Yes, I agree. ROT3K was very complex, but then again...I think the AI was pretty dumb. I also think it was one of those TBS that used a "cheating" mechanic to ramp up the difficulty on harder settings. One of the best things I like about Stardock games is Frog's commitment to making an AI that doesn't "cheat" to be "harder". It pays off in the long run on replayability.
I found a newer version of ROT3K on D2D for about 20 bucks, but I'm not messing with it for a long while. Simply no time for it. It got a lot of good customer reviews on the site though.
I really like finding the "hidden gems" in Heroes(or generals) in games like these. More so than the tactics in battles. If it were up to me, I'd like to see a option like GalCiv2 did for their battles, in that it was more of just spectating and seeing what worked in design of the units, weaponry, defense, and so on....not tactics. Having this as an option would be great, but I have no idea if that's possible at this point for Elemental...could be more trouble than it's worth. I don't know.
Another thing I LOVED about the ROT3K games were the duels the armies generals could do...it's cheesy I know, but I loved taking Zhang Fei into a battle with next to no army and having him just kick the snot out of the opposing general and winning!....LOL....man, good times...good times...