Hey Krasz, thanks for keeping the boards alive.
Some responses from the dev...
I play Ordos, voluntarily even. Basically every time I play. Why? Because I love their agility and I find them the most fun. They start with their own advantages that carry into the later game and they can plug some holes with other things available later. The Deviator is a very strong unit with support and can completely disable the heavier equipment from other factions in major battles. That being said, yes I agree it is easiest to win with them early. But, if you keep up harassment and prevent the enemy from harvesting, you can hold them in place while you take over the board and eventually overtake them.
I wish I could personally back up the above with my game performance, but I find it extremely distracting to play D2TGP and usually lose. All I can think about when playing are the underlying mechanics and all the things I'd love to fix or change if I could. But I don't blame that on the Ordos. I see them as a rewarding faction to play, but only if you enjoy playing a certain way. You need to emphasize your speed and stay vigilant and active through the whole game to succeed with them.
Regarding the strength of defensive buildings, yes they did get a series of upgrades and are probably too strong right now. But, I don't see them as impenetrable to a good player. Saboteurs are awesome when put into the right place since they are stealthed at long ranges (take out a few Refineries or Windtraps late game with some troops ready to move in, and your opponent isn't likely to survive). Missile Launchers may not out-range rocket turrets 1-to-1, but en masse there are almost certainly more of them in range in a given region than enemy turrets (unless they've literally built a wall of rocket turrets and nothing else, which takes a lot of power and will crumble quickly under fire). You yourself also said that airdrops with Sonic Tanks/Devastators can ruin bases. Then of course there's Death Hands, which can certainly equalize matters with a bit of luck.
Rocket turrets can one-shot most infantry, but not all of them. They are also fairly inaccurate; they aren't homing like they were in the old game (although if you tell your troops to Move into them, that's your own fault), and their rate of fire is low. It's actually ideal to attack lines of rocket turrets with Foot units. Rocket turrets are also not "Defended", so they take extra damage from Foot units.
The most important thing about attacking enemy bases is never attack across the breadth of the line, and have a backup plan. Attack the juts, the outreaches of the rock area where you can focus on fewer buildings and fewer defense formations can target you. Flank attacks or a second group of different units who can move in when the situation changes is also critical.
Regarding the "dusty diamond"... I've said it before, but the game engine and associated libraries were outdated many years ago, and there just isn't much that can be done to modernize it. It's not in a standard language and I made plenty of mistakes while coding it, because I was teaching myself to code by doing it. I've had other people look at the source code and no one wants to learn an entire new language they'll never use again just to work on this game (nor do I think they should). In particular the networking library is a bear to work with and I cringe when I think of trying to get a dev env working with it again. Sadly, it's also the one area that needs a complete overhaul the most. It's very hard for me to even make balance changes when what really needs to be done is staring me in the face and mocking me every time I look at it. So, there are many other projects I've got lying around I'd rather work on, much as I do love D2TGP and what it's become.