The main issue that I find with commander's is that the abilities almost NEVER mesh well together:
I find that the few commanders that strong commanders have:
1. Abilities that augment each other.
Abilities must have incentives to use. If abilities don't augment each other then a select few abilities will take precedent over the others.
2. Abilities with Munition and abilities with Manpower costs and varied costs.
Commanders that mostly have manpower or munition costs tend to prevent abilities from being used in combination.
3. Abilities that support an overall consistent playstyle.
Commanders generally encourage a certain strategy. Abilities that run counter to the theme of a commander distract from the play-style of the commander and thus subtract from the commanders value as a whole.
Other commanders rely on single obtusely strong abilities due to the lack of incentive and reward for using abilities in combination or to complement each other.
An example of good commander design is USF Heavy Calvary:
This commander is aggressive focused commander on hard hitting units.
0CP: RM field defenses: Allows for early game focus on Riflemen, who can know thanks to this ability build FPs and Mines which help prevent USF get outflanked during a involved flank of their own.
1CP: Off map smoke: Cheap MU ability that calls in smoke. Meshes well with Rangers who don't have smoke grenades. Also it's cheap so it doesn't interfere with the use of Combined Arms.
3CP: Rangers: Strong infantry units. Augmented by the off map smoke (which they lack) and also by Combined Arms which benefits vehicles and infantry. They lack AT but hey you can count on a late game Pershing to help with AT in fact. Even better. Thanks to Combined Arms your Rangers can help your Pershing by sticking close by. Pretty cool if you ask me.
4CP: Combined Arms: augments vehicles, it comes at CP4 you can use it with light vehicles like the Stuart and you can also use it with your Rangers. This ability is more expense but thanks to the cheap price of the smoke barrage ability you'll be able to use both of them during a flank.
13CP: Pershing: Normally USF flanks lose potency late game, this unit augments the existing aggressive style, doesn't have smoke but hey, look you already have a off map smoke barrage. Also augmented by Combined arms.
This commander has good design. A combination of cheap and expensive abilities that augment each other and encourage an over all aggressive play-style.
The Following is a few examples of what I believe are poorly designed commanders:
Example 1: Airborne Company's paradrop abilities.
They all cost manpower and the weapon's need crew members making them more expensive then their tech tree counterparts.
Dropping a squad and a weapon means you pay 600 MP for one support weapon and a 3 man squad (after crewing the weapon) which is useless and outrageously expensive.
Dropping a weapon alone while you have the required tech means you are paying more to drop and crew it then you could be by just building it normally.
This kind of anti-synergy discourages (and sometimes punishes) players from making use of all the abilities in Airborne company.
Suggestions: Change the weapon drop abilities to munition costs, speed up the research rate on paratrooper weapons, allow paratrooper weapon crews to reinforce from the Pathfinder beacons, allow Pathfinder beacons to call down cheap arty of some sort.
Example 2: Tactical Support Company's P47 call-ins/M1919/M5 quad upgrade.
All of these abilities have huge munitions costs.
The recon costs 80, the M1919s cost 70 each, strafing run costs 125MU and the M5 upgrade costs 120.These abilities constantly have to be weighed against each other for usage because they all have huge MU price tags that will run a player dry who actively tries to use all of the different abilities.
Because of these costs the abilities don't synergize well. There's no real benefit to using them in combination. They are just competing choices that cannot be used in combination considering the regular MU costs present in the USF faction.
Suggestions: relax the costs of the strafing run and recon loiter. Allow troops to pick up M1919's from the M5 halftrack to add incentives to using the halftrack.
Example 3: Recon: all the abilities.
The abilities in this commander don't encourage a certain playstyle. The Greyhound is quick attack unit while the I and Rs are a slow ambush unit.
The Recon Run has no off map arty to compliment it. And the Paradrop combat group's random weapon assortment and uncrewed AT gun make it dangerous to use as a flanking group.
The Paradrop combat group is expensive and comes with random weapons making it operationally awkward.
Suggestions: Redesign units in commander to either encourage flanking (cheaper paradrop ability, faster units, MU off map support call in) or ambush (stealth, surprise type units).
Example 4: Royal Artillery: Valentine and Sexton
This commander relies on units that are pop heavy, expensive and under preforming. None of the cooperative play between these units comes to fruition due to there under performance and relative costs.
Also I find it ironic that of all the commanders this commander has far less potent artillery (when compared to Commando's Operation Air Superiority or Tactical Support's Artillery Cover and Mobile Assault's Land Mattress.)
Commanders with abilities that complement each other and encourage a overall play-style are well designed. Those commanders are always stronger. Commanders that don't should be redesigned.
These are just a few examples of an issue that I believe plagues most of the commanders in the game.
What do you think? Do most commanders need a rework? Do you think the new commanders have better design then the old ones?