If the goal is to make the tactical battles so basic that they don't affect the outcome vs. automatically resolving, don't include them. I would much rather deal with Civ style auto resolve as the only option, than knowing there is this 'tactical' system tacked on for no other reason than to include it in the feature list.
That's a pretty unfair assertion. Tactical battles are pretty fun. They're designed such that a player has the ability to affect a close outcome. They're not intended to allow someone who is clearly strategically defeated to pull out a victory.
Tactical battles, as they currently are, become repetitive rather quickly for me; they are fun the first couple hours, or one in a while. But I don't know if they're really all that much fun in the long term. Part of it is a balance issue (non-damage spells being outclassed by fire damage spells to the point of being useless, low hit points). Part of it is the current lack of content -swords and axes feel pretty much the same, special abilities for units are really poor for now, and heroes' leveling system needs (a lot of) fleshing out. Part of it is that the system doesn't allow for a lot of tactics.
If the latter is this way by design, then fine - I can understand. I just find it weird, paradoxically, that so many resources have been spent on things that connect to tactical battles, such as the large number of tactical spells or unit animations. From the outside, it seems like the majority of the differences between FE and WoM concern things with strong ties to the tactical battles.
The reasons why I was requesting "flanking", or "tactical terrain bonuses" or whatever else was to try and add a relatively simple change (by that I mean: easy-ish to implement) with strong consequences on how battles are played. Suddenly, the enemy cannot ignore those moderate damage units anymore. Sure, they're not directly a threat, but they give tactical advantage to other units. Suddenly, the light cavalry becomes a lot more meaningful, capable of going around the enemy frontline in a pincer maneuver and break it.
A very good game released recently, European Escalation, shows that units do not need hundreds of stats for compelling, strategically rich gameplay. Instead, if the battlefield itself (as well as the combat mechanics) is rich enough, the game will have lots of interesting tactical options.
Anyway, I understand the reasons why these things won't be implemented in the game. But I also remember that Derek and you mentioned that a lot of possibilities and modding tags were implemented without being actually used, because while the things they allowed wouldn't feature in the core game, you wanted to let modders add these things in their creations if they wanted. If it's not too costly in terms of time or resources, would it be possible to implement a 'flanking' condition for abilities, as well as - maybe - a 'flanked' one? (the first applies to units that ARE doing the flanking, the second to the flanked unit)
After all, there are several people interested in seeing such mechanics implemented. If it doesn't fit into the core design concept of FE, then maybe it could fit the core design concept of mods...
(Subliminal message: also, please implement XML tags auras-type abilities. They would make for awesome spells and abilities for mods. )