The balance is atrocious currently.
Ive played about 4 games with the currently released build.I play conquest,with every kingdom,on large map.The results where the same in every single game.
I forget the kingdoms name offhand,because i stopped playing,but it was top kingdom in every game.Yes,the same kingdom was top dog in all the games i played under the current build.In all circa 4 games,the AI out researched me,out army produced me,and out city produced me.I played a custom kingdom,and was defeated every game.
Needless to say, i dont spam pioneers to build cities or outposts that are completely alone on the other side of the map.To me thats just innane gameplay.Im okay with losing.and this is likely one of the reasons why i do lose this game.It does tell me though, that this game as it stands isnt for me.
The AI always appeared broke actual money wise,but always had large amounts of cities and outposts,all spread out and in ridiculous places,and large to huge armies protecting their cities.And never once, showed zero money or debt.
The flaws are tremendous in game design at this time.Easily one of the largest,is a city totally cut off from all the other cities of a given kingdom still fully produces and researchs etc... and gives all of that to the kingdom.There are NO lines of supply,NO logic at all required for city placement as far as this goes.
Its just damn silly.
And of course,i suspect the AI taxes to the high end ,if not the max, and since there is currently NO threat from the population to dampen this tactic....
Again,just damn silly.
Now perhaps we'll see unrest actually matter in the "next" patch....perhaps....BUT right now,the opening line of this post is dead accurate.And the examples given are just the bare surface.