Team-balance on Wasteland has always been a controversial topic, until about 6months ago there was no team-balance script whatsoever and there was no end to the debate on the subject. In fact i remember a time when 50+% of the server would be on opfor sitting in an area and the rest being on indi or blufor, which gave rise to the "stackfor" meme.
If we're gonna have a mature discussion about this topic i guess i'd better lay out how our current team-balance method works and the order of priorities i had when making it. Firstly in its current form the script stops differences of +-4 occurring (from memory) between the two primary teams. This was because it was viewed at the time that it was a small enough difference that it would keep balance in check whilst not unduly obstructing people who want to play together (friends coming on as 2/3 at once) from playing on the same team. The second consideration was our team-lock system. The team-balance script was coded in such a way that it did not obstruct our team locking system, namely that if someone is locked to a team they should always be able to join back to that team to avoid the scenario where they cannot join any team.
This design does leave a flaw, namely that if people who have been locked to a team leave for a while more people can join/get locked to that team. And in the situation where the people who were previously locked come back it can push the team number well over the normal balance threshold. This isnt a bug, it's just a logical consequence of how the system was designed to work. The real question then is would changing the threshold to 1 make a difference, to my mind the answer is not really because the only real flaw would still exist out of necessity but we would end up annoying more people because they cannot play with their friends. The only way to hard enforce the threshold would also deter players as it would possible force them off a team they had played on for hours if they had to relog, or lock them out of any team, both of which are likely to frustrate more people than they please.
There is another option of course, more incentive to play undermanned teams, which i may consider if anyone has any suggestions, but i wont promise anything. Ideas i've been tossing up including dmg reduction to the undermanned team to make them more survivable each and incentivize peeople to join (with there being no advantage when numbers are +- 2 of each other for example). This has obvious downsides such as frustrating people/feeling like they lost to worse players. The other idea could be economic, ie cheaper gear or better territory capture rewards for the team with less players to make people want to join the weaker team more.
I'm happy to hear any suggestions or feedback on any of these ideas or concept.
and yes, coordination and teamwork that long time players can bring to bear is often better than any numbers advantage, so any creative feedback on that or other concerns about WL gameplay are cool too