I'll try to be succinct here.
I have come to the realization that there were a lot of people who liked War of Magic. And I agree that the biggest hit against the original release of Elemental was that it was unstable at launch. There are a number of reasons why that happened which I won't go into here.
However, you have to judge each game on its own merits. War of Magic was a big game with a lot of moving parts. But a lot of those parts just didn't work well together. Fallen Enchantress was designed to be a much more focused and polished game and at that it succeeded.
IMO, Legendary Heroes is a natural progression in that trend. Would I have cut encumbrance? Probably not. But I'm the guy who made Galactic Civilizations which is fully of opaque game mechanics (like the approval rating in that game, holy cow is that insane).
But Soren made a good point and Derek (and I) agree with it. What is this game about? At its core? Is it a Sim or is it a strategy game? And it's a strategy game. It should focus on that solid core and then build out from that. Encumbrance was a sloppy, bad game mechanic.
Victory in an Elemental game is supposed to be about your civilization. How good of one did you create? It is not about the details of it. It's not about how clever you are in tactical battles. It's not about how precisely you design your units. Those things are modifiers. But they are not, in themselves, the game-enders. It is about your civilization.
Now, if you want to complain about something in LH, complain about the diplomacy system. That is the single biggest disappointment in the Elemental games IMO.
I'm pretty biased but I play a lot of games and I've been making them a long time. My internal review (you don't want to see it, it's brutal) of Fallen Enchantress projected a meta critic score of 78. Legendary Heroes is a better game than Fallen Enchantress. It shouldn't even be a close call. It's just plain better. And at $20 for FE buyers, it's a steal.
That doesn't mean that a lot of the criticism and feedback you see on the forum is wrong. Some of it is legitimate but a lot of it is from people who simply want a different game than what we're making.
If you liked Master of Magic or Civilization IV, you'll probably like Legendary Heroes. If you didn't, you probably won't like it. Those two games are in the same genre.
Warlock, Eador, HOMM, while being fantasy games, are not really in the same genre of strategy games. They're tactical-focused games. That means that people who like those games may not necessarily like Elemental games.
I really was not going to reply this thread, but I feel I need to point out this diplomacy.
First of all, I don't think diplomacy is a big problem. It is a part of problem 3 (AI), but this is really the least problematic part. It's really a small problem.
You can trade resources, make treaties such as technology, economy, tribute, peace, bribe them to go war, etc. Only two things that are lacking on diplomacy part are unable to make an AI to have peace with someone else and vision share, but other than that, I really do not see any further improvements can be done from the way AIs are made in modern 4X games.
Looking at Civ 5 and other recent games, those AIs are really no better, and most of the case, worse than Elemental. Like compared to completely no-common-sense CIV 5 AI diplomacy (to be honest, Civ 4 wasn't that great until several expansions later, either), I can even say one of the strengths of Elemental series is well-made diplomacy.
The only thing that destroys well-made diplomacy is, as I already pointed out in my post several times, that AIs do not play with same rules as human players do. Don't let AIs disregard non-aggression pacts. Don't let AIs cheat on economy/technology treaties (if they indeed are), refine stuffs here and there..... DON DON! we are good to go.
Please, there is few reasons to improve diplomacy which is already above average compared to other 4X games or tactical games. I'd rather like 20 more Epic and Deadly quests besides awkward dragon eye gem quests (the game really lacks late-game-army quests for some weird reasons) or just couple of hard-coded features released/fixed so we can mod them out already.
This sounds almost like reinventing the wheel again, there are many other crucial issues still left. After they are fixed, then we may try improve diplomacy..... Personally, just bring back proper dynasty system would be more than enough.