Fun, I’ll play!
First and foremost, don’t fuck up what made AoW3 so special. Perfectly paced tactical battles, a richly interactive map full of foozles to bamboozle, and a light-but-not-inconsequential empire-building layer that isn’t about spinning plates a la Civ but ensuring economic growth and also the building of bigger and badder murder machines. I want more Age of Wonders out of this, not some lame attempt to make it more like some other, lesser game.
So, that out of the way, what new things do I want?
Easier ways to pierce the fog and more accurately assess the strategic situation. Scouting in AoW3 is both incredibly important and kinda boring and tedious. I’ve always wanted some more passive threat assessment in games like this, where you have some concept of “dude is marshaling big armies up over there, might want to plan for that” without having to suicide cheap T1s doing flybys beyond watchtower range. But that’s pretty pie-in-the-sky and the workaround of disposable scouts works well enough, so I don’t actually expect it to be addressed.
More badass strategy-layer spells. Very few make much of an impact in AoW3, especially given their mana and casting cost that could be spent on something more consequential like unit summoning, terraforming, combat spells, and units/buildings in cities. I want a reason to pull down meteors from orbit, crack tectonic plates, boil oceans, airdrop invasive bioplagues, and all that ridiculous sci-fi stuff. “Machine units get 15% physical resist and +1 shock melee strength” is not the jam.
Fewer sieges, like you said. Midgame quickly becomes one 18v24 siege after another, and they are the worst kinds of battles. One or two as capstones to a map, sure, but not the endless slog please.
Maybe diplomacy that doesn’t suck? I’m fine with playing locked teams, but if there were something there I wouldn’t mind.
Damage calculations that are something other than a twisted paean to the Chaos Gods, maybe? Fucked if I have any idea how damage channels and strengths and defenses and resistances relate to how much damage an attack does after idk 800+ hours with the game.
Better hero leveling, for sure. What a turd of a system that is. Or at least a UI that supports it. I do really like the commander <> warrior <> mage choices you have to make, those have some impact and feel cool.
Better unit cards. Throwing a list of properties in no discernible order onto the screen, each of which must be moused over to understand what the fuck it does (if it does anything, plenty are just descriptors that are referenced by other abilities), does not a very merry Christmas make.
Also more things, but this is getting long, heh.