The purpose of the topic is to figure out the developer-balance reason why Byzantines don’t get Heavy Scorpion.
For Byzantines, the Scorpion-line is the only in the game that they can’t upgrade to an Imperial Age relevant unit. Should this exception exist?
According to AoE, Scorpion-line is “strong vs. large groups of units”, and the meta play shows that it’s better to be used vs. Infantry. It it good versus all footmen in general tho.
Is the reason behind that developer decision, the fact that Byzantines have access to Elite Cataphract and Hand Cannoneer in Imperial Age? I mean, in order to push the player to use those units instead? And what if the Byzantine player has managed to mass enough Scorpions in Castle Age, now that the Scorpion shows a (pleasant) rise of its usage? Can’t Heavy Scorpion serve in a “defensive” (in civ’s actual terms: counter-offensive) way?
Byzantines lack Siege Engineers tech. for good.
Besides Variety, I suppose that at lower and casual levels it could be very annoying to face a Byzantine player massing up Scorpions behind Fortified Walls.
Other than that, Heavy Scorpions can be very strong in Closed Maps like Black Forest, so it’s possible the Devs want to restrict the number of Civs that get it to increase game variety in those maps.
If you notice, all civs without heavy scorpion have hand cannoneers or a mean to deal with infantry (FU infantry, FU archers, siege onagers).
Only Huns have to rely on cavalry archers which at least are discounted.
I believe Byzantines having full archers, hand cannoneers AND Cataphracts didn’t need them.
They also have FU discounted skirms if you made scorpions to deal with archers.
If you check also the archers counters of the civs that lack Heavy Scorpion you’d also notice that they also have either FU skirms, units that can easily tank them or FU Hussars.
Only exception are Burgundians which have discounted Paladin and Hussar upgrade.
When the game was first released, Byzantines got every unit and tech from the Barracks, Stable, Archery Range, Dock and Monastery and every economical upgrade.
My guess is that this was meant to represent how the Byzantines were a bridge culture between the Muslims in the East and the Christians in the west, taking influence and Mercenaries from both. They are still one of 2 civs to get both Paladin and Heavy Camel.
I think they don’t have good siege because the Developers didn’t want to give them too wide a tech tree.
Then you have civs like pole, Malian and Saracen.