Since with the English king, hero units are now a thing, I expect more civs to get one in the future.
I have not thought about other civs, but I have always wished for an Archbishop unit for a civ like HRE. It would resemble their focus on religious warfare even more and it could be a very nice addendum to a civ that does not really have a lot of unique units. At the end of this post I will also suggest an idea to make Elzbach palace more interesting, because it quite frankly is rather lackluster and underused. It might have its place in team games, but all in all offers very little aside from being a better hp castle that reduces dmg to itself and other buildings in its influence, which is rather meh.
Here are some ideas for the Archbishop and how to implement him for the HRE:
I would not know a better landmark from which an Archbishop could be trained than the Regnitz cathedral.
Upon reaching age III with Regnitz, allow the production of an Archbishop (one at a time, like the English king) that should probably be some kind of holy knight with slightly better stats (more armor or more hp or smth like that (again somewhat similar to the king)). Said Archbishop cannot heal, but is able to carry relics. His cost could be around 100f and 200g and his speciality could be either:
- an aura that inspires units in range or
- an ability with 2 min cooldown that inspires units in a larger area (7.5 tiles e.g.) for 1 minute
There could also be an imperial upgrade that improves the inspiration ability of the Archbishop to for example 20% dmg, 1/1 armor, 15% attack speed and/or movement speed. Prelate inspiration remains untouched. Again: these are just ideas and the numbers are examples.
Another possibility aside from an age IV tech for improving his inspiration ability could be carrying a relic. Without relic he offers the baseline inspiration stats, with a relic, however, he offers an improved version. That would give this unit and HRE’s focus on relic play a neat high risk/high reward touch. Lose the Archbishop and likely lose a relic, too.
Military inspiration (inspired warriors) is barely useful in the very lategame, because you have to setup some kind of prelate inspiration camp that is kept rather save. While other civs have their boni apply in an aoe effect, HRE prelates need to one by one inspire making this whole mechanic fall short the bigger the scale of the match becomes. The Archbishop could change that.
In regards of the Elzbach palace and how to make it more interesting and a real alternative to Swabia, I suggest that in addition to its usual effect it also opens up the possibility to build the second age II landmark which was not chosen in order to reach age II. If you for example aged up with Aachen, Elzbach then would allow to build the Meinwerk palace as well and vice versa. The cost for building the second age II landmark should either be completely reworked or simply be the same (400f/200g).
That’s about it. Thanks for reading.
Ps.: There could also be an upgrade in age III or IV that allows prelate aoe inspiration from within towers, because it is really really really annoying to sprinkle prelates all over your eco, which also makes it quite easy to snipe them. And without inspiration, the HRE eco is THE worst in the game. Especially considering the constant buffs to other civs allowing them to be played more fluently and in more ways. I don’t see how HRE is supposed to beat English or Abba now, since both civs have been buffed against the core strength of HRE and ofc in general. Also, if you now go Aachen you effectively lose access to an up to this point imperial tech: Riveted chainmail.
I feel like HRE is not going to be in a good spot with the new patch. They are not in the best spot right now anyway and win most of the games with Burgrave laming, which I dislike from heart. I really do not like this landmark and how it turns HRE into an all-in civ. Burgrave makes HRE lategame trashier than it already is, unless you went Regnitz and didn’t get a single relic.