EDIT: Since 1.5 just came out, I am changing the title and some small elements of the OP, the bulk of the original post is, however, still applicable.
I really like what I can see of FE:LH 1.3 a lot so far, and don't think that LH needs much to become a truly "great" game (rating above 8/10). I think this is all it needs to go down in history as meeting the promise of the best successor to M&M and surpassing it as the next milestone. With one exception (see §5 below), I do not think that any of the following should be made into DLC or passed off to modders, but should form the basis of those projects.
- Many screens are not closable via hotkey. All screens should be able to be closed by pressing "escape", and/or the same hotkey used to open them, by default (instead of having to click a "done" button).
- Important screens, such as research, should be accessable via their own hotkey, not the "K" key and then the click of a tab. Research, for instance, should be instantly accessible via "R", or something else, by default.
- All hotkeys should be customizable.
- There is currently no way in-game (or out of it) to view the progression tree available to Champions except in the few opportunities one has during level-up; this should be viewable by pressing a hotkey, or at least by clicking a button somewhere on the "unit details" screen.
- On the main UI overlay, with a city selected, rollover information tells me at what level the city's population is capped due to food, but nowhere can I actually see the current population -- for this, I must click on the city's details. I should not need an extra click, and hence should see the currenty population either in the round overlay window bottom left or in the mouseover info on the city's level bar.
- Entity hotkeys: It has become standard syntax in strategy games to be able to assign units or groups of units or locations a hotkey by pressing ctrl-# and then using the appropriate # key to select that entity. This is currently lacking in LH. This would also be useful for assigning makeshift Rallypoints, by being able to assign a hotkey to a tile.
- Rally Points: Although LH is more about Champions than units, still much of the game resolves around training at least a couple of units. Each unit-producing location (or at least towns) should have a default Rally Point (currently, the town itself) which can be altered to automatically send produced units to the selected destination upon completion of their training.
- More varied selection in game setup: Research can currently only be slow, fast, or normal, but I would like to have at least 7 choices, if I cannot enter a % integer on my own (as in Distant Worlds). Slow is too slow for me, but normal is too fast.
- An additional screen, much like the City overview, for Champions, so you can always find those that may inadvertently be stationed somewhere. The overview should list the basic stats, enchantments, and little icons for the equipement carried.
2. Tactical Combat features
Tactical combat is currently good, but still not quite as good as one might expect or hope, even looking at some oldies but goodies (e.g. AoW:SM).
- Currently, there is no accuracy penalty to distant or obscured targets with ranged weapons, which not only feels counterintuitive (archers shooting around corners, 20 tiles away just as likely to hit as point blank) but reduces the tactical choices players have with ranged units (currently, it's a no-brainer: move your ranged units as far away as possible and run around if necessary). Introducing penalties for obscured (LOS) or distant targets would allow players to make a choice (do I stay in mid-range for better chances to hit, or play it safe, or a bit more risky?). Additionally, this would make the difference between ranged weapons more variable and interesting, e.g.: magic staves may have the longest optimal range, crossbows the second longest, longbows the third, shortbows the forth, and thrown weapons the worst. Some rudimentary system should suffice, e.g. so that archers, for example, have a slightly less than optimal chance to hit a target on the other side of the tactical board than at point-blank range (while magic staves, for instance, might have an infinite range), and some form of rudimentary line-of-sight calculation (so that obstacles, debris and other units give a slight penalty to hit) -- all of which could be modified by a unit's level or traits. One very simple way of implementing this would be to simply name an integer for each weapon as that unit's optimal range at or below which no accuracy penalty is applied, with a modification type (S, M, L, XL) to roughly indicate a range penalty beyond this point. One could then imagine that an integer penalty per tile is applied based on the type of weapon (Short ranged weapons (S), for instance, might have a -10 accuracy penalty per tile beyond the optimal, while XL-ranged weapons only -5. Unit traits and spells may affect any of these values. Admittedly, LOS calculations would be harder to implement, and I do not have a simple suggestion to remedy its lack.
- Terrain in tactical battles could be so much better in offering real choices to the player. For instance, some rudimentary form of terrain-type bonuses and penalties (plains, hills, forest, desert, swamp, city) for most units or factions, should be fairly easy to implement, utilizing both the value of the tile on the strategic map (e.g. bears get a bonus in forest tiles, Ironmen in hills, etc.) and the individual tiles on the strategic map (being on a hill could give a defensive bonus and an accuracy bonus to ranged units, etc.).
- Not all Resistance rolls should be the same: Some spells and units should allow for +bonuses or - penalties to certain resistance rolls, so that some skills become more interesting and usable, e.g. "... unless the target resists at a -15 penalty". Some attributes should allow some units a bonus or penalty to some rolls as well, e.g. being "Large" might grant extra resistance to a "Web" attempt by default, for example...
- The Manual, the Spellbook, and, in some instances, the Hiergamenon is in many places very out-of-date, being frequently the status quo ante of Fallen Enchantress of 18 months ago.
- Currently nearly impossible to determine which spells are obtainable under which circumstances, except for very few exceptions. The "prerequisites" listings of the Hiergamenon spells are frequently missing, and the mouseovers of traits (e.g. "Air Mage") only show what that level offers, not the ones before it (e.g. Air Apprentice). There is no way in-game (or out of it) to view the progression tree available to Champions except in the few opportunities one has during level-up -- this should be viewable by pressing a hotkey.
The AI has seen improvement, but still has faults in some areas. Please see the consolidated AI thread (This thread here ) for more info.
- Spells: There are a great many variables in LH, but most spells seem to affect only a few. Frankly, I find most of the spells available to most of the champions fairly mundane. While I am not expecting the variety available in a game such as Dominions without DLC, I do think that at least half of the suggestions for spells one can find on the forums over the past months are suitable and easily implementable for vanilla LH, at the very least more variety amongst the tactical spells for the "standard" spellbooks (elemental/life/death), and a few to unlock in the "Magic" research tab. I think an increase of anywhere between 25% and 50%, including the cross-class spells (below), would be worthwhile for Vanilla LH.
- Cross-class spells: I'd like to see at least some spells unlock for mages who have access to different spellbooks, e.g. Earth Mage und Death Disciple might unlock Raise Fallen, etc.
- 10-25% increase in variety of items and monsters (without DLC)
- I would pay DLC-$ for additional quests, maps, and also items, monsters, and spells above the scope of that described above.
- Non-hostile entities should not disrupt movement (see pathing dilemmas for more details). Currently, it is the case that by clicking on a nearby destination, I have inadvertently sent my units on a 20-turn hike around the world because some friendly unit may be moving through or sitting on a bottleneck. Friendly units should be able to pass through these, and if they end the turn on them together, we should simply see the little "2" or whatever icon to show that 2 or more armies are present in that one tile. Allied cities should also be able to be moved through.
- It would be nice if at least some of the greatly over- or underpowered elements of the game were adjusted without resorting to Modding. Selecting the 20 most common remarks, such as the "Tame" ability, from these forums should be sufficient. This is particularly important because the AI seems to be better at adjusting its strategy to Vanilla values vs. those generated by mods.
7. Thank you for listening and your constructive criticism / feedback.