I think ESL could be a bit cheaper but like 100-200f cheaper is as far as I’m willing to go.
Cavalier is meant to be the “natural” unit for cavalry civs, Cavalier needs a lot to get going, mass, generally more upgrades than full Crossbow… it’s a somewhat awkward unit to tech into on Arabia maps, and rly it only starts shining in early/mid Imperial (but you need to start massing it in Castle age and that’s a big problem).
The reason Cavalier upgrade is so cheap is that the devs recognize that Knight-line civs too need a power spike.
My impression is, that the vast majority of players would agree with you, that the ESL upgrade is too expensive. However most people would also say, that the SL as a unit needs some rework and/or different stats, so depending on that one would need to figure out how good a new SL would be and tweak the costs of the upgrade in line with new stats, instead of current.
On the other hand though, you can’t simply judge the cost of an upgrade based on the additional value it gives. In tendency later upgrades give you less value for a higher price.
More generic upgrades also being cheaper, than more specialized ones, that only some civs have access to.
Look at the imperial Camel upgrade: It provides less total value-add and even less relative value-add than the Heavy Camel upgrade, but is much more expensive.
I think both SL and ESL are good units atm and people are sleeping on them a lot, particularly Mongol version in Castle age and Tatars with FU in Imp are rly solid imo. The thing is, they shine when massed, and people mostly judge from 5v5 fights which is the wrong way to judge SL.
Pretty sure the best way to use SL atm is to mix them in with your Knight line / something else, too. I remember watching Survivalist test that on Twitch but sadly the video is not accessible any more, I think. Don’t think the video was uploaded anywhere else either.
it depends on the numbers. but the fact is that they have advantages and people aren’t using them.
and they are very cheap on the gold side - which makes them a very good late game investment compared to knights, especially when coupled with the extra range and improved stacking.
because sometimes devs have too much on their plate and are unable/too lazy to consider the ramifications of certain changes, or simply too fixated on keeping the status quo.
i doubt this would be enough. ESL needs a stats buff because 70/40 for such a weak imperial unit doesnt work, but the tech needs a price reduction as well.
considering how much weaker the base SL is, you would need a significant jump in stats to justify the cost on the ESL tech. especially considering the ESL is usually a support unit (mixed with other units or used very early in castle age), so the numbers you train dont justify the high tech cost, unlike for example the hussar or winged hussar tech prices are high for the stats increase, but they are produced in such numbers that it is still justifiable
Tbh nowadays normal SL kinda works in castle age because you can make them straight away but once in imperial age you can’t justify taking the elite upgrade over the upgrades of other units, which makes people much less likely to even try elite SL as opposed to normal SL.