Arguing for Imperial Camels to exclusive to Indians would be the same as making Paladins exclusive to Celts, and arguing that other nations are just fine in their own way without Paladins, such the Franks or Lithuanians, since they get other bonuses (20% more health and bonus to attack from relics)
And yet the Battle Elephants are exclusive to Rise of the Rajas, despite India having a history of using elephants in warfare, and the Elephant Archer being completely useless in every instance, including team games.
If the Heavy Camel is so great, why does India need to get Imperial Camels? Its either a legit upgrade, in which case other nations should have access to it, or its a useless upgrade, in which case, why bother with it at all.
No, battle elephants and elephant archers are very different. Elephant Archers are never used by good players, while Battle Elephants sometimes are. There is no place in the Indians strategy for Elephant Archer. They are know for getting villagers out more cheaply, shore fishing and camels. They have two native bonuses that revolve around Camels for some reason.
It is different. One is a late age Imperial upgrade while Steppe Lancers are available in the Castle Age. Which do you think would have more impact on games?
When Age of Empires 2 does right by a nation, it does so by representing aspects of that nations style of welfare in 3 ways. First, that nation will generally have access to most, if not all the techs related to that form of warfare (like the Franks with Paladins, and the the Mayans with Archers). Second, the nation might have unique bonuses associated with that form of warfare (Franks have 20% more health, Mayans have cheaper archers) and finally, that nation might have unique techs that are associated with that form of warfare (Chivalry boost Knight production, Obsidian Arrows makes archers artillary).
If we were to take the example of the Camel, the Sacarans were well known for the use of camels in welfare, especially compared to Franks, but also compared to the Chinese. So, you would expect them to have almost 100% access to the techs for the Camel to show they have superior camels. They do get access to all the techs related to camels, except the Imperial Camel. They don’t get any native bonuses to camels, but they do get a single unique tech that gives them 30 more hitpoints (and a unique camel unit).
Before their unique tech (which is late age imperial) the Chinese Camel and the Sarcasen Camel are equal in terms of fighting ability. There is no difference, so they are interchangable. The Indian Camel is superior to both right away though.
For some reason, the Indian Civilization, often associated with Elephants, gets not only a native bonus of +1 pierce armor for camels, but also a team bonus against buildings for camels. This, along with a third unique tech that they don’t need a castle to get, drives home the point that somehow a Civilization that represents India is the top nation for camels.
Now, games break their unspoken rules all the time to make factions more interesting. Khmer does it in a fine way that makes sense and is unique, but to name a nation the Indians (instead of the Mughal) and then make them the Camel Experts, giving them a third Unique Tech to make it happen, that doesn’t seem right. If it where the Berbers or the Sarcasans, traditionally associated with Camels, I could understand the breaking of the rules, because both are know for Camel? Instead, both nations, unlike the Indians, give up one of their two castle unique techs to make Camels more powerful.
Giving the Indias the Unique Imperial Camel upgrade would be like giving making the Paladin upgrade Unique to the Celts. It would be bad enough that the Paladin upgrade was a unique upgrade, instead of widely available, but then you give it to the Celts only? A nation not regularly associated with Knights and mounted troops?
The Imperial Camel, as an Indian Unique tech makes no sense. It breaks the rule of each nation having only 2 Unique Techs available at the Castle (Vietnam was a third unique tech, but it differs in that its very tame, and its a team bonus shared will all other members on the team. Also, Paper Money). At least if it was shared by a few units, it could be seen in the same vein as the Paladin, or the Elite Cannon Galleon. A tech that isn’t unique, but not commonly used.