I was responding to multiple people, and not just you. You are not the only person in this thread who is making comments that I think are worth responding to...
Except you quoted me each time, not anyone else, in these situations. Anyways, back on 'off-topic'...
With fully customizable units, what determines which unit templates require 'exceptional' population and which don't?
Let me try this from another angle -- Demiansky started this thread talking about avoiding monolithic armies, wanting to avoid the "...always build the strongest soldiers available of each class..."
. He continued "For instance, in Master of Magic, the only difference between training spearmen and paladins was a longer training time and a higher upkeep. Once you gained a unit of greater strength than previous units, there was rarely a need to build lesser units outside of the need of provide a skeleton garrison. The Greatest Middle Age battles were interesting and involved great tactical depth specifically because the range of soldiers taking part in the battle were varied. Spear armed peasants marched alongside heavily armored Knights."
So I was thinking on how we could have special units (like Ancient Red Dragons or Navy Seals or the like) that are very powerful, but in a way to not render regular units moot. As some have pointed out, including you, over time the normal restraints on powerful units (time to train, cost, special resources required, etc.) become less effective. So, another restriction would be needed to limit their number -- thus unit 'potential'. Only a small percentage of units would have the 'potential' to be the very best (1%? 5-10%?). Take Navy Seals -- no amount of training, time, resources, etc. can turn me into one of them, I lack that potential. Few can be Seals, even tho the US has considerable time/resources/etc. and impetus to create them.
That's pretty much the extent of this suggestion, owing to not knowing more details on how the basic relevant game design features are being contemplated. Heck, the Devs are probably not interested in this, so further refinement is likely a waste of my time and yours and theirs.
I would like to see special units (adds 'flavor' to the game, and if customizable they'd add a personal stamp), and would like them to be rare and few in number so as to not violate Demainsky's 'no monolithic army' intent of this thread, thus the suggestion.
Wouldn't this also lead to the ability to abuse it by creating units that fall just below the thresholds, resulting in nearly equivalent units that can be produced in much greater numbers than slightly superior ones? I suppose you could have 'population type' as something that goes into unit design, but that wouldn't prevent me from decking out an average person with incredible equipment and thus being able to mass-produce damn good units anyway... They might fall short of 'exceptional' people with the same equipment, but nonetheless the forced variety among troop quality would still be greatly diminished.
I don't know what the devs are planning regarding specifics of unit creation (my games crash before ~100 turns or so) so it's hard to comment on this. I'd like to think that your concerns could be dealt with and still allow this.
Perhaps something along the lines of, using modern military unity types: we have infantry, artillery, mech, etc. All require moderate skill/potential. Add in a special unit -- Navy Seals. It's not just that they can do some of the same things the other units can (so fill many roles -- a plus), and not just that they can do some of those things better, but they can do things other units can't.
Maybe think of these units as a step between regular units and hero units?
Regarding your "...decking out an average person with incredible equipment and thus being able to mass-produce damn good units anyway..." I see that as separate from this, and anyways that could be done regardless of this (that is, if I understand your point here). And using the Seals example, giving average people 'incredible equipment' won't allow them to replicate Seals skills or results.
Also... ancient red dragon?! You intend to turn regular people into an Ancient Red Dragon?! I don't understand. We will not be training dragons (and if we were I doubt they would be made out of people...). If you are playing a human faction, you will only train human soldiers and likewise for Fallen. Magical creatures will be recruitable via unannounced means, but they will not be trainable.
Ancient Red Dragons are just an example to indicate a special, powerful unit that would be unbalancing in large or even moderate numbers (like >1
). Substitute 'UberHolyKnightsofDoom&Destruction' if you prefer. Although if the devs or some modder adds a 'lizard or dragonkin' race...
I wouldn't expect there to be 'Navy Seals' either.
Not sure I sufficiently answered your questions. And again apologies to Demiansky for further dragging this mostly (but not entirely) off his topic.