I've been playing DoF for some time now, and I honestly think this is a really cool game with lots of potential, and so it happens that I get ideas which could possibly improve the feeling from the game, so let's get straight to it.
1) Marauders issue
I've always been fan of the more barbaric races or characters in games, so it was only natural for me to take Orcs as my race. I almost instantly fell in love with marauders. One does not often see orcish archers, yet the concept of strong, rugged hunters from primarly warrior society is quite appealing to me and I do not really know how they can even be overlooked or shunned away in any universum containing proud warrior race. Just look at them. Broad-shouldered, grim-looking, crude leather armour and a bloody orcish falchion/hunting sword in hand. Solid 60-70cm of broad and heavy steel from the looks of it. So, my question is...
"Why don't Marauders defend themselves in melee?"
I've started new orcish settlement after I screwed up in the first one (and decided I like forest orcs better) and doing my first few quests with only few squads of marauders and one squad of impalers, I've found out that after sending my impalers to heal in healing fountain that's already been... liberated, thinking my marauders will deal with those few goblins no probs. I've been sadly mistaken. Two little goblin raiders killed off nearly two thirds of full marauder squad 'till impalers arrived. They were just looking at the goblins, getting slaughtered, falchions in their hands and doing nothing. I am not suggesting making them into full-fledged melee/ranged hybrids, capable of going headfirst into, say, macemen of full strength and prevailing. I am talking about beeing able to cut down some few stragglers and survivors from initial volley.
Being already armed with melee weapons, even if they are mainly used for hunting and utility, they could get some alternative attack, even if it would do only, say, 75 or 100 melee damage. They are orcs after all! I've looked briefly onto archers of other races, and none seem to carry melee weapon in same manner as orc marauders do, and do not defend themselves in melee. But is only logical, even if only for orcs, for archers to have some backup. Same has been done in history, be it archer's shortsword, axe, saex, or even simple knife or club. So... that's what's bothering me the most.
2) Suggestion time - hybrid units
Now, for my humble suggestions. It would be nice to see some new unit types in DoF. One of those could be melee / ranged hybrid units. I've got an idea of - for example - shield and javelin/ axe armed unit. Solid enough hitpoints, solid enough damage, maybe half the range of common ranged units, but with evasion or high pierce armour. They could be used as emergency "archers" in sieges, on both sides. Let me explain - imagine a squad of archers on top of battlements, raining death on all your ranged infantry and battering rams, enemy catapults already destroyed yours, and you have no way of dispatching them. Except for those dudes with shields to cover themselves and fast enough to avoid most other threats, running up to the walls and throwing axes and javelins onto the archers, finally letting you bash through the gates and prevail. Second scenario could be left almost the same, only sieging army defeated all your archers and you do not have anyone to man the battlements. Out of siege battles, they could maybe be used as anti-archer unit, or maybe against light infantry such as goblins and macemen.
Or have them as normal melee units, but with special ranged ability, somewhat like impaler's leap ability.
Again, orcs would be kind of ideal "target" race for theese guys. Or maybe new mercenary units - bandit skirmishers or barbarian warriors. That wouldn't need any change to the gameworld.
3) Suggest-time again! Light siege equipment!
Just a quick one. Another mercenary unit could be light siege equipment, such as ballistae/scorpions, whatever you want to call it. A bit faster, maybe like walking infantry, but with no run/charge option, unable to target walls (maybe only gates for minor damage?) but able to be used directly on archers on battlements, having higher range and not using stone for shooting, and without splash damage, instead damaging in straight line, or having smaller splash.
Anyway, thanks for reading. Erik.