this game is a tragedy
D2 was a decent game that suffered from a handful of questionable design decisions, so I was looking forward to seeing what D3 could become. But in reviewing the game I was shocked to find that the worst decisions of D2 were kept and nothing was added past a graphics upgrade (actually considering the horrible AI, the series has gone backwards). If you are going to continue to produce titles in this series, please correct or add the following:
1. Fire your project lead / design lead who allowed this tragic spawn/copy of D2 to be released.
2. Cut the benefit of the battlefield damage hot spots from double damage to no more than 1.5x . The result of doubling a units damage is to destroy the strategic choices made in party formation - if I can DOUBLE a units damage then I cannot afford to be without one, so every party becomes the same. I cannot have 3 mages and 1 fighter hero, for instance, because a ranged 2x damage spot would go to waste and it's too valuable.
(you might consider adding some variety here with spots adding other types of bonuses as well)
3. Fix the inability to move newly hired troops automatically to a central location. This is stupid design choice of many of these types of games and results in needless and annoying transfer procedures to get new troops to a "front line". I recommend allowing troops to move, but not attack, without a hero leader and allowing the player to assign such troops a target location to move to without having to manually move them each turn. Repetitive tasks are what computers are good at, perhaps you've heard that?
4. Fix the fog of war hiding large armies. If I had a dime for each time I've been "ambushed" and lost the game by a massive/strong army coming out of nowhere... It's unrealistic, even in the gamespace. Large armies leave traces- campfires, rumors, ground shaking, etc. I should not have my main hero and a powerful group totally wiped out by the appearance, out of nowhere, by an AI army which was vastly OP at the start of the map. It's not fun and forces me to play every map with agonizingly slow scouting (compounded by having to wait to buy such scouts, and made worse by the bad decision to make the thief a normal hero, which was totally not the point of having them in earlier games). The simplest fix is to have very strong or large armies reveal themselves when they move say, more than half their move points. (goes for the player also, despite the current bug which allows the AI to target you with spells at any time even when they have not seen you)
5. The guildmaster was OP in D2 but the archmage was a close second. In D3 the archmage lost a huge advantage given the others can cast high level spells, and the guildmaster is still making far too many resources per turn to compete with them on medium to large maps. Essentially I get a free extra army every 4 turns as a guildmaster, plus spellcasting resources. This is so overpowered it's absurd. Perhaps cut the guildmaster income in half and increase the archmage income for non gold resources.
6. Income should be reduced over time so that I cannot sit on a single map buying items to sell later, or leveling up extra heroes indefinitely. This needs to be fixed in game because I cannot tell whether the game is balanced in such a way that I'm intended to "exploit" this issue or not. (and max level should apply to all heroes- also the bug which randomly selects which heroes to take into the next mission, rather than the 3 most powerful, needs to be fixed (either let the player choose or take the 3 strongest)).
7. Fix the single path choices in army selection (knight vs angel etc). This destroys the strategic options in the game because you cannot actually respond to the enemy choice(s). It makes the decision pointless, because you don't know what you are going to encounter in the map, unless you hold off the choice until nearing the end, where it makes no difference anyway because you cannot level up quickly. Effectively it makes the choice random, or players select a favorite path and so wind up with identical armies on every map. This is a horrible design choice and serves no effective game enhancing purpose. Instead, you should have (and the designers of D2 should have) caused selecting a particular path to give you discount in buying such units, but still allow you to buy the other units if you wanted or needed them. (Say a 25% discount on units that you buy special training facilities for - a huge incentive to use them, but makes buying alternate units to compensate for enemy choices or situations still viable).