I think part of the solution is really to make Orks feel powerful on a very personal level, stealing away the initial thunder of SM's on a sliding scale of brutality and grace, where on one end the Orks are all brute, both sides of SM's are equal parts brutal and graceful, and the Eldar almost entirely grace. For example: In DoW2: From basic units to their Elites, Orks are either Melee Specialists that will make short work of anything that comes in contact with them, or Ranged Brutes that spit Dakka in a hurricane that will burn through just about everything in front of it. The odd unit here and there gives them their odd flavor, but for the most part, the Ork archetype is just as simple as it is effective: get the boyz together and give them a specific target and they'll be unstoppable. Take a look at SM: Ignore Orks in the campaign and exterminatus, go straight to multiplayer, do not collect bolterporn lore along the way. Here, you find pretty good individual examples of how even the mechanics of the classes could similarly to: SM - Heavy Bolter Reduced Heat Buildup + Ammo Reserves = Ork Loota: Although fragile in the open, once dug into cover, nothing short of a ton of c4 is going to get this guy out of it. He can overwatch a point and never reload, out-range most tactical weapons, and only overheat after suppressing an entire army. Multiples of this guy would completely lock down a firing lane. SM - Devestator with Artificer Armor + Iron Halo = 'ard boy w/ shield: very difficult to kill is what I'm saying. And not necessarily bad in CC either. (Pretty much exactly as they are in Exterminatus.. only under player control *shudders*) SM - Assault Marine (no Jump Pack) with Power Axe + Zeal + Impenetrable = 'ard boy w/ two axes: the unstoppable force sitting behind the immovable object that is the other kind of 'ard boy. Pity the fools that try to CC these guys. SM - Storm Bolter w/ Rapid Fire reload = Ork Boy = short to medium range firepower that can even be used very inaccurately at long ranges. The more you have at your disposal, the more effective they can be. (Flashback to DoW - with enough of these, they can honestly be one of the most effective weapons in the game.) So there you have it, 4 different ways to explain Orks using pre-existing games that already have tried to at least balance between massive armies of NPC units, and small scale PvP. But here's the kicker on top of all of this, and why Orks will not be cannon fodder: To work properly, and have a good F2W experience in EC, the Orks will have to be organized differently than the other races in the isolated zones. I predict that Orks will have a special exception in terms of limiting population to zones; meaning that they will always have more players available to field, as was intended since day one. So, in a map that may normally support 20v20, players fighting Orks will find that they'll be against 10 Nobz and an additional 31 F2W guys (a total of 20vs41.) The true crux of balance here is player behavior, since only 10 Orks will be invested in the game, the other 31 boyz are just anyone who wants to fight. But, because they outnumber the other faction, the green tide will do as I said above: gather, and focus on what's fighting them. What's more, is that because of the revive system, unless you completely wipe the Orks out, they'll do exactly as they do in the lore: KEEP COMING BACK, STRONGER, MEANER, AND GREENER THAN EVER!