The recent introduction of unique upgrades, like Legionaries and Winged Hussars, have been recieved very well by the community. It is specially the Savar, coming with the incoming Persians rework, the one that have been praised by a majority of the playerbase that writes on these forums, reddit, youtube, etc.
The availability of more than one Unique Unit for new civilizations, like shrivamshas, gets good reception as well.
Most comments I’ve been lately reading about people’s oppinion on these additions, a topic that exploded after the reveal of the Savar, confirms what I already believed:
Players don’t get that much excited about slight different stats and some hidden bonus damage
What players really value about unique upgrades and unique units is the improved feeling of immersion and thematic verisimilitude they provide.
Designing a new unit with different stats is just an excuse to get these improved-immersion features in the game. I firmly believe what players liked about Winged Hussars, Legionaries and Savars, is not that they play slightly different than its standard counterparts, what they actually appreciate about them is that they felt much more persian, roman and polish than the regular Paladin, Champion and Hussar, respectively.
And I’m one of them. I enjoy a better feeling of immersion and historical (I don’t want to say accuracy) authenticity. I’d even love if every civ looked different to reflect their historical counterpart better.
But at the same time I also like the simplicity of the standardize unit roster, the element that gave AoE2 the label of “real time chess”.
More and more unique units and unit upgrades are making the game lose the elegance of its simplicity and, on top of that, make the game harder to learn for new players, as if the entry barrier wasn’t already high.
So, as what I believe is the best way to handle these conflicting situation, I have a proposal:
Players of AoE2, instead of asking for more Savars, Shrivamshas and Legionaries, ask for regional (or even civ-specific) Units Skins Sets.
This way every civilization can feel much closer to their historical counterpart while, at the same time, the gameplay keeps the simmetry between civs that characterize AoE2.
Of course, these units skins should be visible only for the player using them and should be toggleable, so those who do not want to see the redability of the game affected can disable them from the settings menu, just like small trees work.
This is something that is not possible with the addition of unique units and unique upgrades: Savars and Legionaries are here for those who want better immersion and those who don’t.
I firmly believe this is the best compromise between those who want a better feeling of historical authenticity and those who enjoy the simmetry and standarization between civs.
Let me know your oppinion.