I think it’s a bit strange that there is only one outlaw unit to represent european pirates when there are multiple wokou and dacoit units. It makes it odd since pirates are often the only mercenary available on their maps. I think two more pirate Units to make a ####### of units similar to the wild west units would be fun.
A musketeer type unit that fires two flintlock pistols quickly and sieges buildings from a greater range with grenades. (The haiti revolt will need to have their buccaneer units tweaked into normal pirates with a reduced pop cost or just be replaced with these.
If anything Buccaneers should be (rifle) light infantry.
Real Buccaneers (or the French equivalent, the Flibustiers) used Buccaneer Guns - muskets with loooong barrels and were excellent marksmen (having picked up the hunting skills from the prior Boucaniers or being ex-English Civil War soldiers).
It would kind of need more Carribbean, East-Coast American, Mexican, Central American coast-based maps, though with the exception of Buccaneers (who were based in the aforementioned), the below could also fit in potential West African coast and Madagascan maps (part of a Pirate Round).
Might I suggest Buccaneers should be a type of outlaw Soldado-type.
They actually much preferred muskets (particularly the long barrelled Buccaneer Gun) over being too close with pistols and cutlass, though they packed those as well. As you’ve mentioned the grenades which are spot-on, how about an auto ability that throws a grenado into regular combat every however seconds it takes to cool down? Historically and ironically they were far better skilled than the Spanish new world soldiers.
The OG Buccanneers. These guys can hunt as well as occupy a skirmisher role with their marksmanship (they essentially trained the English Buccaneers and French Flibustiers.
A later pirate name (the golden age-era) that they referred to themselves over the more criminally obvious ‘pirate’.
Marooners would pack the brace of pistols and cutlass (your 18th century pirate-types lacked the martial prowess of the 17th century Buccaneers, whom were often ex-military, in contrast to full blown criminals and opportunists). In game these could infact act as Ranged Shock Infantry with a leaning to having bonuses against villagers.
Another handy, historical name to describe pirates!
A variation on your blunderbuss, the Picaroon is a heavy Infantry unit that uses a slow rate of fire, close range blunderbuss for a powerful punch of area of effect damage. Realistically it will be lucky to get in more than one shot of the blunderbuss due to the very low rate of fire, however in melee it is pretty strong, with cutlass in one hand and boarding axe in the other. In-game it actually operates more as a rather novel Halberdier type of unit.
A French pirate operating in a Hand Shock Infantry role. Quick on his feet and armed with a cutlass. Has a charged Pistol Shot and uses Grenados in siege.
That’s the remnant of the original game design where the “outlaws” were supposed to cover all Americas (which was the sole scope of the game) and pirate is the melee unit among them.
Then in TAD they might feel it is odd giving East Asian and India the same outlaw set so they made two independent sets each covering all unit types.
DE did not follow this like it did not follow many other “rules” to accommodate more contents.
This now makes the American outlaws lackluster. I think it could be split into at least three sets: North American (the original three with a new melee unit), Caribbean (pirate and new variants) and South American (a new set).
Edit: another such case is mercenaries. In OG and TWC mercenaries were mostly those historically hired by European nations from the old world, (many never went to America), a distinct concept from American “natives”, then TAD added some exclusive to Asians which were moved to the shared pool later, then TAR added African ones and KoTR more Europeans. Now the mercenary pool has units from everywhere except Americas.