Its not exactly punishing someone a lot unless they are near the end of the tech tree and you are near the beginning which is what snowballing is. I think it handles it well... if you are close there is in essence little punishment, it gets greater the further apart. Quite elegant to me. I fully get your arguments, what you are trying to say... I think in reality its all a middle ground where its not a great as I say and not as bad as you say and with no solid alternative for this completely new mechanic I do not think they have done too bad. People seem rarely to agree or compromise, just polarize. But OK thread done to death. People are not reading the thread from the start I have said all that needs to be said, the rest is in peoples head.