They are obvious things like a tutorial integrated into the game. Most people are just not grognard enough to go read a manual in this age, and even less having to alt-tab between manual and game to do it (nor they are going to print it). And yes, this includes lots of people that otherwise would be interested in the game.
And ideally speaking, the tutorial shouldn’t show just the super basics (how to recruit, move, cast a ritual), but show how to truly play the game. Scouting, efficient expansion, site searching, research priorities depending on the nation, etc. I liked how the tutorial was structured in Chaos Reborn, with playable challenges between lessons to make sure the player has learned the concepts. Was one of the creators a teacher? He should know the importance of properly explaining concepts, and then exercising what was learned…
There were always several grievances in the UI for me as a new player. Some of them are being fixed in Dominions 5, like ‘hidden’ actions that are possible by keyboard shortcut but not using the UI (like monthly rituals), and being able to see the Dominion in a more visual way, with colored borders. Speaking of, they should use that technology that is already done, to be able to see province ownership in the same way. Maybe a button to switch between showing dominion (dominion colored border, hides candle icons) and ownership (provinces colored with Nation color, hides flag icon). Now that he game ‘knows’ what shapes are the provinces should be possible.
A ‘Dominionspedia’ integrated in the game. If the player see in a neutral province that there are barbarians, slinger and whatever else, it would help to see before attacking what they are capable of.
Others UI things are expected because they are standards in the genre now, like ‘move to location’ (armies remembering the final destination and moving across turns). It would reduce the micro, too. Or a way to compare units or at least see a summary of stats of all the units in a fort, because remember a noob won’t know by memory every unit, and having to click open a modal window to see the unit’s detail, coming back and forth between units, it’s a pain in the ass.
Speaking of, same with the items, clicking each one a dozen times to compare them is a pain in the ass. Maybe putting a filter by type would help things?
New players also expect to ‘click & drag’ work in things where common sense say it should work. Like in the army setup screen. But it doesn’t.
And well, I think I could add 20 points like this or more, of UI stuff, but I haven’t played in more than a year to Dominions.
Game design wise, the game has a ‘flaw’, for new players. It’s strategically very front-loaded. The pretender design is super important to the game, it decides so much, and the player has to decide all that even before starting turn 1. As a minimum, the game should include 3 preset Pretender for each Nation, so players have an idea of what it’s synergistic for a nation.