"Psiloi. Destroyed by Knights, Cavalry, Camelry or Light Horse if in going the enemy count as good, or if in close combat against Auxilia, Bows or Psiloi. Recoil from Elephants or Scythed Chariots. If not, flee."
I must admit I am suprised to see Ps dropped in favour of other troops,even when choosing allies.The fact that all other troops crossing bad going have to do so in group column and cannot change formation until they clear the bad going, or as individual elements leaves the column very vulnerable and or is a further pip drain when moving as individual elements.
Ps are only destroyed in close combat by Bw. They are not destroyed by Bw in distant combat.
Ps do tend to be abstracted. They do still represent a considerable body of troops, as defined on page 14. As such I do not agree that Ps should count as half for losses. Ps are more difficult to outflank, in my view this models a swarm of Ps who can cover a greater frontage than a normal stand.
I also find Ps to be liabilities in "open" play. Just too vulnerable to mounted that can reach from far in 3.0 (increased movement+clipping). And interpenetration is not very flexible if one wanted to hide and pounce. I can see how they would be OKish in the classical period though, where mounted are limited and slow foot plentiful.
But definitely a contender for worst element in 3.0, possibly tied with 4Ax.
A possibility to make them more attractive could be to have the first Ps destroyed NOT to count towards losing the game? (a sort of reverse DBE).
I find Ps in the Classical era neither better nor worse, just different. Of course if your goal is open competition, then you are mini-maxing off the element list. It's a pretty tall data ask to expect every possible army choice to be fully competitive. If on the other hand, you are attempting to create a broad brush-stroke representation of historical battles, you may want Ps in there to get the right feel.
Try using Early Spartans with 11 Sp and 1 solid Hd. You get the distinct impression that a Ps would be nice to have...
For example, if you are gaming Classical Indians vs Alexandrian Imperial (a pretty "main stream" match up) then both sides will likely want to deploy Ps. Alexander needs them against El, and Porus needs them against Art.
Declaring a War on Terror in response to 9/11 is like declaring a War on Torpedo Bombing in response to Pearl Harbour...