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Since the most recent update, the Empire gets torn to pieces by orcs in the east and to a larger extent VC coming from the south. In many campaigns this kind of devouring of player race factions simply means you have more battles to fight to conquer territory than you did a moment ago. In the Empire campaign you live and die by the Imperial Authority system which penalized you every time an elector count gets their back-end handed to them. Earning prestige is also clunky and unearnable through direct action. I just quit the 3rd campaign since the recent update on turn 25 playing as Gelt on hard because I was -9 IA. I took a look at the map and VC had taken all of: Talabheim, Stirland, Kislev, Averland, and Ostland. Orcs and Skaven had split Ostermark amongst themselves. It is unplayable if you value any kind of enjoyment in your campaigns.
This is compounded by the Empire's inability to field diverse armies in the early game. If you play as Gelt you essentially spam spearmen and grind down black knights. Franz is less pressed but it still doesn't solve the diversity or IA issues. The campaign can be hard, but it should also be enjoyable instead of a grind and it definitely shouldn't grind you down via external factors.
-VC need to have their aggression tuned down, not as far as preupdate but closer to preupdate than what it is now. -CA should lower the requirements for standard imperial knights. -The first building in the foundry chain should have its price lowered. -Captain should be in the level 2 barracks, not level 3 -the IA system should have more parity with the HE political system than it currently does