I will try to analyze why Dwarfs are considered as most players the weakest faction in the game.
First of all, let's see the different unit types that helps an army to develop a tactic on the battlefield.
3. Foot skirmishers
7. Horse archers
9. Flying units
Out of 9, Dwarfs lack 5 types of units (2, 5, 6, 7 and 8). This is more than half of roster diversity unaccessible for Dwarfs. This makes Dwarfs army not only an army with 5 basic weaknesses, but also an army very predictable and easy to counter. If we compare this important factor with other factions: Chaos lack of 1 (3); Vampires lack of 3 (3, 7 and 4), Bretonnia lack of 2 (5 and 8); Greenskins lack of 0; Empire lack of 1 (5).
This doesn't make a faction necessarily weak, but as I said it makes a faction predictable
. This can't be changed because it would be lore unfriendly, so this means that Dwarfs need something to balance this issue like giving the heroes and general a more effective role to introduce some surprise factor on their build.
In addition, their lack of diversity on low and mid tier units makes them even more predictable. They have a great diversity on high cost units. Only a few of high cost unit can be introduced and this is not game changing in large funds settings.
In the current state of the game, magic and cavalry are the two pillars of victory, which makes dwarfs very unsuitable for this goal.What should be done?To counter lack of magic:
Make runnesmith cheaper (900) and increase magic resistance of dwarfs up to 50% for generals and heroes and 25% for the rest of units at least.To counter lack of cavalry:
Increase mass of infantry and decrease leadership penalty for rear charges. Increase the rotation velocity of units so skirmishers and artillery can face them while they are freely flanking around preparing for rear charges. Increase the shoot rate of both missile and artillery. Fix the stuck problem that makes artillery unable to shoot when they are moving through units. They need more cheap anti-large & anti-charge units (like spearmen for empire) more efficient missile units. Make gyro-copters more efficient against enemy skirmishers to substitute some of the cavalry function such as increasing Block missile chance, Hit Points and base damage.
To enhance their strengths:
Ranged and artillery suffer from the massive firing arc nerf from previous Total Wars. This wouldn't be so terrible if the units were allowed to keep their formation, but rotate within it. Instead what happens is your cannons try to keep formation while tracking a flanking cav force. Resulting in a farcical amount of readjustment time as the cannons don't rotate, but move 3 yards back and to the left, then rotate to keep their line/box formation.
Make melee combat last longer overall! Skirmishers and artillery cannot make more than 2 shoots before the infantry front line is routing, for then coming back when they are not useful anymore. Increase defense stats, including armor. Even if decreasing attack and weapon damage.
This MAYBE would put dwarfs in a condition of winning even though the predictable issue will never be tackled.
I have noticed that one of the main issues of artillery is that they are stuck (red bow and arrow symbol) half of the battle. I don't find any place where this stuck mechanic is explained so I just think it gets stuck when they have no sight line or when there are many units around it. I am not sure though so I would appreciate someone to explain it.
Added some ideas "To counter lack of cavalry" that affect gyro-copters.