Instead of outright nerfing. Make the unit stronger, but make them more costly to make?
Let’s say for example. Someone makes the claim the War Wagon is too cheap and therefore OP. (I don’t think War Wagon is OP) So, what if a War Wagon costs 80 gold, 150 or 200 wood per unit, but the unit itself is made much stronger to compensate for its increased price cost.
Same case for Steppe Lancer. A once totally broken unit, beefing up the cost may nerf it. Let’s say for an extreme example, it costs twice as much to make over a knight, but it has even slightly stronger stats when they were super Steppe Lancers when the game was released.
If you want to use a unit type you usually need a groups of them.
For example: one Paladin can get focused down very easily by a group of archers. A small group of Paladins can already be a big threat to a larger group of archers.
Another example: if you build a castle for unit production you have to pay a lot of resources upfront. You have to build a lot of units from that castle to make the cost worth it…
Now, very expensive units would be an even bigger investment leading to more “all in” situations where you focus your resources income just on those expensive units and either succed or fail.
It’s especially dangerous as they are cheap counters for almost every unit in the game…
What’s currently good in the high meta? Flexibility and a Civ like Chinese. They can cheaply tech into all kind of units. That is what makes them dangerous at the high level…
Thats a fine idea but then you get situations where yes a units cost is representative of their stats but because they’re such a good unit and powerful their cost is way too much to mass and tech into as seen with Mamluks which obliterate more armies and counter so of the most expensive units in the game (Paladins). People already complain castle units are too rare so increasing cost to balance would just make that worse
If I understood correctly, the idea is to instead of making a unit weaker, make it more costly (whenever a nerf is needed). I think both ways are valid to nerf a unit. However I do think having lower costs is better than having stronger stats, mainly because:
Monks heavily counter strong individual units (that’s why you never see anyone opening elephants in the castle age)
Being able to split your units has value. Sending 2 separate archers to 2 separate enemy woodlines is, in my opinion, better than sending one “stronger” archer to only 1 woodline.
Regarding the Steppe Lancer, I think the “super heavy cavalry unit” spot is reserved for elephants, but i would be okay with them getting stronger stats in exchange for a higher price.
Assuming no stacking shenannigans, because a game where a hundred horses are running around on a field the size of a house is silly, even unnerfed steppe lancers are not stronger than knights. I don’t see these changes help the unit at all.
I also feel like I’m not seeing the general benefit of this approach. “Unit balance is hard, so let’s always change at least two things at the same time.” I feel like the best approach to tweaking the balance of units that are juuuuust a little too strong or weak is to try and make small changes, and then see what it does.