In Return of Rome slingers still cost stone. Stone is an extremely rare resource. There is only 350 stone per mine. Gold mines have 500, and you can at least sell stuff in the market and use trade carts. 10 stone per slinger is huge. That means if you make 10 slingers, you lose 100 stone. To off set not costing stone. Slingers should just be given an additional cost in wood. Let’s say like 10 wood. That’s still half the wood cost of an archer.
Nerf their stats slightly if necessary with this change. Or buff towers a little with the presence of slingers more prevalent.
There are no Castles in AoE1 nor do TCs cost Stone.
You don’t need stone unless you want to build walls and towers.
Many civilisations have bad towers so they can easily spend all their Stone on Slingers.
Also Slingers become pretty useless after Tool Age anyway so you won’t build them in late game.
There are hints that they planned a technology called “Lead Bullets” in the game files that potentially changed to unit cost to Gold or something like that.
But they ended up not adding that technology.
Yeah basically this. While a spingere rush is good in tool age, they become useless pretty soon since they have no upgrades basically, and the absence of expensive Stone defences like castles and TC stone make the stone value sensibly lower than game 2