Current Cuman mercenaries tech is boring and it has 0 practical value after early castle age. There has been several proposals in this forum and this post is yet one more of it.
I propose this to be a UT which enables allies to create Kipchak from their castles. The unit costs more than what it costs for Cumans (i.e. 70w 50g, instead of 60w 35g for Cumans) and each Kipchak created by an ally give some gold to the Cuman player. Increasing the gold cost only might be even enough but it should definitely be more expensive than a Cavalry Archer which is 40w 60g. If Cuman player researches Elite upgrade in Imperial Age, this also upgrades ally Kipchaks to elite.
Making Kipchak more expensive is a must as civs like Magyars, Turks or Tatars will have extra bonuses for them. Also adding bracer might be OP if its cost is kept at the current level. This change fits exactly what “mercenaries” are and it is something matching Cuman identity in the game.
Kipchaks are less pop efficient than a normal cav archer and since they would only be unlocked in imperial age and require the Cuman player to get the elite upgrade for them to be FU they would end up being worse than the HCA of those civs, so I don’t think you need to make them more expensive.
They need a completely new UT, nothing related to the Kipchaks.
Besides that if they want to implement a mercenary feature into the game it has to be gold based, having Kipchaks cost ONLY gold for allies, Instead of 60w 35g it’d be 95g, and Elite only.
But developers wouldn’t do that since there is a gold-phobia / obsession in the AOE community, everyone wants a gold efficient unit/design.
What is your metric? Have you played with Kipchaks having bracer + recurve bow? Faster firing mongol kipchaks would be also interesting to see. Kipchaks have low HP yes but HP is only one variable in the equation.
My metric is that each and every one of the kipchak’s stats except attack delay and cost are worse than those of the HCA. And in the case of a non Cuman civ getting them via the tech, there is also the issue of not being able to mass them until mid-imperial age. I think that if the tech unlocked elite kipchaks for your whole team without any downside it would still be almost never used, but at least it would be more fun when it does get used.
It is certainly the specialty of kipchaks to be “quantitiy over quality.” after seeing the vide from SOTL. Maybe they should be created from archery ranges of the team with the UT. This will remove the castle limitation as it needs to be massed rather easily to be effective. Maybe making it more expensive is also not necessary. Seeing them used by civs like Tatars or Magyars will show us quickly if it is OP or not anyway.
Why you make kipchak is because they are somewhat effective against siege, like mangudai (but not as good ofc). Also kitchaks are a bit better against buildings, but that’s a minor thing.
It’s not quantitiy > quality. The unit costs basically the same as standard cav archers and also behaves quite similar (yet not exactly the same).
In TGs you have your heavy cav player to deal with siege so you don’t need that utility really. And as Kiptchaks are a bit weaker in a direct open-filed battle with heavy cav against cav archers they naturally don’t play that big role in TGs.
But idk why we talk about kiptchaks here, cause Cumans make an excellent pocket civ in TGs. They have slightly faster Paladins which can be neat, but they also give better palisade to the team and can more likely get away with the 2nd tc play (yet it must be communicated with the team).
Imo the best thing to replace cuman mercenaries is a tech that replaces the Ram gold cost with wood. Cumans have a few strong agressive lategame tools, they should try to work with. But the lack of good defensive tools make them very vulnerable. To ofset this, giving the cumans access to trash siege (as they are declared a siege civ), would allow them to equalize the disadvantage of having bad defences. Imo the whole civ is designed around playing with steppe lancers, paladins or kiptchak in the lategame as they lack basically any midgame powerspikes. They have that cheaper production buildings which is really nics (maybe a bit too strong on empire wars), but they lack midgame powerspikes. The whole 2nd TC thing is just too volatile as it either works and then the opponent can’t do anything about the following unit spam or it doesn’t works which then leads to a comparable situation the other way around.
Which leads me to the conclusion that Cumans are mainly designed around thei strong lategame units. Which is fine. But if the civ doesn’t has comparably strong defences (or equalize the lack of them with more affordable siege), these strong lategame units also can’t really safe it.
BTW also steppe husbandry could be changed. With the discount on the buildings faster production seems quite redundant now. Instead that tech could do something else, like increasing movement speed of the cav units even further.
Kipchaks are actually better than mangudai against siege. But although they are good at dealing damage to siege, that is not their primary purpose. Why would cumans need one more bonus for siege? They already have techs available and earliest siege ram access in the game.
The free kipchacks could be changed to give 10 mercenary kipchacks. A new unit that does not benefit from upgrades (the merc brings his own stuff) and always has the stats of a fully upgrade cuman elite kipchacks.
This solves the bracer and Magyar UT problems stacking with kipchacks and also solves that the merc used to be useless on civs with bad techs for cavalry archers like aztec.
It also makes those mercs quite strong when used early.
As I already have explained, Cumans have really bad defences. Also they only have generic siege. A lot of civs without the “siege” tag have better siege than cumans:
Koreans, Teutons, Mongols, Portuguese, Bohemians…
I think to justify the “siege” tag there must be something that gives some kind of advantage in these lategame situations where you need siege to kill the enemy. And currently Cumans have only generic Siege but bad defences, so they are actually subpar. Yet the Siege tag suggests they would be good there. They don’t even have BBC, basically “the king of siege”.
Really, the only 2 bonusses cumans have to siege are building rams in feudal (meh) and having the capped ram upgrade earlier (also meh).
Rams are the brute force method in age2, doing it without having map control is a really bad idea. So having rams earlier than you can get the necessary map control is just… quite absurd. Don’t say it’s completely useless as ofc there will be occasions when it makes sense. But not in general.
But then the team member has still 10 units of different type to care about. It’s also a macro problem. Tha’s one of the reasons we split the civs in knight and archer civs in tgs as it is just so much easier to ony care about 1 unit type and not a whole composition.
Especially for only 10 units it’s just not worth it imo.
Edit: Just saw this again. Must have forgotten cause I basically never play cumans. They don’t even get Siege Engeneers. That’s so weird. How can that civ have the “Siege” tag with lacking so many key techs and not a single bonus to compensate for that? That’s absurd.