I’m OK with most of these suggestions. I have had conversations with Eshal on this topic and we tend to strongly disagree on it. I think more complex strategies can evolve out of simpler ones that are amped up, like what happens in hard and nightmare. New abilities tend to completely change gameplay (or change it to a large degree). Instead of making me advance my strategy or find a creative solution to an existing problem, I have to have completely different strategies that may or may not actually be more advanced, just different because the rules are different. I feel this becomes more of a memorization of what units are out now and what to do in that situation instead of a development or emergence of advanced strategy. And often times those abilities don’t scale to make things harder, so once you figure out what to do and memorize it, the only way to make it more difficult is to add new enemy abilities.
Going to the hard game I am playing now. Normal on Wildriver Run for me is now to the point where my strategy has advanced enough I can be offense and use a smaller set of units and abilities. I rarely have to use any melee units or be defensive. I did have to do that a lot when I first started playing, but now I have advanced my strategy. On hard, I am back to having to actually defend instead of being offensive. My Knights, Artillery and resource production are all much more important now, even with my advanced strategy. I will have to tweak it and advance it more if I want to get higher scores, without needing new enemies that makes me adapt simply because the rules are different instead of the situation being more advanced for me. Seeing a few simple rules grow and scale into hard, think-on-your-toes situations is more elegant to me as well.
Going back to my earlier comment, most of these suggested abilities I can deal with. The ones that progressively let zombies get out of what you do is both realistic and good for a boss situation (not so for mindless hordes though) and bad for an out of control situation. If things start to fall apart and zombies slowly become immune to abilities, there is no way to recover with tactics in those situations, you almost always end up needing brute force, which you don’t have. I liked a statement Jay made before in that a large part of the game (though not all of it), is using your heroes to manage and/or take out the stronger zombies because the heroes have abilities/strategy whereas the zombies have mindless force; in a fair fight the zombies would win, but you don’t have to fight fair, you can use tricks. Zombies building up an immunity to your tricks is a problem.
I don’t like the boss tangle mage teleporting to clean wells and blighting them unless we can teleport to unclean wells and clean them, or unless we can fortify a well (I mean to buff it and/or shield it some way, not just dump a lot of guys there and leave them there, although that will need to happen in addition to buffing/shielding, but maybe with fewer units now). I think allowing him to teleport to already blighted wells is a great idea though. It would let him go to areas that have had all of the graves cleared that you probably have moved your troops away from. If there are still some un-blighted towns in the area, then the boss could re-open that front that you thought was done and weren’t defending. I don’t know how often that situation actually comes up though.
I do think that the longer a graveyard lingers, the more that should come from it. I don’t know if it would be a boss though, but it could be that the zombies that spawn have more strength, or the spawn rate increases (either the number of zombies that spawn each time, or how often they spawn) for every spawn roll that passes (meaning the spawn rolls could become increasingly frequent; starting at 12 hours, but then that spawn roll shortens the timer for next time to 10 hours, then that spawn roll shortens the timer for next time to 6 hours, etc.). I’m thinking that a lot of the strategies that help make the game easier involve crowd controlling the strong groups of enemies to stall them until you can deal with them. Maybe if instead of one strong group, they were a dozen weaker groups, your Knight and Tree Whisperers wouldn’t be able to crowd control all of them and enough total strength (in separate groups) would get through to capture those towns you were trying to strengthen. This is definitely not a perfect solution, but it might contribute and it gets the idea across of what I am trying to counter.