Where's Jon Shafer when you need him? For starters, each faction could have a Civ-like unique unit, unique building, and unique bonus. To borrow from MOM, each faction could be limited on the type of magic they can use (i.e. 10 books of earth magic vs. 5 books of fire and 5 books of air magic)... remember that in MOM? Does size matter? How about human-sized vs. large races? Does speed matter? How about slow giants vs. fast weaklings? Does intelligence matter? How about stupid brutes vs. intelligent diplomats?
One of the unique things about playing a fantasy strategy game is that you get to pull in units from an imaginary world, both from summoning, as well as from constructing. AOW and MOM both have this done well; I could choose to summon units to scout, or build a base unit to scout, or cast a magic spell to reveal the FOW. My concern for FE is that we'll still be at "generic biped with 4 levels of attack (stick, staff, sword, hammer) and 3 levels of defense (cloth, leather, plate). I realize that we sort of get this in the diplomacy tree, but I believe that's broken. If I research that, I don't want a random chance to have unlikely friends (based upon where they appear in the world), I want my friends, godamit. I paid for them, they're MY friends.
Let me have some capability to put together mixed tactics units in a stack that has a fantasy feel.
I should, without too much research, be able to field a stack of a couple of spiders, a couple of weak archers, and some first line grunts with some okay armor.
Oh, and since I'm posting, for the love of Dog, please give me a way to build a single, 0 defense, 0 offense scout by turn 3. Don't make me wait to research and build; I should have scouts out the door in the first couple of turns, who are not champions or soveriegns.