Hi all. I'll start the post off by saying, I'm terrible at this game. I can't beat the AI on whatever the default difficulty is, but part of that is the way I play. For instance, I won't build a single soldier until I get a short sword and health packs, because I don't want to build a bunch of peasants, and then send them off to die to get rid of them. One could argue that I don't have to get rid of them, but I prefer knights, straight off the bat.
But I'll get to the point. The idea for unit design is to remove the strength/stats of the unit, from it's appearance. What I mean by this is, currently, if I wanted my knights to be strong, I had almost no choice but to give my knights maces, or whatever is the strongest weapon available. I don't know about the latest update though, since I go up diplomacy, adventure, and civics trees, and then lose my cities and lose before I get those weapons. But, how about if the unit design was changed so that I could make my knights, plated in full armour with sword and shield, but have the strength of the unit determined by picking a number for strength, the health determined by constitution, ...etc for the rest of the relevant stats.
As for the cost, how about having it tied to the stats that you "purchase"? Adding +1 constitution, x amount of gildar, maybe y amount of materials/metal. A similar cost could follow for the remaining stats. What could this mean? I could make knights that had 10 for each stat, and cost an average amount of materials / gildar. Want a super knight with 1000 in each stat? Sure, but it's gonna cost you.
What this allows the player to do is to craft units entirely to their liking. If they wanted red-garbed ninjas with black katanas as elite Sovereign-guards, they can accomplish that, because the strength of the ninjas would not be higher if they had warhammers instead of katanas. Now, you could possibly have warhammer strength units, but still have black katanas, and it can be balanced to have the same cost as it is currently to equip a warhammer or other weapon.
Hopefully this will allow players to create the units they want to design, while still being viable against other opponents.