I dont think banning them would be the way to go. I do wanna know how the new civs will interact on ranked. It would be a terrible idea to split the ranked queue in two parts (with or without DLC).
In my eyes the best options would be the follow:
If all players have the new DLC, then you can pick these civs.
If a player dont have the DLC, then no one can pick these civs.
This way you have a equal battlefield for everyone, without splitting the queue in 2 parts. I think no one really want more waiting time. But i feel like the devs will take another approach. Most alternatives are terrible. So i really hope the devs will really think through this point and dont make the same mistake as by quick play (which is also terrible by design).
Balance isnt my main complain. Like all other new civs, they start OP, but will be nerfed in a few months. So balance isnt really an issue for me. No reason to ban civs because of balance reasons.
I’m guessing it will be similar to how the DLCs were handled in HD, if you don’t own the DLC, you can’t pick the new civs, but you can still play against them if players who own the DLC choose them.
Whether or not this is “pay to win” depends entirely on how unbalanced the new civs are.
It doesn’t really sit right with me either way that new civs are locked behind a paywall, not that the devs don’t deserve income from designing and developing new content, just that it’s kind of a hard problem to solve when it comes to creating a balanced competitive experience.
Games like League of Legends suffer from the same problem (it’s one of the main reasons I always preferred Dota), but those games are designed around having MP content locked behind paywalls, AoE2 wasn’t really designed that way from the beginning.
This is a mere unsolvable problem:
Ban the new civs on ranked ? --> unfair for buyers because they want access to the whole game for their money, would definitely decrease the buying potential which is the least thing a greedy company wants
Not banning the new civs on ranked ? --> creates kind of a pay2win situation and is highly unfair for players who dont own the dlc and have to play against game content they do not have access to, especially spoiling the community in the early stage where these civs are borderline op.
The only option i see is the individual one: let these dlc civs have access to all online matches, so the buyers are satisfied.
The ones who dont want to play against them (like myself) can alt f4 give a ■■■■ on losing elo and slay noobs its everybodies freedom to play or quit a match.