The very obvious feature for the game would be allowing unit classes to specialize during technological development, i.e. to have several classes to be obsoleted by. E.g.: why a Caravel can be upgraded to a Galleon but never to a Frigate? And, if there are different techs or other requirements to build the modern units, let the basic class be accessible as long as not all of them are fulfilled.
Also, it would be nice to allow units to convert to several types, maybe just limit the target type by the action enabler. It would allow you e.g. to train your infantry troops as marines or chivalry or pilots (e.g. in a city with Barracks your Musketeers can convert to Horsemen that you then can upgrade to a modern chivalry type, and in a city with Harbour you can get a Trireme of them).
What would you like to see in Freeciv? Do you have a good idea what should be improved or how?
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About an upgrading to one of selected type - something similar are necessary to be compatible with Civilization IV, Civilization V, Civilization VI. In these games, you can select a new unit ability, when it achieves next experience level.
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I think, implementing this requires some other mechanism to avoid too many unit types. Like, treating veteranship property of a unit as a bitwise flag instead of a simple number.