I recently asked myself, why skirmishers are built in the archery range and benefit from blacksmith upgrades for archers.
Other units, that throw weapons (exept genitours, that are mounted skirms after all) share their upgrades with infantry or cavalry (axemen, gebetos, arembai, mameluke). Its also a bit absurd, that throwing weapons benefit ftom fletching, botkin arrows and bracer.
Besides that, the skirmisher in the archery range with the archer upgrades are most likely a ir even the main reason, why archers are meta and the militia line is barely used. Adding skirms for an infantry or cav civ means at least one extra biilding and upgrades just for a single unit, while archer civs build and reasearch theese things anyway in the standard BO. Thats a huge investment in feudal, giving archer civs usually a time advantage for CA.
On the other hand, skirms as barrack units would be fair in some way. Every civ builds a barrack on the way up, so no one has the exra investment just for skirms. Infantry upgrades for skirms would also be interesting, since infantry is usually not played in early game. Result would be, that every civ has to do the an extra investmwnt to get viable skirms - atm archer civs as said above get that as some kind of free bonus, since they have the archer/skirm upgrades in the build order anyway.
Barracks already have spearmen that are the best counter to cavalry. That would give barracks the counter-units to both “meta” feudal age unit, the scout cav and the archer, in addition of the man at arms that is a good trashbuster. Which means the barrack could counter or at least match every single feudal age unit.
You also need barracks anyway to build an archery range, and both skirms and archers can also be countered by light cav. Also, making the skirm infantry would mean rebalancing all attack bonuses. Plus it would remove the archery range trash unit since it’s giving it to the barrack.
If the enemy is going archers + skirms, just make some scout cavalry. And possibly some men at arms to counter spearmen.
I doubt that the change would be so severe. The upgrade line maybe has a little bit more impact, but placing them in the barracks would not do much, since barracks have to bd built anyway in the first place. After all, it would just change the situation, that infantry and cav civs need an own building for skirms, while archer civs can build them from their standard bo.
I would prefer if there was an infantry unit designed to hold ground against archers instead. Some unit with the ability to take a defensive position and absorb a lot of arrowfire while in this “stance”.
With this kind of unit you can’t kill the archers, but buy enough time and probably also protect your own vulnerable backline units (if the opponent doesn’t target fires them).
I think skirms are fine, maybe they could use a slight improvement cause right now they are for sure the overall weakest of the trash units, but I wouldn’t change them to infantry. That doesn’t make sense.
The biggest problem I’d see is the range upgrade.
Infantry/Cavalry ranged units have fixed range, if you make skirmishers infantry then of course they wouldn’t benefit from the extra range upgrades and this would make them very hard to balance.
You set the range too low and they’re useless, too high and they would totally overpower archers (right now they win but not that hard as Huskarls for example).
Regular archers can go from 4 to 8 range, scaling with blacksmith and archery range upgrades. It’s very difficult to cover it with a unit with just one upgrade (the elite one).
You can’t start with 6-7 range in feudal age, and you can’t have less than 7-8 in imperial.
Talking about balance upon upgrades, let’s mention trash wars. Having 2 of the 3 trash units infantry would unbalance some civs. Got some poor pikemen but great skirmishers ? Not anymore, now they both are weak ! Used to have good halbs but poor skirms ? Now you’ve got a big buff.
Skirmishers produce faster than archer and don’t force you to invest a lot in your gold economy so you don’t need as many archery ranges as the enemy to counter their archers (in feudal age one range skirms can defend against double range archers)
You say this is an unfair advantage of archer civs against cav/infantry, but think about it: why would an archer civ need to make skirmishers against cavalry or infantry? Skirms are bad against against both of these units. Even trying to outskirm them is risky since they already have units that slaughter them.
Anyway those changes would have tons of side effects:
no more ballistics for skirms (which is bad for obvious reasons)
it randomly shuffles what civs have good or bad skirms
it becomes super easy to get FU skirms+halbs
-but it also becomes harder to produce both at once since you can’t just use your barracks and archery range hotkeys anymore
I’m not even sure it would buff infantry since if a barracks is busy training a skirm it’s not training a longsword
On topic: the idea is not too crazy itself, but is crazy think such a several change taking place nowadays… it is a pity, there are various things I would like to see applied but is just dreaming, like an militia line overhouling, or a total change in blacksmith techs design (split armors in pierce/melee instead of infantry/cav/archers)
I think in Feudal Age, skirmisher is so bad. It is as expensive as archer due to food cost and it need armor upgrade to be useful. Finally, if you don’t clash to archers, you damage your eco in vain by creating skirmishers.
Best way to nerf archer raids is increasing speed of skirmisher. If skirmisher has 1.1 speed, we wouldn’t see crossbows killing a lot of villagers and run away. With 1.1 speed, Skirmisher would reach scene faster and follow and catch if archers escape beforehand. For balance, skirmisher can lose 1 armor but +2 more damage (total +5/+6) to archers.
The main problem with skirmishers, or trash units in general, is the food cost and, in the skirmisher’s case, wood+food cost which tends to allow them(the archer civ) to have more food to spare for upgrades and aging up while the non-archer civ would have to go overtime into farms to gain a similar effect which further reduces wood stockpiles that could have been used towards military which is instead being delayed to focus on getting eco up to par with demand. Add on top of all of that and build archery ranges just to build skirmishers - it’s very inefficient in terms of earlygame resources. You’re better off building a good defensive structure/walls and ignore enemy offensives to the best of one’s ability to age up and go for something more effective.
Having Skirmishers come from the barracks will make this at least doable without adding on the extra archery range costs.
As of current It’s especially harsh on melee focuses that are forced to add in archer upgrades into the mix early on top of the infantry/cavalry upgrades they may intend to lean into fully; placing skirmishers to be effected by infantry upgrades would both make them faster and allow them to gain bonus damage vs buildings - all in all it would make them stronger, faster and more able to keep up with archers that may outrange them.
They’re throwing Javelins, it makes sense that they would have lower range than the common archer yet more destructive power in certain situations.
I think we should keep skirms the way they are. Allowing players to make two counter units from the barracks just makes full-trash play easier to do which is just … Boring. Not necessarily difficult to play against. Just boring.
I’ve had players call defensive styles boring ‘why won’t you just attack?’ They may say - or they might rant about full wallers in a similar fashion. it would be more fun if they attack and treat the defense as a problem to be solved instead of giving up before they even try - my point is that just because it seems ‘boring’ to some doesn’t mean it’s not a good way to go about it. That goes for trash units skirms/pikes coming from the barracks as well.
The reason i call it boring is that, because trash is so cheap, players often dont micro their units most of the time, and just make more and more. And if you have a civ like huns, there is little you can do against full pike and skirm. At that point it’s either making trash too or adding siege, but either way it’s lame.
Just my opinion, no objective judgment about its strategic quality