Carpet/Precision bombers could be one unit, with selectable bomb load. ....
Thats a terrible idea. ZK bombers are strong (and expensive) for a reason. Each one is an investment with specific strengths and weakness. Area bombers are great against armies and windmill/solar farms, precision bombers are good for sniping fusions and heavy units. The point is that you cannot invest entirely in doing both. Each bomber you make is a decision in what attack power you want to have.
I know that's just one example, but you want to avoid having units that can multitask too much for this reason.
No, I think ZK has gone as far as it can wrt consolidating roles. I don't want to see individual units wear too many hats.
And I think the units are clearly documented. Instead of learning the complicated behaviors of units, you just learn the unit - each one is simple. A siege-tank is no simpler than two separate units.
Imho, ZK could use a couple of simplifications, but not in terms of cutting units
1) The Puppy are cool as hell, but don't really seem to *fit* into ZK. That sucker could be a whole game all on its own.
2) Energy-grid weapons like the Annihilator. ZK is complicated enough. This feature doesn't add nearly enough value to accommodate its cost in frustration and confusion. It would be fine for a simpler game, but for ZK it's just adding one more thing to a game that already is bursting at the seams.
I actually rather agree with you on both points.
1) Puppy was already in game as a way for jump lab to be able to counter naked expansion, and also something good against some skirmishers. The grey goo ability came later, just out of nowhere for lulz. It doesn't bother me to have that special grey goo ability ingame but it wouldn't hurt my feelings if it was removed either. Puppy itself is necessary though.
2) Along with the pylon overdrive system there was somewhat the idea of making most defenses require grid connection. The idea was to see less lines of defenses pointed at each other across the halfway point of the map, and see something more like satellite bases. It was only really half implemented though, so in the end it doesn't really feel like it belongs either. I don't know if I would rather see it fully implemented or dropped.