One more thing (now you have me rambling
) - you actually made me go over the strategies that the Empire had for every world:
1) Balmorra - occupation achieved through a peace agreement. Objective: policing action in a local insurgency. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good.
2) Tattooine - just be there and try to find diamonds in the rough. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good.
3) Nar Shadaa - be there and use the urban jungle to kick the other side in the shins. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good
4) Alderaan - use proxies in the form of compicit nobles. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good
5) Taris - use special forces to destroy a resonstruction effort, forcing the enemy to bleed credits and lose face. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good
6) Quesh - a limited, but specialised task force co-opting local crime syndicats. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good
7) Hoth - use misinfomration and raw recruits to tie up elite Republic forces. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good
8) Belsavis - strike against the Republic with specialized forces by recruiting amon their own prisoners on a prison PLANET. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good
9) Voss - use diplomacy to try to secure an ally. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good
10) Corellia - use diplomacy and blitz-krieg tactics to overwhelm any opposition. Cost-to-benefit ratio: good
So, all in all, the beginning of each planetary engagement by the Empire was actually strategically well conceived, with the equal use of political, diplomatic and military muscle. That they were so soundly defeated in so many instances is due to the fact, IMO:
1) That the Republic used overwhelming or specialized countres to Imperial forces, like on Balmorra or Corellia,
2) The lack of a Grand Strategy - each planet seemed more like the love child of an auteur tactician, rather than a chess piece in an overall plan with comprehensive goals,
3) The Empire chose the wrong time to stand their ground, like on Corellia, instead of gradually retreating and denying the Republic vital objectives, such as fuel (scortched earth policy, corrected in Black Hole when it was already way too late),
4) The in-fighting, oooooh, the infighting. So many levels of pointless, asanine fighting. The Sith are, honestly, a hard faction to take seriously when it comes to the way they use the resources entrusted to them. They remind me of Roman Emperors in the first century AD, where you had generals taking their legions, marching them against their political rivals and being king of the hill until the next guy gets the same idea. This is why I stopped leveling my Inquisitor, I felt like my character had tunnel vision and all he could see at the end of the tunnel was more dead Imperials. Urgh. Needless to say, this was teh worst problem by far.
Honestly, after seeing how little the Empire invested into these conflicts, I kinda feel sorry they were so brutally savaged for those oversights