Thanks very much. :D I’m glad to hear that I’ve got a reputation to uphold!
I have a thought regarding the bow and crossbow being better as archers. You see, in addition to opening up those kind of hit-and-run tactics, I had the idea of the sling allowing you to field proper skirmishers because of how you can wield it one-handed. That’s a role that you currently cannot really give to a merc. For example: you can give it to a lightly armoured unit with a shield in the other hand, put them in front of your battle line and then have them pelt the enemy as they advance, forcing them to move at your pace while the shield protects the slinger from archers. When the enemy comes close, you can have the slinger switch to a melee weapon and join the shieldwall, move away and continue to harass the enemy, draw away enemy flankers, flank the enemy when they engage, join your ranged units, or move around the enemy flank when they’re pinned and engage their archers. Flexible, rather than a specialist.
With the change to Quick Hands, a one-handed ranged weapon like this makes it possible for the slinger to easily switch between ranged and melee, making them less vulnerable when close to the frontline and allowing them to take on different roles as the situation demands it. Meanwhile, not being as good a pick as the bow or crossbow for a dedicated archer, nor the slinger being as heavily armoured and skilled as the tank, means that it doesn’t diminish the usefulness of those weapons and roles. The slinger can provide fire support, but he wouldn’t be as good at it as the bow or crossbow. He can join the shieldwall, but the loadout for a skirmisher would make him less of an asset than the tank (you need lots of free fatigue to move around, so he couldn’t wear heavy armour). However, smoothly switching between those roles is something neither the tank nor the archer can do. Same goes for the javelin, because of the sling being less powerful and therefore less suited for seriously softening up before joining the fight, while its lower fatigue requirements and greater range let it take on roles that the javelin cannot. A weapon like that gives the player a new tactical option, without lessening the ones already available.
Regarding the Rat-men. Yeah, that’s why I thought how making them a sub-faction might be a good idea, like the Orcs and Goblins are to Greenskins. I figured they could avoid the Warhammer element by not having some of the more outlandish aspects that Rat-men have there and focusing more on the actual rat part. The mental image of masses of rats flowing across human lands was just too tempting a mental image for them to not have the option of becoming a Great Enemy. ;) Having them be a part of the Wetland faction is a really interesting idea, though. It’s like a less stereotypical Beastmen faction that employs cultural elements typical to the Germanic region, which you never see in fantasy and which would really strengthen the Germanic vibe of the game. American swamps, sure, but not the wetlands typical to that part of Europe. Rats are also versatile, so they could spread to other areas in their searches, but the swamps would be their home-turf and they’d be joined by units based on other wetland fauna. It also fits the association of decay frequently given to swamps in folklore. I considered something like that when I was wondering whether to mention the water vole when naming potential units, because it’s often mistaken for a rat, but I like your idea better. Very nice solution.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts! Discussing suggestions like this is quite fun and hopefully it’s of use to the devs. :)