Back in 1997 Bungie created Myth The Fallen Lords with an incredible follow-up even to this day Myth 2 Soulblighter in 2021. The games offered a few features that you still don't see in the latest RTS / 4X combat games today and they're over 20 years old. Even though they're on the micro scale of the TW series, I wonder if they could add beneficial features to the TW engine.
A few that I have off the top of my head that would be really neat for TW3 were:
- Destructible terrain - You could either garner an advantage when fighting enemies or take a disadvantage with this - Dwarven explosives and other explosives would create trenches or when you use magic you could destroy portions of buildings.
- Gameplay impacting weather - Weather would have a true impact on gameplay - Example mid-level rain would start which would prevent your fire arrows from working or make your units run slower.
- Fire propagation - This might be more difficult, but when you fired arrows into trees in part two the fire would spread somewhat. This could prevent people that hide in trees constantly from hiding there and give you a reason to bring in more fire based units.
- Visual indicators that your units are poisoned or have effects on them - When zombies or other units with detrimental effects damaged your units you would see visually on the surviving units effects (they made them slightly purple) to indicate that they have a slight poison.
- Neutral units present in combat - There were neutral units in combat and non-combat - This included peasants in towns running around, wolves in forests, neutral warriors from the Trow armies that would show up in levels to cause a bit of an issue for both armies fighting in battles.
I can see how some of these would probably lead to bigger engine changes than what can be completed in a short amount of time with the game coming out soon and they might have too much impact on gameplay, but they would really diversify and change up the gameplay from one, two and three. They could even be made into optional checkmarks for the game.