Total War Warhammer has been plagued by this problem on and off for a while now. There are far to many 'good guy' factions in the Old World and because they all have a common enemy, they get on like a house on fire. Vampire Counts only have about 7 factions across the whole Mortal Empires map (mostly with 1 settlement) and CA made their AI really passive a while back, so they don't stand a chance. Similarly, the Greenskins are very weak at the moment thanks to their infighting, weak mechanics and being surrounded by stronger Order factions.
Some say this will all work out in WH3, when Chaos comes to ruin everything, but what can be done in the meantime?
Simple Diplomacy Rebalances
Not everyone gets on as well in the lore as they do in the game. The Bretonnian’s and the Empire are at war on and off, Toddy in Middenland nearly had a civil war against Karl Franz...Averland literally did have a Civil war with him and so on. How could we affect the map so that the goodies don't get along so well from this basic standpoint?
-Don't let mutual enemies drown out past grievances as much as they currently do. At the moment, Skaven and the Dwarfs are able to become BFF's simply because they share a common enemy. This is also the main reason all of the Order factions end up making daisy chains together and singing kumbaya. Reduce the effects of these kinds of diplomatic actions, make factions react more to things you do for them and their allies specifically and make some alliances harder/impossible to forge.
-Set Reikland and Middenland on a course to Civil War from turn 1, give them both a stronger aversion to each other that diminishes over time, or has to be rectified with a quest or something.
-Do the same with Reikland and Averland.
-Give Bretonnia and the Empire factions a natural aversion to one another.
-Karak Hirn should have a natural aversion to the Dwarfs traditional allies (Empire, Bretonnia) because King Alrik is an extremist who never forgives a Grudge, Unlike Thorgrim who is more willing to negotiate. This could make Karak Hirn a real issue when it comes to diplomacy between the Dwarfs and their allies, as Hirn could drag the other Dwarf factions to war with the Empire and cause their relations to plummet.
-More traditional Holds like Karak Hirn, Azul and Belegar's faction should have a natural aversion to more radical reformist Holds like Zhufbar and Barak Varr, causing a rift in the Karaz Ankor.
-Gelt and Wissenland should be at odds due to his rivalry with Elsbeth von Draken. (they sort of already do have a rivalry).
-Gelt and Nordland should also hate each other, and Nordland should have a greater aversion to Marienberg.
-Nordland and Hochland should hate each other since Nordland tried to go to war with them not so long ago.
-Tilea and Estalia should hate each other because of their religious differences and the fact their city-states war with each other on a regular basis.
I think doing this would be a good start towards making the Old World a bit more war-torn and give the evil factions a fighting chance. Some rivalries do exist already in the Empire, but it seems to just be that everyone hates Talabecland and they all bond over fighting them. Typically, 1 Empire faction gets taken out, but the rest fall in line (either way, if you've got confederations turned on it’s only a matter of time. More extreme division would help fix this somewhat).
Now onto the New factions and Settlements, CA could add to really spice up the Old World and give the Order factions more problems:
Cragmere (Karak Varn)Backstory
The vast lake in the image above is known as "Black Water" (or Varn Drazh in the Dwarf's language) and it was created thousands of years ago when a meteor struck the planet and the resulting crater was flooded with the water that runs down from the surrounding mountains. This Meteor contained one of the strongest metals in the Warhammer World and the Dwarfs of the Worlds Edge Mountains built many settlements in the surrounding area to try and carefully extract as much of it as they could (This is why Zhufbar and Karaz-a-Karak became 2 of the strongest and most wealthy holds in the Karaz Ankor).Implementation
Karak Varn was once one of the strongest of these holds, as it was built overlooking the great lake and was able to mine the most of its many riches, but sadly the Dwarfs greed got the better of them, as they dug their caverns so deep that they ended up burrowing under the great lake, and thus when the Time of Woes fell upon the Dwarfs, the Earthquakes caused the lake to flood the lower floors of Karak Varn and the remaining Dwarfs were caught between Greenskins above ground and Skaven bellow. Many have tried and failed to reclaim this hold and its many riches, but they have all inevitably failed, and today the Skaven (and things yet worse) still hold dominion over the once great Karak.
