Company of Heroes does an amazing job making infantry-based guns and artillery (heavy machine guns, AT guns, howitzers) feel powerful but balanced. These types of weapons move slowly, take a few seconds to set up, and turn slowly. So they are powerful and charging your units straight into their cone of fire is suicide, but they are easily flanked.
The same goes for AoE3 if my memory serves, but I haven’t played it in over a decade so I can’t remember.
Why not fix the crazy siege meta the same way? Make siege set up and rotate slower and you can make it really powerful without ruining the meta. I wouldn’t mind mangonels one-shotting knights if I could just avoid the cone.
Here’s an old interview from an AoE3 developer on this topic: GameSpy: Age of Empires III: The Empire Makers - Page 3
Street: It’s interesting. We started out and we had this ‘rock, paper, scissors’ gameplay from Age of Kings : Heavy infantry beat fast cavalry and fast cavalry beat the ranged units, etc. So we said ‘well, anyone who knows anything about military history will tell you the three arms of the military in this time period are infantry, cavalry and artillery,’ so let’s just make that little Rock-Paper-Scissors work with them. You know, cavalry beat the cannons, cannons beat the infantry and the infantry beat the cavalry. It sounded good on paper, but never really worked out well in the game. We kept having to cheat the numbers so much to make sure that when the cannon hit musketeers, it destroyed them, but if a cannon hit the cavalry, it kind of bounced of your backs and nothing bad happened.
So it felt wrong, it felt like it was too extreme. It was like the cannons always beat the infantry but couldn’t beat anything else. It didn’t make cannons feel as cool as they could be. So, the kind of motto we’re operating now is that ‘cannons beat everything,’ but if you can get up within minimum range of them, if you get up close to them, then you can beat them with anything. If you fix bayonets on your musketeers and charge up the hill and reach the cannon, you can beat it. But if you stay down, or if the cannons are behind a wall, or if the cannons are defended by a lot of soldiers, then you’re going to have trouble getting up there and you need to worry about it.