There have been a lot of complaints about Total War: Rome II lately. (Understatement). Complaints about everything. And you know what? In a surprising turn of events, almost every single one is perfectly valid. But I think many of them are overblown--for the most part, Rome II is a pretty decent game. And, were it not for a single mechanical element, it would probably stand on its own pretty well. You already know what I'm talking about: the arbitrary limits on armies completely break the game.
Prior to release, it was one of the things getting a lot of criticism. Criticism I largely ignored--I felt it was an interesting mechanic that, if implemented well, could greatly alter the fundamental mechanics of a Total War Grand Campaign, particularly in the very early and late-game--the latter of which I have always found to be profoundly dull due to the steamrolling effect. I was optimistic: if Creative Assembly chose to implement this new rule, surely they incorporated the necessary new mechanics and adapted the old mechanics to service it.
But they didn't.
As far as I can tell, Creative Assembly put zero thought into the army limits. And, while it may not be strictly necessary, I feel like venting a bit so I'm going to explain exactly how and why.
First, the limits are arbitrary. There is no justification in the game or rules to limit the number of armies a player can muster, particularly when armies are ALREADY limited by A.) the strength of a faction's economy, B.) the researched tech tree, C.) the buildings in a province and the number of training slots, and C.) the limited availability of mercenaries.
Second, Rome II's core rules have been improved to the point of encouraging/necessitating MORE standing armies, not less. City garrisons are ineffectually small, necessitating standing armies if they are to have any chance of fending off even a moderately-sized invasion; Taxation no longer has an effect on public order, meaning if you're having civil problems in a city or town the ONLY way to rapidly calm the situation is with a standing army; the A.I. is now more agressive with its naval warfare, and (much) more willing to launch invasions by sea, which means the player has to juggle with the defense of even more strategic areas.
The A.I. is also more agressive in terms of taking advantage of weakened factions to betray them and invade--meaning that it's very likely for the player to often be in situations where he or she must fight a war on MULTIPLE fronts while at the same time keeping his or her central provinces well-defended to guard from naval invasions, while at the same time (magically) keeping his or her armies stationed in cities to improve public order.
The mechanic is arbitary and utterly ruinous.
Creative Assembly needs to either patch the game to -at least- DOUBLE the army limits, or release modding tools so we can break open the data.pak and fix this broken mechanic ourselves.