Since it has been lost, Karak Varn has become known as "Cragmere" and is said to be ruled by a hulking beast of a Skaven, known as "Warlord Fisk". Fisk holds an unsavoury reputation amongst the Skaven race, as he has a great fondness for large and noisy weaponry, purchasing many such weapons from Clan Skyre. It was whispered on the Underway that he liked to coffle his prisoners before strafing the lines with Warpstone shells, not letting up until the weapon detonated in its unfortunate handler's paws.
The Warlord was a hulking giant of a Skaven, bedecked in silver plate scoured to an impossible shine. A pair of segmented horns spiralled down from the side of his helm, and red eyes gleamed from beneath its thick iron brow. His fur carried an unhealthy green-tinge, lending him the repulsive appearance of a hulking Orc-thing.
CA Could make Cragmere a 10 slot Major settlement all to itself and place Warlord Fisk within it as a really strong Skaven faction in the early game, with access to lots of Skryre units. Fisk could be programmed to be aggressive and reach havoc on the surrounding Dwarfs, while also having a really bulky garrison, so he can't be easily taken out in the early game. (Cragmere is out of the way for most factions anyway, so it'd be naturally protected from the AI in the same way Nagashazzir is at the moment). Skaven, Dwarf and Greenskin factions who take this settlement would gain access to a unique building chain "Gromril Mine of Varn Drazh" which would act as a special Iron mine/gold mine.
However, because the Hold is flooded, Skaven and Greenskin factions would never be able to fully utilize all 10 slots of the settlement (and never be able to fully upgrade the unique building chain; that would be left to the Dwarfs who, upon recolonizing it, could hire Dwarf Engineers to drain the caverns and probe its depths, as mentioned here:
"The Dwarfs have relinquished the corrupted stronghold, but haven’t forgotten the precious Gromril within its mines - expeditions frequently brave the terror of the dark beneath Karak Varn for the remnants of the Gromril still to be found in the deeper passages. Dwarf Engineers have built many cunning devices to enable the Dwarfs to probe the depths, even those underwater, where the richest and as yet unplumbed workings can be found. "
This would be a great way to give the Dwarfs something else to think about, add in a piece of their history and Fisk could be a great little Boss Battle type challenge for Karaz-a-Karak or any other Dwarf faction in the area. (he could also be an interesting playable lord, but I suppose the Skaven are fully booked for present and future lord options ;_;)
Mordheim, the City of the Dammed is the former capital of Ostermark and the main focus of the GW spin-off Tabletop game by the same name. The City was once the mightiest in the Eastern Empire, being the only settlement large enough to withstand the onslaught brought by Gorbad Ironclaws Waaagh during the time of the 3 Emperors, but it fell into a corrupt and decadent period when a Twin Tailed Comet appeared in the nights sky. Many hailed it as a sign of the return of Sigmar and that he would return in the City of Mordheim, so thousands upon thousands of people migrated to the city, filling it well overcapacity.Implementation
The overpopulated city quickly became ungovernable and descended into madness as food stocks ran low, crime ran high and the seeds of Chaos were secretly sewn within its walls. Finally, on new year’s eve, the comet was said to arrive with Sigmar at its helm...the comet arrived alright, but there was no Sigmar in sight and the city was reduced to rubble in an instant.
Clan Eshen had an infamous under-city here during and after the Events of Mordheim, with the Clan being led by Executioner Veskit, the only other real eligible Clan Eshen Lord that might make an appearance in a future DLC (he's a Skaven Cyborg Assassin).
Whether or not CA puts him in the game, they should turn Mordheim into a 10 slot major settlement and place an "Eshen Clan nest" faction there to give the Empire more to think about within their borders.
