Hihi, as a new-ish player too, after playing com6, I did feel that kingdom size throws the balance of the game off. Vheim was a very good opponent but they didn't have enough players. Phoenix was just a really huge and untouched empire.
As a strategy game, it really isn't doesn't feel like much of a strategy to just recruit 100 people pre-game. This is probably why some players only play for "fun" where they just hit targets while knowing they can't win the game. Simply cos it is not possible and they are experienced enough to know.
For more competitive players to be able to enjoy the game even more, just like how there's speed servers, have an option for limited kingdom size servers. Keep it in the smaller range ie 25-50 (I don't really know what is a good number cos it will affect taking and building of WW etc).
I feel providing this gameplay option will introduce a competitiveness that is exciting. It is not for simming and just waiting for game to end.
My concern with this would be how developers can limit restrict wings that are developed for farming purposes in order to keep game play as fair as possible. Technically a giant alliance could still join such a server and create like 5 alliances to support each other while taking down competition.