I think that the English are plenty powerful enough as they are, but I'd like to make their roster, well, cooler. I'm wondering if you have any ideas on how to do that without making them more powerful.
There are three things that get me about the English roster.
1) Yeoman archers. They seem like a pointless intermediate between longbowmen and retinue longbowmen -- another castle-based archer that can lay stakes and shoots bodkin arrows, whose existence is neither logically compelling (what's the difference between them and longbowmen? They own a little land? Why does that matter in a battle?) nor strategically enriching. I'd like to get rid of Yeoman archers. (Or possibly move them to cities and make them a kind of advanced archer militia.)
2) Sicily gets Norman knights. Why not England? I just have trouble rationalizing that in the 14 years between the Norman Conquest and the start of the Grand Campaign, the Normans lost their mojo (but kept it in Sicily).
3) England gets no missile cavalry whatsoever? France gets friggin' mounted longbowmen, but England doesn't get so much as mounted crossbowmen?
There might be another thing or two that bothers me (like the fact that England gets almost nothing (a few more demi-lancers) for upgrading from military academy to royal officers' academy, or the fact that billmen have little aptitude against cavalry), but those are the big three.
Anyway, replacing feudal knights with Norman knights, in the manner of Sicily, would obviously be a huge upgrade to English power. Maybe Norman knights could be recruited from King's Stables or something, and feudal knights could be left in their current place, but that seems a little weird. (Why should it be any different from Sicily? Why should Norman knights be far out of reach in 1080 at the start, but become available by 1340 or so?) Any ideas on how to balance this?
As for missile cavalry: maybe they could get Ironsides Cavalry? A sort of reiter-like unit? For flavor, they might be recruited from a huge cathedral or something, because they're religious zealots. (But the disestablishment of the Church, puritanism, and Cromwell don't happen in Medieval II? Bah. They're puritanical Catholic zealots with guns in this case. I don't want to call them harquebusiers, because that confuses them with arquebusiers. Petronels might work, but I like the idea of giving them additional "religious fanatic" flavoring; I like an advanced gunpowder-based unit composed of religious fanatics, to complement the current religious units, such as bunch of crazy ghazis with axes, peasant pilgrims with wooden sticks, and musty old 12th century crusader knights.)
Or, to be a little less nutty, England could just get mounted longbowmen like the French or something. Or they could even just get mounted crossbowmen like most non-British, non-Eastern European, non-French Catholics. I don't really know. Maybe they get missile cavalry from a Royal Officer's Academy? Or maybe they get it from some sort of castle archery range, to replace yeoman archers in the lineup?
What about yeoman archers? Just get rid of them? Make them recruitable from city halls and mayors' palaces as advanced militias? What should be done about the gap created in the archery range if they're removed. (i.e. bowyer --> peasant archers, practice range --> longbowmen, archery range -->
yeoman archers, marksman's range --> retinue longbowmen)
Any ideas on how to balance this? Adding missile cavalry and norman knights are clear upgrades to English power. Taking away yeoman archers doesn't do that much to reduce it -- and moving yeoman archers to cities and making them advanced militia could also increase it. What should England lose in balance?