I don’t think the game needs new civs from a balance perspective, but if there is another expansion, I think it should be focused on India/South Asia.
The current Indian civilization is the civilization most in need of a fundamental redesign. It’s too weak, except in situations where it’s too strong.
From a historical perspective, the Indian civilization feels incoherent with regards to what it represents.
A single Indian civilization in this time period feels like there’s a civilization called “Europeans”. India is not united politically, religiously, linguistically, ethnically, architecturally or culturally at any point in the medieval period. There’s so much variety there (at least as much as Europe) in this period it feels like it could easily be represented by several civilizations.
The unique unit, the elephant archer also needs a redesign.
I don’t know exactly what to call them (Civilizations generally referring to broader groups than individual kingdoms in AoE2) but loosely it seems there is scope for:
A Tamil civilization representing Chola, Pandya empires etc
This would have a strong navy and strong elephants, and probably a fishing bonus
One possible unique ship unit: the Colandia
South Indian type architecture, could keep the current Indian wonder, Brihadisvara Temple
A central Indian/Deccan plateau/Northern/Ganges plain type civilization – representing various Hindu/Jain/Buddhist kingdoms (Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta, Gurjara, Bijapur etcetc). This could/should certainly be split into several more civilizations because again this is not really unified…
Elephant and infantry focus or elephant and cavalry for another one
Could have current Indian architecture, plausibly
A civilization representing the Muslim Turko-Indian kingdoms, especially Delhi Sultanate and Mughals right at the end of the time period. Possibly representing the Bengal Sultanate, or does that deserve its own representation?
These should be cavalry focused, with access to elephants and camels. Given Ghaznavid origins, could even have steppe lancers for ultimate cavalry variety?
Architecturally, it could have its own or could have the middle eastern style
The wonder could be based on Gol Gumbaz again-- although there are less anarchronistic possibilities (tomb of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq or Shah Rukn-e-Alam)
Could also represent Mughals as their own kingdom (very different military-- gunpowder focussed like current Indians) but they come in so late into the AOE2 period…?
A Bengali civilization representing the Pala Empire – but I’m not sure whether that could also represnt the Bengal sultanate, which is so culturally different.
Pala Empire could plausibly have SE Asian or current Indian architecture
There would also be room in such an expansion for:
A civilization representing Swahili kingdoms? Just across the Indian ocean
Or a Tibetan civilization?
I feel Afghans are well-represented by the Tartars now
There are lots of campaign possibilities…
Babur or Akbar obviously
Rudrama Devi would be an awesome campaign
I would love to see Malik Ambar but is it stretching the time period for AoE2 just a bit too far? Current latest scenario is Noryang point 1598, but Malik Ambar is fighting his greatest battles in the first two decades of 17th century
Pretty unlikely the current Indian civi will get reworked but future additions might be possible if they dont clash with current indian.
Bengals Ghaznavids make fine additions and wont clash with indian civi,adding tamils might have some issues even tho they should be added.
imo just adding a uu for the fun it might bring is a big factor, however i think the cholas already have a plethora of uu ideas that could be fun (padhai, urumi, anything with elephants, and my personal favorite although controversial is the chariot), tbh i dont know too much on this subject, but isn’t it just going to be another champion re-work if included?
I like the idea of Padimagalir as a unique unit! Arguably better historically motivated than the Gbeto was in this time period! I was thinking an archer unit though (villaligal)
I think Chola should get a naval unique unit (Colandia) too.
I would go the following and use umbrellas for all.
Gaznavids Islamic held indian areas. Current indian tech tree with knight line elephant uu(gun or skirmisher on elephant)
Indian current indians representing indo aryan north. No change to tech tree.
Darvidians south indian cultures. No camels or gun powder units has knight and be line none elephant uu similar to malay tech tree.UU can be anything exotic looking female guards/chariots/urumi.