Streltsy needs to be revisited

I get it. There was a period of time where all feared the tyrannical Streltsy. Even saying their name brings back memories of agony in facing off against them. But, I’m no advocate for returning them to their throne. Instead, I want to focus on the idea of design and how it shouldn’t be done.

Unique Units are unique for a reason. They should stand out by carry some kind of mechanic that makes them interesting. Whether that is a Donso’s javelin, Longbow healing, spikes and range, or just Landsknecht splash. It should be something that makes them stand apart, and inspires the player to use them–even if not optimal.

Streltsy had a few things going for them that made them terrifying. For one, they are quite a bit cheaper than regular Handcannoneers, and have the exact same stats as them. This is on top of being available to a very economical civilization. They also have a sprint ability that allows them to position themselves better or to chase units. And, finally, they have the Static Deployment which used to be a very powerful mechanic that could be micro managed. Oh, and they can whack people with their B a r # i c h e (this keeps getting censored?). People always bring this up as this great ability, but let’s be honest. Is it really?

Now, all of this together makes for a pretty terrifying unit, I will admit. However, to take the thing that most defines them, their Static Deployment, and redesign it in a manner that makes it virtually impossible to capitalize on manually is beyond tragic. I can’t really fathom the kind of decision that was made in trying to balance them in this way. It is anti-design in nature.

I understand tempering a unit for the sake of balance. However, when changing a Unique Unit’s mechanic so dramatically, you may as well rename them to “Handcannoneer”, because let me tell you that this nerf has made them feel no different. I understand that they are still strong, but you can’t feel a cost reduction, and that should not be the most interesting part of a Unique Unit.

On a less dramatic note, I think this design decision needs to be revisited and thought through again. I’m not sure if I would like the older design to return at the cost of their other bonuses like cost reduction or their sprint, or if there should be a new design entirely. All I know is that I think the current Static Deployment is an insult to game design and that, many of those kinds of decisions are what ultimately makes a game uninteresting.