So, I poke around in the .xml a lot, to try to understand the tags a bit better when I'm modding.
One thing that makes ME groan every time I see it is in the CoreUnitGroupingTypes.xml
This file is set up for group sizes up to 8, and really you could probably add 9 or more if you wanted to, although it might not look pretty, we had 12 at one point and the models had to really scrunch in back in the EWOM days.
ANYWAYS, that isn't what makes me groan. What DOES make me groan are the unit maintenance costs....
OK, so here is the Unit Grouping Types breakdown, the associated maintenance cost, and my comment.
Type Cost My thoughts
Single (1) 1.0 Makes sense, one guy
Pair (2) 2.0 OK, still making sense
Party (3) 2.5 Hmmmm, my brain says 2.75 if we are going for size discounts
Group (4) 2.75 Ummm, yeah much bigger discount than I would have projected
Squad (5) 3.0 40% discount at this point, no disincentives to bigger units at all so far
Company (6) 3.25 46% discount over the single unit cost, and only 30% more than Party (half the size)
So, as I noted above, absolutely NO disincentive to larger unit sizes, from a maintenance perspective. If units cost population (some mods have added this), then there is somewhat of a disincentive, but as it stands, other than available resources (crystal, etc.) and construction times, yeah once the unit is built, staying with smaller unit sizes can actually cost you more in maintenance in the long run.
Sure, the upgrade cost after the fact from 3 to 6 is 150, which would take 200 seasons to fully realize the 'savings' you would get in maintenance costs, but of course, when you upgrade, there is no resource cost for said upgrade (that I've seen anyways), just the gold cost. So in that respect you can 'sell/trade' the resources you would have otherwise needed to 'build' a Company, upgrading the Party instead, and use the proceeds of the sale to offset the upgrade cost. Or use those resources to build more units...
There's too many reasons to maximize your unit size (well, one really, that x6 damage and HP multiplier), especially in the later game, unless you are just generating cannon fodder/scout units that aren't supposed to survive long. So yeah, those maintenance costs have me scratching my head a bit... So as I see it, the game WANTS you to make the biggest unit you can, no reason not to really... Two smaller 'half size' units will end up costing you 1.75 GP/turn more just about immediately... plus they take up valuable troop stacking space in your city.
Except if you are just spamming cannon fodder, of course... Even then, I'd think Company should be at least 4.25, which should be enough to 'slightly discourage' unit spam... If I'm sending units off to die in short order, yeah I'm not gonna sweat an extra 1 GP/turn I would have saved in maintenance (assuming 4.25 for 6 versus 3.25)!
There's my observation for the moment. Has anyone else seen something in the .xml while modding that makes you go 'hmmmm'?