Balance Team's Explanations:
With this patch we wanted to mainly focus on the release of the Norse civilization and further addressing some of Babylon's strength, while also tweaking a couple of smaller issues.
Takabara: We felt like the Takabara underperformed in their role as Persia's single target anti-range unit, compared to the equivalents of other civilizations. These changes should make them a bit more viable in the midgame, and making their upgrade more attractive to invest into.
Chief: This hero unit was incredibly cheap for the amount of power it concentrates in a single unit, making it twice as expensive will make Norse players want to keep it alive even more and at the same time giving a more hero-esque feel to them.
Burning Pitch: Everybody that has played or watched PvP knew that Burning Pitch has way overperformed in their role at dealing with Norse's weakness to large amount of Archer balls, to the point were that technology has even been banned from tournaments.
Since at the same time it was bugged too, we decided to removed the tech completely but added a Bonus vs Ranged units in the Guard tower as soon as Age 3 has successfully been researched, in order to compensate for the lack of Burning Pitch.
Elephant: With this change we hope to see Egypt players having to expand a bit more to secure new gold resources while they're trying to turtle and get a strong Elephant count going.
Sarissorpohoi: We wanted to address Saris dealing too well with Units they are not supposed to do well against while not affecting them in their intended role at all, so we felt decreasing their base DPS while increasing their multiplier was the correct way to go.
Babylon: Previously, Babylon players were able to completely rely on stable compositions alone for the complete duration of the game; having the best economy, the strongest units and the best mobility on top of it, all at the same time. Our solution was to take some of the raw strength from the Lancer and Mounted Archer away specifically, but giving it back to the Slinger and the Bowman respectively. This should result in more diverse compositions and more fun and balanced gameplay for both sides.
Total War: We felt like this upgrade has been a little too much of a no-brainer considering the cost-effectiveness is so high compared to armory or similar upgrades.
Babylon Economy: In previous versions, the Babylonian economic advantage was a bit too extreme, especially in conjunction with low training times in general due to Gardens. These changes should bring Babylon a bit more in line with other civilizations, while still maintaining a slight edge over them in regards to the economy.
Druid: The celtic ranged+druid combo has been too all around in the past, even doing surprisingly well against melee counter units and surrounds, partly due to pathing but also due to the healing rate being very powerful before. Since we did not want to affect Celt's overall strength, we addressed some issues in their arsenal, like not having a single late game unit that could fight in head-on engagements and not having a great answer to defensive structures before age 4.
We think this will shift some of the power of the single ranged deathball away to smaller, more harass orientated gameplay.
Wild animals: And finally, we wanted to address feedback we have been receiving that aggressive animals can feel a bit frustrating when they spawn in locations were a few villagers cannot build structures safely due to a 3rd party disrupting your gameplan.
(Thanks to @ZertoN for helping write this up)
I kind of disagree with the premise of completely removing a tech from the game? Why not just severely alter it instead of removing it? I know it's too good, but there have to be ways to keep the tech alive, just in a different form (even if it's making it a free tech and having it apply the implemented change).
the problem with burning pitch is that the tech was completely bugged. it made units spack around etc hence just stat changes to it, however servere they might be would still have been a big issue. we couldve just removed the tech and then added a new tech giving the fort more damage or whatever, but at the same time we felt that a civ that can build forts without villagers in a matter of seconds doesnt really need any buff to forts anyways. instead, we added the shadow tech which now fullfills the role that burning pitch originally had, which is help norse deal with big ranged balls.
What I'm suggesting is to keep the tech but give it the effect that it was replaced with.
that was up for thought, but we prefered the tech to affect towers instead of forts. couldve had the button on forts, sure, but thats unintuitive just for the sake of keeping a tech there. but dont you worry, i highly doubt any other tech will ever get removed.