Get rid off city's along with their management, and have castles and strongholds that add attack and defense. Somewhere to go when chased by a Superior force.
Get rid of wandering monster, keep them to random lairs, and instead have wandering opposing forces units out looking for you, or anyone not conforming.
Get rid of enchantment, keep it to the wonderful simplistic crafting system.
Get rid of shards, they are done to death. Have something else like tree's of life.
Get rid of city unit recruiting, and have units wandering the land, or in towns looking for suitable employment. Some bad, some good, some simply don't care.