So.... after a lot of hours burned on AoW3.
Positives against FE/LH
1.) Hero's levelup is almost as bad as original Elemental's. Way too simple. Only thing that makes levelup meaningful is that unlike Elemental series, the game is well-balanced and still can make specialized heroes if you choose traits carefully. The hero's high initial hp also makes him/her not as utterly as useless as FE heroes in general. They also level up and grow fast enough to not make laborious unlike FE.
2.) Sieges are awesome.
3.) Massive battles, up to maxium 36 units (I believe). It's amazing. With siege battles, the game's tactical battles are quite memorable sometimes.
4.) Graphics are quite pretty.
5.) And multiplayer. But then, I never play multiplayer anyway.
6.) Unit movements are fast enough. Please, FE/LH's two tile movements is just atrocious.
7.) The game is ultra-polished from top to bottom. There are some errors such as disappearing custom main hero and stuffs. But no game-breaking bugs found so far. Hell, even current LH has SEVERAL game breaking bugs such as Beast Lord and Auto-save bugs.
Negative against FE/LH
1.) Civilization option is non-existent Empire builders look elsewhere. All cities basically become non-stop unit factories. No specialization or any meaningful options can be found.
2.) Unit diversity by races are.... well, let's say FE beats it. Only meaningful differences are made by your main hero's profession, which do provides a lot of diversity in that way.
3.) Units are quite boring as hell. FE/LH's weapon system is far better.
4.) Monsters are boring as hell too. Sure elemental damages are included, but all units are too similar. There are no interesting unique, game-changing monsters such as Dark Wizard. Dragons in AoW3 are barely as strong as a mere slags.
5.) It's personal, but I think Initiative-based FE/LH turn-based battle is far superior than traditional turn-based AoW3. While AoW3 battles are massive in quantity scale, FE/LH battles are very dynamic.
6.) There are far more interesting magics in FE/LH than AoW3. I should play Sorcerer more, but this is my initial feeling.
7.) AI is... well... maybe tactical battles it is ok, but in strategic level, it is simply travesty. Too many nonsense movements and easily exploitable by any human player who figured out its tricks.
8.) No interesting event-related area as such as Wildland.
9.) Quests are far inferior to FE/LH.... Well, let's say there is no quest in AoW3. It's all "Plz kill these guys and then we join you!"
10.) Other than levelups, hero customization is very weak and shallow compared to EF/LH.
Same with FE/LH
1.) AI cheats in massive scale. Even the easiest option, AoW3's AI cheat level is as extreme as 'ridiculous' in FE/LH. Since I play between Expert~Ridiculous, my feelings toward cheating AI is about same in both games.
The maddening fact is that FE/LH is actually far superior game than AoW3. It's no contest. If someone plays FE/LH for a very long time suddenly plays AoW3 will find himself/herself being very annoyed by this shallow, lacking-in-depth 4X fantasy game. Well, AoW3 is certainly has more depth than Warlocks and Eador, but FE/LH beat those games no problem.
Yet, unfortunately, terrible balance decisions such as low movements, hero leveups, loots manage to make FE/LH far less interesting than AoW3. This is why I called it maddening because there is literally no way FE/LH can be worse than AoW3 other than massive battles. Yet with all of comical balance issues pulled the game down.
Not to mention we are still having game-breaking bugs still present even the most updated versions of the game. AoW3 has just released but the quality of polish is just astounding compared to FE/LH.
Now, this makes me consider a popular mode called Patchwork... From what I've read, it fixed a lot of balance issues.