Bitter Stink and/or Rat RockBackstory
Bitter Stink, sometimes known as Bitter Stump, is a Skaven stronghold located within the marshes of the Wasteland, controlled by the Grey Seers of Clan Scruten. Marienburg, being the infamous trading port of the Old World, lies in the midst of the stinking swamplands called the Cursed Marshes. It is within these marshes that the Skaven of Clan Scruten have their hidden stronghold, from where they launch their insidious raids beneath Marienburg and its surroundings. Around the year 2000 IC, the Clan was led away from Skavenblight by the Grey Seer Kritislik. Deep beneath the marshes of Marienburg he led them, into the ancient and abandoned Skaven stronghold known simply as Rat Rock, to the north-east of the human city.Implementation
It is said that several Warlord clans once competed for dominance within the keep and it was once teeming with thousands of Skaven and their slaves. However, the stronghold was doomed once a new threat became apparent. The rival Warlords united, combining their strengths to fight this menace, yet it was to no avail. Who this foe was, has been covered by the shroud of time, though stories tell of some form of daemonic, cyclopean swamp-dwellers (the Fimir).
It is said that these ancient daemons were somehow a part of the marsh itself, able to control the mists and command the creatures that dwelt within them. Whoever this enemy was, the locals believe that the daemons had the Skaven wiped each other out. Marienburgers fear the swamplands, and venture into them only when necessary as a result. The Skaven of Clan Scruten take advantage of this, and many of their activities are attributed to mythical daemons of the swamp - whether they ever existed or not.
The Wasteland is meant to be inhabited by many Skaven Clans based out of the hidden Strongholds "Bitter Stink" and "Rat Rock". Adding one or both of these Strongholds to the Wasteland and an Undercity on Marrienberg, all under Clan Scruten's control, would make this side of the Empire a bit more hectic.
Black Chasm and the Barrows of Cuileux
In ages past, The Black Chasm was one of the first places Clan Pestilens colonized outside of Skavenblight (Before their fateful trip to Lustria). The Clan constructed many fortresses within the infinite depths of the Chasm but abandoned their holdings when they made their journey across to the New World.Implementation
Clan Eshen stepped in and colonized the derelict fortresses, but when Pestilens returned as the plague-ridden monstrosities we know them today, Eshen refused to give up their holdings and so the two Clans have been fighting ever since. In the Modern day, Pestilens has regained much of its strength and both Clans hold roughly equal control of the Chasm's Under-Empire, with the help of their allies (Eshen relies on Clan Moulders support, while Pestilens is supported by their uneasy alliance with Clan Flem).
There are a few options here: They could add a "Pestilens/Eshen Clan Nest" to the Chasm, just like they did with Rictus in Crookback Mountain, they could add Clan Flem here, or even place a Skaven LL here at some point if they saw fit.
Barrows of CuileuxBackstory
Cuileux was one of the Dukedoms of Bretonnia that was completely destroyed and assimilated by Qunelles in the year 900IC. The Barrows of Cuileux is the site of the last battle between the Knights of Cuileux and the Greenskin horde that destroyed their Kingdom, and it is where those brave nobles who stood against the tide that day find their rest. Implementation
The barrows are scattered over a wide area north of the Gilleau river, some in the Forest of Châlons and some in the mountains of the Massif Orcal. A typical barrow has about twenty burial chambers linked by tunnels, but some are far, far larger. Adventurers claim to have seen a barrow the size of a town within the forest but said that they were driven off by the Undead guarding it. Most of the barrows in the lowlands are now merely empty shells, long looted of grave goods by Orcs and Bretonnians alike. There are a few with Undead guardians, and these still survive intact.
Here CA could give the Greenskins of Massif Orcal a bit more survivability, by giving them another settlement, or alternatively they could place another Undead faction here (it's quite Close to Aquitaine, so if we ever see that region fleshed out and CA puts the Red Duke in his rightful place, this could be another settlement they give him or a generic Vampire faction that could make for an early game ally of his).
As a couple more suggestions: add another settlement to the Leaf-Cutters Orc tribe within the Drakwald forest to make them stronger in preparation for a potential Snagla Grobspit DLC being placed there and Move Skarsnik to a better start position and give Karak Azgaraz to the Skullmasherz or a random Skaven faction.
What do you think though? and would you add anything to this list? let me know below as always