in the middle, which rained down reinforcements when you held control of all of them... BUT... perhaps there were just a few too many reinforcements... made things a bit too easy... Especially with the early Juggy drop.
Level 5... Harder than level 4, but still fairly easy. My approach here was to try and knock out opponent command nodes as fast as possible, to essentially reduce the competition and pressure early-on. So I claimed the center with small units, and then pretty much channeled all my resources into some relatively fast T4 (juggy) builds. I then used the juggies to beeline to opponent command nodes. Strategy was a little rough around the edges, but it worked pretty well. One or two runs to win, but I wasn't forced to work too hard. Just a smidgen more aggression/pressure from the opponents would be good here.
Final level... Again, difficulty on this level was just right. It made me think and work just enough. Not a breeze, but definitely not impossible. Seems like there would be several ways to get it done. Towards end game I sent in a HUGE air fleet to soften the command node for the rest of the advancing forces (Juggy + Dread + Other). The air force pretty much melted. The computer had aggregated a huge number of artemis(?) units (the PHC AA) by its command node. It wasn't a bad thing for the computer to have near the command node (obviously), but it also seemed like a somewhat buggy behavior (there were just so many). Might be something to look at. At any rate, this made the win harder, because the opponent's airforce had likewise become pretty strong. I couldn't shoot the planes down with the Juggy and Dread, so the final assault was delayed for a bit. It was fun, but I would have liked the end game to be a LITTLE more tense (because it was also the final level). Maybe a more aggressive and responsive final defense would have ultimately been better and more challenging.