Here are a couple thoughts, In reality the British Empire was much more then a bunch of guys with longbows. The age developers are obsessed with giving Britain archer bonuses. The British Empire defeated the French, Spanish, Dutch and even the Chinese on the OCEANS. Further the British established a global trading empire. A NAVAL trading empire. But not a single naval bonus is ever given to the British civ. I mean even extra gold for trade cogs is a simple add. My next gripe is about the Vikings, they have no hand cannons, no bombards, no bombard towers…yet the have Cannon Galleons. That is odd. Another one, The Meso civ Inca has a slinger, ok I will take no issue with that. But there is written history of slingers in many parts of the world. Specifically the middle east (Dave and Goliath…). Why I wonder do the civs from that region not have slingers? Saracens and Persians…maybe Berbers… Last one for now, why doesn’t the archer upgrades effect scorpions and scorpion elephants? The upgrades work on boats, it is assumed the boats are employing the same tech as the scorpion…
The Vikings have cannon galleons because it would be hard to be a top-tier water civ while getting blocked by shoreline defenses. The complain about scorpions is interesting because they were affected by range upgrades in the very first versions of the game, but this was quickly changed to today’s system.
This is really out of the scope of AoE2 – its time period ends in 1600, with the later end of that mostly applying to Asian civs (e.g. Koreans, Japanese, Burmese). Perhaps the name is misleading, but Britons represent the medieval English and Welsh, who really did make great use of longbows. The British Empire came much later.
Distribution of cannon units between civs is generally pretty odd. Almost everyone gets Cannon Galleons, and since Vikings are a naval civ, it’s pretty essential for them.
The Age of Kings manual says “Skirmishers… engaged the enemy with bows, slings, and javelins”, so it seems Skirmishers were not supposed to represent javelin throwers exclusively. I’m not convinced any other civs need Slingers as standard, but it would be nice to have a less Incan-looking Slinger graphic available in the scenario editor, so people could use it for scenarios (e.g. it would be a good alternative to Hand Cannoneer in scenarios set before the use of gunpowder weapons).
They did originally, but it got changed with an update – I think when The Conquerors was released. Presumably it was overpowered in some situations.