I sometimes feel like a bit of a broken record, but there is something that I have been wanting since the WoM Beta that I think would be of great help to FE. Some of the biggest gripes on the forums have been related to the balance and purpose of Champions and Units. Under the current system, you don't need units, at all. Champions are almost always more effective, cheaper, and faster to build up than armies. Armies do nothing that Champions can't do and often do better, for less time and resources.
What I want is to bring the game closer to the original 'Strategy Game in an RPG World' concept. When you think of Dungeons and Dragons or Lord of the Rings, you tend to think of things like the classic party of adventurers or the Fellowship, going on quests. You might also think of some of the big set piece battles such as Helm's Deep, with large armies featuring famous champions. Champions participated in both scenarios, but they were different things. It wouldn't make sense to try to send the realm's entire army into a cave to kill a dragon. The army is for capturing territory and fighting other armies. A small group of mighty Champions are the ones to send after that Dragon.
Here is what I have long been asking for:
1. Parties: Create a new grouping called an 'Adventuring Party' which can only be made up of the Sovereign and Champions. Individual Champions or Parties are the only grouping that can engage in Quests, explore Quest tiles, etc. This would give a clear purpose and focus for Champions, one that is very much in keeping with the 'Strategy Game in an RPG World' concept. Give Champions a higher overland movement than units (at least 4) so that they can travel quickly around the world to pursue quests and also avoid large, lumbering armies. There is a great deal more that could be done with this concept, such as having more detailed, involved quests that could call on the abilities of each party member, in true classic RPG fashion. It would also be wonderful to have neutral Parties that would quest around the world, work with / for / or against the players, Majesty style. This would really help bring the world alive.
2. Armies: Armies would be the same as currently, a mixture of units and Champions. An army would need to have at least one unit of troops or be disbanded. Only armies can attack cities. This would give a clear focus to units / and armies. Armies should be all about taking and holding territory. It would be great if you could designate one Champions to be the Commander, and give bonuses as appropriate.
3. Conquest: Make conquest difficult. Right now you can waltz from city to city conquering at will without slowing down. This is a huge problem that makes the stack of doom even more effective. Instead, make it so that cities resist when conquered, as seen in many other games. Without a large enough garrison of units, the city will revolt back to its original owner or go neutral if their Sovereign is dead. The Unrest mechanic could be used to good effect here. This will force players to really plan out an invasion, and devote significant resources to it, instead of just waltzing through with a stack of doom. If an invasion loses too many troops, it may not be able to hold onto the newly gained territory.
4. Balance: This has already received lots of attention, so I will only say that I agree with those that have argued for greater balance between Champions, Units, and Monsters. A Champion or small monster should only be able to kill one soldier at a time in a unit, unless it has a special ability or spell. You can still have a demi-god Champion or big Monster wading through entire armies, but only the most powerful should be capable of this. If a player wants to focus all out on Champions, they can still do that, but only a really powerful group of Champions should be able to stand against an entire army.
Let me know if you think this concept has merit, and how we could improve it.